It’s that time of year! I've decided to revamp my process a little bit. After reviewing my past lists, I've discovered that they’d slowly become a recap of what I bought that year instead of a celebration of the best of the best. So this year I’m only picking five albums (with three honorable mentions) that I felt were the absolute cream of the crop. I’m also going to do this later in the year so as to include more.
Top Five Picks
3, Wake Pig – I got Wake Pig for Christmas last year and all of a sudden 3 became one of my favorite bands. All of their albums are fantastic (except Revisions) but Wake Pig remains my favorite. Imagine combining Coheed & Cambria with PFR and add in some insanely good (and unique) guitar playing and you’ll have an idea of what this band is about.
Tourniquet, Antiseptic Bloodbath – I honestly didn't think we’d ever get another Tourniquet album. Happily, this year proved me wrong! While I still think the songs are more an assemblage of cool riffs and parts than they are songs, I don’t hesitate to listen to it again as there’s so much to like.
Alice Cooper, Welcome to My Nightmare – Now I know why this is a classic. A truly superb album. From the crazy Vincent Price monologue, to the despicable “Cold Ethyl” to the mournful cries of “Steven!”, Welcome To My Nightmare is a one of a kind album. Before Silent Hill and Rob Zombie movies, there was Alice Cooper.
Sixpence None The Richer, Lost in Transition – I had this in the “honorable mentions” category but switched it because after complaining about not having it for two years I couldn't put in on my list and say nothing about it. I’m so glad Sixpence is back. The new album is a favorite in the house. Even my two year old likes it (and sings along – it’s so cute)! I still wish the songs themselves would have been explored a bit more, but that’s kind of a back-handed complaint. “Hey! The songs are great! I wish they would've stuck around longer!” Yeah… anyway, welcome back Sixpence!
Frost*, Milliontown – I seriously cannot believe how awesome this disc is. It came in my mailbox along with a few other freebies from a friend. Even after the first listen it shot to the top of my list. Amazing, evocative melodies. Great atmosphere. Epic songs. A great way to end the year, for sure!
Vanden Plas, Christ 0
Dream Theater, Train of Thought
Devin Townsend Project, Epicloud/Epiclouder
The Choir, The Loudest Sound Ever Heard – Wait, what?! Yep, sadly, I must include The Choir’s latest on my disappointments list. Let me be clear though, this isn't a bad album. The problem is that I’m used to Choir albums pretty much dominating the Ipod for months. Unfortunately, after the honeymoon period I didn't find myself wanting to go back to it. As much as I loved it when it first came out, there didn't seem to be much to really dig into after awhile.
Arjen Anthony Lucassen, Lost in the New Real – My problem with this one is pretty much the same as The Choir. I expected to be listening to this throughout the summer and into the fall. Again, it’s not a bad album. I just never wanted to go back to it as much as an Ayreon or Star One release. Also, it didn't help that I didn't really care for the second disc.
Flyleaf, New Horizons – Oh gosh. Yawn! The band put all their energy into the first three tracks then ran on autopilot for the rest. It’s too bad that this is the last album with Lacey because it’s not the best closing act.
Cornerstone dying – I was very sad to learn that this year was the last for the Cornerstone music festival. Cornerstone was always the Holy Grail of festivals to me as a youth. While I was fortunate enough to go to Kingdom Bound on a regular basis, there were only ever one or two bands I really wanted to see. At Cornerstone, everyone that played there was someone I liked. I had always hoped I’d get to go one year but it looks like I never will. Le sigh.
Ray Perra leaves Sacred Warrior – Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news? The bad news is that longtime vocalist Ray Perra left Sacred Warrior this year! The good news is that the new album in due sometime at the end of the year with a new vocalist who sounds great. Can’t complain about the replacement because he’s excellent, but it’s still sad that Ray won’t be joining the band for Waiting in Darkness.