Now that my 2013 ‘Album of the Year’ countdown is complete and I have given you the 20 albums that have had the biggest impact upon me, I thought that I would write a couple of posts about the other albums that didn’t quite make it into my Top 20.
You can read my full ‘Album of the Year 2013’ list right here if you’re interested.
Whilst the vast majority of comments about my Top 20 have been complimentary (thank you all for those), I have naturally been questioned, shouted at, abused and laughed at (all good naturedly, I might add) for some of my omissions. With these posts, I hope to set the record straight a little bit.
However, the bottom line is that 2013 was a very strong year. Many very good albums were released and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t fit about 40 albums into a Top 20. And believe me, I tried.
So, here goes. Part 1 of those albums that just missed out but are very worthy of your attention nonetheless.
If I’m completely honest, there are two important reasons why this album was not in my Top 20 for 2013. Firstly, I was never a massive Porcupine Tree fan and so I wasn’t immediately compelled to listen to this solo effort. Secondly, because I was slow in listening, I came to it too late in the year to be able to confidently put it into my list.
The fact is however, that I was stupid. I should have listened to this album the moment it was released because having now spent a bit more time with it, I must admit that it is rather special. This is very classy and professional modern progressive rock with an abundance of emotion and understated finesse. The album ebbs and flows effortlessly with plenty of light and shade to keep the listener entertained and enthralled from start to finish. It may not have made it into my Top 20 for 2013 but that’s my fault, not the album’s. Have a listen and you’ll see what I mean.
With the departure of founding member Reimut von Bonn, Long Distance Calling have taken a different approach with their sound on “The Flood Inside”. The German prog metal band began life as an instrumental outfit and on album number four, the atmosphere, the melodic flourishes, the density and the wall of sound riffs remain. However, into the fray for the very first time comes a vocalist in the form of Martin ‘Marsen’ Fischer. It is a great addition because it adds another dimension to the band’s already impressive musical output.
Instrumental virtuosity is not what Long Distance Calling are about. Instead they’re all about working as an impressive unit to create feelings, moods and emotions, taking the listener on an interesting, epic and occasionally slightly quirky, journey. With “The Flood Inside”, they have really delivered, albeit with a twist on their normal approach.
In general, I would not consider myself a fan of the djent movement. Of course there are exceptions to the rule and there are no better examples of that than ‘Altered State’ the second studio album from Milton Keynes’ finest metal quintet.
The album is arguably still djent at it’s heart, but the whole thing has been toned down to create a much more atmospheric and emotional end product. There are still moments of all out djent chug that litter the album but, for the most part, this is beautifully crafted and glorious progressive rock with metal leanings. And yet, in spite of the toning down, this is still an extremely powerful album. “Altered State” is a record that I feel more than I hear if that makes sense, as the music doesn’t just assault the ears, it goes deeper than that.
I have never been a fan of either Killswitch Engage or their specific subgenre of metal. I have always found the whole thing rather cringe worthy and just a little bit fake. The aggressive verses juxtaposed with clean-sung melodic choruses have always felt a bit clunky and fake, trying to be all things to all metal fans. Until now that is.
I don’t know what made me listen to “Disarm The Descent” for the first time. However, I did listen and it has blown me away. The riffs are huge, the songs are powerful and the choruses are so damn catchy and often border on the anthemic. Plus this album sees the return of original vocalist Jesse Leach, who puts in a very fine performance indeed.
This was a big surprise for me in 2013 and the only reason that it failed to make my top 20 is because 2013 was just so damn strong and I just question the longevity of the record. Will I still like it as much in a few month’s time? Only time will tell.
Once again, the full list of who did make it into my Top 20 for 2013 can be read here.