|A top 150 favorites Part 1: 150-101|
After seeing Jasdevi087's list series I got inspired to create my own in depth top 150. I love sharing music, finding new things to listen to, and would love to hear recommendations from everyone. Ordering was kind of difficult until around 75. The first half of this whole series is more general in ranking and not definite. The margins between how much I like an album over the other is so minuscule early on, its almost pointless but I tried my best. So here it is, the first 50. Genre on top of description and favorite tracks below description. This part of the list has a bit more metal than I wanted but whatever. Oh, and I'll give you a Haiku every 15 albums cause why not. Possible entry level pleb-ness awaits. You have been warned.
In the Court of the Crimson King
So this is it. The album that just made the cut. “In the Court..” is often considered by many to be one of the best progressive rock albums of the 60s, and for good reason. It’s a classic of the genre and loved by prog nerds across the globe. I’ll try (but may fail) to not stay on old classics too long as everything that I feel should be said about them has already been said over and over by others. It’s not my personal favorite prog album but damn, it’s pretty good.
Favs: 21st Century Schizoid Man / Moonchild / The Court of the Crimson King
The other “Mass” Lps are fantastic but this is the best one in my opinion. Its heavy, dark, and just kick ass. The vocalist may not be for everyone but he is most tolerable for newcomers of the band here. While there are plenty of bands who try this style of post metal, AmenRa stands out among them by simply being able to write good stuff and give listeners what they want.
Favs: The Pain it is Shapeless / Am Kreuz / Le Fils Des Faux
*Stoner Rock/Hard Rock*
Shockingly enough, “Earth Rocker” rock’s...pretty damn hard. It may not be as “serious” as say, “The Elephant Riders” but what it lacks in maturity it makes up for in pure rock and roll fun. Neil’s vocals are a perfect match to Clutch’s music. If you like no BS stoner rock/hard rock then check this out. Hell, check their whole discog, it is crazy consistent.
Favs: Mr. Freedom / Gone Cold / DC Sound Attack
|47||Balance and Composure|
Balance and Composure may not be this site’s favorite band, but I’ll be damned if I said I didn’t love this album. It’s catchy and has so many great songs on it. There are no real riffs or crazy good guitar hooks here but I’m a big fan of Jon Simmons’ vocals.
Favs: Void / I Tore You Apart in My Head / Fade
The only Antlers album I really like. Its soft, melancholic, and emotional. A great indie rock album. The vocalist reminds me quite a lot of Justin Vernon from Bon Iver.
Favs: Kettering / Shiva / Bear
Every Day I Tell Myself...
Oh look, another pop punk band spawned off the likes of other (rather mediocre) pop punk bands. I went into this album with low expectations. I was surprised when I ended up liking it on first listen and loving it on later listens. “EDITM…” separates itself from other popular pop punk bands of the last few years by going about it a little different. Guitar hooks are more prominent and the oh-so overused “gang vocals” are not present. Bear in mind though, it’s still modern pop punk. If you already hate other bands like this (Transit/Upsides era Wonder Years) you won’t like this.
Favs: Weightless / Bad News / Time Capsules
*Melodic Death Metal*
Oh man, my first melodeath record. After all these years I still think this is a melodeath masterpiece and Mikael Staane remains one of my favorite vocalists of the genre. Great effort from a great band.
Favs: The Endless Feed / Dry Run / Through Smudged Lenses
|43||The Black Keys|
*Blues Rock/Garage Rock*
“Thickfreakness” is far and away The Black Keys’ best album. The bluesy guitar riffs are awesome and the production fits their sound here well. It is not the most original thing you will hear but sometimes you just want a really good blues rock album and that’s it. I encourage you to check this out despite the Keys’ rather “eh” discog.
Favs: Thickfreakness / Everywhere I Go / Hold Me In Your Arms
We Are the Romans
A hardcore classic. It may not be as recognized as Converge’s “Jane Doe” or Refused’s “Shape of Punk to Come” but don’t be fooled, it’s just as fantastic and has its own nice following. After the band’s breakup the vocalist has moved on to to be the frontman of Narrows instead (who aren't as good but you should give them a listen anyway).
Favs: C. Thomas Howell as the Soul Man / Saint Mathew Returns to the Womb / Man the Ramparts
The Ocean used to be pretty heavy. Awesome, sludgy and heavy as a matter of fact. Then they took it all away and went down the more prog route. Never go prog (i’m looking at you btbam). Anyway, “Aeolian” is the counterpoint to its brother album “Fluxion.” It is their heaviest album, littered with great instrumentation, and has a good variety of harsh vocals. It’s the Ocean’s most straightforward album, so don’t be expecting TOO much going in. If you want a more experimental listen, check “Fluxion” or “Precambrian.”
Favs: City in the Sea / Austerity / Killing the Flies
|40||Iron & Wine|
The Creek Drank the Cradle
A simple and relaxing indie/folk Lp. Proof that sometimes nothing but an acoustic guitar and a soft voice is all you need to feel at peace. Only problem: one look at Sam Beam may make you think, “Jesus christ, hipsters these days.” Google at own risk.
Favs: Bird Stealing Bread / Angry Blade / Promising Light
*Lo Fi/Indie Rock*
A posthumous compilation album of unreleased Elliott Smith songs. Despite being a compilation it works great as a standalone album. Most songs come from Smith’s time writing his self titled and “Either/Or” albums in the mid 90s. Not to be listened to when in a happy mood. Guy was one hell of a sad sac. RIP.
Favs: Placeholder / Go By / (Either/or)
I am fascinated as to how this band is not bigger then they are. The quality of their releases has been on par (if not better) than many other albums in it’s style of hardcore. “Untitled” is The Armed at their most mature, yet most chaotic. The production was done by Kurt Ballou of Converge fame (no complaints there) and is easily my favorite hardcore release of 2015. Check it (their music is free too).
Favs: Dead Actress / Ender / Rhythm 0
|37||There Will Be Fireworks|
The Dark, Dark Bright
My friends like to call this a “Scottish Brand New.” The only thing is that I think this is better than anything Brand New has done. It’s a wonderful emo/indie release with strong performances from the whole band. The vocalist has a thick scottish accent, so if that turns you off you may want to skip this. If not then give it a shot, it’s a blast.
Favs: River / South Street / Here is Where
My Arms, Your Hearse
*Progressive Death Metal*
Opeth is okay
They grew off me a little
This one is cool though
Favs: The Amen Corner / Demon of the Fall / Karma
|35||Devil Sold His Soul|
A Fragile Hope
*Post Hardcore/Post Metal*
I don’t know what happened between this and “Blessed and Cursed” but god the vocals were better on this one. Anyway, this is an interesting post metal/post hardcore album. The melodies here can be quite harsh or quite beautiful. The cleans may be a turn-off to fans of Ed Gibbs’ style of shrieky vocals but I think they strangely fit the music really well.
Favs: The Coroner / Between Two Words / Hope
*Hip Hop/Alt Rock*
I may not like this as much as Jasdevi but I do really enjoy it. The beats are fun and the nostalgia factor weighs heavy. This was also my first Gorillaz album which may contribute as to why it’s my favorite.
Favs: Every Planet we Reach is Dead / Feel Good Inc / All Alone
...And Justice for All
My favorite album back in early middle school. It may have fallen from grace a bit but damn, is it still a jam. “...And Justice for All” was Metallica’s first Lp without bassist Cliff Burton (RIP) but is still one of their best efforts. The last real hoorah before their steady decline.
Favs: Blackened / One / Harvester of Sorrow
The Action is Go
*Skateboard Rock/Stoner Rock*
First time listening to this I was quite bored, not gonna lie. Then one day I said screw it I’ll give it another shot and it just clicked for some reason. Fu Manchu come at you with a blast of skateboard/stoner rock fury with this one. The more I listened to it the more I noticed me bobbing my head to its sick grooves.
Favs: LaserBl'ast / Grendel Snowman / Evil Eye
This album was HUGE for me when I was younger. Like, I was baffled that a band could be so “diverse” with its sound (I had no idea what prog was). Today, it may not have that special magic flowing through it but it’s still a charming trip down memory lane. Instrumentation is killer on this and Romeo’s vocals are still a pleasure to hear.
Favs: Incantations of the Apprentice / The Turning / The Odyssey
Cure for Pain
An awesome jazz rock album. I never found the sax to ever be too overbearing and the songs are just great to sing along to. Title track got me feelin’ some kinda way.
Favs: Cure For Pain / Buena / A Head With Wings
Hot damn, the riffz. The holy glorious riffz. Heavy Stoner metal with a hint of that cheesy “one with the universe” crap. May not be as good when the high wears off but hell, it was sick while it lasted.
Favs: Wanka Tanka / March of Spiritu / Anatman
Moar riffz from your favorite no-shame Black Sabbath worshipers. To me, “Witchcult Today” remains Electric Wizard’s best album post “Dopethrone.” Jus Oborn’s vocals are a bit different here than on previous releases but they fit the slow and low guitar provided by Liz and himself regardless. Many of the songs take inspiration from horror novels and movies.
Favs: Saturnine / Dunwhich / The Chosen Few
The Chariot's last and best release. You can feel the energy in this one more than any of their previous efforts. One of the few bands to start off only “just okay” to one of the genre’s finest in a short amount of time. Sad to see them go but I’m happy they ended on a high note rather than crash and burn.
Favs: Not / And / Cheeck
*Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal*
Ufomammut remain one of the most underrated stoner/doom metal bands around. Snailking is a heavy psychedelic experience and the band’s best album (just ahead of this year’s “Ecate” by a snidge). Highly recommend this album (band) to anyone who likes psychedelic doom/sludge.
Favs: Hopscotch / Odio / Braindome
Solve Et Coagula
The album cover alone satan’s pretty hard but the music is even harder. It’s a 34 minute ride into pure hatred and rage. The black metal influence in this is undeniable but the album is a hardcore Lp at heart. There are little to no breaks in “Solve et Coagula,” just a massive wall of heavy and fast sound. Special thanks to user Shuyin for this rec.
Favs: Cross Builder / Double Slaughter / 1968
|24||De La Soul|
3 Feet High and Rising
*Jazzy Hip Hop*
I didn’t start listening to hip hop until recently. With that said however, I heard and loved “3 Feet High…” long before my interest in hip hop sprung up. My naive mind just assumed that there were so little “good” rap artists that it was useless trying to look for more than what I already knew about. (I am aware that this barely makes sense). I know better now, but still really enjoy giving this record a spin. It’s just good old school hip hop.
Favs: Me Myself and I / Change in Speak / Buddy
|23||The Mars Volta|
Frances the Mute
Love ‘em or hate ‘em this album is still really cool. The band plays their instruments like idiots at times but I guess that gives it its charm. Cedric is one of my favorite frontmen and while I liked him more with At the Drive In, he still does a great job here and on their other efforts. This was also my first Mars Volta album, so it holds a nice place in my heart.
Favs: The Widower / Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus / Miranda that Ghost Just isn't Holy Anymore
|22||The Wonder Years|
Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing
Ahh the Wonder Years. Everyone’s favorite band to hate. No, they are not as good as other pop punk/emo bands but is this album (and Greatest Generation) pretty awesome? Yes. “Suburbia…” is the album that got listeners to take them a bit more seriously. Soupy is shown to be a much more mature frontman here and all the songs are catchy, fun, and relatable.
Favs: Woke Up Older / I've Given You All / Local Man Ruins Everything
Ocean Machine: Biomech
Oh Heavy Devy
Serenade me with your voice
...and your sick riffage
Favs: Life / The Death of Music / Bastard
The Beastie Boys! Every suburban white kid’s favorite rap trio. With that kinda sad fact aside though, “Paul’s Boutique” is phenomenal. Great use of sampling and strong performances from MCA, Ad Rock and MIke D. One of my favorite rap albums of the 80s.
Favs: Johnny Ryall / Egg Man / B-Boy Bouillabaisse
Enemy of the Sun
I never jumped on the Neurosis bandwagon but “Enemy of the Sun” and “Through Silver in Blood” are both great post metal albums. I like “Enemy…” a bit more for no real specific reasons. I feel it is one of Neurosis’ more overlooked records and should be given a bit more love. Spread the love guys!
Favs: Enemy of the Sun / Lost / Lexicon
|18||Samsara Blues Experiment|
Long Distance Trip
*Psychedelic Stoner Rock*
What makes “Long Distance Trip” a better stoner rock album than so many others? Well...sadly I can’t answer that. I really don’t know. It’s just one of the many albums in this genre that I just like more than others. Maybe it’s the way the band is more subtle with their guitar work instead of focusing on crushing riffs. Give it a shot though, You may see what I’m seeing (LSD not needed)
Favs: Singata Mystic Queen / Center of the Sun / Double Freedom
|17||Protest the Hero|
Oh boy, another big album for me growing up. “Fortress” was the first album I’ve heard in it’s style. It was unique to me in a way that it was fast metal/punk but had orchestral elements and a young, odd vocalist. It still holds up today as miles better than anything else Protest the Hero has done. Arif’s bass work is top notch here and probably the album’s strongest element.
Favs: Palms Read / Spoils / Bone Marrow
The first true post rock album on the list. Bark Psychosis bring you a wonderful album full of gorgeous atmospheres and great musicianship. I’ve always had a soft spot for post rock with vocals so when I heard this, it was destined to become a favorite of mine. If anyone would like to recommend some post rock that incorporates vocals, please share!
Favs: Absent Friend / Pendulum Man / Fingerspit
The Sound of Perseverance
Death are pretty metal. Quite possibly the MOST metal even. “Sound of Perseverance” gives listeners the classic Death flavor with a progressive twist. The result is a near flawless death metal album that only further added to their already unfathomably consistent discography.
Favs: Bite the Pain / Spirit Crusher / A Moment of Clarity
*Chaotic Hardcore/Converge worship*
“Forceps” is only one of the many kick ass releases to come from Throatruiner Records. It’s angry, hard hitting, and...french. The vocalist does in fact have quite the throat-ruiner of a voice himself though. His approach is near identical to Jacob Bannon actually. If you like sludgy hardcore please check this band and label. Lots of free stuff.
Favs: Foi Borgnem / Atra Bilis / Aux Porcs
|13||Weaver At The Loom|
Before Now, Was Then
*Post Rock/Indie Pop*
A lovely post rock/indie pop release from a relatively unknown artist. The instrumentation here is soft, lush, and soothing. Vocals are lovely but don’t steal the show and add a nice layer to the music itself. Occasionally catchy, but always smart.
Favs: Simple Rules / We're Wild Animals / Encyclopedia
*Technical Death Metal*
Like I stated before, sometimes you really don’t have a reason as to why you love an album so much. You just “feel it” more than the others. Atheist’s “Unquestionable Presence” is a good example of this for me. Technical death metal is a genre with an uncountable amount of contributors, so why pick this? I don’t know dude... it’s just really good metal.
Favs: Unquestionable Presence / Enthralled in Essence / Your Life's Retribution
Prayer for Terrene
Idylls avoid the sophomore slump and put out a brilliant chaotic hardcore Lp. There is nothing happy about this album. These guy are pissed at something, I don’t know what it is, but it’s something. All the songs bring you crushing guitar licks and crazy drumming. There is even occasional use of sax, albeit it’s not too high in the mix. Literally curious: How do you pronounce Idylls? Does anyone know?
Favs: Lied To / Terraform / Pay with Youth
|10||The Pax Cecilia|
blessed Are The Bonds
*Avant Garde Metal*
Aside from Maudlin of the Well, there are not many avant-garde metal bands that really pique my interest. I’m thankful I found The Pax Cecilia as this is now one of my favorite albums ever. “Blessed are the Bonds” is dark, unique and hauntingly beautiful at times.
Favs: The Tragedy / The Tomb Song / The Progress
Crust at it’s finest. Alpinist assault your eardrums with fast playing and aggressive attitude on their debut “Minus. Mensch.” The drums here are the real deal and ever so slightly outshine the rest of the band. Quite a shame they haven't made music in a while (they’re on hiatus) but I believe their facebook said something about the members forming a new band. Special thanks to user Wacknizzle for this rec.
Favs: A is For Army of Slaves / This Song will not Save Your Life / Nighttime Poet Daytime Dead
|8||Birds in Row|
You, Me, and the Violence
Deathwish records never (usually) disappoints. Birds in Row’s debut is emotional and intelligent. The band doesn't focus much on being catchy or creating a sick guitar hook here, but instead focuses on their ability reel you in with memorable lyric timing and raw power.
Favs: The Illusionist / Walter Freeman / You, Me, and the Violence
*Psychedelic Space Rock*
Take a trip into space while listening to some great psych rock. This album has the ability to cruise through your mind without you even realizing it. You just get a little lost (in a good way). Not overly original in concept, but when taken for what it is, it’s one of the genre’s finest.
Favs: First Orbit / Sonic Invasion 2910 / The Big Rip
Highway 61 Revisited
Can’t forget this one
You ain’t a rolling stone Bob
I’ll revisit you
Favs: Like a Rolling Stone / Desolation Row / Ballad of a Thin Man
|5||Less Than Jake|
One of my favorite ska punk albums ever. It’s fast, fun as hell, and full of memorable songs. I really wish Less than Jake still put as much effort into their music now than they did when this was released.
Favs: Help Save the Youth of America from Exploding / History of a Boring Town / Nervous in the Alley
|4||Lamp of the Universe|
The Cosmic Union
*Psychedelic Folk Rock*
If you’re looking to trip balls without actually taking the tab, then give this a listen. “The Cosmic Union” makes use of guitar, sitar, and ambience to give you one of the coolest psychedelic music experiences you’ll hear. It’s drenched in reverb and has an old school vibe to it.
Favs: Lotus of A Thousand Petals / Freedom of Your Mind / In the Mystic Light
One of my favorite albums from one of my favorite bands. I highly recommend you check them all out as most of their releases are spectacular (especially their 90s material). I decided to go with “Jurassic Shift” though. It has wonderful instrumentation and not a single member gets overshadowed by the other. All the instruments are used effectively and you’ll always find something new in every song no matter how many replays it gets.
Favs: Sunhair / Stretchy / Jurassic Shift
|2||Between the Buried and Me|
“Colors” was my first progressive metal album with harsh vocals. At first I was unsure how I felt about it. It ended up growing on me tremendously and was my favorite album ever for quite some time. It may offend the traditional prog nerd but I love it. The band grew off me considerably in recent years and I realized their earlier work (before they went prog) was just...better. I still find myself traveling back to this album though and enjoying it quite a lot; and because of that, here it is.
Favs: Ants of the Sky / Sun of Nothing / White Walls
Boris At Last -Feedbacker-
Drone is not by any stretch of the imagination a genre I like. I’ve never felt any incentive to try and get into it because what little I have heard I disliked. Guess I’m not “LEET” enough yet. “Feedbacker” is probably considered “entry level.” If it is not, correct me as I am not denying my ignorance of the genre. Despite what I’ve just said, I really do enjoy my time listening to “Feedbacker.” I’m not too much of a fan of the first part but the rest of the album, holy crap, it's straight up dope. If anyone has any recommendations to get me into drone then by all means, tell me. I love listening to unfamiliar music, I just never know where to start.
Favs: Feedbacker 2 / Feedbacker 3 / Feedbacker 4