Welcome to the final chapter in my 2018 ‘album of the year’ top 30 countdown. I have made it. Despite what has been a supremely hideous last two months at the Mansion of Much Metal, I have managed to keep to tradition and bring you my usual in-depth dissection of the best music to meet my ears in 2018.
And what a year it has been. If I’m entirely honest, the first ten or fifteen choices picked themselves but the final placings have caused me a massive headache. I have chopped and changed the order on countless occasions, having revisited each and every album in the hope of obtaining a meaningful insight.
All that is except one record. And that’s my number 1 choice for 2018. In fact, it has been my number one choice for several months, a nailed-on cert in a world where certainty does not exist.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this labour of love and I hope to see you in 2019 when I do it all over again!
As always, if you’ve missed any of my previous posts, you can head down to the bottom of this post to check out the links for numbers 30-2.
And now for the gold medal of 2018, my favourite album of the year:
Score of Much Metal: 10
I sat on this record for literally months. I was lucky enough to hear some rough demo tracks of some of the final songs to appear on this album and I knew then that I was hearing something special. The months went by as the album was recorded and a hunt for a record label grew ever-more intense. I began to wonder whether ‘The Persistence’, would ever see the light of day. Thank the Gods for Sensory Music because finally, ‘The Persistence’ had a home and a release date. Someone believed in this amazing band and I can’t thank the label enough.
‘The Persistence’ is perfect. There is no other word for it. As far as my music tastes are concerned, nothing could quite come close enough to dislodging this Italian prog rock/metal band from the top spot. Frankly, to do so, it would have taken a near-miracle.
Everything about this album is perfect in my opinion and, even after months and months of concerted repeated listening, the magic never wanes. If anything, it gets stronger and stronger. It was a feeling that has only since been enhanced having heard some of the material in the live arena when Kingcrow joined Pain of Salvation on their 2018 European tour.
The melodies are insanely strong, the vocal performance is off the scale, the individual performances are professionalism personified, the production is out of the top drawer, the lyrics are sufficiently deep and meaningful, and there’s a wonderfully sophisticated and understated progressive intent to the music. As I state in my review, the songs are so smooth and memorable that it is often forgotten that Kingcrow are a technically adept prog band. The gratuitous noodling, of which there is some, is kept to a minimum and is only unleashed when the material actually demands it.
I could go on ad infinitum about this album. However, what I want to focus on is the way in which it makes me feel when I listen to it. ‘The Persistence’ sounds like one of those rare albums that could have been written with my tastes firmly in mind, for my ears only. Everything is just as I would want it and the end result yields the kind of epiphany that perhaps only a handful of records have ever achieved in the past. Not only is Kingcrow’s ‘The Persistence’ my favourite albums of 2018, it is also one of the top 10-20 albums I have ever heard. Is that clear enough for you? I adore this record and it is totally deserving of my number one spot for 2018. It is a flawless masterpiece.
To quote my review of 29 August 2018:
“Once in a while, a band will come along and simply blow your mind. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you’re into, that feeling is indescribable. We all have our favourite bands or artists and we generally have higher hopes and expectations around each and every new release. It’s wonderful when the result matches or exceeds those expectations. It is even more spectacular when your mind is blown by a band that you’d not necessarily expected to have this effect.
They [Kingcrow] are a fabulous band, certainly in my top 20 of all-time, but until now, I’d not have considered them a contender for my inner circle. That’s about to change with ‘The Persistence’. Evergrey, Anathema, Haken, Shadow Gallery and Katatonia, make some room – we have a new member to welcome into the fold.
Kingcrow are a little bit different. Some may refer to them as progressive metal, others might suggest that they are more of a progressive rock band. What everyone can agree on is the fact the Kingcrow are a genuinely progressive band. However, what’s so wonderful about these Italians is that the song always comes first, much like many of the bands that have inspired them, most notably Pink Floyd. The emotion, the feelings, the textures – they are all at the top of the agenda when Diego Cafolla and his band of merry men create new music.
A challenging time signature, a clever transition, a piece of breath-taking technique, an unusual note, an unexpected chord, or even a mixture of all of these and more within certain songs. They are there, but Kingcrow are not about impressing the listener with overt and ostentatious shows of ability. And therein lies their genius. For, as I sit here and listen to ‘The Persistence’, that is the word that pops into my head at some point within each of the ten tracks.
What is there left to say? Not much really, except to say that with ‘The Persistence’, Kingcrow have delivered a bona-fide masterpiece, their tour-de-force and the benchmark by which all progressive music must be judged throughout 2018 and beyond. This kind of record happens very rarely, when the stars align and when everyone within a band is on top of their game. I feel privileged to have heard this record and even more privileged to know that it will stay with me for the rest of my days. Because it will, both physically and emotionally. Absolute, unequivocal genius.”
Read the full review here.
If you missed the previous posts in my 2018 list, click here:
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 2
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 3
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 4
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 5
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 6
Album of the Year 2018 – Number 7
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: