The Best Albums of 2019, #3

3. Opeth, In Cauda Venenum (Nuclear Blast) When Opeth decided to eschew the extreme metal element of their sound after 2008’s Watershed in favor of a more progressive rock-oriented approach, it angered a lot of their obsessive fans. Ten years and four albums later, those fans are still whining that Mikael Åkerfeldt doesn’t growl his […]

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The Best Albums of 2019, #4

4. Tool, Fear Inoculum (Tool Dissectional) Back in 2006, a veritable lifetime ago, I reviewed Tool’s sixth album. I wasn’t overly fond of, if I can recall. Coming five years after the triumphant Lateralus, 10,000 Days had its great moments but I found it far too drawn out, too meandering to warrant a full recommendation, […]

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The Best Albums of 2019, #5

5. Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising (Sub Pop) Singer-songwriter Natalie Mering had been building toward something big over the course of her first three albums under the Weyes Blood moniker, but in spite of whatever expectations people might have had, nothing could have prepared them for the blindsiding grandeur of Titanic Rising. A combination of […]

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The Best Albums of 2018, #5

5. Gwenno, Le Kov (Heavenly) Best remembered as a member of the Pipettes, a band whose first album I still adore, Gwenno Saunders kicked off her solo career in 2015 with Y Dydd Olaf. A jaw-dropping sci-fi concept album sung primarily in Welsh that mined the innovative sounds of such art rock legends as Can, […]

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The Best Albums of 2017, #3

                      3. Pallbearer, Heartless (Profound Lore) I’m tempted to just come out and grandiosely declare Pallbearer the best American metal band of the 2010s. And five years ago I never thought I’d ever say that about this band. Contrary to the curmudgeons who grumble pathetically, […]

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The Best Albums of 2017, #6

                    6. Spirit Adrift, Curse of Conception (20 Buck Spin) A strong sense of history informs Spirit Adrift’s revelatory second album, whose sublime melodies echo King Crimson’s Red, the classic doom of Trouble, the more melancholy side of Metallica, and Judas Priest’s masterpiece Stained Class. Where […]

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The Best Albums of 2017, #8

                    8. Biblical, The City That Always Sleeps (New Damage) The best way I can describe the mind-bending, abstract psychedelic progressive stoner metal that comprises Biblical’s triumphant second album is that it is the album Mastodon and Between the Buried and Me were born to make […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #17

17. Steven Wilson, “Permanating” Remember when progressive rock bands from the 1970s embraced pop music in the ’80s? I’m talking about Yes, Genesis, Rush, Toto, Asia, when all those bands were able to create cutting-edge pop music while retaining that sense of adventurous and achieving unprecedented commercial success in the process.Steven Wilson, being the biggest […]

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