As the year in music winds down, we’ve given plenty of artists a chance to reveal their favorite music of the year. Now it’s our turn. We’ve already given you Zach Shaw’s, Nick DeSimone’s, Anthony Maisano’s, Chris Colgan’s and Chip McCabe‘s. Contributor Matt Brown, who also co-hosts WTSR/Trenton’s metal show “Chainsaw Symphony,” has offered his top ten list as well. Stay tuned as we continue to bring you more of our top tens of the year.
Unlike many other fans that waited for 15 years for a second album, Traced In Air was the first Cynic album I picked up. It was so different from anything else I was listening to at the time, so naturally I ended up looking into Focus as well and that was that. Considering the gap between albums, I didn’t hold my breath for a third, which is why I was so pleasantly surprised to hear about Kindly Bent to Free Us. Sure, this release barely has any ties to the tech death sound on the first two albums, but it’s a fantastic prog record nonetheless, opting for a gentle push rather than an endless onslaught.
This is an eleventh hour pick if there ever was one. I wouldn’t have come across this album if I hadn’t been looking over the end-year lists on MetalSucks (thanks Leyla Ford) and saw the words “cosmic” and “space” being used. It’s a one-man black metal band that I came upon at the right time, delivering four long atmospherical tracks that are best experienced at night in my opinion. It’s one of those albums that just clicked for me, bringing a sound that I was subconsciously looking for but unable to fully describe. Is this a result of my love for the recently released Interstellar? Maybe, but I’m fine with that.
I love Mastodon, I really do, but it honestly took me a few listens to come around to this one and I couldn’t quite figure out why. The album is just…different. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was a good different, but then I realized that Mastodon pretty much always changes it up from album to album, so this is just the next step in their evolution as a band. And that’s why I’ve ended up spending many-a car ride singing along to “High Road” among other tracks from what I’d call Mastodon’s most cohesive and accessible album.