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Author Topic: Favourite Albums of 2006  (Read 5411 times)
Degolas
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« on: December 20, 2006, 07:24:15 AM »

It had to happen eventually, so I thought I might as well get it over with. Do it however you want. I'm going to use a top ten, but the bottom five will probably be more random than an actual order.

1. Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death - I was almost determined to not allow this my top spot, because I didn't want my Maiden fanboyism to cloud my judgement. But it just really is that good. It's the best album they've made. It might not be my favourite, but it's definitely their best. It's just so powerful, and, most importantly, intelligent. They really outdid themselves, and I can't wait to here the whole thing live on Friday.

2. Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third - This one really snuck up on me. It's just so pretty! It's spacey and ridiculously melodic, yet it does have a harder edge, as well as elements of indie music. What really shines is the vocal production; male and female vocal interplay might not be anything new, but it's done so well here that it just rocks. The only reason this didn't make the #1 spot is that it can be a tiny bit samey at times.

3. Devin Townsend - Synchestra - I've spent a lot of the year making sure that I don't forget this one! I have fond memories of rocking out to this in January! It's not Devin's best, but it's still so powerful and varied (or bonkers, you decide) that you can't help but love it. It sounds like Devin is finally having a bit of fun again, and, dare I say it, feeling a little happier.

4. Muse - Black Holes and Revelations - Can anyone say prog? They'd dabbled before, but on this they just went for it! And it rocks! It uses so many different styles throughout which Muse have never touched before, yet it never sounds messy or un-Muse like. Quite importantly, on the whole, it's a fun album! Knights of Cydonia is just so ridiculously good!

5. David Gilmour - On An Island - Closest to a new Floyd release we're ever going to get, and the closest to Floyd that Gilmour's solo work has ever been. It's like Floyd on horse tranquilisers. It's very relaxed and ethereal, flowing seamlessly from track to track to form a genuinely beautiful CD. My only complaint is that it's perhaps a little TOO laid back.

6. Lacuna Coil - Karmacode - Easily the best they've recorded yet. It takes a somewhat heavier approach than previous albums, yet the melodies are still prominent, and the vocal interplay the most sophisticated it's been. The best song might be a cover version, but it's so good that it doesn't matter!

7. I - Between Two Worlds - Always good to have some kick arse, balls out metal on the list. I mean, Maiden are metal as fuck, but the album was too sophisticated to be called balls out! This just rocks so hard. I'm not sure how to describe it really; it's like very light black metal crossed with power metal and classic rock. Whatever, the result is a ridiculously epic album full of kick arse riffs and solos.

8. The Beatles - Love - This would be higher, were it not a re-mix album. I've got into The Beatles majorly over the last few months (now one of my favourite bands), so I had to get them on the list. This is a great album though, some of the mixes and medleys really work, and the segues between each song are quite incredible. Definitely a great way to re-live the classics.

...my mind has now gone blank, as I expected it to. I can remember other 2006 releases I've bought this year, but they're not good enough to make the list (Blind Guardian, Dragonforce). I'll wait for you guys and steal ideas for my last two!
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2006, 10:38:10 AM »

There's still a few I need to hear, but this is what I have so far:


1. Cruachan "The Morrigan's Call".

Cruachan at their finest. Despite being a bit let-down by the fact that Martin Walkyier was supposed to do guest vocals on this album and wasn't able to at the last minute, this ended up being Cruachan's finest album to date. Karen and Keith are in top shape vocal-wise, and the production is better than "Folk-Lore"'s. Plus, it mixes up the Black metal of their debut album and the melodic metal of their later albums perfectly.

2. XIV Dark Centuries "Skithingi".

Just got this the other day, but I've not been able to stop listening to it. Amazing folk metal.

3. Eluviete "Spirit".

Another folk metal album. The band released one E.P. a while back and said that was all they were going to do, but the feedback was so stron they gave us this full length. Tons of folk instruments and well played metal.

4. Korpiklaani "Tales Along This Road".

These guys can do no wrong! Happy drinking polka (Humppa) styled folk metal that has more to do with folk music than it does metal.

5. Bal Sagoth "The Chtonic Chronicles".

I remember buying their debut album "A Black moon Broods Over Lemuria" back when it came out. It ruled, and somehow they've managed to top themselves with each album they release. A feat not many bands can do. Ultra symphonic Pagan/Battle metal. It just reeks of greatness.

6. Summoning "Oath Bound".

Besides Kris Verwimp, Summon was the last interview I did as a writer for an online Metal webzine. Which is cool because they don't do many interviews. Keeping in touch with all of their past albums, "Oath Bound" brings to mind vivid fantasies of JRR Tolkiens world in musical form.

7. Trobar de Morte "Reverie".

A great acoustic folk album from Spain's best folk act. This time around it's a concept album set to some of their most brilliant music to date.

8. Manegarm "The Forest Sessions".

Manegarm's attempt at making a pure folk album was top-notch.

9. Nomans Land "Raven Flight".

I don't miss Mithotyn so much since Nomans Land has been around. Another band that gets technically better with each album, but I'll always love their debut "Last Son of The Fjord" the most.

10. Runic "Liar FLags"

Another entry from a Spanish band. This time though the folk elements aren't Spanish at all, but Scandinavian flavored. think Moonsorrow and you're part way there.
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2006, 12:15:13 PM »

1.  Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death - Obvious. :P

2.  Hammers of Misfortune - The Locust Years - The best sort of power metal:  free of falsettoing faggots.  I love it.  I hear they've pretty well broken up now though, which is a shame.

3.  Devin Townsend - Synchestra - Another masterpiece by Canada's favorite bipolar nutjob.

4.  Motorhead - Kiss of Death - Kicks ass from start to finish.  Lemmy and the boys have been on a roll as of late, and this one is no exception.

5.  Cathedral - The Garden of Unearthly Delights - It's an acquired taste, like all of their shit, but I enjoy it quite a bit.  Twenty-seven minute long doom songs should be outlawed, though.

That's it.  Nothing else I listened to this year deserves a spot on any list except a shit list. :P
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2006, 02:25:30 PM »

1. Joanna Newsom - Ys
2. BT - This Binary Universe
3. Agalloch - Ashes Against the Grain
4. Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third
5. yndi halda - enjoy eternal bliss
6. The Mars Volta - Amputechture
7. Envy - Insomniac Doze
8. Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue
9. Green Carnation - The Acoustic Verses
10.  *TIE* Devin Townsend - Synchestra / Tool - 10,000 Days

I'm a big fan of Devin Townsend, but Synchestra just never clicked with me. There were some scattered moments on the album that I really enjoyed, though.
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2006, 04:28:27 PM »

Some of my toppers for 2006

Mark Egan "As We Speak."  This is a jazz trio effort (guitar, bass, drums) with some of the most fluid, expressive, and amazing fretless bass playing from Mark.  Amazing album.  

Manticora "The Black Circus Part 1- Letters."  Why more people are not aware of this band, I will not understand.  It's power/prog metal at its finest.  It's dark, exciting, conceptual, and the guitar work is amazing.  No falsettoing or the cheeseballitude of Euro power (flower) metal.  This is good stuff.  My friend described them as Dream Theater, only harsh and exciting with Nevermore style vocals.  

Age of Nemesis "Psychogeist."  Also an amazing prog album.  The first half is very conceptual with a very intriguing story and the second half has some very solid songs.  And what's really cool is that the singer of this Hungarian band enunciates English better than most European power/prog singers.  

Seventh Wonder "Waiting in the Wings."  This Swedish prog metal band has such great songwriting.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but the album just blew me away and made me go "WHOA!!!!!"  

Dragonforce "Inhuman Rampage."  Granted, this album does NOT really break any new ground for the band, in my opinion, it IS the album that made more mainstream US audiences stand up and take notice of the sheer and utter awesomeness that is Dragonforce.  This is a metal band that has the awesomenessitude to take over the world, and Inhuman Rampage is a good step in their conquest of world domination.  

Honorable mentions:
Devin Townsend "Synchestra."  I'm not big on Strapping Young Lad, but I LOVE Devin's solo stuff.  I couldn't get into Synchestra like I could with his other albums, but Devy's ability to reinvent himself yet always sound like himself is amazing.  He's a mad scientist genius.  

Pyramaze "Legend of the Bone Carver."  Their previous album had all the elements to be good, but lacked soul.  This album is much improved over their last one and actually has soul to it.  It's good, but I didn't listen to it as much as other albums released this year.  

Dysrhythmia "Barriers and Passages."  A solid effort by one of the most interesting bands I've ever heard.  The songwriting is still typical Dysrhythmia and new bassist Colin Marston is a worthy addition.  I don't listen to this one quite as much as "No Interference" or "Contradiction" but it is damn good.  I love Dysrhythmia and they still can do no wrong in my book.  

Les Claypool "Of Wales and Woe."  I love this album, personally.  It's Les Claypool stripped down.  If you love Les Claypool, you'll love this album.  If you loathe him, this won't change your mind.  I love Claypool and this is a damn good Claypool album.  

-----------------
And the converse:  Biggest disappointment of 2006

Psycroptic "Symbol of Failure."  New vocalist Jason Peppiatt is solid, but the band sounds pretty monotonous on their latest album.  Nothing like the old Psycroptic.  One thing I always liked about the band was that they were always very dynamic and never monotonous, but this new effort is a huge step backward for what I thought was one of the more exciting brutal-death bands to come out in recent years.  Still love the Matt Chalk Psycroptic albums, though.

Thom Yorke "The Eraser."  Radiohead are an incredible band even if I'm not fond of some of their stuff.  I love OK Computer and Kid A, but the other stuff is really hit or miss for me.  But, man, this Thom Yorke album was horrid.  Complete shit that album was.  Boring, pretentious drivel.
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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2006, 08:10:44 PM »

I'll update this list after christmas, because I'm getting several 2006 releases for christmas. Anyway, I'll go with what I've got now.

Karl Blau - Beneath Waves

It's not so much that I feel that it's the best album of 2006, so much as I feel that it's the album, to me, that I associate with summer 2006. Blau's voice as excellent, and the instrumentation is often varied. Really kinda tender music, nothing that ever rocks out, but I find it really moving. Reminds me of Damon and Naomi's The Earth is Blue, in mood.

Joanna Newsom - Ys

Do I need to explain this one?

Bonnie "Prince" Bill - The Letting Go

I adored Superwolf, but this new album's just got more to it. Varied stylistically (minimalist folk of Cold & Wet. The almost-hip-hop Seedling). It's got this weird atonality pervasive to it. Normally that'd be confusing or irritating, but here Oldham uses it to keep the songs from ever getting static. Excellent string sections, and the singer from Fawn Fables works great here.

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

Malloy sings better, the production is more open, and there's nothing that just annoys the hell out of me like, say, The Sporting Life did. The longer songs and proggier structures suit the band well.

Robert Pollard - From a Compound Eye

Consistent but still varied sounding (apparently, his four other new albums from this year are consistent in a BAD way). Maybe it's a bit long, but it's got awesome songs on it. Great melodies -- generally on par with Guided by Voices. Also, he sounds positively into what he's doing. It feels effortless, but not automatic.

The Espers - The Espers ||

Bigger band, more instruments! Yey! Mannsfield & Cyclops justifies this album's existence alone, because it's that awesome. Excellent folk that really moves. Manages to get some drone and wall of sound, but feels less static than the previous album had a tendency to feel.

I think that's pretty much everything I got from 2006 other than the Annuals album, and Thom Yorke's thing (which might be on here. I'm not sure yet).
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2006, 06:23:55 AM »

Pretty generic choices for me in no particular order

Amon Amarth - With Oden On Our Side
Cellador - Enter Deception
Edguy - Rocket Ride
Galneryus - Beyond the End of Despair
Into Eternity - The Scattering of Ashes
Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death
Mastodon - Blood Mountain
Korpiklaani - Tales Along This Road
Strapping Young Lad - The New Black
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2006, 08:06:18 AM »

Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life and Death
Trivium - Ascendancy
Tool - 10,000 days
B.L.S. - Shot to Hell
Lamb of God - Sacrament
Mastadon - Blood Mountain
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2006, 08:45:13 PM »

TV On the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

This is probably the best example of a band that mixes genres. While bands like The Dismemberment Plan brought in influences, they were still primarily rock, but with TV On the Radio, it's taken to the next level. They've surpassed convention and made a true collage. Plus, David Bowie sings background vocals on Province.

Destroyer - Rubies

I've always loved Destroyer. No matter what they've done, they hit musical gold. Dan Bejar takes his band from soaring, messy catharsis (the album This Night) to synth-folk-experimentation (the album Your Blues) and now has made an album with some no-holds-barred damn fine pop songs. Even the 9-minute opener Rubies, with its many parts has replay value.



Will edit as more come to mind.
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« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2006, 04:53:06 PM »

Babyshambles - Down In Albion

Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped

The Young Knives - Of Animals and Men
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« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2006, 05:45:00 PM »

Well...

Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death

I've actually tried to NOT listen to it that often as it is so good, I don't want to get tired of it.  Seriously, Maiden have finally made an album better than Brave New World.  Well, in my mind.  :P

Umm...  Wow, I got so many CDs this year and so few of them were from this year.  :P

Also good were...  Cannibal Corpse - Kill, Korpiklaani - Tales Along This Road, I - Between Two Worlds, Borknagar - Origin, and I have finally listened to and enjoyed at great lengths to Mastodon, so here's another cheer for Blood Mountain!
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« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2006, 07:32:41 AM »

I meant to include this last one in the list.

RX Bandits - ...And the Battle Begun
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« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2006, 01:25:39 PM »

1. Agalloch - "Ashes Against the Grain".

Ultra ambient folk metal. This album, personally speaking, marked their finest crafting skills to date. The influences are all there and very well woven together. From Swans to Ulver to Fields of the Nephilim. You can hear them all and all in the same epic ten minute track. The Mantle previewed their talent for their ideas, but Ashes Against the Grain perfected the formula.

2. Zyklon - "Disintegrate"

Death metal featuring Emperor and Myrkskog members. It's not necessarily anything new or groundbreaking, but the consistency from song to song makes it a high quality release. It's on par with Psyklon Aeon, maybe a bit better to be honest. Brutality through and through.

3. Amber Asylum - "Garden of Love" EP

Acoustic instruments, ambience, and an over-all enthralling experience... all in four songs. Every song displays a departure into subtle landscapes clouded by dark ambitions. Violins, cellos, acoustic guitars and drums, and very well executed female vocals. Odd this band used to be on Relapse Records. Did I mention it's an all female band? One that doesn't sound like Kittie, L7, and Babes in Toyland. omgwtf!

4. Extinction of Mankind - "Northern Scum"

English Crust Punkers have returned again with possibly their best release to date. Every song is a fast crust assault. Think fellow countrymen Doom mixed with Motorhead. Songs tackle anything profoundly wrong in human society. From racial tension to poverty, it's all in desperate need or restructuring and Extinction of Mankind are here to tell you why. As with many bands on my "best of 06", their craft improved based off an older album's formula, this band being their "Baptized in Shit" album.

5. Napalm Death - "Smear Campaign"

It isn't the punk rock/hardcore I once knew Napalm Death to be, but it's a step in the direction they have been moving for a long time. Grindcore shredding and political rants. An assault on both mind and body, this album remains in a top spot of my playlist since its release.

6. Borknagar - "Origin"

Borknagar's first attempt at a fully acoustic album. Oystein Bruns, the lead guitarist, mentioned that this album was the easiest to finish. He writes all of his music on an acoustic and later transposes for a more metal/electric guitar based sound. Simply skipped a part of writing the other albums. Anyway, it's a journey into everything astral and archaic. Many session players were recruited for this album to produce and authentic sound as opposed to synthing everything. Woodwinds, strings, etc. Vintersorg has become comfortable with his voice that he explores new areas. Masterful musicianship and an impressive release to date.

7. Deicide - "The Stench of Redemption"

Classic death metallers return with a new line up. The constantly awful and boring Hoffman brothers have been replaced. The breath of fresh air in Deicide has made this band relevant again, though I ignore "Incineratehymn" and "In Torment, In Hell" as both albums were pumped out with no effort to end their contract with the now abomination Roadrunner Records. With the addition of Ralph Santolla (Iced Earth, Death) and Jack Owen (Cannibal Corpse), Deicide has recaptured a brutality not seen since Once Upon the Cross. Glen Benton has been the laughing stock of metal for quite some time. This album should shut them up.

8. Darkthrone - "The Cult is Alive"

Darkthrone, known from day one as one of the originators of "True Norwegian Black Metal" return with a new effort that returns to the roots of both black metal and punk rock. Gritty production, direction shifts, and a new self-proclaimed sub-genre all in one album. Fenriz and Nocturno Culto have been fans of European and American crust/hardcore punk for quite some time, with bands like Severed Head of State, Wolf Brigade, and Skitsystem. With a refreshing take on music, Darkthrone has released what Fenriz has likened to calling "Necro Crust". A blend of D-beat drumming, black metal riffing, and off the wall vocals. Highly recommended for punk and metal fans alike.

9. Appalachian Terror Unit - "Armageddon Won't Be Brought By Gods" 7"

Huntington, WV isn't known for punk rock. It's known for shitty college kids, crack cocaine, and We Are Marshall. Yet through all of this, a group managed to release an album out on the biggest underground punk rock labels in the world, Profane Existence. They just finished up an East Coast tour ranging from Savannah, Georgia to Montreal, Quebec. I doubt many have heard them, but if you see them coming through your town, check them out. It's a blend of thrash and punk rock along the lines of Nausea, Amebix, and Anti-Cimex with dual vocals and guitars.

10. Phobia - "Cruel"

California's premier grindcore/crust band have dwarfed all previous releases with an effort with crisp production, tight musicianship, and an all around brutal assault. Twenty-one songs of in your face speed and bass heavy riffs. You think death metal is brutal? You haven't heard Phobia yet.


Wonder why Iron Maiden is missing? Keep wondering because I'm not sparking that bonfire with all the fans 'round these here parts. LAWL
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« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2006, 01:46:28 PM »

Quote from: "Valthrudnir"
1. Agalloch - "Ashes Against the Grain".

Ultra ambient folk metal. This album, personally speaking, marked their finest crafting skills to date. The influences are all there and very well woven together. From Swans to Ulver to Fields of the Nephilim. You can hear them all and all in the same epic ten minute track. The Mantle previewed their talent for their ideas, but Ashes Against the Grain perfected the formula.


Better than The Mantle?  I'll believe it when I hear it.  :P

why oh why are there so many metalheads on these thar boards gaarge
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« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2006, 03:07:03 PM »

Hmmm...

Bob Dylan - Modern Times
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Live at Fillmore East 1970
TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Letting Go
Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
Jim Jones - Hustler's P.O.M.E.
Helios - Eingya
The Roots - Game Theory
Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
Joanna Newsom - Ys
The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
Styles P - Time Is Money (and the Ghost in a Shell and Militant Mode mixtapes)
40 Cal - 40 to Life
Juelz Santana & Lil Wayne - My Hood, Your Hood
Birdman & Lil Wayne - Like Father, Like Son
Lil Wayne - The Dedication 2
The Diplomats - Dipset Radio Vol. 1
J Dilla - Donuts
Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
The Coup - Pick A Bigger Weapon
Nas - Hip Hop Is Dead
Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
M. Ward - Post-War

Pretty good year I think.
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