|The Most Immersive Albums|
These are the albums that make me wish I lived in the world created by their songs... or at
least, create a world at all. List heavily influenced by nostalgia.
This should be fairly obvious to anybody who's heard this album. Combines the band's most consistent
songwriting with the most unique instrumentation and the darkest overall mood. The vague concept also
really helps bind everything together. Also: OK Computer
Master of Puppets
...And Justice For All has more interesting arrangements and songwriting but this album wins just for
creating a more immersive experience... maybe something to do with the production value. The album
follows its overall theme of "control" very well, bookended by vicious manifestos against the restraint of
authority. Also: ...And Justice For All
All Opeth albums create their own mood, but strangely it's this and not BWP that draws me in the most.
The soft parts are so warm and compelling and they really unify the sometimes bizarre songs. In particular
the greater technical complexity creates a feeling of following the album and exploring something unknown
and powerful. Also: Damnation
Deciding between this album and Aenima has always been very difficult for me, but this album is
undoubtedly more immersive to me because of its decreased dependence on guitar rock, the shift from
harsh and critical lyrics to otherworldly themes of transcendence, and the reflective arrangements. The
length and presence of filler actually helps by giving the listener more space and reflection. Also: Aenima
|5||Between the Buried And Me|
Maybe it's just the "one song" thing but this is my favorite album and I feel like I'm exploring an old
building or cave every time I listen to it. Similar to Ghost Reveries in that you feel like you're following the
album and trying to stay a step ahead. Some parts are a little dull or overly wanky but the album never
forgets to have fun despite its majestic designs. Also: The Great Misdirect
A Matter of Life and Death
Some may prefer their 80s material, but in my opinion Iron Maiden's best work has all come out in this
decade. They haven't stopped coming up with hooky powerful metal and this album's shift in a darker,
more brooding direction, as well as its theme of war and death, creates a more unified and progressive take
on the old gallop. Also: Brave New World
Along with Kid A, one of the production masterpieces of the 21st century. The songwriting and technicality
calms down a bit by Mastodon's standards, but the band paces itself well by diversifying song structure,
length and style. The album has a sort of loose sway to it that adds a lot to the nautical theme. Also:
It probably helps to know the story behind the album, but I find this album incredibly beautiful and
meaningful. The lyrics remain absolutely great and the vocalists are engagingly personal while never
overshadowing the music. This album is how to combine many elements together perfectly.
|9||Alice in Chains|
Layne Staley's tragic self-destruction provides needed context to this 90s rock milestone. The songwriting
became insanely consistent for the first time in AiC's career. With no boring songs and an impressive
album flow, and of course one of the most distinct frontmen in the last 20 years of rock music, this album
pulls you into a world of despair, hopelessness and regret. Also: Jar of Flies
I like to imagine that the band created a goal with this album to write no more than two songs that
sounded at all similar. I still can't believe how well they managed to do each separate genre they aimed
at. Black Sabbath's ominous trudge ("Mailman"), dark twists on the Beatles' psychedelia ("Head Down")
and even Nirvana's grunge-punk ("Kickstand"). There are no album highlights. By doing so much, the
band keeps you guessing and makes this one of the most fun listening experiences of the 90s.
|11||A Perfect Circle|
My first real "art rock" band. Diverse instrumentation, a dark but vague concept, experiments with song
composition and style, and one of my favorite vocalists actually singing. What more could I ask for? "The
Package" is like Tool's "Reflection" with serious balls. Also: Mer de Noms
The Alchemy Index
Similar to Superunknown, this band set out to tackle extremely diverse material and created four sonic
gems. Put all the songs from these EPs in a playlist and shuffle it to realize how talented these boys are.
The albums themselves don't pander too much to their concept (with the possible exception of Earth) and
form a tapestry of great periods in rock history. Also: Beggars
The Autumn Effect
Although this band is pretty generic in a lot of ways ("TOOL LITE HURR HURR"), it creates a mood absent
from most radio hard rock. By including some interludes, a good use of ambience, and an excellent vocalist
for their genre, 10 Years showed a lot of promise on their debut. Here's hoping they experiment a little
more in the future... Division was a little disappointing.
Viva la Vida
Also a controversial choice, I'm sure, but this album made me wish I could go down to "Strawberry Swing"
or walk through the ghostly "Cemeteries of London." Every culture and country in the world is
represented here, from the Middle Eastern frenzy of "Yes" to the American arena rock of "Lost" and "Violet
Hill." Makes me feel like traveling the world.
Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses
This rounds out the risky choices, and I'd probably hate this album if I heard it for the first time now... but
I can't separate this album now from the badassness I felt when I headbanged to "Pulse of the Maggots"
as a 15-year-old for the first time. The album does vary style and there are some cool rhythm/time
signature choices. Also some surprisingly emotional and melodious stuff. The album still keeps me
interested and Corey Taylor is unstoppable.