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  1. #1
    Senior Member All-Star CayugaPosse's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    My top 10 CD's of 2013...

    10th: Intronaut's "Habitual Levitations"

    I've been a fan for quite a while, and while this CD sees a pretty big departure for them(the loss of screaming and shift to clean vocals), I think it works in a way a lot of bands who make that transition fail with. There's something still remarkably gruff and harsh about the vocals even cleanly sung(reminiscent of a 90's grunge band) that really works well with the grungy prog style the band has become so proficient at.

    Sample: "Milk Leg"

    9th: Black Sabbath's "13"

    There's something really cool about guys this old that still have a firm grasp on who they are, what they do, and can come back from ages apart with Ozzy, and not miss a single beat. I already wrote a full review so I'll leave it at that.

    Sample: "End of the Beginning"

    8th: Stone Sour's "House of Gold and Bones Pt.2"

    The follow up to Part 1 that was released last year finishes off an incredibly ambitious effort for the band that really sees them leap out of the shadows of Slipknot.

    What started out as just "Corey Taylor's sideband" ended up releasing something better than anything Slipknot ever released. This ranking is partially cheating because I'm really ranking the 2 CD's together(since it's one gigantic concept album with one steady story through the entire work).

    There's so much good spread over the 2 discs, it's a great CD to just put on and headbang with, and if you choose to dive deeper into the story being told through the CD then that ends up being equally rewarding. A real achievement for Corey Taylor and the rest of the band.

    Sample: "House of Gold and Bones"

    7th: Killswitch Engage's "Disarm The Dissent"

    Already wrote a full review on this, but it's very nice to see Jesse Leach come back to the band, and give the band the kick in the ass it needed after a few kind of weak releases(especially the self-titled release, the last with Howard Jones at vocals).

    Sample: "The Hell in Me"

    6th: Gemini Syndrome's "Lux"

    My pick for the best new-comer of the year, there's some flaws, most notably the production sounds kind of muddy in several spots, but the appeal of what they sound like and what may be coming if they keep at it is far too enticing for me too ignore.

    They basically sound like a cross between A Perfect Circle and a true metal band. There's so much appealing play with styles allowed with Aaron Nordstrom's vocals, and with the right polish and execution on future CD's, this could turn out to be one of my new favourite bands very easily.

    As it stands, the production's a bit muddy, but if you get through that, the CD is definitely worth the investment, because there's so much good happening as they float from full scale metal to APC soft sections to a Disturbed/Sevendust middle ground with ease.

    Sample: "Falling Apart"

  2. #2
    Senior Member All-Star CayugaPosse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    5th: Nine Inch Nails' "Hesitation Marks"

    Already wrote a ton about it, so I'll let you read that if you so choose, but I commend Trent Reznor for having the guts to not go back to "The Downward Spiral", no matter how much people may want it, he's not that guy anymore(angry/depressed/drug addict etc), he's now an older, mature, family man. So if he can't go back, I absolutely love the honesty and take of basically the entire CD being him wondering if he can still do something interesting when he can't go back, and if it's worth it to keep going. There's something incredibly mature about using that as a backdrop for the CD.

    Sample: "In Two"

    4th: Trivium's "Vengeance Falls"

    Again I already wrote a bunch about it, but my quick rehash of this one is simply that David Draiman had a big impact on Matt Heafy's vocals, skewing him away from his too-often trapping of sounding like James Hetfield and finding some outstanding harmonies to cap the songs with.

    Nowhere is this more prevolent than with the title track which months later still has the chorus embedded in my head.

    Sample: "Vengeance Falls"

    3rd: Sevendust's "Black Out the Sun"

    Clint Lowery is back in Sevendust and the world is a better place for it. To give you an idea of how much better a place it is: I had this at #1 when I started writing this. I am madly in love with this CD. There's no CD on this list that will get more repeat play than this one. It's short, concise, hard as hell, melodic as hell thanks to Lajon Witherspoon who remains one of the best vocalists in hard rock/metal. The real admiration here is that I can just toss this entire CD on and listen and there's no weak song, nothing that slows the momentum. It's incredible from note 1 to the end.

    I've written a few times that I consider Disturbed the gold standard of the "nu-metal" era's transfer to metal, but this CD has made me change my mind. If this is the Sevendust we're going to get going forward, the band that launched to stardom with "Denial" when MTV played music(rock music at that!) is the new king of that era of bands transitioning into more mature material. I can't say enough good things about this CD, the band's tight as hell, every song is nothing but a raw adrenaline boost, that always also calls out to you to sing along with Lajon's incredibly vocals. I think "Cold as a War" is my favourite song from 2013.

    Sample: "Cold as a War"

    2nd: Soilwork's "The Living Infinite"

    Another double album(this one released as one and not split like Stone Sour's), Soilwork's long been a favourite of mine and this is everything good they have to offer packed into one massive offering.

    Sample: "Love Live the Misanthrope"

    1st: Dream Theater's "Dream Theater"

    You have no idea how happy I am to be listing this here. Dream Theater's been around forever, and they've gone through a ton of peaks and valleys. I still consider "Scenes From a Memory" the greatest progressive rock/metal CD ever released, but there had been some low points as well. The question quickly turned into what would happen with Mike Portnoy out of the picture since he was arguably the main song writer of the band, as well as the greatest drummer alive today.

    Their first release of the post-Portnoy era showed some potential and a refocus on the progressive style that made them so popular and less the Portnoy-driven metal for metal sake at times. Gone were the corny growly vocals Portnoy would add into songs and they seemed back.

    What came next was something I couldn't have ever imagined: they finally did what people have been begging them to do for the last 15 years: Just once, release a CD without all the musical masturbation for the sake of showboating. Something concise. Something focused.

    For as long as I've been a fan of the band, I've been waiting for this to happen, and it's finally here. There are 9 songs here, and only once do they drift over 8 minutes, only twice over 7 minutes. The songs are 6:00 on average, and it provides incredible life to the CD.

    It starts with "False Awakening Suite" which is actually a suite with 3 sections they condensed all into just 2:42, which is a great clue of what's coming.

    There's still all the playfulness, all of them take their turns to shine(especially a newly awakened John Myung who's incredible throughout), Mike Mangini makes an impact this time after being sort of relegated to not doing much on his first time out. The combo of Petrucci/Ruddess is on absolute fire throughout the CD.

    It's a fast, concise effort that builds up to the one time they drift over 8 minutes on "Illumination Theory", which is a full suite that takes 22:18 to get through. This is my favourite 20 minute plus song they've recorded since "A Change of Seasons", it's an incredible progressive rock journey, and one that is infinitely more welcome at the end of a short, concise album like this, rather than slapping a 22 minute song on a CD with other 10 minute songs.

    Sample: "Behind the Veil"
    Last edited by CayugaPosse; 12-01-2013 at 09:21 PM.

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