Time for the annual "best music of the year" post. As usual, tons of great music this year; thank god for the Internet, because none of this stuff makes it on the radio. :)
Marrow of the Spirit by Agalloch
Agalloch are an intensely emotional experience. Calling them a black metal band does some disservice to their range. Their new album is an aural experience unlike anything else from this year.
Fragments of Form and Function by Allegaeon
These guys destroy me. I can't believe this is their first full length album. Super-solid melodic death metal, and this song in particular is outstanding, especially the acoustic guitar solo at the end.
Mechanize by Fear Factory
Dino Cazares is back, and this is the best Fear Factory has ever sounded, IMO.
Poetry For the Poisoned by Kamelot
Kamelot can do no wrong in my eyes. I love the vocalist, probably one of the best metal singers in the business.
In Live Concert At Royal Albert Hall by Opeth
The unique grandfathers of progressive death metal have been around for 20 years, and decided to celebrate by touring only 6 venues, playing their masterwork Blackwater Park in its entirely, plus one song from every other album. That may not sound like a lot, but many Opeth sounds run 8-10 minutes long, so this was easily more than an hour of extra material.
For Aeons Past by Solution .45
Every Scar Symmetry fan was sad when Christian Älvestam announced he was leaving the band, only to be replaced by two singers. Thankfully he didn't disappear for long!
The Seraphic Clockwork by Vanden Plas
The last few Vanden Plas albums have been just stellar examples of progressive metal, and this was no exception.
Year of the Black Rainbow by Coheed and Cambria
Coheed and Cambria have finally finished their five-album series describing Amory Wars. One wonders what's next for the band, given that telling this story has consumed the last 15 years of their lives (and the entirety of their career).
Static Impulse by James LaBrie
"Disappointed" barely covers my feelings when I heard the news of Mike Portnoy's departure from Dream Theater. This solo album from DT's lead singer has helped me cope. :)
Slash by Slash
Slash wrote songs for several prominent musicians and recorded it all together into this one superb cross-genre album. It's a showcase for the talent of his guests even more than himself, which just goes to show how good a song-writer he is.
Blood Like Lemonade by Morcheeba
Morcheeba are one of my all-time favorite downtempo bands, and the new album has several excellent tracks on it.
Tron: Legacy Soundtrack by Daft Punk
If you watch Tron: Legacy as a two-hour Daft Punk video with some story-telling tossed in, it plays a lot better than as a stand-alone movie.