Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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Best Of 2013: Top 10 By Rodrigo 'Rroio' Carvalho


This year we thought in doing lists of the best 2013 albums. As you saw before we had done it with the readers' choice (HERE) and we even did Podcasts about it (HERE). Now it's time for us to do some personal lists!

We already published the list from Kev Rowland (HERE) and Jason Spencer (HERE). So it's time to move on with the third one!

Now it's time for Rodrigo 'Rroio' Caravalho. Former podcaster on Progcast, actual reviewer on Collector's Room and he also wrote for Progshine many times when the website was in Portuguese.

Here it is the top 10 albums from 2013 in Rodrigo's opinion:

When Diego invited me to put down a list with my favorite 2013 albums, I found myself in trouble: I spent the last year so stuck in the depths of sludge and post-metal that only a few prog albums came to my mind when I think about it (I mean, essentially progressive rock/metal at all – what is prog, anyways?). But when I checked my files, what a surprise: 2013 was a good year for prog rock.
Some of the albums below figured in my general Top albums of 2013 as well but, I must admit, it’s been kinda hard to decide which album will be there and fill the remaining spaces, and which won’t make it. However, maybe we’ve got a fair list at the end of the day.

1. The Ocean – Pelagial


Seven oceanic depths zones, divided in 11 tracks. Within Pelagial, the band leads us through a metaphoric and impactful journey from surface to the bottom of the ocean, creating a beautiful parallel concept where each and every song is wisely fitted in its moment on the album, under floating composition structures of free and blurred edges, rich in details. And when you’re there, static on the benthic zone, any other 2013 release sounds distant, like a reverberation through the water, by closer it gets, will never reach completely The Ocean (2013).

Key song: 'Hadopelagic II: Let Them Believe'

2. Intronaut – Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)


There are some bands that’ll never be afraid to unscrupulously experiment on each and every new album, even if it doesn’t please their fans. And the American quartet Intronaut made Habitual Levitations (2013) their most versatile and amorphous album to date, where thousands (this is NOT a hyperbole) of influences that impressively converge in more melodic and sober songs, less angry if you compare to their earlier work, but still a mix of sludge, stoner, progressive, dub and, specially, jazz, with maturity and plainness that will blow your mind.

Key song: 'Harmonomicon'

3. Haken - The Mountain


If the classic era progressive rock had to be updated to a contemporary format, keeping the same spirit from four decades ago and still be able to bring a new approach without sounding excessively retrograde, it would be The Mountain (2013), by Haken. Their third album push them to a higher level than where they were on Aquarius (2010) and Visions (2011), and also higher if we consider most of any other prog rock bands nowadays with similar musical way of thinking. Not only that, it seems they still have a lot to say in the near future.

Key song: 'Cockroach King'

4. Blindead – Absence


Another among so many polish progressive rock bands that have been formed in the recent years, Blindead follow the path they started to walk on their last effort, Affliction XXIX I MXMVI (2010), leaving behind most of their doomish and sludgy influence and getting unbelievably closer to eastern Europe post-rock and its unique contemplative atmosphere, which matches amazingly with Patryk Zwolinski vocal interpretations. One of the most beautiful albums released in 2013. And no other even gets close to them.

Key song: 'b6'

5. Orphaned Land – All Is One


Progressive metal seems to had lost their talent of telling us a story. For years, bands just tried too hard in sounding extremely technique and breaking the barriers of self-indulgency, in lack of feeling and good stories. And I’m not telling about concept albums as shallow as a spoon, but true and good stories. Stories that destroy us and teach us a lesson, as brutal or beautiful as it is. And All Is One (2013) don’t bring us only the ever present instrumental and philosophic diversity in Orphaned Land music, but a great combination of eastern music with heavy metal and a epic tune proportioned by their orchestral work, that brings us to somewhere in the desert, with only a fire to keep the ghosts away and a good story to spend the time and wait for the dawn.

Key song: 'Let The Truce Be Known'

6. Sisare – Nature’s Despair


Despite the fact they started as another Finnish melodic death metal, after broke up and reunite, Sisare not only completely changed their musical focus, but released one of the greatest debut albums in 2013. Aggregating influences from post-rock, classic british prog and, predominantly, the folk inherent in any Scandinavian band, Nature’s Despair (2013) could be easily something released by Opeth, mainly if we see how Severi Peura’s voice sounds quietly similar to Mikael Åkerfeldt. By the way, Opeth is my favorite band, and I’m not afraid to say Sisare can be as great as them, one day.

Key song: 'Isolation'

7. Deventter – Empty Set


Not only a collection of social and politic songs, the brand new Deventter album brought a band following different paths than their last two albums. On Empty Set (2013), the Brazilian band got inspiration in an even wider scale, resulting in songs that bump into industrial, southern, pop, avant-garde, always keeping the typical prog rock/metal aura, each and every with their own identity. A prog band that definitely isn’t only a prog band. And it’s amazing.

Key song: 'Blank Death'

8. New Keepers Of The Water Towers – Cosmic Child



Cosmic Child (2013) represents the American quartet going one step further from its stoner and sludge roots, and getting dangerously closer to some kind of space and post-rock influenced progressive metal, quietly similar to what Mastodon did in their psychedelic and lethargic Crack The Skye but in New Keepers Of The Water Towers own way. The seven songs on the album travel across the space as a hypnotic and unguided experience, carrying us towards forty-six minutes of one of the greatest progressive ethereal journeys of the year.

Key song: 'Pyre For The Red Sage'

9. Fungus – The Face Of Evil


I’ve never been a huge fan of rock progressivo italiano, to be honest (ok, except Le Orme, maybe). But is unquestionable that there are a few new bands that really deserve so much attention, and Fungus is one of them. The Face Of Evil (2013) not only has the unique Italian prog feelings, but also comes dissolved in some kind of English blues rock, folk, symphonic and an interesting theatrical avant-garde touch, as if the band was interpreting a book divided in chapters. It sounds impressive how they can be that diversified and the album still works.

Key song: 'Gentle Season'

10. Riverside – Shrine Of New Generation Slaves


Ok, maybe Riverside hasn’t done anything essentially new on this album. However, the way every single track works on Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (2013), filled with an almost touchable emotion, as found in their whole discography, shows that even staying in their safe zone Riverside still appears to have an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Key song: 'We Got Used To Us'


Honorable mentions (in order):
- Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused To Sing (And other stories)
- Leprous – Coal
- Sigur Rós – Kveikur
- Dynahead – Chordata I
- Nemrud – Ritual
- Jesu – Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came
- Miserium – Return To Grace
- The Reign Of Kindo – Play With Fire
- Septa – The Lover
- Caligula’s Horse – The Tide, The Thief & River’s End
Reações:

2 comments:

  1. Rroio always have many different opinions than mine. But that's good, so we can exchange info.
    I did listen The Ocean, but for me the vocals are hard to enjoy fully :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, Rodrigo! Thank you for mentioning my band's album, The Lover by Septa. It's an honour, really.

    ReplyDelete

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