My Very Own “Late-to-the Party Best of 2016”

Our good friend and fellow Progarchist Time Lord posted a great 31 December addition which he called “Late to the Party—Best of 2016.”  He so perfectly expressed what all music lovers who make year-end lists encounter…too much great music and not enough time (or money). I too would add to my list the following albums which I hastily, but fervently, listened to in the last two days of calendar year 2016. They are all added to my “Honorable Mention” list:

FRACTAL MIRROR: Slow Burn 1 (Stellar musicianship, and the kind of project that makes you feel not just better after listening to it, but smarter.)

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KANSAS: The Prelude Implicit (And not for the nostalgia factor either, this is a solid and GOOD album! The Phoenix rising cover art is very apropos)

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FIRE GARDEN: Far and Near (The song ‘A Thousand Lost Souls’ is fantastic! Zee’s guitar has never sounded better and I really appreciated the guest work of Jordan Rudess and Jimmy Keegan)

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TILT: Hinterland (Some serious and austere work. The final 9 minute epic ‘Disassembly’ is my favorite.)

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RIVERSIDE: Eye of the Soundscape (Brad’s review from last Fall said it all. It is an exhilarating instrumental wash of emotion. Riverside is my favorite band so I’m not sure I can be the least bit objective.  Man, I miss Piotr: R.I.P.)

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DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT: Transcendence (I’m new to the DTP scene but what a great album. No Ziltoid stuff [I think] but just power prog metal with tons of hooks and melody)

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HEADSPACE: All That You Fear is Gone (The album has some “misses” to go with its “hits,” but all in all is commendable for ambition and technical prog prowess. The best tract is ‘The Science Within Us,’ which is a gem of a tune…for me, strangely, is has a real YES flavor to it)

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JOHN CARPENTER: Lost Themes II (My kind of synth-electronica. If you enjoyed the music from the highly praised Netflix series “Stranger Things” you’ll love this album as well.)

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GEORGIUS (aka Jerzy Antczak): String Theory (An almost perfect album. Anyone loving Riverside and the “Polish Prog vibe” will eat this one up. Buy it!  So good it would be Number 11 on my “Top Ten” were I rating “honorable mentions” numerically. The 11 minute ‘Ant’ is my favorite track.)

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RIKARD SJOBLOM: The Unbendable Sleep (Boy is this guy busy…and GOOD! From His Beardfish alchemy to his gig now with Big Big Train, he is truly Prog’s “Midas Man.” His solo album would have been on my “Top Ten” but for my insistence to treat Steven Wilson’s disc as full-on and not an EP. His song ‘Under Northern Skies’ is a 11/10 masterpiece!)

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There’s one more but I’m saving that for a full review. Oh that 2017 will be as good as the year past.

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