#1 is my AOTY, everything else is just listed in no particular preference or order. 2-10 are just my favorites off of the top of my head.
The winner folks, say hello to my personal pick for Album of the Year. I have nothing bad to say about this album, and I did when it was first released, but the two things I had qualms with grew on me. This album is just a culmination of all the things in music that I love at this point and time. I have not headbanged or sang along to an entire record in quite some time, and very few things make me do so. But this won me over with little effort, there’s nothing I can say that could give anyone a notion of what they’re going into when they put this album in for their first listen. Just enjoy every moment of it. My personal favorites are Clarity/Animal Bones/Drum Headtrial/Without Prejudice/Plato’s Tripartite. The screamed vocals in this album FIT, and that’s incredible for me to say because most times I don’t enjoy the sporadic and sometimes even constant screaming, but it adds an intensity to the music that doesn’t require what people usually resort to in order to get the same effect. 10/10, Perfect.
Tyler’s 2013 effort did not disappoint, much if not all of the songs lost the edge that Goblin had in favor of some excellent new directions. Yes, he’s still vulgar and as rude as ever, but the songs are completely different atmospherically, it feels like there’s something musical there rather than just a prominent focus on pissing off as many people as possible lyrically. The music is gripping and incredibly easy to just enjoy, the diversity of the tracks as well made for an interesting listening experience. Favorite tracks rotated constantly when this album was still in rotation for myself. My album favorites are, Awkward/Anwser/Slater/48/IFHY/Rusty/Tamale. Nowadays I bump these tracks by themselves whenever I don’t have time to listen to the entire album. 8/10 definitely recommend this album to anyone who didn’t enjoy Goblin but still wants to give Tyler’s music a shot.
3. Mouth of Swords
My original candidate for AOTY, this whole album feels like they realized what their next step was as a band to make, then completely surpass it. A lot of this album just resonates nicely with me, there’s quite a bit of experimentation going along with the record. It’s musically diverse as well, each song feels like it’s own experience but deliver in the vision of an album beautifully. The singles hooked me so badly that I couldn’t NOT be hyped for the release, which is a bad thing most times, it leads to disappointment pretty easily if the band doesn’t deliver the record I was expecting. Not that they have to adhere to what I want at all, but I usually keep myself from teasers so I can go in with a blank slate. My album favorites are Yellowism/Beware the Leopard/Red Hatchet/Wise Hands/The Ghosts That Wait For Spring. Props to Sean for really upping the vocals to a whole new level from Grind the Ocean, I’ve never had an issue with them but there’s an obvious improvement that you can’t deny. The album is a solid 9/10 for me, it’s excellent and the only reason it isn’t a 10/10 is because of very few moments that felt slightly dull to me. One of them being the opener, the album felt like it started way too suddenly but that’s not a big deal.
4. The Migration
Scale The Summit is also another band that really came into their own with a new release. The Migration really embodies everything about them incredibly well, on pervious records I could literally name the songs I liked on one hand. It was all good and well written, but very few songs off of “The Collective/Carving/Monument” had me coming back for more. A much more different experience with The Migration, it was all very coherent and easy to love. My album favorites are Odyssey/The Olive Tree/Narrow Salient/Oracle/Dark Horse/The Traveller. Of the instrumental releases I have I have listened to, this is definitely one of the most interesting. This release gets an 8/10 for me since a few of the tracks suffer the same fate as the previous releases, but I still enjoy every song on here.
5. Living Mirrors
What a release, if you’ve been following Disperse and you listened to their debut “Journey Through the Hidden Gardens”, you’ll notice the drastic change in sound. I loved the debut, it embodies what prog is for me and in more ways than one, it is a scary debut release with such good music. Living Mirrors does not break the debut’s stride and features a more modern approach and sound this time around. The first track “Dancing With Endless Love” is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard, it definitely has the debut’s vibe. An otherwise stellar way to open one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, (Openings/Intros always make a huge impression on me, which is why I felt like “Mouth of Swords” had a weaker beginning). Throughout the album you’ll encounter synths, atmospheric sounds, modulations, effects that really layer amazingly to give the music an immense feeling of being third dimensional. Each track has it’s own voice and experience, and the ONLY weak track on this is “Wow!”, it lacks what all the other interludes provide, and it breaks into “Universal Love” almost instantly with no proper transition. My album picks are literally every song except for Wow!, even with that disappointing minute this track stands firm with a 9.5/10.
6. Bilo 3.0
This was released very recently, and it has as many plays as most of the other albums on this list! I’ve always enjoyed David’s work with Bilo 1.0/2.0 but they left rotation fairly quick as it didn’t really grip me that well. This Bilo feel like the complete opposite, I’ve been listening to it everyday since it came out. Out of this list, this release is easily the most diverse of the bunch. Everything from the intro, to the scatting, the operatic vocals, the interesting vocals on “Smile”, unique guitar solos, and the otherwise wall of sound that hits like a train all makes this release stand out so much to me. Some of the things that are heard might be difficult to understand and enjoy at first for most, but I’ve come to appreciate things like Djelmas’s vocals on Smile. Which at first listen was the only thing I didn’t like about the record, for fucks sake I like Vladmir’s Scatting more on the first listen haha. Some of the elements that make up this record are definitely growers, you’ll appreciate what every is once you see Bilo 3.0 for the sum of all it’s factors. Moments like 4:25 into the song “Where is Now” is the kind of stuff I live for, those larger than life moments that make you stop and bask in what just happened. Also Jakub’s solo is incredible, Jakub Zytecki is the guitarist of Disperse, and if you gave that a listen before this you’ll already know why I consider this guy easily one of the best modern guitarists ever. Favorites include, Everything’s Fine/Where is Now?/Smile/Nostalgia, which is basically the first half of the album haha. The only thing I feel like the track “Daydreamers” would have benefitted from was keeping Radosavljevic off of it, and leaving Vladmir as the single vocalist. Aleksandra sounds great, but in the context of that song Vladmir suits it better. This album gets an 8.5/10 from me.
7. Newborn Sun
There’s so much to say about Chon, but every member is a prodigy in one way or another. Consistently able to put out music of the quality they do is a gift that should never be shunned. They’re an Instrumental group, but the music speaks volumes without the need to say anything. The chord progressions are beautiful easy to get lost in, it happens repeatedly for me, songs like Dew and Bubble Dream put me in a trance and I have to either stop and listen or put on the entire album from the beginning. The members are still relatively young, but the songwriting maturity is clearly there. Clocking in at 17 Minutes, this is probably one of the best example of musical blue balls out there, granted there’s quite a bit to dissect and listen to, it leaves you wanting more. Thankfully they are recording more music, but I cannot say enough about them, they have a ridiculously bright future ahead of them. Favorite off of the EP are Potion/Bubble Dream/Dew/Newborn Sun, this gets a 9.9/10 simply because it is incredibly short EP and zips by very quickly, otherwise perfect.
8. Yours Truly
I know, I know. I legitimately love this album and have listened to it almost as much as the others on this list. Ariana hit it out the park with this debut, despite “Popular Song” being on there which is upsettingly inferior to literally everything else on the album. Her voice is incredible, and the musical variety on the album makes this such an enjoyable listen. There’s probably 3 tracks that even sound like they have a common musical direction, that’s how diverse it is. Songs like Tattooed Heart are so well written and compliment her voice very well, showing off her her unbelievable range. Album favorites are Honeymoon Avenue/Baby I/Right There/Tattooed Heart/The Way/You’ll Never Know/Almost Is Never Enough. The only reason I’m rating this album at an 8.5/10 is because Popular Song is so out of place in that album to me. Otherwise an excellent debut for her.
9. Thousands of Evils
My favorite track on this is Dimman, when that was released as a “single” I literally looped it for hours. They really stepped it up quite a bit from Måsstaden, which I never expected them to do really. I was late to the party with Vildhjarta, they’re honestly the only band out there that even resembles/sounds like Meshuggah from the whole Djent thing. And I love that, as I’ve failed to find other bands that capture what Meshuggah does so well while putting their own spin on it to not sound as if they copied them. I find their use of ambience to be mesmerizing, this whole EP is dark and it does dark damn fucking good. It isn’t just a constant barrage of unenjoyable repetitiveness, it has a quality many bands that play such heavy music lack, it’s literally all memorable. I quite enjoyed the entire EP, and this may be a shit reason to not give them a 10, but it’s quite short and it zips by incredibly fast. So I give it a very solid 9/10.
10. Sweet Nothings
Oh Plini, only one word can describe his music and playing, tasteful. I remember the first time I heard Moonflower last year, which is still an amazing song but I’m so glad he’s taken to the direction he has now. This EP really leaves you with a great feeling throughout and when it finally ends, you don’t feel like it was lacking in content. I love that there is a nod back to Selenium Forest from the previous EP so much, I hope he does this with other references in the future. It’s all around a perfect EP, there’s some amazing choice of notes in his lead playing as well as some really seasoned composition throughout. It all sounds and feels huge without trying too hard. My favorites are, Opening/Away/Sweet Nothings. I still quite enjoy Tarred and Feathered but I almost always listen to the other 3 instead. This EP is the 2nd 9.9/10.
Eh, fuck it here’s my favorites in order from most to least favorite.
#2. Mouth of Swords
#3. Newborn Sun
#4. Living Mirrors
#6. Bilo 3.0
#7. Thousands of Evils
#8. Yours Truly
#9. The Migration
#10. Sweet Nothings.
if your parents only let you stay online for a limited amount of time im so sorry
all i wanna do is make art and discover new music and make up my own recipes and read books and explore the fucking world but i can’t because i’m stuck in this theory that everyone has to go to school to get an education to get a job to get money to send their kids to school so that they can do the exact same thing and i think that’s about 70% of the reason why i’m sad
this is truth. this is perfect