Immortal Reviews' Favorite Albums Of 2018
We live in a tumultuous time. The chaos of every day seems to get lost in the constant dialogue of one big issue after another. Thirty Seconds To Mars perfectly captures the essence of that in their new album America. Neither wholly global nor personal, America is the soundtrack of society today. From the dream-inspiring lead single 'Walk On Water' to the epic orchestral theme of a tragic hero, closing track 'Rider,' Jared Leto and co. take a look at all the aspects of life and how society faces them. The thrill of love is celebrated in 'Dangerous Night' while it is dramatized in 'Love Is Madness' with Halsey, before the admiration of 'Great Wide Open' fills your heart with the want to unite and spread peace and tranquility. America is as much of a call-to-arms as it is a snapshot, but it naturally leads you to want to reach that point of unity by showing you the chaos head on. It's an album about humanity, and begs the question: are we moving forward, or stuck in the past?
Once Mike Shinoda delivered the highly emotional Post Traumatic EP to launch his solo career at the start of the year, it was clear that he was going to turn his journey through grief into something powerful. And so he does with Post Traumatic, his debut album that looks back and ahead in the aftermath of losing his best friend and bandmate, Chester Bennington. The first half of the record is trapped in the past, numbers like 'Over Again' and 'Nothing Makes Sense Anymore' lost and confused. The second, however, is more optimistic and begins looking forward: 'Crossing A Line' sees Shinoda find the courage to pull himself back together, while 'World's On Fire' is an ode to his loved ones. It's an emotional record, but a reassuring one all the same: pain is universal, and the journey through grief is not an easy one. But by speaking out and trying to understand one another, we can reach that destination just a bit more easily.
Band's can easily find themselves having an identity crisis as they grow. For CHVRCHES, they experienced that with their third album, but instead of scrambling in the dark, they embraced it. With acoustic instrumentation supporting their famous synth soundscapes, CHVRCHES forge ahead on a new path in Love Is Dead. It's an album about accepting reality even when the past seems so tantalizing, from heartbreak tracks like 'My Enemy' (featuring The National's Matt Berninger) and 'Really Gone' to more energetic anthems like the instrument driven 'Graves,' it really feels like not only has CHVRCHES turned over a new stone, but they've thrown a stone as well. Even if the epic atmosphere of 'Never Say Die' or the "take yourself back" energy of 'Get Out' aren't necessarily new for the band, this record shows CHVRCHES at their best and with a new understanding of both their sound and themselves.
Marmozets were the reviving force of punk-infused alternative rock when they broke onto the scene in 2015. Back with more societal anger and even bigger riffs, Knowing What You Know Now is a massive effort full of hard hitters like 'Habits' and the emotional ballad 'Me & You.' They leave no stones unturned, challenging society where they see fit: whether its political turmoil ('New Religion,' 'Like A Battery') or personal battles ('Insomnia'), Marmozets have a vengeance to settle and have proven that their wild spirit was not just a flash in the pan: it's here to stay, and it's staying with a vicious attitude.
The feeling of being in love is one that is hard to qualify. It's pure euphoria, and that is something that doesn't come by easily. The first half of Milk & Bone's Deception Bay is all about that feeling. With childlike curiosity, the duo celebrates and explores young love, from the feelings of an innocent crush to a growing passion, beautifully and sweetly capturing the emotions you'd feel on both sonic and lyrical planes. But, as the album hits it centers, it all turns as loneliness takes over love, heartbreak being all they know. From the melancholy search of 'Tmrw.' that chants "Let's see what tomorrow brings" to the ambient, reflective closure of ':'),' Milk & Bone explore two of life's most powerful emotions and takes you along on the ride, too.
Rarely do you hear something as diverse yet so certain as Let's Eat Grandma's latest record I'm All Ears. Like a modern blend of CHVRCHES and Pink Floyd, Let's Eat Grandma build an expansive record out of drama, pain, and the idea of growing up. The album begins with carefree, fun tracks like 'Hot Pink' and 'Falling Into Me,' before the duo grows more introspective as they meet reality. The dejected 'Snakes & Ladders' and the closing track - the eleven minute epic of self exploration 'Donnie Darko' - see them go down that path of self-acceptance as they meet life head on in its most momentous and difficult times. It's deceivingly catchy, and will wrap you in and grow more as a personal memoir that slowly but surely begins to mirror its listener the longer it plays.
Music is trending towards a genreless future, and amongst the new generation of these alternative artists is grandson, who is undoubtedly the most unique of the bunch. Bringing together elements of electronica, rock, indie, and just about everything else under the sun, grandson's haunting melodies and glitchy drops are some of music's most unique moments. Add to that a lazy revolutionary motive, and you have his debut EP a modern tragedy, vol. 1, complete with banging singles like 'Blood // Water' and haunting rockers like 'Overdose' and '6:00.' There's not quite anyone who sounds similar to him, but all the same shows that he's paving the way for a new future in music.
Of all of Kanye West's projects release over the summer, his collaborative album KIDS WITH GHOSTS with Kid Cudi was by far the most evocative. Reflective, aesthetic, and apt, West and Cudi look at all the aspects of both their pasts and society around them to craft the powerful commentary in the record. From the aggressively anthemic intro 'Feel The Love' to the brilliant Santa Claus-referencing samples of '4th Dimension,' the production plays as pivotal a role as the lyrics themselves. Cudi and West face their failures in 'Fire' and incessant criticsm in 'Freee' before fully committing to look forward in 'Reborn,' offering a message of self-improvement as well. KIDS SEE GHOSTS is a project of the times: an effort dedicated to bettering both the world and themselves.
Everyone loves the Fall Out Boy that dominated mid-2000s alternative radio, and people still love the band's pop rock anthems. In MANIA, Fall Out Boy brought those two worlds together to make what may just be their best effort yet. From the giant, industrial synths that introduce the record on 'Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea' to the unstoppable alternative jams 'The Last Of The Real Ones' and 'Hold Me Tight Or Don't,' Fall Out Boy finally feel like they've escaped the rut of just-hitting-the-mark pop hits and have finally connected with what made them such a force in the alternative world and didn't forget to take their new tricks for a spin, either.
A big aspect of Son Lux's music has always been the raw emotion of it, but nothing has hit quite as personally as Brighter Wounds. From trying to achieve your dreams through the darkness of 'Dream State' to the somberness of wanting a love to not fail in 'Slowly,' which somberly cries "Slowly lie to me, like you do when you tell the truth," Son Lux explores their vulnerability and takes your soul along for the ride, as well. Listening to Brighter Wounds is almost like an out-of-body experience, in the best way. It takes you through your weakest areas, whether that may mean memories that hold you back or your insecurities you fight every day.
The following is a comprehensive list of all of the albums and EPs we have listened to in 2018 and how they rank with other records.
Click the links to check out the full reviews!
Last Updated: September 29, 2018
Thrice - Palms: 86
Kanye West - ye: 85
Lissie - Castles: 84
Oceanator - Lows: 81
Logic - YSIV: 80
J. Cole - KOD: 78
Now, Now - Saved: 76
Beach House - 7: 75
Nas - NASIR: 74
RL Grime - NOVA: 73
HTRK - Drama: 73
Drake - Scorpion: 72
Rhye - Blood: 71
David Guetta - 7: 70
Lucius - Nudes: 67
6ix9ine - Day69: 58
Tyga - Kyoto: 48