Native Construct - Quiet World
This is my AOTY. Hands down. Native Construct has been in my rotation for several months and whenever I start a song I can’t help but listen to the whole album. The instrumentals are creative and fresh, the production is better than many top 20 albums (Adele’s 25), and the song writing is on another level from all other progressive metal albums this year. I REALLY hope I get a chance to see this group live in the future.
Favorite Song: The Spark of the Archon
Between the Buried and Me - Coma Ecliptic
If you’re talking about progressive metal, it’s hard for BTBAM to not show up somewhere in the conversation. Led by Thomas Giles Rogers (who has decent solo projects), BTBAM brings possibly their best album to date with Coma Ecliptic. It has everything we look for in a dense progessive metal concept album. There is a lot to process, and that is how we like it. Like Quiet World, I find myself playing the melodies in Coma Ecliptic in my head even if I haven’t listened to he album in a few days.
Favorite Song: Memory Palace (Mainly because I saw it live)
Leprous - The Congregation
This band is actually new to me, but shouldn’t be. Their fifth studio album The Congregation has been heralded as one of their best to date. I found that they stick to more familiar song structures than more progressive bands, which gives it a unique mix of hard hitting syncopation and catchy choruses. Not to mention the band’s singer has a unique style that is both appealing and dramatic. Don’t be like me and wait to listen to Leprous!
Favorite Song: Third Law
Pomegranate Tiger - Boundless
The latest album from Martin Andres, currently a one-man band, is a huge standout for me. Boundless is an instrumental tour-de-force that illustrates the complexity I love in progressive metal. There is always more in this album for me to come back and digest. And being without lyrics, it helps to dream up all sorts of possibilities for the backstory in each song.
Favorite Song: Stomp the Haunted Crown
Intronaut - The Direction of Last Things
I like Intronaut. A lot. The intronaut/cloudkicker mashup that came out last years is probably one of my favorite things ever. Anyway, The Direction of Last Things came out just this december to great anticipation of the metal scene. I have seen recently that it has even graced the number one spot of Heavy Blog. I can’t say that they don’t deserve this spot. The album is killer, but it wasn’t my number one.
Favorite Song: Fast Worms
Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase
Seriously, what can’t this man do? Hand. Cannot. Erase. is warm yet depressing, heavy yet mellow, and LONG. I’m not complaining, it’s not like it can top the length of The Epic, and it is worth it. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good intro into progressive music. Personally, this album isn’t metal, it’s rock. But it’s stil damn good.
Favorite Song: Perfect Life
Periphery - Juggernaut Alpha/Omega
I am bummed that I wan’t able to see this band live with BTBAM. The Alpha/Omega double album throws down some of the best riffs and melodies all year. I listen to this band when I need a break from concentrating on the intracicies of other prog behemoths, because you simply do not have to think hard to get into it. It just comes.
Favorite Song: The Bad Thing (Omega)
Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
Not even close to metal, but I think anybody who enjoys music should put this on their top album list. Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly proves (as if there was any doubt) that he is the real deal. There is too much in this album for me to detail, but I encourage everyone to listen to it at least 10 times befor you draw any conclusions. Enjoy the ride.
Favorite Song: King Kunta
Adele - 25
Everyone loves Adele, and for good reason. Her voice is unlike any singer on the billboard currently. While her songs don’t have the dynamic range of Tori Kelly, she brings an emotion and texture that is very unique. Many have said the production on this albums was lacking, and I can kind of hear that. As a whole, however, not even bad production can keep me from wanting to hear more from this pop icon.
Favorite Song: Hello