My 30 "2011" Albums of Choice

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Jan 21 2012, 20h08

30. The Lonely Forest - Arrows (Alternative/Indie Pop)
29. Ash Borer - Ash Borer (Atmospheric Black Metal)
28. Skinny Puppy - hanDover (Industrial)
27. Bloodbound - Unholy Cross (Power Metal)
26. Magic Pie - The Suffering Joy (Progressive Rock)
25. Pagan's Mind - Heavenly Ecstasy (Power Metal)
24. Beardfish - Mammoth (Progressive Rock)
23. Vitaliy Baldych - Music for Planetarium (Part II) (New Age)
22. Rhapsody of Fire - From Chaos To Eternity (Symphonic Power Metal)
21. Essence - Lost in Violence (Thrash Metal)
20. Collections of Colonies of Bees - GIVING (Post-Rock)
19. Grails - Deep Politics (Psychedelic Post-Rock)
18. Hauschka - Salon des Amateurs (Minimalist Classical)
17. The Cars - Move Like This (New Wave)
16. Music For Money - Flying birds (Minimalist Post-Rock)
15. Omnium Gatherum - New World Shadows (Melodic Death Metal)
14. Höstsonaten - Summereve (Symphonic Prog)
13. Hiromi - Voice (Jazz-Fusion)
12. Lutas - MEDAI (Electronic/Ambient Techno)
11. Foster the People - Torches (Electropop/Indie Pop)

10. Backworld - Come the Bells (Dark Folk)

(Top Folk Album of 2011)

America would be the last thing I would think of when somebody brings up neofolk and dark folk let's be fair, yet there's just something about this album that's done so... right.

Relaxed dark folk that uses a lot of improvisation and character that you would get from chamber music, something heavily rooted in classical music. The violin to me always represented an instrument of sorrow and despair, yet it isn't used very often in this genre. Not recommended for everyone but it draws the picture to me at the least.


9. Dustin O'Halloran - Lumiere (Contemporary Classical)

(Top Classical Album of 2011)

A devastatingly shady and hazy piano-oriented modern classical album. I know that O'Halloran has always focused on piano and always piano, but this album has added perks now. Like the aforementioned album, this too learns from chamber music. Some people prefer O'Halloran's minimal style and I can see that, but the added instruments are welcoming to me.


8. VNV Nation - Automatic (Futurepop/Electropop)

(Ranked #1 Artist)
(Top Pop Album of 2011)

So I've heard things like VNV Nation are becoming less and less themselves, generally becoming simpler and taking in more trance elements, and even comparisons to Erasure. I agree with this... I do agree that VNV's high point is pretty much over with and never to be seen again. But you know what? I could find myself caring less.

This is still a good album regardless, even though it has bumps in its road, notably through their ballads. Heavily catchy songs that are almost difficult to forget and I always face more and more of these in their albums with time growing. They still tinker around a bit, such as the agile "Control" thrashes through in veins of hard trance with bass wobble experimentation that's founded in *coughcoughdubstepcough*


7. Vektor - Outer Isolation (Tech-Thrash Metal)


A lot of hype has been surrounding Vektor as of late, but I'm more than happy to jump on this bandwagon. Massive amounts of kinetic energy put into a progressive thrash metal album that feels so fresh. There are bits of brief black metal shifts to be found like tremolo picking and falcon screams. This band shows a strong unison between members and feeling like they share one mind. All of the instruments share a significant balance and lets it all go to a thrash metal anarchy. "Dying World" will and WILL introduce you to hell.


6. Introitus - Elements (Neo-Prog)


Quasi-concept album shifting towards the feeling and responses of the four theoretical elements; Fire, Water, Earth and Wind. The opening sets the ground in some sort of world reconstructive fashion, and it pairs itself with smooth female vocals and electronics. These guys come close to replicating the ethereal citadel that is Pure Reason Revolution's Dark Third.


5. The Builders and the Butchers - Dead Reckoning (Gothic Country)

(Top Country Album of 2011)

Acoustics are fast and dirty and refuse to repent when aligning with Sollee's sinful and even witty lyrics and vocals that shuns the outer world. It's a country album that toys around with goth and maybe cabaret, but there's just much going on to keep things fresh and interesting, lyrics and instruments alike. This includes a great deal of organ background and performance, noteworthy percussion and unforgettable hooks within "Rotten to the Core", "Lullaby" and "Black Elevator".


4. Phideaux - Snowtorch (Symphonic Prog)

(Ranked #26 Artist)

Now we're getting to some serious levels. Snowtorch is more than just another prog album, the way it establishes itself, it's a roller-coaster ride that takes you up and up and up, and when we get to "Helix", well look to the right of the vehicle and enjoy the views. Enjoy them now before part II sends you back down drop by drop. They also have signature melodies that define this album exclusively.


3. Brymir - Breathe Fire To The Sun (Symphonic Melodeath)

(Top Metal Album of 2011)
(Top Deubt of 2011)

You thought Vektor was awesome, check this out. Brymir are new kids on the block that ignite a complicated mixture within a melodic death metal album. Within we have symphonic work, power metal, nordic folk metal and an epic background on the world of battle-hungry vikings. This album combines the rigor and harshness within death metal alongside the transcending, anthemic symphonic work provided for the perfect battlefield album.


2. Nemo - R€volu$ion (Heavy Prog)

(Ranked #23 Artist)
(Top Progressive Album of 2011)
(Top Rock Album of 2011)
(Biggest Surprise of 2011)

Nemo haven't pinged my radar much at all with their past material... until now. This heavy prog combines memorable, creative and talented guitar riffs with a dynamic piano and a storyline about rebellion, deception and hope. This album is all in French and yet through their effective medium I still can understand this album. What makes this album a #2 seed is its 24 minute epic which now might be my favorite epic ever.


1. Keffy Kay - Angel (Downtempo)

(Ranked #8 Artist)
(5 Star Album)
(Top Electronic Album of 2011)

It just still grows and grows. A glowing feeling of a blanket of grey clouds over a meadow of rubble and decay, but somewhere, just somewhere, there's a warm feeling nearby when it is just about to storm. A ray of light breaks through. A burst of warm air rushes at you in a freezing and desolate environment.

That's the exact feeling that this acoustic-oriented downtempo, a little bit of jazz touching, that this album has attempted to give me and has exceeded with flying colors. Great use of sampling and various types of instrumentation to be seen including strings and flutes to give a specific definition to each track. Haunting, dark and melodic, but somewhere along the lines, graceful and elegant.

"E112th" for that time where it's those gloomy urban days when you just feel a bit lost, or "Picture" when you need a moment to un-jumble and ease your mind in the dark while the light beams fight their way through a closed blind. Then there's also "Everyone" and "On the Edge of Spring" as solid standouts, and I could've sworn "Angel" (the title track) did a little Atrax Morgue sampling, but that's a tad hard to confirm and I am getting ahead of myself because what it is is a ghastly groaning. What I will say is that there's a bit of dementia in such a petit, seemingly harmless box.

You can get this album over for free at Jamendo. I'm not going to kid around here either because with along the other of my favorite albums I've listened to, Angel is creeping up there.

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