What a year, probably one of the better years for heavy music in Australia and it was great being part of it through the site and my podcast series which hit some pretty monumental milestones this year including covering the Download, UNIFY and Good Things Festivals, talking to some big named guests like Tom Morello, Winston McCall, Joey Jordison, Jesse Leach, Ian Kenny and still plenty more to come in future weeks.
Wall of Sound saw a massive surge in readers and followers on both the site and our social media pages, which I can’t thank you all for enough. We must be doing something that resonates with you all, hence why you’re here, and I promise we will continue to bring you the best killer content, done our way into the next year and well beyond.
There are a few plans we have in place to take the site and the community to the next step in 2019 and much like bands do when they have something to talk about, I’m going to say the same thing, Big News Coming and Watch This Space hahaha Until then, a huge thanks to you and all of the staff here at WoS HQ. We wouldn’t be here without you so thank you for your help and ongoing support. But for now, here’s my Wall of Sound 2018 Year In Review…
The Top 20 Albums of 2018
1. Architects – Holy Hell
This was the album I was most looking forward to arriving this year and the minute I heard it, I knew there was something so special, raw and deeply heartbreaking about it. From the first spin, through until writing this now, it has fast become one of the albums from the year that I’ve listened to on repeat for weeks on end. If you haven’t jumped on board with these guys yet, this is the album that’ll do it. Well done and well deserved to the Architects lads, Tom would be so proud of you all.
2. Parkway Drive – Reverence
Just missing out on the top spot by a bee’s dick, this release from the former Byron Bay Hardcore Kings will go down in history as the career-defining release from the band who proved they can (and will) continue to fly the flag high and proud for Australian Heavy Music in our own backyard and across the globe. This is the level of quality our country should be known for and proves we can play ball with the big guys around the world. Big congrats to Parkway for not only this album but the tour that followed.
3. Beartooth – Disease
This was hard, Beartooth (as many of you would know) have fast become one of my favourite bands due to the completely relatable lyrical content that frontman Caleb Shomo nails with each and every album he creates, almost to the point that I feel like he’s writing about my life, struggles and the battles with my own mental health. I liked this album so much, it was better than his last attempt with Aggressive, but still just below his first album Disgusting. He’s definitely on the right track and can do no wrong with this outlet so hats off to him and the boys. Now bring us that fucking headline tour already haha
4. Amy Shark – Love Monster
The Gold Coast girl that proves you should never stop trying to follow your dreams and passions, finally released her stellar debut album and holy fucking shit it was well worth the wait. Amy Shark is an incredible songwriter, musician and a wickedly talented legend who managed to live out many of our childhood dreams this year (including having blink-182‘s Mark Hoppus on her album WTF?), and if that’s not inspiration to pick up a guitar, then I don’t know what else you need. Get a copy of this album, its worth every cent and minute of your time.
5. Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream
The first band who surprised the fuck out of me this year with an absolutely massive album that has to be heard/seen to be believed. Ice Nine Kills were always there in the background for me, a band I never followed up but should have and their latest release was themed around horror movies (including several of my all time favourites) so it was a no-brainer that I would enjoy this, I just didn’t know how much of an impact it would have on me until I heard it. Get behind them and get them to Australia finally!
6. Fever 333 – Made An America EP
Whilst this was just an EP it left a big enough mark for me to say this Jason Aalon Butler has completely succeeded everything he ever did with letlive. in the two years he’s been within this band here. Fever 333 are the next generation’s Rage Against The Machine but with the power and assistance of social media and avenues their predecessors didn’t have access to, they’ll have their message and purpose spread across the globe faster and absorbed quicker than ever imagined. Their debut album Strength in NUmb333rs is out next month and I’m expecting it to be Top 5 material in my 2019 year in review… check back in then haha
7. Hellions – Rue
Mad props to Hellions for following a formula/concept idea from their last album and nailing it tenfold with Rue. I’ll admit, in the past, I haven’t latched onto their full album as much as I’d like to, but this was something special. They are fast becoming Australia’s next BIG band and in such a short amount of time too. As much as all of this music is still new, I’m so excited for the band’s future and what they do next.
8. The Amity Affliction – Misery
Ok, ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking and I’m going to explain myself here. Firstly, yes, prior to it’s release I gave TAA‘s new album Misery a 4.5/10 upon my first few listens. I have been following the band since Severed Ties and have appreciated almost all of their work up to this. When I first heard it, I thought it was laughable because it was so different to what I was expecting… but then something happened. The more I listened to it, the more I started to enjoy it. It became catchy as fuck. Songs resonated with me for many different reasons and songs I hated, became favourites. While there are still tracks on there I skip, I would like to retract my original score and give it an updated 7.5/10.
9. Pagan – Black Wash
One of the biggest surprise releases of the year goes to Melbourne’s Pagan who finally proved to me you can make Heavy/Black Metal enjoyable in both a Live and Audio Listening setting. I knew they’d do well with their debut album, but I didn’t expect it to be this good and still get spins months later.
10. PurEnvy – Redemption
These guys also score a nod for surprisingly impressive release of the year. Much like how Bare Bones‘ album sat in my email for a few weeks before I heard and loved it, PurEnvy were mentioned to me from a fellow staff member but I didn’t get time to follow up on it. However, when I did catch the album, I was blown away by the level of professionalism and technique in making this such a great heavy/thrash metal release. Last year Trivium scored the #1 spot on my list and my love for that album spilled into this one. If you haven’t come across it yet, you have to stop reading and give it a crank now.
11. Wither – Rot and I EP
Another EP leaving a lasting impression from Australia’s heavy supergroup Wither. This wasn’t a release with different songs, this was a story, in the form of a heavy as fuck EP that would make an excellent short film if done correctly. I can see big things happening for the band in future and if they follow this same formula again with the next release or debut album, goddamn they’ll nail it.
12. Trophy Eyes – The American Dream
For years I was on the cusp of that new wave of pop punk and just didn’t get into many of the newer bands in the genre, Trophy Eyes included, but after giving this album some time and effort, it really left an impact and made me see the purpose and direction these new wave bands are heading.
13. High Tension – Purge
I love High Tension. They are just fucking brilliant at making songs that make me want to headbang until my brain turns into mush and Purge was yet another example of what they can do with enough time and energy behind them following years of building an ever-growing fanbase and extensive touring.
14. Reliqa – Eventide EP
Another band who put in a stack of time and effort to release something that was so far advanced (compared to their previous attempt) that you’d be mistaken for thinking it was a completely different band and lineup. I’m going to call it now, these Central Coast kids are going places and its going to be because of this EP.
15. Tonight Alive – Underworld
Jenna McDougall has slowly but surely found herself, her voice and her way of expressing everything she faces throughout her life and over the past 10 years, I feel like it’s been drawing her to this moment. She is not only a fantastic singer, but she’s also the perfect role model for the youth of today (especially young girls) showing them all that she is real, just like them, through the band’s music and lyrical content.
16. Panic! At The Disco – Pray For The Wicked
I loved the fans who got angry and said “THIS ISN’T PANIC!” because thats what I thought, however this released proved Brendon Urie is the showman of our generation akin to that of Frank Sinatra. His range and musical abilities and talents are insane and everything he does just shows he is more than just a simple pop-punk frontman.
17. Andrew W.K. – You’re Not Alone
Because you never need to be alone when partying and you don’t need to be partying at a party to party, you can party in your own special way, just as long as you’re having fun and it brings you joy in the process. Seriously, listen to this album by Andrew W.K. and try to not have a good time. It impossible.
18. Shinedown – ATTENTION ATTENTION
Don’t let this one slip past you. If you’ve ever enjoyed the dulcet tones of frontman Brent Smith or appreciated the band’s extensive back catalogue (in any form), this is another addition to their evergrowing list of songs that are just really good fun to listen to.
19. Underoath – Erase Me
When the gang gets back together, good things happen and that’s how I felt when I first laid ears on Underoath‘s latest offering early in the year. Albums like They’re Only Chasing Safety and Define The Great Line served as gateways for me to get into heavy music, and while this release didn’t sound like them in any way, it showed just how far these guys have come from those early years.
20. The Wonder Years – Sister Cities
As I mentioned earlier, I’m an old-school pop-punk fan (blink, Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan era) and The Wonder Years were one of the last new-age bands within the genre I got into and it has been a bloody great ride seeing their progression and popularity rise since I hopped on the bandwagon. Their new album Sister Cities is evident of this and just how well they are at producing emotive and catchy AF songs that’ll get you thinking while you wipe the tears from your eyes.
The Top 10 Songs of 2018
1. Fever 333 – ‘Trigger‘
2. Architects – ‘The Seventh Circle‘
3. Parkway Drive – ‘Shadow Boxing‘
4. Amy Shark feat. Mark Hoppus – ‘Psycho‘
5. Beartooth – ‘Greatness or Death‘
6. The Amity Affliction – ‘Drag The Lake‘
7. Bring Me The Horizon – ‘MANTRA’
8. Hellions – ‘Smile‘
9. Slipknot – ‘All Out Life’
10. BABYMETAL – ‘Distortion‘
Top 5 Music Videos of 2018
1. Bring Me The Horizon – ‘MANTRA’
2. Architects – ‘Royal Beggars‘
3. Childish Gambino – ‘This Is America’
4. Parkway Drive – ‘Prey‘
5. Ice Nine Kills – ‘That God It’s Friday‘
The Top 5 Gigs of 2018
1. Parkway Drive, Killswitch Engage and Thy Art Is Murder – October 28th @ Riverstage, Brisbane QLD
Hands down the BEST show I have ever seen. I still stand by that statement. Parkway has really upped their live show game and killed it on the Reverence Tour. The big question now is how can they top that? How can anyone top that? I’ll be waiting to find out but fuck it was amazing. (Review & Gallery Here)
Sooo, about last night… Parkway Drive delivered their most CRUSHING performance to date at Riverstage. Seriously, if you missed this tour, you need to give yourself an uppercut. Review & Gallery coming soon to WallOfSoundAU.com 📽: Browny
Posted by Wall Of Sound on Sunday, October 28, 2018
2. Limp Bizkit, Of Mice & Men and Ocean Grove – March 27th @ Riverstage, Brisbane QLD
Fresh of performing at the first ever Download Festival in Australia, Limp Bizkit were on fire and wasted no time proving to fans that age is just a number. They killed it with a fucking impressive setlist for longtime fans and opening acts OM&M and Ocean Grove also delivering memorable performances. (Review & Gallery Here) 📷:Mitch Chamberlain
3. UNIFY 2018 – January 12-14 @ Tarwin Lower, VIC
Between Architects’ mindblowing (and emotional) performance of ‘Doomsday‘ in the pouring rain (complete with lasers, smoke and bellowing screams), Parkway Drive‘s Horizons Anniversary set, Tonight Alive and Hellions delivering crowd favourite shows and Polaris beginning their global domination of 2018, it was a fucking awesome weekend that made this old bloke a fan of the festivities.
4. Good Things Festival – December 9th @ RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD
Oh boy, when the lineup came out for this event, I knew it was going to be something special and it absolutely delivered. Doing interviews/reviewing in Melbourne on a scorching 37+ degree day was insane (our coverage here), but finally attending a music festival as a punter in Brisbane was the icing on the cake to round out the year. BABYMETAL were obviously the biggest and best act of the day, Stone Sour, Bullet For My Valentine, The Offspring and The Used still have it after all these years, but I was really impressed with the likes of Boston Manor, Ecca Vandal and Emmure, all of whom I hadn’t seen before. Keen as fuck for what they do next year!
(Melb Review & Gallery Here) 📷: Luke Sutton
5. Story of the Year – May 3rd @ The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
A decade ago, these guys were selling out shows across Australia and were one of the biggest post-hardcore bands getting around. This time, they played to no more than 100 people in a heavy intimate show for their new album Wolves. But, they still put on a show as if they were playing to 10,000 people and those of us in attendance enjoyed the shit out of it. (Review & Gallery Here) 📷: Gethin Hill
Fav Band You Discovered in 2018?
Ice Nine Kills. You know those bands you hear about, but never chase up? That’s my history with I9K who released one of the BEST albums this year (The Siver Scream) and have been occupying my playlists ever since. They’ve never been to Australia yet, so here’s hoping they change that next year. Thank you to new writer Carys Hurcom for her fangirling over them which in turn, turned me into a fanboy.
Who Is The Next Big Australian Band?
Being Jane Lane. Great Aussie punk from the Gold Coast. The all-female band are furiously making a name for themselves and it won’t be long before they become household names in Australia’s heavy punk scene like Frenzal, Clowns, WAAX and Flangipanis before them.
What Are You Looking Forward To The Most In 2019?
New Albums/Music from Angels & Airwaves, Slipknot, Polaris, The Veronicas (who have Travis Barker drumming on their new album WTF?), Sum 41, Introvert, blink-182, Bring Me The Horizon (+ their tour) and Northlane now they’ve taken STRUCTURES frontman Brendon Padjasek on board.
Download Festival and crossing Ozzy Osbourne and Fever 333 off the bands to see live bucket list, doing UNIFY and getting all up in Every Time I Die and Karnivool‘s grill and whatever else the music world throws at us in the new year.
Oh and Avengers: End Game. That shit is going to be INTENSE. (RIP Stan Lee)
Written by Browny @brownypaul