Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Favourite Prog Albums of 2008

40. Tiles ~ Fly Paper
Getting further away the obvious Rush influences of their past releases, even though Alex Lifeson guests on one track.

39. Demians ~ Building An Empire
Excellent debut from this French outfit. Given the SW seal of approval.

38. Osada Vida ~ The Body Parts
Technical prog metal. This should have been received more widely than it was.

37. Presto Ballet ~ The Lost Art Of Time Travel
Second outing for this retro offshoot project. Highly enjoyable never the less.

36. Deus Ex Machina ~ Imparis
More wild fusionesque prog from one of Italy’s best bands.

35. Uriah Heep ~ Wake The Sleeper
A big surprise this. These guys should not be making music this good, but they did!

34. Edensong ~ The Fruit Fallen
Another great debut, this time from the US. A nice blend of instruments and styles.

33. Rhys Marsh And The Autumn Ghost ~ The Fragile State Of Inbetween
Pastoral prog, in a pop vein from Norway and first release on new label Better Place Recordings. Keep an eye on this label!

32. VdGG ~ Trisector
Back again, as a trio this time. Edgier than “Present” actually sounding quite refreshed.

31. Pineapple Thief ~ Tightly Unwound
Now signed to K Scope, this is their heaviest effort yet.

30. Karmakanic ~ Whose The Boss In the Factory
Superb solo outing from Flower Kings master bassist.

29. Beardfish ~ Sleeping In Traffic Part 2
Great follow up to the very excellent Part 1. Though I wish they would ditch the Zappaesque humour.

28. Sensitive To Light ~ From The Ancient World
Beautiful second album from Saen’s Vince Leff.

27. Mostly Autumn ~ Glass Shadows
Their most fully realised album in a few years. But always left feeling they can do more.

26. Lunatic Soul ~ Lunatic Soul
Atmospheric and beautifully textured first solo outing from Riverside mainman.

25. It Bites ~ Tall Ships
John Mitchell is on board, so its bound to be good. And it is.

24. The Reasoning ~ Dark Angel
Heavier than their debut, but this band is lining up to be one of the UK’s most promising outfits.

23. Marillion ~ Happiness Is The Road
Excellent double album and beautifully packaged. Nearly as good as “Marbles”.

22. Diagonal ~ Diagonal
Fantastic debut from this Brighton band. Mixing, jazz, prog, ambient they come across as a British Mars Volta. Very promising indeed.

21. Nosund ~ Lightdark
The best atmospheric rock album of the year. The No-Man influences are there, but this is a beautiful album

20. Moon Safari ~ Blomljud
A sprawling double album. A bit hippy for some, but gorgeous Swedish prog.

19. No-Man ~ Schoolyard Ghosts
The ever busy Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness serve up some more out there songs.

18. Asia ~ Phoenix
Much, much better than we should have expected. John Wetton is on fine form.

17. Opeth ~ Watershed
Can these guys get any better!

16. Neal Morse ~ Lifeline
Not much progress, but still some fantastic prog on show here.

15. Abel Ganz ~ Shooting Albatross
Great to have these Scottish proggers back with this excellent effort.

14. Frost* ~ Experiments In Mass Appeal
Second album from pop maestro Jem Godfrey’s side project. A more band project this time with Darwin’s Radio Declan Burke to the fore.

13. Panic Room ~ Visionary Position
Another excellent debut. Sophisticated and mixing lots of styles. Very promising

12. RPWL ~ The RPWL Experience
Very solid release from one Germany’s best bands.

11. Ephrat ~ No One’s Word
Love this album from Israel’s Omer Ephrat. Mixed and mastered by Steven Wilson.

10. Believe ~ Yesterday Is A Friend
Great second album from Satellite offshoot. Contains one of my favourite songs of the year in “You & Me”.

9. Ayreon ~ 1011001
Another epic concept prog opera. Lucassen is the master at this sort of thing.

8. The Mars Volta ~ The Bedlam In Goliath
More mental madness from Omar and Cedric. For me, this is their most structured release.

7. Magenta ~ Metamorphosis
Their most complex and darkest work yet.

6. Brighteye Brison ~ Believers & Deceivers
Beautiful and colourful prog from this Swedish band. The double keyboard line-up is a winner.

5. Unitopia ~ The Garden
Absolutely stunning double album from this Australian band. Unknown to many, this release should rectify that.

4. Pendragon ~ Pure
A really bold and audacious album. Their most powerful achievement.

3. Thieves Kitchen ~ The Water Road
Bringing in Anglagard’s Thomas Johnson on keyboards was a masterstroke. The combination of TK’s National Health/Bruford fusion style and the pastoral prog of Anglagard works perfectly here. The arrangements and production are wonderful. This is a dream recording.

2. Martin Orford ~ The Old Road
His last contribution to the world of prog. And what a way to go out. Everyone involved is on top form and Orford’s writing and playing are perfect. This album combines a great sense of nostalgia and an ever present love for progressive rock.

1. The Tangent ~ Not As Good As The Book
Andy Tillison’s most ambitious work yet. Spread over 2 CD’s this sees the band going even further towards the PO90 sound, including a re-working of that bands epic “Four Egos, One War”. Bringing Jakko M Jakszyk in on vocals and guitar added a further dimension to the bands sound. More of him next time please. The packaging is great too as the book is a hoot. This will do nicely to the next Manning album.


Blogger alcockrj said...

I can't believe another year has gone by already!

This year I've been lucky to have heard a lot of prog albums thanks to emusic. Here is my top 5 prog albums of the year:

1. It Bites - The Tall Ships
2. Martin Orford - The Old Road
3. Frost* - Experiments in Mass Appeal
4. Unitopia - The Garden
5. Marillion - Happiness is the Road

Martin Orford's last album?! I can't believe that. That's very sad. I hope it's not true.

8:06 AM  
Blogger alcockrj said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Barrie Sillars said...

This is Martin's swan song. I believe he has become disillusioned with the current state of the music industry, in particular the free download culture. Its obvious from his solo album he yearns for a time long gone. He will be missed!

11:21 AM  
Blogger alcockrj said...

He certainly will be missed. Well, I hope and believe that he will change his mind.

11:23 AM  

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