Immortal Reviews' Favorite Albums Of 2018
After losing Chester Bennington last year, the world felt the reverberations. Suicide and depression were no longer just a state of mind some people felt; it was real, and it had taken one of the most powerful figures that stopped it. Perhaps those who felt the hardest waves of pain were Chester's family and his band (who were really one and the same), especially Mike Shinoda. Over the last few months, he's put his grieving and his pain into his music, and released what may be the hardest-hitting and most heartbreaking effort you'll hear in a long time. Filled with sorrow, confusion, anger, and all the emotions under the sun, Shinoda faces his own demons on his debut EP Post Traumatic, and provides another outlet to heal for both fans and himself.
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.
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 pop world has been waiting for Rae Morris to take over, and her time has come in a big way. Someone Out There, her sophomore album, sees her sound reach the highest point its come to yet, from pop bangers like 'Reborn' to heartbreaking tracks like 'Wait For The Rain' and 'Physical Form,' Morris redefines her sound while still taking the best of what made her unique already. Everything on this record feels just as unique as the airy indie vibes of her debut, but with new life (and new experiences) breathed into them. It's time for Rae Morris to take over pop's airwaves, and Someone Out There is the first step towards that.
There's magic in the progression of The Neighbourhood's To Imagine EP. From its deep, dark synths that begin the EP with 'Dust' to the gradual indie takeover that end with closing track 'Stuck With Me,' The Neighbourhood take the sensuality of their music and amplify it with sonic dynamics. The EP beautifully transitions from electronica to a more indie-focussed vibe, culminating at a mid-point with the sweet and powerful 'Heaven,' which brings the best of both sides of the EP to one. It's a risky move, but it's one that pays off.
The future of Of Mice & Men was uncertain as Austin Carlile left the band due to health problems after Cold World felt like a large hit and miss. Facing a lot of pressure, Of Mice & Men delivered Defy, which smashed all expectations. Everything about the band sounds rejuvenated, shown in the massive guitars of 'Instincts' to the immense choruses delivered by bassist Aaron Pauley, who is now in charge of vocal duty. He seamlessly transitions from clean vocals to harsh screams in evil title track 'Defy,' proving that he's up to the task of carrying the band. Free of worry and any pain, the band is ready to move ahead and are doing so in big ways.
It's never been more important to have a voice as a woman, and Dream Wife know that very well. Their rebellious debut Dream Wife shows them being brutally honest and not being afraid of being who they are; if anything, they show how proud they are of it. The grand rage in 'F.U.U.' and the proud defiance of 'Hey Heartbreaker' shows any listener that it's pretty damn awesome to be a woman, and that to beat oppression, you must stand in front of it and laugh in its face.
The world of K-Pop saw a big loss when SHINee member Jonghyun fell victim to suicide at the end of last year. Before he took his life, however, he left behind one final gift to his fans: an album in the form of Poet | Artist. In the record, Jonghyun sounds free and happy, creating the music he wanted to make rather than what was expected of him. It's bluesy, jazzy, at times poppy, but most of all, it's intrinsically him. His final song, the tragic '우린 봄이 오기 전에 (Before Our Spring),' is a song about heartbreak and waiting for love, but it feels like much more painful hearing it now, as if it's a goodbye, knowing that he'll never find that happiness he's looking for. Regardless, Poet | Artist is a beautiful album that saw a distressed soul find some comfort, and in that it finds its power.
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: February 10, 2018
- Mike Shinoda - Post Traumatic: 99
- Marmozets - Knowing What You Know Now: 96
- Milk & Bone - Deception Bay: 95
- Fall Out Boy - MANIA: 92
- Son Lux - Brighter Wounds: 91
- Rae Morris - Someone Out There: 89
- The Neighbourhood - To Imagine: 87
- Of Mice & Men - Defy: 78
- Dream Wife - Dream Wife: 78
- Jonghyun - Poet | Artist: 77
- Various Artists - Black Panther: The Album: 77
- Jaguwar - Ringthing: 77
- Nils Frahm - All Melody: 77
- Joe Satriani - What Happens Next: 77
- Camila Cabello - Camila: 76
- Fist Aid Kit - Ruins: 76
- Francesca Michielin - 2640: 75
- Porches - The House: 74
- cupcakKe - Ephorize: 73
- Rhye - Blood: 71
- BØRNS - Blue Madonna: 70
- Anna Burch - Quit The Curse: 69
- Franz Ferdinand - Always Ascending: 68
- Justin Timberlake - Man Of The Woods: 66
- Belle & Sebastian - How To Solve Our Human Problems (Part 2): 65
- Drake - Scary Hours: 65
- Hookworms - Microshift: 65
- Rich Brian - Amen: 63
- Justine Skye - Ultraviolet: 60
- Black Veil Brides - Vale: 50
- Migos - Culture II: 45