Retrospectives

008: Best of 2015 – Nick, Mason, and Joe’s top picks of 2015
007: Best of 2014 – Nick and Mason’s top picks of 2014
006: Best of 2013 – Nick and Mason’s top picks of 2013
005: Best of 2012 – Nick and Mason’s top picks of 2012
004: Best of 2011 – Nick’s top picks of 2011
003: Best of 2010 – Nick and Jeff top picks of 2010
002: Best of 2009 – Nick and Jeff top picks of 2009
001: Best of 2008 – Nick and Jeff top picks of 2008


008

Steven WilsonThe Best of 2015
Audio Commentary

As 2015 comes to a close, we look back as we always do at our favorites from the year. There are a few changes in how things have ran the past few years however. First, contributor Joseph Tingle will be joining Nick and Mason in adding choices to the yearly list. Secondly, instead of the three of us recording audio separately, we will be presenting discussion style, going over our picks together.

In this post you will see the image of Steven Wilson, whose latest album, Hand. Cannot. Erase., earned a bronze, silver, and gold amongst the three judges this year. This makes it the highest consensus pick amongst the staff, and the overall When Prog and Power Unite album of the year. I’d like to think this is the most prestigious award that this exceptionally obscure and young artist has ever received. Congratulations Steven!

If viewing on the web, head to the end of this post you will find the play button to hear the 96 minute discussion as we discuss our picks, as well as several that didn’t make the lists. We hope you all enjoyed 2015 as much as we did, and look forward to spreading the joy in 2016!

Top 10 Albums of 2015
Nick:
10. Exovex – Radio Silence
9. Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls
8. The Dear Hunter – Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise
7. Queensryche – Condition Human
6. The Gentle Storm – The Diary
5. Von Hertzen Brothers – New Day Rising
4. Vanden Plas – Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld II
3. Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.
2. Riverside – Love, Fear and the Time Machine
1. Beardfish – +4626- ComfortZone

Mason:
10. Arena – The Unquiet Sky
9. Mystery – Delusion Rain
8. Magic Pie – King For a Day
7. Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls
6. Subsignal – The Beacons of Somewhere Sometime
5. The Dear Hunter – Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise
4. Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic
3. Iris Divine – Karma Sown
2. Riverside – Love, Fear and the Time Machine
1. Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase

Joe:
10. Not a Good Sign – From a Distance
9. The Aristrocrats – Tres Caballeros
8. Nordic Giants – A Séance of Dark Delusions
7. Beardfish – +4626- ComfortZone
6. The Dear Hunter – Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise
5. Puscifer – Money Shot
4. Caspian – Dust and Disquiet
3. Foxing – Dealer
2. Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.
1. Vennart – The Demon Joke

Songwriter/Composer of the Year
Nick: Casey Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter)
Mason: Steven Wilson (Steven Wilson)
Joe: Maynard James Keenan (Puscifer)

Vocalist of the Year
Nick: Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)
Mason: Casey Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter)
Joe: Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)

Guitarist of the Year
Nick: Eric Gillette (The Neal Morse Band)
Mason: Navid Rashid (Iris Divine)
Joe: Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats)

Bassist of the Year
Nick: Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs)
Mason: Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson)
Joe: Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson)

Keyboardist of the Year
Nick: Michal Lapaj (Riverside)
Mason: David Bertok (Subsignal)
Joe: Rikard Sjöblom (Beardfish)

Drummer of the Year
Nick: Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats)
Mason: Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats)
Joe: Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats)

Song of the Year (Song Under 10 Minutes)
Nick: Hand Cannot Erase (Steven Wilson)
Mason: Happy Returns (Steven Wilson)
Joe: Vennart (Amends)

Epic of the Year (Song Over 10 Minutes)
Nick: Alive Again (Neal Morse Band)
Mason: Empire of the Clouds (Iron Maiden)
Joe: If We Must Be Apart (Beardfish)

Ballad of the Year
Nick: Time Travelers (Riverside)
Mason: Time Travelers (Riverside)
Joe: Glass Coughs (Foxing)

Disappointment of the Year
Nick: District 97 – In Vaults
Mason: Leprous – The Congregation
Joe: Intervals – The Colour of Sound

Comeback Album of the Year
Nick: Queensryche – Condition Human
Mason: Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls
Joe: The Dear Hunter – Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise

Newcomer of the Year
Nick: Exovex – Radio Silence
Mason: Iris Divine – Karma Sown
Joe: Nordic Giants – A Séance of Dark Delusions

Album Cover/Artwork of the Year
Nick: Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Mason: Native Construct – Quiet World
Joe: Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.

Top 3 Shows/Tours of the Year
Nick:
3. Evergrey, Voyager,  Borealis, and MindMaze in Baltimore
2. Rush in Newark
1. Steven Wilson in Glenside

Mason:
3. Blind Guardian in Orlando
2. Steven Wilson in Glenside
1. RoSFest in Gettysburg

Joe:
3. Steven Wilson in New York City
2. Enslaved in Philadelphia
1. Blind Guardian in Philadelphia

Top Concert Video of the Year
Nick: Rush – R40 Live
Mason: Flying Colors – Second Flight: Live at the Z7

Most Anticipated Releases in 2016
Nick: Haken
Mason: Dream Theater, Haken, Redemption, and Circus Maximus
Joe: Blackfield


007

The Best of 2014

Audio Commentary to Explain the Picks
Listen to these links while going through the list to get a better idea of what Nick and Mason were thinking when they made their selections.
NickMason

Top 10 Albums of 2014
Nick
10. Dream the Electric Sleep – Heretics
9. Threshold – For the Journey
8. Enchant – The Great Divide
7. MindMaze – Back From the Edge
6. Anathema – Distant Satellites
5. Vanden Plas – Chronicles of the Immortals
4. Flying Colors – Second Nature
3. The Pineapple Thief – Magnolia
2. Evergrey – Hymns for the Broken
1. IQ – The Road of Bones

Mason
10. The Contortionist – Language
9. Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere
8. Scar Symmetry – The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity)
7. Anubis Gate – Horizons
6. Ne Obliviscaris – Citadel
5. Thoughts Factory – Lost
4. MindMaze – Back From The Edge
3. Flaming Row – Mirage – A Portrayal in Figures
2. Evergrey – Hymns for the Broken
1. IQ – The Road of Bones

Songwriter/Composer of the Year
Nick: Tom Englund (Evergrey)
Mason: Tom Englund (Evergrey)

Vocalist of the Year
Nick: Lee Douglas (Anathema)
Mason: Tom Englund (Evergrey)

Guitarist of the Year
Nick: Karl Groom (Threshold)
Mason: Jeff Teets (MindMaze)

Bassist of the Year
Nick: Dave LaRue (Flying Colors)
Mason: Dan Briggs (Trioscapes)

Keyboardist of the Year
Nick: Neil Durant (IQ)
Mason: Neil Durant (IQ)

Drummer of the Year
Nick: Joey Waters (Dream the Electric Sleep)
Mason: Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, Flying Colors & Bigelf)

Guest Appearance of the Year
Nick: Mike LePond (MindMaze)
Mason: Mike LePond (MindMaze)

Song of the Year (Song Under 10 Minutes)
Nick: King of Errors (Evergrey)
Mason: The Motherload (Mastodon)

Epic of the Year (Song Over 10 Minutes)
Nick: Without Walls (IQ)
Mason: Without Walls (IQ)

Ballad of the Year
Nick: Peaceful Harbor (Flying Colors)
Mason: The Aftermath (Evergrey)

Disappointment of the Year
Nick: Heaven and Earth (Yes)
Mason: Opeth, Devin Townsend, & the stupid high prices on European only releases.

Comeback Album of the Year
Nick: The Great Divide (Enchant)
Mason: The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity) (Scar Symmetry)

Newcomer of the Year (One or two albums)
Nick: Mask of Lies (MindMaze)
Mason: Lost (Thoughts Factory)

Album Cover/Artwork of the Year
Nick: The Endless River (Pink Floyd)
Mason: Once More ‘Round The Sun (Mastodon)

Top 3 Shows/Tours of the Year
Nick:
3. Dream Theater in Upper Darby
2. Transatlantic in Glenside
1. Progressive Nation at Sea

Mason:
2. Between The Buried And Me at Tremont Music Hall
1. MindMaze at Deland Metal Fest

Top Concert Videos of 2014
Nick: KaLiveascope (Transatlantic)

Most Anticipated Releases in 2015
Nick: Steven Wilson and The Gentle Storm
Mason: Wonder, Between the Buried and Me, & Haken


006

The Best of 2013

Audio Commentary to Explain the Picks
Listen to these links while going through the list to get a better idea of what Nick and Mason were thinking when they made their selections.
NickMason

Top 10 Albums of 2013
Nick
10. MindMaze – Mask of Lies
9. Levin Minnemann Rudess – Levin Minnemann Rudess
8. Fates Warning – Darkness in a Different Light
7. Sound of Contact – Dimensionaut
6. Dream Theater – Dream Theater
5. Spock’s Beard – Brief Nocturnes and and Dreamless Sleep
4. James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
3. Ayreon – The Theory of Everything
2. Haken – The Mountain
1. Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing

Mason (Edited post-audio)
10. Jolly – The Audio Guide to Happiness Pt. 2
9. Scale the Summit – The Migration
8. Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing
7. Deafheaven – Sunbather
6. Sound of Contact – Dimensionaut
5. MindMaze – Mask of Lies
4. Ghost B.C. – Infestissumam
3. James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
2. Fanticide – The Fall of Grace
1. Haken – The Mountain

Songwriter/Composer of the Year
Nick: Matt Guillory (James LaBrie)
Mason: Matt Guillory (James LaBrie)

Vocalist of the Year
Nick: James LaBrie (Dream Theater, James LaBrie)
Mason: Ted Leonard (Spock’s Beard, Thought Chamber)

Guitarist of the Year
Nick: Jim Matheos (Fates Warning)
Mason: Chris Letchford (Scale the Summit)

Bassist of the Year
Nick: Mariusz Duda (Riverside)
Mason: Steven Clark (Deafheaven)

Keyboardist of the Year
Nick: Diego Tejeida (Haken)
Mason: Diego Tejeida (Haken)

Drummer of the Year
Nick: Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Rudess Minnemann Rudess)
Mason: Peter Wildoer (James LaBrie, Darkane)

Multi-Instrumentalist of the Year
Mason: Adami Gordon – Fanticide

Guest Appearance of the Year
Nick: JB (Ayreon)
Mason: Ihsahn (Leprous)

Song of the Year (Song Under 10 Minutes)
Nick: Cockroach King (Haken)
Mason: Cockroach King (Haken)

Epic of the Year (Song Over 10 Minutes)
Nick: And Yet it Moves (Fates Warning)
Mason: Falling Back to Earth (Haken)

Ballad of the Year
Nick: The Raven That Refused to Sing (Steven Wilson)
Mason: The Raven That Refused to Sing (Steven Wilson)

Disappointment of the Year
Nick: Coal (Leprous)
Mason: Intronaut (Habitual Levitations)

Comeback Album of the Year
Nick: Queensryche – Queensryche
Mason: Darkness in a Different Light (Fates Warning)

Newcomer of the Year (One or two albums)
Nick: Dimensionaut (Sound of Contact)
Mason: Mask of Lies (MindMaze)

Album Cover/Artwork of the Year
Nick: Desolation Rose (The Flower Kings)
Mason: Whales and Leeches (Red Fang)

Top 3 Shows/Tours of the Year
Nick:
3. Queensryche (March 9th)
2. Coheed and Cambria (October 20th)
1. RoSfest 2013 (May 3rd-5th)

Top Concert Videos of 2013
Nick: Clockwork Angels Tour (Rush)
Mason:
4. The Color Spectrum Live (The Dear Hunter)
3. Live in Europe (Flying Colors)
2. Clockwork Angels Tour (Rush)
1. The Retinal Circus (Devin Townsend)

Most Anticipated Release in 2014
Nick: Flaming Row
Mason: Transatlantic

Results of the 2013 Album of the Year Poll (Top 8)
1. MindMaze – Mask of Lies (30%)
2. Haken – The Mountain (21%)
3. Dream Theater – Dream Theater (10%)
4T. Ayreon – The Theory of Everything (8%)
4T. Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (8%)
6. Bruce Soord & Jonas Renkse – Wisdom of Crowds (6%)
7. Fates Warning – Darkness in a Different Light (4%)
8. Queensryche – Queensryche (3%)


005

The Best of 2012

Audio Commentary to Explain the Picks
Listen to these links while going through the list to get a better idea of what Nick and Mason were thinking when they made their selections.
NickMason

Top 10 Albums of 2012
Nick
10. Neal Morse – Momentum
9. Beyond the Bridge – The Old Man and the Spirit
8. Threshold – March of Progress
7. Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension
6. Beardfish – The Void
5. Anathema – Weather Systems
4. Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Lost in the New Real
3. Flying Colors – Flying Colors
2. Headspace – I Am Anonymous
1. Rush – Clockwork Angels

Mason
10. Affector – Harmageddon
9. Pyramid Theorem – Pyramid Theorem
8. Between The Buried And Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence
7. Beardfish – The Void
6. Headspace – I Am Anonymous
5. Rush – Clockwork Angels
4. Effloresce – Coma Ghosts
3. Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man and The Spirit
2. Enslaved – RIITIIЯ
1. Circus Maximus – Nine

Songwriter/Composer of the Year
Nick: Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
Mason: Neal Peart (Rush)

Vocalist of the Year
Nick: Damian Wilson (Threshold, Headspace)
Mason: Damien Wilson (Threshold, Headspace)

Guitarist of the Year
Nick: Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings)
Mason: Samuel Ermellini (Pyramid Theorem)

Bassist of the Year
Nick: Geddy Lee (Rush)
Mason: Sebastian (Effloresce)

Keyboardist of the Year
Nick: Adam Wakeman (Headspace)
Mason: Adam Wakeman (Headspace)

Drummer of the Year
Nick: Josh Eppard (Coheed and Cambria)
Mason: Neal Peart (Rush)

Guest Appearance of the Year
Nick: Lzzy Hale (on Adrenaline Mob – Omega)
Mason: Andy Tillison (on Beardfish – The Void)

Song of the Year (Song Under 10 Minutes)
Nick: Flying Colors – The Storm
Mason: Pyramid Theorem – Another Day Slips By

Epic of the Year (Song Over 10 Minutes)
Nick: District 97 – A Perfect Young Man
Mason: Circus Maximus – Architect of Fortune

Ballad of the Year
Nick: Rush – The Garden
Mason: Rush – The Garden

Disappointment of the Year
Nick: Nightwish – Imaginarium
Mason: Stones Grow Her Name – Sonata Arctica

Comeback Album of the Year
Nick: Muse – The 2nd Law
Mason: Ben Folds Five – The Sound of the Life of the Mind

Newcomer of the Year (One or two albums)
Nick: Beyond the Bridge
Mason: Beyond The Bridge

Album Cover/Artwork of the Year
Nick: Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension
Mason: Green/Yellow – Baroness

Top 3 Shows/Tours of the Year
Nick:
1. Rush’s Clockwork Angels Tour
2. Beardfish in Dunellen, NJ
3. Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper in Camden, NJ

Live DVD of the Year
Nick: Steven Wilson – Get All You Deserve
Mason: Live by a Thread: London in 2011 (Devin Townsend Project)

Most Anticipated Release in 2013
Nick: Ayreon
Mason: Dream Theater

Results of the 2012 Album of the Year Poll (Top 10)
10. Mystery – The World is a Game
10. Beardfish – The Void
9. Muse – The 2nd Law
7. Flying Colors – Flying Colors
7. Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension
5. Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud
5. Threshold – March of Progress
4. Headspace – I Am Anonymous
3. Anathema – Weather Systems
2. Circus Maximus – Nine
1. Rush – Clockwork Angels


004

The Best of 2011

Audio Commentary to Explain the Picks
Listen to this while going through the list to get a better idea of what Nick was thinking when he made his selections.

Top 10 Albums of 2011
Nick
1. Beardfish – Mammoth
2. Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events
3. Flaming Row – Elinoire
4. Pain of Salvation – Road Salt Two
5. Symphony X – Iconoclast
6. Neal Morse – Testimony Two
7. Eden’s Curse – Trinity
8. Pendragon – Passion
9. Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance
10. Royal Hunt – Show Me How to Live

Songwriter/Composer of the Year
Nick: Martin Schnella (Flaming Row)

Vocalist of the Year
Nick: Russell Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob)

Guitarist of the Year
Nick: Jim Matheos (Arch/Matheos)

Bassist of the Year
Nick: Eddie Beckenridge (Thrice)

Keyboardist of the Year
Nick: Jordan Rudess (A Dramatic Turn of Events)

Drummer of the Year
Nick: Tobias Anderson (Leprous)

Guest Appearance of the Year
Nick: James LaBrie (Eden’s Curse)

Song of the Year (Song Under 10 Minutes)
Nick: The Deeper Cut (Pain of Salvation)
(Note: This was originally listed as Symphony X’s Iconoclast until I realized that it was over 10 minutes and that song is used in the commentary.)

Epic of the Year (Song Over 10 Minutes)
Nick: This Green and Pleasant Land (Pendragon)

Ballad of the Year
Nick: Jayda (Neal Morse)

Disappointment of the Year
Nick: Dedicated to Chaos (Queensryche)

Comeback Album of the Year
Nick: What If… (Mr. Big)

Newcomer of the Year (One or two albums)
Nick: Elinoire (Flaming Row)

Album Cover/Artwork of the Year
Nick: This Mortal Coil (Redemption, Travis Smith)

Top 3 Shows/Tours of the Year
Nick
1. Dream Theater’s A Dramatic Tour of Events
2. Evergrey in Philadelphia
3. Neal Morse in New York City

Live DVD of the Year
Nick: Rush – Time Machine Tour

Most Anticipated Release in 2012
Nick: Rush – Clockwork Angels

Results of the 2011 Album of the Year Poll
1. Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events (40%)
2. Pain of Salvation – Road Salt Two (13%)
3. Flaming Row – Elinoire (11%)
4. Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance (8%)
5. Haken – Visions (8%)
6. The Dear Hunter – The Color Spectrum (5%)
7. Three – The Ghost You Gave to Me (3%)
8. Fair to Midland – Anchors and Arrows (3%)
9. Karmakanic – In a Perfect World (3%)
10. Leprous – Bilateral (3%)
11. Mr. Big – What If? (3%)


003

The Best of 2010

Audio Commentary to Explain the Picks
Listen to these tracks while going through the list to get a better idea of what Nick and Jeff were thinking when they made their selections.
NickJeff

Top 10 Albums of 2010
Nick
1. Star One – Victims of a Modern Age
2. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony/Angel of Babylon
3. Haken – Aquarius
4. Anathema – We’re Here Because We’re Here
5. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
6. Joe Satriani – Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards
7. Spock’s Beard – X
8. James LaBrie – Static Impulse
9. Pain of Salvation – Road Salt One
10. Kaipa – In the Wake of Evolution

Jeff
1. Silent Call – Greed
2. Seventh Wonder – The Great Escape
3. Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time
4. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony/Angel of Babylon
5. Labyrinth – Return to Heaven Denied II
6. Allen/Lande – The Revenge
7. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
8. Wuthering Heights – Salt
9. Creation’s End – A New Beginning
10. Vanden Plas – The Seraphic Clockwork

Songwriter/Composer of the Year
Nick: Arjen Lucassen (Star One)
Jeff: Tobias Sammet (Avantasia)

Vocalist of the Year
Nick: Russell Allen (Star One, Avantasia, Allen/Lande)
Jeff: Andi Kravljaca (Silent Call)

Guitarist of the Year
Nick: Joe Satriani (Joe Satriani)
Jeff: Marco Sfogli (Creation’s End, James LaBrie)

Bassist of the Year
Nick: Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)
Jeff: Andreas Blomkquist (Seventh Wonder)

Keyboardist of the Year
Nick: Les Smith (Anathema)
Jeff: Zoltan Kas (Dreyelands)

Drummer of the Year
Nick: Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard)
Jeff: Fredrik Ehmke (Blind Guardian, Sinbreed)

Guest Appearance of the Year
Nick: Jorn Lande (Avantaia)
Jeff: Russell Allen (Avantasia, Star One)

Song of the Year (Song Under 10 Minutes)
Nick: Rush – Caravan
Jeff: Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony

Epic of the Year (Song Over 10 Minutes)
Nick: Haken – Celestial Elixir
Jeff: Seventh Wonder – The Great Escape

Ballad of the Year
Nick: Coheed and Cambria – Pearl of the Stars
Jeff: Avantasia – Runaway Train

Disappointment of the Year
Nick: Asia – Omega
Jeff: Halford – IV: Made of Metal

Comeback Album of the Year
Nick: Lunatic Soul – Lunatic Soul II
Jeff: Labyrinth – Return to Heaven Denied II

Newcomer of the Year (One or two albums)
Nick: Haken – Aquarius
Jeff: Silent Call – Greed

Album Cover/Artwork of the Year
Nick: Star One – Victims of the Modern Age (Christophe Dessaigne & Thomas Ewerhard)
Jeff: Angra – Aqua (Gustavo Sazes)

Top 3 Shows/Tours of the Year
Nick
1. Rush’s Time Machine Tour
2. Transatlantic’s Whirld Tour
3. Iron Maiden’s Final Frontier Tour (US leg w/ Dream Theater)

Jeff
1. Iron Maiden’s Final Frontier Tour (US leg w/ Dream Theater)
2. Firewind’s Days of Defiance Tour
3. Accept & King’s X Tour

Live DVD of the Year
Nick: Transatlantic – Whirld Tour 2010: Live in London
Jeff: Primal Fear – 16.6 All Over the World

Most Anticipated Release in 2011
Nick: Rush – Clockwork Angels
Jeff: Evergrey – Glorious Collision

Results of the 2010 Album of the Year Poll
1. Haken – Aquarius (245, 38%)
2. Seventh Wonder – The Great Escape (196, 30%)
3. Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time (60, 9%)
4. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony/Angel of Babylon (36, 6%)
5. Anathema – We’re Here Because We’re Here (19, 3%)
6. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier (19, 3%)
7. Pain of Salvation – Road Salt One (13, 2%)
8. James LaBrie – Static Impulse (13, 2%)
9. Star One – Victims of the Modern Age (12, 2%)
10. Vanden Plas – The Seraphic Clockwork (12,2%)
11. Spock’s Beard – X (11, 2%)
12. Wuthering Heights – Salt (7, 1%)
13. Joe Satriani – Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards (3)
14. Allen/Lande – The Showdown (2)
15. Dreyelands – Rooms of Revelation (2)
16. Kaipa – In the Wake of Evolution (1)
17. Labyrinth – Return to Heaven Denied II (1)
18. Sinbreed – When Worlds Collide (1)
19. Silent Call – Greed (0)
20. Powerworld – Human Parasite (0)


002

The Best of 2009

Audio Commentary to Explain the Picks
Listen to these tracks while going through the list to get a better idea of what Nick and Jeff were thinking when they made their selections.
NickJeff

Top 10 Albums of 2009
Nick
1. Transatlantic – The Whirlwind
2. Dream Theater – Black Clouds and Silver Linings
3. Redemption – Snowfall on Judgment Day
4. Shadow Gallery – Digital Ghosts
5. Riverside – Anno Domini High Definition
6. Roswell Six – Terra Incognita: Beyond the Horizon
7. Porcupine Tree – The Incident
8. IQ – Frequency
9. Phideaux – Number Seven
10. Amorphis – Skyforger

Jeff
1. Redemption – Snowfall on Judgment Day
2. Bloodbound – Tabula Rasa
3. Lord – Set in Stone
4. Jaded Heart – Perfect Insanity
5. Machines of Grace – Machines of Grace
6. Killing Touch – One of a Kind
7. Savage Circus – Of Doom and Death
8. Mind Key – Pulse For a Graveheart
9. DGM -Frame
10.Dream Theater – Black Clouds and Silver Linings

Songwriter/Composer of the Year
Nick: Nic Van Dyk (Redemption – Snowfall on Judgment Day)
Jeff: Nick Van Dyk (Redemption – Snowfall on Judgment Day)

Vocalist of the Year
Nick: Neal Morse & Roine Stolt (Transatlantic – The Whirlwind)
Jeff: Urban Breed (Bloodbound – Tabula Rasa)

Guitarist of the Year
Nick: Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery – Digital Ghosts, Roswell Six – Terra Incognita: Beyond the Horizon)
Jeff: “Lord” Tim Grose (Lord – Set in Stone)

Bassist of the Year
Nick: Mariusz Duda (Riverside – Anno Domini High Definition)
Jeff: Sean Andrews (Redemption – Snowfall on Judgment Day)

Keyboardist of the Year
Nick: Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings, Jordan Rudess – Notes on a Dream)
Jeff: Jens Johansson (Stratovarius – Polaris)

Drummer of the Year
Nick: Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic – The Whirlwind, Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings)
Jeff: Chris Quirarte (Redemption – Snowfall on Judgment Day)

Guest Appearance of the Year
Nick: James LaBrie (Roswell Six – Terra Incognita: Beyond the Horizon)
Jeff: James LaBrie (Redemption – Snowfall on Judgment Day)

Song of the Year (Song Under 10 Minutes)
Nick: Riverside – Egoist Hedonist
Jeff: Saxon – Battalions of Steel

Epic of the Year (Song Over 10 Minutes)
Nick: Dream Theater – The Count of Tuscany
Jeff: Dream Theater – The Count of Tuscany

Ballad of the Year
Nick: Roswell Six – Merciful Tides
Jeff: Primal Fear – Hands of Time

Disappointment of the Year
Nick: Vision Divine – Nine Degrees West of the Moon
Jeff: Heaven and Hell – The Devil You Know

Comeback Album of the Year
Nick: Sonata Arctica – The Days of Grays
Jeff: Dream Theater – Black Clouds and Silver Linings

Newcomer of the Year (Three or fewer albums.)
Nick: Roswell Six – Terra Incognita: Beyond the Horizon
Jeff: Machines of Grace – Machines of Grace

Album Cover/Artwork of the Year
Nick: Phideaux – Number Seven
Jeff: Killing Touch – One of a Kind

Top 3 Shows/Tours of the Year
Nick
1. Progressive Nation 2009
2. Beardfish at NEARfest
3. Tesla’s Forevermore Tour

Jeff
1. Primal Fear’s 16.6 Tour in New York City
2. Saxon in New York City
3. King’s X’s XV Tour in Poughkeepsie, NY

Live DVD of the Year
Nick: Pain of Salvation – Ending Themes
Jeff: Pagan’s Mind – Live Equation

Most Anticipated Release in 2010
Nick: John Petrucci
Jeff: Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony/Angel of Babylon

Results of the 2009 Album of the Year Poll
1. Redemption – Snowfall on Judgment Day (68 Votes, 35%)
2. Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings (54 Votes, 28%)
3. Riverside – Anno Domini High Definition (19 Votes, 10%)
4. Shadow Gallery – Digital Ghosts (15 Votes, 8%)
5. Transatlantic – The Whirlwind (14 Votes, 7%)
6. Bloodbound – Tabula Rasa (9 Votes, 5%)
7. Savage Circus – Of Doom and Death (7 Votes, 4%)
8. Lord – Set in Stone – (3 Votes, 2%)
9. Roswell Six – Terra Incognita: Beyond the Horizon (2 Votes, 1%)
10. Jaded Heart – Perfect Insanity & Machines of Grace – Machines of Grace (1 Vote, 1%)


001

The Best of 2008

Top 10 Albums of 2008
Nick
1. Royal Hunt – Paradox II: Collision Course
2. Dominici – 03, A Trilogy: Part Three
3. Beardfish – Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two
4. Ayreon – 01011001
5. Karmakanic – Who’s the Boss in the Factory?
6. Steven Wilson – Insurgentes
7. Serenity – Fallen Sanctuary
8. Firewind – The Premonition
9. Demians – Building an Empire
10. Tiles – Flypaper

Jeff
1. Royal Hunt – Paradox II: Collision Course
2. Pyramaze – Immortal
3. Firewind – The Premonition
4. Avantasia – The Scarecrow
5. Theocracy – Mirror of Souls
6. Serenity – Fallen Sanctuary
7. Hibria – The Skull Collectors
8. Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus
9. Evergrey – Torn
10. Circle II Circle – Delusions of Grandeur

Vocalist of the Year
Nick: Mark Boals (Royal Hunt – Paradox II: Collision Course)
Jeff: Matt Barlow (Pyramaze – Immortal)

Guitarist of the Year
Nick: Gus G. (Firewind – The Premonition)
Jeff: Andy Lee (Circle II Circle – Delusions of Grandeur)

Bassist of the Year
Nick: Jeff Whittle (Tiles – Flypaper)
Jeff: Marco Pinichi (Hibria – The Skull Collectors)

Keyboardist of the Year
Nick: Rikard Sjoblom (Beardfish – Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two)
Jeff: Andre Anderson (Royal Hunt – Collision Course: Paradox II)

Drummer of the Year
Nick: Yan Milliard (Dominici – O3, A Trilogy: Part Three)
Jeff: Mark Cross (Firewind – The Premonition)

Guest Appearance of the Year
Nick: Steve Lee (Ayreon – 01011001)
Jeff: Jorn Lande (Avantasia – The Scarecrow)

Song of the Year
Nick: Firewind: Mercenary Man
Jeff: Avantasia – The Scarecrow

Ballad of the Year
Nick: Serenity – Fairytale (Fallen Sanctuary)
Jeff: Pyramaze – Legacy in a Rhyme (Immortal)

Epic of the Year
Nick: Dominici – Genesis (O3, A Trilogy: Part Three)
Jeff: Theocracy – Mirror of Souls (Mirror of Souls)

Disappointment of the Year
Nick: Mostly Autumn – Glass Shadows
Jeff: Iced Earth – The Crucible of Man

Comeback of the Year
Nick: Neal Morse – Lifeline
Jeff: Evergrey – Torn

Newcomer of the Year (Three or fewer albums.)
Nick: Demians – Building an Empire
Jeff: Serenity – Fallen Sanctuary

Show of the Year
Nick: Iron Maiden’s Somewhere Back in Time Tour
Jeff: Jon Oliva’s Pain & Circle II Circle Tour

Live DVD of the Year
Nick: Rush – Snakes and Arrows Live
Jeff: Gamma Ray – Hell Yeah!