2013 - Albums of the Year

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2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Subway Diet » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:13 pm

So, what albums have you guys been buying? What are your favorites? Which caught you off guard or didn't match your expectations, either in a positive or negative way?

Let's get listing!

Seeing as the whole album buying experience is both an audio and visual experience, try to include links to music and/or album art, so that we might share in the full experience. :)
Also feel free to explain your choices or discuss the picks of others.

I'm currently ordering my own list, but here's something to give you an idea for a layout:

Jaime Christopherson - Metal Gear Rising: Vocal Tracks
A video game soundtrack that also acts as a bizarre nu-metal rock opera. What should have sounded like the soundtrack to a crap Sonic game had a generous dose of orchestral bombast and wub-wub added, which made it into something of a guilty pleasure album. Not AotY material, but certainly worth a nod and recommendation to anyone with nostalgia for the earnest cheese of the late 90s/early 00s "cool" video game music.
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Last edited by Subway Diet on Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby eVoL » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:40 pm

Best:
El Creepo - Aloha
Skips from rock to Hawaiian to country, love it. Technically 2012 but end of 2012 so its in. The debut album (self titled) had real pace issues in my opinion where I liked all the songs on it I found it a little slow as an album. Aloha fixed those problems with a balance of slower and uptempo tracks throughout. Arabian Rose is one of my favorite tracks in years, it pushes most of my buttons.

Disappointment:
Tomahawk - Oddfellows
While its not a bad album, I expected so much more from it. The production seemed a step back from their other stuff and the songs felt less realised somehow. If it was from another band I would have thought it was decent enough but from Tomahawk... nah, shit dont fly mate.
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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Subway Diet » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:38 am

Another honorable mention while I try and compile a "serious" list

Power Glove - Far Cry: Blood Dragon

This album is pretty much an alternative universe version of The Terminator soundtrack, though slicker and more refined thanks to modern techniques and with a few moments of dance floor sensibilities injected in to spice things up. Not quite on the bleeding edge of the new retro-synth scene, it's fresh faced simplicity and aversion to the more avant-garde quirks of it's scene peers almost make it sound truer to the action movies it's inspired by.
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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Animalmother » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:54 pm

Didn't get many albums this year but my pick of the year has to be the Queens of the Stone Age ...Like Clockwork. A lot of fans didn't seem to rate it which is a real shame as it's just sublime in places. One thing I love about QofSA is each album sounds very different but manages to have their distinctive play style.



Plus I'm seeing them in concert tonight :D :D

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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Subway Diet » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:17 pm

Are you guys much into album buying? Sometimes it feels like I must be an old man/hipster or something, clinging on to physical CDs and vinyl when everyone is just downloading music or listening on youtube.

Looking back , not counting digital, I bought 11 albums that were released in 2013. The total number of purchased albums would be about 40-ish.
I dunno. Physically owning music is important to me. Both from the sense of the complete experience and having a high-quality source for making your own digital copies. Even then, I'm hardly an audiophile. :p

Oh well. Still working on my list.
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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Mantis » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:40 pm

I will always prefer owning a physical copy to downloading digitally. You just can't beat having a nice case with some artwork and an inlay book with lyrics in. Plus it sounds better if you've got a good enough system to be able to tell the difference. My music collection will always be far more important to me than my books or games, so it's nice to have everything on a shelf to admire.

I'm sort of hoping that DVD-A phases out CDs soon though; it's only a matter of time before the mp3 ages dies a horrible death and people realise that hard copies are the way to go.

I haven't bought many albums that were released this year though; mostly I've been catching up on a rather massive back catalogue of 60s and 70s prog. I think I've bought 3 albums that were released in 2013 and about thirty from across the decades, these recent albums are some of my favourites in a very long time though.

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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby j1nh » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:12 am

I haven't listened to music from a cd in years. Used to hate all that swapping disks around. Such a chore.
I mostly listen to music on my phone or iPad so CDs aren't really much use to me anymore. Only time I buy a physical copy these days is if it's an old album and I can get a cheap second hand disk. But even then it just gets ripped and the disk goes straight into a big box in the attic with all the rest.
Since it's all digital, If the files are high enough quality, mp3s are no different to cd's. 
The human ear isn't sensitive enough to hear any difference above cd quality anyway so anything higher is a waste.
Plus, since amazon and iTunes (c'mon bandcamp!) now let you redownload your stuff I don't even need to worry too much about losing anything.

Don't know how many albums I've bought this year and I'm not sure I'd want to.

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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Burberry Knight » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:08 pm

None of the albums that I've bought this year have been released this year, apart from one.

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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Rossell » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:00 pm

David Bowie - The Next Day

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

Clutch - Earth Rocker

Deltron 3030 - Event II

Sound City Players - Real To Reel



More will come I'm sure.
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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby banapaulo » Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:12 am

Subway Diet wrote:Are you guys much into album buying? Sometimes it feels like I must be an old man/hipster or something, clinging on to physical CDs and vinyl when everyone is just downloading music or listening on youtube.

Looking back , not counting digital, I bought 11 albums that were released in 2013. The total number of purchased albums would be about 40-ish.
I dunno. Physically owning music is important to me. Both from the sense of the complete experience and having a high-quality source for making your own digital copies. Even then, I'm hardly an audiophile. :p

Oh well. Still working on my list.


I still buy CDs, probably average 1 or 2 a month over the year. My only real physical need for them is in my car but I just love the experience of buying a new album, and CD still seems to be a nice balance between quality, size and price. After all it's cheaper to buy many old, used CDs off Amazon than it is to buy them new as MP3s.

Can't say I've bought any music of 2013 though, I'm a bit behind the times. However I got my sister the latest Arctic Monkeys album and enjoyed it, though they seem to be getting more derivative.
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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Subway Diet » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:29 pm

I've not really been in much of music mood of late, so my preparations for making a list have been slow.
Now, I know you're all desperate to hear just what I rank as the best album of 2013 ( :roll: ), but for now, here's a list of all the disks I've bought this year.

Powerwolf - Preachers of the Night
Front Line Assembly - Echogenetic
Aborym - Dirty
THYX - Below the City
Arckanum - Fenris Kindir
Combichrist - No Redemption
The Dillinger Escape Plan - One of Us is the Killer
Sodom - Epitome of Torture
Watain - The Great Hunt
Satyricon - Satyricon
Carcass - Surgical Steel
VNV Nation - Transnational

Some of them I've not listened to. Some I've not listened to enough. That said, there is one rather prominent candidate for the top spot, and I'd be shocked if any of the unknowns manage to challenge it.
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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Snowy » Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:34 pm

For me, in no real order as they are all awesome:

Volbeat - Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies - Another brilliant album from Volbeat, ridiculously catchy, heavy, vocals a mix of Elvis, Glenn Danzig and James Hetfield, all round great album and if not quite as good as the last, then only by a whisker.



Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the Gods - An absolutely massive return to form from one of my favourite metal acts. Not a single weak moment in this one, punishingly heavy from the off, with some fantastic Maiden-esque riffing. A total peach of an album.



Carcass - Surgical Steel - Another triumphant return. After the disappointment of Swansong sooo many years back, to have them come back with something as honed as this, well the title really is apt. Deliciously clean riffing soars over the top of characteristically brutal Carcass, just sublime.



Finntroll - Blodsvept - Finntroll just keep getting better, evolving from something of a joke band (albeit one I always liked) to a real powerhouse. Their weirdness-personified mix of death metal fused with traditional Finnish humppa (polka) just works. Brilliant stuff again, the highlight for me being Skogsdotter (22:37 in the vid below).



Voivod - Target Earth - Voivod were one of the real influential bands in my life - albums like Rrrrroooooaaarrr, War and Pain, Angel Rat etc really heralded the avant garde metal scene, and with bands like Kreator, Celtic Frost etc a whole new subgenre was introduced that just breathed so much life into what was for me quite a stagnant scene. After Piggy's death I would never have believed that their sound could be reproduced, as he was the main architect and songwriter, but....it has been. And what an album!



And the misses?

Black Sabbath - 13 - was never going to live up to expectations, how could it? I just didn't get the sound, something was missing. It sounded too much like an Ozzy record for me, too american and lacking in the right levels of bleak darkness.

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Mind Control - after such a great debut, the tricky second album was good, but lost its' way from time to time.

Ghost - Infestissumumummmumummmumumummy - another difficult second album, and this one squarely missing the mark.

Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt - I always hope for something in the same league as Ten or Versus, but the new one from PJ was just....'meh, ok'.
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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Mantis » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:30 pm

Black Sabbath's new record was pretty much ruined by Rubin producing it, he tends to do that to everything he touches. You could hear in the music how they were really trying to recapture the sound of their first two albums, but the production completely kills the fuzzy sense of darkness that you can hear on the classics, it just sounds too bright and clipped.

It doesn't help that the tracks weren't really that great either. Back then they were down and out growing up in the backdrop of a miserable 60s Birmingham, it must be pretty difficult to write convincing material that echoes the spirit of their original work when they're all multi millionaires lapping it up in California.

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Re: 2013 - Albums of the Year

Postby Mantis » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:14 pm

Time for my choices, though to be honest there's not a great deal to pick from because a lot of the albums I bought this year are remasters from the 70s and 80s.

The three albums I bought released this year are some of the best I've heard in a long long time though, so that more than makes up for it.

Ayreon - The Theory of Everything

From the mind of Arjen Lucassen, quite simply his best album yet. Not for the faint hearted though seeing as it's composed of 42 separate tracks spanning anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes and you can't really just drop in to any old spot since the narrative throughout is pretty important in ensuring you're following the story. Probably the most impressive lineup of guest musicians and vocalists he's managed to achieve so far; including the likes of Jordan Rudess, Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, Steve Hackett, Troy Donockley, John Wetton, Marco Hietala, Michael Mills, Cristina Scabbia and Tommy Karevik. As a bit of a diehard prog fan this is somewhat of a dream lineup for me. Many of these vocalists pull off some career topping performances too, Cristina Scabbia in particular was a very pleasant surprise, and Michael Mills screams his balls off on a number of occasions.

Sure it's cheesy as hell at points, but then it's a huge progressive metal musical and you've got to listen with an open mind to allow yourself to get wrapped up in the story. I'd go so far to say that it's one of the best conceptual albums I've ever heard, blows The Wall out of the water really.



Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories)

Another instant prog classic and one of Wilson's most talented assembly of musicians yet. You really can't go wrong when you combine Wilson's song writing talents with the guitar playing of Guthrie Govan. Hugely inspired by 70s prog and jazz, each track is a little standalone story; very moody and atmospheric. Aspects of it sound a lot like his Storm Corrosion project that he did with Mikael Akerfeldt a couple of years ago.



Scale The Summit - The Migration

I only discovered this band this year, but upon hearing the previews from their latest album I immediately ordered it. They're a relatively unknown US band, but they really do make some of the catchiest and happiest instrumental music I've ever heard. It's crushingly heavy at times and Chris Letchford relies one hell of a lot on tapping to produce most of their lead melodies, but I didn't find it repetitive; in fact I listened to it almost exclusively for about three weeks once it arrived. It's probably appreciated more amongst fellow musicians because of how technical it is.



Abums which I've heard but haven't bought:

Soilwork - The Living Infinite - A good return to form for a great straight up metalcore band.

Amorphis - Circles - Not as good as their past work, they seem to be relying on a lot of the same techniques and concepts so this release sounds a bit uninspired.

Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the Gods - Again, not as strong as their older material I felt. This album just didn't grip me like the others did, but then I really loved Twilight of the Thunder Gods and Surtur Rising.

Black Sabbath - 13 - Really, the less said about this the better. A poor attempt at recapturing the soul and spirit of their original work. It's quite special because the original lineup is almost all here, and Tommy Iommi is still great at thunderous chugging doom riffs. But ultimately the album is let down by terrible production and pretty uninspired song writing; you can pretty much play connect the dots with their original tracks that Ozzy was trying to rip off when he penned half of this.

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