Amazing albums

Obligatory introduction

Okay, I've put this off long enough. I'm finally going to write about some of my favourite albums, and why they're special to me. This list is in no particular order, so it's not a top 10 or anything like that.

A note of warning

Pedantry ahead.

Epica - The phantom agony

Epica - The phantom agony

Their debut album has introduced me to the world of female fronted metal (and rock) as a whole, and whilst they neither have released anything as good as this since, or managed to hold my attention (for a variety of reasons), this is still my introduction to not only a 'genre', but also countless other bands, including one I considered the best Dutch band.

Iron Maiden - The number of the beast

Iron Maiden - The number of the beast

Their first album with Bruce Dickinson, and my first Iron Maiden album ever. This is what introduced to metal, and I'm glad it was this rather some other album from them, as some are, well, not that good.

Side note: I already owned the first albums from Within Temptation, so technically speaking they introduced me to metal and the female fronted scene. But none of Within Temptation's albums had the same impact.

Therapy? - Troublegum

Therapy? - Troublegum

Probably their most famous album to date, and my introduction to their music. Until then I had no idea music could be this aggressive and dark. Loud guitars, lyrics about (self) loathing and the darker sides of our personalities, our anger and frustrations.

There have been people who claim to like Therapy? and complain when people list 'Troublegum' as their favourite Therapy? album, or 'Screamager' as their favourite Therapy? song. Seething with frustration about people doing the supposed 'in-thing' and completely forgetting two things. It's a superb album and an awesome song.

Camel - Mirage

Camel - Mirage

Not the first Camel album I ever bought (that would be a compilation album named 'Landscapes'), but it's my favourite my a long shot, containing the epic song 'Lady Fantasy', which is half of the proof of Camel's superb songwriting skills, and at a good 12 minutes evidence that you can write long songs that aren't a collection of bits tacked together.

On their album 'Moonmadness' the other half of proof of their songwriting skills is found in 'Spirit of the water', which is roughly 3 minutes long (short if you will), melancholic and goosebumps inducingly good.

Kayak - Merlin: Bard of the unseen

Kayak - Merlin: Bard of the unseen

This album shattered my old misconception that Dutch band and artists are generally crap. Despite it not being all new material, it being a far more fleshed-out and extended version of Merlin, with some subtle touches (the perspective of the person singing 'The king's enchanter' being one), it can be considered an entirely new album in its own right. This is what rock operas should be like. Are you listening mr. Lucassen?

Crimson Falls - Ruins 2k5

Crimson Falls - Ruins 2k5

Is it Belgian? Yes. Is it metalcore? Yes. Is it deathmetal? I know this is getting boring, but yes. This album got me into the harder subgenres of metal. 'The lakeside myth part one: Water mirrors sorrow' is everything I like in the harder metal subgenres. Roaring guitars, extreme vocals, pounding drums, hints of clean vocals and the uncontrollable urge to band my head and smash stuff.

Warning: On their album 'The true face of human nature' there is a song called 'We are the dead'. Beware, it has a riff that will lodge itself inside your brain, and refuse to ever come out again.

Yes - Close to the edge

Yes - Close to the edge

My first Yes album ever. Do I consider it to be their best? No. Does it have a truly special meaning to me? No. But why like it? Like I said, it's my first Yes album, and it has some gorgeous bits lyrics wise, a great build up in the title song, and a massive organ sound somewhere along the line.

Oh, and Yes without Jon Anderson but rather a singer from a tribute band? That's just wrong on soooo many levels.

Dejafuse - Dejafuse

Dejafuse - Dejafuse

Once in a while there's a fairly drastic or rather very visible change in the line-up of a band. Case in point would be Nienke de Jong leaving Autumn early 2008. For those who've never met Nienke, she's an excellent singer, wonderfull warm person and quite exubberant (especially on stage).

But was it all bad? Autumn losing their singer and 'face' of the band? In the grand scheme of things? Actually no. Not only did Autumn find a new singer who is a perfect for the band (personality wise) and the direction of their music, Nienke could now focus on her own band, Dejafuse.

And by jove, is it good. Good old fashioned rock, filled with groove and hooks, vocals perfectly matching the music, vocal lines and lyrics going full throttle when needed, and subtle when needed. And of course, Nienke still being the lovable slightly mad vocalist I (and many others) have come to known and love.

Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel II

Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel II

The first Peter Gabriel I ever bought, on vinyl no less. If you're only familiar with 'Don't give up' and 'Sledgehammer', listening to this album can be a bit of a shock, as there are some really, really depressing songs ('Indigo' and 'Home sweet home') on this album. But unlike his debut album which has the odd song I don't care for ('Excuse me' indeed), this is superb. Not only is the music beautifully written and performed, the lyrics is where Peter Gabriel really shines, intelligent, haunting and at times very, very quirky.

Tip: Buy the remastered versions, as the difference in clarity only adds to the sheer pleasure of listening to this.

Is Peter Gabriel the greatest musician of our times? Yes. Are there people who disagree with this? Yes. And can they be excused? Only if they're deaf.

Autumn - Altitude

Autumn - Altitude

Not only does Autumn get better with each and every album, this is their latest album, and obviously their best one to date. Their gothic rock sound has over the years made way for their new sound, culminating in full blown rock songs, fragile ballads, mixtures thereof and always with a hint of being 'prog'. In terms of the music, no note is without function, and Marjan Welman delivers the at times haunting lyrics with a beauty not seen since Helen of Troy. Floor Jansen may be the most versatile singer from Holland, Marjan is the best.

In short, Autumn is as close to being Peter Gabriel'esque quality without actually being Peter Gabriel.

Closing note

I guess I lied about there being no particular order. I saved the best for last.

older  newer