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Top 50 of 2017

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by Harvester, Dec 7, 2017 at 8:53 AM.

  1. Harvester

    Harvester The Promoter

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    Welcome to the big pain in the ass Top 50 of 2017 list! There may be a few weeks left this year, but I have received essentially all of the unreleased discs for this year I’m interested in. I encourage you to take your time with sampling all of the music below. I guarantee you missed a few gems along the way.

    For those unfamiliar, this is my annual post where I put politics and label/band relationships aside. You get my honest thoughts on the releases that caught my interest this past year across numerous heavy rock/metal genres.

    Disclaimer:

    a. This list caters to my personal taste, not the full spectrum of metal genres. If you are looking for tons of death metal, black metal, whateverthefuckcore metal, or anything like that…move along...nothing to see here.

    b. I do not rank albums based on pure musical instrumentation ability or sonic clarity. While I fully believe technical chops demonstrate musical superiority in many aspects, I also think it is just as hard to write a *good* hook that draws a listener back again and again. Furthermore, a passionate vocal delivery that adds emotional depth to the lyrics wins out over power/range most of the time.

    c. There is no right or wrong to this list. Music is a subjective listening experience. My opinion is no more valid than yours if we are on opposite sides of the fence.

    d. I do not listen to every single release. If your favorite disc did not make the list, I may simply not have heard it…or I could have thought it sucked.

    e. Keep in mind a highly ranked disc in any genre may not make the list. For example, the 10th best power metal disc of the year is not there. It’s still a great record, but there are only so many slots.

    f. I may have simply forgotten a release. I reserve the right to insert a disc into the list at any time. It happens every year.

    Onward….


    50. Jono- Life: The most interesting man in the world is the last of a dying breed. Johan Norby evidently went to the 3M (Midnight/Mercury/Meatloaf) school of theatrical vocals. His deliver is way the fuck over the top…and that is what I love about it. If you drop the piano, the music is the standard Frontiers melodic rock formula. It’s a shame as I’d love to hear him front something with more musical depth.



    49. Vanish- The Insanity Abstract: It wouldn’t be a year end list without a German prog metal band in it. When I say German prog metal, you know what to expect: *crunch.* Think Tomorrow’s Eve and you get the picture.



    48. The Tangent- The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery: Pissed off prog rock that fits the classic mold of Yes, Van der Graaff Generator, and the like. The epic tune is 22 mins while four others hit the 12 minute mark. I guess you already know by now that the disc is drowning in keyboards, old school style.



    47. Labyrinth- Architecture of A God: Fair or not, I don’t need some bands to reinvent the wheel. I need the bands I grew up loving to put out an album of great songs in the style that attracted me to them in the first place. Labyrinth remain in my upper pantheon of melodic/speedy power metal.



    46. Progenie Terrestre Pura- oltreLuna: My annual black metal quota consists of 1-2 albums max. I’m just not manly enough to hang with the vocals. Thus, a black metal album has to offer me more than than a pummeling into oblivion. It has to have atmosphere, proggy passages, and mix it up bit. The space vibe just does it for me here.



    45. Nocturnal Rites- Phoenix: A fine return to form after all these years in exile. I could basically write the same description as I did for Labyrinth. Classy & punchy power metal done right.



    44. Widek- Hidden Dimensions: Widek is the only instrumentalist that makes the list every release. He is a one man band so to speak and delivers spacey atmospheric prog, melodic hooks, & fantastic solos all with a modern flair. I have always maintained if he put vocals in front of his music, he would become a star with all the attention he would gain.



    43. The Thirteenth Sun- Planes of Creation: This one received a ton of buzz when it first dropped with lots of Opeth comparisons. I’m not ready to crown them the next coming, but the comparisons are valid. There are plenty of gorgeous acoustic passages blended with the hellish passages. It’s a no brainer for fans of progressive death metal.



    42. Damnation’s Day- A World Awakens: Dark, melodic power metal that rubs up against the prog fringe at times (think Borealis). The band has two things going for them: 1. Songwriting 2. Mark’s passionate vocals. Both are outstanding. I really think the band could benefit from a rhythm guitarist so they could add a bit more complexity without losing the hook. Running time is a bit short there, guys.



    41. Seven Spires- Solveig: I’m honestly not sure how I want to categorize this. It’s a bit symphonic, a bit theatrical, and catchy as hell. The star of the show is Adrienne’s sirenesque vocals. She is sultry one moment and a demon from hell the next. This is the type of disc that leaves you guessing which direction the band will go in the next round. Great debut.



    40. Leprous- Malina: It’s been a while since I truly enjoyed a Leprous disc. It seems the less metal they become, the more I enjoy them. It just seems to work better with Einar’s unique vocal delivery. They continue to blaze the path for modern prog, whether you are ready for it or not.



    39. Victorius- Heart of the Phoenix- There is nothing new you can do with power metal. It’s all about the hook and execution. All you Gamma Ray, Edguy, Theocracy, and the like fans need to quit bitching you don’t have anything to listen to and grab this.



    38. Ne Obliviscarus- Urn: I know, I know. This is Top 10 material for a lot of folks around these parts. They are quickly climbing the progressive death metal ranks. I recognize how good they are. I hear the talent. I love essentially all aspects of this band, including the clean/harsh vocal interplay. So why not higher? Those fucking blast beats kill me. I’m a wuss with them.



    37. Nova Collective- The Further Side: Instrumental prog from a Haken and Between the Buried & Me combo? Sign me the fuck up.



    36. Aeternam- Ruins of Empires: Middle Eastern/Oriental influenced symphonic death metal from….Canada! It’s more thrashy than something like Orphaned Land and a bit less brutal than something like Melechesh. There are clean vocals sprinkled throughout for those with a light palette.



    35. Vicious Head Society- Abject Tomorrow: Chunk and balls prog! It’s a bit like Threshold, but they get heavier and throw in some harsh vocals as well. This one flew by under a lot of radars. It deserves a wider audience.



    34. Kairon, IRSE!- Ruination: Weirdo..excuse me…smooth “art” prog rock/metal hybrid from Finland. This is not something you throw in the car and cruise around listening to. You put the headphones on, grab some wine, and focus. The saxophone and jazz fusion moments will jar your senses.



    33. Kobra & the Lotus- Prevail I: This may be the biggest surprise of the year for me simply because I cared nothing about their previous releases. This one moves Kobra into the upper echelon ranks of pop/symphonic metal due to great songwriting.



    32. Cyhra- Letters to Myself: I don’t think there is any doubt where the old Amaranthe sound came from or went. Jake establishes his own band without the electro/dance elements. This a good slab of melodic metal with a modern edge.



    31. Diablo Swing Orchestra- Pacifisticuffs: This is the most recent entry into the list. DSO return with another kooky collision of styles. You swing with some of them and just sit there thinking, “WTF?” with others. Good luck reviewing this one. “Jigsaw Hustle” is totally fucked up & rules.



    30. Eluveitie- Evocation II- Pantheon: The band: “We are going to get rid of three of our prominent members including the vocalist. The plan is to replace her with an unknown, write an acoustic album steeped in Celtic world music. Plus, we are going to sing it in a dead language.” The label: “Uh..” Me: “Sold!”



    29. Galneryus- Ultimate Sacrifice: I’m a bit late to the party on these guys. The symphonic speed metal takes me back to the early days of Angra & Kamelot. They are one of the few left that still have that “soaring” style as well. If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “soaring” power metal, you should probably move on as you didn’t live it back in the day.



    28. Mother of Millions- Sigma: Dark concept album from Greece. Sound familiar? It should as they fall into the same vibe as Need. I also hear some Leprous influence here and there as well. Red alert for progheads that like it dark and serious.



    27. Sons of Apollo- Psychotic Symphony: This is probably one of the most heard albums on this list. I probably had unrealistic expectations when news of the band roster broke. I just find it a bit uneven between the prog I want and all the down-tuned leads. The solos and ending instrumental track rock though.



    26. Vuur- In This Moment We Are Free: Cities: Raise your hand if you thought this album would be as heavy as it is. Anneke and company have definitely moved on from The Gentle Storm sound and added an intricate, dense groove. This isn’t as immediate as her previous material, but just as rewarding.



    25. Persefone- Aathma: They are one of the most sophisticated, & complex prog metal band out there that maintains melody. In fact, this may be my favorite release from them. I’m still not completely sold on the core vocal screams at times, but the music calls for that type of intensity.



    24. Savage Messiah- Hands of Fate: *Heavy* power metal bands are about as common as unicorns these days. Whether they realize it or not, SM is now one of the torchbearers for us old bastards. There is a bit less thrash on this release, but so what? Raise the horns and bang the head.



    23. Inglorious- II: Not only does Nathan have one of the best voices in our genres, he has the best hair as well (sorry Nils). I’m jealous as fuck. This is bluesy rock at its best. Screw the rest of the retro cash-ins the labels have been pushing. This is where I go for my early Whitesnake/Badlands needs.



    22. Wobbler- From Silence to Somewhere: My favorite “traditional” prog rock release this year. If you enjoy the heavy weights of the 70’s (Yes, ELP, KC,) then this is a blind buy. Based on that, you know what you what to expect you even start listening.



    21. Ayreon- The Source: Arjen hits another home run with possibly my favorite list of guest vocalists to date. That says a hell of a lot. The only thing that keeps me from grading this (or any Ayreon album) higher is I get overwhelmed with all the different parts and length of the album. You have to dedicate some serious time to truly appreciate all this man does.



    20. Threshold- Legends of the Shires: Yeah, yeah..Damian is gone. Moan, bitch, whine. Whatever. I love Glynn’s voice. I prefer the Mac era of Threshold and this takes me back to that with renewed energy. Honestly, Threshold may play progressive music, but they don’t really do much progressing. They are simply one of the best at what they do.



    19. Beast in Black- Berserker: The second most fun power metal disc of the year. It’s slick, bouncy, catchy, and cheesier than hell at times. I would have never guessed in a million years that Yannish (ex-Until Rain) was handling vocals. It’s like he took of the prog shackles and went nuts. If you don’t enjoy the single I’m posting here, then you probably don’t listen to music for fun anyways.



    18. Sorcerer- The Crowning of the Fire King: I think the world knows by now I enjoy doom about as much as I enjoy black metal. It has to be something really special for me to not only check it out, but to enjoy the hell out of it on repeated listens. Between Enberg’s amazing vocals and adding some tempo, I’m all in.



    17. Wind Rose- Stonehymn: DWARVEN METAL, YOU BITCHES!! Folksy power metal that throws a few curves into the conventional songwriting structure. It’s so epic that even Gimli would be proud. Bonus points for the high kicks the vocalist pulls off in the video as well. HOO HAA. HOO HA. Hand me the axe, motherfuckers. I’m off to kill a Dungeon Master.



    16. One Desire- One Desire: The best melodic rock disc of the year by a huge margin. There isn’t a single “filler” tune on here. If these guys would have been around 20 years ago, they would been huge. Thankfully, they are here now to satisfy us old farts that actually appreciated good radio rock.



    15. Need- Hegaiamas: Need have moved into the upper echelon of prog metal after two consecutive amazing listens. It’s dark, introspective, heavy, and emotive. It’s one of those discs I prefer to listen to with headphones so I can immerse myself in the moment. I’m in for the long haul with this band.



    14. Intervals- The Way Forward: This is the warmest instrumental album I heard this year. It just made me feel good listening in some weird way. Aaron is a monster guitarist who knows how important it is to let the music breathe. I wish there was a vocalist, as the melody on display here is rare in prog these days.



    13. Tetrafusion- Dreaming of Sleep: The end of Prog Report’s review sums it up nicely: “By the end of the album,Tetrafusioncontinue to constantly shift their mood, volume and tempo, delivering much more than complex structures.Dreaming of Sleepis a record that, in shortly, collects and displays influences fromFrank Zappa,Weather ReportandKing Crimsonto Cynic, Tesseract, & Opeth.



    12. Voyager- Ghost Mile: Our favorite kangaroos branch out their eclectic Depeche Modian metal even further with the addition of some djenty riffing. It seems the band is finally starting to get the recognition they deserve. “Misery is Only Company” is a Top 10 song this year with Danny’s kicked in the nuts vocal crescendos.



    11. Anathema- The Optimist: It pains me to rank an Anathema disc outside of the Top 10. Their last 3 releases are like a warm blanket for me on a cold winter day. This one finds them branching out a bit more into post-rock with varied results. The intro portion of “Endless Ways” gives me chills, as once again Lee’s captivating vocals own my musical soul. “I can’t be your memory…”



    10. Soen- Lykaia: While I have always admired the band, I never really connected with them until this release. It finally just *clicked*. I attribute that to the songwriting this time around as the choruses just stuck in my head. Yes, the Tool vibe is still present; however, they have more than developed their own sound.



    9. Orden Ogen- Gunmen: Finally! A power metal band has moved *UP* in status. They deserve it as well as this release ranks as their best. They write the *big,* and I mean *epic* choruses better than anyone now (sorry BG). “Gunman” is a Top 5 song this year.



    8. The Contortionist- Clairvoyant: Never was a big fan of the band’s early stuff as I hated the rough/core vocals. However, they are gone now and replaced with a surprising smooth as silk approach. The same goes for the melodies. This gets the nod as the most atmospheric release of the year. It’s like a dark cloud that rolls in and covers the town right before the blizzard hits.



    7. Zaius- Of Adoration: Instrumental post rock/metal that throws throws the playbook out the window with complex time signatures and rhythms. They employ a lush sonic landscape to pull you and then hold you down with some complex, proggy shit.



    6. The Dark Element- The Dark Element: There are more hooks on this album than you find on the average fishing boat. Sure, the pop elements and Nightwish sound on a few tunes play to Annette’s strengths. She sounds fantastic. I hope they play live this coming year.



    5. Daniel Cavanagh- Monochrome: This is the Anathema gut punch I was hoping for. This is by far the most depressing and saddest listen of the year. Anneke steps in for Lee to add a ray of light to an otherwise dark tunnel of despair. I feel emotionally drained after every listen…and that is a good thing.



    4. Caligula’s Horse- In Contact: CH return with their first concept album and most ambitious release to date. The results are not as immediate as “Bloom,” but actually more satisfying after you take the time to digest it. Their mix of prog metal (think the lighter side of Haken) & alternative rock has cemented their status as elite. This album builds to a crescendo ending like few others this year.



    3. Kreator- Gods of Violence: Sometimes, all you want to do is break shit. You need a good soundtrack during those violent times. Kreator served up the most bone crushing riffs this year. Just shut up and headbang.



    **Author’s Note***

    I checked my play count for the top 2 discs and they exceeded all others by a large margin & percentage. In other words, I played the shit out of them. At this point, I stopped trying to analyze artistic merit or musical ability involved. I just connect with these two discs for vastly different reasons. Some of you will probably need to pull the stick out of your ass and understand that before proceeding.

    2. Alestorm- No Grave But the Sea: Yep, an album with a song titled, “Fucked with an Anchor” almost wins album of the year. Screw it. I drank more beer, sang louder in the car, and laughed the most while listening to this with friends ever since it was released. I would argue this is an *emotional* impact…just in a fucked up way. Prog snobs can walk the plank. I’m off to have a shot of Don Julio and see the donkey show.



    1. Daydream XI- The Circus of the Tattered & Torn: I connected with this album like no other in 2017. It checks off everything I want in a prog/power disc. First, I need passionate vocals I can both hear and feel. Tiago (channeling his inner Oni Logan) delivers in spades. The perfect example is from the 15 min. title track. He takes me through peaks and valleys with a soulful approach (southern gospel tune…who does that in prog???) containing nuances, making a good performance great. Secondly, I’m all about some sophisticated crunch in my prog. It’s heavy enough at times to gets the blood pumping with heavy riffs & tasty chops. Thirdly, the music is both complex and varied. It never stagnates. It’s a roller coaster of tempos, acoustic passages, and building crescendos (a forgotten art among bands lately). Fourth, it has an identity & flavor all its own. Nothing sounded like this record. Finally, a concept album that is not just a bunch of lyrics, but a story I can empathize with. I urge you to go back and spend some quality time with this album. It deserves it.




    Glenn
     
    #1 Harvester, Dec 7, 2017 at 8:53 AM
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 10:14 AM
  2. Oblivion Ocean

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    First off thanks for doing this again, I know it is a lot of work. I share this list with friends who have never even heard of PP, so I am sure the appreciation from this list is far and wide.

    A couple observations from my POV (not criticisms or critiques since this is all subjective, personal tastes, and for fun).

    • I like Daydream Xi a lot on paper. And I would agree with almost everything you said. But for me, it lacks hooks and I end up getting a little bored halfway through. There is no denying the talent and good work on the album, I had a hard time getting it to click.
    • I am with you on Alestorm. I have always liked them, but they were kinda a novelty act. An album would come out, I would listen for a couple weeks, and move on. This album I have listened to non-stop.
    • Need is going to be higher on my list, I just love that album to death. It is complex and emotional and connects with me in a way that Daydream XI did for you
    • The description of the Sons of Appollo record is spot on. It is competent prog metal with some good moments. It just does not stack up to many of the other things coming out in this space. With that much talent, I did not think they would have put out a bad album, but I hoped for something much better than this. I chalk it up to Portnoy's ADHD and inability to take the time to really demo and write an album, instead of writing everything quickly in the studio. I was surprised that it still beat some strong records on your list (Ne Obliviscarus, Leperous, Cyhra)
    • The lack of The Passing Light of Day is a bit of surprise. While I did not quite see it as a total return to form for Pain of Salvation, I loved it more than I did not. I say it is surprising because it seemed to get wide-spread acclaim at places like r/progmetal from both younger and older fans.
    • (edit) Also, I am like you with doom metal. Not really my thing but I enjoy the cream of the crop of the genre. If you did not check it out, I would recommend Elder's Reflections from Floating Worlds. It is the first Doom release to make my list for years

    Thanks again, I have some new bands to check out.
     
    #2 Oblivion Ocean, Dec 7, 2017 at 9:55 AM
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 10:11 AM
  3. labrekk

    labrekk Member

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    I'm glad to see Vanish and Sorcerer on your list. Inglorious too. Hoping to see them (especially Sorcerer) at ProgPower some day.... And hoping to see Savage Messiah back too cause the new album rules, even though aiming more at a mainstream audience.

    Threshold, Nocturnal Rites, CyHra, Damnations Day and Labyrinth are also making my top 50 .

    As for Beast In Black, it's hit or miss for me. Much prefer the Battle Beast album over it.
     
  4. johnhead

    johnhead Member

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    I love when you write stuff like " hope they play live this coming year." hahahahahaha let the rumors mill start!

    I feel the exact same way about Son's of Apollo and am also surprised by Pain of Salvation not being on the list. But I think all the drama this year soured me a bit to Daniel's process.
     
  5. jaimek

    jaimek incorrigible

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    I was also surprised not to see Pain of Salvation. I was not terribly excited by the Road Salt era, but thought Passing Light was pretty great.

    I saw Caligula's Horse twice this year, and while they're not totally my bag, they're *interesting*, and I don't mean that in a backhanded compliment sort of way. I really enjoyed watching them.

    The Optimist is a lot like PoS's "Be" in that it's a legitimately good album, but it's never going to be on anyone's list of Favorite Anathema Discs because it requires a lot more thought than your average prog fan who just wants instant gratification is going to get out of it. Monochrome hasn't really done much for me, though, other than Raven Winged Hours, which I think is one of the best things Danny's ever done, and a large part of that is because *duck* I'm not a big fan of Anneke's voice.

    I liked Cyhra more than I expected - was not a fan of Amaranthe, but it's enjoyable as long as I don't listen too closely to the lyrics.

    Glynn Morgan was one of those singers whose voice is straight up nails on blackboard to my ears. Psychedelicatessen and Wounded Land are execrable (*ducks again*) and in the #ytseradio days, scared me off listening to Threshold for a good 10+ years. This ... isn't terrible.
     
  6. Harvester

    Harvester The Promoter

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    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Liquid Tension

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    The Thirteenth Sun- Planes of Creation is my favorite from your list...

    Diablo Swing Orchestra is one of my favorite bands and I'll know tomorrow what I think of this one!
     
  8. Cheiron

    Cheiron Member

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    I was curious how high you'd rank Witherfall. But they are nowhere to be found. #FalseNews

    As always, I appreciate you putting together this list, and I have tons of albums to now check out. I'm a lazy metal listener these days, as the constant pursuit of new albums burned me out, so I enjoy having a filtered list to work though :)
     
  9. labrekk

    labrekk Member

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    Well...That makes at least 2 of us here... :lol:
     
  10. actordude

    actordude Member

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    A few notes on the list - The Labyrinth disc is simply stunning, Beast in Black is so damn fun, I can't stop spinning The Dark Element (so glad to have Annette back!!), and finally, a HUGE THANK YOU for including the One Desire disc!!! Its absolutely flawless.
     
  11. Piffle

    Piffle New Metal Member

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    As usual, I like a lot of the same stuff you like, and also have a lot I haven't heard. Love reading your list. My big surprise this year is that most of my favorite releases are from bands that I hadn't heard of or didn't like their previous releases much (the only 2 big exceptions being Anneke and Steven Wilson).

    I don't do a top X list myself, but the releases I would have on mine that aren't on yours are
    - Bent Knee - Land Animal - I don't think my top album of the year has ever been a prog rock album, but this might be the year. I'm actually not even sure this is a prog rock album. Maybe it is Art Rock? Hard to classify. Haven't picked a #1 for sure, but this might be it.
    - Cellar Darling - This is the Sound - I was never a fan of Eluvitie, but this is awesome.
    - Amberian Dawn - Darkness of Eternity
    - Steven Wilson - To the Bone
     
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  12. zedowns

    zedowns Member

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    Like a lot of people here, I'm pretty surprised at the lack of In the Passing Light of Day.

    Big find for me here looks like its going to be Mother of Millions, that song is awesome. Zaius sounds pretty sweet, too.

    Not sure how I feel about Beast in Black but holy shit that singer. I don't remember him sounding like that at all.
     
  13. TwizstedJesus

    TwizstedJesus Member

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    Great list Glenn! I have a bunch of these on my list also, which I started compiling a few days ago. Definitely a few I need to check out, as always. I’ll finish my list some time in the next few days since today is the start of vacation
     
  14. Mooseknuckle

    Mooseknuckle Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

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    Lots of stuff to check out here. Normally I have heard most of your list but there's a ton of stuff on here that I haven't heard.

    Cellar Darling takes the crown for me. I had avoided it because I am not a fan of Eluveitie, but I have listened to This Is the Sound nearly every day for the last 3 months. Simply cannot stop listening to this CD.

    As for stuff not on your list, I am really digging the new Communic, Unleash The Archers, Living Colour, Trivium, and Vulture Industries.
     
  15. zinescene

    zinescene Member

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    I saw Bent Knee with Thank You Scientist on thier last tour...jaw dropping. Spectacular show. Both bands were just fantastic. I haven't picked up the new one yet but after reading your comments I think I will.
     
  16. ProgJulie

    ProgJulie New Metal Member

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    Many of the albums on your list are also my faves. I’m happy to see Zaius in there. I’ve played that CD to death. I’d also add Godsticks - Faced With Rage, Pallbearer - Heartless, Pain of Salvation - The Passing Light of Day, Paradise Lost - Medusa, Sparrowmilk - Articles of Separation, and Steven Wilson - To The Bone. There are a few that I hadn’t heard of before, so that’s always fun! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  17. MelbCro

    MelbCro Member

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    Daniel Cavanagh's album is top 5 for me as well. I also loved the Optimist, but Danny's solo effort is superior. I also stumbled upon Mother of Millions a couple months back, great album. A band to watch for the future.
     
    #17 MelbCro, Dec 7, 2017 at 9:27 PM
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 4:56 AM
  18. jaimek

    jaimek incorrigible

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    I don't DISlike her at all - I've got a few Mandylion/Gathering albums around here, and there are a handful of songs I do really like, but on the whole she just doesn't do much for me... and I really don't like her voice paired with the Cavanaghs for some reason.
     
  19. engmtlhd

    engmtlhd Member

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    Always my favorite post of the year. Glenn, you always post bands that I hadn't considered and end up buying their cd's. Thanks again Glenn. Now where's my damn debit card!!
     
  20. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Member

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    Thanks for the reminder about Bent Knee, which has fallen off of my radar. Land Animal has a lot to live up to, give that Say So was my favorite album of last year. Courtney is a vocalist who isn't afraid to let it fly. Definitely one of the most creative young bands out there that if there was any justice in this world would be bound for greater things.

    I think it helps for Cellar Darling that they aren't trying to be Eluveitie (and I love Eluveitie). They are working within what they have as a trio and make it work on that level. I can kinda understand why they might not make the list, in that it is a pretty solid but perhaps not outstanding debut, but they have the potential for more.

    I'm also a bit surprised that PoS didn't make the grade. I won't say it is a return to form, since I never thought they went away (Unlike many, I like the Road Salt albums), but it did feel more like that it was more than just Daniel's band. I feel like Ragnar had significant contributions that will be missed.

    I don't know if I have much more to add. Most of my focus this year has been on Post Rock, in which there were some great releases. (The one that comes to mind is Distant Dream, which is right up there with the new Widek. City Of The Lost - Beings Of Light is pretty good too.) Apocalypse Orchestra - The End Is Nigh is also probably on my top list.
     

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