I’ll start with the odds and ends of 2018. A few EPs were released that deserve mention but aren’t really long enough to be included in the album list. As well, some of the albums that didn’t make the list in the end did provide a great track or two, even if the rest of the album wasn’t up to snuff. And as always, I find stuff during the year that was released the year before, I just wasn’t paying attention at the time.
Gary Numan: The Fallen
An addendum to the spectacular Savage album from 2017, the ep provides 3 additional tracks.
7. “The Serpent” by Sisters of…: Album The Serpent, the Angel, and the Adversary
We have reached the part of the list where the order of the top tracks almost doesn’t matter; at this point they are *all* monster, heavy-rotation superstars. So it is apropos to begin with a beast of a track from an insanely heavy album; it also illustrates the kind of stuff I have lately found to be what greases my wheels most — blistering full-on prog/black/metal/post-metal…man when that is done right, it just doesn’t get much better. And these guys do it right.
6. “YANA” by Dead Letter Circus: Album Aesthesis
The album is a bit inconsistent, for some reason Dead Letter Circus have trouble living up to their enormous potential. But this soaring alt/post-punk track never fails to give me chills. Just one of those songs I inexplicably love.
5. “Oko” by Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster: Album Wires/Dream\Wires
An absolutely epic track from a long-anticipated album; these guys can pull off some of the best, heaviest, most thoughtful instrumental post-metal out there, and this is just a taste of what they can do.
4. “Planck Length” by Au4: Album And Down Comes the Sky… (2013 release)
The album this song is from came out in 2013, but I only discovered it this year. And it is an absolute *killer* of an album, it is by far the best thing I heard this year and then some, it really is my album of the year, except I can’t make it official.
It is hard to pull a favourite track from it, I could have listed four or five, but this one snuck up on me. Industrial trip-hop about physics — and really, any song that can use “One point six times ten to the negative thirty-five” as a lyric, and make it work — well, that’s some awesome songwriting right there.
3. “Annabelle” by Sisters of…: Album The Serpent, The Angel, and the Adversary
Another track from one of the best most intense albums I have heard this year. “The Serpent” was face-melting in intensity…and somehow “Annabelle” manages to take it up a couple of skull-cracking notches from there. This is the kind of stuff that eviction notices are made of.
2. “Everyone is Everyone (and Everything is Everything)” by Au4: Album And Down Comes the Sky… (2013 release)
Yes, this album is so extraordinary it supplied two songs in the top 5 of 25. Believe me, if there were songs from 2015 as good, I’d stick ’em here. But there aren’t…or at any rate, since the album can’t qualify for Album of the Year I’m going to promote it this way. You can find my review of the album here:
I cannot get enough of this track.
1. “Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire” by Riverside: Album Love, Fear and the Time Machine
The album might not be their best, but this song…!! I really cannot stop listening to it; there are days when I think it just might be the greatest song Riverside ever created. Everything comes together in this track for me: the great martial rhythm compliments of Piotr Kozieradski’s drumming; Piotr Grudziński’s beautiful and nuanced guitar themes, the organ, the bass lines, the words, the singing…man it just hits every sweet spot, it digs deep into my soul where transcendence lies. It goes beyond mere words.
14. “Saturate Me” by Riverside: Album Love, Fear and the Time Machine
The most purely prog track on the new Riverside album, just effortlessly done without ever sounding derivative or neo- or like anyone else in prog today, and probably the heaviest track on the album. And besides — this track just kicks *epic* ass live.
13. “Discovery One” by Eschar: Album Nova
A mighty track from the first album by Eschar, post-metal that is imaginative and heavy and melodic all at once, and performed with confident aplomb. Unfortunately it seems as if the videos of the Nova tracks have been removed. For a taster, here is a live version of “Monolith” from the same album.
12. “The Drifter” by Klone: Album Here Comes the Sun
This is a beautiful album, rich and atmospheric, and I could have chosen a number of tracks from it. The video is worth watching for the drum playthrough. All the members are great musicians.
This is the first year I have decided to compile a Songs of the Year list, but then 2015 has been a rather good year for music. It was hard to restrict the list to just 25 tracks; there could have been many more. Not only could most of the year’s best albums have contributed more than one, there are several songs from earlier years that I have included in the list, because I only discovered them this year, and they are too great to leave off. Most of the tracks do have associated videos, but not all of them do. I will note that when relevant.
So: starting at No. 25 and working my way up:
25. “He Is” by Ghost: Album Meliora
A great sing-along track from an album that is definitely fun and listenable but not truly “great” (at least in any real meaning of the word).
24. “Beyond Metropolis” by Shriekback: Album Without Real String or Fish
The 80s are back…in a big way this year, and 80s alternative icons Shriekback do it the best. The cleverly post-apocalyptic track “Beyond Metropolis” is the one that grabs me most from this album, but there is no video for it alone. Start at 17:33 in the link below, or listen to the whole album.
23. “Happy Returns” by Steven Wilson: Album Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Wilson does pop. Or something like that. This track does have its poignant moments, but I simply cannot muster up the interest to place it higher.