decoyoctopus
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Last Active 01-30-14 10:41 pm
Joined 07-15-12

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 Lists
03.31.14 Top Picks Of March 2014 03.05.14 Best Of February 2014
01.30.14 Top Picks Of January 2014 12.21.13 Top 20 Of 2013

Top 20 Of 2013

My top-20 personal favorites from 2013.
20Leprous
Coal


I almost feel this deserves a higher spot on this list. It really does deserve a higher spot on this list, but to go back and rewrite it now would be far too much work, and I would not know how to rearrange it any better than it already is - so at spot 20 - Leprous: 'Coal'. This is a progressive death metal album that is commonly compared to Opeth, and while there are some similarities, Leprous is by no means an Opeth clone. Leprous is very much it's own band, with it's own sound and style. The only aspect of Leprous that really assimilates it to Opeth is that both bands really do as they please when it comes to writing and composing death metal. They adhere to no conventions but rather create their own conventions for others to muse about, recreate, and mimic. This album is perhaps not as accessible as an Opeth album, in that the progressive elements employed are a bit more peculiar and more difficult to reconcile within the whole - but this is not a criticism of 'Coal'. This album is just one that requires multiple listens to unlock the musical treasures within and really appreciate some of the unique musical tactics this band lays out before the listener. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9o2nVY8FZ0
19Plini
Sweet Nothings


Another jazz / progressive metal fusion album with more boggling guitar acrobatics. This ranks slightly higher on my list because I found it to be a bit more captivating than Exivious, although much shorter, with the longest track being 5 minutes and only being 4 tracks long, you are in for under a 20 minute listen. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywlWkkNl19U
18Oneohtrix Point Never
R Plus Seven


The only item on this list weirder than David Maxim Micic's Bilo 3.0 is this album. Oneohtrix Point Never produces some of the strangest and most peculiar varieties of drone / ambient / electronic music ever to be conceived. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvDzaQOSZ3E
17Steven Wilson
The Raven That Refused to Sing


Steven Wilson has long been a favorite of mine in the prog rock scene, especially his work with his band, Porcupine Tree. However, Steven's solo work is equally challenging and captivating to listen to as his work with PT. Each and every song on this album is an album of it's own. I am especially fond of 'Drive Home'. sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycYewhiaVBk
16SubRosa
More Constant than the Gods


Stoner / doom metal with female vocals and string instruments. Recipe for success. A very immersive listen. sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wenNqTd5hU
15Burial
Rival Dealer


While maintaining some elements of classic Burial, this EP seems to be the usual spacey, ambient, introspective dub step Burial cranked up to an energetic rave-style Burial. It is still minimalist in nature, but also a much different pacing and energy level for Burial. I found this quite interesting, a fun listen to say the least. Sample : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGw5_GAfZW8
14 Boris
Präparat


Japanese 'Drone / post rock / desert rock' giants Boris struck again in early 2013 with Praparat. This album showcases Boris touching on each and every style that they incorporate into their varied and genre transcending music. Sample :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pAiYQ3jvA8
13Deafheaven
Sunbather


One of the most discussed, and argued about albums of this year, Deafheaven's 'Sunbather' has drawn acclaim as one of the best albums of the year from P4k, while simultaneously drawing criticism from the self proclaimed elite of the black metal community. Sunbather merges the screaming and ferocity of black metal with the atmosphere and ambience of shoegaze and post rock. To be honest, black metal is not a metal I can get into ? in the least. Only those genre transcending acts that splash their black metal into bits of progressive rock, jazz, avant-garde metal, post rock, folk metal ? only these types of black metal appeal to me. These include acts such as Arcturus, Agalloch, Deafheaven, and Netra. Needless to say, there is something special going on within Deafheaven's Sunbather. The atmosphere is uncanny, and enchanting to say the least. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWyVhIBmdGw
12David Maxim Micic
Bilo 3.0


This is such a strange album.. It's actually very difficult to describe. It is thematically very confused, muddled, and discordant. Beginning with gentle piano melodies, followed by some very sonically complimentary eastern/Asian sounding string symphonics, the album builds up into an epic orchestral mess before showering us in a cooperative attack of heavy metal and continued orchestrals, then what's this? Technical progressive djent grooves coupled with continued piano and strings! What an absolute mess! Operatic female vocals, circus sound effects... did I mention the part where this album completely jazzes out then begins the scatting? Yes scat-djent. And this is only in the first few minutes of this album. It seems to me that David Maxim Micic's aim with this album was to throw as much variety at the listener as he possibly could, and although a confused train wreck.. its awfully fun to listen to. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t1WX9WXQZg
11ASAP Rocky
LongLiveA$AP


This may appear out of place on my list of top albums for the year, among a long list of progressive metal, stoner rock, ambient and experimental and alternative hip hop album favorites of the year. A$Ap Rocky is far from exceptional as a rapper in my eyes. His topic matter is commonplace 'bitches, hoes, drugs & money' rap. His rapping style, flow, lyrics, and even the sound of his voice are not particularly impressive either. Why then has Long.live.A$AP found it's place on this list? The simple answer is the very chill, experimental, spacey style of production ? and a few welcome collaborations in the form of 2Chainz, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar. Surely then, this production must be something else for this album to find its way onto this list even when I have been so critical of the rapper. Indeed it is, the production is comparable in many cases to that which I might expect from Tyler and the rest of Odd Future's earlier work, which earns this album it's place upon my favorites for the year. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pNoDg2t_60
10Death Grips
Government Plates


My Review: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/59783/Death-Grips-Government-Plates/ Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7lcZF2BdDU
9Queens of the Stone Age
...Like Clockwork


This is an album that required many listens for me to digest and fully appreciate. I was more than distraught upon my first few listens to this album to see just how far the apple had fallen and rolled from Josh Homme's roots in the legendary stoner rock outfit, Kyuss. Even earlier Queens of the Stone Age albums had much more psychedelic improvisation and spacey jams characteristic of their stoner rock roots ? but '...Like Clockwork' is something entirely different. It does have stoner rock characteristics, but it's approach to the bassy and murky jam-rock that is stoner rock is entirely unique and different in this case. There are clear odes to 90s alt rock and even 80s rock (the synthy 'If I had a Tail'). This is Queens of the Stone Age really putting their musical talents to the test and stretching far beyond the comfort zone. The gem of this album is hidden, and may not be apparent immediately, but there is something very special about this QOTSA album. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUk4SI9utxw
8Nine Inch Nails
Hesitation Marks


Read my review here: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/58694/Nine-Inch-Nails- Hesitation-Marks/ Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tqymo0sVUwE
7Clutch
Earth Rocker


'Earth Rocker' is Clutch's return to the winning formula that is high energy, festive stoner metal with gruff, grungy, funky vocals from singer Neil Fallon. This album is infectiously fun, catchy, powerful, strong, streamlined, focused, ambitious, with a very full body and sound. Clutch delivers a stoner metal album chock full of content. There really can't be too much of a good thing in this case. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjOcZ6Nf22w
6 Boards of Canada
Tomorrow's Harvest


BoC's 'Tomorrow's Harvest' was my preferred ambient album of the year and very well deserving of it's place on this list. Tomorrow's Harvest is dreary, desolate, and quite depressive. As many of the albums on my list, it is one of those unique albums that transports it's listeners to another place as they indulge in it. It stimulates the imagination and causes one's mind to conjure up vivid images of places and and times. For me, I cannot help but imagine trudging across a snow covered wasteland in the distant future as I listen to BoC's Tomorrow's Harvest, but I imagine all listeners take away something different. sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61nGEMIYjP8
5TesseracT
Altered State


This progressive metal album combines the technical grooves of bands like Periphery with the atmosphere of something akin to Deftone's most recent work, 'Koi no Yokan'. Altered State is groovy as hell ? you will find at many points that you are incapable of sitting still while listening to TesseracT's Altered State. The bass-work on this album is absolutely phenomenal. In addition to being extremely groovy, the album is very spacy and atmospheric ? a combination not commonly seen in progressive metal. The male vocalist's very feminine sounding voice was an initial turn-off for me ? but over time it becomes apparent that the style of singing used by Ashe O'Hara is easily the best fit for the spacy atmosphere employed by the band on this release. Also keep an ear open for that saxaphone action near the end of the album. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWw86g-k7Do
4 Andrew Bayer
If It Were You, We'd Never Leave


Andrew Bayer's 'It's Artificial' immediately became my favorite progressive house album after a few listens, and then eventually became my favorite EDM album over time as well. ?If It were you we'd never leave?, although not exceeding ?It's Artificial?, does manage to match it's scope and mission with near perfection. This album is a very diverse EDM album, with elements of progressive house, breakbeat, drum n' bass, and IDM. Throw in some symphonic orchestrals and you have a delightfully epic listening experience and a lush electronic album brimming with emotional charge and wrought beautiful soundscape sensations. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s08VjF7QLtQ eason
3Tyler the Creator
Wolf


After the disappointment that was Goblin, I wasn't sure what to expect from Wolf. My expectations were dramatically exceeded by this alt hip-hop masterpiece of an album. Haters of the OF collective and more specifically haters of Tyler will argue that he belligerently refuses to mature ? however this is entirely the purpose of the complex and emotional themes and the narrative that is told on Wolf. And furthermore.. face it, he has musically matured substantially on this album. Tyler's beats improved, his production was phenomenal, experimental and captivating, and the sheer amount of shock value in the lyrics has been reduced notably. This album is still far from perfect, it has it's stumbles ? but it's so thoroughly injected with personality, and it's also so relatable. Naysayers will call me crazy for rating this so high, but for me it was just the crown achievement of alt hip-hop for 2013. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lDqMx4rmFU
2The Ocean
Pelagial


Your ReasA progressive sludge / post metal album on par in terms of both concept and execution with Mastodon at their best. This is one of those albums that is so rich and full and expressive that it transports you to another place while you listen to it. As you are taken along on the path created by The Ocean, you feel yourself as a listener becoming more and more submerged into murky depths. The album starts light, airy, buoyant and sunny (for a sludge metal album, anyway) and grows progressively darker and heavier as it treks along as if to create the feeling that you are entering deeper waters. By the end of Pelagial, you are at the depth that light cannot penetrate and sound cannot travel. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3_3T9TI8bw on
1The Dillinger Escape Plan
One of us is the killer


By far the strongest album yet to be created by math-core band DEP. More-so than ever before, Dillinger Escape Plan manages to create progressive, experimental metal without going down the road of the technical groove / 'djent' path that almost all other contemporary progressive metal bands seem to go down. The band continues to avoid the biggest pitfall of technical progressive metal ? namely a lack of accessibility. DEP merges heavy metal, hardcore, and punk rock to bizarre, erratic time signatures and spastic playing and somehow manages to produce a product that is fun, catchy, and accessible enough to even see radio play if it were deemed so by the radio powers that be. Look for hints of Trent Reznor and Mike Patton in Greg's vocals, and make sure to listen closely to Ben's wild and eclectic guitar playing. This album was in close contest with Pelagial, but I just found One of us is the Killer to be slightly more masterful in terms of it's execution. Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-FKM3eZTO8
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