Every year it’s the same thing- “Trey, what were your favorite albums of the year?” – and every year, I go “Shit! I didn’t listen to enough albums this year!”. But after some scrolling through my iTunes list and going “Oh good, this one came out this year” I found enough to coddle together this list of things I loved. Apparently, progressive music is my thing.
In no particular order:
The best thing to come out of France since Heavenly, Gorod are putting the pro back in progressive. Never a dull moment, and not a robotic performance anywhere, but still toight like a toiger.
This is the kind of doom I like – it’s the doom album for a new generation. Instead of the usual fuzzed-out Sabbath worship, it’s a modern production with new ideas and serious dynamic content.
Both of these albums have everything going for them. Aside from just plain setting a new standard for production in heavy music, they upped their songwriting game and gave the concept album a whole new spin. I really love the jazzy breaks and fusion-y lead playing they explored here.
My favorite guitar tone of the year – thick like pancake syrup, on pancake-like delicious songs, with bacon-y drums a-salt, and the sausage on the singer must be immense. Buttery smooth playing, and some milk for calcium. I didn’t eat breakfast this morning.
Never failing to deliver the goods, I wonder why Symphony X isn’t the biggest prog band on the planet. They have every single thing that prog fans want, and yet they still play venues a tenth the size of Dream Theater’s. Russell Allen just obliterates every singer still, twenty years into their career, and every member of the band is a god. This album has huge hooks, and should have taken them to the next level. Where’s the love?
It’s only been out for a week, but it’s already grown on me like lichen. A brave stepping-out-of-line for Aaron Marshall, who wanted to make something very different from their previous releases, and succeeded in making my favorite instrumental album of the year. A veritable tour-de-force of tasty, fat-free shred.
Another concept album on my top list – what a surprise. If it was possible, BTBAM became even more varied on this album, with a little less metal to make room for some spacey stuff. I’ll listen to anything Blake Richardson plays on, even if it’s a new Air Supply album.
After The Living Infinite and its hooks for days, I wasn’t sure if Soilwork had anywhere left to go. But then along came this new gem, and the place they had to go was back to the future – adding some classic prog sounding jams to their blistering metal assault, and taking a more focused, lean approach after the excess of their double album.
Plini is a rising star in the instrumental guitar world, and I think this is more for his compositional skills than his technical ability (which is considerable, so that says a lot). This release was only a 3-song EP, but it is his best work to date, which gives me hope for a full-length next year that will cover all the bases of his deep, layered approach to music.