One of these days, I promise to organize my music listening habits a little better. With that said, this is a far cry from any type of "best of" list. First off there is just way too much music released each year to make any kind of judgment. Seriously, there are so many albums released that it would be impossible to listen to it all. For my efforts here, I have simply gone back over the albums I reviewed this year and compiled those that topped the scales. I then took those albums and placed them into a top ten list format.
To recap, these are my best reviewed albums of 2009. It is not a terribly large sample and I did listen to some good albums that I have not (or not yet) reviewed. So, take this for what you will. Just, rest assured that these albums are all worth your time.
1. Cynic - Traced in Air. It's 16-years since Cynic released an album. How could the reunited band possibly live up to the greatness that came so long ago? That is a thought I had going into this experience. A thought I had without being familiar with their prior highly regarded release. As it turns out, it does not matter what your experience with the band is, this is an amazing album that lasts an all too brief 32-minutes.
Flawlessly produced and beautifully executed, this combination of progressive, metal, jazz, and experimental music is an album to be savored. The band is replete with virtuoso instrumentalists who have plenty of opportunities to show what they can do, all while never falling prey to egotistical displays of excess. There are no rambling jaunts, or overdone solos, everything works toward the benefit of the song at hand. This is an album that begs to be explored by anyone with a love for music.
2. Drag Me to Hell - Music Composed by Christopher Young. That's right, my number two album is a film score. If you have heard it, you will likely understand why. The score is filled with somber violin solos, big choral pieces, Gothic bombast, and not a little bit of restrained sweetness. The music covers a wide range of range of emotions while never letting you escape from its grasp. What really makes the composition click is the film's main theme, which is introduced by a solo violin in the opening track. Put it in, press play, enjoy.
3. Rhino - Dead Throne Monarch. What would you get if you mixed sludge metal, doom metal, thrash, death metal, and grunge (yes, grunge) in a heavy iron cauldron? You would get an album called Dead Throne Monarch with a side of Rhino. What a pleasant surprise this was.