contact: webmaster [at] shattered [dash] room [dot] net
write me a message if you can't log in or need to recover your account, also if your email address might be invalid!

Author Topic: Favourite 2019 albums  (Read 468 times)

Offline Teunis

  • Last Unicorns
  • Beyond Reckoning
  • *
  • Posts: 6832
  • Prog rules
Favourite 2019 albums
« on: Mon, 2020-01-13, 20:16:26 »
The inevitable thread ;D. Which albums, released in 2019 impressed you most? Disappointments of the year? You can write it here.

1. The Neal Morse Band - The Great Adventure
I always expect quality from Neal Morse (and his band). Frankly speaking I was disappointed at first listening, but after several listenings it gripped me and I kept on pushing the 'repeat' button. Wow, a great adventure indeed. Even my wife loves the album and asks me to play it sometimes :).

2. Leprous - Pitfalls
Had the same experience as with 'The Great Adventure'. The previous Leprous album 'Malina' was love at first hearing, but it took me a number of listenings to love 'Pitfalls'. Often the albums that grow on you are higher on the favourite lists than the ones you love immediately.

3. IQ - Resistance
What a comeback from IQ, a double album and top quality. A little bit heavier, especially the beginning of the album, but that doesn't scare me off. On the contrary. IQ proves to be at the top of the (neo) prog league.

4. Soen - Lotus
Another top quality album with catchy melodies and top vocals. Really enjoying this album 8).

5. Bjørn Riis - A Storm Is Coming
Another great album from Airbag's guitarist. Floydian solos on a versatile album.

Without further comment:
6. Bruce Soord - All This Will Be Yours
7. Huis - Abandoned
8. Lonely Robot - Under Stars
9. Huis - Abandoned
10. Millenium - The Web

Other albums I like, but didn't make it to my top-10
Moonrise - Travel Within, Zonder/Wehrkamp - If It's Real, Lee Abraham - Comatose, Yogi Lang - A Way Out Of Here, Damian Wilson & Adam Wakeman - Stripped, RPWL - Tales From Outer Space. And Knight Area - D-Day, usually a top-10 contender for me, but I don't like the metallish voice of the new singer unfortunately :(.

Disappointment for me:
Darkwater - Human. Liked the previous albums, but this one is 'much of the same', boring at least for me :). And I wanted to mention Seventh Wonder - Tiara for the same reason, but that's a 2018 release I just noticed. Time flies ;).
'I will surrender my heart to the sky
Oh, our love doesn't end here, it lives forever on the wings of time'
-------------------------------------------------------
Toto - Wings of time (Kingdom of Desire)

Offline maddox

  • Last Unicorns
  • Beyond Reckoning
  • *
  • Posts: 8350
  • No effects were harmed in the making of this sound
    • Mad's Last.FM page
Re: Favourite 2019 albums
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 2020-01-15, 16:14:59 »
Top 2019 list.

In retrospect, the beginning of 2019 was a bit dissapointing.
Only three albums stood out after six months, and one of them which I considered to be a great album at first, Devin Townsend's Empath, even took a free fall after the summer.
I was in awe when I heard the new Tool album, the first one in a minor 13 years (!) but as good as it is, it also sounds as one long song, meaning it sometimes lacks veriety.
The only three albums that remain constanct after each listen, are Opeth's In Cauda Venenum, IQ latest effort Resistance and the briliant comeback album Human, the first album in eight years from Swedish ensemble Darkwater.

The first three really are the best, the others are quite good.

I must unfortunately add two dissapoinments, which are the albums of The Flower Kings and Dream Theater.
Nice but I expected a whole lot more of these two.

01 : Opeth ~ In Cauda Venenum
02 : IQ ~ Resistance
03 : Darkwater ~ Human

04 : Tool ~ Fear Inoculum
05 : The Neal Morse Band ~ The Great Adventure
06 : Flying Colors ~ Thirde Degree
07 : Arch/Matheos ~ Winter Ethereal
08 : Vanden Plas ~ The Ghost Experiment: Awakening
09 : Soen ~ Lotus
10 : Barock Project ~ Seven Seas
Cause of Injury: Lack of Adhesive Ducks.

Offline PH

  • Last Unicorns
  • Beyond Reckoning
  • *
  • Posts: 7661
  • Before we're raised up He's got to break us down.
Re: Favourite 2019 albums
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 2020-01-15, 20:22:04 »
I have to think about this. I've listened to a lot. But I've come to the conclusion that I've also missed a lot more. Some big names that I didn't invest as much in as I'd normally do (IQ is the biggest example of this).
I'll get back on this!

Offline Teunis

  • Last Unicorns
  • Beyond Reckoning
  • *
  • Posts: 6832
  • Prog rules
Re: Favourite 2019 albums
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 2020-01-16, 19:16:12 »
... and the briliant comeback album Human, the first album in eight years from Swedish ensemble Darkwater. ...
Hehe, my disappointment of the year is in your top-3. Music is so subjective :).

I have to think about this. I've listened to a lot. But I've come to the conclusion that I've also missed a lot more. Some big names that I didn't invest as much in as I'd normally do (IQ is the biggest example of this).
I'll get back on this!
Fair enough, curious :).
'I will surrender my heart to the sky
Oh, our love doesn't end here, it lives forever on the wings of time'
-------------------------------------------------------
Toto - Wings of time (Kingdom of Desire)

Offline Peter

  • Administrator
  • Sicko
  • *****
  • Posts: 2170
  • "The Captain"
Re: Favourite 2019 albums
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 2020-01-30, 10:19:58 »
1. Alter Bridge - Walk The Sky
What a rocker this album is, and also so powerful and meaningful.

2. Red Sun Rising - Polyester Zeal
Actually this is not an album from 2019, but I discovered it in 2019 :) I already wrote something about them in another thread, they are really great!

3. Gerry Cinnamon - Erratic Cinematic
I was travelling by train when I used the Spotify "Radio" function, and a song from this album came up. I was so fascinated that I switched to the album and heard it in whole - so cool. Now listening at least once a week.

4. Freya Ridings - [self named]
This lady has it all, a beautiful deep voice, great piano skills and songwriting from heaven.

5. Godsmack - When Legends Rise
Great rock, the way I like it.

6. The Prodigy - No Tourists
Again, an absolute smasher, I really love this album. Many critics put away with it being a repetition of old stuff, but they obviously haven't really listened thoroughly.
And folks, what a pity the passing away of Keith was :/ If they will ever come back on tour, it will probably not be the same.

Again sorry for listing albums not exactly from 2019, it's just my "meh, last year something" feeling ;)

I was a little underwhelmed about Volbeat's new album "Rewind, Replay, Rebound". Too much pop in there. Although I like pop. Sometimes. But not this time.

You also may have noticed that there are no "prog" albums anymore in my rotation. In general, my taste has changed a bit, and I tend to lean to more upbeat "forward" music. The headiness of many prog bands gets on my nerves sometimes.
« Last Edit: Thu, 2020-01-30, 10:22:19 by Peter »
Arriving somewhere, but not here....

Offline Teunis

  • Last Unicorns
  • Beyond Reckoning
  • *
  • Posts: 6832
  • Prog rules
Re: Favourite 2019 albums
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 2020-02-22, 20:27:59 »
I have to think about this.
Already found time to think about it? ;)
'I will surrender my heart to the sky
Oh, our love doesn't end here, it lives forever on the wings of time'
-------------------------------------------------------
Toto - Wings of time (Kingdom of Desire)

Offline PH

  • Last Unicorns
  • Beyond Reckoning
  • *
  • Posts: 7661
  • Before we're raised up He's got to break us down.
Re: Favourite 2019 albums
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 2020-03-07, 09:03:43 »
Already found time to think about it? ;)

I think I'll get to it this weekend. It's been a weird year!

Offline PH

  • Last Unicorns
  • Beyond Reckoning
  • *
  • Posts: 7661
  • Before we're raised up He's got to break us down.
Re: Favourite 2019 albums
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 2020-04-14, 14:59:25 »
I'm sorry it took so long. 2019 was a strange year for me. In many ways.

Early on in 2019 I met my girlfriend. I fell really in love with her so music became less important for a while. She is ten years younger than me ;D and she's very different from me as well, which means that a whole new and exciting world was opening up for me. After I got used to the idea of having a girlfriend again :P I realised that I was far behind with all the music that I wanted to listen to. There were so many releases and it's really hard to keep up with it. And naturally there's less time to enjoy music.

Then nearing the end of the year I got asked to join another company which made me question a lot of things again. I really liked my job, but I also was ready for something new and felt that this could be the spark to ignite the engines and finally roll into the next chapter of my life after having stood still for so long. So in the end I gave it a shot and applied for the job and got it. I won't go in the details (long and confusing), but it took a very long while (almost two months) for all the papers and other things to be completed which was very stressful too. So there was a lot on my mind all the time (finishing work on my old job, while communicating with the new job). Last Saturday was my last day at my old job and now I have three weeks off before I start the new one, so enough time for music and this forum. :)
I'm still discovering new things from 2019 and I haven't listened enough to some of the albums I already bought. So more about that later.

Ok, so here we go:

1. Neal Morse Band - "The Great Adventure"
I was thinking hard about this. When this album was released I was sceptical because "Similitude..." was such a fantastic double album! I thought a new double album could never be as good. Initially I thought I was right, because although I liked it, I could not make it to the end. On top of that, there are many musical reprises or repetitions which I thought were maybe a bit lazy. But after a while these songs really got in my head. Very much. Now I think I like this better than "Similitude..." and this album is probably in the top five of my favourite Neal Morse albums. The other guys really shine as well. Eric Gillette is a prodigy, this guy can do anything. I hope to hear much more of him in the future (solo albums, new bands, etc.). A Love That Never Dies has some of the most beautiful melodies a song can have. I particularly like "To the river I am going coming across the great divide, mourn not for me for I am entering into a love that never dies". I think I want that song played on my funeral. It's so beautiful and among the very best songs that Neal has done. And Eric is doing such a wonderful job singing it. :'( So beautiful... Can't listen to this song without breaking into tears. :'( :-*

2. Leprous - "Pitfalls"
A new Leprous album is a big happening. My Leprous journey started with "Coal" in 2013. I was blown away then by the vocals, the melodies and the brutal metal arrangements. The next album ("The Congregation") was an initial disappointment but after a while I liked it more than "Coal". Same thing happened with "Malina": started as a disappointment but became my favourite Leprous album. "Pitfalls" is no different. It's my new favourite Leprous album now, what an achievement! Wonderful masterpiece! What's going to become of this band? Teunis, it's funny to see that our number one and two are the same!

3. Pattern-Seeking Animals - "Pattern-Seeking Animals"
PSA is back into comfortzone prog. No new grounds were trodden with this release, but I like it so much. Of course this sounds like Spock's Beard, but it's more like a John Boegehold solo album. This is the guy who is most responsible for post-Neal Spock's Beard. It's the secret fifth member of that band. And here he's finally taking real credit for his amazing writing. Orphans Of The Universe and Stars Along The Way are two of the coolest epics released in 2019. The latter has one of those memorable and beautiful vocal melodies again: "Some who slow to look might see a face within the crowd. Shrouded, bowing quietly she prays. Moving silent as the mist, through birds and muffled bells. Fortunes told for all who choose to stay." I don't know why, but Ted Leonard sings those lines so emotionally and beautifully, you cannot not be moved. ;D Then there's also the shorter These Are My Things with very funny lyrics and infectious melodies. And the happy No Land's Man that makes me want to dance and sing along. Isn't that what music is supposed to do to you? Well, maybe not always ;D but sometimes it's good.

4. Flying Colors - "Third Degree"
Another poppy prog album. This is easily the best FC album and somewhat in between the two other releases stylistically. The progressive leanings in the second album are extended to this album. The mainstream pop sensibility of the first album is brought over as well but done so much better. My girlfriend really likes Cadence and Love Letter, but my favourite is probably Guardian because I'm such a sucker for 7/4 times and 15/8. I really like Geronimo as well. On this album the epics (Last Train Home and Crawl) are not the better songs. These two songs (while not bad of course) are progressive rock songs tried to make sound mainstream. They feel a bit forced. The strengths are in the 'shorter' songs, which are essentially 4 minute pop songs with 3 minute prog ideas pumped in and scattered around the song.

5. Big Big Train - "Grand Tour"
This band is still amazing. David Longdon is an amazingly gifted musician and he has effectively hijacked the train to a point that it's as if he is the driving force and leader in the band. Apart from singing, he plays flute, guitar, keyboards and all kinds of other instruments. He writes half the stuff on the album. If he ever decides to quit the band, Big Big Train is doomed. ::) Which makes me thing about all the other bandmembers in BBT. What is their input? The band consists of eight persons now. Can you think of any other band that has eight members?! "Grand Tour" has some really fine songs on it (The Florentine, Roman Stone and I also really like Homesong), but it's starting to feel a little bit exchangeable with the previous albums.

6. Fervent Mind - "Tranquilize"
From now on the list is not as fixed as my top five, so this is where it gets interesting and different from most lists I guess. And we're going even deeper into the obscure crypts of music. Fervent Mind is pretty amazing. This band from Norway has elements of post rock and little bits of metal in some places and trip hop as well. The main composer and also vocalist is Live Sollid and she has a very unique voice. In a way she sounds like Annie Haslam. Same vocal colour and a beautiful voice but not as high pitched, more like a jazz vocalist or something. The compositions are very strong! This sounds a lot like Porcupine Tree. And at other times they sound like bands such as Massive Attack and Radiohead.

7. Manuel Schmid & Marek Arnold - "Zeiten"
This duo is making very accessible music with German vocals. It starts off great right away with fantastic piano. I get the impression that Manuel Schmid is responsible for the lyrics and vocal lines and perhaps even the musical outline of the songs? I guess Marek Arnold is the arranger and the one who makes the songs really interesting. I know him from other projects (Damanek, Argos, Southern Empire) and he makes every good song even better with his saxophone and other woodwind instruments and the piano of course. To me, a song doesn't have to scream 'progressive!' as long as the song's good. An interesting arrangement does help though. I was tempted to put this album on spot number six, but this album is very short and not every song is good (Raum Der Illusion and Stiller Schrei). In the end, while a good song is a good song, a good progressive rock song is even better.

8. Kensington - "Time"
Last sentence is also applicable here. I would never have thought that this list would include a Dutch radio band but here we are. Their music is prominent on Dutch radio and in my opinion they totally deserve it. My girlfriend is a big fan of Kensington and she thought I would like it. So naturally I said no. ;D But she began playing it in the car and everywhere else whenever she could (most of the time I'm the one who gets to choose the playlist 8)). At first I wanted to point out how it's so mainstream and what I don't like about it blah blah blah. After a while I succumbed and started to enjoy it very much. It's so catchy and classy as well. It's a real band, so not 'a singer and a backing band'. I like the opener (Bats) and the 80s influenced What Lies Ahead. Insane has a very nice buildup and it reminds me of Marillion somehow. I also like to mention Chronos, Part 2 which is a little instrumental coda from part 1 and is rocking mine (and your) socks off. The best song is Perfect Family Day and I think it's about the tragic behind (pictures on) social media. Anyway, a really cool album.

9. Jordan Rudess - "Wired For Madness"
I think it's one of the first albums I bought in 2019. Jordan really outdid himself this time. There are countless of guitar albums (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, etc. etc.) and I get tired of such albums real quick, because the 'songs' are a vehicle for the musician to show their skills instead of focusing on a good song. Now, there are not many keyboard albums like that (maybe Derek Sherinian, Rick Wakeman) but Jordan Rudess is normally also one of those guys who writes music to showcase his (many many many) keyboard skills. I think that on this particular album he wants to show us his skills in writing music. Of course there's senseless noodling and meaningless shredding, but there's so much more going on here. I like it a lot! It's very jazzy.

10. Huis - "Abandoned"
Some parts of this album are absolutely stunning. And did I already mention that this is perfect music for people who like Arena? ;) Actually, I need to listen to this more. I think this probably deserves a much higher spot. I'm not done with this one!


OK, so after these 'mini reviews' here's a list of albums that I've bought but haven't listened to enough, or didn't like as much as the albums above. In no particular order:

Dream Theater - "Distance Over Time"
Karfagen - "Echoes From Within Dragon Island"
Devin Townsend - "Empath"
Ascending From Ashes - "Glory"
Darkwater - "Human"
Opeth - "In Cauda Venenum"
Neal Morse - "Jesus Christ: The Exorcist"
Vangelis - "Nocturne"
Lonely Robot - "Under Stars"
The Flower Kings - "Waiting For Miracles"

And here are some albums that I liked, but never bought and albums that I'd still like to invest some of my time in because I think I might like it:
Joey Frevola - "Gone"
Phil Keaggy, Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta - "The Bucket List"
Guy Hatton - "I Am Concentric"
Thousand Sun Sky - "The Aurora Complex"
Mad Fellaz - "III"
Rhys Marsh - "October After All"
Cheeto's Magazine - "Amazingous"
RPWL - "Tales From Outer Space"
Fleesh - "Across The Sea"
Now In Colour - "Now In Colour"A.C.T - "Rebirth"
Anvil Therapy - "Duality"
Avalanch - "The Secret"
IQ - "Resistance"
The Room - "Caught By The Machine"
Chester Desmond - "Stay"
Lucy In Blue - "In Flight"
Handwrist - "Pilgrimage"
Jordsjø - "Nattfiolen"
Billy Sherwood's "Citizen: In The Next Life"
UMAE - "Lost In The View"
Issun - "Dark Green Glow"
The Invisible Presence - "Between The Truth And What We See"
Moron Police - "A Boat On The Sea"


Any thoughts?

Offline Teunis

  • Last Unicorns
  • Beyond Reckoning
  • *
  • Posts: 6832
  • Prog rules
Re: Favourite 2019 albums
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 2020-04-14, 20:22:42 »
I'm sorry it took so long. 2019 was a strange year for me. In many ways.

A girlfriend and a new job. Fair enough, that takes a lot of time ;). Good luck with your new job!

Hey, we have the same top-2,  8).

Quote from: PH
1. Neal Morse Band - "The Great Adventure"
 was thinking hard about this. When this album was released I was sceptical because "Similitude..." was such a fantastic double album! I thought a new double album could never be as good. Initially I thought I was right, because although I liked it, I could not make it to the end. On top of that, there are many musical reprises or repetitions which I thought were maybe a bit lazy. But after a while these songs really got in my head. Very much. Now I think I like this better than "Similitude..." and this album is probably in the top five of my favourite Neal Morse albums. The other guys really shine as well. Eric Gillette is a prodigy, this guy can do anything. I hope to hear much more of him in the future (solo albums, new bands, etc.). A Love That Never Dies has some of the most beautiful melodies a song can have. I particularly like "To the river I am going coming across the great divide, mourn not for me for I am entering into a love that never dies". I think I want that song played on my funeral. It's so beautiful and among the very best songs that Neal has done. And Eric is doing such a wonderful job singing it. :'( So beautiful... Can't listen to this song without breaking into tears. :'( :-*
Exactly the same feeling about how it growed on me and the track 'A Love That Never Dies'. My wife also wants it played at her funeral :).

Quote from: PH
2. Leprous - "Pitfalls"
A new Leprous album is a big happening. My Leprous journey started with "Coal" in 2013. I was blown away then by the vocals, the melodies and the brutal metal arrangements. The next album ("The Congregation") was an initial disappointment but after a while I liked it more than "Coal". Same thing happened with "Malina": started as a disappointment but became my favourite Leprous album. "Pitfalls" is no different. It's my new favourite Leprous album now, what an achievement! Wonderful masterpiece! What's going to become of this band?

'Pitfalls'is also my favourite Leprous album. I love the albums from 'The Congregation' and I've made a Spotify list from the albums before, the tracks without growls/screeming. As you know, I don't like that. Understatement ;).

Quote from: PH
3. Pattern-Seeking Animals - "Pattern-Seeking Animals"
Heard this album once or twice, was not bad at all. Will listen to it again. I've read a new album will be released soon.

From the other albums in your top-10 Huis is also in my top-10. Top quality indeed (like Mystery). I do like keyboard oriented music and Huis is like that.

Quote from: PH
OK, so after these 'mini reviews' here's a list of albums that I've bought but haven't listened to enough, or didn't like as much as the albums above. In no particular order:

Neal Morse - "Jesus Christ: The Exorcist"
Played this album a lot and like it, but don't like all the vocals, which will prevent it from being a top album for me.

From your other list I do like:

RPWL - "Tales From Outer Space"
IQ - "Resistance"

And don't know or didn't hear the other ones.

Quote from: PH
Any thoughts?
Nice list and fun to read, thanks for sharing *horns*
'I will surrender my heart to the sky
Oh, our love doesn't end here, it lives forever on the wings of time'
-------------------------------------------------------
Toto - Wings of time (Kingdom of Desire)

Offline Peter

  • Administrator
  • Sicko
  • *****
  • Posts: 2170
  • "The Captain"
Re: Favourite 2019 albums
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 2020-04-15, 19:04:47 »
...
Any thoughts?

Thanks for sharing, mate. You really are a music afficionado  *horns*
Arriving somewhere, but not here....