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11.10.20 MarsPoetry: Continued! 08.18.20 MarsBro's Court of 2020
03.19.20 Mars2020: What to Listen For09.30.19 Update: Build-an-Album, Life, etc.
09.06.19 Sputnik Mafia: Trial Run07.30.19 MarsBro's Court of 2019
06.25.19 Build-an-Album R10: Weaving a Web06.05.19 Help a geriatric catch up on the times
04.17.19 Build-an-Album R9: To Salt a Wound02.10.19 Build-an-Album R8: Development, Oh Hell
01.26.19 Build-an-Album R7: Raise Yer Rhythms01.15.19 Build-an-Album R6: Burnin' Churches
01.04.19 Build-an-Album R5: Dad Bods Unite12.27.18 Build-an-Album R4: Flannel Time
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Marsbro's 2 Year Sputversary Extravaganza

The day that absolutely no one has waited for is now here! It's official, I've wasted two years of my time making reviews and commenting on threads. In all seriousness, it's been a great experience and I've met so many new people and artists that have really expanded my tastes and views. In celebration of this, I've made some lists and thrown them in here: my top 10 least favorite albums, top 10 most nostalgic, 10 honorable mentions and then my top 50 current favorites. Join in for write-ups I probably spent too much time making!
84Macho Man Randy Savage
Be A Man

[Marsbro's Top 10 LEAST Favorite Albums]
Some Nights

Never before has a band’s name been so opposed to the feeling the listener experiences.
82In Flames
Siren Charms

Is there no end to the downward spiral, In Flames? After making an acclaimed comeback with Come Clarity, you just went further and further from good songwriting. Sounds of a Playground Fading wasn’t a bad album, but it could have been so much more; you could hear hints of another possible return to form. Instead, we got the worst album the boys have ever released and one of the worst metal albums. You can’t even have fun making fun of it.
81Meghan Trainor
Thank You

No thank you.
80Maroon 5

Why did you do it, Maroon 5? Did you have to sell out so you could drown in the money coming in from young teens? Perhaps the allure of generic club tracks was just too strong. Who doesn’t want to populate every venue with the worst musical output possible? It surprises me that this band, at one point, released Songs About Jane, and the vocals weren’t overproduced to shit.
79King 810
La Petite Mort or a Conversation With God

Who knew someone could be worse than Black Tongue until King 810 happened
Ruining It for Everybody

An appropriate album title; these guys really ruin music for everyone that listens. If Attack! Attack! didn’t exist, they’d be the pinnacle of ill-advised electronic noise being thrown into an album as a gimmick. Their only ‘good’ album isn’t even good.
77Attack Attack! (US)
Someday Came Suddenly

I’ve got nothing to say except these guys are completely terrible and ruined many sessions. Not worth the time.
Eternal Enemies

Pick any Emmure album, really. This was just one of their worst I’ve heard… but how would I know? Every album is the same affair of bland, one-note guitars, forgettable ‘riffs’, abysmal lyrics, the list goes on. It’s pure mosh fodder and strives to be nothing more. Bands like these cause stagnation. Avoid at all costs.
75The Chainsmokers

I don’t think I’ve heard an album that so completely encompasses everything wrong with the music industry. Every single song is a soulless, insipid pop tune factory-made for your college campus and the local club. No passion, no heart, no energy. Bland, uninspired lyrics with equally awful vocal performances. It’s a picture-perfect fit for the radio and to the top of the charts, getting played everywhere until eventually people lose interest and another artist gets their 3 weeks of fame. “Closer,” and this album as a whole, are just another trend doomed to fade away. Thank God that song died out.
About That Life

Oh, Attila, I just love to hate you. Where does one even begin? Your laughable attempts to make ‘fun’ party metal, chock full of obnoxious, directionless instruments and songs, make Brain Drill look like Gorguts. Every album is inconsistent and annoying from beginning to end, with About That Life being the worst of the bunch. Fonz’s attempts at singing, if we’ll call them that, combined with his complete ineptitude as a writer and front man, make matters infinitely worse. The fact that the guy’s a self-absorbed prick doesn’t help. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with fun music. However, there is way too much wrong with Attila. Probably the worst band I’ve heard.
73Frank Ocean
Nostalgia, Ultra.

[Marsbro's Top 10 Nostalgic Albums]
72Maroon 5
Songs About Jane

This was the first CD I ever personally owned and the first one I really enjoyed. It started my journey into music and is still a fine listen.
Alive At Last

Same as with Maroon 5, this was one of the earliest albums I owned and I cherished it a lot when I was young.
70Scatman John
Everybody Jam!

Scatman’s positive message was always something I enjoyed, and he was somewhat of a role model to me growing up.
69All That Remains
This Darkened Heart

The first metal album I ever heard with the first metal song I ever heard. I remember the confusion I felt when “Focus Shall Not Fail” played. It was such a different experience and opened up a whole new realm of music to me. Haven’t looked back since.
68Band of Horses
Everything All the Time

I heard “The Funeral” on some sort of Halo video for some reason and was instantly interested. I connected with this album easily and have a special place for it in my heart.
67The Shins
Port of Morrow

Fond memories of seeing these guys live with my mom. It was a great show and a great band.
66The Sleeper

Reminds me of my days back in the old Deathcore/Metalcore/Hardcore room in I played these guys all the time, along with Viva Revival. Used to think they were top-tier releases. My opinion has changed of course, but they’re both still great.
65Seventh Wonder
Mercy Falls

This was one of the big YouTube finds I made back when I just charged through a ton of full album play throughs. Expect to see this album again on this list.
The Grand Illusion

Seen these guys three times with my dad. Brings back good memories and the music itself is a joy to listen to.

The anthem to my senior year of high school. I can’t count the amount of times I played this in my car.
Do What Thou Wilt.

[Marsbro's 10 Honorable Mentions: Not quite Top 50]
61Modern Life Is War

#10: “Yeah, I’m still playing in that stupid band”
An album doesn’t always have to be innovative or defy its musical classifications. Take Modern Life is War on Witness: they sure sound like a hardcore band—no twists involved whatsoever—but what shines is the lyrical content and the honest, passionate delivery. This was a personal album for many people for a good reason. Favorite Track: “D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S”
The Weirding

#9: “Take my place in the human race”
Although my opinion on this album has fallen over time, it still retains great amounts of enjoyment. It may wander off at times, but the release continues to remain engaging with its strong instrumentals and hazy soundscapes. Favorite Track: “Silent Sleep”
59The Evpatoria Report

Awesome post-rock from a band that needs to make a return sometime soon. Favorite Track: “Optimal Region Selector”
Sorrow And Extinction

#7: “No more hope, no more dawn”
Pallbearer’s nostalgia-inducing, yet unique sound has attracted a lot of attention over the years. Their long tracks, guided by massive guitar riffs and soaring vocals, make for a great listen every time you spin it. Favorite Track: “Devoid of Redemption”
57The Ocean

#6: “Fall down on us”
If I ever happen to venture into the depths of any sort of body of water, this will no doubt be the soundtrack to the journey. Intense, dramatic, and just plain heavy at times, Pelagial is an entertaining listen that offers a lot to fans of many different genres. Favorite Track: “Demersal: Cognitive Dissonance”
Dust and Disquiet

#5: “Speak to me”
Anyone that likes this album needs to the their AudioTree session. This is such a passionate release, a fact made only more evident if you see these guys perform it. In a genre crowded with soulless rip-offs, Caspian is a gift to the ears. Favorite Track: “Echo and Abyss”
55Eden Maine
To You The First Star

#4: “You can strike a deal with the devil if you wish”
Atmospheric metalcore is a thing of beauty. Like Harlots and Amia Venera, Eden Maine merges post-metal with chaotic hardcore and metalcore elements, creating a dark, engrossing release that knows when to obliterate you with riffs and then let the mood settle. One of the best in the genre. Favorite Track: “More Fireflies for the Candlelight”
54Ovid's Withering
Scryers of the Ibis

#3: “Now the visions are clear”
Symphonic Deathcore too often turns into a gimmick-driven festival of overproduced samples. Somehow, Ovid’s pulls off the concept without being obnoxious or overbearing, managing to create a wonderfully dark ambiance filled with impressive tracks. A must for any fan of the genre. Favorite Track: “Winter in Tomis”
Spiritual Migration

#2: “I release this mighty force”
Persefone’s most technical release to date doubles as my personal least favorite. That may sound pretty negative, but take it in the context of the band’s entire discog; a lesser-quality Persefone album still beats out 95% of all other releases. It’s a great listen from start to finish. Favorite Track: “Mind as Universe”
52In Flames

#1: “Buy me a trip to the moon so I can laugh at my mistakes”
My first introduction to In Flames was a memorable one. The band’s initial foray into more accessible waters is still immersed in the band’s signature melodic style, this time with more addicting riffs and choruses. It’s a wonderful listen from start to end and ages very well. Favorite Track: “Satellites & Astronauts”
51Childish Gambino
"Awaken, My Love!"

[Marsbro's (current) Top 50 FAVORITE Albums of All Time]
50A Lot Like Birds
Conversation Piece

“If all you want are flowers, just plant yourself a garden”
Discovering these guys was quite the gift. An album full to the brim with intricate, catchy guitar lines and a very powerful dual vocal performance, Conversation Piece never fails to excite. Every track is a definite jam. Favorite Track: “Tantrum”
49We Lost the Sea
Departure Songs

Better writers have already described this eloquent farewell to heroes and friends alike in much more fitting ways than I ever could. If I were to make an addition, I’d just like to say that this album is not only an excellent concept, but also one of the best post-metal releases I’ve had the great pleasure of hearing. Favorite Track: “The Last Dive of David Shaw”

“You have to stand up and fight”
It annoys me to no end when people say “______ is dead.” A genre, in my opinion, is only as dead and empty as you let it be. Methexis are definite proof that energy still runs through modern prog music. A very easy album to include in my personal top 50 and one that never disappoints. Favorite Track: “Chapter II (interior) – Sunlight”
47As Cities Burn
Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest

“Lost in second chances without end”
As soon as they returned, As Cities Burn left again. Fortunately, the band was together long enough to deliver a very consistent discography prior to their brief reunion, highlighted by the explosive, passionate release featured here. Prepare for some of the more spirited guitar work in post-hardcore. Favorite Track: “Wake Dead Man, Wake”
46The Contortionist

“The system is now free from error”
To my grave, I will maintain that deathcore could be pushed further than it currently has been. Hopefully, within my lifetime, I’ll be able to witness another gamechanger like Exoplanet, but the likelihood is low. Forget going with the ebb and flow and jam this shit. Favorite Track: “Flourish”
Ocean of Colour

“Through anguish we will rise”
It’s getting more and more likely that we may never hear another new album from the boys in Ascariasis. However, their one EP still easily outclasses pretty much all of their peers. A sterling example of what deathcore can do when paired with other genres. Every song is truly stunning and top-tier for the genre. Favorite Track: “Torchbearer”
Living as Ghosts with Buildings as Teeth

“You and I will never be alone”
Living as Ghosts… is what happens when people just truly need to get an album out. Facing a near break-up situation, the band reformed and delivered to the world their best album, and no doubt one of my all-time favorites. The musicianship has been taken to even higher heights and the vocals are incredible. Favorite Track: “Dead Rope Machine”

Few instrumental albums have the preciseness and class that Niechec have. To call this “wank” is essentially insulting the level of depth put into each song. The emotions you’ll feel during the runtime of this self-titled will rival any feelings lyrics could ever conjure up. If you haven’t heard this, do it now. Favorite Track: “Krew”
42So Hideous
To Clasp a Fallen Wish With Broken Fingers

“Fading light fills these lungs at last”
Are So Hideous as genre-bending as their assortment of tags might lead you to believe? Not quite. Do they still kick your fucking ass with incredibly energetic and emotional songs? Absolutely. Jam every day. Favorite Track: “To Clasp a Fallen Wish…”

“These words can kill like a curse”
Oh Harlots, we hardly knew ye. Yet, with your ridiculously solid discography, you easily outperform many past and current metalcore acts. The more chaotic and in-your-face of the three Harlots albums, Betrayer hits full-throttle right from the opening and never lets you go. Even in its more reserved moments, you still feel the heaviness and brutality of this band’s massive sound. Favorite Track: “Avada Kedavra”
Breaking the Fourth Wall

“Don’t lose your way now”
Beecher manage to edge out Harlots though when it comes to sheer viciousness. When I think of albums that simply do not relent, not even for a moment, Breaking the Fourth Wall is a chief example. It’s an insane and varied assault on your ears. If you’re not ready for this beast of a record, expect to be overwhelmed by the intensity. If you are ready, expect to still get fucked up by this beast. Favorite Track: “Red Diesel”
39The Faceless
Planetary Duality

“I am the suppressed darkness inside of you”
I’ve said it before, but it seems as though it’s become trendy to hate on Planetary Duality. I’ve written that the album’s critical and commercial success put it to the forefront of modern tech-death, whether that was deserved or not. Over time, this—and the slew of copy-cat bands trying to recreate this album—made it easy to launch critique at what honestly is one of the best current-age death metal albums in general. This refuses to get old after repeated listens. Favorite Track: “Planetary Duality II: A Prophecy’s Fruition”

“I am Void, I am everything”
Persefone are one of those bands that just refuse to accept a status quo and continually change their music on each album they produce. There’s no doubt that they could have stuck with a winning formula after Core’s success, but instead we got Shin-Ken. Trading Greek mythos for Japanese lore and setting the speed to max, Shin-Ken features the group’s fastest, most visceral tracks. The guitar work, backed with the trademark atmospheric keys and instrumental breaks, is a highlight for the band and can even rival Core at times. It’s a heavy and technically pleasing record, containing one of my favorite songs by the band. Favorite Track: “Rage-Stained Blade”
37Tanooki Suit
Vaati and Veselekov

“All I have now are memories and scars”
Their music doesn’t break boundaries. It’s not the most complicated or intricate music you’ll hear. But this is some of the most passionate music I’ve heard. It’s a two-man project that receives plenty of love from each member—something you feel within every note of this addicting release. Favorite Track: “Beserk”
Truth Inside the Shades

“I am you, and you are me”
Since Persefone’s success came with Core and onwards—especially on Spiritual Migration, who has a full album playthrough with more than a million views—people seemed to forget or ignore the band’s roots. Truth Inside the Shades, despite being the shortest Persefone album, is also one of their best. Dominated by the band’s signature guitar skill, keyboard work, and a surprisingly awesome bass, Truth has plenty to offer for new and longtime fans. Favorite Track: “Nifelheim (The Eyes That Hold the Edge)”
35Pianos Become the Teeth
The Lack Long After

“It’s a hell of a thing”
Sometimes, I’m not looking for poetic lyrics or ones that dance around fancy metaphors. You just need a piece of music that cuts through the bullshit and screams out its grievances. The Lack Long After fits the bill perfectly and remains a thoroughly emotional and heartfelt release. Favorite Track: “Such Confidence”
The Living Infinite

“Take me home where the truth unfolds”
The Living Infinite was among the first death metal albums I really fell in love with, jamming it every day for car rides, projects, whatever. Today, it’s still an amazing album that never loses steam over its two discs. Each side has incredible music moments, fronted by an especially lively vocal performance. Favorite Track: “This Momentary Bliss”
33Shadow of the Colossus
End Game

“I need you more than ever before”
Straightforward deathcore has never been done so well. Featuring some of most thoughtful and poetic lyrics I’ve heard out of any band, especially for this genre, Endgame pulls out all the stops possible. It’ll throw out beautiful melodies and then bash you over the head with heavy-as-fuck tunes. Something for everyone here. Favorite Track: “Amygdala”
32The Protomen
Act II: The Father of Death

“The city needs you now”
Don’t let the video game concept turn you away—The Protomen are masters at their craft, certainly rivaling bands of similar styles. Stellar songwriting is abound through slow-burning ballads, horn-driven jams, and synth-laden rock songs. It’s hard not to love this. Favorite Track: “Light Up the Night”
31The Hirsch Effekt
Holon: Agnosie

The band’s style is most certainly a melting pot of genre influences. You have Dillinger-esque craziness, post-metal ambiance, post-hardcore song structures… the list goes on. It’s a very well-executed blend of musical classifications that any progressive metal fan would love. You’re missing out if you haven’t heard this. Favorite Track: “Cotard”
30Trophy Eyes
Chemical Miracle

“To have everything mean nothing would mean everything to me”
Switching styles can be dangerous to a band’s career. In the case of Trophy Eyes, crossing over from generic hardcore to a more pop-punk-influenced sound worked wonders. It’s been critically acclaimed across the board for good reason: it’s memorable, emotional, and executed with passion. Favorite Track: “Suicide Pact”
29Jon Brion
Synecdoche, New York

“I’m singing this song, but it’s about you”
Synecdoche, New York is my favorite film of all time without question. It’s fitting that it’s accompanied by one of the finer, subtler film scores I’ve heard, punctuating the emotions of the movie. By itself, it still holds its own and brings forth an engaging atmosphere. Favorite Track: “OK”
28Foo Fighters
The Colour and the Shape

“Here where I belong, just hanging on”
I grew up listening to pretty much every Foo Fighters album, but only one truly struck a chord with me. It’s been considered one of the finer mainstream rock albums made in more recent times, and I’m tempted to agree. The album is crowded with instant hits from start to finish, making it easy to listen to the whole thing all the way through without hitting a single dull moment. Favorite Track: “February Stars”

“Now I’m back to square one, when all these feelings had just begun”
Masstaden will forever out-Shuggah Meshuggah and any other copy-cat band or djent band in general. Why? Simply put, the songwriting and musical creativity on display here, combined with a nearly-suffocating and dense dark atmosphere, completely outclasses every release done within the genre. Bow down to the real masters. Favorite Track: “Traces”
26Deathspell Omega
Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum

“Very low hast thou brought us”
Very rarely will you come across an album that is so insanely complex that you have to turn off literally every stimulant around you: keep your eyes open and you might get distracted. It’s imperative to just sit back and dive deep into the murky, despairing, utterly frantic depths that Deathspell Omega dwell within. An incredibly impressive release. Favorite Track: “Bread of Bitterness”
25Long Distance Calling
Avoid The Light

“I came once I heard you sing”
When I first heard this album, my jaw dropped to the floor. When I heard it for no doubt the fiftieth or so time, I still saw myself amazed by the creativity and beautiful moments scattered in each song. Build-ups are executed perfectly and the album feels like a genuine, relaxed jam session between very talented musicians. Favorite Track: “359”
24In Dread Response

“With muzzle flash, we killed the iron lung”
It seems In Dread Response is the band metalcore/melodic death metal needs, but doesn’t deserve. Heavenshore is a massive album populated with riffs upon riffs upon riffs, each incredibly outstanding. The instrumental and vocal work are very on point and never slack off. Helping matters is that the record is capped off by one of the most satisfying closers I’ve ever heard. Favorite Track: “Weight”

“Can we still find the light at the end of the tunnel?”
Locktender are heavy as all hell. But, more importantly, they balance that heaviness with intelligent songwriting laden with awesome crescendos, challenging genre greats and newcomers alike. Outside of their mastery over post-metal structuring, the band can also effortlessly execute a complex hardcore jam sure to have you throwing down—coincidentally my favorite track. Favorite Track: “The Thinker”
This Town Needs Guns

“Now there’s nothing left to say—just goodnight”
The outward poppy, happy and jam-laden exterior of this math rock album is truly a façade. Beneath its more joyful instrumentation are hints of sadness and regret, adding a subtle touch of sorrow. Of course, there are still plenty of light-hearted moments, but those small touches give so much more emotional depth to this release. The vocal work is superb and the instruments are top-tier for the genre. Favorite Track: “Japanese Ultraviolence in D Minor”
Communication Lost

“I lose you, just the way that you lost me”
Perhaps Communication Lost is a product of its time and will never be recreated. Despite trying hard to make a part 2 to this album with Machina Viva, they failed to really capture the emotions on the former release. The break-ups of relationships—inside and outside of the band—and the trauma happening in individual lives, coupled with an internal desire to just make an album to spell out all the grievances, led to a monumental, gorgeously melancholic record that can’t be beat. Favorite Track: “Pulse”
20Seventh Wonder
Mercy Falls

“Your soul will fade like a rose in the dark”
When it comes to theatrics combined with masterful instrumentation, Seventh Wonder will forever have Dream Theater’s number. The entire cast (with exceptions given to the subpar voice actors) bring forth high-level performances. Special mention of course goes to Tommy Kaverik, who has the voice to beat all voices. Everything is tied up into an interesting story. You best listen to this. Favorite Track: “Hide & Seek”
19Ben Folds
Rockin' The Suburbs

“I just wanna walk away”
There are a few different ways to look at Ben Folds’ first solo album. On one hand, its subject matter touches on suicide, maybe schizophrenia, betrayal, rejection, and true love, which certainly gives the album much more depth than its poppy exterior may lead you to believe. On another hand, it’s mindlessly fun, self-aware and energetically charged piano-led romps that always get your feet tapping. A perfect album for sad days, happy days, and just about any day, no matter how you decide to interpret it. Favorite Track: “Zak and Sara”
First Utterance

“Don’t drive me insane”
It’s truly a marvel that an album made more than 40 years ago still sounds so ahead of its time and has yet to be eclipsed. Comus thrive within absolute insanity, with their unique brand of folk music twisting and winding through the lovely subjects of rape, lust, murdering a Christian, and mental instability. The instrumentation here, from the subtle bass guitar to the pounding drums, make for an experience you can’t get anywhere else. It’s the sort of music that makes you want to go crazy and dance in a dark patch of woods. Prepare for a real psychotic journey. Favorite Track: “Drip Drip”
17Yndi Halda
Enjoy Eternal Bliss

It’s easy to make a post-rock album, but it’s a whole different story if you want to make one that’s actually, well, truly good. Anyone can throw together build-ups and crescendos, but all too often the delivery is devoid of emotion or any sense of individuality and energy. In a scene full of bands doing it by the numbers—something unfortunately true for many other genres—it’s truly an accomplishment that Yndi Halda have definitively emerged on top of their contemporaries. There is just so much feeling crammed into every second of these monstrous, gorgeous numbers. It’s the soundtrack to love and peace, or even sadness and war. It fits anything you want it to fit. Compositions this good are an incredibly rare find. Listen to it many, many times. Favorite Track: “Illuminate My Heart, My Darling”
16The Hotelier

“Make me feel alive”
The Hotelier didn’t have to make a different album to succeed Home. They could have phoned it in, making a carbon copy of their previous release and raking in the rewards. Yet, here we have Goodness, which is undoubtedly similar to Home, but also very different. Instead of treading a road of raw depression and loss, The Hotelier produce something that sounds like recovery—a vague sort of hope that’s still marred by the trauma and other hardships experienced in the last album. Not only is it the perfect sequel, but Goodness is also a deceptively deep and intricate release. Every hook is carefully constructed and the lyrics take a more poetic stance that adds more color to the record. I can’t imagine a better album these guys could have made. Favorite Track: “Two Deliverances”
Fables of the Sleepless Empire

I just love Fables. There’s just a certain charm that comes with an album that unashamedly experiments wildly without any sort of restraint or care for whether or not it works out in the end. Unexpect throw in metalcore chaos, death metal riffs, string instruments, beautiful female vocals and visceral harsh vocals together in a truly engaging cacophony of influences. Again, it’s one of those records where every involved band member can be heard pulling their weight, from the rhythm section to the vocal performances. It’s crazy and all over the place in the absolutely best way possible. Lend an ear. Favorite Track: “Unfed Pendulum”
14First Fragment

When I heard this and ended up giving it a 5, praising it on every corner of the website, even I questioned whether or not this was baseless hyperbole and the album actually wasn’t as incredible as I had said. Yet, as we approach the record’s 1-year anniversary, it seems as though it hasn’t lost any strength. This is the ultimate technical death metal playground, with absolutely stellar guitar riffs and a terrific, masterclass bass performance. Despite its complexity, it’s also incredibly catchy. The main riffs of songs like “Dasein” will get engrained in your brain for all eternity. Having this on vinyl is a treat for sure. Favorite Track: “Gula”
The Woman You Saw Is The Great City

“Heavy hearts will weigh us down”
Although I’m not a big fan of self-promotion, my review for this has a much better, fleshed-out perspective for why I give this the high rating I do. Although Harlots have one of if not the best discographies in metalcore, The Woman You Saw… soars above their work. Something about its completely bare-bones, raw delivery—unclean almost to a fault—make it so alluring and atmospheric. Despite clocking it at 40 minutes, it’s certainly what I’d call an epic album. Favorite Track: “Balancing the Limbs of Question”
12The Dillinger Escape Plan

“What a strange way to lose”
TDEP don’t need a swan song factor to make a fucking badass album. Listening to this without recognizing it as their (most likely) final effort will take nothing away. As always, the boys provide metalcore with a hefty kick in the ass, reminding the genre of its more chaotic, raw roots that seem to fall further and further away. This is Dillinger going full-throttle and taking no prisoners along the way. It grooves, it jams, it fucking melts your face off. I don’t know what else to say except you should definitely listen to this. Favorite Track: “Manufacturing Discontent”
When Losing Everything Is Everything You Wanted

“Can we forget the way we were?”
This is my Witness—an album that doesn’t necessarily bend any genre standards and tread new ground, but one that takes the strengths of the category and amplify it to the highest extent. The beautiful, melodic guitars, spirited drumming, and gorgeously raw vocal performance combine to make an album so extremely energetic and emotional that it demands attention from the first guitar note. Every song is an anthem in its own right, and every part of every song is so damn memorable. Departures speak from the heart in every note. You better be listening. Favorite Track: “Sunday”
10The Beatles
Abbey Road

“Today I’m gonna make her mine”
Right at the top of my Top 10 favorite albums of all time is one that has been with me for quite some time. No longer a hardcore Beatles fanboy like I used to be, I still hold the band in high regard and jam them often. The second half of Abbey Road still remains a top musical moment for me; it’s a perfectly constructed medley of songs, one after the other, creating one great track that testifies to the ingenuity and forward-thinking nature of the group’s later work. It’s rated highly across the board not due to nostalgia or any sort of blinding factor. The fact is, Abbey Road is just one of those legendary records in music history. Favorite Track: The whole second half medley
9The Beatles
The Beatles

“I don’t know how you were diverted”
If you couldn’t tell, experimentation—subtle or just wild and unrestrained—is something I generally appreciate if it is pulled off well. As much as I love Abbey Road, the utter absurdity of The Beatles’ self-titled, with all its odd tracks and questionable flow, make it a superior album. All of its quirks are delightful and masterful forays into new musical territory: a big middle finger to critics and a concerted effort to break boundaries. They succeed on every front and eclipse their whole discography. Don’t let the wackiness of ‘The White Album’ push you away. As it turns out, craziness is exactly what makes this so perfect. Favorite Track: “Dear Prudence”
8Modest Mouse
The Moon & Antarctica

“It’s hard to remember to live before you die”
Some albums might take time to fully appreciate, requiring in-depth listening sessions that eventually confirm your opinion. Yet, when I first sat down to delve in The Moon & Antarctica, I found it clicking immediately, right from the first acoustic note from the brilliant opener. As I’ve said many times before, Modest Mouse manage to create a mood within every album they make with such ease and perfect subtlety. Mastering this sort of technique goes to show exactly how good Brock and the crew are at making consistently good albums time and time again. With its indie rock jams and distant laments with Brock’s trademark poetic lyricism, Moon & Antarctica speaks from all our low points and all our struggles in life, crafting a release that resonates with many people and never loses its appeal. Favorite Track: “Third Planet”
7Shade Empire
Omega Arcane

“Into the shadows you must flee”
No better word best describes Omega Arcane than epic. The long tracks, held up by black metal-styled guitars, furious drumming, commanding growls, and dominated by an omnipresent orchestra make for gorgeous soundscapes. The band utilizes their sound in various forms: on songs like “Ash Statues,” the symphonic elements are front and center. On “Traveler of Unlight,” the driving force is a catchy synth melody. Or take the title track, which is completely instrumental. Or take the post-metal-infused “Disembodiment.” There is so much to explore here, so much to dive in to. The world that Shade Empire create on Omega Arcane is nothing short of extraordinary. An incredible, beautiful release. Favorite Track: “Disembodiment”
6The Hotelier
Home, Like NoPlace Is There

“Tell me again that it’s all in my head”
The summer before I left for college was an emotional one. I felt so alone, and in all honesty scared. There was a lot I was reflecting on, from happy memories to ones that would just depress the hell out of me; all the while, Home, Like NoPlace Is There played in the background. It was, and still is for many people, a soundtrack to grief. Whatever your sadness may be, The Hotelier brings forth a genuine, honest presentation that lets you know you’re not alone in the sorrow you’re struggling with. From the unrestrained screams on “Life in Drag” to the almost poppy “Your Deep Rest,” the band expresses emotion through a variety of ways. It’s a relatable, and in a way very comforting release. I love the message, the lyrics, the instruments, the vocals… It’s all top tier. Favorite Track: “In Framing”
5John Williams
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Few movies have meant as much to me as India Jones and the Last Crusade. I can’t fathom the amount of times I slid this in the DVD player as a kid, completely entranced by the screen and soaking in every minute. It’s a light-hearted, dramatic, tongue-in-cheek adventurous romp that is still a complete joy to watch. The score fits this dynamic absolutely perfectly, of course. It’s John Williams at his best, composing uplifting melodies or theatrical tracks to back one of the many fight or action sequences. It follows the mood of the movie without fail and brings you into the world of a gun-slinging archaeologist. I love it so much that I go back to that world time and time again, no matter how old I get. A classic without a doubt. Favorite Track: “Escape From Venice”
4Modest Mouse
Good News for People Who Love Bad News

“Everyone’s an ocean drowning”
There was a moment when listening to Good News—driving alone on a long, endless highway, the sun set with the stars shining above—that the album truly clicked. Although this is a decidedly more uplifting affair on the exterior (by Modest Mouse standards), there is this delicate, almost imperceptible atmosphere. It could be bliss, or regret, or depression, or anything. It’s a subtle, hazy ambiance that quietly dominates the record from start to finish. Seems like such a small detail to focus on, but once you perceive it, the entire album seems to fall into place. Maybe it’s something all in my head that I made up on all those drives by myself, looking back on my life as I proceeded into college. A highly personal album for me and one I will always love. Favorite Track: “Blame it on the Tetons”
3Woods of Ypres
Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light

“I still went peacefully, quietly”
I’ve repeated many, many themes while going through this ranking of mine: energy, passion, honesty, and atmosphere being the most prevalent and probably some of the things I highly value in music. When it comes down to it, Woods of Ypres’ final album encompasses every single element I mentioned. It’s a beautiful, contemplative album that doesn’t cut corners or make compromises. Everything is up front and personal, almost making it uncomfortable. That closeness makes it so much easier to fall in love with this album, which is where I’ve been for many years. Favorite Track: “Finality” & “Alternate Ending” (the perfect closing pair; I couldn’t leave one out)

“I’m not sure where my place is anymore”
Sometimes, I’m incredibly unaware of my immense love for Core. Whenever I’m traveling somewhere, more often than not it’s my first jam consideration. I’ve listened to it on countless trips, diving deep into the wonderful Greek mythos, given a dramatic, technical, and all-around beautiful presentation by one of the best death metal acts we’ve had the pleasure of hearing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: an album made of three songs more than 20 minutes each designed for a full, sit-down listen session, is a massive and risky endeavor. In retrospect, no other band would have been able to make such a critically-acclaimed album. This album still remains a mighty testament of skill of a terribly underrated band. If you haven’t heard this beast before, it’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon. Favorite Track: “Underworld: The Fallen and the Butterfly”
1Amia Venera Landscape
The Long Procession

"So shine with confidence"
I’ll admit I was highly skeptical when I gave The Long Procession a listen and was pretty self-assured in my opinion that it would fall short. I don’t think I’ve ever been so wrong in my life. All of the best aspects of my favorite genres are incorporated to absolute perfection: the chaotic nature of old-school metalcore, the brutal onslaught of hardcore with the progressive aspects of post-hardcore, the ambiance of post-metal and the intricacy of progressive metal. Never before have I heard an album so damn calculated! It’s startling how precise this album is. People sat down and made this. Music is fucking awesome, isn’t it? Favorite Track: “A New Aurora”
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