The Bodhisattva Beat
Music and Life

My Top Albums of 2009

2009 was a year full of anticipation. A prog favorite reformed, newcomers had follow ups to impressive debuts, workhorses continued their juggernauts, and classic acts came out of hiding.

Not all of it was gold, but much of it was excellent. So here are my picks for the best of the year.

1. Magma: Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré

The long awaited epic, finally delivered from one of music’s most original classic acts.  It’s absolutely amazing, and probably the finest moment of Magma’s long career.

2. Deluge Grander: The form of the Good

Modern prog at its finest. This is the first of three sophomore efforts to make the list, and was also the inspiration for starting this blog.

3. Madness; The Liberty of Norton Folgate

Here’s a surprise. Not only is a non-prog album in my top five, it’s also Madness! Yep, they are back together and better than ever. This album is such a treat.

4. Izz: The Darkened Room

This band improves with every release. Even with losing the distinctive voice of Laura Meade, the bar was raised again.

5. Shadow Circus: Whispers and Screams

Another second time out release, and boy what a leap. The debut was very good, but I never saw this coming.

6. Osada Vida: Uninvited Dreams

I still can’t decide which of the two previous albums I like better, but this one tops them both. Great prog metal for those who aren’t really into metal (like me).  Poland is a fertile breeding ground for this kind of stuff.

7. Transatlantic: The Whirlwind

No one thought it was possible, but this prog super group got back together. It wasn’t a giant leap forward, but I love every second of it.

8. Riverside: Anno Domini High Definition

What is it about these Polish prog metal bands? This one is heavier than their previous work, and I like it even more! I am going to have to visit soon.

9. Super Furry Animals: Dark Days / Light Years

Quirky, spacey, sometimes just weird, yet still quite accessible. This is top notch alternative rock.

10. Lobster Newberg: Actress

Album number two from young Colin Peterik and his boys from Chicago. Much more focused this time, and paving the way for what I hope to be a long, impressive career.

11. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It’s Blitz!

The punk is still there, but they got very artsy on this one. Punk art? Well done.

12. Quantum Fantay: Kaleidothrope

Think heavy Ozric Tentacles with a flute. These Belgian dudes rock.

13. Muse: The Resistance

This almost seems like a tribute to Queen a la Muse. They actually took a lot of heat for that. I don’t mind at all. They went big on this one, and I think it’s great.

I don’t have reviews for all of these yet, but they will come, and I also apologize for taking so long to do this (I’ve been busy, okay!)

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4 Responses to “My Top Albums of 2009”

  1. Very nice list, HT – even though I have only heard two of the albums (and am familiar with Quantum Fantay after last year’s NEARfest). I heard Osada Vida’s album yesterday, since I’ll be reviewing it in the near future, and it is every bit as good as everyone says. My own personal Top 5 was somewhat different, including two Italian albums (Delirium’s “Il Nome del Vento” and Arpia’s “Racconto d’Inverno” – both very highly recommended), The Decemberists’ “The Hazards of Love”, The Mars Volta’s “Octahedron” and Wobbler’s “Afterglow”. I’ve reviewed Delirium, Wobbler and Arpia for Progressor, and the first two for PA as well – so, if you are interested, you can have a look at what I wrote.

  2. Cool list, H.T. Even cooler to see something like Yeah Yeah Yeahs in a dominantly prog list.

    I personally only disagree with Deluge Grander and The Muse being anywhere near something that highlights the best of something. :p But that’s just personally, of course.

    • I can understand Muse. It just struck a chord with me. But I am surprised you didn’t think that highly of “The Form of the Good.” It seems like something that would have really appealed to you.

      • August in the Urals appealed to me that way. The Form of the Good is compositionally horrible, clothed, unrafined, with uninspired or blunt-forced melodies; and yes, even a bit virtuoso prog for sake of virtuoso prog. There’s a better track at the end of the album, but it’s almost a kind of relief to what seemed a nightmare from beginning to end.

        I like tonic, highly potent instrumental prog, yet I believe both DG and Kotebel have delivered the ugly side of it. Wobbler’s Afterglow is commented the same way by half of the prog fandom, but this time, I think their album was a lot better.

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