Last Monday I began giving my choices for my Desert Island Discs selection to celebrate two years of RockAtlantic. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, Desert Island Discs is a BBC radio show that asks celebrities about what music they would choose if they were castaway on a desert island. I began my list with Coheed & Cambria’s No World For Tomorrow, Reuben’s In Nothing We Trust, Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave and Steven Wilson’s Insurgentes. In today’s blog I give the other four albums, saving my favourite until last.
Tool – 10,000 Days
When it comes to Tool, people seem to either love them or hate them; regarding their music as either supreme genius or pretentious and boring. I, clearly, fall into the first category and out of the four albums they have released so far (in 25 years), their most recent effort is the one that pleases me the most. 10,000 Days is a continuation of its predecessor Lateralus, with lengthy progressive metal passages that switch at will between time signatures and instrumentation that is very percussive in nature; even vocalist Maynard James Keenan adapts his vocals to this style. Not only is the music inside superb, but the art and 3D packaging is incredible too, adding further to the band’s creative ambition.
Porcupine Tree – Deadwing
Steven Wilson makes a second appearance on the list, which is only fitting for a man who seems to be involved in everything good that comes out of the progressive genre. Deadwing is a concept album, inspired by a film script written in part by Wilson, which helps make the music feel focused, as well as giving a it good flow. The record also embraces many different aspects of Wilson’s sound, with heavier tracks, like Shallow and Halo, and ethereal numbers, like Lazarus and Mellotron Scratch, sitting happily alongside each other. Deadwing is certainly one of Porcupine Tree’s more complete records, so much so that it earns a place in my top eight albums.
Opeth – Blackwater Park
Few bands have such a defining album as Opeth’s Blackwater Park. This record helped elevate the Swedish progressive metal band into the big time (and into the so-called ‘Big Four’ of progressive metal) and has become a staple record in any metal fan’s collection. The combination of huge guitar riffs, light acoustic sections, death metal growls and the odd drop of progressive rock nostalgia, helped to create an album blueprint, not only for their subsequent releases, but for the many imitators and emulators too.
Number One: Anathema – Weather Systems
When trying to describe Weather Systems, only one word seems to do it justice: beautiful. Anathema epitomise post-progressive music, with their use of lush orchestration, soaring vocals and tracks that build up to an epic crescendo. Weather Systems employs all of these, letting the emotional subject matter of the lyrics be communicated through the music too. The album is even more impressive when you consider that this was only Anathema’s second album in this style; they originally began as a doom metal outfit, before evolving through alternative rock to reach their current incarnation. Looking at my iTunes library reveals that the record’s second track, Untouchable Part 2, is my most played song, which just shows how much Weather Systems resonates with me and is direct proof as to why it deserves its place as my favourite album.
I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who reads RockAtlantic and for keeping me motivated over the last two years! Join the RockAtlantic mailing list by clicking on follow and as always press like if you enjoyed this blog and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.