Friday, January 11, 2013

My Favorite Albums of 2012 (links)

While it is impossible to hear "everything", I do listen to a lot of music.  Although mostly rock, prog and metal, I listen to a wide variety of things.  From amazing debuts to great works from established artists, these are the albums from 2012 that I will continue to revisit and enjoy.  

Hey, I narrowed it down to forty (plus live albums) this year! (-'] 

    Big surprise that I would love a band who met over a mutual love of bands like Porcupine Tree. The album is full of magically musical moments, stellar playing and emotional depth.  An epic debut!

 2.  Headspace - I Am Anonymous
    After an EP in 2007, we had to wait until 2012 for a full album of music from this new progressive super-group featuring Adam Wakeman, Damian Wilson, Pete Rinaldi, Lee Pomeroy and Richard Brook.  With feet planted in classic progressive rock, this modern sounding prog-metal band handles heaviness and beauty with equal grace. Damian has been one of my favorite vocalists for a while and this is truly a showcase for his expressive and impressive voice.  

 3.  Katatonia - Dead End Kings
    Swedish masters of dark gothic tuneage followed up their perfect 2009 release, Night Is The New Day, with the next step in their long evolution. Still mixing heavy passages with haunting melodies, this band keep getting better!  Hard to believe 2014 will be their 25th anniversary!

 4.  Kamelot - Silverthorn
    The Tampa-based band returned with a new vocalist and a renewed sense of self.  Tommy Karevik was the perfect choice to take the band to new heights and Silverthorn has a classic Kamelot sound that launches a new beginning for the band.

 5.  Vanisher - Unbound
    A new force from North Carolina that blew me away on first listen.  Metal and melody meet in a sweet mix of heavy yet accessible tunes. I cannot wait to hear what is next.

6.  Flying Colors - Flying Colors
    A modern super-group featuring Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue, Casey McPherson, Neal Morse and Steve Morse. A massive amount of musical chops (Dream Theater,  Dixie Dregs, Alpha Rev, Spock's Beard, Kansas) met for a whirlwind writing and recording session with songcraft taking precedence over chops.  A pop-prog-rock masterpiece.

7.  Kaipa - Vittjar
    I had no idea this Swedish progressive rock band started in 1973 when I first discovered them a few years ago.  The new album would fit perfectly on your shelf next to your classic Yes collection and 2011's Wobbler album, Rites At Dawn.  Traditional progressive music done right. 

8.  IZZ - Crush Of Night
    Their most focused work yet. There is always something interesting and very musical going on!

 9. Rush - Clockwork Angels
    Their best work in 20 years. Really.  Great story, impeccable tunes.

 10. Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion
    The first team-up of prog legends Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and Mikael Ã…kerfeldt (Opeth) was everything but what was expected.  Sounding nothing like their individual bands, this sonic journey was the deepest of the year. Light candles and enjoy.

 11. Threshold - March Of Progress
    I was so glad to hear Damian Wilson back in this band!!  Some of their best work and the "other" epic performance from Damian this year. 

 12.  Anathema - Weather Systems
    The band continues to expand the softer and more emotional elements of their music while keeping it powerful.  

 13. AEtherfallen - Within The Last Breath EP
    A surprising new progressive rock talent from Denver?  Yup. And the music is just the beginning of the story, you owe it to yourself to dig deeper.

 14.  Hemina - Synthetic
    Excellent new prog band from Down Under with a very solid debut!

 15. Beardfish - The Void
    The Swedish band continues to move in a heavier direction without forgetting its classic progressive roots.

 16. The Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud
    The twisted genius of Devin Townsend in one of his most "mainstream sounding" albums ever.  Beautiful arrangements with his usual biting lyrics.  

 17. IOEarth - Moments
    I still don't understand why more people have not discovered this band.  Yes, their albums defy easy classification but it's all so wonderfully musical.   

 18. Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence
    2011's The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP was the tip of the musical iceberg for BTBAM as the new album fully expands on what began there...and takes the journey to whole new levels.  

 19. Marillion - Sounds That Can't Be Made
    The band continues to mature and release the music they want to make.  Beautiful and heartfelt, powerful and passionate.

 20. Slash - Apocalyptic Love
    Slash makes great straight-up rock records. period. Now that he has a vocalist and band that equal his riff skills, I hope he continues to do so. 

 21. Anubis Gate - Anubis Gate
    This 2011 release should have been on last year's list but I did not get it until mid-2012. And it is one of my most listened to albums of the year.

and the rest of the best...

OSI - Fire Make Thunder
10 Years - Minus The Machine
Falseta - Falseta
Viasava - One Year Down
Call Me No One - Last Parade
Projected - Human
Eye Empire - Impact
Stone Sour - House Of Gold And Bones Part 1
Candlebox - Love Songs & Other Musings
Tesseract - Perspective EP
Baroness - Yellow & Green
Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
Periphery - Periphery II
Adrenaline Mob - Omerta
Mark Tremonti - All I Was
The Sword - Apocryphon
Mnemic - Mnemesis
Christian Alvestram - Self 2.0 EP
Soundgarden - King Animal
Deftones - Koi No Yokan

Live Albums worth getting:

Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day
Steven Wilson - Get All You Deserve
Alter Bridge - Live At Wembley