Happy Holidays from MikeRoberto.com!
Each year, my friend Brian and I share our Top 15 albums of the year. Brian is a much more intense music aficionado than I am, so he often finds the good stuff all throughout the year. I always find a way to piss him off by putting an album that he doesn’t like much into my Top 5. This year is no different:
- Iron Maiden – A Matter of Life and Death
The Gods of metal put out yet another amazing album. I can’t believe it, they find a way to change and stay the same all at once, and are rocking out while their peers are all in nursing homes. These guys are still firing on all cylinders, and that’s unbelievable, just like this album.
- Agalloch – Ashes Against the Grain
There’s no denying it: I cannot stop listening to Agalloch. This atmospheric, doom metal band out of Portland simply stuns me. Falling Snow (track 2) and Not Unlike the Waves (track 5) put me into a trance.
Not too many people have this album rated so high. Brian has it at 20. This is one band where we don’t agree much at all.
- David Gilmour – On An Island
I’m not a Pink Floyd fan, but this album makes me want to go check their stuff out now. This kind of music doesn’t come by every day, so I was very happy to get hooked on it earlier this year. Much slower than the above stuff.
- Green Carnation – The Acoustic Verses
Another slow one, but it’s obviously up here for a reason. Green Carnation used to be a pretty intense band, but they did not separate themselves from the pack like they do with their slower music. Beautiful acoustic tunes inside, I wish this album was longer. This is Brian’s clear #1 pick.
- Amon Amarth – When Oden on Our Side
Whoa, where in the hell did this one come from? This album whips! It’s melodic, it’s death, and it doesn’t sound like the same old Amon Amarth that we’ve heard from the previous 3 albums. I’m hooked. The last song might be the best ending of any album of the year. This album is war.
- Hammers of Misfortune – The Locust Years
Remember my blog entry ranting about A Confederacy of Dunces? Well, 90% of that book was read while listening to this album. Weird books deserve weird music. Hammers of Misfortune is just bizarre, and I love everything they do.
They also put on one of the best concerts I’ve been to, despite there only being 7 of us in attendance at the Grog Shop in Cleveland.
- Wolfmother – Wolfmother
Rock with attitude is back! These Ozzies actually deserve the fame they’re getting. Good for them, it’s good music. My myspace page has a track of them (Woman) on my little playlist there.
- Strapping Young Lad – The New Black
Devin Townsend put out two albums this year (this one and Synchestra with the Devin Townsend Band), and once again, he spreads himself far too thin. I’d almost given up on SYL, but this album really is good. They’re not just trying to play super fast, they’re actually making music! It’s just not as innovative as the above albums. Their remake of Far Beyond Metal is insane.
- Amorphis – Eclipse
After the egg they laid in their last album, Amorphis got a new singer, and the music is really quite catchy. I have no complaints about it except it might be too simple.
- Leaves’ Eyes – Legend Land EP
If you’ve seen my Last.fm page, you’d know that Leaves’ Eyes is one of my favorites. The music on this is great, but I’m just not big on EPs. I want full-length albums to absorb completely. I look forward to their next album, especially after seeing them live.
- The Quill – In Triumph
Another rocker! This is a pretty heavy album, but not so much that I consider it metal. I guess Deep Purple could come to mind. Either way, it grooves, and it’s good. Cool cover, as you can see to the right.
- Wolverine – Still
Some great tracks on this one, but this album just wasn’t piece together right for me. Right when it’s getting momentum, they completely destroy it. The good tracks are great, the bad ones are downright aggravating. Sleepy Town (track 5) is a hit though.
- Peeping Tom – Peeping Tom
Mike Patton’s triumphant return was in my rotation for quite a bit, but then it completely fell off the face of the planet for me. It’s cool, it’s different, but I’m just never in the mood for it anymore. If you liked Mr. Bungle (or any of Patton’s other side projects for that matter), you’ll LOVE this.
- Supersuckers – Paid EP
This band was a great rock find by Brian. If you like Wolfmother, Hellacopters, or Clutch, you might as well check this out. They definitely don’t suck. Check out their album The Evil Powers of Rock and Roll.
- Johnny Cash – American V: A Hundred Highways
Wow. Just wow. I never was a Cash fan, but this is an album of a man pouring out his dying heart and soul into lyrics. The music is put together wonderfully post-mortem. The reason it’s low on this list is because I only started listening to it in the past couple of weeks.
Honorable Mentions – Evergrey – Monday Morning Apocalypse (starts good, ends horribly boring), Katatonia – The Great Cold Distance (no hooks for me this time, I need more listens), Blind Guardian – A Twist in the Myth (fun the first time, then I get really, really tired of it)
Worst Album of the Year – In Flames – Come Clarity.
Nu FlaymeZ is at it again with their crappy new style. Once upon a time, there was a band that created an album named Colony. And the kids listening to this lame ass shit don’t even know about it.
Biggest disappointment of the year – Lacuna Coil – Karmacode, by a long shot. I can’t believe anyone allowed this piece of shit to leave the studio. What in the hell are they trying to do? I can’t even explain it, except for “it sucks”.
I also disappoint in Devin Townsend Band – Synchestra, and Raunchy (I really love Confusion Bay, but that’s it with them).
I’m not sure where to put Haunted except that I never want to listen to it. I’d rather pop in Amon Amarth.
Obligatory “Stuff I forgot to listen to” list – Slayer, Mastodon, Lamb of God, Mercenary, Meat Loaf. I assume all of the albums on this list are off of the list for a reason.
Slayer, Mastodon, and Lamb of God are always the same crap recycled over and over. I didn’t like it much last year, I don’t like it much this year.
Overall, 2006 was a good musical year for me. At first glance, it seemed weak, but then the list just kept growing and growing in depth.
And yes, there is more slow stuff than usual. My tastes are opening, and I am no longer just digging death metal, power metal, and progressive music. 2007 will hopefully start off with a bang – Porcupine Tree’s recording is done.