Monday, May 17, 2010

Fifteen Fantasy Island Favorites

This blog challenge comes once again from Arlee at Tossing it Out - visit his site for the full details.

And I have to begin this on a sad note - Ronnie James Dio died Sunday morning. He contributed so much to the rock industry and will be missed!

What are my fifteen most favorite albums and why?

Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime

I've followed Queensryche since their first EP and have always found them to be a unique musical entity. But "Mindcrime" took them to a whole new level. This amazing concept album blew me away and I feel (in my humble opinion) it's one of the greatest albums of all time.

Serenity - Words Untold and Dreams UnlivedThis Austrian power rock bands first disk is full of great riffs, catchy hooks and well-crafted songs. Just when I thought I had heard it all, Serenity came along and proved me wrong.

Rush -
/Permanent Waves
/Grace Under Pressure

My all-time favorite band deserves three spots and it took awhile to pick just the right ones. I chose "Hemisphere" because it is the best concept album. "Permanent Waves" was a solid choice because it contains my favorite Rush song "Natural Science". And "Grace Under Pressure" is my favorite start to finish Rush album. ‘Neff said.

Redemption - Snowfall on Judgment Day

The latest from prog greats Redemption is also going to the island. Besides having one of the best titles of all time ("Snowfall on Judgment Day" - how great is that), this is a beautiful album of love and love lost set to a driving rock beat.

Pantera - Far Beyond Driven

Sometimes nothing satisfies my musical cravings like a good dose of in-your-face metal. This album is a sledgehammer to the groin. An incredible mix of aggression, brutal riffs and crushing rhythms. A brutal masterpiece.

Nightwish - Dark Passion Play

Why let the boys have all the fun. This female-fronted group can rock with the best of them. This impressive dose of orchestral rock is beautiful and aggressive. Every song has a contagious hook that you'll be humming for days.

Megadeth - Rust in Peace

What else can be said about Dave Mustaine's masterpiece? I've heard it a thousand times and I'm looking forward to the next thousand. Holy wars, Hangar 18, Five Magic's, Lucretia, Tornado of Souls - the heck with it, I'm going to go jam out and finish this list later.

Dream Theater - Octavarium and Awake

My second favorite band deserves two slots and these particular selections are fantastic. Every album is amazing, so it took some time to pick just the right two disks. I could listen to the amazing fretwork of John Petrucci all day (every day.)

Catherine Wheel - Happy Days

This British band never really took off in the US. Too bad, because this is one of my favorite albums of all time. Each song catchier than the next and topped with the amazing vocal work of Rob Dickinson.

Mastodon - Leviathan

We are back into crushing metal territory with this disk by Mastodon. The thought of a concept album of "Moby Dick" sounds completely ridiculous, but trust me when I tell you that this is an amazing musical achievement. Great songs, unique arrangements and a drummer that sounds like he has eight arms - truly impressive.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Lost Christmas Eve

Seasons will change on the island and I will need some Christmas music. TSO is a work of pure, musical genius. I love every aspect of this album and the beautiful message rings true the whole-year round.

Guilt Machine

This is the latest project from Arjen Lucassen and a big influence on my writing. Arjen takes us through the stages of guilt while highlighting many talents, and this album influenced my final edits on CassaStar.

So there you have it! Let me know some of your favorite albums - or if any of my selections shock you.


Jessica Bell said...

Wow! You know it's funny, everyone I know that is into heavy metal is also into sci-fi. Why do you think that is?

Great list :) Seen you around blog land quite a bit. Following now :)


Well done Alex on an excellent blog. I admit I don't know any of your choices but I expect likewise mine to you. Strange how we all like different music,films, etc yet we all have blogging interest and come together through that.
You must have worked hard on your top 15 and I aplaud you.


Anonymous said...

That's a huge list but a good one. I don't have any favorites though. And even if I had, its lost in my head and it might take me an hour of meditation to retrieve it. Sorry!

Have a good day...:)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I know a couple of those bands. And we have an album in common - Mindcrime!
Good choices.

Helen Ginger said...

I love the album covers. Each one is amazing. Wouldn't it be amazing if they were book covers! Totally not your topic, but I was thinking that the covers tell stories.

Straight From Hel

Unknown said...

wow mega death... your giving me a migrane headache, I did not think you would be a fan. My brother is 33 and just saw them in concert.

Tara said...

You go with your bad metalhead self :) There's a couple here I didn't know - I'll have to check them out.

How on earth did I forget about Queensryche??? I guess cause I just shot from the hip!

DEZMOND said...

Must admit I've only heard of Megadeth, Pantera and Nightwish (but when it comes to the last band, I prefer their main rivals Within Temptation :)))
ps how can a metal band call their album SERENITY??? :)

Lisa said...

No 80s music? I asked Arlee the same.

There must be a lot of good music out there that I'm missing, or, we are missing.

Talli Roland said...

I don't know quite a few of these, but I do like Rush!

Christine Danek said...

I love Catherine Wheel. Nice choice!

Arlee Bird said...

Can't say I'm surprised by your list. There are a few I'm not too familiar with and a couple I've never heard of. I own "Octavariu" and all of the Rush albums and they are all great. No Iron Maiden or Metallica?
I'll have to check out the Queensryche album-- I think "Silent Lucidity" is such a great song and I have the album that it is on.

Good list-- definitely some albums I'd consider.

Tossing It Out

Gregg Metcalf said...

Again, an interesting list. I think Rush is the only one I have ever heard of.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

AA, maybe because they are both cool? Actually, I think it's because both appeal to geeks. Thanks for following!

Thanks, Yvonne. I spent a couple hours putting this together.

Mr. Stupid, don't hurt yourself trying.

Diane, I saw that we both selected Mindcrime!

Helen, considering how many contain amazing graphics, I can understand the correlation.

Wasabi, hope that doesn't disappoint you.

Tara, I will go with my bad metalhead self! And shame for forgetting Queensryche.

Dez, maybe it's just to fool you!

Ocean Girl, Rush, Megadeth, and Pantera are all from the 80's.

Good for you, Talli!

Christine, it's refreshing to know someone else is familiar with Catherine Wheel.

Arlee, couldn't include them all. Definitely check out Mindcrime.

Julie Dao said...

Wow, this is a really interesting list! I'm not into metal but I recognize one or two of these as the favorites of my friends who do. Nice choices.

Southpaw said...

There’s some good music there, I need to check out the ones I don't know.

B. Miller said...

Awesome list, Alex! You metalhead! :D Seriously, this was a cool list... I sure do love me some Rush too!!

Thanks for participating in this blogfest! What a great topic, huh??

Tahereh said...

wow this is awesome! one hell of a lineup!!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I *thought* you might be participating in this blogfest! And I figured your choices would be interesting.

Where's Metallica? Or did they turn you off over the Napster thing (they did me, but I've gotten over it. Kinda.)

Beth Zimmerman said...

Sigh ... I'm with you on Trans Siberian Orchestra! :)

LR said...

Oh oh! Love Rush!

Permanent Waves is the best.

Jo Schaffer Layton said...

Rock on!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Julie and Southpaw.

Miller, I am indeed a metalhead. This was a great blogfest. And I've been talking with Arlee about the next one...

Thank you, Tahereh.

Elizabeth, The Black Album was close - #16 or #17.

Beth, TSO is amazing and even better in concert.

LR - it is!

Anonymous said...

You rocker you. Rock on.

Stephen Tremp

Anonymous said...

I'm so out of the loop when it comes to heavy metal. I did like Rush back in the 70's, drawn to their lyrics. What's great about this blogfest is discovering new music. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Oh, hell yes on the Pantera and Nightwish. The latter's been in heavy rotation on my iPod for weeks, along with Unsun, Lacuna Coil, and Halestorm (I likes the female metal singers, I do).

Nicely chosen, good sir!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lynn, hope you find some good stuff!

Simon - damn straight! Nothing like a little Pantera at the gym, either.

Unknown said...

You're absolutely right, it is fascinating to see different people's musical wishlists (love Nightwish, don't know much of the rest of your music but am now intrigued ; ) ).

Thanx for stopping by my blog!

ps. cool matrix-like background you've got there! Oh there's another one I like! The Matrix Soundtrack!

Kierah Jane Reilly said...

We saw Queensryche at the Honolulu airport in 1989. They were looking at one of those big airport maps that say "You Are Here." It reminded me of Spinal Tap. I hate to say it, but that's the only connection I have to any of your choices! But I agree with Tessa, it's fascinating to see other people's musical choices. Just like writing, it's all subjective. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Great List!! Especially TSO. I saw TSO in concert last year...what a concert!!


JournoMich said...

I second the SciFi-heavey metal connection.

Great list!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tessa, glad my blog inspired another album for you. I was just going for that sci-fi feel...

Kierah, that is too wild! Did you get a photo?

Sig, TSO is the best concert experience.

Jemi Fraser said...

I was right - I don't know too many of yours - I generally go for softer stuff. But I do enjoy Rush - they have a great sound :)

The Old Silly said...

Much to contemplate ... not the least of which is like someone else commented, the connection between sci-fi and heavy metal fans.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Ha! I haven't heard even ONE of the albums on your list. The closest I get is Trans-Siberian Orchestra:

Two Decembers ago I heard the song "Christmas Canon" played repeatedly on the radio and came to love it. So, I bought the album 'The Christmas Attic' only to discover that "Christmas Canon" was the only song on it that I really liked. "The Three Kings And I" I thought was pretty good but just not "Christmassy" to me. And the rest I never could get into.

Oh well... it takes all kinds, eh?

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jemi, you're a cool chick in my book, then.

Marvin, I can only refer again to the geek factor.

Hey, Stephen. Yeah, we all like different things. And after hearing TSO and seeing them in concert, it's not a Christmas without their music.

Lisa said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh RUSH! and Trans-Siberian Orchestra! Love those two. I haven't heard of most of the others. :)I'm listening to TSO right now (because you reminded me of them!)

Unknown said...

sounds like some interesting music. I'm gonna have to check it out. Thanks for sharing.

Cheeseboy said...

Heavy taste. Of these, Rush is my favorite, but I liked Queensryche until they went all soft.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lisa, glad I could inspire you.

Cheeseboy, I guess they're just not angry young men anymore.

Hannah said...

I love Rust in Piece. That's a great album!

Lola Sharp said...

I went through a Rush phase in my younger days. :)

Ella said...

Beautiful covers! I love some of your pics,others I don't know!
Great job with the descriptions; I will put them on my new listen list!

DiscConnected said...

Interesting list, Alex. While I own most of the titles on your list, they did not make mine.

I thought I was the only person in the world who knew of Redemption or Guilt Machine...and Catherine Wheel? Someone else who remembers Catherin Wheel!

"Scenes From A Memory" would be my Dream Theater title, but "Awake" is a good one. And you can nver go wrong with Rush! They're bypassing Phoenix this summer so I am bummed.

But the selection you made that made me curse my list for not even considering it, was the 80's album that proved concept albums were still alive and well-Mindcrime, of course!

Excellent choices all.

Glynis Peters said...

DH would appreciate your list. I have only heard of a few.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good stuff, Ellie.

Disc, you are not! That's three of us now who know Catherine Wheel. And several mentioned they forgot Mindcrime.