2015 Prog Critics' Top 20S: Part Two

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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…

JO KENDALL

  1. VENNART The Demon Joke (Superball)

  2. POND Man It Feels Like Space Again (Caroline)

  3. GUAPO Obscure Knowledge (Cuneiform)

  4. TAME IMPALA Currents (Fiction)

  5. VESSELS Dilate (Cuckundoo)

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

  7. MEW +- (PIAS)

  8. MOLLMASKIN Heartbreak In ((Stereo)) (Autumnsongs)

  9. WHITE HILLS Walks For Motorists (Thrill Jockey)

  10. GWENNO Y Dydd Olaf (Heavenly)

  11. ENSLAVED In Times (Nuclear Blast)

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

  13. Teeth Of The Sea Highly Deadly Black Tarantula (Rocket)

  14. AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR Heirs (Sargent House)

  15. EXXASENS Back To Earth (Aloud)

  16. LUDOVICO EINAUDI Elements (Decca Classics)

  17. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Paper Mâché Dream

Balloon (Heavenly)

  1. ARCHIVE Restriction (Dangervisit)

  2. MYLETS Arizona (Sargent House)

  3. NICOLAS GODIN Contrepoint (Bella Union)

DOM LAWSON

  1. BEARDFISH +4626-COMFORTZONE (InsideOut)

  2. IRON MAIDEN The Book Of Souls (Parlophone)

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

  4. OZRIC TENTACLES Technicians Of The Sacred (Madfish)

  5. MOONWAGON The Rule Of Three (Presence)

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

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

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

  9. AVATARIUM The Girl With The Raven Mask (Nuclear Blast)

  10. JOANNA NEWSOM Divers (Drag City)

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

  12. TESSERACT Polaris (Kscope)

  13. AMORPHIS Under The Red Cloud (Nuclear Blast)

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

  15. LONELY ROBOT Please Come Home (InsideOut)

  16. SHINING International Blackjazz Society (Spinefarm)

  17. VENNART The Demon Joke (Superball)

  18. OSSICLES Music For Wastelands (Karisma)

  19. THE GENTLE STORM The Diary (InsideOut)

  20. GODSTICKS Emergence (Self-released)

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

ROB REED – MAGENTA/KIAMA

“Magma’s Slag Tanz has to be my favourite release of 2015. On first listen, it’s so challenging, but so full of beauty and melody, and I love the fact that the lyrics are in their own language.”

DAVE LING

  1. IRON MAIDEN The Book Of Souls (Parlophone)
  2. LONELY ROBOT Please Come Home (InsideOut)
  3. STEVEN WILSON Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)
  4. NEAL MORSE BAND The Grand Experiment (InsideOut)
  5. SPOCK’S BEARD The Oblivion Particle (InsideOut)
  6. VON HERTZEN BROTHERS New Day Rising (Spinefarm)
  7. SYMPHONY X Underworld (Nuclear Blast)
  8. STEVE HACKETT Wolflight (InsideOut)
  9. TIM BOWNESS Stupid Things That Mean The World (InsideOut)
  10. RIVERSIDE Love, Fear And The Time Machine (InsideOut)
  11. NIGHTWISH Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Nuclear Blast)
  12. SWEET BILLY PILGRIM Motorcade Amnesiacs (Kscope)
  13. GLASS HAMMER The Breaking Of The World (Self-released)
  14. THE TANGENT A Spark In The Aether (InsideOut)
  15. NAD SYLVAN Courting The Widow (InsideOut)
  16. BLURRED VISION Organized Insanity (Cherry Red)
  17. BILLY SHERWOOD Citizen (Frontiers)
  18. DAVY O’LIST Second Thoughts (Made In Soho)
  19. TESSERACT Polaris (Kscope)
  20. QUEENSRŸCHE Human Condition (Century Media)

PAUL LESTER

  1. TODD RUNDGREN, EMIL NIKOLAISEN, HANS-PETER LINDSTRØM Runddans (Smalltown Supersound)

  2. TAME IMPALA Currents (Fiction)

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

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

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

  6. FFS FFS (Domino)

  7. TODD RUNDGREN Global (Esoteric Antenna)

  8. MEW +- (PIAS)

  9. WIRE Wire (Pink Flag)

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

  11. SURF CITY Jekyll Island (Fire)

  12. KITTEN PYRAMID High Five Scuba Dive (Self-released)

  13. JEAN MICHEL JARRE Electronica 1: The Time Machine (Columbia)

  14. THE ZOMBIES Still Got That Hunger (Cherry Red)

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

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

  17. CHELSEA WOLFE Abyss (Sargent House)

  18. JOANNA NEWSOM Divers (Drag City)

  19. GUY GARVEY Courting The Squall (Polydor)

  20. SPOCK’S BEARD The Oblivion Particle (InsideOut)

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

JOHN YOUNG – LIFESIGNS

“I loved the emotion in Thijs van Leer’s Trading Boundaries Live Vol.1. I’m a big sucker for things that have light and shade and romance in them, and this is just beautiful. The man is a master.”

ISERE LLOYD-DAVIS

  1. Slayer Repentless (Nuclear Blast)

  2. ENSLAVED In Times (Nuclear Blast)

  3. Sabbath Assembly Sabbath Assembly (Svart)

  4. BjÖrk Vulnicura (One Little Indian)

  5. Paradise Lost The Plague Within (Century Media)

  6. CHELSEA WOLFE Abyss (Sargent House)

  7. THE ZOMBIES Still Got That Hunger (Cherry Red)

  8. Faith No More Sol Invictus (Reclamation)

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

  10. Arcturus Arcturian (Prophecy)

  11. Unleashed Dawn of the Nine (Nuclear Blast)

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

  13. TESSERACT Polaris (Kscope)

  14. Marilyn Manson Pale Emperor (Cooking Vinyl)

  15. DAVID GILMOUR Rattle That Lock (Columbia)

  16. New Order Music Complete (Mute)

  17. JEAN MICHEL JARRE Electronica 1: The Time Machine (Columbia)

  18. Eagles Of Death Metal Zipper Down (Universal)

  19. Dr Dre Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr Dre (Aftermath/Interscope)

  20. Kylesa Exhausting Fire (Season Of Mist)

ALEX LYNHAM

  1. VENNART The Demon Joke (Superball)

  2. Charlie Barnes More Stately Mansions (Superball)

  3. Good Tiger A Head Full Of Moonlight (Self-released)

  4. TESSERACT Polaris (Kscope)

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

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

  7. Arcane Roots Heaven & Earth (Sony Red)

  8. Town Portal The Occident (Small Pond)

  9. FOES Antecedence (Crooked Noise)

  10. Battles La Di Da Di (Warp)

  11. Vasa Colours (Self-released)

  12. And So I Watch You From Afar Heirs (Sargent House)

  13. Mylets Arizona (Sargent House)

  14. Grievances Rolo Tomassi (Holy Roar)

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

  16. Toundra IV (Superball)

  17. Scale the Summit V (Prosthetic)

  18. GODSTICKS Emergence (Self-released)

  19. Caspian Dust And Disquiet (Big Scary Monsters)

  20. Coheed and Cambria The Color Before The Sun (300 Entertainment)

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

TONY PATTERSON – NORTHLANDS/REGENESIS

“I’ve been giving Steve Wilson’s Hand.Cannot.Erase. a lot of spins because I absolutely adore it. You can hear all the jazz and Yes influences in there; it’s such a well-produced album and the 5.1 version is beautiful.”

CHRIS ROBERTS

  1. NAD SYLVAN Courting The Widow (InsideOut)

  2. SWEET BILLY PILGRIM Motorcade Amnesiacs (Kscope)

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

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

  5. SANGUINE HUM Now We Have Light (Esoteric Antenna)

  6. DUTCH UNCLES O Shudder (Memphis Industries)

  7. THE TANGENT A Spark In The Aether (InsideOut)

  8. GUY GARVEY Courting The Squall (Polydor)

  9. TIGER MOTH TALES Cocoon (White Knight)

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

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

  12. GAVIN HARRISON Cheating The Polygraph (Kscope)

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

  14. GRICE Alexandrine (Hungersleep)

  15. TAME IMPALA Currents (Fiction)

  16. DAVID GILMOUR Rattle That Lock (Columbia)

  17. ANDERSONPONTY BAND Better Late Than Never (earMUSIC)

  18. GHOST HARMONIC Codex (Metamatic)

  19. LLOYD COLE 1D (Bureau B)

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

PAUL SEXTON

  1. Ryley Walker Primrose Green (Dead Oceans)

  2. JAMES McARTHUR & THE HEAD GARDENERS

Strange Readings From The Weather Station (Moorland)

  1. ZERVAS & PEPPER Abstract Heart (Zerodeo)

  2. THE DECEMBERISTS What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World (Rough Trade)

  3. THE ZOMBIES Still Got That Hunger (Cherry Red)

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

  5. TAME IMPALA Currents (Fiction)

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

  7. DAVID GILMOUR Rattle That Lock (Columbia)

  8. GUY GARVEY Courting The Squall (Polydor)

  9. FAIRPORT CONVENTION Myths And Heroes (Matty Grooves)

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

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

  12. WOODY WOODGATE In Your Mind (DW Records)

  13. LINNEA OLSSON Breaking And Shaking (Götterfunk/Sony)

  14. TÍR NA NÓG The Dark Dance (Fruits De Mer)

  15. BLURRED VISION Organized Insanity (Cherry Red)

  16. TODD RUNDGREN Global (Esoteric Antenna)

  17. THE UNTHANKS Mount The Air (Rabble Rouser)

  18. AROOJ AFTAB Bird Under Water (Self-released)

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

MATT STEVENS – THE FIERCE & THE DEAD

“Vessels’ dilate was a genuinely progressive album. They started off as a post-rock band and became more electronic without losing any of the layers and there’s a real euphoric joy to their music.”

JOHNNY SHARP

  1. TAME IMPALA Currents (Fiction)

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

  3. Muse Drones (Warners)

  4. This Oceanic Feeling Universal Mind (Cherry Red)

  5. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Quarters! (Heavenly)

  6. BjÖrk Vulnicura (One Little Indian)

  7. Pallas Wearewhoweare (Self-released)

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

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

  10. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (Heavenly)

  11. NICOLAS GODIN Contrepoint (Bella Union)

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

  13. DAVID GILMOUR Rattle That Lock (Columbia)

  14. KITTEN PYRAMID High Five Scuba Dive (Self-released)

  15. The Neal Morse Band The Grand Experiment (InsideOut)

  16. CALIGULA’S HORSE Bloom (InsideOut)

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

  18. Edison’s ChIldren Somewhere Between Here And There (Racket)

  19. Fossil Evolution World In Motion (FREIA Music)

  20. STEVE HACKETT Wolflight (InsideOut)

SID SMITH

  1. JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Black Light (Abstract Logix)

  2. GUAPO Obscure Knowledge (Cuneiform)

  3. PETER HAMMILL …All That Might Have Been… (Fie)

  4. DAVID TORN Only Sky (ECM)

  5. WILLIAM D DRAKE Revere Reach (Onomatopoeia)

  6. THE UNTHANKS Mount The Air (Rabble Rouser)

  7. AKKU QUINTET Molecules (Morpheus)

  8. JULIE TIPPETTS & MARTIN ARCHER Vestigium (Discus)

  9. ELEPHANT9 WITH REINE FISK Silver Mountain (Rune Grammofon)

  10. JAKOB BRO Gefion (ECM)

  11. LUMEN DRONES LUMEN DRONES (ECM)

  12. TROYKA Ornithophobia (Naim)

  13. MARK WINGFIELD Proof Of Light (MoonJune)

  14. SPIN MARVEL Infolding (RareNoise Records)

  15. KOMARA Komara (Hevhetia)

  16. GONG I See You (Madfish)

  17. ORCHESTRA OF THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE 02 (Discus)

  18. MARC CARY Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2 (Motéma)

  19. THYME SHIFT Beyond Horizons (BoogiePost Recordings)

  20. THE CELLAR AND POINT Ambit (Cuneiform)

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

MARCO HIETALA – NIGHTWISH

“Ghost’s Meliora has both a 70s and a modern take on prog. It has the vocal harmonies and occult reminders of Blue Öyster Cult, and pounding riffs that jump into eerily melodic choruses.“

RICH WILSON

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

  2. BRUCE SOORD Bruce Soord (Kscope)

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

  4. VON HERTZEN BROTHERS – New Day Rising (Spinefarm)

  5. DAVE KERZNER New World (RecPlay)

  6. LONELY ROBOT Please Come Home (InsideOut)

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

  8. DAVID GILMOUR Rattle That Lock (Columbia)

  9. GAVIN HARRISON Cheating The Polygraph (Kscope)

  10. SPOCK’S BEARD The Oblivion Particle (InsideOut)

  11. ANDERSONPONTY BAND Better Late Than Never (earMUSIC)

  12. IRON MAIDEN The Book Of Souls (Parlophone)

  13. MUSE Drones (Warners)

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

  15. STEVE HACKETT Wolflight (InsideOut)

  16. NEAL MORSE BAND The Grand Experiment (InsideOut)

  17. THE GENTLE STORM The Diary (InsideOut)

  18. DISTRICT 97 In Vaults (The Laser’s Edge)

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

  20. GODSTICKS Emergence (Self-released)

HOLLY WRIGHT

  1. ENSLAVED In Times (Nuclear Blast)

  2. LEPROUS The Congregation (InsideOut)

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

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

  5. NIGHTWISH Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Nuclear Blast)

  6. TESSERACT Polaris (Kscope)

  7. VON HERTZEN BROTHERS New Day Rising (Spinefarm)

  8. IRON MAIDEN The Book Of Souls (Parlophone)

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

  10. BARREN EARTH On Lonely Towers (Century Media)

  11. ANTIMATTER The Judas Table (Prophecy)

  12. DEAD LETTER CIRCUS Aesthesis (UNFD)

  13. SHINING International Blackjazz Society (Spinefarm)

  14. TERAMAZE Her Halo (Mascot)

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

  16. DISTRICT 97 In Vaults (The Laser’s Edge)

  17. SYMPHONY X Underworld (Nuclear Blast)

  18. AMORPHIS Under The Red Cloud (Nuclear Blast)

  19. TAME IMPALA Currents (Fiction)

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

The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year Is…

HEATHER FINDLAY

Please Come Home by Lonely Robot has the perfect balance between cleverly crafted, yet concise and engaging arrangements. I love the lush, warm yet contemporary production. John Mitchell is one of my favourite vocalists and guitarists.”