Not sure I’ve put a post on here for ages, so apologies for that but I’ve been busy running up and down hills through the mud, puddles, cow dung and sheep poo of the fantastic Pennines in the UK, with all this wonderful music going around in my head …
Anyway, as is customary for me, a quick scattergun snapshot of my favourite albums of 2104, with three very noticeable exceptions that were actually released in 2013.
My most played album of the year is :
Vanden Plas – Chronicles of the Immortal
Dramatic, operatic, emotional, heavy and stunning. Never has an hour passed as quickly or enjoyably as this sublime album. Wonderfully structured with barely a note wasted, this is a true classic with a flow that simply cannot be bettered. Crunchy, clean production, massive riffs, melody to die for. Can’t wait for the next chapter in 2015 ….
And this lot aren’t so bad either ….
Seven Impale – City of the Sun
A fantastic smorgasbord of jazzy heavy brilliance that twists and turns through a myriad of styles to delight with every listen. Absolutely barkingly brilliant …
Gazpacho – Demon
Evocative, moving, emotional and deeply rewarding. True to their style, Gazpacho deliver a wonderfully elegant, understated and involving piece of work. Essential
Pineapple Thief – Magnolia
Bruce Soord comes up trumps again with a collection of intense snippets of emotion. No solos, no wasted space – just fantastic compact songs that delight every time. My favourite live band and Magnolia brought to live brilliantly in Manchester recently. Wonderful.
Tin Spirits – Scorch
Brings back memories of running high up in the Lakes on a hot day. Gorgeous, light and textured. Dave Gregory’s guitar work is sublime – a summer album for sure. Uplifting and memorable.
IQ – Road of Bones
An absolute blast from start to finish. Solid prog rock of the highest order and a regullar visitor to CD player in my car. Cracking stuff.
Now for the fellas that were released in 2013 but which I’ve become acquainted with this year and, I think, two have been re-released in 2014 so I guess they might count, particularly if, like me, you are never sure what year you actually in …
Leprous – Coal
Saw these guys live with Haken and for me, they were the highlight by far. Physcotically syncronated head-banging perfection. Engaging, powerful, emotional and with slight nods to 90’s electronic amidst the metal mayhem. Brilliant.
Obsidian Kingdom – Mantiis
Stunning modern prog metal madness with jazz, death and brass thrown in to provide a Pans Labyrinth’an atmosphere of brooding intensity. Wonderful production as well … just listen to this track
Navigator – Ghostworld
Superbly engaging, soaring melodies with hooks that just won’t let go. Check them out – you won’t regret it. This is my most played album of December by far ….
My biggest disappointment of the year was ‘Distant Satellites’ by Anethema. What a mess of an album after the brilliance of the previous two albums. I know it was many people’s favourite but for me it had memories of the frankly awful Blackfield IV which will forever stay in my mind as one of the worst albums of all time …..
Anyway, onwards and upwards.
My running plans for 2015 are as expansive and ambitious as some of the music that has been released this year and I expect the same high levels for the coming year.