Top 100 Favorite Albums: 2010-2019


albums

Nostalgia is a strange beast.  While compiling this list, I realized that there may be albums that I consider “better” or technically stronger, but that really has no effect on which albums are my “favorites”.  This is an un-apologetically subjective list of my top 100 favorite albums from the last ten years.  All of them are 9s and 10s as far as ratings go, and so many are interchangeable as far as their placement on the list.  If I made this list six months from now, the order would probably be different.  Music is funny like that.  Still, some albums rise above the others to be some of my all-time favorites.

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100. Auri – “Auri”

(2018)

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Imaginative, otherworldly, and dreamy, this debut from Auri is as beautiful as albums come.  Being a side project for a couple members of Nightwish, it had the production values, too, to realize the sound they had envisioned.  This album is like a journey into the underworld, and its source material (The Name of the Wind) stands tall.

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99. Fughu – “Human (The Facts)”

(2013)

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Fughu’s “Human” was a two-part release.  One was called “The Tales”, and one was called “The Facts”.  While “The Tales” was a wonderful progressive metal album, “The Facts” is a perfect 39 minute album with pure-blooded theater, prog metal, and post-metal colliding.  It also features Damian Wilson of Headspace on one track, but (ex) vocalist Santiago Burgi sounds quite a bit like Damian himself.  The title track is a truly wild experience.

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98. Mission Jupiter – “Architecture”

(2019)

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I only discovered Mission Jupiter this year, but this record has astonished me again and again.  Featuring fantastic vocals, tons of saxophone, soaring guitars, and plenty of chops, this album filters from electronica to prog rock to pop without a hitch.  Amazing album.

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97. Mike Oldfield – “Man on the Rocks”

(2014)

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This album began my love for Mike Oldfield.  No, it isn’t his most complex.  No, it isn’t even close to his best.  But there is something about the catchy choruses, wonderful guitars, and mature composition that enveloped me.  Mike is one of my all-time favorite artists, as a result.

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96. DeeExpus – “King of Number 33”

(2011)

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DeeExpus have so much going for them that I’m truly surprised that they haven’t broken through to the “big time” in progressive rock yet.  “King of Number 33” is a splendid album with a 26 minute suite right in the middle.  The music is colorful, technically impressive, and features one of my favorite drummers, Henry Rogers.  This vivid album is truly ear candy.

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95. Chaos Divine – “The Human Connection”

(2011)

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Chaos Divine have released so much good much, including their excellent “Colliding Skies” in 2015.  However, this album clings to me because of its deep, heart-rending lyrics, and also the abstract ways in which the melodies weave and immerse themselves in the rest of the music.  The last half of this album is sheer bliss.

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94. Echoes of Giants – “At the End of Myself”

(2013)

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Speaking of heart-rending lyrics, Echoes of Giants know their way around that type of expression.  Their latest album, “The Way to Us” is perhaps too sad to ever become a “favorite”.  “At the End of Myself”, however, offers sheer catchiness combined with a journey of hope, and that has stayed with me.

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93. Pink Floyd – “The Endless River”

(2014)

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I know that many fans were disappointed by this release, being the swansong for possibly the greatest band of all time.  However, “The Endless River” fed my love for ambient music, injecting the beautiful tones of Richard Wright’s keys, and that alone made me a fan.  This album is different, I get that, but I love it just the same.

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92. Rick Miller – “Heart of Darkness”

(2014)

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Rick Miller is consistently good, as his latest album “Belief in the Machine” will attest.  My favorite album from him will always be “Heart of Darkness”, though, with its rife, desperate rhythms and dark mutterings.  This album will lead you through the jungle of your own heart, and hopefully you will find your way home again.

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91. IO Earth – “Moments”

(2012)

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“Moments” and I have had a rocky relationship.  Here’s the thing: IO Earth’s self-titled debut in 2009 is one of my all-time favorite albums.  This “Moments” record came along, and it was different, and I put it away for a couple years.  Soon enough, though, I was drawn back in to see the brilliance here.  While 2018’s “Solitude” is probably a better album overall, this album is the one that I listen to the most, even over the debut.

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90. Toxic Smile – “Farewell”

(2016)

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Toxic Smile has never gotten the attention they deserve for their jazzy progressive metal.  While some of their other albums are more accessible, such as 2013’s “7”, this final album from the band before their split has the energy, emotion, and variety I love about them.  This album is a single 42-minute song, but it does not suffer from the filler or pacing issues of other such releases.

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89. Morph – “Sintrinity”

(2012)

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I always grieve for amazing bands stuck on labels who don’t have the promotional power the band deserves.  This is the case for Morph, and, when “Sintrinity” released, it should have made a splash.  This progressive metal/rock album is still fresh, modern, and addictive.  The story line is unique, as well, and I still sing “Feels Like the End” out of no where quite often.

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88. Dam Kat – “Alawn”

(2017)

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I discovered Dam Kat’s music through her main band, Children in Paradise.  While I love that band’s output, this solo album has stuck with me more, and I listen to it quite often.  I think it is the grittier, darker side here that I like so well, and I’m looking forward to her next solo album coming fairly soon.

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87. Borealis – “Fall from Grace”

(2011)

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Borealis are basically the only power metal band I need.  I love their progressive-leaning music, and especially their amazing vocals.  While this isn’t my favorite album from them, it is the one I have heard the most, and the one I think of immediately when I think of them.  It also features my favorite song by the band, “Regeneration”.

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86. Tangerine Dream – “Quantum Gate”

(2017)

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I’ve long loved the spacious, cinematic progressive electronic from Tangerine Dream, but with the death of Edgar Froese, I feared that this album might not live up to the band’s extensive legacy.  Instead, this release grew on me more and more, to the point where I absolutely needed it on vinyl.  This is perhaps some of the most energetic, magical music the band has ever produced in any era.

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85. Galahad – “Battle Scars”

(2012)

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Galahad are one of the most stylish, rocking modern prog bands out there.  I love their spirit, and I love the electronica they mix in with their rock.  “Battle Scars” embodies their sound the best of any of their albums, in my opinion, and I love listening to it all the time.

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84. Hibernal – “Replacements”

(2014)

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Even though his newer albums are probably better in the music department, Mark’s “Replacements” is still my favorite of his offerings.  The dark story, mysterious ending, and perfectly timed reveals still make this a thrilling journey today.

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83. Oddland – “Origins”

(2016)

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It’s difficult to believe that this album was released almost four years ago now.  The lumbering, pile-driving sound of this release still rivets me to the spot.  The last half of “Faraway” is my go-to if I want something incredibly heavy and meticulously mastered.

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82. Kingcrow – “Eidos”

(2015)

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Here’s another case of a band’s best album not being my favorite album.  While 2018’s “The Persistence” is a better album overall, “Eidos” is what my ears want.  I think it is the desperate lyrics, or maybe the quality and consistency of the addictive choruses.  This album always stirs up emotions within me.

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81. Iamthemorning – “~”

(2012)

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This is the album that started it all for Russia’s chamber prog masters.  It also features “Touching II”, still my favorite song by the band.  This is the first album I heard by them, and I still find myself going back to it often.

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80. Bad Salad – “Uncivilized”

(2012)

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The brilliance of this Brazilian debut was lost on me for a couple years.  I liked it, but soon, I loved it.  The reeling, hammering instrumentals are truly inspired, and the lyrics are both overwhelming and appropriate to our time.  I find myself listening to this album more often than you might think.

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79. Bent Knee – “You Know What They Mean”

(2019)

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I could have included almost all of the Bent Knee’s albums on this list.  In the last couple years, they have become a household favorite.  However, last year’s “You Know What They Mean” really took the cake, including my favorite song of the year, “Hold Me In”.  This has the variety that I really needed from them, showcasing many different sides to their genius.

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78. Sybreed – “God is an Automaton”

(2013)

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I constantly mourn the loss of my favorite tech metal band, Sybreed.  I still have hope that they will return one day.  Still, their final album “God is an Automaton” is a fantastic swansong, darker and grittier than their previous works.  The final track, “Destruction and Bliss”, is one of the best songs they ever wrote.

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77. Stupid Cosmonaut – “Digitalis”

(2018)

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I never expected to love this album so much.  However, the Vangelis-inspired tones on this progressive electronic record kept me coming back for more, and I still throw it on often.  The band has a way with color and purposeful melodies, something that isn’t all that common.

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76. Anima Mundi – “The Way”

(2010)

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Cuba’s premier progressive rock band have never been better than on “The Way”.  There are only four songs here, including a 26 minute epic, but the levels of musicianship and melody are off the charts.  This release still featured Carlos Sosa on vocals, and his loss is something the band is still recovering from, in my opinion.  His vocals are still some of my favorites from any singer in any band.

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75. Beatrix Players – “Magnified”

(2017)

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The one and only album released by this now-defunct group, “Magnified” was a massive surprise in 2017.  Featuring progressive leanings, folk melodies, and fantastical imagery, this is an album that remains vibrant.  Lead singer Ms. Amy Birks is still busy, if you’ve been reading my latest reviews, and I’m glad the magic of Beatrix Players continues on.

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74. Teeth of the Sea – “Master”

(2013)

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Teeth of the Sea play a sort of electronic rock/post-rock, and I consider “Master” to be their greatest album.  With the looping horns, explosive climaxes, and fiery single “Reaper”, this album needs more attention.

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73. 暗号零 – “Mother”

(2019)

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My love for electronic music is expanding, and this understated, ambient beauty is my newest muse.  Not only is this album warm and completely immersive, it also tells a story with which I identify strongly.  I can’t get enough of this album, or of the artist’s previous work, as well.

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72. Frequency Drift – “Over”

(2014)

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Frequency Drift have long been a favorite band of mine.  This release took them to the next level, offering driving and insanely ambitious instrumentals.  “Memory” is still their best song, in my opinion.

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71. Tilt – “Hinterland”

(2016)

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Tilt’s debut was a real surprise for me when it released.  The music on this record is truly outstanding, with plenty of abstract interludes and room to breathe.  On top of that, Paul Dourley’s vocals are stunning, to say the least.

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70. Lo Moon – “Lo Moon”

(2018)

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Lo Moon debuted strongly with this self-titled release.  Their music hovers on the edges of progressive pop/rock, feeling very much influenced by later Genesis and Peter Gabriel.  It’s quite a visionary album, one that hasn’t lost its allure.

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69. Xanadu – “The Last Sunrise”

(2011)

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I remember when I first heard this album.  I was already a big Riverside fan, and this album scratched that Polish prog itch.  Years later, I don’t really relate them to Riverside anymore, even though Mariusz was once the singer many years ago.  Instead, this album is more visceral, darker, and possibly more suggestive in the way it expressed emotions.

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68. Lonely Robot – “Please Come Home”

(2015)

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This debut from John Mitchell’s Lonely Robot was the beginning of one of the best modern prog trilogies.  While the second album, “The Big Dream”, might be better than this one, I still have a fondness for the debut that makes it stand above the others.  Also, “The Godless Sea” is still my favorite song from this project.

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67. Gazpacho – “Demon”

(2014)

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Gazpacho are pretty unique in the prog world, and I love so many of their albums.  “Demon”, though, always stands out in my mind.  With its simple, four-track setup, it manages to produce some of the most soothing music around, while also offering scathing moments that sometimes take you by surprise.  This is truly a haunting album.

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66. Life in 24 Frames – “CTRL+Z”

(2017)

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Speaking of soothing music, it doesn’t get much warmer than Life in 24 Frames’ “CTRL+Z”.  This album is something of a concept, as the tracks are named after the months of the year.  The music floats along, visiting the edges of progressive pop/rock, with plenty of gorgeous keys and beautiful vocals.  This album is a real joy.

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65. ISON – “Inner Space”

(2019)

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This is one album that will make its way up this list as the years pass.  ISON’s debut LP is graceful, blackened, ambient, and utterly elegant.  It weaves and floats with such gorgeous precision, and I can’t get enough of it.  This is my go-to album when I get the chance to sit down and write.

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64. Evergrey – “The Atlantic”

(2019)

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Evergrey is my favorite metal band, and this is probably yet another album that will race its way up this list as time passes.  “The Atlantic” is the ending to the rejuvenated band’s trilogy, beginning with “Hymns for the Broken”.  This particular outing is an emotional outlet, one with catchy choruses, but that also sees the band at their most progressive in many years.

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63. Dead Letter Circus – “This is the Warning”

(2010)

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Dead Letter Circus’ debut is still their best album.  I really fell hard for the soaring guitars, progressive rhythms, and fantastic vocal lines.  Each and every song on this album is a winner, and I’m not sure it can ever be topped by the band.

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62. Breaking Orbit – “The Time Traveller”

(2012)

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Breaking Orbit is probably my favorite Aussie band, and this album is the reason for that. With spacious, loosely-structured songs walking hand-in-hand with tightly composed, hard-hitting singles, this album has something for everyone.

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61. Albion – “You’ll Be Mine”

(2018)

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Albion is an outlet for one of my favorite guitarists, Jerzy Antczak.  This Polish group offers dark progressive rock with plenty of shadows and mutterings.  The title track is especially amazing, as are Anna’s vocals.

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60. Lux Terminus – “The Courage to Be”

(2018)

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Lux Terminus is one band of my friend, Vikram Shankar (also of Redemption).  This is quite different though, lacking any guitars whatsoever.  It is a jazzy, pop-driven, 80s-tinged instrumental album (save for one track with Anneke van Giersbergen), and it oozes meaning and groove.  I was able to see the band play the album live in its entirety, and that was an amazing experience.

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59. Steve Hackett – “Wolflight”

(2015)

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Yes, the cover is cheesy.  Do I care?  Not at all.  This is one of my very favorite Hackett albums.  In it, he explores folk sounds from all over the world, and he thematically follows the idea of rebels and freedom fighters.  It’s an amazing album, and it sounds even better live.

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58. Höstsonaten – “Summereve”

(2011)

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Lead by genius Fabio Zuffanti, Hostsonaten has never made a bad album.  “Summereve”, part of the Seasoncycle Suite project, is my very favorite.  This evocative album is purely instrumental, and its lush, beauteous tones really do feel like summer at sunset.  This is Rock Progressivo Italiano, and if you have never explored that subgenre, I suggest that you do.

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57. Votum – “Harvest Moon”

(2013)

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Votum is one of my favorite bands, and they certainly have evolved over the years.  This masterpiece is the last outing for original singer Maciej Kosinski, and he sounds absolutely amazing here.  The band took their instrumentation to new heights, as well, featuring bass-driven goodness and spine-tingling atmospheres.  This is one for the books, for sure.

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56. Cynthesis – “DeEvolution”

(2011)

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The Tipton brothers are legendary, and my favorite projects of theirs is Cynthesis.  This debut had all the stabbing guitars, evocative atmosphere, and cyberpunk leanings I could ever want.  “A Song of Unrest” is still one of my favorite songs ever.

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55. Distorted Harmony – “Chain Reaction”

(2014)

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As much as I loved their debut, “Utopia”, I don’t think Distorted Harmony ever felt as inspired or as much “themselves” as on this record.  This album had an alternative edge to it, but still offered plenty of modern progressive metal trappings.  The vocals here are out of bounds, too.

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54. Steven Wilson – “Hand.Cannot.Erase.”

(2015)

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Steven Wilson is legendary, and I love much of what he offers.  However, this album takes the emotion and the cinematic vision to the max, and that is why it is my favorite from him.  “Routine” and “Transience” are two of the best songs Steven has ever written.

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53. Southern Cross – “From Tragedy”

(2012)

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Southern Cross took my mind by storm in 2012 with this amazing journey.  The lyrics are brutal and raw as can be, and the instrumentals are absolutely special.  This is one of those albums that I forget about from time to time, but then I rediscover it in a major way.

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52. Christiaan Bruin – “Days of Summer Gone”

(2013)

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Christiaan is a highly prolific artist, playing with such bands as Nine Stones Close and Sky Architect.  His solo output, though, is extraordinary.  This folksy album has such a tender, organic sound to it, and the melodies are immaculate.

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51. Jolly – “Family”

(2019)

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I could easily put all of Jolly’s albums on this list, but I think “Family” sums up what makes them so special.  With multiple genres colliding in seamless fashion, the band bears their hearts for us.  The bonus disc is also worth every penny, even having one of the best songs on it.

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50. Zoungla – “There Will Be Dub”

(2018)

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After releasing “Family” that same year, Costa surprised with another Zoungla release.  Even more surprising, I think “There Will Be Dub” is the superior album.  Going back to the roots of dub and mixing in progressive electronic, this album has plenty of reggae style, intense moments, and squishy melodies.  I listen to this quite often.

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49. Odd Logic – “Penny for Your Thoughts”

(2016)

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Don’t let that cover fool you.  This album is deep and meaningful lyrically, and the music has a lumbering, attractive sound to it.  While the full band was not on hand for this release, this still happens to be my favorite Odd Logic album.  I feel, especially, that the vocal lines are spot on throughout.

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48. Pallas – “XXV”

(2011)

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The surging return of Pallas on “XXV” was more than I could have hoped.  This sprawling sci-fi tale had meat lyrically, and the music, especially the vocals by Paul Mackie, was mesmerizing and diverse.  I love this album.

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47. Bader Nana – “Anthology”

(2013)

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There’s just something about this album.  Bader Nana doesn’t release albums very often, but they are always worth the wait.  This particular record has such an inspired lease on music, from tight ballads to epic instrumentals.  “The Discovery” might be one of my all time favorite songs.

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46. Introtius – “Elements”

(2011)

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One of my favorite albums by one of my favorite bands.  This conceptual album is haunting and organic, and emotions run high, as on all of their albums.  Musically, you won’t find better keys, as Mats Bender is an extraordinary talent.

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45. Lifesigns – “Lifesigns”

(2013)

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With bass-driven, keyboard-soaked beauty, this Lifesigns debut is unforgettable.  There is just something about the spaciousness, tone, and gravy vocals here that will never let me go.

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44. Cosmograf – “Mind Over Depth”

(2019)

I could have included at least a few Cosmograf albums on this list, but I think last year’s “Mind Over Depth” is the best record yet from Robin’s project.  This album mixed strong guitars with electronic trappings, and it sounds great.  What might be the winner, though, are the strange and thoughtful song structures that really keep you guessing.

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43. Pain of Salvation – “In the Passing Light of Day”

(2017)

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It’s difficult to believe that it’s been over 3 years since this album released.  The darker, raw side of PoS was back, and the lumber polyrhythms, too.  Daniel sounds amazing, and the story of his journey from the brink of death is riveting.

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42. Haken – “Visions”

(2011)

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From the moment that “Premonition” starts, this album captivates and does not let go.  From the surreal story to the sprawling title epic, this is an album for the ages, not just the decade.

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41. Projected Twin – “Earth vs World”

(2013)

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Behind this unbelievably beautiful cover, you will find an album with music to match.  With words of warning about humanity’s treatment of Earth, the album explodes with fury and desperate emotions.  “The Ritual” is still one of my favorite songs to this day.

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40. Anathema – “Distant Satellites”

(2014)

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After unleashing “Weather Systems”, Anathema had set the bar really high.  “Distant Satellites” was up to the task, though, and it delivered towering crescendos, electronica, and fantastic percussion to boot.  This album doesn’t get the love it deserves.

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39. Frequency Drift – “Letters to Maro”

(2018)

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Frequency Drift’s swansong may be their best ever album, too.  I felt like the melodies were richer, the time signatures were stranger, and the vocals, thanks to Irini Alexia, were stronger than ever.  This album gets better every time.

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38. Javier Sepúlveda – “Pulse of Nature”

(2017)

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One of my favorite instrumental albums ever, “Pulse of Nature” is a joy to hear.  Javier celebrates his native Chile with sweeping progressive metal compositions that are as melodic as they are hard-hitting.  This is a treat for the ears.

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37. Persefone – “Aathma”

(2017)

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Persefone took their music to a whole new level with “Aathma”.  With an organic, spiritual message and music that feels haunting and ethereal, this album is every bit as amazing as its cover art.

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36. Big Big Train – “English Electric, Part 1”

(2012)

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I’m not sure BBT will ever surpass this masterpiece.  With lyrics that both celebrated and mourned the band’s English landscape and history, the album felt passionate and real.  The music, too, is inspired and performed with utter majesty.  This is probably the best album of pastoral prog rock ever.

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35. Leprous – “Pitfalls”

(2019)

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Leprous finally found themselves last year.  This album is as collaborative as the band has ever gotten, and Einar’s voice has been unleashed in a way that we’d never heard.  This is their classic, and it will be interesting to hear where they go from here.

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34. Cyril – “Paralyzed”

(2016)

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As much as I love their sci-fi debut “Gone Through Time”, this is the album that keeps me revisiting Cyril.  The band found a melodic niche here, one that is rich and luscious to behold.  From the riveting choruses to the amazing guitars, this album has it all for me.

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33. Nad Sylvan – “The Bride Said No”

(2017)

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This is the second album in another of modern prog’s greatest trilogies.  I love this album thoroughly for its theatrics, emotions, and quirky nature.  Nad sounds amazing here, as always, and his playful, 80s-influenced side was allowed to frolic satisfyingly.

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32. Fair to Midland – “Arrows and Anchors”

(2011)

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This was the first FtM album I heard, and it blew me away instantly.  The band has such style to what they do, from flamboyant to sober.  This is still my #1 band that I hope to see return in the future.  I’m not sure that’s possible, though.

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31. Darkwater – “Where Stories End”

(2010)

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As amazing as their 2019 album “Human” is, this is still my favorite Darkwater album.  The grandness of the vocals, guitar work, and epic climaxes all keep me coming back for more, especially the last three tracks.

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30. Iamthemorning – “Lighthouse”

(2016)

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Iamthemorning had come a long way at this point, and then they exceeded all expectations.  With a single featuring Mariusz Duda and a tracklist including some of their most abstract and textured songs yet, this illustrious album still haunts me.

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29. Wintersun – “The Forest Seasons”

(2017)

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I know that this album had fanboys up in arms because it wasn’t called “Time II”.  I get that.  But this album is fantastic, even better than “Time I”, to my ears.  The dark, driving poetry that is offered here is simply divine, and “Loneliness (Winter)” is one of my favorite songs.

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28. Ostura – “The Room”

(2018)

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One of the most ambitious albums I’ve ever heard, Ostura’s “The Room” is chock full of giants riffs, huge orchestrations, and inventive uses of electronica.  The duel singers are an absolute treat to hear, and the album gets better and better, climaxing in brilliant fashion.

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27. Myrath – “Tales of the Sands”

(2011)

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My favorite Myrath album, with no doubt in my mind.  Although it is less progressive than their first couple offerings, I feel like the band really found themselves here, crafting their own image and their own sound.  The melodies are front and center, too.

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26. Susanne Sundfør – “The Silicone Veil”

(2012)

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I honestly was tempted to include all of Susanne Sundfor’s albums on this list, but I tried to be objective with myself.  After pondering for a bit, I realized that “The Silicone Veil” is the album I listen to the most, and it’s the album that has some of my absolute favorite tracks from Susanne.  Her inventive, progressive-leaning pop is simply fantastic, especially when she soaks it all in an electronic overlay.

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25. Joseph Magazine – “Night of the Red Sky”

(2011)

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One of my all-time favorite instrumental albums, “Night of the Red Sky” is a philosophical journey with high-tuned guitars, unbelievable compositions, and stunning results.  This Polish band never made another album, and that makes me sad to this day.

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24. Amarok – “Hunt”

(2017)

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This one has really grown on me over the last couple years.  This Polish album has guest spots from Mariusz Duda and Colin Bass, and the songs are completely unlike any other band I’ve heard.  Using such instruments as: the harmonium, theremin, low whistle, ebow, lapsteel, and wavedrum, the band manages to create something stunning, eerie, and thoughtful.  Vocalist and guitarist Michał has also become one of my favorite artists, and I recommend seeking out the next album, “The Storm”, as well.

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23. Lunatic Soul – “Walking on a Flashlight Beam”

(2014)

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Any reader here knows my love for Lunatic Soul, and I could include all of them on this list.  However, “Walking on a Flashlight Beam” truly amazed me from my very first listen.  I still remember the car ride when I first heard it.  The shadowy, hushed tones mixed with an eclectic array of instruments were the first things I loved, but I’ve come to appreciate the keys and the emotions most of all.  The title track is one of the best LS songs, period.

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22. Subsignal – “Paraiso”

(2013)

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I never thought Subsignal could best their first two albums, but then “Paraiso” landed, and I was proven wrong.  This album—every rhythm, drum beat, chorus, and even song title—is perfect in my eyes.  The band was on fire here, and I don’t know if they can ever top this one.

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21. Osta Love – “The Isle of Dogs”

(2015)

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Speaking of perfection, you won’t find a progressive rock album out there like “The Isle of Dogs”.  This evocative, thematic, and expressive album takes the listener on a wonderful journey, one with luscious tones, perfect choruses, and impressive vocals.  As much as I loved the band’s debut, this album was head and shoulders above it.

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20. Major Parkinson – “Blackbox”

(2017)

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Major Parkinson sounds like no other band out there.  Seriously, not one!  This “Blackbox” album combined their crazy antics with fantastic choruses, catchy rhythms, and riveting storylines, all without selling out on who they are as band.  The title track is one of those songs that you will hear in your dreams.

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19. Evergrey – “The Storm Within”

(2016)

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I consider this to be the best Evergrey album since “The Inner Circle”.  This album is quite possibly the most emotional of all their records, mainly due to the lyrics reflecting Tom Englund’s martial situation.  Some of the songs, and indeed some of the videos, too, are as starkly artistic, subtly grand, and darkly affecting as any other music out there.  “The Paradox of the Flame” and the title track are two of the best Evergrey songs on any record.

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18. Nordic Giants – “Amplify Human Vibration”

(2017)

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This album really took time to grow, but it captivated me once it did.  The Nordic Giants are as eclectic and unique as bands come, and the presence of voicovers from a variety of famous social justice warriors (such as MLK, Jr.) made this album a little overwhelming at first.  Soon, though, I understood exactly what this duo was trying to achieve, and I think the flourishing emotions that stem from this record are inspiring and influential.

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17. Dead Can Dance – “Anastasis”

(2012)

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This album was my first experience with DCD, and I was instantly in love with Brendan’s warm vocals and Lisa’s haunting harmonies.  Their voices, along with the spine-tingling music and vivid social commentary, have imprinted this record on my mind forever.

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16. Riverside – “Wasteland”

(2018)

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Riverside is my favorite band, but even I was nervous about what would happen after Piotr Grudziński’s death.  This album not only honored and mourned his passing, but managed to tap into some personal sorrow in my own heart.  This album is now like a badge of honor as we survive and dispel the wastelands all around us.  RIP, Piotr.

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15. A Perfect Circle – “Eat the Elephant”

(2018)

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With APC being one of my favorite bands, I was overjoyed when this album was announced.  Could they really provide something mentally arresting and also hard-hitting like their older albums?  Absolutely, they could and did.  This album hits hard lyrically, especially towards the way I was raised, and musically the band hasn’t lost any of the space, emotion, or mystery I’ve always loved.

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14. Devin Townsend – “Empath”

(2019)

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A few years ago, I would have laughed if you would have told me that a Devin Townsend record would be on this list.  I’ve just never connected with him much.  This “Empath” album, however, is one for the ages.  This sprawling, unrelenting, and unforgiving album doesn’t once try to play by the rules.  It is uncompromising in its scope, message, and even humor, and I cannot get enough.

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13. Georgius – “String Theory”

(2016)

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This was my album of the year in 2016.  It has held up incredibly well.  This Polish artist is none other than Jerzy Antczak from Albion, and his solo output is simply amazing.  This album has some of the best guitars I’ve ever heard, and its unconventional song structures keep you buried in mystery and awe.

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12. Earthside – “A Dream in Static”

(2015)

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This album brought me pure pleasure when it released.  I had followed the band for several years when they were called Bushwhack, and to see them mature and release something this unbelievably good put a tear in my eye.  Their next album is nearing release, and I can’t wait to hear it.

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11. Amorphis – “Queen of Time”

(2018)

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I haven’t tired of my 2019 album of the year.  This ravenous, spectacularly catchy album is probably the best record I’ve heard from them.  With poetry for lyrics, and searing soundscapes, this vicious album never gets old.

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10. Mostly Autumn – “White Rainbow”

(2019)

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You will notice that I now rate this album higher than Devin Townsend’s “Empath”, and that surprises even me.  There’s just something vivid and vibrant about this record, something that emotes and feels like the culmination of everything the band has ever done.  It’s more than just the soaring solos or incredible vocals; it’s something indescribable.  For that, this album continues to grow in my mind.

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9. Sun Caged – “The Lotus Effect”

(2011)

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I had to work at this record, I really did.  This is one of most complex, vivacious albums I’ve ever heard.  When it opened up to me, it completely mesmerized my mind.  From the searing riffs to the mind-bending time signatures to the utterly perfect performances across the board, I consider this album one of the best progressive metal releases ever.

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8. Anathema – “Weather Systems”

(2012)

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I still remember the first time I heard this record.  I was instantly blown away; I had never heard anything so beautiful in all my life.  I still think that when I listen to this.  The band has an incredible discography, but in terms of sheer beauty, they haven’t topped this one.  Add to that the spiritual message of hope, and you have an album that was made for someone like me.

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7. Sound of Contact – “Dimensionaut”

(2013)

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As we get closer to the top of this list, I’m realizing that I can remember the first time I heard each and every one of these records.  This includes SoC’s debut, and probably last album, too.  I didn’t know anything about it, but I knew the vocals sounded like Phil Collins.  Fast forward to now, and this album is the height of concept albums: complex, multilayered, and meaningful.  The music, too, is incredibly beautiful, mixing the band’s influences and original ideas with elegance and ethereal style.

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6. Lunatic Soul – “II”

(2010)

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My favorite LS album, “II” is a balanced, mysterious record.  The journey through the whiteness, in floating into what lies beyond all time, has always astonished me, especially when I can sit and just soak in the vista.  Add to that the fact that my son, Atlas, was born while we listened to “Transition”, and you have the makings of an album that is more than just music to me.

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5. Soup – “Remedies”

(2017)

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Soup has always had a wonderful tone to their music, but “Remedies” took it to a whole new level for me.  This soaring, towering album will raise your spirits and have you singing in no time at all.  “Sleepers” is still a song that has my jaw dropping every time I hear it.  This album is pure metaphysics.

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4. Riversea – “Out of an Ancient World”

(2012)

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I have no words to describe how the Riversea debut makes me feel.  It’s more than just the sonic experience, with Marc’s unmistakable voice, Brendan’s piercing synth, and the overall Floydian vibe.  It’s more than the imagery, too.  This album changed my life in ways that I don’t have room to express here.

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3. Beyond the Bridge – “The Old Man and the Spirit”

(2011)

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This debut, and final, album from Beyond the Bridge is still one of the most brilliant, mentally stimulating, and philosophically deep albums I’ve ever heard.  The dueling vocalists combine with ravaging riffs and piercing melodies to tell an emotional and vindicating story that hits me at my core.  Simon Oberender, the main writer, unfortunately passed away not long after it released, and so we will never get to experience more of his genius.  RIP, Simon.

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2. Haken – “Aquarius”

(2010)

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Haken’s debut is still one of the best of all time, in my opinion.  With playful, yet seriously cinematic songs, the band exploded onto the scene in fantastical fashion.  This album still contains my favorite Haken songs, like “Drowning in the Flood”, and the story line penned by Ross Jennings is the reason I started The Prog Mind.  How’s that for personal relevance?

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1. Riverside – “Love, Fear, and the Time Machine”

(2015)

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What else could be at the top of this list?  Riverside changed my life, and this album is the swansong for Piotr Grudziński.  I still have trouble listening to this towering record without tearing up whenever Piotr’s solos filter in so beautifully and perfectly.  On top of that, I was able to see the band on the tour for this record, only a couple months before Pitor’s passing.  Add to that the fact that this is the first Riverside album with light, hope, and promise for our hearts, encouraging us to risk happiness and love, and you have a record that will always stand tall and proud in my mind.  This is, without a doubt, my favorite record of the last decade.

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albums

19 responses to “Top 100 Favorite Albums: 2010-2019

    • Rush only released one album this decade (Clockwork Angels). While it would personally be in my top ten of the decade, it’s certainly not the best Rush album and hardly a glaring omission. As for Marillion, they’re very much a matter of personal taste. They’re just not some people’s thing.

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  1. Towards the Blue Horizon: the song that mesmerized me the most in the past years. Especially since the tragedy that occured at Colectiv Club. In a way, I’m so happy that you are praising Riverside – LFaTM that much. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Pineapple Thief released two amazing albums in the last five years and neither are included. This discounts your entire list significantly. How you can have a list that includes multiple releases by Anathema and Riverside (my other two favorite bands) and not them is beyond comprehension.

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    • I’m not that into TPT, that’s why. I originally had Someone Here is Missing, my favorite TPT album, on the list, but it had to be cut along with around 50 other albums. I’ve never been a huge fan, and so TPT is easy to cut for me.

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  3. Tool Fear Inoculum – one of the best albums I have ever heard – and I am 64 and saw most of the greats in their prime! Also, no Quidam?

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  4. Awesome list!!! This is such a beautiful gift and I will enjoy exploring it. Also some of the people commenting do not seem to understand how personal preferences work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Merci, dommage qu’il n’y ait pas Dream Theater, incontournable ! je rajouterai Karnivool, Demians, RPWL Airbag, Long Distance Calling….pour votre plaisir.

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  6. I swear, some of these comments… ‘You don’t mention band x so your personal subjective list of favourites is wrong’

    Thanks for the list!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m loving this list – It is giving me lots of stuff to discover, thanks very much. I’m also a huge fan of Riverside and Anathema, which you also seem very keen on. Have you heard of Amplifier? Their Echo Street album, is superb.

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  8. Prog is such a great “genre”. I think of myself as a huge prog fan/nerd but I think I haven’t even heard of maybe 80% of this list! Most of my favourites are missing, although great to see Breaking Orbit got a mention, Time Traveller is in my top 5 best albums of all time.

    I’ve been steadily working through this list, it’s been great. Beyond the Bridge, Sun Caged and Earthside are all new to me, but loving the albums mentioned. I’lll be working my way through this list for a while, thanks for the thought and effort!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. great and varied list – thanks for all the effort involved in putting that together – a really enjoyable read – i shall return from time to time to check out a few new names more fully – chapeau!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How is Threshold and thank you sciencetest In your top 100. I just made a playlist of every album. Going to take me 4 days to catch up. Never herd of most of the band’s.

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