Saturday, 4 October 2014

Top Ten Albums (Post Ice Bucket Challenge)

I was recently asked on Facebook by Matt Roach to list my top 10 albums. I’m a huge (rock) music fan with a collection in excess of 1,500 albums (which, interestingly doesn’t include any INXS) and although I managed to put a list together I was kinda happy with in about 10 minutes, it was a hugely difficult task for me. Here, in no particular order, is what I came up with.

Misplaced Childhood by Marillion

This is a fantastic musical and emotional journey. Fish’s 35 minute description of his broken heart together with Steve Rothery’s better-than-gilmour guitar playing is just incredible. I love listening to this album, but i have to be careful as it always puts me in a melancholy mood which can make behaving like a normal human being difficult for the rest of the day.

The Crimson Idol by WASP

It’s difficult to explain why this is such a good album. The way WASP use BC Rich guitars, the drumming, the chorus hooks and the story to this magnificent concept album are certainly part it. The highlight is the best guitar solo ever which forms part of The Idol, followed by the gentle come down of Hold on My Heart and the final emotional roller coaster of the Great Misconception of Me. But really the whole album is fantastic and I was very lucky to be able to see WASP perform it all the way through.

A Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink Floyd

Thought by most as the poorest of the Pink Floyd albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason was the first not to feature Roger Waters and is mostly a David Gilmour solo album. Some of Pink Floyd’s more experimental albums fail to be anything more than rubbish. Momentary brings together classic rock arrangements with experimentation that just blows you away on every listen. The guitar playing and lyrical content is fantastic.

Inner Circle by Evergrey

Inner Circle is everything a progressive metal album should be, but without any of the Dream Theater-esq technicality. Openers A Touch of Blessing and Ambassador are the masterpieces of Thomas Englunds career. It’s difficult when a band write an album as good as this, because they inevitably fail to better it and everything they do is compared to it.

Aeronautics by Masterplan

This is a straight power metal record and the highlight of Masterplan’s career to date. The great guitar riffs coupled with Jorn Lande’s impressive vocals make this unbeatable in the genre. There isn’t a bad track on the album, but the highlight is the love story played out by Headbangers Ballroom.

Critical Mass by Threshold

There had to be a Threshold album in here somewhere and it’s so difficult to choose between Critical Mass, Hypothetical and Subsurface, but it has to be Critical Mass. Mac’s vocals are fantastic all the way through and although Richard West’s lyrics are often overly religious and preachy, each song flows into the next and Karl Groom’s guitar playing is at it’s best.

Ghost Reveries by Opeth

It’s difficult to choose an Opeth album because most of them are so good. It would have be easy to default to Blackwater Park or the first of their albums I really got into, My Arms Your Hearse, bit Ghost Reveries is fantastic all the way through. Death metal bands are often cast as talentless and tuneless, but you only have to listen to the first track of this album to appreciate the skill and talent of this group.

The Arrival by Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy were the first death metal band I got into and they have remained my favorite since. Most of their albums have had an element progressive and The Arrival is progressive all the way through with every track as good as the previous one. As usual for Hypocrisy this is a concept album based on alien abduction. It has a different sound to their other albums, it’s still crushingly heavy, but many of the riffs are played higher up the fretboard.

Dusk and Her Embrace by Cradle of Filth

This album was one of the saviors of the 90s. It’s the first of the full length Cradle of Filth albums with the huge gothic, orchestral production that they and the Black Metal genre became famous for. Every track is superb and has a slightly different feel. Although it’s a good 50 minutes long, it usually leaves you wanting more.

Doomsday Machine by Arch Enemy

There had to be an Arch Enemy album in my list (I wish there was space for an Amon Amarth album too). All of the albums featuring Angela Gossow and now Alissa White-Gluz are fantastic and it was difficult to choose. Doomsday Machine was the first of their albums I really got into and I think it has the best riffs, even if it is quite over produced in places.

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