The past year has delivered a host of outrageously awesome music to the ears of the rest of us mortals. Let’s take a look at my short list:
Introduced to me by a friend a few years back, Delain was founded by former Within Temptation keyboardist, Martijn Westerholt. They have two studio albums out, Lucidity(2006) and April Rain(2009, pictured left), both of which are worth getting. The vocalist, Charlotte Wessels, has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve heard and is well suited to the symphonic metal sounds of Delain. If you don’t have their albums yet, now is the time to do so. It is a little tricky getting them in South Africa (like with many European bands), but is possible through places like Look&Listen or mailed through Amazon. Favourite song: April Rain.
In keeping with their tradition of producing some of the greatest sounds in recorded history, Muse brought us The Resistance. Some say it’s not as great as their previous works. That may be true, but it’s still a great big chunk of pure awesome. If you don’t have it then go and get it and if you do have it then play it loudly and proudly for all to hear. Favourite song: Uprising.
The fourth studio album of the band that has made our ears bleed since 2002, Dear Agony, is another must-have on the list. Also said to not be as great as their previous works (I tend to disagree on the most part) this is still an album that will have you singing (uh…screaming?…) along in no time. Combining the well known Breaking Benjamin sound with a few choice additions to mark the slow but steady progression of a band that knows what it likes to play. Favourite song: Anthem of the Angels.
Three Days Grace
Carrying on where One-X left off, Life Starts Now is another Three Days Grace special. Filled with hard rocking goodness that will have even the most complacent head banging for world peace, this album combines classic themes with new sounds. Favourite song: Good Life/Life Starts Now.
30 Seconds to Mars
Having been a fan since their very first album, I was quite excited when I finally got my hands on This Is War. Their second album, A Beautiful Lie, took quite a different path from their first album and this one is no different. It’s an evolved sound from the former album with a whole new tone and feel to it. By their own admission, the album is “…about faith, about spiritual matters…” and I have to say that I agree fully – the music, vocals and lyrics are deep and passionate, filled with thought and emotion. Not without some drama, 30 Seconds to Mars had a lawsuit against them courtesy of Virgin Records, but with the release it was annulled. Favourite song: Night of the Hunter.
In 2005, Flyleaf released a good (self titled) album. It can only be said that Memento Mori is one very large step to pure excellence. It’s a fantastic album, taking on and refining the sound that is Flyleaf. Their faith shows in their music (not excessively so, mind you), providing passion filled anchors to create music that people from all walks of life can enjoy and identify with. Favourite song: Treasure.
Thousand Foot Krutch
TFK has always been a band worth mentioning – bringing to the music scene a distinctive sound worthy of praise. Welcome To The Masquerade is no different and brings the ever evolving sound of TFK to, well, something different. To me, it brings back the sound and feel of Phenomenon, probably my favourite TFK album. Favourite song: Scream.
These are just some of the most memorable albums of 2009 to me, and are those which should be part of your collection if you don’t already have them. Others worth mentioning are Red – Innocence and Instinct, Skillet – Awake, Paramore – Brand New Eyes, Rammstein – Liebe Ist Für Alle Da, Chevelle -Sci-Fi Crimes, Lacuna Coil – Shallow Life and Within Temptation – An Acoustic Night At the Theatre.
Up and coming for 2010 are albums from Evanescence, Switchfoot and Within Temptation, not to mention the local band Isochronous (check out their MySpace page), and I’m sure that I’ll find a whole host of others as the year goes on.