johnny of the Well

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Last Active 12-15-14 2:56 pm
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Johnny Reaches 6000: Fave Albums

Well, it took a while but I finally got to 6000 comments (which, for some rreason, feels like more of a milestone than 5000), so here's a celebratory rlist of my 25 favorite albums (limited to 1 per band for the sake of variety). rI was gonna do 20, but I had a shortlist of 25 and couldn't bring myself to rcut anymore

Well, my top album came as a surprise to me to begin with; I first heard it having bought it with Cynic?s Traced in Air, an album which I had very high expectations for, and wasn?t expecting it to be anything special. However, when I realised that Traced was ultimately an underwhelming album, I started giving this more time, until little by little it grew on me and didn?t stop for several months, by the end of which time I could tell that I had discovered a masterpiece. The emotional depth of the album is vast and it is so immersing that it generates huge replay value. The gorgeous alt rock aesthetic is the perfect means of conveying the bleak sorrow that plagued the Cavanagh brothers after their mother?s death, and the way the tracks are all distinctly different and still incredibly cohesive is a whole is masterful.
The Illusion of Safety

Narrowly beaten out by Judgement, Thrice?s finest hour succeeds through intense, barely-refined passion. It is catchy, heavy, open-hearted and nostalgic all at the same time and the lyrical themes of betrayal, disillusionment and misplaced trust are conveyed perfectly; when I listen through this, I can connect with the pain and anger so well that I can imagine myself writing Kensrue?s lyrics (not that they?d be nearly as good). The guitar leads are an added bonus, and I greatly enjoy playing many of the songs (especially In Years to Come and So Strange I Remember You)

I love this album so much because ? unlike Homogenic ? it feels like a patchwork of ideas (or, if you like, a collection of letters) that tell a load of different stories and display a collection of Bjork?s crazy thoughts. It?s not as cohesive or slick as her aforementioned third album, but it?s fun and diverse enough to surpass it.

This is a perfect example of one of the things that I consider to make an album great; variety, cohesiveness and consistency all combined. From the upbeat Unfamiliar, to the mysterious An Old Friend of the Christy?s to the disarmingly strange Only Twin, each song offers something different, whilst feeling part of a whole. Oceansize?s talent for turning such bizarre musical ideas into wonderfully fluid songs never ceases to amaze me
5Coheed and Cambria
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3

If there was ever an album that was written to be hooky it was IKSSE:3, but with ambitious songs like The Crowing and The Light and the Glass, Coheed proves that it is more than a collection of catchy tunes; it?s fun, energetic and borderline epic, solid from start to finish and impossible not to enjoy. I have a great deal of memories of this album during the summer, and still find it somewhat fresh

Ok, I know I said only one album per band, but Eternity is so special that I felt like I had to make an exception, especially since it is rather different to Judgement. It is so full of bleakness, despair and depression that it can feel somewhat overwhelming at times, and the combination of the unusual production and the slightly rough vocals gives it a unique feel that turns it from another unhappy, doomy Anathema album into what I can only describe as a different plane of being; this sounds ridiculous, but I find it frighteningly easy to lose myself in it that I can just close my eyes and feel myself drifting through the cover artwork blissfully
7Children of Bodom

A while back, this would have been #1 by a huge margin, but I?ve changed quite a bit since then and the all-out craziness of Alexi Laiho?s wild solos and manic screams doesn?t do as much for me as more mature, deep albums. Nevertheless, Hatebreeder remains a long-time favourite that is thoroughly chaotic and energetic from start to finish and infectious as I don?t know what

My introduction to post-metal got shipped across the Atlantic and took a long, long time to arrive, so by the time I finally received it, I had an unbelievable amount of hype. I?m still slightly amazed that it managed to satisfy this hype, but it remains a beautiful, crushing, immersive work of art that I can come back to again and again and enjoy throughout its course
Ashes Against the Grain

What makes this album really special for me is how Agalloch use the same sound to convey a great variety of feelings, from the chilling Limbs to the reflective Fire Above, Ice Below to the haunting Bloodbirds to the upbeat Not Unlike the Waves, it offers a well-structured experience that continues to fascinate me
10Arcade Fire

I have not yet heard an album that uses nostalgia as effectively as Arcade Fire did on their debut; I don?t know how they managed to write songs about digging tunnels through snow, lamenting over forgetting baby names, power cuts, girls called Alice dying in car crashes and goodness-knows-what about lies that hit so close to home, but I don?t think that my heartstrings have yet recovered from my first listen, and it is still fresh today.
11Circle Takes the Square
As the Roots Undo

I don?t know how I came to love this, but now that I do, I can connect with its mix of undiluted energy, passion, chaos and nonsensical subject matter so much that I consider the album to be a part of me. Circle Takes the Square?s debut is an accidental masterpiece that is incredible to experience and impossible to understand.
Through Silver in Blood

Another album that took a while to get into, there?s not much to say about Through Silver in Blood that someone hasn?t already said for me; it is crushing, colossally heavy and every second of it reverberates with a terrible, post-apocalyptic power that makes it borderline terrifying to listen to. Yeah, basically it?s fucking epic
Dreaming Neon Black

Now here is an album that made a massive first impression and lived up to it ever since; Nevermore?s final album without 7-string guitars is scathingly aggressive and utilises a raw sound that their (excellent) future releases failed to achieve. Warrel Dane is at his most passionate here, using his hauntingly unique voice to its full potential and Jeff Loomis? virtuosity completes it. I find this disturbing, fanatically aggressive and masterfully executed throughout that is raised above generic thrash by its interesting, slightly progressive songwriting and enchanting acoustics that are used sparingly to huge effect
Worship and Tribute

This album is an absolute mess on first listen, but I gradually came to understand that everything was written and performed so as to be precisely executed whilst sounding chaotic, and that gives it a slick feel with a fantastically scappy overtone that marks it as a firm favourite
15Pink Floyd

Floyd?s final true masterpiece (The Wall isn?t quite up there) is genius. It is so genius that it?s easier to comment on why it isn?t higher rather than why I love it so much; firstly, Sheep isn?t nearly up to the mammoth standard of Dogs and Pigs, and secondly it has a rather conspicuous lack of replay value due to the enormous song lengths (I do return to it quite often, but not nearly as often as other albums on the list). Oh yeah, the ambient section on Dogs is a little bit long. That?s it; everything else is perfection.
16In Flames

This album has been a favourite for so long that I can?t imagine the metal part of my taste without it. It beats out the Jester Race through being far more diverse, with each song its own entity rather than a different version of another song (it might have made it consistent, but monotony really held TJR back imo), Whoracle may have a few slight slip-ups (Morphing Into Primal and Everything Counts), but it has so many moments of pure gold (Jester Script Transfigured, The Hive, Worlds Within the Margin and many more) that I can easily overlook its flaws
17Rise Against
Siren Song of the Counter Culture

Aside from Love Over Gold, this is the album on the list that I?ve been listening to for the longest, which means that its boundless energy and passion are augmented with nostalgia. It still has the same effect on me as it did however many years ago and makes me want to stand up, play air guitar, headbang and sing along all at the same time like no other album (except possibly #2)

A folk-metal powerhouse that hits home from start to finish, Ensiferum?s debut has a plethora of good riffs and folky acoustics but what really makes it stand out for me is Jari Maenpaa?s voice; to this day, he is probably my favourite harsh vocalist and I cannot think of a more impressive display of screaming than the ?is written in the realms of noooooooooooooooooorth? in Treacherous Gods; this album is still my preferred call to battle
19My Dying Bride
The Dreadful Hours

A recent addition to my favourites, My Dying Bride deploy a range of ideas on this that are linked by their doom-laden sense of?well, doom. The selling point of this album is basically that it?s pretty damn powerful: from the devastatingly heavy The Raven and the Rose to the softly haunting Le Figlie Della Tempesta, the band succeeds with whatever variety of doom they choose to perform and it?s a real pity that The Return To the Beautiful is such a long way below the magnificent standard of the other songs
20The Dear Hunter
Act II: The Meaning Of...

What I love about this is how every song tries something different, and generally succeeds, but how they are all driven by Casey Crescenzo?s passionate voice, which conveys the storyline extremely well. The album is well-structured and makes the concept easy to understand and enjoyable rather than pretentious and boring (as it could easily have been), and although it?s rather long it is still a great work of art
21Dire Straits
Love Over Gold

An album that I grew up with, I?ve been listening to this for the greater part of my life. It?s beautiful, has some pretty interesting ideas (Private Investigations and Telegraph Road) and wonderfully well-composed. And the It Never Rains has one of the greatest guitar solos of all time
Century Child

Just like a lot of this list, Century Child surprised my with how much I came to enjoy it; cheesy Finnish symphonic power metal is fun, but not top-quality. Or so I thought; the epic scale of this album coupled with Tarja Turnen?s awe-inspiring voice hits the mark very squarely; songs like Bless the Child, Ever Dream and (especially) Beauty of the Beast have come to hold a special place in my heart, where the fantastical triumphs over the mature
23Porcupine Tree

Most of my first prog albums feel like stepping stones into the genre that have grown off me, but Porcupine Tree?s finest hour is one of the few that has stayed strong. Deadwing has far more character than the bland In Absentia or the rather predictable Fear of a Blank Planet and balances mystery, beauty and heaviness very well
Still Life

There is so much to love about this; Akerfeldt?s voice is sublime, the acoustics are wonderful and the The main problem for me is that most of the songs have a very similar feel, but the album is so awesome that I don?t mind much
25Dream Theater

Ah, Dream Theater; the band that seriously got me into music. They?ve grown off me over the years, but I felt compelled to put Awake here, as it is their most subtle release and the most rewarding in the long term
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