2014 Prog Critics' Choice

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It’s been another splendid year for progressive music and our list of 20 of the best albums released in 2014 is possibly our most diverse yet, as it features both seasoned pros and talented newcomers. Which ones do you own and which are going on your wishlist?

1. OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

WE SAID: “Progressive in every meaningful sense of the word and yet genuinely, consistently exciting too… may well be Opeth’s greatest album yet.”

Dom Lawson, Prog 48

_Mikael Åkerfeldt says: _

“It’s a massive honour to get this recognition from Prog! I’m flat on my back on an obscenely dirty couch here in Tempe, Arizona writing this. No glamour. No glitz. No thanks to Baal! Can’t help but feel on top of the world by the news however! You’ve put a smile on the face of one stinking, dirty, jetlagged (but astonishingly dashing) Swede. Thanks a bunch, guys!”

2. ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

WE SAID: “A remarkable album that confirms their flexibility and talent for making poignant music.” Rich Wilson, Prog 46

3. BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (InsideOut)

WE SAID: “A wild interstellar ride that will blow your top hat clean off.” Chris Roberts, Prog 44

** ** 4. AMPLIFIER Mystoria (SUPERBALL)

WE SAID: “Amplifier haven’t lost their sense of fun… Mystoria is a fun record that rocks hard.” Alex Lynham, Prog 48

5. KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

WE SAID: “A glorious tribute to the guardian angel who gave [Kavus Torabi] wings.”

Jo Kendall, Prog 47

6. MASTODON Once More ‘Round The Sun (Reprise)

WE SAID: “Techy interludes and bass-heavy, metal riffage.”

Hannah May Kilroy, Prog 47

7. NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third Day (Kscope)

WE SAID: “Big, bright, decidedly lush… Progtronica at its very best.” Rob Hughes, Prog 50

8. THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Magnolia (Kscope)

WE SAID: “A fearless, consistently lovely and beautifully executed album.”

Rich Wilson, Prog 49

9. PINK FLOYD The Endless River (Parlophone)

WE SAID: “The Floyd album you’ve been waiting for, the one you never thought you’d hear the likes of again.” Jerry Ewing, Prog 50

** **

10. SCOTT WALKER AND SUNN O))) Soused (4AD)

WE SAID: “The kind of experience that would warp the most fearless.” Jonathan Selzer, Prog 50

** **

11. DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT Z2 (InsideOut)

WE SAID: “Bigger, battier, stronger… this is Townsend’s magnum opus.” Polly Glass, Prog 50

12. MESSENGER Illusory Blues (Svart)

WE SAID: “Illusory Blues is in fact one of the freshest debuts you’ll chance upon this year.”

Rob Hughes, Prog 44

13. FLYING COLORS Second Nature (Mascot)

WE SAID: “More confident, relaxed and ambitious, it confirms their range.” Chris Roberts, Prog 51

14. ELBOW The Take Off And Landing Of Everything (Fiction)

WE SAID: “Moments of progressive grandeur… drawing the listener in.” Jerry Ewing, Prog 45

15. SOLSTAFIR Ótta (Season Of Mist)

WE SAID: “An organic yet melancholic beast, caught up in its natural habitat.” Olivier Zoltar Badin, Prog 48

16. TIM BOWNESS Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (InsideOut)

WE SAID: “Luxuriates in the exquisite execution its ambition demands.” Chris Roberts, Prog 46

17. SYD ARTHUR Sound Mirror (Harvest)

WE SAID: “Their second album is a frazzled feast of jazz, kosmische, prog and psych, folk and funk.” Paul Lester, Prog 46

** **

18. PLANK Hivemind (Akoustik Anarkhy)

WE SAID: “Technically-precise pieces reminiscent of Can and Neu!… [Hivemind is] the bee’s knees.” Ben Myers, Prog 46

19. THRESHOLD For The Journey (Nuclear Blast)

WE SAID: “Bristles with freshness and renewed intent.” Dom Lawson, Prog 49

20. JOHN WESLEY Disconnect (InsideOut)

WE SAID: “John Wesley craves a little of your time… he’s been hiding away for too long. ”

Dave Ling, Prog 45

REISSUES

1) KING CRIMSON

Starless (Panegyric)

2) YES

The Yes Album (Panegyric)

3) PINK FLOYD

The Division Bell 20th Anniversary Box Set (EMI)

4) YES

Relayer (Panegyric)

5) GENTLE GIANT

The Power & The Glory (Alucard)

MULTIMEDIA

1) PETER GABRIEL

Back To Front

(Eagle Vision)

2) RUSH

R40 (Eagle Vision)

3) GENESIS

Sum Of The Parts

(Eagle Vision)

4) DAVID STUBBS

Future Days: Krautrock And The Building of Modern Germany

(Faber & Faber)

5) TRANSATLANTIC

KaLIVEoscope (InsideOut)

GIGS

1) KATE BUSH

Hammersmith Apollo, London

2) ANATHEMA

Koko, London

3) RICK WAKEMAN

Royal Albert Hall, London

4) DREAM THEATER

Wembley Arena

5) CROPREDY FESTIVAL