2014 Prog Critics' Top 20s: Part One

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2014: a year in prog that began with Transatlantic and Synaesthesia, brought us gems from Mastodon and Sólstafir, and ended with Faust and Flying Colors. Here the Prog team of staff and writers, and some of our favourite prog musicians, pick the very best of 2014…

JERRY EWING EDITOR

1) THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Magnolia (Kscope)

2) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

3) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

4) MESSENGER Illusory Blues (Svart)

5) PINK FLOYD The Endless River (Parlophone)

6) AMPLIFIER Mystoria (InsideOut)

7) ELBOW The Take Off And Landing Of Everything (Fiction)

8) MASTODON Once More ’Round The Sun (Reprise)

9) VOYAGER V (Sensory)

10) SCOTT WALKER AND SUNN 0))) Soused (4AD)

11) MOGWAI Rave Tapes (Rock Action)

12) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third Day (Kscope)

13) WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM Celestite (Artemisia)

14) BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (InsideOut)

15) FLYING COLORS Second Nature (Mascot)

16) SYD ARTHUR Sound Mirror (Harvest)

17) ALCEST Shelter (Prophecy)

18) ANIMALS AS LEADERS The Joy Of Motion (Sumerian)

19) …AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD

IX (Superball)

20) SÓLSTAFIR Ótta (Season Of Mist)

HANNAH MAY KILROY DEPUTY EDITOR

1) SÓLSTAFIR Ótta (Season Of Mist)

2) WOVENHAND Refractory Obdurate (Deathwish)

3) DEVIN TOWNSEND Casualties Of Cool (HevyDevy)

4) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

5) MESSENGER Illusory Blues (Svart)

6) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

7) THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Magnolia (Kscope)

8) ALCEST Shelter (Prophecy)

9) MASTODON Once ’Round The Sun (Reprise)

10) AMPLIFIER Mystoria (Superball)

11) SOEN Tellurian (Spinefarm)

12) CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX White Light Generator

(Cool Green/Mascot)

13) BLACK MOTH Condemned To Hope (New Heavy Sounds)

14) MOTORPSYCHO Behind The Sun (Rune Grammofon)

15) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third Day (Kscope)

16) DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT Z2 (InsideOut)

17) …AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD

IX (Superball)

18) WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM Celestite (Artemisia)

19) TUSMØRKE Riset Bak Speilet (Svart)

20) SYD ARTHUR Sound Mirror (Harvest)

**THE BEST THING I’VE HEARD ALL YEAR IS… **

DAMON FOX – BIGELF

“John Wesley’s _Disconnect_ is the most interesting prog album of 2014. Full of pain, thought and reflection, it’s a breath of fresh air in the land of average.”

RUSSELL FAIRBROTHER ART EDITOR

1) John Wesley Disconnect (InsideOut)

2) Opeth Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

3) Scott Walker And Sunn 0))) Soused (4Ad)

4) Amplifier Mystoria (Superball)

5) Dream The Electric Sleep Heretics (Self-Released)

6) Steve Rothery Ghosts Of Pripyat (Self-Released)

7) Chat Noir Elec3cities (RareNoise)

8) Mekong Delta In A Mirror Darkly (SPV/Steamhammer)

9) Pink Floyd The Endless River (Parlophone)

10) Empty Yard Experiment Kallisti (Self-Released)

11) Pendragon Men Who Climb Mountains (Toff)

12) Knifeworld The Unravelling (InsideOut)

13) Blueneck King Nine (Denovali)

14) SÓLSTAFIR Ótta (Season Of Mist)

15) Soen Tellurian (Spinefarm)

16) Tim Bowness Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (InsideOut)

17) CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX White Light Generator

(Cool Green/Mascot)

18) …AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD

IX (Superball)

19) MOTORPSYCHO Behind The Sun (Rune Grammofon)

20) Matt Stevens Lucid (Esoteric Antenna)

NATASHA SCHARF NEWS EDITOR

1) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

2) DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT Z2 (InsideOut)

3) SOEN Tellurian (Spinefarm)

4) THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Magnolia (Kscope)

5) SKYHARBOR Guiding Lights (Basick)

6) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

7) PINK FLOYD The Endless River (Parlophone)

8) THRESHOLD For The Journey (Nuclear Blast)

9) MOSTLY AUTUMN Dressed In Voices (Mostly Autumn)

10) IAMTHEMORNING Belighted (Kscope)

11) KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

12) BLACK MARE Field Of The Host (Human Jigsaw)

13) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third Day (Kscope)

14) LUNA ROSSA Secrets & Lies (Firefly)

15) AMPLIFIER Mystoria (Superball)

16) PENDRAGON Men Who Climb Mountains (Toff)

17) ANIMALS AS LEADERS The Joy Of Motion (Sumerian)

18) GAZPACHO Demon (Kscope)

19) EMPRESS AD Still Life Moving Fast (Roadrunner)

20) SABBATH ASSEMBLY Quaternity (Svart)

**THE BEST THING I’VE HEARD ALL YEAR IS… **

CHRISTINA BOOTH – MAGENTA

“One album that I’ve really enjoyed this year was Men Who Climb Mountains from Pendragon. It’s a little more rocky than a lot of prog.”

GRANT MOON REVIEWS EDITOR

1) MESSENGER Illusory Blues (Svart)

2) BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (InsideOut)

3) MASTODON Once More ’Round The Sun (Reprise)

4) SCHNAUSER Protein For Everyone (Esoteric)

5) PLANK Hivemind (Akoustik Anarkhy)

6) REGAL WORM Neither Use Nor Ornament (Quatermass)

7) MOETAR Entropy Of The Century (Magna Carta)

8) KITTEN PYRAMID Uh-Oh! (kittenpyramid.co.uk)

9) TUSMØRKE Riset Bak Speilet (Svart)

10) TROJAN HORSE World Turned Upside Down (Bad Elephant)

11) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

12) STANLEY CLARKE Up (Mack Avenue)

13) SYD ARTHUR Sound Mirror (Harvest)

14) KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

15) TRANS-AM Volume X (Thrill Jockey)

16) ANIMALS AS LEADERS The Joy Of Motion (Sumerian)

17) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third Day (Kscope)

18) IQ The Road Of Bones (GEP)

19) TIM BOWNESS Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (InsideOut)

20) COSHISH Firdous (Universal India)

JO KENDALL LIVES EDITOR

1) KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

2) KITTEN PYRAMID Uh-Oh! (kittenpyramid.co.uk)

3) MOTORPSYCHO Behind The Sun (Rune Grammofon)

4) MASTODON Once More ’Round The Sun (Reprise)

5) SYD ARTHUR Sound Mirror (Harvest)

6) THE GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER Midnight Sun (Chimera)

7) AMPLIFIER Mystoria (Superball)

8) MATT STEVENS Lucid (Esoteric Antenna)

9) BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (Superball)

10) PLANK Hivemind (Akoustic Anarkhy)

11) PINK FLOYD The Endless River (Parlophone)

12) PRESCOTT One Did (Slowfoot)

13) CAMERA Remember I Was Carbon Dioxide (Bureau B)

14) SCOTT WALKER AND SUNN 0))) Soused (4AD)

15) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

16) MOGWAI Rave Tapes (Rock Action)

17) REGAL WORM Neither Use Nor Ornament (Quatermass)

18) HOOKWORMS The Hum (Domino)

19) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third Day (Kscope)

20) TROJAN HORSE World Turned Upside Down (Bad Elephant)

THE BEST THING I’VE HEARD ALL YEAR IS…

JAIME GOMEZ ARELLANO – MESSENGER

Endless River by Pink Floyd is probably the best prog record I’ve listened to this year – it sounds like Pink Floyd. And that’s all you need.”

MALCOLM DOME WRITER

1) TRANSATLANTIC Kaleidoscope (InsideOut)

2) DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT Z2 (InsideOut)

3) PINK FLOYD The Endless River (Parlophone)

4) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

5) WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM Celestite (Artemisia)

6) PENDRAGON Men Who Climb Mountains (Toff)

7) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

8) CYNIC Kindly Bent To Free Us (Season Of Mist)

9) MOSTLY AUTUMN Dressed In Voices (Mostly Autumn Records)

10) GONG I See You (Madfish)

11) ROBERT REED Sanctuary (Tigermoth)

12) IAN ANDERSON Homo Erraticus (Kscope)

13) AMPLIFIER Mystoria (Superball)

14) ANNA PHOEBE Between The Shadow And The Soul (The Orchard/Anna Phoebe Music)

15) MESSENGER Illusory Blues (Svart)

16) BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (InsideOut)

17) ASIA Gravitas (Frontiers)

18) THRESHOLD For The Journey (Nuclear Blast)

19) MEKONG DELTA In A Mirror Darkly (SPV/Steamhammer)

20) THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN Zim Zam Zim

(Bronze Rat)

POLLY GLASS WRITER

1) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

2) THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Magnolia (Kscope)

3) AMPLIFIER Mystoria (Superball)

4) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third

Day (Kscope)

5) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

6) BLUENECK King Nine (Denovali)

7) FLYING COLORS Second Nature (Music Theories/Mascot)

8) PURSON Danse Macabre, EP (Machine Elf)

9) SYD ARTHUR Sound Mirror (Harvest)

10) A FORMAL HORSE A Formal Horse, EP (A Formal Horse)

11) THE TEA PARTY The Ocean At The End (Eternal Discs)

12) DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT Z2 (InsideOut)

13) GAZPACHO Demon (Kscope)

14) TONY PATTERSON & BRENDAN EYRE Northlands (Cherry Red)

15) DJAM KARET Regenerator 3017 (Self-Released)

16) SABBATH ASSEMBLY Quaternity (Svart)

17) INCURA Incura (Warner)

18) SYNAESTHESIA Synaesthesia (GEP)

19) ENGINEERS Always Returning (Kscope)

20) SE DELAN The Fall (Kscope)

**THE BEST THING I’VE HEARD ALL YEAR IS… **

ANNA PHOEBE

“For me it’s Pink Floyd’s The Endless River. As the title suggests, it’s a mesmerising and meditative piece of different movements. It’s contemplative and rich in sounds, and also unmistakably Pink Floyd.”

ROB HUGHES WRITER

1) GOAT Commune (Rocket)

2) PLANK Hivemind (Akoustic Anarkhy)

3) SCHOOL OF LANGUAGE Old Fears (Memphis Industries)

4) THE PHANTOM BAND Strange Friend

(Chemikal Underground)

5) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

6) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third Day (Kscope)

7) SABBATH ASSEMBLY Quaternity (Svart)

8) SCOTT WALKER AND SUNN O))) Soused (4AD)

9) KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

10) HEDVIG MOLLESTAD TRIO Enfant Terrible (Rune Grammofon)

11) PAUL SMITH & PETER BREWIS Frozen By Sight

(Memphis Industries)

12) MOGWAI Rave Tapes (Rock Action)

13) HOOKWORMS The Hum (Weird World)

14) EMMET ELVIN Bloody Marvels (Bad Elephant)

15) GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER Midnight Sun (Chimera)

16) EARTH Primitive And Deadly (Southern Lord)

17) TIN SPIRITS Scorch (Esoteric Antenna)

18) PERE UBU Carnival Of Souls (Fire)

19) FAUST Just Us (Bureau B)

20) ENGINEERS Always Returning (Kscope)

EMMA JOHNSTON WRITER

1) ELBOW The Take Off And Landing Of Everything (Fiction)

2) …AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF

DEAD IX (Superball)

3) SÓLSTAFIR Ótta (Season Of Mist)

4) MOGWAI Rave Tapes (Rock Action)

5) SCOTT WALKER AND SUNN 0))) Soused (4AD)

6) MASTODON Once More ’Round The Sun (Reprise)

7) ANTEMASQUE Antemasque (Nadie)

8) AMPLIFIER Mystoria (Superball)

9) THE FIERCE & THE DEAD Spooky Action (Bad Elephant)

10) KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

11) ANIMALS AS LEADERS The Joy Of Motion (Sumerian)

12) ENGINEERS Always Returning (Kscope)

13) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third Day (Kscope)

14) THOM YORKE Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes (Self-Released)

15) SKYHARBOR Guiding Lights (Basick)

16) SUNN 0))) AND ULVER Terrestrials (Southern Lord)

17) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

18) KITTEN PYRAMID Uh-Oh! (Kitten Pyramid)

19) MOTORPSYCHO Behind The Sun (Rune Grammofon)

20) THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Magnolia (Kscope)

THE BEST THING I’VE HEARD ALL YEAR IS…

JON DAVISON – YES

“The most amazing album of 2014 is The Imperial Hotel by The Samurai Of Prog, I was pulled in by the album’s rich themes, strong sense of melody, and lush vintage sounds.”

Photo credit: Dirk Goetze

DAVID KEEVILL WRITER

1) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

2) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

3) HAKEN Restoration (InsideOut)

4) SOEN Tellurian (Spinefarm)

5) DREAM THE ELECTRIC SLEEP Heretics (Independent)

6) XERATH III (Candlelight)

7) MONUMENTS Amanuensis (Century Media)

8) CHEVELLE La Gárgola (Epic)

9) AGALLOCH The Serpent And The Sphere (Profound Lore)

10) MATT STEVENS Lucid (Cherry Red)

11) FLOOD OF RED Throw (Superball)

12) ANIMALS AS LEADERS The Joy Of Motion (Sumerian)

13) EMPTY YARD EXPERIMENT Kallisti (Independent)

14) DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT Z2 (InsideOut)

15) MASTODON Once More ’Round the Sun (Reprise)

16) THRESHOLD For the Journey (Nuclear Blast)

17) THE ROOM COLORED CHARLATAN Primitives (Subliminal

Groove Records)

18) KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

19) TIM BOWNESS Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (InsideOut)

20) THOM YORKE Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes (Self-Released)