Welcome to another chapter of my Album of the Year 2018 top 30 countdown. And, if the quality on offer throughout the past few weeks has been extremely high, prepare for more of the same in the coming days. It is no exaggeration to state that this has been the most difficult top 10 to put together because every album within the final ten deserved to be placed higher and, any other year, would probably have found themselves a little higher.
But I’m not complaining because it means that the world of heavy music is in rude health and shows no signs of disappearing anywhere just yet. And let’s all rejoice at that hey?!
As always, if you’ve missed any of my previous posts, head down to the bottom of this post to check out the links for numbers 30-9.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the series so far – and here’s the next choice to get your ears around…
Lost In Thought
Score of Much Metal: 9.5
You might be wondering why an album that ‘only’ received a score of 9.5 has found its way to the number 7 spot in this year’s ‘best of’ list. And you’d be right to wonder, so here’s my reasoning:
I was asked to review this record as an exclusive for my website. Quite an honour in itself but it meant that I had to listen to it an awful lot in a very short space of time. I knew that I really liked the music, hence the 9.5 score. But, after submitting the review, something happened. I just wanted to keep listening to it.
‘Renascence’ is the highly anticipated follow-up to this UK prog metal band’s well-received debut, ‘Opus Arise’. It took the better part of eight years to materialise and, whilst I hoped it’d be good, I didn’t necessarily expect it to be this good. The album is incredible, from start to finish. And so, having listened to it back to back over the course of a few days, I realised I wasn’t done with it. I wanted to listen to it more and, when I did so with the pressure off, it got even better.
It may not be the most original of releases in terms of direction and sound, but it is utterly brilliant at what it does. And that is providing those of us who enjoy progressive metal in a ‘classic’, keyboard-heavy vein, a wonderful listening experience. It is properly heavy and crunchy whilst also being melodic and completely memorable. Some of the choruses on this disc are insanely catchy and when sandwiched between some gratuitous prog noodling – which is never overdone – just catches me in the sweet spot and makes me smile.
I also find that it is a smoother and warmer listening experience than their commendable debut. The change in vocalists has also worked in Lost In Thought’s favour, with new singer Deane Lazenby less high in his general register, whilst possessing an impressive range.
Where progressive metal is concerned, ‘Renascence’ is simply one of the very best that 2018 has produced. And when you consider the competition it faced, and the fact that this is a largely ‘new’ band following several line-up changes, that’s the best accolade that I could possibly give. Outstanding stuff.
To quote my review of 2 November 2018:
“Put simply, ‘Renascence’ is a genuinely excellent progressive metal album. I really mean that.
The few rough edges of the debut have been smoothed, the songwriting strikes me as being more polished and experienced and the production mastered by Jacob Hansen, provides the music with a rich veneer. Those with more technical knowledge will be able to comment on the detail, but to my ‘average Joe’ ears, I have very few complaints.
As always, the melodic sensibilities of this band strike a chord with me; big, vibrant choruses or clever hooks always keep my attention however technical or ‘progressive’ the compositions become. In fact, I’d liken them to Threshold in the way in which the quintet have managed to balance memorability and listenability with complexity. I’m sufficiently engaged by the music but the melodies stick long after the album has finished playing.
I have to admit that, whilst I secretly hoped Lost In Thought might deliver an album this strong, I didn’t dare believe that they would. With a past dogged by turmoil and uncertainty, you could forgive them if they threw in the towel. Joyously, they are made of sterner stuff it appears. ‘Renascence’ signals a new era for the band and judging by the music they have produced, they have grasped the opportunity with both hands, suggesting a strong future ahead. As such, if you are hankering after some seriously high quality melodic progressive metal that deftly straddles the traditional and the modern, make it your mission to check out Lost In Thought and prepare to be seriously impressed. I certainly am.”
Read the full review here.
If you missed the previous posts in my 2018 list, click here:
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 8
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 9
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 10
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 11
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 12
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 13
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 14
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 15
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 16
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 17
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 18
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 19
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 20
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 21
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 22
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 23
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 24
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 25
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 26
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 27
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 28
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 30
If you missed my ‘best EPs and compilations of 2018, you can read that here:
And here’s a reminder of my countdown series from previous years: