Blistering.com Staff Picks For 2009 - Part Deux
By: Blistering Staff
Justin Donnelly Top 10 of 2009
The secret to compiling an end of year top ten list is to disregard ideas of what many thought of as groundbreaking, what is generally hailed as a modern day classic or what album went on to sell a phenomenal amount (not that anyone does these days anyway!). Instead, all you need to do is go back and look at the albums that you simply wanted to play over and over again. Thatís my list in a nutshell basically.
Fortunately, 2009 was still dominated by the tired metalcore sound for the most part, which meant that all those albums could be eliminated without a second thought. But finding an album that didnít contain some real filler amongst the gems (outside the metalcore genre) remained a bit of a challenge. But in the end, I still managed to find some great releases to enjoy, with the ones listed below ten personal favourites that have dominated my stereo throughout the last twelve months at various times.
1. Cheap Trick - The Latest (Cheap Trick Unlimited)
This is the album fans have been waiting for from Cheap Trick for more than 25 years! The bandís songwriting hasnít been this strong and consistent in years, and it shows. Thereís no denying that the classic rock act still have what it takes.
2. Duff McKaganís Loaded ĖSick (Century Media)
Without a doubt McKaganís strongest solo outing to date, and one that finally cements his reputation as a song writer in his own right. Itís a damn shame this album didnít received half the attention of Axl Roseís disastrous effort under the old Guns Ní Roses banner.
3. Steven Wilson Ė Insurgentes (Kscope Music)
Although Porcupine Tree released another fine effort this year (The Incident), I actually have a preference for Wilsonís debut solo effort Insurgentes Perhaps itís because itís a little more out there stylistically or maybe because itís a little more challenging for the listener. Either way, this is definitely one of my favourite efforts from Wilson for 2009.
4. Converge - Axe To Fall (Epitaph)
After perfecting their sound over the course of their three previous releases, Boston metalcore heavyweights Converge decided it was time to shake things up a little, with Axe To Fall boasting a bold new sound for the legendary act. Needless to say, while their newfound sense of melody is a little unexpected, they still manage to crush with their trademark violent noise.
5. Katatonia Ė Night Is The New Day (Peaceville)
Just about every new Katatonia release seems to be earning a place in my top ten releases, and rightfully so. Again, the band has altered their sound a little, with the results speaking for themselves.
6. Paradise Lost - Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us (Century Media)
Although Paradise Lost never really went away, the highly influential U.K. act has been slowly upping the aggression on their last couple of releases, which has helped them return to favour. In Short, 2007ís In Requiem was a great album, but Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us is quite simply their best in a long time.
7. Alice In Chains Ė Black Gives Way To Blue (Virgin)
Comebacks and reformations are all the rage these days, but sadly few live up to expectations. Despite the scepticism, Alice In Chainsí return to the scene proved to be worthy of the hype, with their new release allowing the band a justified new start for a second time.
8. OSI - Blood (Inside Out)
After a couple of strange and bewildering solo releases that left me feeling a little disappointed, Kevin Moore finally returned to OSI. After the lacklustre and generally uneventful Free (2006), it was great to finally hear Moore inject some life into Blood and confirm that the brilliance of their debut wasnít simply down to its big name guest contributors, but more centred on strong songs.
9. Redemption Ė Snowfall On Judgement Day (Inside Out)
With Fates Warning on semi-permanent hiatus, itís not surprising to see Ray Alderís other band Redemption gain more critical acclaim and exposure with every new release. Three albums in, and Redemption continue to shine and perfect their sound, with Snowfall On Judgement Day another stunning release from the progressive rock outfit.
10. Sights & Sounds - Monolith (Smallman Records)
I think this album is one of those gems that passed under the radar by most. And those that did hear it were generally disappointed with it. Does that say something about my taste in music? I donít know, but I know I like this album. Progressive rock mixed with post hardcore, and with a huge Devin Townsend influence evident throughout Ė What is there not to like? A lot I guess. Either way, I really liked Monolith.