Having a long career in radio gives me the benefit of hearing more music than most, I try to listen to everything that comes across my desk. Obviously, I stick to various rock-oriented music for my job these days but, that is also normally what I listen to in my "off time". This is a list of the music I have listened to most in the first half of the year. As always, there will be a year-end post.
I meant to have this posted last month, sorry for the delay. They are not ranked but the ones near the top are the first that came to mind, for what that's worth. Notice I called them favorites, not best. I am not passing professional judgment, these are just what got played the most by me. Your mileage may vary. You may not like them all but I am sure you will find some interesting things in this list.
My 20 Favorite Albums of the first half of 2014
Anubis Gate - Horizons
Nothing More - Nothing More
Voyager - V
The Third Ending - Three Word Title
Cynic - Kindly Bent To Free Us
Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism
Like Thieves - Autumn Twilight EP
Knifeworld - The Unravelling
Rival Sons - Great Western Valkyrie
Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls
Mastodon - Once More 'Round The Sun
Lacuna Coil - Broken Crown Halo
Wintergarden - The New Victorian
Kyng - Burn The Serum
Gus G - I Am The Fire
Chevelle - La Gargola
Iced Earth - Plagues Of Babylon
Sevendust - Time Travelers And Bonfires
3 Years Hollow - The Cracks
Babymetal - Babymetal
Not new but deserves mention:
Gentle Giant - The Power And The Glory (remix/remaster)
Yes - The Yes Album (remix/remaster)
Jethro Tull - A Passion Play (remix/remaster)
I have been an Anubis Gate fan for a while but the new album knocks it out of the park.
I've been listening to Nothing More since last year but it was officially released this summer. They will be huge!
Voyager's new album is a little left of center from what you expect of them. and it works fabulously.
Been waiting for the second album from The Third Ending for years and it finally arrived, as perfect as the 2006 debut.
Cynic dropped some of the "metal" stylings of their previous outings and came up with a real work of art.
The fourth album from Teramaze is their best work yet.
Recently discovered Like Thieves (although, I know Clint Boge from The Butterfly Effect) and was blown away. Clint can sing anything and make it amazing.
Knifeworld's second full album will blow your mind. Reminds me a little of Haken's The Mountain from last year but is definitely a sound unto itself.
I wasn't as thrilled with their earlier recordings, I am not a "retro" kind of guy. But, although their feet are firmly rooted in classic bluesy rock, Rival Sons have come into their own on the new record.
The Judas Priest is the best since Painkiller or Screaming For Vengeance.
Admit it, Babymetal is fun. And the band jams!
With regards to the Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull and Yes releases, please let Steven Wilson remix and remaster every classic prog rock album. He truly gets it.
I still have a stack of things to listen to, many things will change by the end of the year.