2015 Prog Critics' Top 20: Part One

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The year 2015 took off with Lonely Robot and the Von Hertzen Brothers, saw fine solo albums from David Gilmour and Steve Hackett, plus a clutch of impressive releases across the spectrum, from Anekdoten to Wire. As is tradition, our dedicated team of staff and writers, along with some of the stars, select their favourites…

JERRY EWING – EDITOR

  1. STEVEN WILSON Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)

  2. TESSERACT Polaris (Kscope)

  3. BETWEEN THE BURIED & ME Coma Ecliptic (Metal Blade)

  4. MEW +- (PIAS)

  5. BRUCE SOORD Bruce Soord (Kscope)

  6. PUBLIC SEVICE BROADCASTING The Race For Space (Test Card Recordings)

  7. MERCURY REV The Light In You (Bella Union)

  8. SWEET BILLY PILGRIM Motorcade Amnesiacs (Kscope)

  9. VENNART The Demon Joke (Superball)

  10. SWALLOW THE SUN Songs From The North I, II & III (Century Media)

  11. NORDIC GIANTS A Séance Of Dark Delusions (Kscope)

  12. LONELY ROBOT Please Come Home (InsideOut)

  13. JEFF LYNNE’S ELO Alone In The Universe (Columbia)

  14. STEVE HACKETT Wolflight (InsideOut)

  15. MUSE Drones (Warners)

  16. WIRE Wire (Pink Flag)

  17. EXXASENS Back To Earth (Aloud)

  18. DAVID GILMOUR Rattle That Lock (Parlophone)

  19. ANEKDOTEN Until All The Ghosts Are Gone (Virta)

  20. SCALE THE SUMMIT V (Prosthetic)

HANNAH MAY KILROY – DEPUTY EDITOR

  1. KONTINUUM Kyrr (Candlelight)
  2. VON HERTZEN BROTHERS New Day Rising (Spinefarm)
  3. IRON MAIDEN The Book Of Souls (Parlophone)
  4. BRUCE SOORD Bruce Soord (Kscope)
  5. SWEET BILLY PILGRIM Motorcade Amnesiacs (Kscope)
  6. EARTHSIDE A Dream In Static (Self-released)
  7. NORDIC GIANTS A Séance Of Dark Delusions (Kscope)
  8. ANTIMATTER The Judas Table (Prophecy)
  9. THE FIERCE AND THE DEAD Magnet (Bad Elephant)
  10. STEVEN WILSON Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)
  11. AMORPHIS Under The Red Cloud (Nuclear Blast)
  12. ENSLAVED In Times (Nuclear Blast)
  13. LEPROUS The Congregation (InsideOut)
  14. CHELSEA WOLFE Abyss (Sargent House)
  15. BEARDFISH +4626-COMFORTZONE (InsideOut)
  16. TAME IMPALA Currents (Fiction)
  17. ANEKDOTEN Until All The Ghosts Are Gone (Virta)
  18. GAZPACHO Molok (Kscope)
  19. KYLVER The Mountain Ghost (Self-released)
  20. VENNART The Demon Joke (Superball)

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

BRUCE SOORD

“Predictably I’d have to go for Hand. Cannot. Erase. by Steven Wilson. When I first heard Perfect Life I was so bowled over by the hook and the mind blowing fidelity that I sent Steven a gushing email to tell him so, like a total fan boy.”

RUSSELL FAIRBROTHER – ART EDITOR

  1. STEVEN WILSON Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)

  2. BETWEEN THE BURIED & ME Coma Ecliptic (Metal Blade)

  3. Bruce Soord Bruce Soord (Kscope)

  4. O.R.k. Inflamed Rides (Hard World)

  5. Jü Jü Meets Moster (RareNoise)

  6. Deadly Circus Fire The Hydra’s Tailor (Musicarchy Media)

  7. Public Service Broadcasting The Race For Space (Test Card Recordings)

  8. Heights Phantasia On The High Processions Of Sun, Moon And Countless Stars Above (Basick)

  9. RIVERSIDE Love, Fear And The Time Machine (InsideOut)

  10. Barren Earth On Lonely Towers (Century Media)

  11. Mew +- (PIAS)

  12. Metallic Taste Of Blood Doctoring The Dead (RareNoise)

  13. TESSERACT Polaris (Kscope)

  14. Tim Bowness Stupid Things That Mean The World (InsideOut)

  15. NAD SYLVAN Courting The Widow (InsideOut)

  16. BEARDFISH +4626-COMFORTZONE (InsideOut)

  17. Dave Kerzner New World (RecPlay)

  18. STEVE HACKETT Wolflight (InsideOut)

  19. Transmaniacon The Darkening Plain (New Heavy Sounds)

  20. Guapo Obscure Knowledge (Cuneiform)

GRANT MOON – REVIEWS EDITOR

  1. SANGUINE HUM Now We Have Light (Esoteric Antenna)
  2. DISTRICT 97 In Vaults (The Laser’s Edge)
  3. SWEET BILLY PILGRIM Motorcade Amnesiacs (Kscope)
  4. ANEKDOTEN Until All The Ghosts Are Gone (Virta)
  5. NAD SYLVAN Courting The Widow (InsideOut)
  6. VENNART The Demon Joke (Superball)
  7. STEVEN WILSON Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)
  8. The Tangent A Spark In The Aether (InsideOut)
  9. DUTCH UNCLES O Shudder (Memphis Industries)
  10. Dave Kerzner New World (RecPlay)
  11. Firefly Burning Skeleton Hill (Self-released)
  12. BETWEEN THE BURIED & ME Coma Ecliptic (Metal Blade)
  13. Teeth Of The Sea Highly Deadly Black Tarantula (Rocket)
  14. Galley Beggar Silence & Tears (Rise Above)
  15. Mew +- (PIAS)
  16. John McLaughlin Black Light (Abstract Logix)
  17. RIVERSIDE Love, Fear And The Time Machine (InsideOut)
  18. NICOLAS GODIN Contrepoint (Bella Union)
  19. Native Construct Quiet World (Metal Blade)
  20. Ryley Walker Primrose Green (Dead Oceans)

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

DAMIAN WILSON (THRESHOLD)

“Lonely Robot’s Please Come Home is both prog and melodic, with some really lovely people performing on it – pop stars from my adolescent years, a mix of heroes and friends. It took me back, made me smile, and left me with a strong sense of longing.”

NATASHA SCHARF – NEWS EDITOR

  1. STEVEN WILSON Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)

  2. GAZPACHO Molok (Kscope)

  3. RIVERSIDE Love, Fear And The Time Machine (InsideOut)

  4. STEVE HACKETT Wolflight (InsideOut)

  5. NIGHTWISH Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Nuclear Blast)

  6. TESSERACT Polaris (Kscope)

  7. CHELSEA WOLFE Abyss (Sargent House)

  8. KONTINUUM Kyrr (Candlelight)

  9. DAVID GILMOUR Rattle That Lock (Columbia)

  10. ANTIMATTER The Judas Table (Prophecy)

  11. BIRDPEN In The Company Of Imaginary Friends (Jar)

  12. NORDIC GIANTS A Séance Of Dark Delusions (Kscope)

  13. BETWEEN THE BURIED & ME Coma Ecliptic (Metal Blade)

  14. KARNATAKA Secrets Of Angels (Immrama)

  15. VON HERTZEN BROTHERS New Day Rising (Spinefarm)

  16. VENNART The Demon Joke (Superball)

  17. AMORPHIS Under The Red Cloud (Nuclear Blast)

  18. VLY I / Time (The Laser’s Edge)

  19. THE RECEIVER All Burn (Kscope)

  20. IO EARTH New World (Self-released)

MALCOLM DOME – LIVES EDITOR

  1. IRON MAIDEN The Book Of Souls (Parlophone)

  2. STEVE HACKETT Wolflight (InsideOut)

  3. SWALLOW THE SUN Songs From The North I, II & III (Century Media)

  4. STEVEN WILSON Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)

  5. BLURRED VISION Organized Insanity (Cherry Red)

  6. LONELY ROBOT Please Come Home (InsideOut)

  7. PALLAS Wearewhoweare (Self-released)

  8. THE ENID The Bridge (Operation Seraphim)

  9. NIGHTWISH Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Nuclear Blast)

  10. WIRE Wire (Pink Flag)

  11. FM Transformation (Esoteric Antenna)

  12. JOHN LODGE 10,000 Light Years Ago (Esoteric Antenna)

  13. GOBLIN REBIRTH Goblin Rebirth (Relapse)

  14. GAZPACHO Molok (Kscope)

  15. Deadly Circus Fire The Hydra’s Tailor (Musicarchy Media)

  16. NAD SYLVAN Courting The Widow (InsideOut)

  17. CHRISTINA BOOTH The Light (Tigermoth)

  18. DAVID CROSS & ROBERT FRIPP Starless Starlight (Noisy)

  19. ENSLAVED In Times (Nuclear Blast)

  20. DAVY O’LIST Second Thoughts (Made In Soho)

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

STEVE ROTHERY MARILLION

“Steven Wilson’s Hand.Cannot.Erase. captivated me from the beginning. The back story preceding the release enhanced your submersion into the concept so richly depicted in the music and lyrics. Routine is one of the most haunting, moving songs.”

DARYL EASLEA

  1. TAME IMPALA Currents (Fiction)
  2. PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING The Race For Space (Test Card Recordings)
  3. STEVE HACKETT Wolflight (InsideOut)
  4. THEO TRAVIS’ DOUBLE TALK Transgression (Esoteric Antenna)
  5. JEFF LYNNE’S ELO Alone In The Universe (Columbia)
  6. GUY GARVEY Courting The Squall (Polydor)
  7. JEAN MICHEL JARRE Electronica 1: The Time Machine (Columbia)
  8. DAVID GILMOUR Rattle That Lock (Columbia)
  9. SWEET BILLY PILGRIM Motorcade Amnesiacs (Kscope)
  10. STEVEN WILSON Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)
  11. PHIL MANZANERA The Sound Of Blue (Expression)
  12. Tim Bowness Stupid Things That Mean The World (InsideOut)
  13. MERCURY REV The Light In You (Bella Union)
  14. SANGUINE HUM Now We Have Light (Esoteric Antenna)
  15. LONELY ROBOT Please Come Home (InsideOut)
  16. NAD SYLVAN Courting The Widow (InsideOut)
  17. ANDERSONPONTY BAND Better Late Than Never (earMUSIC)
  18. DAVID CROSS & ROBERT FRIPP Starless Starlight (Noisy)
  19. JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Black Light (Abstract Logix)
  20. MAGMA Slag Tanz (Jazz Village)

ROB HUGHES

  1. JOANNA NEWSOM Divers (Drag City)

  2. DUTCH UNCLES O Shudder (Memphis Industries)

  3. PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING The Race For Space (Test Card Recordings)

  4. ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF The Miraculous (City Slang)

  5. NORDIC GIANTS A Séance Of Dark Delusions (Kscope)

  6. WIRE Wire (Pink Flag)

  7. NICOLAS GODIN Contrepoint (Bella Union)

  8. SWEET BILLY PILGRIM Motorcade Amnesiacs (Kscope)

  9. MASERATI Rehumanizer (Temporary Residence)

  10. GUY GARVEY Courting The Squall (Polydor)

  11. MERCURY REV The Light In You (Bella Union)

  12. STEVEN WILSON Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)

  13. VLY I / Time (The Laser’s Edge)

  14. STEVE HACKETT Wolflight (InsideOut)

  15. NIK TURNER Space Fusion Odyssey (Cleopatra)

  16. RYLEY WALKER Primrose Green (Dead Oceans)

  17. FFS FFS (Domino)

  18. PHIL MANZANERA The Sound Of Blue (Expression)

  19. JENNY HVAL Apocalypse, Girl (Sacred Bones)

  20. RIVERSIDE Love, Fear And The Time Machine (InsideOut)

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

JOE PAYNE, THE ENID

“My inner geek sat with a wide grin on first listen of Public Service Broadcasting’s The Race For Space, satisfied by the innovative use of audio samples against the scenic musical backdrops.”

DAVID KEEVILL

  1. CALIGULA’S HORSE Bloom (InsideOut)

  2. LEPROUS The Congregation (InsideOut)

  3. RIVERSIDE Love, Fear And The Time Machine (InsideOut)

  4. STEVEN WILSON Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)

  5. TESSERACT Polaris (Kscope)

  6. PERIPHERY Juggernaut: Alpha/Omega (Century Media)

  7. ENSLAVED In Times (Nuclear Blast)

  8. ANEKDOTEN Until All The Ghosts Are Gone (Virta)

  9. KLONE Here Comes The Sun (Pelagic)

  10. LONELY ROBOT Please Come Home (InsideOut)

  11. EXXASENS Back To Earth (Aloud)

  12. BETWEEN THE BURIED & ME Coma Ecliptic (Metal Blade)

  13. TORCHE Restarter (Relapse)

  14. GODSTICKS Emergence (Self-released)

  15. THE FIERCE AND THE DEAD Magnet (Bad Elephant)

  16. IRON MAIDEN The Book Of Souls (Parlophone)

  17. CHELSEA WOLFE Abyss (Sargent House)

  18. DIATESSARON Sunshine (Self-released)

  19. TIM BOWNESS Stupid Things That Mean The World (InsideOut)

  20. ESCHAR Nova (Self-released)

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

KRISTOFFER RYGG, ULVER

“My vote goes to Obscure Knowledge from [Ulver guitarist and keyboard player] Daniel O’Sullivan’s old band Guapo. To me, that’s awesome prog rock and the way it should be done.”