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Topic ClosedA look at the best prog albums through the years

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AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 27 2010 at 08:41
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Originally posted by Catcher10 Catcher10 wrote:

AtomicCrimsonRush.....you are my hero!! I have read this blog probably 4-5x but this is my first post here. It is eye opening to see how the voting has gone, you certainly get a pretty good feel of who the main prog artists are. Not only from a popularity stand point, but as you have pointed out in your reviews from a musical, lyrical and stylistic point of view.
I'm 46 and certainly can relate to all the "changes" in prog since the mid 70's. Some of the years you can feel the prog mood just disappearing in general...but then there are a few bands that did an amazing job of keeping the prog flame burning.....and still today are putting out some amazing material.
I have tried to keep an open mind in the blog, and because of that I really have no critique of your work.....Its well done, well thought out and complete...in my mind.
Look forward to more........fantastic job!!!!
 
ClapClapClapClap
EmbarrassedThanks so muchStarStarStar
 
Very kind words, makes it all worthwhile to read things as you posted...
i will indeed keep the prog flame burning!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 10 2010 at 06:56

I will continue this blog soon, when I can collate the poll results that is....

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 13 2010 at 02:47

 

Part 34: Prog Poll through the years 2000

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2000.

A new millennium and a new phase for prog with the birth of new sub genres and a plethora of up and coming bands the genre was never better since the Golden Era of the 70s. The first year of the 2000s was full of great albums like this list of 15.

 

Live Archives 70,80,90s – Steve Hackett

 

In The Flesh Live – Roger Waters

 

The Shaming of the True – Kevin Gilbert

 

V: The New Mythology Suite – Symphony X

 

Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven – Godspeed You! Black Emperor

 

Disconnected – Fates Warning

 

V – Spock’s Beard

 

SMPTe – Transatlantic

 

Lightbulb Sun – Porcupine Tree

 

 

The Seventh House – IQ

 

Kid A - Radiohead

 

Immortal? – Arena

 

Space Revolver – The Flower Kings

 

The Fourth Legacy – Kamelot

Kamelot The Fourth Legacy album cover

The Universal Migrator part one: The Dream Sequencer – Ayreon

 

 

The results:

 

2 [1.65%]
2 [1.65%]
3 [2.48%]
7 [5.79%]
12 [9.92%]
2 [1.65%]
14 [11.57%]
18 [14.88%]
24 [19.83%]
3 [2.48%]
15 [12.40%]
2 [1.65%]
6 [4.96%]
1 [0.83%]
3 [2.48%]
7 [5.79%]

 

The Others:

 

Perdition City – Ulver (3 votes)

 

Situation Dangerous - Bozzio, Levin & Stevens

 

Iona- Open Sky                     

 

Lost and Found - KBB



Strong mention for:
Robotobibok - jogging

 


 

Interesting Posts:

(after I had posted 1967-2000 polls non stop)

Suddenly the polls from AtomicCrimsonRush have stopped. I'm guessing he crashed and burned after the caffeine wore off.

And:

Minstrel 's Faust, Janos Varga Project- Wings I , Odyssice- Impressions, Grandstand's debut album and After Crying's Struggle for Life.  

And this:

Shaming of The True... easily. If you don't already have this MASTERPIECE by Kevin Gilbert, go out and buy it today. I'm not joking.

 

AND THE WINNER IS...

 Lightbulb Sun – Porcupine Tree

 
My Review:

**** 10 songs that made a million...

Porcupine Tree's "Lightbulb Sun" ages well like fine wine, and listening back to this after a long hiatus from Porcupine Tree and indulging in so many other artists and styles was sheer bliss. The relaxing feel of the band, the powerful melodies and Steven Wilson's brilliant crystalline vocals were outstanding. The songs that jumped out and brought instant satisfaction include 'Lightbulb Sun' with such a wonderful melody and serene atmosphere. The heavy guitar riff is never overbearing but such a mark of excellence. The quality of the sound is a high point of the album.

'4 Chords that Made a Million' has such an infectious tune that is was hard to get out of my head. 'Shesmovedon' is absolutely moving and of course had featured on other Porcupine Tree albums following this such as 'Deadwing' and many live albums. The lead break is incredible and rises to a crescendo.

It segues into an acoustic jangly passage and Wilson's vocals are mixed to the front, more intimate and not so distant and spacious as usual on the memorable title 'Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled'. Barbieri's keyboards are a beautiful chiming augmentation and the starman alien narrative is a nice touch adding to the atmosphere.

The album is the 6th studio album and, after some intricate lengthy spacey projects with huge epic pieces focussing on instrumentation over lyrics, this was a much more mature offering. The songs are short and memorable and I believe it was the beginning of worldwide success for the band. The floodgates well and truly broke open after this 2000 album with the likes of 3 masterpieces in a row, "In Absentia" 2002, "Deadwing" 2005 and "Fear of a Blank Planet" 2007.

The band were exploring new territory from "Signify" onward discarding the massive epic length tracks which had to happen in order to break into a more profitable market. The shift in style worked for the band and of course they have become one of the most well know bands in the prog circuit. The DVD "Arriving Somewhere" features a lot of past songs from the band's history and from "Lightbulb Sun" the intricate 'Hatesong' is chosen, a song showcasing the heavier side of the band especially the repeated awesome 7 note riff that drives the song with the odd time signature. The musicianship is always exceptional. The band have extraordinary talent and this album is the first truly consistent work in terms of musicianship and song structures.

The dreamier side of Porcupine Tree with strong acoustic flourishes is a major focus such as the lightweight 'Where We Would Be', the catchy 'How Is Your Life Today?' and the ethereal 'The Rest Will Flow'. The longer than 10 minutes track on the album, that became obligatory on Porcupine Tree works in more recent years, is the 13 minute 'Russia On Ice'. Unlike 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here', or 'Anesthetize', that are both works of brilliance and indispensable in Porcupine Tree's catalogue, 'Russia On Ice' is not as well known. In any case it still is a song with some epic playing and very powerful sections. It begins with spacey keyboards and a heavier guitar, slow and brooding, creeps along the temperate drums. Wilson's vocals sound like the post "In Absentia" tones, reflective and distant; "Can't stop myself drinking, can't stop being me, if I call will you come and will you save me?" The slow cadence is very relaxing but melancholic especially the guitars. The bassline becomes the main instrument in the mid section, and then a crunching metal distorted guitar enters. The rhythm locks in and the song changes into a metal style which is jarring, given all the ambience previously. The sound that follows is industrial like Gary Numan, with mechanised percussion and effects, and even the guitars are machinery like, especially at 10 minutes into it. A bell begins to toll after this lengthy instrumental section and the ambience returns.

The album closes with 'Feel So Low' which is lulling and dreamy. Wilson sings quietly "I can laugh about it now, but I hated every minute I was waiting for your email, and each day that you forgot to call, just made me feel so low, so low". Once again Wilson injects modern technology into his lyrics such as emails and later on "FOABP" the X-box. It is a soothing way to close the album, though Wilson is singing about a broken relationship.

At the end of this album one comes away feeling refreshed and satisfied as the music is uplifting and pleasant ear candy throughout. The best was yet to come but this is a solid album worthy of many repeated listens.



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:06
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 13 2010 at 06:55

Part 35: Prog Poll through the years 2001

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2001.

The new millennium was replete with experimental progressive metal and it began with a lot of well executed albums. Had to miss a lot out as at least 50 received high ratings!

 

The Perfect Element Part 1 – Pain Of Salvation

 

Terria – Devin Townsend

 

Blackwater Park – Opeth

 

Leaving Your Body Map – Maudlin Of The Well

 

Lateralus – Tool

Tool Lateralus album cover 

Bridge Across Forever – Transatlantic

 

Light of Day, Day Of Darkness – Green Carnation

 

Burn The Sun – Ark

 

The Towers Of Avarice – Zero Hour

 

The Last Bright Light – Mostly Autumn

 

In Search Of Truth – Evergrey

 

Imaginary Friends – A.C.T

 

Live Scenes From New York – Dream Theater

 

Operation: Livecrime – Queensryche

 

Live On The Edge Of Forever – Symphony X

 
The results:

 

 

7 [8.86%]
5 [6.33%]
13 [16.46%]
1 [1.27%]
16 [20.25%]
18 [22.78%]
7 [8.86%]
1 [1.27%]
1 [1.27%]
3 [3.80%]
0 [0.00%]
0 [0.00%]
1 [1.27%]
1 [1.27%]
0 [0.00%]
5 [6.33%]

The Others:

Karda Estra - Eve

 

Magnification – Yes

 

Return of the long list too:

2001 an odd space city.  You have not listed a single album that I have from that year.  I offer up some others:

Afro Celt Sound System    Volume 3 : Further In Time
Anderson, Laurie    Life On A String
Bears, The    Car Caught Fire
Djam Karet    Ascension
Djam Karet    New Dark Age
Eno, Brian & J. Peter Schwalm    Drawn From Life
Europa String Choir    Marching Ants
Explosions In The Sky    Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever
Frith, Fred    clearing
Gongzilla    Live
Henry Fool    Henry Fool
Jones, John Paul    Thunderthief
Marillion    anoraknophobia
no-man    returning jesus
Oysterhead    Grand Pecking Order, The
Ponty, Jean-Luc    Life Enigma
Porcupine Tree    Warszawa
Praxis    Warszawa
Radiohead    Amnesiac
Stereolab    Sound-Dust

 

Interesting posts:

I think that Metanoia by Nexus deserved at least a place on the candidates. As I've said several times, one of the best South American prog releases ever.

 

It was dead even for a while: I posted

 

Its dead even

 

vote please

 

Lateralus – Tool

13

[20.00%]

Bridge Across Forever – Transatlantic

13

 

Then this happened:

 

Lateralus – Tool

15

[21.43%]

Bridge Across Forever – Transatlantic

14

[20.00%]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then this result 4 months later:

 Lateralus – Tool                                                                                 16  [20.25%]

 Bridge Across Forever – Transatlantic                                              18  [22.78%]

 
THE WINNER IS: 
 
 
Bridge Across Forever - Transatlantic
 
Review coming:
 
Followed Closely By:
 
Lateralus - Tool
 
Tool Lateralus album cover
 
My Review
 
 ***** Tool's 'Lateralus' is neo progressive at its darkest.

Tool compacts metal staccato riffs of varying metrical patterns with cynical lyrics to produce an album of exceptional quality. 'The Grudge' blazes from beginning to end and features very off-balance guitar riffing and time signature changes reminiscent of the best of symphonic prog such as ELP's 'Tarkus' and Yes's 'Long Distance Runaround'. Tool stands alone as an edgy, industrialized prog metal.

Highlights include 'Patient', 'Schism', 'Parabola', 'Lateralis', 'Reflection' and 'Triad'. Of note is the guitar riffing and percussion tremors that pound incessantly.

How do you end an album of this grand scale? Why, with a quirky monologue of course. The monologue in 'Faaip De Oiad' features a filtered voice over an ethereal atmospheric soundwave. The voice explains as follows:

I, I don't have a whole lot of time. Um, OK, I'm a former employee of Area 51. I, I was let go on a medical discharge about a week ago and, and... I've kind of been running across the country. Damn, I don't know where to start, they're, they're gonna, um, they'll triangulate on this position really soon. OK, um, um, OK, what we're thinking of as, as aliens, they're extradimensional beings, that, an earlier precursor of the, um, space program they made contact with. They are not what they claim to be. Uh, they've infiltrated a, a lot of aspects of, of, of the military establishment, particularly the Area 51. The disasters that are coming, they, the military, I'm sorry, the government knows about them. And there's a lot of safe areas in this world that they could begin moving the population to now. They are not! They want those major population centers wiped out so that the few that are left will be more easily controllable.

Creepy stuff and unforgettable once it penetrates the conscious. The soundwave of sonic white noise is incredible. The same approach is revisited on '10,000 Days' closing track.

In conclusion 'Lateralus' is a prime example of prog metal genius. Overarching themes and huge wall of sound metal. It is Tool's finest album, never bettered.

 


Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:08
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2010 at 04:58

Part 36: Prog Poll through the years 2002

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2002.

More prog metal than you can poke a stick at but some other classic proggers were inspirational as this list shows, and this was a very difficult list to choose from as the albums were high quality overall. A great year for prog again at last!

 

Remedy Lane – Pain Of Salvation

Pain Of Salvation Remedy Lane album cover 

In Absentia – Porcupine Tree

 

Contagion – Arena

 

6 Degrees Of Inner Turbulence – Dream Theater

 

The Sham Mirrors – Arcturus

 

A Nod and a Wink – Camel

 

Up – Peter Gabriel

 

The Odyssey – Symphony X

 

A Night At The Opera – Blind Guardian

 

Yanqui U.X.O. – Godspeed You! Black Emperor

 

Unfold The Future – The Flower Kings

 

(  ) – Sigur Ros

Sigur Rσs ( ) album cover

Snow – Spock’s Beard

 

Deliverance – Opeth

 

Vapor Trails – Rush

 

The Results:

 

< id=P85105 value=85105 = name=votice> 7 [6.60%]
< id=P85106 value=85106 = name=votice> 32 [30.19%]
< id=P85107 value=85107 = name=votice> 4 [3.77%]
< id=P85108 value=85108 = name=votice> 14 [13.21%]
< id=P85109 value=85109 = name=votice> 5 [4.72%]
< id=P85110 value=85110 = name=votice> 6 [5.66%]
< id=P85111 value=85111 = name=votice> 4 [3.77%]
< id=P85112 value=85112 = name=votice> 1 [0.94%]
< id=P85113 value=85113 = name=votice> 1 [0.94%]
< id=P85114 value=85114 = name=votice> 2 [1.89%]
< id=P85115 value=85115 = name=votice> 2 [1.89%]
< id=P85116 value=85116 = name=votice> 5 [4.72%]
< id=P85117 value=85117 = name=votice> 12 [11.32%]
< id=P85118 value=85118 = name=votice> 5 [4.72%]
< id=P85119 value=85119 = name=votice> 2 [1.89%]
< id=P85120 value=85120 = name=votice> 4 [3.77%]

 

The Others:

 

Such Fine Particles of the Universe – Bubblemath

 

Nebelnest - Nova Express

NeBeLNeST NoVa eXPReSS  album cover

Sotos' Platypus 

Sotos Platypus  album cover

 

After a lot of voting there was a clear winner!
 

AND THE WINNER IS...

 
 
 
 
My Review:
 
****One of the greatest example of neo-progressive rock by arguably the best in the business. Porcupine Tree have triumphed with their unique blend of soft acoustic melodica merged with heavy crunching killer guitar riffs. Wilson's voice is mesmirizing on every track. Barbieri's keyboards are a beautiful touch that permeate the album from beginning to end. It is a masterfully produced work that deserves all the attention it has garnered. Streets ahead of previous Porcupine Tree material and the best was yet to come following this album. But 'In Absentia' is an excellent way of being introduced to this important heavy prog band. They are complex in parts but never over excessive. And the melodies remain in your head well after the CD has ended. The production and art work are worthy of note too; a juxtaposition of sound, visual images and symbolism to paint a picture that is powerful enough to remember.

Highlights include the wonderful 'Blackest Eyes' with the inspired riff that propels it to its sudden conclusion. The time signature shifts are classic prog rock.

'Trains' is an excellent acoustically driven track that even sounds at one point like a train on a track, especially the ending. A lot of this track, and others, sound curiously like Pink Floyd meets Yes. There are undoubtedly huge influences from classic prog bands in this music. 'The Sound of Muzak' has a very catchy melody and Wilson is in full voice, as are the harmonies from other band members. Check this song out for a great example of melody and awesome musical interludes. 'Collapse the Light Into Earth' is a mesmirising slow moving track that uses techniques of minimalism and a huge wall of sound builds up to a crescendo. The track sends you to another place, and has the power to entrance the listener. Close your eyes and let it take you. It is as relaxing as anything the band were producing in their early days.

All the tracks are unique, inspired and demonstrate the musical complexity that is essentially Porcupine Tree. Many tracks appear on the live DVD 'Arriving Somewhere...' but the studio versions presented on this album are the best versions.

A real surprise! I was blown away by the musical dexterity and depth of this album. Following this was 'Deadwing' which is even better! Both are recommended!

 


Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:12
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2010 at 06:34

Part 37: Prog Poll through the years 2003

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2003. If I missed any that you believe are essential, place them in other section. Bear in mind of course I can’t place every album but these are the ones that seem to find their way into best of lists and are discussed by progheads.

 

Some excellent albums in 2003 and a real impact on many new bands with the likes of some of the more popular bands releasing exceptional albums.

 

Rush In Rio – Rush

Deloused In The Comatorium – The Mars Volta

Out Of Myself – Riverside

Choirs Of The Eye – Kayo Dot

Last Epic – A.C.T.

The Power To Believe – King Crimson

Testimony – Neal Morse

Effloresce – Oceansize

Damnation – Opeth

Opeth Damnation album cover 

Epica – Kamelot

Gravity – Anekdoten

Accelerated Evolution – Devin Townsend

Devin Townsend Accelerated Evolution (The Devin Townsend Band) album cover 

Train Of Thought – Dream Theater

Passengers – Mostly Autumn

Mostly Autumn Passengers album cover 

Underworld - Adagio

 

 

Results:

 
 
5 [5.56%]
13 [14.44%]
9 [10.00%]
5 [5.56%]
2 [2.22%]
11 [12.22%]
7 [7.78%]
1 [1.11%]
12 [13.33%]
2 [2.22%]
5 [5.56%]
0 [0.00%]
7 [7.78%]
4 [4.44%]
1 [1.11%]
6 [6.67%]
 
Others:

Muse - Absolution

Muse Absolution album cover 

From Land to Ocean by Galleon.

A Blessing In Disguise – Green Carnation

Seven Reizh –Ys Triskadenn

Virus – Carheart

 
Volapuk - Where is Tamashii?
 

 

 

AND THE WINNERS ARE...

very close but here are the top 3 separated by a vote

 

1 Mars Volta

2 Opeth

3 King Crimson

 
fantastic!
 
 
Reviews!
 
Deloused in the Comatorium
 
**** One of the most ferociously original heavy prog bands of the new millennium.

The Mars Volta blazed onto the scene with this incredible debut album that was unlike anything we had ever heard, borrowing elements from free form jazz, to heavy riffing and psychedelia, every track becomes part of the whole. The conceptual framework is based on the heavy sense of alienation and loss of sanity.

The intro, Son et Lumiere, is a rather hypnotic guitar motif that introduces the next track. Inertiatic ESP includes the repetitive vacals, "Now I'm lost..." over fast guitar work and raucous off kilter drum patterns. The lead instrumental section is strange and frenetic and became a signature trademark of the band's inemitable style.

Roulette Dares (The Haunt of) is a lengthy track that twists and turns in a myriad of musical directions. The vocal performance of Cedric Bixler-Zavala is monotone and estranged, at times sounding like Led Zeppelin or Muse, and hard to pin down in sections. There is a complexity of musical styles underlying each track that rises and falls in crescendos. The lyrics are non sensical but become part of the performance as we hear of 'exoskeletal judges at the railroad...' whatever it means, it becomes an extension of the soundscape.

Drunkship of Lanterns is a highlight with the abrupt guitar riffs of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and quirky jazz drums and metrical patterns of Jon Theodore that would send any metronome into overdrive. At times the pace is chaotic and this is balanced with moments of quiet beauty. "Is anybody there.. nobody's hurt" Bixler-Zavala wails in desperation. The invigorating display of group dynamics is evident on the excellent Eriatarka, with an interplay of guitar and bass and unexpected elements of jazz fusion thrown in the mix. It begins with bird calls and ends on a long somber note.

Cicatriz ESP is the killer 12 minute mini epic that begins on one riff and ends on another, frenetic and immersed in clanging guitars and bass. The surging keyboards add to the effect of guitar heavy sounds feeling at times like free rock improv.

Televators is another highlight and a softer track than the others almost entirely acoustic. This prepares us for the intensity of Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt. The sound is very unfriendly at times and not for all tastes but its a wash of heavy guitars and screaming vocals with many abrupt stop and starts in the music. The electric modalities are undisputably progressive and their are virtuosic leaps of guitar mastery that express the chaotic atmosphere. It all becomes isolated in a drone towards the end

The conclusion is this is a debut album any progger would be proud of. It set the scene for great things to come with 'Frances The Mute', the best of the band, and the excellent 'Amputechture'. The Mars Volta should not be ignored and this would appeal to anyone who love their prog unusual and heavy and laced with lashings of the psychedelic.

 
 
 
Damnation
Opeth Damnation album cover 
 
**** Damnation is a beautifully crafted melancholy Gothic work that has some of the best of the mellower side of Opeth. The influence from Porcupine Tree is evident as there is a lot of tracks that are a similar style due to Wilson's input. The excellent Windowpane starts the album on a positive note, merging very quiet vocals and virtuoso guitar riffing.

In My Time Of Need is my favourite track on the album that features a melody that really captivates the listener.

Death Whispered A Lullaby is another excellent track that is brooding and full of emotive lyrics.

Other highlights include To Rid The Disease and Weakness.

Overall this is the best Opeth I have heard so far and without the death metal vocalisations and chugging metal riffs, it is a pleasant surprise, and well sung and played. A brave move for a death metal band to record this, but it is so masterfully produced, it is captivating from beginning to end.

 
The Power To Believe
 
*****
This King Crimson album gave me the power to believe that there was more to offer from these quintessential prog legends. The album is very different than other Crim releases but that makes it all the more endearing. It opens with a cappella and moves to some odd xylophone and percussion reminiscent to the opening of 'Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One'. There are Arabian flavours in the music and it is very off kilter on 'Level Five'. It is Part 5 in essence of the continuing Larks' saga, but way better than Parts III and IV.

This segues seamlessly into 'Eyes Wide Open', with Adrian Belew sounding clear and pleasant on vocals. The melody is catchy, Fripp's riff is complex, the harmonies are perfect, and it veers the album in a new direction; this is one of the Crim's more consistent albums and is accessible for the majority. 'Elektrik', follows with an intro of pseudo brass, and then Fripp's guitars burst with chiming polyphonics. There is a passage of competing rhythms as the guitarists execute unusual figures with eighth and sixteenth bars. These instrumentals are stunning, very irregular patterns over crunching off beat rhythms. The symphonic strings are drowned out by a cavalcade of guitars and drums that pound like sledgehammers. This is one of the greatest King Crimson instrumentals.

'Facts of Life' is one of my favourites on this release, with a separate intro sounding like the coming of a storm, then it is blitzkrieged by a tempestuous percussion outburst by Pat Mastelotto. There are returns to the trademark polyphonic or mixolydian style that have made the band unique, and the guitars ascend during the chorus in contrast to the monotone melody. I love the raspy vocals akin to the style of '21st Century Schizoid Man' in some respects; "six million ants crawling on a plate" and "it doesn't mean you should just because you can". The lead solo has the guitar fuzzed up to maximum distortion and it grinds along with powerful strokes over the quirky tempo. This is one of the best King Crimson songs, a wonderful dark blockbuster with an infectious melody and intricate playing.

The next track segues immediately to 'The Power To Believe II', that is a sparse instrumental with Arabian influences, Oriental and Eastern sounds. Trey Gunn on rubber bass is an incredible force here joined by the masterful drumming of Pat Mastelotto. The music is liquid like dripping over those course Arabian vocal intonations. The bassline over the Oriental guitars is effective.

'Dangerous Curves' is played in 12/8 signature, and is simply astonishing musicianship. It is more keyboard driven than others here, and has a chilling edge. It builds up then releases with some creepy sonic atmospherics.

'Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With' reminds me of the terrific 'The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum', with the humorous word play and uptempo melodic rhythms. The lyrics are sung through a distorted box, as the lyrics state; "Then I'm gonna have to write a chorus, We're gonna need to have a chorus, And this seems to be as good as any other place to sing it till I'm blue in the face".

'The Power to Believe III' is more processed vocals, and a soundtrack fractured into industrial noises, clanging and banging. Fripp's guitar work is out of the box, he is really vibrant throughout this recording, the band seem inspired and it is a pleasure to listen to when they are in this mood. The monochromatic basslines and sporadic drumming are complimented by the screaming axe of Fripp.

It is followed by 'The Power to Believe IV: Coda' which is an instrumental bookending the opening of the album with the same style, and it reminds me of the sweeping synth style of Vangelis, with elongated synth pads and high string sounds, decidedly spacey and celestial.

Overall, this is a powerhouse album from King Crimson and surprised me somewhat as I had been a bit disillusioned by the efforts of the last three albums such as "The ConstruKction of Light" that were not easy to digest. King Crimson are always a challenge but if it is not compelling and entrancing my ears soon give up. On "The Power to Believe" everything strikes the right chord and it has a style all of its own, unique to the band and a musical journey that will give you the power to believe.



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:21
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 05 2011 at 04:22
Ok So what are we up to 2004?
 
I will get busy collating that now then, still 20 mins to vote though if you have not in that poll thread.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2011 at 07:42
OK I will get busy and post the next year in this blog. Its been a while but I think the time has come...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2011 at 08:48

Part 38: Prog Poll through the years 2004

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2004. Bear in mind of course I can’t place every album but these are the ones that seem to find their way into best of lists and are discussed by progheads.

Metal was still progressive but many symphonic bands made an impact in 2004. The albums were of exceptional quality with a few becoming absolute essential prog classics.

 

12:5 – Pain Of Salvation

Live At Budokan – Dream Theater
 
 

The Human Equation – Ayreon

 
K.A. – Magma
 
Magma K.A album cover 
 
Isa – Enslaved
 
Enslaved Isa album cover 
 
Back To Times Of Splendor – Disillusion
 
 
Be – Pain Of Salvation
 
 
Of Natural History – Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
 
 
Mabool-The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven – Orphaned Land
 
 
Seven – Magenta
 
 
Abydos – Abydos
 
Abydos Abydos album cover 
One – Neal Morse
 
 
Marbles – Marillion
 
 
Dark Matter – IQ
 
IQ Dark Matter album cover 
 
Leviathon – Mastodon

 

 

The Results:
2 [1.87%]
3 [2.80%]
15 [14.02%]
11 [10.28%]
4 [3.74%]
1 [0.93%]
6 [5.61%]
   2 [1.87%]
  4 [3.74%]
  10 [9.35%]
  0 [0.00%]
  4 [3.74%]
  14 [13.08%]
  19 [17.76%]
  3 [2.80%]
  9 [8.41%]
The Others:
 
The World That We Drive Through - The Tangent
 
The Tangent The World That We Drive Through album cover  
 
In a Safe Place  -  The Album Leaf
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fripp & Eno - The Equatorial Stars
 
 
L'Infinito - Le Orme
 
 
Guapo - Five Suns
 
 
A lengthy List was mentioned:
Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains    Big Eyball in the Sky, The
Medeski Martin and Wood    End of the World Party (just in case)
Belew, Adrian    side one
Netkar    Evolution
Muffins, The    Double Negative
Frith, Fred and Arditti String Quartet, Uwe Dierkson, William Winant    Eleventh Hour
Hackett, Steve & The Underworld Orchestra    Metamorpheus
Happy The Man    Muse Awakens, The
Manzanera, Phil    6pm
Ozric Tentacles    Spirals In Hyperspace
Phideaux    Fiendish
Phideaux    Ghost Story
Umphrey's McGee    Anchor Drops
Big Big Train    Gathering Speed  
 
 
Marilion and IQ battled it out for a while deadlocked but eventually one winner in a great year for Prog:
 
AND THE WINNER IS...
 
 
IQ Dark Matter album cover 
 



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:27
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2011 at 12:21
Scott, welcome back.

Sooooo glad everything around you has got better.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2011 at 19:13
Originally posted by DamoXt7942 DamoXt7942 wrote:

Scott, welcome back.

Sooooo glad everything around you has got better.
I appreciate that, thanks so much.Star
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2011 at 20:05

Part 39: Prog Poll through the years 2005

 

 
Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2005.

The new millennium was off to an excellent start with new bands adding their own style to prog. 2005 was a good year for prog and some of these albums are highly revered in the prog world. A great list to choose from, as good as it gets for some bands.

Rockpalast – Porcupine Tree
 
Second Life Syndrome – Riverside
 
 

? = Neal Morse

Neal Morse ? album cover 
 
Ghost Reveries – Opeth
 
 
Room V – Shadow Gallery
 
 
The Art Of Navigating By The Stars – Sieges Even
 
 
The Way Up – Pat Metheny
 
 
Deadwing – Porcupine Tree
 
 
The Fullness Of Time – Redemption
 
 
The Black Halo – Kamelot
 
 
Frances The Mute – The Mars Volta
 
The Mars Volta Frances The Mute album cover 
 
The Dreams Of Men – Pallas
 
 
Present – Van Der Graaf Generator
 
 
Pepper’s Ghost – Arena
 
Arena Peppers Ghost album cover 
 
Octavarium – Dream Theater
 
 
 
0 [0.00%]
  26 [19.55%]
  10 [7.52%]
  14 [10.53%]
  2 [1.50%]
  5 [3.76%]
  5 [3.76%]
  32 [24.06%]
  2 [1.50%]
  3 [2.26%]
  6 [4.51%]
  3 [2.26%]
  8 [6.02%]
  0 [0.00%]
  13 [9.77%]
  4
 
In a very strong year for Prog there were many choices for other:
 
Blood Inside - Ulver
 
 
 
Catch 33 - Meshuggah
 
 

Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: from Fear Through the Eyes of Madness - Coheed and Cambria

 
 
S.U.S.A.R - Indukti
 
 
I Am - Tomas Bodin
 
 
 
Believe - Pendragon
 
 
 
Wall Street Voodoo - Roine Stolt
 
Roine Stolt Wallstreet Voodoo album cover 
 
Rapture of the Deep - Deep Purple

 
 
Chupacabras - Phideaux
 
 
 
AND THE WINNER IS...
 
 
 
Deadwing - Porcupine Tree
 
 
 
 
My Review:
 
 ***** Haunting, Sensual, Terrifyingly Beautiful

My introduction to Porcupine Tree began here and I was overwhlemed by the blend of heavy crunching guitar riffing and mellotrone ambience. I believe I was hooked from the moment I heard 'Shallow' which remains my favourite PT track even after getting hold of their last few albums and DVD. One of the greatest example of neo-progressive heavy rock by arguably the best in the business. Wilson's voice is mesmirizing on every track. Barbieri's keyboards are a beautiful touch that permeate the album from beginning to end. It is a masterfully produced work that deserves all the attention it has garnered. Streets ahead of previous Porcupine Tree material and a real turning point after 'In Absentia' which was also masterfully produced, though not up to this standard.

The melodies remain in your head well after the CD has ended in particular 'Mellotron Scratch', 'Start of Something Beautiful' and 'Lazarus'. The production and art work are worthy of note too, a juxtaposition of sound, visual images and symbolism to paint a picture that is powerful enough to remember. The album artwork seems to point to a disaster in a car crash resulting in the ghostly apparition of one of the deceased. I am not entirely sure but the enigma and mystique is evident and quite compelling.

One reason to get hold of this album is the wonderful mini epic 'Arriving Somewhere...' that has some innovative melodies and an incredible instrumental section featuring great guitar riffs and relaxing keyboards. The time signature shifts are classic prog rock. The Pink Floyd and Yes influences are evident. There are undoubtedly huge influences from classic prog bands in this music. The entrancing and mesmirising atmospheric slow moving tracks at the end of the album use techniques of minimalism and a huge wall of sound builds up to a crescendo. 'Open Car' for instance is simply hypnotising. The ghost track is an old favourite but well executed here and a pleasant surprise when you are not expecting it.

All the tracks are unique, inspired and demonstrate the musical complexity that is essentially Porcupine Tree. Many tracks appear on the live DVD 'Arriving Somewhere...' but the studio versions presented on this album are the best versions. I have no hesitation in awarding this incredible album 5 stars. The musical dexterity exceeded my expectations and I systematically was compelled to get hold of everything else the band has done. Porcupine Tree are keeping the neo heavy prog dream well and truly alive and are hailed today as masters of the genre!



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:33
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2011 at 20:18
This thread needs more pictures
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2011 at 20:23
^^^^ I can arrange that.... he he 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2011 at 02:15
 Part 40: Prog Poll through the years 2006

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2006.  
This year saw some very good albums although the list was full of similar styles, namely prog metal. It seemed that prog had a new face in the new millennium, and was firmly establishing itself in the heavy metal genre, even reinventing the genre by adding new elements such as orchestration and unusual instruments.

 

Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra – Dream Theater

 
In A Flesh Aquarium – Unexpect
 
 
Posthumous Silence – Sylvan
 
Sylvan Posthumous Silence  album cover
 
Stati Di Immaginazione – Premiata Forneri Marconi
 
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Stati Di Immaginazione album cover
 
Synchestra – Devin Townsend
 
 
For The Love Of Art And The Making – Beyond Twilight
 
 
Amputechture – The Mars Volta
 
 
The Butcher’s Ballroom – Diablo Swing Orchestra
 
 
10,000 Days – Tool
 
 
A Place In The Queue – The Tangent
 
 
The Dark Third – Pure Reason Revolution
 
 
Milliontown – Frost*
 
 
Blood Mountain – Mastodon
 
 
Paradox Hotel – The Flower Kings
 
 
 
 
The Results:
 
  Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
  14 [11.86%]
  3 [2.54%]
  6 [5.08%]
  14 [11.86%]
  4 [3.39%]
  3 [2.54%]
  4 [3.39%]
  1 [0.85%]
  16 [13.56%]
  15 [12.71%]
  9 [7.63%]
  5 [4.24%]
  5 [4.24%]
  7 [5.93%]
  2 [1.69%]
  10 [8.47%]
 
The Others:
 
Many other albums were mentioned as follows:
 
Ashes Against The Grain - Agalloch
 
 
Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue - Kayo Dot
 
 
Ewas Vader - One Shot
 
 
Heart full of Sky - Mostly Autumn
 
 
Perpetuum Karma - Nexus
 
 
Wild Orchids - Steve Hackett
 
 
Surface to Air - Zombi
 
 
Spock's Beard - Spock's Beard  

Spocks Beard Spocks Beard album cover
 

 
 
 
Enter - Russian Circles
 
 
It was as close as it gets with a deadlock between Tool and The Tangent.
 
But after a last minute poll the winner was decided.
 
AND THE WINNER IS...
 
 
 
My Review:
 
****
A psycho-drama of technical riffing and atmospheric gloom.

Tool blaze a trail of glory on "10, 000 Days" with raucous metal riffing precision and powerful song structures. The riffs are like machines in factories churning out iconic metal prog, check out that machine gun attacks on 'Jambi' for example.

It begins with a blast of riffing elegance on 'Vicarious' with the Tool signature sound, razor edge riffs and emotive raspy vocals that echo more anger than the average screamer. The attitude of the band has always been to attack at the jugular vein of society and reveal the uglier side of humanity. The lead breaks are as well executed as the distorted riffs, such as the wah-wah vocoder effects of Adam Jones' lead guitar on 'Jambi'. Tool have a relentless rhythmic pace that is familiar to all Toolaholics, from previous albums "Aenima" and "Lateralus." The angular guitar phrases and odd time signatures are a key feature and the dark lyrics sung with so much passion by Maynard James Keenan.

On 'Wings for Marie (Pt 1)' the droning ambience of layered guitars and extended vocal intonations are ethereal and atmospheric. Justin Chancellor's bass drones menacingly and then the percussion explosion of Danny Carey augments the chilling soundscape.

'10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2)' is where the complex musicianship really comes into effect and all in 11 glorious minutes. This is a masterful track beginning with stormy distant thunder and a guitar picking phrase. The clean low key vocals speak of a river, the tales of a saviour, trials and tribulations, "a congregation gather round spewing sympathy, spare me", and "blinded by choices" you are "safely on your way". It builds with looming menace as the thunder gets closer and some violining guitar swirls, sounding like Pink Floyd's 'Empty Spaces'. Eventually loud thunder crashes lead to a fast hypnotic motif and some more forced vocals. It kind of sits on the one note musically but is very effective with its brooding atmosphere. It breaks into a loud instrumental break powered by phased guitar and a vibrant bassline. The lead break has sustained feedback and some wonderful string bends with soaring elegance. It gets heavier at the end until the whispered portentous vocals "never lived a life, never took a life", capping of a masterful track.

'The Pot' is next beginning with a capella vocals "who are you to wave your finger you must have been out of your head". The tribal percussion and strange guitar effect is soon joined by a chugging riff, as heavy as distortion can get. The melody on this is more accessible than previous track and has the repeated phrase "you must have been high". I like the pulsing riff that locks in at the end as a snarling guitar blasts over; it is an enduring track. Keenan's guitar is interminably locked into a D minor pentatonic scale but it is recognizable as trademark Tool, and the sound really haunts well after the album is over.

'Lipan Conjuring' is one of the short Tool tracks with tribal vocal intonations and a mystical percussion feel with some guitar. It is a transition into 'Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)', a track that really made me sit up and take notice when I first heard this album years ago. It is dominated with sustained lead notes feeling very dark and downbeat. A nurse's voice converses with a doctor about a situation of concern. They have a patient who is experiencing some kind of catatonic state. We hear his breathing and then the band launch into 'Rosetta Stoned'.

This is an 11 minute prog metal blaster, with chunky riffs and speed rapping. A very weird vocal is soon heard, overlayed growls and phased vocals enhance the ominous atmosphere. It builds eventually to the zinging guitar effects done by slashing a pick over the strings, and an excellent time sig change moves the track into a new direction. The polyrhythmic riffs are mesmirising and inspiring, and the bassline solo on this is incredible. One of the best tracks on the album without a doubt.

The last three tracks are linked well making the album culminate in some intricate riffs and time sigs. 'Intension' follows on with a weird intro of shifting glass and leaves with an stoned atmosphere of loneliness, and the air is intense with whispered rage. The bass emanates nicely and there are harmonised vocals, so effectively layered over. It is one of the quietest moments on the album, but threatens to break out any moment. When the rhythms stop a lone guitar echoes in the night, before a bass joins and then percussion. It builds to more power until the melodic vocals return. The guitar is beautiful on this song, understated and melodic.

'Right In Two' has a similar rhythm, slow and patient with soft vocals. I like Tool when they are in their melancholic mood but at times I long for a blast of distortion to keep things interesting. This one has some psychedelic textures but is overall replete with chilling lyrics such as the "2001: A Space Odyssey" inspired verse; "Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the ground, Silly monkeys give them thumbs, they make a club, and beat their brother down, How they survive so misguided is a mystery, Repugnant is a Creature who would squander the ability, To lift an eye to heaven, conscious of his fleeting time here." It builds to a heavier section, with the repeated "cut and divide it right in two."

Tool finish albums with disturbing material, such as the Area 51 rant on "Lateralus", and here is no exception with the esoteric 'Viginti Tres', Latin for 23. After a cosmic pulse sounding like a planetary signal, a deep voice is heard uttering a mystical phrase, and then it emanates into oblivion. As scary as Tool like to get and one that has been interpreted over the years as leaving the body into some state of transcendental realm. The uttered phrase "asisco" apparently means to "take-in" or "accept", spoken in the angelic language known as Enochian. It makes more sense understanding that the album was dedicated to Maynard James Keenan's mother, who died prior to its recording, and the voice may be taken as a means of God inducting his mother into Heaven. The pulse then may be the life machine she was plugged into prior to passing over. Interestingly enough if one syncs this track up to 'Wings For Marie (part 1)' it makes even more sense, as many have discovered. This form of syncing two tracks also has significant meaning along with the stereographic album artwork with the use of the special stereogram binoculars. The track has developed a cult following for all these reasons.

Tool again have produced an intriguing album with masterclass musicianship, driven by angular guitar riffs and powerful vocals. It has some of the most innovative album design art ever, complete with those unique glasses making everything jump out in real 3D. The psycho-drama concept is heavy and hard to grasp as always but it is the music that really makes Tool such an endearing act. "10, 000 Days" is as good as "Lateralus", forever my favourite of theirs, and this is well worth a visit now and then; a wonderful example of the band as inventive metal geniuses. 


Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:43
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 29 2011 at 23:17
Part 41: Prog Poll through the years 2007

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2007.

This was one of the hardest years to choose from such was the quality of the albums but I have come up with hopefully a list that captures the spirit of the year. Prog was right on top again.

 

Snakes and arrows - Rush

Rapid eye movement – Riverside

In rainbows - Radiohead
 
Paradise lost - Symphony X
 
The sum of no evil – Flower Kings

Sound of the apocalypse – Black Bonzo
 
Sleeping in traffic pt 1 – Beardfish
 
Beardfish Sleeping In Traffic: Part One album cover 
 

Empires Never Last – Galahad

Ziltoid The Omniscient – Devin Townsend
 
Sola Scriptura – Neal Morse

Night – Gazpacho
 
A Gentleman’s Hurricane – Mind’s Eye
 
Fear Of A Blank Planet – Porcupine Tree
 
Doomsday Afternoon – Phideaux
 
Indegina – Mar de Robles
 
The Results:
 
 
6 [4.92%]
5 [4.10%]
3 [2.46%]
1 [0.82%]
5 [4.10%]
4 [3.28%]
7 [5.74%]
1 [0.82%]
9 [7.38%]
12 [9.84%]
2 [1.64%]
3 [2.46%]
44 [36.07%]
12 [9.84%]
2 [1.64%]
6 [4.92%]
 
 
The Others:
 
Ulver - Shadows of the Sun
 
Time Control - Hiromi Uehara
 
Aranis II - Aranis
 
Circus of Life - Magic Pie
 
Blessed are the Bonds - The Pax Cecilia
 
 
 
Prominence/Demise - Winds
 
Anekdoten - A Time Of Day


Someone listed their personal top 10:

1-Porcupine Tree- Fear of a Blank Planet

2-Satellite- Into the Night

3-Galahad- Empires Never Last

4-Xang- Last of Lasts

5-Gazpacho- Night

6-The Gourishankar- 2nd Hands

7-Knight Area- Under a New Sign

8-Nemo- Si Partie 2

9-Singularity- Of All the Mysteries

10-The Gift- Awake & Dreaming 

 
But after a lot of twoing and froing there was a definite winner:
 

AND THE WINNER IS...

 

Porcupine Tree

 

My Review:


****"I dream of escape, but a song comes onto my i-Pod..."

This concept album has certainly made an impact in the prog community, hailed as one of Porcupine Tree's finest and for good reason. There is so much on offer on this excellent project. The actual concept of the album was heavily influenced by Bret Easton Ellis' novel "Lunar Park", a story told from the perspective of a father, and the difference here is the album tells the story from the perspective of the 11 year old son, Robby. The lyrics are often taken directly from the novel, focussing on the themes of two typical neurobehavioural developmental disorders that affect modern teenagers, namely bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder. As I work with some kids with these disorders the album definitely touched a few chords with me. A member of my family has suffered in one of these mental illnesses and I know how hard it is to cope with this even from a third party perspective. The lyrics also deal with the youthful aspirations of attempting to escape by turning to drugs, or X box games, I-pods and technology that cause social alienation. The mass media gets a real serve on this album as the cause or part of the cause of this disassociation and I think the album has some potent remarks on the harm that is being done with the mass appeal of technology based infomedia.

The album begins with the killer title track that pounds along at a brisk pace and has some absolutely wonderful melodies. The song is unforgettable and is the best on the album. I always liked how the lyrics mention X Box as a symbol of techno addiction.

'My Ashes' sounds like 'No Quarter' by Led Zeppelin at some point, perhaps noticeably the keyboard sound encapsulates the psychedelic atmosphere. It is a song filed with pathos and pain but with dark beauty. The lyrics are quite downbeat as is most of the content of the album. There is a melancholy feel throughout, and it really punches a hole into the consciousness as one listens to the album. It seems to get darker and more intense in mood from track to track. 'My Ashes' is a homage to the last chapter of the novel where the ashes of Bret's father are scattered effectively burying the memories of his life.

'Anesthetize' is the multi movement suite masterpiece that drew me to the album in the first place. A 17 minute epic with incredible guitar interplay and powerful synth lines. The melody is brilliant and the lengthy instrumental section is prog bliss. A track to be heard over and over.

'Sentimental' is a very gentle sad song with sweet melody lines, similar to the chords used in 'Trains'.

'Way out of here' is another of the masterpiece songs that deal with some very tough issues. The lyrics are full of mystery and intrigue; "Out at the train tracks, I dream of escape, But a song comes onto my i-Pod, And I realize it's getting late, I can't take the staring, And the sympathy And I don't like the questions: "How do you feel? How's it going in school? Do you wanna talk about it..." These sentiments seem to capture the teenage angst experienced in adolescence when one does not feel understood and loses track of communication with others. Steven Wilson explained partially some of the content of the album in "Revolver" music magazine when he stated, that the protagonist of the tale was a "terminally bored kid, anywhere between 10 and 15 years old, who spends all his daylight hours in his bedroom with the curtains closed, playing on his PlayStation, listening to his i- Pod, texting his friends on his cell phone, looking at hardcore pornography on the Internet, downloading music, films, news, violence." This is why the lyrical content mentions these technological mediums, though it does not attack them as much as one may expect, at least not as much as Wilson who has infamously smashed i-Pods and MP3s many times.

'Sleep Together' is a popular live track and although I look upon it as one of the weaker tracks here it still works as a good way to close the album, putting the protagonist to rest as he searches for love in an interminably cold faceless world.

My final thoughts are that this is an album that gets better over the years like a fine wine. On first listen I was impressed with about 3 tracks but the rest kind of washed over. Later on returning to the album after a long break, I began to appreciate the material as a whole concept which is hauntingly melancholy and bleak, and yet imbued with an uplifting ray of hope entrenched within. It certainly is one of the best albums of 2007, even winning Collaborator's album of the year on this humble site, and it is a thought provoking master work from a brilliant band.
 
 


Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:41
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 30 2011 at 00:03
Part 42: Prog Poll through the years 2008

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2008.

 

After an excellent year for prog experimentalism, 2008 continued the trend with innovative concept albums and more prog metal bands who were inspired by the new wave. Bands rode on the success of previous years and still managed to produced high quality albums. This is a selection of a very comprehensive list and I trust you will find a standout album among these great selections.

 

Reality Dream – Riverside

 
Bantam to behemoth – Birds And Buildings
 

Who’s the boss in the factory? – Karmakanic

Sleeping In Traffic Pt 2 – Beardfish
 

Discesa agl'inferi d'un giovane amante - Il Bacio Della Medusa

Traced In Air – Cynic
 

Pure – Pendragon

Not As Good As The Book – The Tangent
 
Watershed – Opeth

Diagonal – Diagonal
 
Insurgentes – Steven Wilson
 
 

Experiments In Mass Appeal – Frost*

 

01011001 - Ayreon

 
ObZen – Meshuggah
 
Trisector – Van Der Graaf Generator

 

 
The Results:
 
 
6 [4.48%]
4 [2.99%]
7 [5.22%]
15 [11.19%]
6 [4.48%]
5 [3.73%]
9 [6.72%]
5 [3.73%]
29 [21.64%]
3 [2.24%]
9 [6.72%]
3 [2.24%]
13 [9.70%]
3 [2.24%]
4 [2.99%]
13 [9.70%]
 
 
The Others:
 
 
Seventh Wonder - Mercy Falls

The Way of all Flesh - Gojira
 
Live at Montreux - Return to Forever
Blomljud - Moon Safari
 
Tardigrade - Simon Says
 
Hostsonaten- Wintertrough
 
Metamorphosis - Magenta
 
 
Blue Lambency Downward - Kayo Dot
 
At Work - Rational Diet
Rational Diet At Work album cover 
 
Dark Shot - One Shot
 
 
 
 
THE WINNER IS:
 
Watershed by Opeth
 
 

My Review:

*** Transition to greatness.
 

I was inspired to check this one out after having seen Live at the Royal Albert Hall DVD so indulged in more Opeth, almost hoping that the brutal growling vocals would be used sparingly. The opening track did it for me. Beautiful acoustic Mikeal's wonderful clean voice and a guest from gorgeous vocal from angelic Nathalie Lorichs. The lyrics are filled with passion and pain; "Yes I can, see you, Running through the fields of sorrow, When you get out of here, When you leave me behind, You'll find that the years passed us by." A fantastic start.

'Heir Apparent' is a killer thrashing dark thing with tons of black metal influences and caustic brutal vocals. The riffs are even Morbid Angel meets Sepultura sound alikes. This is perhaps as heavy as Opeth get referencing their earlier material. It settles into synth flute and acoustic but only for a moment and then more riffing from newcomer Fredrik and speed double kick drumming from Axe who also does a great job on his first Opeth album.

'The Lotus Eater' is a great track I first heard on the Albert Hall DVD. I liked it better there but this is still full of innovation. The transition from clean to growling vocals is okay with me, and the lyrics are inventive; "All years caring for a liar, Benefit road is winding higher, You're a moth too close to the fire." The creepy interlude of synth is fantastic as are the lead breaks. The psychedelic passage of music is estranged but with a wonderful time sig culminating in the final moments and some of Akerfeldt's best singing. The end is talking to some girl about nonsense but it is effective.

'Burden' is an acoustic dreamy piece with some gorgeous vocals and atmospherics. The lyrics are somber and melancholy; "Some will ask goodbye, A broken line but underlined, There's an ocean of sorrow in you." Per's keyboard solo is fantastic. The song features a specific out of tune guitar outro that is rather chilling. It would be a pain doing that downtuning effect in concert as the guitar would be useless for the next number.

'Porcelain Heart' is another of the light and dark tracks, with quiet verses at the start and reeking of sadness and despair. The riff is okay, but the real drawcard is the sarcastic or cynical lyrics and Akerfeldt's vocal technique on sections such as; "I see roads beneath my feet, Lead me through wastelands of deceit, Rest your head now, don't you cry, Don't ever ask the reason why". The fade in of lead work and blasts of distortion are an effective augmentation.

'Hessian Peel' is a strange one with some interesting moments, even beginning with the weird note that doesn't belong there. The lyrics are melancholy expressions; "Will the children cry, When their mother dies, And in the autumn of their lives, Will they feel the same?" the reversed lyrics that follow are actually "My sweet satan I see you" and before one gets on their hobby horse about this backmasking, the whole thing was a joke reference to the backmasked words of Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to heaven' that is now legendary ("here's to my sweet satan, no other made a path for it makes me sad who's power is satan"). I don't know how I acquire all this information. Anyway the song here is rather well structured with a heavier guitar sound in the middle, and growls at the end that explode suddenly and make me reach for the volume switch.

'Hex Omega' ends it all with an organ driven track. This is a rather pedestrian track without a lot of innovative moments. It has nice vocals for most of it singing about the demons we lock inside over the years become harmful to our sanity. The riffs are good but I prefer other tracks, though I love Per's majestic keyboards and his gentle piano.

So overall this album is a transitional album breaking in the new members but has nothing masterful on it unlike other Opeth albums to follow. It is what it is, a good album with average to good songs. If you are used to master works of the band you may be disappointed. At least I can say it is not as bad as the mess of Deliverance, but sits in between 3 or 4 stars for me. I will stick with 3 stars as I know the band are capable of so much better.



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:46
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2011 at 11:04
Part 43: Prog Poll through the years 2009

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2009.

 

Last poll after an exhaustive list and 2009 was as difficult to select as the recent years where prog has found a massive resurgence. In one of the strongest years for prog the usual suspects were still churning out excellent albums and a lot of newcomers surprised many with some of the best material for years.

 
 

Λmλhntλhtt-Rι – Magma

 
Part The Second – Maudlin Of The Well
 
Anno Domine High Definition – Riverside

Barbares – Nemo
 
The Underfall Yard – Big Big Train
 
Il Nome del Vento - Delirium
 
The Whirlwind – Transatlantic
 
The Second Death Of Pain Of Salvation - Pain Of Salvation
 
Crack The Skye – Mastodon
Mastodon Crack the Skye album cover 
 
Frequency – IQ
IQ Frequency album cover 
 
Digital Ghosts - Shadow Gallery
 
Tick Tock – Gazpacho
 
The Weirding - Astra
 
Addicted – Devin Townsend
 
The Incident – Porcupine Tree

 

Lots of interest with this poll. Some interesting posts:

Originally posted by Shevrzl

Addicted is here but where's Ki? Anyway, went for ADHD

ACR: Devin had a great year didnt he? I checked the ratings and Ki was just under so rather than have 2 of his I went for the best - there were a heap of albums I could not include - one of the best years in prog - I hope 2010 is as good if not better!

thx for voting all! Keep voting and making it count on the polls I had a great time putting these together and learnt heaps too in researching them!

SimZeppelin: Ah im in a real dilemma here, My favourite three albums of 2009 are in my opinion all reflective of some of the best work of each band: The Incident by Porcupine Tree, Frequency by IQ and Down and Out in PARIS and LONDON by The Tangent.

It's going to have to be Frequency by a very very small fraction. 2009 - What a year!

progmatic: I may be the only one at the moment, but I'd like to think others will vote for Astra "The Weirding". This sounds like a classic lost album from the '70s. I love everything about this album. It is mellotron heaven, but that's not all. The guitar playing, the singing, the '70s recording techniques, it all adds up to one great album.

I love others on this list but I can't tell you how anxiously I await another Astra album. I pray it's as good as the first.

Slartibartfast: Out of the choices other than Other, I have to go with The Incident.

I feel we've reached the point in prog history that "best" is totally irrelevant due to quantity and quality of really good stuff out there. Not that crappy stuff doesn't doesn't try and drag the rest down. I will not point fingers.

However, it does give us much fodder for pointless arguments and discussions and why not have some fun with it?


My 2009 other that isn't crap and god missed by too many, Knifeworld.

 

Originally posted by Slartibartfast

Out of the choices other than Other, I have to go with The Incident.

I feel we've reached the point in prog history that "best" is totally irrelevant due to quantity and quality of really good stuff out there. Not that crappy stuff doesn't doesn't try and drag the rest down. I will not point fingers.

However, it does give us much fodder for pointless arguments and discussions and why not have some fun with it?

My 2009 other that isn't crap and god missed by too many, Knifeworld.



Logan: I would largely agree except that I think that trying to choose a best "prog' album for any Prog year is ultimately pretty meaningless, There is incredible variety under the Prog umbrella (some styles are more popular and better-known than others). People have different ideas on what Prog is as well as tastes. No one knows every album out there; we can only choose from the limited amount we know. If this were limited to a specific category then I'd give it a little more worth, but still not much. At least if everyone knows all of the albums on the list, then it's something, but I often think that best equals knownness. In some polls where there are only two options people still vote for the only one they know.

I wouldn't say that my ten faves of 2009 are better than anyone elses (9 of my 10 faves I've listed before didn't make this list), and I'm sure as the years go by I will be exposed to many more from 2009 and my list would be different at a later date (plus part of it has to do with our particular tastes at a particular time -- unless someone's tastes always remain the same).

Contests are little more than a fun exercise -- although there was a greater point to these polls. Choose the best? Can only be the best for you at a given time from what you know. Definitive? There's too much variety in the categories here to choose a definitive album.

Every year has produced a lot of "quality" music (some obscure, some better known) from a broad range of styles. Even according to my tastes and limited knowledge, choosing one album from any particular year that I find best feels rather pointless (but I sometimes like to mention them to hopefully give those albums more exposure and share my passion, -- I know that's been my main reason for doing polls).

 

ACR: It aint serious, just let me indulge in this experiment

I am here to make you all think....

 

 

Many others were chosen indicating the strength of the 2009 prog output:

Destined Solitaire - Beardfish

BTBaM

Il Nome del Vento - Delerium

Number Seven – Phideaux

Still the Waters – Epignosis

The Hazards of Love- The Decemberists

The Thomas Tracks – 5bridges

Thin Air – Peter Hammill

Aranis – Present

2032 – Gong

Avanti! - Miriodor

Aurora – Litmus

Carboniferous – Zu

KI – Devin Townsend

 

Some lists were offered:

Cheer-Accident: Fear Draws Misfortune

Present: Barbaro (Ma Nom Troppo)

Wobbler - Afterglow

 

1- Blood - O.S.I.

2- Black Clouds and Silver Linings - Dream Theater

Martigan- Vision

Eureka- Shackleton’s Voyage

Manning- #10

Satellite- Nostalgia

Steve Wilson- Insurgentes

5 Bridges- The Thomas Tracks

Roswell 6- Terra Incognita

Mangrove- Beyond Reality

Strawberry Fields- River Gone Dry

Leap Day- Awaking the Muse

Knight Area- Realm of Shadows

Progression by Failure- same

Minstrel- Ahab

 

Between the buried and me - The great misdirect
An endless sporadic - An endless sporadic

Porcupine tree - The incident
Muse - The resistance

Transatlantic - The Whirlwind

Beardfish - Destined Solitaire

Leprous - Tall poppy syndrome

Karnivool - Sound awake

Mastodon - Crack the Skye

Exivious - S/T

Animals As Leaders - S/T

Gungfly - Please be quiet

Devin Townsend - Addicted

Devin Townsend - Ki

Chimp Spanner -

Bigelf - Cheat the gallows

Steve Vai - Where the wild things are

Katatonia - Night is the new day

Steve Wilson - Insurgents

Scale the summit - Carving dessert canyons

 

The results:

 
 
17 [9.77%]
13 [7.47%]
27 [15.52%]
2 [1.15%]
8 [4.60%]
2 [1.15%]
22 [12.64%]
0 [0.00%]
15 [8.62%]
10 [5.75%]
4 [2.30%]
6 [3.45%]
2 [1.15%]
1 [0.57%]
26 [14.94%]
19 [10.92%]
 

 

 

 
 

AND THE WINNER IS...

 
 
My Review:
 
*****  Anno Domini High Definition (ADHD) is all killer, no filler, a full blown masterpiece.

I publicly announce my official conversion to Riverside. Although I am new to this band I am absolutely convinced they are setting the bar high with their last 3 albums. This, their latest, is absolutely stunning music from end to end. The musical virtuosity is excellent, I love that pounding Hammond sound and the guitars are intricate and soar over the music. The vocals are easy to listen to, similar to Steven Wilson's style, and every track rises and soars with lengthy instrumental sections that feature incredible guitar and burning keyboards.

Egoist Hedonist utilises trumpets by guest stars and it is an effective moment on the track. The ambience of the quieter sections are balanced by all out psych prog freakouts and this is a heavy album with melancholy singing mixed with aggressive growling at times. The guitars are Jon Petrucci like, but there is a signature trademark sound that Riverside captures.

Every track seems to blend seamlessly into one 44 minute track but definitely a real highlight is 'Left Out' and the closer 'Hybrid Times' absolutely kills featuring Theremin would you believe!

'Hyperactive' is a short (5:45) opening number to get things started beginning soft piano that builds to a fortissimo of keyboards and bass. The killer riff chugs along frenetically and the off kilter drums are outstanding.

'Egoist Hedonist' would be one of the best prog metal tracks I have heard. It delivers with symphonic glacial landscape atmospherics with the warm vocals chiming in. The ambience of serenity is broken with the fractured angular guitars; an all out metal onslaught off the scale.

The absolute icing on the cake is the limited edition DVD that feature the band Live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, a popular venue for prog metal such as Pain of Salvation on their 'Ending Themes' DVD. The Riverside concert is resplendent with colourful lighting and a tiny display screen but the music is the main star. 'Volte Face' hammers along with shimmering organ and relentless guitar riffing. The band play many tracks from their last 2 albums. 'Volte Face', 'Conceiving You,' 'I turned you Down' and 'Reality Dream III' are from "Second Life Syndrome" and are played to perfection. The Tracks from "Rapid Eye Movement" are 'Beyond the Eyelids', '02 Panic Room' and 'Ultimate Trip'. Though this is not their best album from what I have read, the tracks are equally good on the live stage.

The crowd absolutely adore them and the band effortlessly perform one track after another with little explanation or introduction whipping them into a frenzy. The DVD runs for 40 minutes only, but it's well worth getting hold of. So this package features some of the best of the band thus far and is a pleasant experience. If you are new to the band you can expect accomplished musicianship with intricate drum patterns, screaming guitar breaks, keyboard flourishes and complex time signature changes.

There is a thread of Dream Theater, a layer of Porcupine Tree, a spattering of Deep Purple, and a teaspoon of Pain of Salvation, but Riverside are carving a niche in prog metal that is their own and deserved of cult status. If they were not mega stars in the prog world after their Reality Dream Trilogy, ADHD seals the deal and launches them to the stratosphere. Poland bands bow down and worship the new masters. They are undisputed brilliant musicians and this CD package is indispensable.

A 5 star triumph!

 
 
 
IN SECOND PLACE by a vote:
 
 
 
**** Porcupine Tree prove longevity is still possible in the world of prog.

PTree are undoubtedly one of the most influential groups of the past decade. Their albums in the early years are as weird as it gets with some dedicated to one sole idea and one song. Now on this latest release they present another one track conceptual album.

The main reason to purchase this is the 55 minute epic title track. 'The Incident' is a multi movement suite that features many songs merging seamlessly together to capture a narrative concept concerning a road accident, which is becoming popular on prog concept albums (The Human Equation, Octave).

The Incident is excellent in every respect, musically and lyrically it delivers, merging crunching metal guitars and ambient soundscapes of mellotron effortlessly; shades of dark and light. There are some tough fuzz guitars on these tracks and those melodic ethereal vocals of Wilson have never been better.

'Time Flies' is Porcupine Tree at their best, an incredible composition that is compelling and powerful. It is the highlight of ths very competent album.

The second CD features about 20 minutes of extras, at least they feel like it. They are Ok but no where near the epic title track. Its a bold move to release an album in this manner but it delivers and if only for 'The Incident' it will be hailed as a classic Porcupine Tree CD. It does not measure up to 'In Absentia' or 'Deadwing' but is still an excellent album, showcasing the sheer inventiveness and musical virtuosity of Porcupine Tree. I can't wait to see or hear them perform this live. 4 stars.



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:48
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2011 at 09:23
Wow, it may be time to complete the 2010 results. Vote if you haven't already but good luck finding it as its probably buried in the polls threads.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 24 2011 at 21:28
Votes will be collated for 2010 best albums this weekend and poll closed so still chance to vote those who have not.
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