Thursday, December 19, 2019

REACT TO: Jordan Blum's Top 10 Progressive Rock Concept Albums


Jordan Blum is someone I interact with frequently on Social Media and he writes for an extensive list of webzines, which Consequence of Sound being one he's been writing for often of late.

And he posted something like 2 or 3 weeks ago about writing an article about the Top 10 Prog Concept Albums, which per the link above, he finally had published.

The Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed (1967)
Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick (1972)
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)
Pink Floyd - The Wall (1979)
Dream Theater - Scenes from a Memory (1999)
Spock's Beard - Snow (2002)
Ayreon - The Human Equation (2004)
Gazpacho - Night (2007)
Phideaux - Doomsday Afternoon (2007)
The Dear Hunter - Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional (2016)

I like many records on Jordan's list, namely the Tull, The Dear Hunter, Genesis and Dream Theater.

Phideaux I enjoy and would place still as my favorite record from him.

The Moodies record is a concept album? I guess I never realized that. It is probably their most well known (for "Nights in White Satin" alone), and often regarded as a favorite.

The Wall? said it many times before, it's overrated both musically and probably more so, the concept/story. I do still enjoy a lot of it, per I do love Floyd.

Ayreon and Gazpacho are not bands I've ever gotten into. I know many do though, but so be it. Jordan must love those albums a lot.

Now I sort of did a React To a similar list back in 2016 here, but I didn't compile 10 (or even 15), but just 4. And that list was just "Concept Albums" which the percent of concept albums that are not loosely considered progressive rock/metal is probably a small percentage.

Every record below I has a great flow and theme(s) that seem to give them something greater than the sum of their parts.

Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick (1972)

Epic flow, themes, riffs, and goose-bump moments to look forward to all are reasons I love this record to bits.

Pink Floyd - Animals (1977)

Floyd doing prog. Dark lyrically, but gorgeous harmonically and arrangement-wise. The piano, wah-wah guitar effects and atmosphere is like no other Floyd record. It's also a big fuck you to the different social sects society.

King's X - Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989)

Fantasy story with incredible dynamics and variations on styles. King's X never got more creative musically or even lyrically in a lot of ways.

Marillion - Brave (1994)

The saddest most dark-emotional charged music Marillion ever made. The story, while fictional, is unbelievably sympathetic. This is basically fetal-position music for every life-form on the planet.

Fates Warning - A Pleasant Shade of Gray (1997)

A telling of life's memories and regrets, trying to go through therapy by recalling what you did or could have done. It's a masterwork in composition of 1 extended piece that last as long as 10, but feels incomplete without all the parts.

Jim Matheos fuck you to the single/hit making music industry that they never were or should have needed to be a part of.

Pain of Salvation - The Perfect Element I (2000)

A child's mental health, brought in by an enormous range of emotions, darkness and beauty. Schizophrenic tones that work like clockwork.

Kevin Gilbert - The Shaming of the True (2000)

A fictional story that draws largely on Kevin Gilbert's experience at becoming, being, and dealing with the perils and downfalls of being a Rockstar.

A classic story arc that represents far too many experiences with the entertainment industry.
"15 minutes of fame" "Overnight Success."

Which in a lot of ways also represents LIFE's challenges.

dredg - El Cielo (2002)

A mesmerizing collection of stories of the trauma of sleep paralysis.  The melancholy is so sympathetic throughout many of the moments on here, it's impossible not forget.

"Art" and "Artwork" find many layers and meanings here.

The Receiving End of Sirens - Between the Heart and the Synapse (2005)

An epic trip into a criminal's dream(s) escaping from incarceration, only to find it to be not their death, but transition/ascension to another plane.

Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (2005)

A writer's experience going through therapy from crafting a story about the experiences from failed relationships.

Kaddisfly - Set Sail the Prairie (2007)

An adventure through the calendar year and present time (century(s)) of the planet's evolution.
The weather/climate months and seasons are represented with each track, one can only feel like the time frame on the calendar year, just noticing the differences (per "Snowflakes" in December vs "Campfire" in July).

Apes and Androids - Blood Moon (2008)

The River Empires - Epilogue (2010)

The Dear Hunter - The Color Spectrum (2011)

Pepe Deluxe - Queen of the Wave (2012)