It’s that time of year again where I spend three days going over my favorite music from the last 365 days. Just like the many music blogs I follow, you probably won’t agree with this list and also just like those sites I’m not really qualified to recommend anything to anyone … Just like last year, I’m breaking this down into three posts: 6 favorite new releases of 2018, 6 favorite NOT new releases I rocked hard in 2018 and 6 songs I killed my eardrums with — both new and old — in 2018. Because there were a few close calls, I’ve chosen to provide 6 honorable mentions as well.
All three sets are in no particular order.
This is Part 3/3
TOP 6 TRACKS, NEW AND OLD, OF 2018
Mutoid Man – Bridgeburner
Album: Bleeder — Released: 2015
Everyone has at least one band, one album, one song that has gotten them through a rough time in their life. I’m sure I’ve had several over the last 34 years but in recent memory, none is more important to my well being as Bridgeburner by Mutoid Man. This opening track to the band’s 2015 album Bleeder has everything you want in a good rock song: it’s easy to sing along to, the guitar parts are fast and furious, the bass tone is dirty as SHIT, the drums are pure madness, the outro is both fast AND heavy and the message the song conveys is one that a passionate guy such as myself can easily identify with.
Time to wash our hands of you; time for naivete is through // time to wash your hands of us; bring on the fuss!
It’s heavy like metal, it’s simple like punk and it’s emotional just like you and me.
Power Trip – Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)
Album: Nightmare Logic — Released: 2017
I learned about Power Trip a year or two ago from my boss, of all people. It was around this time their album Nightmare Logic was released with its accompanying single Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe). 2017 must’ve been a good year for thrash because that was also the year Gods of Violence was released by Kreator and was one of the best new thrash releases I’d heard. Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe) fits that mold as well.
The dual guitars of Blake Ibanez and Nick Stewart chug-chug-chug along with a heaviness I haven’t heard since middle-aged Anthrax (their song London comes to mind) and mustached lead singer Riley Gale has a voice that’s as unique to the genre as his stage presence (Ice-T even dubbed him Lil Jumpy Mane referring to his high-energy performance). This is definitely a jam you want to crank if you about to go deadlift. Or hit a guy. Two things I’m always ready to do!
Runny – I Don’t Wanna Listen to Trump
Album: Back on Gack — Released: Unreleased
Okay, so this song isn’t truly an original. And it hasn’t been given a proper release. Doesn’t mean it’s not DOPE. While early punk bands like the Dead Kennedys and more recent punkers like Anti-Flag have given us angry punk rock with deep, meaningful lyrics, punk at its core is just fast, hard and simple (the Ramones proved this by having countless hits with merely five or fewer lines per song).
Enter Runny. With album titles like We’ve Come for Your Women (And Some of Your Men) and California Uber Phallus, Runny shows they’re well aware of punk rock’s often tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and with this track they show they know how effective a simple, angry punk song can be. Nearly a direct cover of I Don’t Wanna Listen to YES by The Mighty High, I Don’t Wanna Listen to Trump says everything we’re all thinking. Is it the most well-versed or formal song? No. Is it the most mature or appropriate song? Not even close. Is it a song you’ll want to loop over and over again whilst singing along louder each time?
Hell yes it is.
Turbowolf – The Free Life
Album: The Free Life — Released: 2018
Just like with a lot of other bands I’m unfamiliar with, I learned about Turbowolf when they were linked on MetalSucks. On the day their third major release The Free Life, I checked out their lead single by the same name and immediately fell in love. The intro has so many changes, yet so much energy. The song, itself, has moments that are danceable, yet somehow still hang-banging. And their vocalist Chris Georgiadis provides a stark contrast to their psychedelic/electronic/heavy metal sound.
I would imagine fans of the Darkness and Foxy Shazam would dig these guys. And that’s a good thing because I love both of those bands. Just add Turbowolf to my ever-growing list of bands with annoyingly quirky compound-word names.
Zeal and Ardor – Blood in the River
Album: Devil is Fine — Released: 2016
Oh, my god I love this band. And this is easily my favorite song by them. With elements of black metal and negro spirituals, the overall listening experience is already jarring enough. But then …
THE RIVERBED WILL RUN RED WITH THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS AND THE BLOOD OF THE HOLY
Chanted. Over. And over again.
I’ve found myself cranking this song in my car and belting out the simplistic, yet evil lyrics with hopes of opening up some kind of portal. Hoping I’d be shown some kind of sign that either my nihilistic attitude is correct or that god is actually real. Unfortunately, neither have happened but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying.
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – Devil Inside Me
Album: Blossom — Released: 2015
With a few exceptions, England has always done rock and roll better than us here in the states. They maybe didn’t create metal, but they took it to a higher, heavier level. They maybe didn’t create punk but they made it snottier. They maybe didn’t create ska but they did it the best. And does anyone remember a band called the Beatles?
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes are a hardcore punk act from Hertfordshire, England, and their song Devil Inside Me encompasses everything I love about the genre: strong vocals, loud guitars playing simple riffs and the devil. Killer workout song, killer driving home on a Monday song — just a killer hardcore punk song all around.
- Like the Angel by Rise Against from the album The Ghost Note Symphonies, Volume 1 (2018)
- See You in Hell by Electric Wizard from the album Wizard Bloody Wizard (2017)
- Broken Hearts are for Assholes by Frank Zappa from the album Sheik Yerbouti (1978)
- California Son by Lucifer from the album Lucifer II (2018)
- Together Alone by Painted Doll from the album Painted Doll (2018)
- Mr. Giant Man by James Last from the album Voodoo Party (1971)