This year has been a good year for prog, for sure. Long awaited follow-ups, interesting solo works, and just damn good albums have made their way to my ears this year, and, as is my tradition, I’ve selected my top 10 favorites for the year so far. Honestly, this was really difficult, so there are quite a few honorable mentions (located at the bottom of the article), but that just goes to show how good the year has been! Be sure to let me know what your favorites are for 2015!
10. Andreas Hack – “Pieces”
Electronic goodness with plenty of progginess, texture, and earthy tones.
Favorite song: Barcode
9. Steven Wilson – “Hand.Cannot.Erase.”
It’s weird to find myself on the Steven Wilson bandwagon this year, but his new album is a wonderfully emotional affair that really touched me. I don’t see it as his most complex album, but it is certainly one of my favorites from him.
Favorite song: “Ancestral”
8. Transport Aerian – “Darkblue”
With his signature style, thoughtful philosophizing, and improved musical chops, Hamlet’s new solo album is his best yet.
Favorite song: “Black”
7. The Gentle Storm – “The Diary”
Imagine my surprise when I realized how much I love this album! The combination of Arjen Anthony Lucassen and Anneke van Giersbergen has proven to be golden, and the collision of folk and metal on this album is simply brilliant.
Favorite song: Heart of Amsterdam
6. Arcane – “Known/Learned”
Arcane released a monster of a double album this year, complete with a heavy disc and a softer disc. These guys continue to blow my mind with their grasp of music, and, oh, Jim Grey’s vocals are out of this world!
Favorite song: “Instinct”
5. Vault 16 – “Egress”
I found Vault 16 through pure chance, really, but their sci-fi theme, Blade Runner love, and unabashed ability to combine electronic music with metal all made me fall head over heels in love.
Favorite song: “Decker”
4. Nordic Giants – “A Seance of Dark Delusions”
Never did I think I would love an album as ambient and texture-driven as this debut from Nordic Giants, but I haven’t been able to keep this off of my regular playlist for the past few weeks. Dark, but uplighting; this album takes you on a roller coaster of emotion.
Favorite song: “Illuminate”
3. Breaking Orbit – “Transcension”
After “The Time Traveller”, I was waiting with bated breath for the second album from these Aussie heavy proggers, and they did not disappoint. With ethereal guitars, gushing emotions, and a real head on their collective shoulders, Breaking Orbit has dominated my ears for some time.
Favorite song: “Namaskar”
2. Leprous – “The Congregation”
I was not a fan of Leprous. Not really. “Coal” was good, but not great (for me). “The Congregation” arrived in my inbox, however, and it floored my very soul. Amazing vocals, unique compositions, and musical structure that will satisfy any prog fan; Leprous has created a masterpiece.
Favorite song: “The Flood”
1. Lonely Robot – “Please Come Home”
What can I say about this album? I’ve been craving more Frost* for some time, and John Mitchell decides to release something solo this year. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting an experience on this level: Amazing atmosphere and catchiness bring you to the threshold, but unbeatable guitars and the best lyrics of the year (so far) invest you fully.
Favorite song: “A Godless Sea”
State Urge – “Confrontation”
Transience – “Temple”
Chaos Divine – “Colliding Skies”
Susanne Sundfor – “Ten Love Songs”
Hibernal – “After the Winter”
Steve Hackett – “Wolflight”
Rick Miller – “Breaking Point”