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MMA Collaborator's Album of the Year 2011

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Triceratopsoil View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Triceratopsoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 6:50pm
Originally posted by adg211288 adg211288 wrote:

I'm especially intrigued by that Subrosa album.


It's a gooder.


By my count, this year there were 190 albums ranked, with scores ranging between 1 and 183
(scoring being 20pts for a #1 ranking, 1pt for a #20 ranking)

Much better collab turnout than last year Thumbs Up


Edited by Triceratopsoil - 24 Jan 2012 at 6:52pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wilytank Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 6:25pm
Who's to say which site is more or less close minded anyway?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CCVP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 5:36pm
Originally posted by UMUR UMUR wrote:

Well I´m expecting a lot of angry non prog metal fans to sign up for Collab duties, so they get to vote next year and bring in some other genres tooBig smile.


I sure hope too Jonas!Big smile

Originally posted by The Angry Scotsman The Angry Scotsman wrote:

Well this site is quite heavily skewed towards a progressive mindset, considering most of us come from PALOL


Há, quite. LOL

Originally posted by Colt Colt wrote:

Originally posted by CCVP CCVP wrote:

LOL, is this  an album of the year list or a progressive metal album of the year list?


Can you explain why an album of the year list with a lot of progressive metal albums is funny?

If the list was full of death and black metal bands, I assume, would thern provide you with further amusement?

It might just be that the collabs on this site listen to progressive metal more than some of the other sites dedicated to heavy metal, that they are not close minded and finally they are ACTUALLY the top albums released this last year.

I've seen many a list so far, many of which include releases that are extremely surprising, if not laughable.

Fucking purists! Angry


What the hell? Stern Smile I just pointed out that the list mostly has prog albums and that such coincidence is funny. I don't think that's something worthy of getting worked up about, really.




Edited by CCVP - 24 Jan 2012 at 5:38pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andyman1125 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 5:22pm
I voted for a number of those, cool! Good list! Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 2:38pm
I've heard 14 out of 20, 6 of which I gave 5*. Result, even if my #1 is down in 13th. Will have to check out the rest sometime. I'm especially intrigued by that Subrosa album.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Colt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 11:17am
Originally posted by CCVP CCVP wrote:

LOL, is this  an album of the year list or a progressive metal album of the year list?




Can you explain why an album of the year list with a lot of progressive metal albums is funny?

If the list was full of death and black metal bands, I assume, would thern provide you with further amusement?

It might just be that the collabs on this site listen to progressive metal more than some of the other sites dedicated to heavy metal, that they are not close minded and finally they are ACTUALLY the top albums released this last year.

I've seen many a list so far, many of which include releases that are extremely surprising, if not laughable.

Fucking purists! Angry





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Diogenes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 10:22am
I'd just like to point out that I only voted for 5 of the progressive metal albums that made the list, so please don't blame me.

But yeah, having more collabs would be awesome sauce.

Thanks to Ben and Colin for taking the time to count the votes and edit the list.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Angry Scotsman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 10:08am
Originally posted by CCVP CCVP wrote:

LOL, is this  an album of the year list or a progressive metal album of the year list?




Well this site is quite heavily skewed towards a progressive mindset, considering most of us come from PALOL


Originally posted by UMUR UMUR wrote:

Well I´m expecting a lot of angry non prog metal fans to sign up for Collab duties, so they get to vote next year and bring in some other genres tooBig smile.


Hopefully!






Edited by The Angry Scotsman - 24 Jan 2012 at 10:10am
Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer and Testament. The real Big Four of thrash metal!



Listen to doom metal, worship Satan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 9:28am
Well I´m expecting a lot of angry non prog metal fans to sign up for Collab duties, so they get to vote next year and bring in some other genres tooBig smile.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stooge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 9:18am
Since last year's list is in the announcements portion of this forum, I've moved this topic there as well.  

It's hard to say which list is more prog, the last one or this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 9:17am
Awesome job, Ben! Lots of my favorites are up there! Thumbs Up

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CCVP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 8:58am
LOL, is this  an album of the year list or a progressive metal album of the year list?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Angry Scotsman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 1:43am
Well done Bropeth!

The list is what it is, I have not heard of some of these but I will check them out!
Happy to see The Hunter, Heritage, and Iconoclast crack the top 5!


Looks like most of my personal list made it on so always good there!

Now onto 2012.


Edited by The Angry Scotsman - 24 Jan 2012 at 1:45am
Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer and Testament. The real Big Four of thrash metal!



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Any Colour You Like Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2012 at 1:08am
Welcome to the Metal Music Archives Collaborator's Album of the Year 2011!

It is my pleasure to announce this year's list of the top 20 releases, as voted by the MMA collaborators. This year saw a close run for the first few places, with two tied placings. There's a healthy mix of established and younger artists, and like always, there should be a few surprises! We had a total of 190 albums ranked by our minions, with scores ranging from 1 to 183 (20 points for 1st, 1 point for 20th).

So without further pause...

1st Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance



The minds of John Arch and Jim Matheos collide in this new collaboration featuring a fine ensemble cast of musicians, largely descended from existing progressive band, Fates Warning. The result of this alliance was Sympathetic Resonance, an album that stole the show in this year's Album of the Year configurations. Taking classic American progressive metal, Arch's signature soaring vocals and good old fashioned fret work, Arch/Matheos set the early standard in 2011, a standard of high quality and musical expertise, a standard which has seen them take this year's honours as album of the year.

"The musicianship is top notch across the board with rocking riffage and tasty guitar solos, rock solid bass, and tasty progressive drumming with lots of nice little details to enrich the overall experience. The main attraction, to me at least, is John Arch's soaring vocals. His voice is so unique and the vocal melodies so complex and busy." (Time Signature)

2nd Equal: Leprous – Bilateral



When most young metal artists come out of Norway, everyone seems to expect another lo-fi black metal band that look like they are trying to scare your parents. Leprous is not that band. Although young and energetic, Leprous have already proven themselves as talented musicians through their 2009 album, Tall Poppy Syndrome. 2011's Bilateral takes a more experimental twist, at times swinging from the death metal tree, at times from an altogether more avant-garde one. Given the youthful energy of this young Norwegian outfit, hopefully Bilateral is just another step towards further artistic success.

"Leprous is a unique band that succeeds in marrying the attractions of classic prog metal with a fresh approach that is aggressive and modern, avoiding both the cliches and the cheese, and remaining entirely fascinating throughout the entire album." (bonnek)

2nd Equal: Mastodon – The Hunter



Even without the sprawling concept album pretensions, The Hunter is no less of an adventure than we would expect from Mastodon. Powerful, energetic and yet still somehow cerebral, Mastodon continue to confound derision and silence detractors. Unabashed virtuosity and home-town brawn collide in The Hunter; sure, it may not be the same Mastodon of 2002, or even 2009, but it's all so damned infectious. It's pretty difficult to think of another contemporary artist who can make such a heavy album work like a straight-laced pop album, but still kick you in the face at every opportunity.

"The Hunter is also much hookier and accessible than anything Mastodon has previously done. For many progressive minded fans this may cause cringing, but fear not. Shorter, more to the point song writing is not a bad thing. Sometimes it's fine to just hang around town and not go on an epic journey." (The Angry Scotsman)

4th Opeth – Heritage



One of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the year did not fail in creating enough discussion to keep the rumour-mill spinning at frantic pace. Will we ever hear Mikael Akerfeldt growl again? Have Opeth finally become stuck in a timewarp in 1972? Nonetheless, Heritage has its fair share of fans, and even with a tenuous link to 'modern metal', there's plenty of evidence in Opeth's tenth release to prove that there is still plenty of mileage left in old-school tube saturation, moog solos and lyrics about satanism. Ritchie Blackmore would be proud.

"Opeth may have abandoned a large portion of their fanbase with Heritage, but this just shows that these guys are always willing to experiment with new sounds and never succumb to treading on previously covered territory. Fans of retro progressive rock will find plenty to love here, and I think the more open-minded metalheads should be entertained as well. Opeth have really taken a risk with Heritage, and I'd say that they've succeeded for the most part." (J-Man)

5th Symphony X – Iconoclast


Soaring progressive-power metal legends Symphony X have again produced another polished release in Iconoclast. Despite being firmly rooted in a style which has seen plently of mileage over recent years, Symphony X continue to surge ahead with sure-footed authority. In a year that also saw new Dream Theater, Anubis Gate and Haken releases, Iconoclast's success is sure to provide the band even more exposure within an increasingly crowded, but popular and successful area of contemporary music.

"If you like your progressive power metal as raw and heavy as possible yet with a rare melodic sensibility delivered by exceptionally well playing musicians and packed in a powerful and clear production, "Iconoclast" is the answer to your prayers." (UMUR)

6th Equal: Fen – Epoch



With the explosion of post-black metal in recent years, one could be forgiven to ignore all the badges and labels that tend to follow these artists around. British based Fen are no different. Call them atmospheric black metal, post-metal, shoegaze... call them what you want, because what Epoch highlights is that Fen are fast becoming recognised as visionary musicians in an often controversial realm of modern metal. Loud, sometimes extreme, sometimes pretty and always enthralling; there should be no doubt that Fen deserve to be recognised alongside the likes of Agalloch, Drudkh, Alcest and their ilk, not merely as a derivative.

"The music is emotional and bleak but you won't find any cheap or imitative solutions used to achieve the result. Everything stays in balance, just like in nature. Softness and harshness merge in one consistent and unique piece of art." (Bartosso)

6th Equal: Haken – Visions



London based Haken have become somewhat of a semi-permanent fixture here at MMA. Haken have forged a name for themselves inside the progressive metal community since their debut release, and through their latest effort – Visions, there appears to be no signs that they are slowing down. Taking numerous stylistic clues and musical influences, there is little doubt as to their musical ability and integrity. Indeed, if the polished nature of their first two releases is a benchmark, then any further expansions shall be nothing less than glorious.

"On Visions, we hear a theatrical spectacle of progressive metal that goes from bombastic technical metal to inspiring passages of heartfelt prog rock. A new emphasis in Haken's sound are recurring motifs, or ideas throughout the album; dramatic themes to get the feelings in the story across." (ConorFynes)

8th Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction



The third chapter in the Devin Townsend Project's quadrilogy of releases is quite a step out from the recent form shown by the Canadian metal maestro. Channeling the choatic, metallic and epic past of Townsend's mind, Deconstruction is Townsend's attempt to summon the same kind of power formerly seen in his early solo work, and of that with Strapping Young Lad. Foregoing the softer new age edges and pop arcs of recent years, Townsend's humouristic approach to chaos is refreshing, challenging and above all; fun.

"It’s a complex and massive album full of everything. However, they are still some classic Devin elements, like the surreal melodies, the vocals, and the typical wall of sound that makes Townsend’s music so mind blowing." (Phonebook Eater)

9th Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events



Surely no other release this year developed as much talk as Dream Theater's latest effort, A Dramatic Turn of Events. Optimism was balanced with more than a heady dose of apprehension; would Mangini transition into such a well established and loved band? Basically, yes he did. But that's not all there is to mention here. The music seems tighter, less aimless and a little edgier than the last few Dream Theater releases. While most will accept that they are never going to be everyone's favourite, when Dream Theater are strong there is a sense of fullness in their music; a kind of poise which made them one of the most cherished artists of recent years.

"There is a saying in the rock industry that you are only as good as your last album, and Dream Theater have proved with "A Dramatic Turn of Events" that the magic definitely remains; the spirit carries on." (AtomicCrimsonRush)

10th Animals as Leaders – Weightless



Animals as Leaders is no longer simply a vehicle for Tosin Abasi to flex his not inconsiderable songwriting and performance ability; with Weightless, Animals as Leaders has transformed into a fully functional three-piece machine. Weightless feels more composed and more dynamic, without losing any of the ultra-precise mathematic charm of the debut. There should be no doubt that Abasi and his swag of merry men are taking experimental metal to new heights, which is astonishing given how effortless they seem to be capable of doing so.

"The music takes you up and down and in and out and back and forth constantly, but it is all bound together by a certain consistency in sound and approach, and this makes the album incredibly enjoyable to listen to." (Time Signature)

11th Unexpect – Fables of the Sleepless Empire



Canadian avant-garde metal artists Unexpect are about as difficult to pin down as any others today, part extreme metal, part neo-classical, part everything else, any new Unexpect release is going to be, well, unexpected. Fables of the Sleepless Empire is no different, taking diverse arrangements sometimes in purely chaotic form is inherently challenging, but also immensely rewarding to open-minded listeners. Unexpect once again show that they are at the cutting edge of deconstructing barriers and writing their own rules. And that's pretty metal if you ask me.

"I'll be completely honest when I say that it's rare to come across an album this weird, technical, and chaotic that actually works. Unexpect's tremendous talent as songwriters makes Fables of the Sleepless Empire work not only as a vehicle for their odd arrangements, but it also lets the album come across as a modern musical masterpiece." (J-Man)

12th SubRosa – No Help For The Mighty Ones



If female fronted stoner-doom with violins doesn't grab your attention, then the substance of SubRosa's 2011 release No Help For The Mighty Ones should. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, SubRosa are capable of bellowing some of the darkest and densest metal of the year. Taking the sludgy roots of Southern doom metal and mixing in twisted psychedelic folk, there's no denying that SubRosa have an alluring sound and intriguing sonic presence. Although not yet widely known, SubRosa are one of those artists begging for a cult following, and given this evidence, they aren't far off.

"Flirting with stoner, shoegaze, folk and indie, this band spices up their doom with an out-worldly space-rock feel, electric violins, majestic vocal melodies and ear-catching songs... Subrosa creates a unique style that is thoroughly catchy, and in places stunning and beautiful." (Bonnek)

13th Anubis Gate – Anubis Gate



2011 has been a strong year for power/prog metal, Denmark's Anubis Gate adding another polished release to the growing list. Their self-titled fifth album bears all the hallmarks of another solid effort. The melodic phrasing is catchy and memorable, but Anubis Gate aren't afraid to go over the top with their flawless production, big sound and enveloping volume. The beauty of Anubis Gate is that it can be lush and totally immersive; even if you aren't a massive fan of the style, few will argue that the band don't deserve to be recognised as top-class musicians.

"As per usual for Anubis Gate the album treads the line between being progressive and being accessible.  Anubis Gate isn’t going to wow you with lengthy and technical compositions, but neither is their music only really flirting with progressive tendencies. Instead they find a balance between the two, and their song based progressive metal sounds extremely powerful on this album." (adg211288)

14th Obscura – Omnivium



German tech/death band Obscura have been around for a few years now, and following a few line-up changes, we have been graced with Omnivium. There's a vicious thrash metal base to the sound of Omnivium, but it's also laced with less-derivative riffs and melodies that make it much more than simple thrash or death metal. There is little doubt that Obscura have become more polished and mature as they progress along their musical path, and while Omnivium shouldn't be the end-point, one can do worse than to enjoy the grinding, powerful and sometimes virtuostic musicianship. That is the art of the beast.

"Sometimes utterly brutal and other times softer, though I find it hard to classify any of this as soft, Obscura has reached their peak in both creativity and musicianship." (The Block)

15th Devin Townsend Project – Ghost



While not a metal album in any sense (even if you want to go into postmodern territory, it's a fair stretch), to ignore Ghost completely seems like a fallacy. The final chapter in the Devin Townsent Project quadrilogy, Ghost's ambient and new-age approach is the ying to Deconstruction's yang. Exquisitly composed, performed and produced, Ghost again proves that formerly 'metal orientated' artists should never be bound to a single style or character. The fact that Ghost has been recieved with fair regards by many, should be enough to convince most of the lucidity and intrinsic worth of Devin Townsend's softer, elegant edges.

"Think of it as a walk through your local forest or nature preserve right after a good rainfall. The sun is peeking out of the clouds, there’s not a soul around, the water droplets are still fresh on the leaves, and the air is abundant with that fresh spring smells that lets you know that you’re alive. That’s more or less the feeling I’m getting listening to Ghost; undoubtedly upbeat, but in a more serene and blissful manner."  (diogenes)

16th Russian Circles – Empros



When it comes to instrumental rock/metal, Chicago based three-peice Russian Circles have been the benchmark for several years. With their latest release Empros, they have well and truly solidified their position as one of the foremost exponents of dynamic, crushing and cerebral music. Not content with being labelled and boxed into one genre, the ephemeral nature of their compositions alludes to influences wide and varied. At times tricky and technical, others simple and meditative, Russian Circles continue to enthrall with expansive compositions that keep the listener at the mercy of their whim.

"Empros is a heavy, sludgy, post-metal album that moves with a classic mid tempo pace through to a slow crescendo. There is some great riffing, drumming and the songwriting is atmospheric and perfect. " (The Angry Scotsman)

17th Myrath – Tales of the Sands


The concept of Tunisian progressive metal seems to overflow with arid themes, mythical overtones and sun-drenched vistas. Myrath execute this vision with great flair. A relatively young band, Myrath are beginning to make an international name for themselves from their humble beginnings in Tunisia. Tales of the Sands complements their discography well, mixing ornate folk elements with the westernised edges of modern metal. Although still young and developing, Myrath's niche is sure to attain followers with their increasingly polished and unique releases in an area of metal that seems to be overflowing with countless others.

"It would be great to hear this band take their exciting blend of styles past the four or five minute mark and compose something even more ambitious, but Myrath's work is consistent and expertly produced. This is a great album from Tunisia's contribution to the metal scene, and I've been pleasantly surprised by this band's sound." (ConorFynes)

18th TesseracT – One



Technical progressive metal is in safe hands with the likes of Animals as Leaders, Cynic and Meshuggah, but that hasn't stopped British band TesseracT from pushing a few more boundaries with One. Mashing time signatures with the kind of self-indulgent bravado that seems to have come back into favour among ambitious artists, One is an album for 2011 and beyond. The youthful cadence of TesseracT is easy to see, they aren't afraid to try and engage, immerse and push their listeners. They have the talent and they let you know it. Having said this, there's still plenty of room to move for TesseracT in the future, they could become even more technical, more -core orientated or even a little more sedate. It would probably still sound good.

"Due to the atmospheric elements and fluid melodies, the tracks on this album are not exactly catchy, and some listeners might not find this feature appealing (I like it though). However, I think that the many quirky rhythms and odd riffs will have an attractive effect on those who have a penchant for musical quirkiness." (Time Signature)

19th *shels – Plains of the Purple Buffalo



Following 2007's Sea of the Dying Dhow, post-metal outfit *shels deliver another expansive romp into the etherial worlds of their creation. Big in almost every sense, Plains of the Purple Buffalo is a pure example of artistic ambition succeeding through artistic merit. Take the boundless energy of the late ISIS, the delicate soundscapes of GY!BE, the technical edges of Russian Circles and fuse it with an almost ornate oriental precision, and you may come close to understanding the scope of *shels' latest creation. It's powerful, sensitive and pretty; what more could you want?

"Their attitude towards this kind of music is haunting, dreamy, but especially very sincere, in almost a juvenile sort of way, while at the same time, it becomes one of the most earthly and visceral experiences you'll ever have." (Phonebook Eater)

20th Dark Forest – Dawn of Infinity



In an age of extreme metal and 'progressive' artistry, Dark Forest are a bit of an anachronism. With more in common to NWOBHM than most modern others, one could be forgiven for thinking that they lack a certain primacy. Dawn of Infinity argues against that. Taking the old-school twin guitar attack, but employing the benefits of a decent production (that still doesn't over-polish things) does wonders for the enjoyability of the music. It also should keep you from switching back to your favourite Iron Maiden album (for a while). Although it crept in at 20th on our list, it's fitting that such an album can still be recognised today, for there's no doubt Dark Forest have their heart and soul in every riff.

"It’s only when an album as old school as this comes along that one really realises how polished modern heavy and power metal has become. Don’t get me wrong, modern bands can produce some really amazing music, but there’s an extra level of honest passion in the music of Dark Forest that I just don’t detect in some overproduced artists music, and the release is still professionally done in that they’ve intentionally gone for this sort of sound, and nailed it perfectly." (adg211288)

----

Finally, I wish to thank a few people. M@X and Phillipe, our benevolent overlords for all their work here at MMA (and PA and JMA). Colin (Triceratopsoil) for being my faithful comrade, who made sure my vote counting wasn't too slack, and finally, all the collabs at MMA who contributed to this list. It's for you. 


Edited by Any Colour You Like - 24 Jan 2012 at 1:59am
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