Nos' Top Twenty(!) Of 2018:

The Heart of the Prog/Power Movement

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Nos
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Nos' Top Twenty(!) Of 2018:

Postby Nos » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:21 am

You've all been waiting for that one time of the year I make it easiest for you to laugh at my opinions, so here it is. And in fact, this year there were enough albums I liked a lot that I'm going to rank twenty of them, rather than just ten. Lucky you, eh?

But first, let me say the worst albums of the year were from Machine Head and Ministry. They were both so insulting to my ears, and my intelligence, that I felt dumber for having listened to them. Truly wretched stuff.

On to the good:

20. Lola Black - Nothing's Gonna Be Alright

Solid radio rock with good hooks, minus the n-word laced cover song at the end. That deducts major points.

19. Slash - Living The Dream

Slash's tone is amazing, and the album really grows. Not the most energetic, but very professional.

18. Temperance - Of Jupiters And Moons

Very catchy symphonic(?) metal. The multiple singer gimmick works well. Sort of a not-quite-as-good The Dark Element.

17. Holter - Vlad The Impaler

It's no "Dracula: Swing Of Death", but it's still enjoyable. Too much of a copy to rate any higher.

16. The Skull - The Endless Road Turns Dark

Eric's best album in ages. Perfect blend of Trouble's two eras.

15. Blues Traveler - Hurry Up And Hang Around

I grew up on them, ok. This one hits all the old notes, which is just what I wanted.

14. Greta Van Fleet - Anthem Of The Peaceful Army

They sound like Zeppelin, but they're still good. This was far better than I thought it would be. They've got plenty of potential.

13. The Unity - Rise

I wasn't expecting anything, but this is awesome melodic power metal. Tons of hooks and great songs.

12. Graveyard - Peace

Their best period ("Hisingen Blues" and "Lights Out") is behind them, but they are still great anyway. Their heaviest album, and a big rebound after a disappointment.

11. A Light Divided - Choose Your Own Adventure

Aggressive female fronted mainstream rock. Great songs, and the hint of shouting in the vocals really works.

10. All That Remains - Victims Of The New Disease

"Fuck Love" can get fucked. It sucks. The rest of the album is great, though, with huge melodies, whether it's cheesy radio rock or old-school metalcore. Shockingly good.

9. Ghost - Prequelle

Ghost finally went pop, and I love it. It's gloriously cheesy, and the only thing holding it back are the instrumentals. There's only 30 minutes of 'real' songs, which isn't enough. What's here is awesome, though.

8. Myja - Myja

This little grungy power-pop album didn't make any waves, but I still think it's great. If you can sound cheery and morose at the same time, this album manages it.

7. The Jayhawks - Back Roads & Abandoned Motels

The best Jayhawks music sounds timeless, and this record is their best in a long time, even though it's an odds and ends collection.

6. W.E.T. - Earthrage

Fantastic melodic rock. Jeff Scott Soto proves Portnoy is a shitty producer, since he sounds awesome on this album, unlike the Sons Of Apollo record. It's only negative is that Erik outdid himself, which we'll get to.

5. Amaranthe - Helix

I know exactly why a lot of people hate this, and they aren't wrong. It's total pop fluff, right down to the way the music apes electronic pop. But the hooks are so great I don't care. It's stupid fun.

4. Pale Waves - My Mind Makes Noises

Speaking of pop, this is easily the only pop record of the year I loved. Their colder sound and flat vocals are interesting, and the songs are there, even if they do mostly sound the same. I don't know if they can last in the long run, but for one album they rule.

3. Nordic Union - Second Coming

My favorite of Erik's projects, easily. It's his darkest stuff, and this album is moodier than usual, which perfectly fits Ronnie's vocals. It's every bit as good as the first album, which was also ranked this high. Forget Eclipse, this is where it's at.

2. Light The Torch - Revival

The closest thing we've gotten to the 2009 Killswitch self-titled, and it's just as awesome as that record was. Howard Jones is a hell of a singer, and it's great to hear him be melodic for almost an entire record. It's still heavy, but it's glorious to hear him bellow those hooks. It nearly took #1.

1. Halestorm - Vicious

This won out in the end, because it's the album I keep putting on again and again. I can't explain it, either. There are several things about it that should put me off, but I find myself loving it anyway. I don't think anyone on the mainstream charts has written songs as good as the best stuff here in a long time, and then there's Lzzy. Damn she's good. So yeah, I'm saying this was my favorite album of the year. Hate all you want.

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Re: Nos' Top Twenty(!) Of 2018:

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:49 am

18. Temperance - Of Jupiters And Moons

Very catchy symphonic(?) metal. The multiple singer gimmick works well. Sort of a not-quite-as-good The Dark Element.


I need to try more of this band's material..... I listened to a couple of songs a few months back and really enjoyed it, but also stumbled on Beyond the Black at the same time and spent my time focused on them instead......
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Re: Nos' Top Twenty(!) Of 2018:

Postby Nos » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:57 am

Sir Exar Kun wrote:
18. Temperance - Of Jupiters And Moons

Very catchy symphonic(?) metal. The multiple singer gimmick works well. Sort of a not-quite-as-good The Dark Element.


I need to try more of this band's material..... I listened to a couple of songs a few months back and really enjoyed it, but also stumbled on Beyond the Black at the same time and spent my time focused on them instead......


I went the other way. Beyond The Black was good too, but for whatever reason the songs didn't stick with me the same way. It would have likely been in there if I went to 25 instead of 20.

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Re: Nos' Top Twenty(!) Of 2018:

Postby introclaus » Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:36 pm

Nos wrote:20. Lola Black - Nothing's Gonna Be Alright
Solid radio rock with good hooks, minus the n-word laced cover song at the end. That deducts major points.


Don't know ... but yeah, based on that last comment I have no interest at all in listening to it.

Nos wrote:19. Slash - Living The Dream
Slash's tone is amazing, and the album really grows. Not the most energetic, but very professional.


I appreciate Slash as a member of GNR and what he brought to the hard rock scene. I just can't get into any of his post-GNR stuff.

Nos wrote:18. Temperance - Of Jupiters And Moons
Very catchy symphonic(?) metal. The multiple singer gimmick works well. Sort of a not-quite-as-good The Dark Element.


It's the best of their albums, but I'm still not crazy about it. That said, Michele is a great addition to the band, although I by far prefer him in Overtures which is a much better band in my opinion.

Nos wrote:17. Holter - Vlad The Impaler
It's no "Dracula: Swing Of Death", but it's still enjoyable. Too much of a copy to rate any higher.


See, this one is interesting, because I started out with a very pre-conceived idea of this album being horrible due to Nils K. Rue (whose voice I never liked) replacing Jorn (who obviously is an immense vocal-talent), but the more I listen to it, the more I like it, to the point where I actually am beginning to think that the song writing here is better than on the debut. I also have warmed up to Nils' voice and while he is no Jorn by any means, he does hold up nicely on his own. It doesn't quite make the cut on my top 50 list, but it's close ...

Nos wrote:16. The Skull - The Endless Road Turns Dark
Eric's best album in ages. Perfect blend of Trouble's two eras.


I missed the boat on this one. As much of a doom fan as I am, I actually much prefer their psychedelic period (Trouble, Manic Frustrations, Plastic Green Head) to their original doom sound, and I just stopped following them or their solo/side projects after '95. I'll have to check it out for sure.

Nos wrote:15. Blues Traveler - Hurry Up And Hang Around
I grew up on them, ok. This one hits all the old notes, which is just what I wanted.


Not a blues fan as such, besides the "Gary Moore style" ... Pass.

Nos wrote:14. Greta Van Fleet - Anthem Of The Peaceful Army
They sound like Zeppelin, but they're still good. This was far better than I thought it would be. They've got plenty of potential.


I like this - it's not amazing, but it's solid for sure. I also like Rival Sons, so sue me ... That said, I think when it comes to this kind of music Glenn nailed it on the head in his top 50 review with The Temperence Movement being the better of the albums.

Nos wrote:13. The Unity - Rise
I wasn't expecting anything, but this is awesome melodic power metal. Tons of hooks and great songs.


Didn't do anything for me.

Nos wrote:12. Graveyard - Peace
Their best period ("Hisingen Blues" and "Lights Out") is behind them, but they are still great anyway. Their heaviest album, and a big rebound after a disappointment.


I prefer this to "Hisingen Blues" actually - it's a great album and less "Danzig" than normal (I must be the only person in the world who hears the Danzig comparison as I've not seen anyone else mention it - strange ....). It's a very good retro album.

Nos wrote:11. A Light Divided - Choose Your Own Adventure
Aggressive female fronted mainstream rock. Great songs, and the hint of shouting in the vocals really works.


If the "Fear of Heights" single is representative for the album I'll pass. It's not bad per se, it just doesn't make me wanna check out anything else.

Nos wrote:10. All That Remains - Victims Of The New Disease
"Fuck Love" can get fucked. It sucks. The rest of the album is great, though, with huge melodies, whether it's cheesy radio rock or old-school metalcore. Shockingly good.


It's impossible to deny that they write good melodies, but I kind of moved on from this style - I think that I have heard what I need within the metalcore style and just don't get excited about new albums (except KSW and, hopefully, a new Ill Nino)

Nos wrote:9. Ghost - Prequelle
Ghost finally went pop, and I love it. It's gloriously cheesy, and the only thing holding it back are the instrumentals. There's only 30 minutes of 'real' songs, which isn't enough. What's here is awesome, though.


Yeah this is my favorite of their albums - they've lost most of the BOC influences and gone more "theatrical", almost Meat Loaf style on this one. Great song writing (although very "condensed" as you say).

Nos wrote:8. Myja - Myja
This little grungy power-pop album didn't make any waves, but I still think it's great. If you can sound cheery and morose at the same time, this album manages it.


I'll have to check this out some more, what I heard wasn't bad.

Nos wrote:7. The Jayhawks - Back Roads & Abandoned Motels
The best Jayhawks music sounds timeless, and this record is their best in a long time, even though it's an odds and ends collection.


This music doesn't appeal to me - I like country, I like alternative rock, I like some singer/songwriter stuff - but this combination here just doesn't hit me. Just like I'll never understand the appeal of Dave Matthews ...

Nos wrote:6. W.E.T. - Earthrage
Fantastic melodic rock. Jeff Scott Soto proves Portnoy is a shitty producer, since he sounds awesome on this album, unlike the Sons Of Apollo record. It's only negative is that Erik outdid himself, which we'll get to.


Soto is my favorite singer of all time and yes, he sounds awesome here (as he did on SOA in my opinion). The songwriting has become truly stale from Erik and I'm not feeling it enough to make my top 50 :(

Nos wrote:5. Amaranthe - Helix
I know exactly why a lot of people hate this, and they aren't wrong. It's total pop fluff, right down to the way the music apes electronic pop. But the hooks are so great I don't care. It's stupid fun.


I don't hate it - it just doesn't do more than make me tap my foot when listening to it, and perhaps smile/laugh the first time playing it. Then after that I'm over it.

Nos wrote:4. Pale Waves - My Mind Makes Noises
Speaking of pop, this is easily the only pop record of the year I loved. Their colder sound and flat vocals are interesting, and the songs are there, even if they do mostly sound the same. I don't know if they can last in the long run, but for one album they rule.


There are pop bands that I love and pop bands I don't - this one falls into the "meh" category based on the couple of singles I found on YouTube ... perhaps it's the vocals that are too "anonymous" ... she sounds like Katy Perry or Taylor Swift (none of whom have a ton of personality) ... in this pure pop category I'm way more into Tove Lo!

Nos wrote:3. Nordic Union - Second Coming
My favorite of Erik's projects, easily. It's his darkest stuff, and this album is moodier than usual, which perfectly fits Ronnie's vocals. It's every bit as good as the first album, which was also ranked this high. Forget Eclipse, this is where it's at.


Same as W.E.T. - songwriting well has run dry for Erik. I've loved Paul's voice since I was a young teenager, and Pretty Maids was the local heroes of our little town in Horsens, Denmark. I've easily seen them 20+ times over the years, and he is such a great vocalist. But not even his voice can save Erik's songwriting from having gone bland :( Oh, and that one song with those political lyrics can suck it!

Nos wrote:2. Light The Torch - Revival
The closest thing we've gotten to the 2009 Killswitch self-titled, and it's just as awesome as that record was. Howard Jones is a hell of a singer, and it's great to hear him be melodic for almost an entire record. It's still heavy, but it's glorious to hear him bellow those hooks. It nearly took #1.


I tried several times, as I really loved those KSW discs with Howard and kept seeing you referencing them, but this lacks in the melodies. I'll give it another try, but not getting my hopes up ...

Nos wrote:1. Halestorm - Vicious
This won out in the end, because it's the album I keep putting on again and again. I can't explain it, either. There are several things about it that should put me off, but I find myself loving it anyway. I don't think anyone on the mainstream charts has written songs as good as the best stuff here in a long time, and then there's Lzzy. Damn she's good. So yeah, I'm saying this was my favorite album of the year. Hate all you want.
[/quote]

Some bands I just never got around to spend enough time with to figure out what I actually think of them, and Halestorm is one of those. Everytime I hear Lzzy doing anything (either in Halestorm or guesting on something else) I'm impressed by her voice, but it just have never made me spend the time to go through all their albums (they've got 4 or 5 now, right?). I'll get to it eventually I'm sure ;)

Cool list - there's plenty of stuff on here to like dude!
Claus Jensen

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Re: Nos' Top Twenty(!) Of 2018:

Postby Nos » Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:18 pm

introclaus wrote:
Nos wrote:17. Holter - Vlad The Impaler
It's no "Dracula: Swing Of Death", but it's still enjoyable. Too much of a copy to rate any higher.


See, this one is interesting, because I started out with a very pre-conceived idea of this album being horrible due to Nils K. Rue (whose voice I never liked) replacing Jorn (who obviously is an immense vocal-talent), but the more I listen to it, the more I like it, to the point where I actually am beginning to think that the song writing here is better than on the debut. I also have warmed up to Nils' voice and while he is no Jorn by any means, he does hold up nicely on his own. It doesn't quite make the cut on my top 50 list, but it's close ...


I wasn't keen on Nils stepping in either. I actually like how he's missing from so much of the album. I like it just fine, but I don't get the same cheesy sense of fun from this one. "Dracula" was like the Adam West "Batman" series, and now they're too cool to laugh at themselves.

introclaus wrote:
Nos wrote:16. The Skull - The Endless Road Turns Dark
Eric's best album in ages. Perfect blend of Trouble's two eras.


I missed the boat on this one. As much of a doom fan as I am, I actually much prefer their psychedelic period (Trouble, Manic Frustrations, Plastic Green Head) to their original doom sound, and I just stopped following them or their solo/side projects after '95. I'll have to check it out for sure.


I prefer that era too. The self-titled is one of my favorite heavy records ever. This is the first record Eric's done since "Manic" I've liked, so I might be overrating it a touch. I hear enough of that style to make me happy.

introclaus wrote:
Nos wrote:12. Graveyard - Peace
Their best period ("Hisingen Blues" and "Lights Out") is behind them, but they are still great anyway. Their heaviest album, and a big rebound after a disappointment.


I prefer this to "Hisingen Blues" actually - it's a great album and less "Danzig" than normal (I must be the only person in the world who hears the Danzig comparison as I've not seen anyone else mention it - strange ....). It's a very good retro album.


I can honestly say that I have not heard that comparison before, and the friend who got me into Graveyard is a big Danzig fan. What holds me back is that I preferred the more organic guitar tone of the earlier records, and I keep saying Joakim is too good not to be singing every song.

introclaus wrote:
Nos wrote:4. Pale Waves - My Mind Makes Noises
Speaking of pop, this is easily the only pop record of the year I loved. Their colder sound and flat vocals are interesting, and the songs are there, even if they do mostly sound the same. I don't know if they can last in the long run, but for one album they rule.


There are pop bands that I love and pop bands I don't - this one falls into the "meh" category based on the couple of singles I found on YouTube ... perhaps it's the vocals that are too "anonymous" ... she sounds like Katy Perry or Taylor Swift (none of whom have a ton of personality) ... in this pure pop category I'm way more into Tove Lo!


I don't spend much time with pop these days either. What caught my ear is that it sounds like Taylor Swift's "1989" (you aren't wrong there), but less happy.

introclaus wrote:
Nos wrote:1. Halestorm - Vicious
This won out in the end, because it's the album I keep putting on again and again. I can't explain it, either. There are several things about it that should put me off, but I find myself loving it anyway. I don't think anyone on the mainstream charts has written songs as good as the best stuff here in a long time, and then there's Lzzy. Damn she's good. So yeah, I'm saying this was my favorite album of the year. Hate all you want.


Some bands I just never got around to spend enough time with to figure out what I actually think of them, and Halestorm is one of those. Everytime I hear Lzzy doing anything (either in Halestorm or guesting on something else) I'm impressed by her voice, but it just have never made me spend the time to go through all their albums (they've got 4 or 5 now, right?). I'll get to it eventually I'm sure ;)

Cool list - there's plenty of stuff on here to like dude![/quote]

There's four albums now. The first two have a lot of mainstream songwriters helping out, so they're quite pop. I love that. Record three is when they tried to do more on their own, and it's the definite mixed bag of the bunch. Even I'm not super big on it. This new one, though, is what they were trying to do on that one, only better. But yes, the main appeal is Lzzy, for sure. There are some great songs, and then there are some I know I wouldn't like half as much if she wasn't the one singing them. Heresy though it might be, I think she's the best rock singer of her generation. If anyone's better, I haven't found them.


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