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I had a similar problem: none of the 3.18 kernels would boot while the 3.17 always booted. The boot was stuck very early in the process, after 4 seconds more or less, and like you there was nothing in journalctl for the failed boot.

I updated the BIOS of my Asustek M4A88TD motherboard and now it worked two times in a row with the latest 3.18 kernel. I was using the original BIOS of 2010, so I flashed it with a bios update found on their site (of 2012). Updating the BIOS implies getting a ROM file (delivered in a zip) from asus, putting it on a USB, then get in the BIOS menu and use the EZ-2 flash utility that worked (the procedure described on asus support site did not work).

As a bonus, the sound works back again, since a few days it was broken (it happens sometimes when I upgrade kernels).