4. Black Country Communion
7. Masters Of
9. Michael Monroe
10. Voodoo Six
Best albums of 2011:
1 Agents Of Mercy : The Black Forest - Just because it is the best album of 2011 for me
2 Karmakanic : In A Perfect World - Came very very close to being number 1
3 Psychedelic ensemble : The dream Of the magic jongleur - Had this not long enough still growing on me
4 Van Der Graaf Generator : A Grounding In Numbers - Fantastic
5 Beardfish : Mammoth - Another example of Nordic finesse in music
6 Discipline : To Shatter All Accord - Risen from the deep returning with a fantastic album
7 Phideaux : Snowtorch - Xavier always a pleasure to listen to this music
8 Hemina : Synthetic - Took Turns with DT when it arrived guess what They won.
In no particular order:
Accordo Dei : Contrari Kublai
Alberto rigoni : Rebirth - Bass extravaganza
Antoine Fafard : Solus Operandi - Bass extravaganza
Anubis : A Tower Of Silence - Doug returns with the second album in my list Hemina is first
Arena : The Seventh Degree Of Separation
Blackfield : Welcome To My DNA
Caligula's Horse : Moments From Ephemeral City - Fine example of what is cooking down under
Credo Against : Reason
Dream Theater : A Dramatic Turn Of Events
Glass Hammer : Cor Cordium
Haken : Visions
K² : Black Garden
Knight Area : Nine Paths - Great Dutch symphonic band
Lisa LaRue : 2KX Fast And Blue
Manning : Margaret's Children - Where does he get his lyrics from, stunning
Mars Hollow : World In Front Of Me - Still growing stronger
Matt Stevens : Relic - Great singer songwriter
Mogador : All I Am Is Of My Own Making - What a line
Moonwagon : Night Dust - New comers with great debut
Myrath : Tales Of The Sands
Neal Morse : Testimony 2 - Icon of Prog let me down a bit with this album
Nemo : Rvolu$ion - The French hope for better music for years on end now
Neograss : Atlantis - Bluegrass turns progressive amazing third outing.
Pagan's Mind : Heavenly Ecstasy
Pain Of Salvation : Road Salt Two
Pallas : XXV
Pendragon : Passion
Poor Genetic Material : Island Noises
Red Orchid Blood : Vessels & Marshmallows - Excellent second outing by Sanmeet and Tom
Sky Architect : A Dying Man's Hymn
Subsignal : Touchstones
Sun Domingo : Songs For End Times - New comers with great debut
The Innerroad : Visions - New comers with great debut
The Tangent : COMM - They have done better
Wobbler : Rites At Dawn
Best albums of 2011:
1 For All We Know : For All We Know
2 Fen : Epoch
3 Wolverine : Communication Lost
4 Dream Theater : A Dramatic Turn Of Events
5 Neal Morse : Testimony 2
6 Haken : Visions
7 Arch / Matheos : Sympathetic Resonance
8 Magic Pie : The Suffering Joy
9 Obscura : Omnivium
10 Appearance of Nothing : All Gods Are Gone
11 Symphony X : Iconoclast
12 Born of Osiris : The Discovery
13 Steven Wilson : Grace for Drowning
14 Unexpect : Fables of the Sleepless Empire
15 The Tangent : COMM
16 Argus : Boldly Stride the Doomed
17 Devin Townsend : Deconstruction
18 Anubis Gate : Anubis Gate
19 Woods of Desolation : Torn Beyond Reason
20 Rwake : Rest
21 Aurora Borealis : Timeline: The Beginning and End of Everything
22 Odd Logic : Over the Underworld
23 Scale the Summit : The Collective
24 Lost In Thought : Opus Arise
25 Jolly : The Audio Guide to Happiness (Part I)
26 Infestus : Ex | Ist
27 Leprous : Bilateral
28 Omnium Gatherum : New World Shadows
29 Shroud of Despondency : Dark Meditations in Monastic Seclusion
30 Ghost Brigade : Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
31 Man on Fire : Chrysalis
32 Opeth : Heritage
33 Beardfish : Mammoth
34 Nightrage : Insidious
35 The Project Hate MCMXCIX : Bleeding the New Apocalypse
36 Lunatic Soul : Impressions
37 Yes : Fly From Here
38 Greylevel : Hypostatic Union
39 Evadne : The Shortest Way
40 X-Panda : Flight of Fancy
41 Corpsessed : The Dagger and the Chalice
42 Malison Rogue : Malison Rogue
43 Trioxyde : Hey Carlos
44 Radiohead : The King of Limbs
45 Pain of Salvation : Road Salt Two
46 Wolves in the Throne Room : Celestial Lineage
47 Tornado : Amsterdamn, Hellsinki
48 Entrails : The Tomb Awaits
49 Shining : VII Fodd Forlorare
50 Revocation : Chaos of Forms
Best albums of 2011:
1 The Tangent : COMM - The stunning uncompromising album Andy Tillison and co were destined to make
2 Manning : Margaret's Children - Majestic and passionate story telling at its best
3 Sean Filkins : War Peace and Other Short Stories - A mesmerizing album that defines its genre
4 Credo : Against Reason - The defining follow up to Rhetoric. A powerful musical statement
5 Ranest Rane : Shining - This is what an album should be about, fascinating soundstages that heighten the emotions
6 Dec Burke : Paradigms and Storylines - A collision of power and beauty that entertains to the highest order
7 Also Eden : Think of the Children - Exquisite neo prog at its finest
8 Pallas : XXV - An album that speaks volumes, a concept that is just unbelievably rewarding
9 Karmakanic : In A Perfect World - Jonas Reingold and co at their creative, absolutely stunning
10 Grateful Dead : Europe '72 The Complete Recordings Box Set - Speaks for itself really, musical nirvana
11 25 Yard Screamer : Until All Are One - Welsh Prog Metal band at their defining best, a fantastic and fitting follow up to Cassandra
12 Tinkicker : The Playground at the Edge of the Abyss - Warped twisted and stunning mayhem that entertains to the highest order, move over Alice... the new guys are in town............
13 From Uz : Quartus Artifactus - An elegant, sublime and must be heard album
14 Phish : Hampton / Winston - Salem '97 capturing Phish live at their best
15 Not Otherwise Specified : Judgment - A captivating curve ball of an album from multi-instrumentalist Craig Kerley, being very powerful and entertaining.
16 Enoch : The Hierophant - Sublime powerful sonic chicanery with mammoth power and audacity
17 Frank Carducci : Oddity - An abundantly talented musician who displays his ideas to the world
18 Adrian Weiss : Big Time - Fantastic instrumental guitar orientated album, the surprise find of the year
19 Ten : Stormwarning - One of Britain's most expressive rock bands return with a stunner
20 Nichelodeon : Il Gioco Del Silenzio - Italian avant Grade prog at its finest, dynamically stunning
21 Opus Symbiosis : Mute - Ethereal and addictive music
22 Alice Cooper : Welcome 2 My Nightmare - His strongest album in years revisiting his ultimate nightmare
23 Dream Theater : A Dramatic Turn Of Events - A stunning release as ever from the ambassadors
24 Aethyr : Messio - Unafraid to challange with its satanic majesty featuring tones that stretch the imagination
25 Steel Panther : Balls Out - The best of the late 70's and 80's in one location making it the party album of 2011 for the un-pc fun loving fraternity
Best albums of 2011:
1 Phideaux : Snowtorch
2 Steven Wilson : Grace for Drowning
3 Devin Townsend : Deconstruction
4 Neal Morse : Testimony 2
5 Devin Townsend : Ghost
6 Opeth :
7 Dream Theater : A Dramatic Turn Of Events
8 Beardfish :
9 Blackfield : Welcome To My DNA
10 Sky Architect : A
Dying Man's Hymn
11 Anathema : Falling Deeper
12 The Deer Hunter :
The Color Spectrum
13 Cynic : Carbon Based Anatomy
14 Mastodon :
15 Riverside : Memories in My Head
16 The Galactic
Cowboy Orchestra : All Out of Peaches
Best albums of 2011:
1 Memories of Machines : Warm Winter - No other album hit all the feelings, high and low, as that this one did this year. Perfect timing.
2 Jonathan Wilson : Gentle Spirit - Let's hope this gentle spirit carries over and helps make 2012 better than 2011. Discovered and became one of my favorite recording artists in one year. This album is amongst my favorites of the decade already.
3 Steve Hackett : Beyond the Shrouded Horizon - Steve is timeless. This album, live tour and album follow up "Live Rails" released this year. Newly married and full of inspiration, with one project already possible and a tour set for the USA next year the news coming from the rooftops is indeed good for Hackett fans.
4 Fleet Foxes : Helplessness Blues - Dominated my spring and summer. An incredible follow up to their first album. Well worth the long wait. "Shrine/Argument" one of the top 10 songs of the year. All of us Northwesterners thank you for "The Cascades".
5 TCP : Fantastic Dreamer - So glad 10T sent me this gem. Great bunch of down to earth guys, with the number one song of the year for me, "Vision". Thanks.
6 Comedy of Errors : Disobey - Another great surprise. This is the album some of the UK's former neo prog leaders wish they would have made. "The Student Prince" and "Jekyll" are just a sample of the power behind this band.
7 Phideaux : Snowtorch - I have heard so much about this band over the years. Finally took the plunge and I am so glad I did. Went out and bought "Number Seven" based on the power of the "Torch".
8 Banda Do Sol : Tempo - Another absolutely brilliant year of surprises. This album took me right back to Anima Mundi from last year. Looking forward to what they have in store for the future.
9 Paul Simon : So Beautiful, or So What - Another guy, like Hackett, Alabama, or Eastwood, doesn't re-build, he re-loads. This album hit at the perfect time at the beginning of the year. Took away the blues and helped me sing a new song.
10 The Watch : Timeless - Another of the bands, like Phideaux, that I finally purchased for the first time. I now own all of their studio albums. The interview we had here on the Sea of Tranquility was one of my favorite of the year. Their music is like a time machine, capturing the power of Gabriel era Genesis, while pointing in a new direction for this style of music.
11 In the Labyrinth : One Trail to Heaven - An awesome surprise to receive in the last Sea of Tranquility review pack of the year. Full of excellent sitar, keyboards, guitar and moments to treasure long past this year. An ethereal album that takes you to a different place each time you play it.
Also excellent this year:
Heather Findlay Phoenix Best debut
solo CD of the year.
From.UZ Quartus Artifactus The best DVD/CD package
of the year.
Frequency Drift Ghosts Excellent new band to follow.
Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion Bright Examples I will be following
closely the future creations of this band.
Nemesea The Quiet Resistance
Nice new surprise from Napalm Records.
Stream of Passion Darker Days
Solid album, returning to the power of the debut album. Looking forward to
Iona Another Realm Excellent double album full of
Travellers A Journey into the Sun Within No news from the
team at Poland's Satellite until this gem made it home. Another good side
project. The creativity spins on.
Teodasia Teodasia Another great
Black Country Communion - II The power continues.
Knitting by Twilight - Weathering
The Dear Hunter The
DTES Lost and Gone Forever
CPR Volume 4
Oxcart Beekeeper Constellation
Top Songs of 2011:
1. Vision TCP off Fantastic Dreamer. Glenn Arpino wrote the music and
Henry Tarnecky wrote the best lyrics of the year. Fantastic lyrics and beautiful
melodies providing inspiration.
2. Natural Rhapsody - Jonathan Wilson off
Gentle Spirit - Unbelievable. He may have already passed some of Chris
Robinson's work with this track and album.
3. Shrine/Argument - Fleet Foxes
off Helplessness Blues So good you never want it to end.
4. Turn This
Island Earth Steve Hackett off Beyond the Shrouded Horizon. Everything you
could want from a spacey prog song. Only need a video to support this incredibly
5. The Student Prince Comedy of Errors off Disobey. Takes you
right back to the best of '80s Neo Prog as if this album belonged there near
the top all along. An epic for the ages.
6. Jeckyll Comedy of Errors off
Disobey. Power prog like it used to be.
7. So Beautiful, or So What Paul
Simon, (Title track) One of the greatest songwriters of all time, does it
8. Lucky You, Lucky Me- Memories of Machines off Warm Winter One of
the many excellent mood/feeling tracks from the mind of Bowness and Erra.
Bright Examples Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion (Title track). So glad to
be part of this album's launch. Can't wait to hear more from this husband/wife
10. Questions for the Angels Paul Simon off So Beautiful, So What.
The lyrics take your breath away.
11. 'Til These Eyes Steve Hackett off
Beyond the Shrouded Horizon. One of his best songs ever.
songs of 2011:
Gentle Spirit Jonathan Wilson
Waters Down Jonathan Wilson
Desert Raven Jonathan Wilson
Valley of the Silver Moon Jonathan Wilson
Canyon in the Rain Jonathan
Ballad of the Pines Jonathan Wilson
Love and Blessings Paul
The Afterlife Paul Simon
Carousel Comedy of Errors
the Sunset and the Coconut Palms- Steve Hackett
A Place Called Freedom
Four Winds Suite Steve Hackett
The Cascades Fleet Foxes
Lorelai Fleet Foxes
Bedouin Dress Fleet Foxes
Sim Sala Bim Fleet Foxes
In the Movie of You TCP
Ambiance for the Active Mind TCP
Snowtorch Part I Phideaux
Liberdade Banda Do Sol
Tempo - Banda Do Sol
Beautiful Songs You Should
Know Memories of Machines
Desert Circle From.UZ
1. Unitopia One Night in Europe
2. Izz Live
3. Composing Outside
the Beatles Lennon and McCartney 1973 1980
4. Bad Co. Live at Wembley
5. From.UZ Quartus Artifactus
6. Steve Howe Remedy Live
7. David Byrne
Ride, Rise, Roar
8. Eric Burdon and War The Lost Broadcasts
Air The Lost Broadcasts
Best albums of 2011:
1 Black Stone Cherry : Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea
2 Nightwish : Imaginaerum
3 Iron Savior : The Landing
4 Within Temptation : The Unforgiving
5 Toby Hitchcock : Mercury's Down
6 Bobby Kimball and Jimi Jamison : Kimball-Jamison
7 Emerald Sun : Regeneration
8 Power Quest : Blood Alliance
9 Powerwolf : Blood of the Saints
10 Bloodbound : Unholy Cross
11 Pallas : XXV
12 Pagan's Mind : Heavenly Ecstasy
13 Royal Hunt : Show Me How to Live
14 Status Quo : Quid Pro Quo
15 Anvil : Juggernaut of Justice
16 Illnath : Third Act in the Theatre of Madness
17 Yes : Fly From Here
18 Magnum : The Visitation
19 TeN : Stormwarning
20 Alestorm : Back Through Time
21 Fergie Frederiksen : Happiness Is The Road
22 Arch Enemy : Khaos Legions
23 Nemesea : The Quiet Resistance
24 Trillium : Alloy
25 Mercenary : Metamorphosis
26 Amon Amarth : Surtur Rising
27 John Wetton : Raised in Captivity
28 Astral Doors : Jerusalem
29 Dream Theater : A Dramatic Turn Of Events
30 Issa : The Storm
31 Turisas : Stand Up and Fight
32 HammerFall : Infected
33 The Magnificent : The Magnificent
34 Leaves' Eyes : Meredead
35 Journey : Eclipse
36 The Meads of Asphodel : The Murder of Jesus the Jew
37 The Poodles : Performocracy
38 Knight Area : Nine Paths
39 Solar Fragment : In Our Hands
40 Mike Patton : From The Film and Inspired By the Book The Solitude of Prime Numbers (La Solitudine Dei Numeri Primi)
41 Skakra : Back on Track
42 Night Ranger : Somewhere in California
43 Debauchery : Germany's Next Death Metal
44 Lance King : A Moment In Chiros
45 Anterior : Echoes of the Fallen
46 Anubis Gate : Anubis Gate
47 Arkona : Slovo
48 Symfonia : In Paradisum
49 A Day To Remember : What Separates Me From You
50 Falconer : Armod
51 Odd Dimension : Symmetrical
52 Sleletonwitch : Forever Abomination
53 Beggars and Thieves : We Are the Brokenhearted
54 Meden Agen : Erevos Aenaon
55 Wizard : ...Of Wariwulfs And Bluotvarwes
56 Awake : Forever More
57 Gregg Allman : Low Country Blues
58 Soul Seller : Back to Life
59 The Quill : Full Circle
60 Van Canto : Break the Silence
61 Airrace : Back to the Start
62 Glyder : Backroads To Byzantium
63 Eastern Front : Blood on Snow
64 The Horde : Thy Blackened Kingdom
65 Patrick Hemer : More than Meets the Eye
66 Opera IX : Strix Maledictae in Aeternum
67 Mastercastle : Dangerous Diamonds
68 Cruachan : Blood on the Black Robe
69 Boguslaw Balcerak's Crylord : Blood Of The Prophets
70 Consortium Project : Species
71 Midnattsol : The Metamorphosis Melody
72 Arrayan Path : Ira Imperium
73 Tyr : The Lay Of Thrym
74 Gigan : Quasi
75 Voodoo Circle : Broken Heart Syndrome
Frampton at Manchester Academy 2
Richard Marx and John Parr at Liverpool
Focus at Clitheroe Grand
Jorney/Foreigner/ Styx at MEN
Delain and Serenity at Manchester Academy 3
Anvil at Manchester
Europe at Manchester Academy 2
Best albums of 2011:
1 ChthoniC : Takasago Army
2 Devin Townsend : Deconstruction
3 Blackfield : Welcome To My DNA
4 Iced Earth : Dystopia
5 Dream Theater : A Dramatic Turn Of Events
6 Kaipa : In The Wake of Evolution
7 Devin Townsend : Ghost
8 Jay-Z and Kanye West : Watch The Throne
9 Unexpect : Fables of the Sleepless Empire
10 Blink182 : Neighborhoods
11 Vader : Welcome to the Morbid Reich
12 Britney Spears : Femme Fatale
13 Yes : Fly From Here
14 Darren Korb : Bastion Original Soundtrack
15 Haken : Visions
Best albums of 2011:
1 Mastodon : The Hunter - I've noticed that some people really want to hate this album. What's the point? This is great stuff: Awesome sound, great songwriting, and superb musicianship. Mastodon has developed a sound that is changing heavy metal.
2 Red Fang : Murder the Mountains - My favorite "new" band of 2011. They are also superb live.
3 Anthrax : Worship Music - Some people consider this their best album to date. I've always been fond of Spreading the Disease, but this isn't far off. It was worth the long wait and gave Anthrax fans the hope that the best is yet to come. Wish I could have seen them on the Big Four tour, but these shows don't always find their way to Utah.
4 Arch / Matheos : Sympathetic Resonance - I came to this album too late to really savor it, but I love it. These guys are a perfect combination of voice and guitar.
5 Megadeth : Th1rt3en - Who would've thought Medgadeth would still have this much strength after all these years? I'm discovering their new stuff to be as good as any of their classics.
Top 5 Wish list:
1. Opeth, Heritage (I hear about this band
all the time, but haven't slowed down to experience them).
2. Amon Amarth,
3. Arch Enemy, Khaos Legions
4. Within Temptation, The
5. Symphony X, Iconoclast (I haven't listened to these guys
since The Odyssey, but I hear they've gotten better and better).
Reissues worth another look:
1. Twisted Sister, Under the Blade
2. Twisted Sister, You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll (Before the deluge that was Stay
Hungry, Twisted Sister showed that they could write powerful heavy metal songs
that still sound great after all these years. These guys really had something).
3. Armored Saint, Delirious Nomad (Long considered their best work, this CD
is now available for those who need another listen to the band John Bush was
meant to be in. I know he played in Anthrax for a while and was considered for
Metallica, but this guy burns it up with Armored Saint. Why didn't they break it
4. Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard of Ozz
5. Ozzy Osbourne, Diary of a
Madman (No comment needed. It's about damn time they did right by these
Best albums of 2011:
1 Opeth : Heritage - What Morbid Angel and Metallica with Lou Reed mistakenly thought they would achieve with their respective musical "experimentations", Opeth did so with Heritage. Eschewing death metal vocals and riffs in favour of his 70s prog influences, Akerfeldt may have ruffled a few feathers but the finished work is something that metal had been waiting for. Magnificent.
2 Hammers of Misfortune : 17th Street - Hammers of Misfortune have never been the same band on any of their records, either in terms of both line-up and sound. John Cobbett's ability to surround himself with phenomenal musicians to write amazing music and powerful and poetic lyrics means the band continues to grow. Thus, 17th Street is the embodiment of musical and artistic integrity.
3 Blut Aus Nord : 777 Sect(S) & 777 The Desanctification - Okay, so this is two albums but they are parts 1 and 2 of a trilogy (with part 3 arriving in 2012) so I'll count them as one album (or two thirds if you want). Dissonant, dark, black, bleak, twisted, haunting : mere adjectives are inadequate to describe this as a sonic experience. Both played back to back and individually, they are simply stunning.
4 3 : The Ghost You Gave To Me - Having heard none of their work at all and only come across their name in passing, this was a complete surprise. Having no expectations whatsoever, subsequent listens to this have proven to be as mind-blowing as the first.
5 The Haunted : Unseen - Another band that annoyed most by not producing a "metal" album, it's difficult to fault Unseen. Musically and lyrically, it reminds me of Faith No More in that musical genres : and their bounds : are to be explored, exploited, and exploded, not adhered to.
6 The Devil's Blood : The Thousandfold Epicentre - Arriving late in the year and amid much hype, this was another surprise. Combining the occult with psychedelia, 70s rock, and a fantastic vocal, this looks set to be stuck on play for most of 2012 (along with Ghost's Opus Eponymous from 2010).
7 Smohalla : Resilience - Avant-garde black metal. Atmospheric, ghostly, chaotic, disorienting, experimental, this is the eye of the tempest. This is not a collection of songs, but of layers and depths that reveal more upon every listen. Unbelievable.
8 Aenaon : Cendres et Sang - Intense, innovative, and consummate in experimentalism, this is David Lynch-inspired Greek avant-garde black metal that is unafraid to explore the nuances of sound and structure for depth and dimension.
9 Mastodon : The Hunter - After four "concept" albums, Mastodon stripped their sound back to make an album of killer tunes, one after another. Fantastic.
10 Anthrax : Worship Music - Bush is a great singer but Joey Belladonna, for me, is Anthrax's frontman so to hear that he was back in the band was great news. And this is not just a great Anthrax album; it's a great album. Full stop.
Best albums of 2011:
Mostly metal, because
that's what I've been listening to primarily this year, but there are a couple
of prog rock and jazz releases, too
1 Arch / Matheos : Sympathetic Resonance
2 Artillery : My Blood
3 Anubis Gate : Anubis Gate
4 Agnostic Front : My Life My Way
5 Dark Forest : Beyond Infinity
6 Tubax : Il Mondo Stava Finendo
7 Animals as Leaders : Weightless
8 Obscura : Omnivium
9 Hell : Human Remains
10 Cage : Supremacy of Steel
11 The House of Capricorn : In the Devil's Days
12 Adrenaline Mob : Adrenaline Mob
13 Touchstone : The City Sleeps
14 Charred Walls of the Damned : Cold Winds on Timeless Days
15 Sectu : Inundate
16 Neuraxis : Asylon
17 Arkan : Salam
18 Chthonic : Takasago Army
19 Tornado : Amsterdamn, Hellsinki
20 Morkobot : Morbo
21 Yes : Fly From Here
22 Falconer : Armod
23 Anthrax : Worship Music
24 Pentagram : Last Rites
25 Andromeda : Manifest Tyranny
26 Ashen Reign : An Angels Burden
27 Artizan : Curse of the Artizan
28 Sulaco : Build & Burn
29 Nervecell : Psychogenocide
30 Circle of Silence : The Blackened Halo
Best albums of 2011:
1 The Devin Townsend Project : Ghost - Devin Townsend always delivers in a big way with each new release and Ghost is his best work since KI and it is one of those desert island albums that you can listen to over and over again.
2 Ulver : Wars of the Roses - I absolutely love the new direction Ulver have gone in since Perdition City and Wars of the Roses is amazing. It lost out to number 1 by a very small margin on my list.
3 The Devin Townsend Project : Deconstruction - The heaviest album involving Devin Townsend since his SYL days with guest stars on almost each song is brilliant and has his signature humour thrown in.
4 Wolf : Legions of Bastards - Wolf have been the flag bearers for the New Wave of traditional heavy metal (NWOTHM) for a while now and have absolutely killed it with their latest offering. It is a near perfect album with vocals that are Dio level.
5 Stratovarius : Elysium - Elysium is by far the greatest Stratovarius album ever and is easily one of the best power metal albums of all time. Everything about this album is awesome.
6 Cynic : Carbon Based Anatomy - I know it is an EP but what the hell, Cynic's latest offering has everything a Cynic fan would want in new material. My only complaint is that it is too short. RELEASE A FULL LENGTH ALBUM ALREADY!
7 Turisas : Stand Up and Fight - Can't go wrong with a battle metal band that has a brilliant vocalist and class song writing. Turisas have really matured on this release and the end result is a cracker of an album that is their best effort so far.
8 Amon Amarth : Surtur Rising - When Amon Amarth released Twilight in 2008 I didn't think they would ever top it but they have more than done that with Surtur Rising. Top notch songs with top notch artwork is what Amon Amarth are known for and they have delivered again here.
9 Sepultura : Kairos - Kairos is the best post-Max Sepultura album and I will even rate it alongside Beneath the Remains. Roy Z has done a stellar job with the sound on this one.
10 Opeth : Heritage - Heritage has been a hit or miss with many fans. I absolutely love when bands try new things and it was clear Opeth was headed in this direction. Easily one of the best prog albums in the last 10 years.
11 Decapitated : Carnival is Forever
12 Amorphis : The Beginning of Times
13 In Flames : Sounds of a Playground Fading
14 Insomnium : One for Sorrow
15 Warbringer : Worlds Torn Asunder
TOM DE VAL
Best albums of 2011:
1 Steven Wilson : Grace for Drowning - Wonderful, varied album that hangs together much better than 'Insurgentes' and is stronger than the last couple of PT releases as well
2 Arch / Matheos : Sympathetic Resonance - I've never been a massive Fates Warning fan, but this album just clicked - a superb mix of traditional and modern progressive metal, topped by John Arch's unique and highly effective vocals - some of the vocal melodies are jaw dropping
3 Amplifier : The Octopus - A masterpiece by the Manchester trio, returning in triumph after their difficult second album some four years ago. This double mixes elements of space rock, post rock, prog, ambient and just plain rock to superb effect
4 Mastodon : The Hunter - A return to shorter songs but no let up in quality from these metallers, pretty much every song is memorable and unique
5 Kate Bush : 50 Words for Snow - Even more low key and dreamy than Aerial, but an effective return from one of my favourite artists
6 Jonathan Wilson : Gentle Spirit - Laid back, 70's tinged tunes from this LA singer songwriter, best appreciated on a warm summer's day with a cold glass of something in hand!
7 Opeth : Heritage - Largely successful foray into folk and jazz tinged progressive rock; I do miss the growls and heavier elements at times, though
8 Haken : Visions - Visions . Not as strong or quirky as their debut 'Aquarius' but still an excellent second full-length from this rising UK prog band
9 Textures : Dualism - Their last album (Silhouettes) and this one have seen this Dutch band move away from being seen (however unfairly) as a 'Meshuggah-lite' clone and creating a unique sound of their own, with strong songs to boot
10 Hammers of Misfortune : 17th Street - This hard-working band's latest fusues prog metal elements with a more vintage hard rock sound; perhaps concentrates more on shorter, poppier songs than before, but this is still a strong album
SUMMARIZED LIST OF THE TOP 50 CDS, FROM ALL OF THE SoT STAFF
Best albums of 2011:
1. Opeth : Heritage
2. Dream Theater : A Dramatic Turn
3. Mastodon : The Hunter
4. Symphony X : Iconoclast
6. Steven Wilson : Grace for Drowning
7. Yes : Fly From Here
8. Arch / Matheos : Sympathetic Resonance
9. Mars Hollow : World In Front Of
10. Pallas : XXV
11. Anthrax : Worship Music
12. Journey : Eclipse
13. Devin Townsend : Deconstruction
14. Black Country Communion : 2
Neal Morse : Testimony 2
16. The Tangent : COMM
17. Phideaux : Snowtorch
18. Pagan's Mind : Heavenly Ecstasy
19. Magnum : The Visitation
Chickenfoot : III
21. Anubis Gate : Anubis Gate
22. Iced Earth : Dystopia
23. Beardfish : Mammoth
24. Within Temptation : The Unforgiving
25. TCP :
26. Amorphis : The Beginning of Times
27. Man on Fire :
28. Hell : Human Remains
29. Black Stone Cherry : Between The
Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
30. Riverside : Memories in My Head
Whitesnake : Forevermore
32. Wolverine : Communication Lost
33. Pain Of
Salvation : Road Salt Two
34. Obscura : Omnivium
35. Magic Pie : The
36. Nightwish : Imaginaerum
37. Alice Cooper : Welcome 2 My
38. Blackfield : Welcome To My DNA
39. Sky Architect : A Dying
40. Amon Amarth : Surtur Rising
41. Arena : The Seventh Degree
42. Unexpect : Fables of the Sleepless Empire
Townsend : Ghost
44. Wobbler : Rites At Dawn
45. Myrath : Tales Of The
46. Pendragon : Passion
47. Manning : Margaret's Children
Anathema : Falling Deeper
49. Cynthesis : DeEvolution
50. Evergrey :