Tag Archives: retrospective
The Best of 2016

Another year, another retrospective. When it comes to music this year it’s easy to stew over what we lost. Iconic names like Prince, Lemmy, and David Bowie all left us over the course of the last twelve months. But, as with pretty much any year, there is much to look back fondly on, and so we reflect back on our favorites of 2016. Of all the albums heard this year only two of them made the top 10 lists of all three contributors to the program. The consensus runner up this year is Haken‘s fourth full length album, Affinity, which also spawned a wide range of individual awards. But, there can be only one album of the year, and so…

This year’s consensus choice as When Prog and Power Unite‘s album of the year is Theories of Flight from Fates Warning! This modern progressive metal masterpiece from one of the genre’s earliest applicants completely floored us, coming in at #1, #2, and #7 on our three lists. In addition the album spawned one nod to Jim Matheos for composer of the year, two nods to Ray Alder as vocalist of the year, and a nod to “The Light and Shade of Things” as epic of the year.

During the course of our the podcast you can listen as Nick explains all his picks in detail, and follow-up with an ill and congested Joe running through his top ten of the year. Additionally, if you wish to hear Mason‘s picks explained you can do so here. Be forewarned, due to some current technical limitations on his end the audio is somewhat muddy and choppy, but it’s still always good to hear his take!

A big thanks as always to everyone who tuned in during this past year, and we look forward to the new year in a big way as, on the first Wednesday of the year, January 4th,  we kick off 2017 with our year-end wrap up spectacular. This show will be extended, as always, and will run from 4pm-10pm EST. That’s 9pm-3am UTC. As always we will be playing a lot of the music discussed here, as well as so much more. If you only tune in for one show next year, that’s the one you want!

Top 10 Albums of 2016
Nick:
10. Avantasia – Ghostlights
9. Rikard Sjoblum – The Unbendable Sleep
8. Edge of Reality – Vicious Circle
7. The Neal Morse Band – The Similitude of a Dream
6. Thank You Scientist – Stranger Heads Prevail
5. Headspace – All That You Fear is Gone
4. Dream the Electric Sleep – Beneath the Dark Wide Sky
3. Big Big Train – Folklore
2. Haken – Affinity
1. Fates Warning – Theories of Flight

Mason:
10. Hammers of Misfortune – Dead Revolution
9. Karmakanic – Dot
8. Anciients – Voice In The Void
7. Evergrey – The Storm Within
6. Haken – Affinity
5. Redemption – The Art of Loss
4. Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence
3. Dream the Electric Sleep – Beneath the Dark Wide Sky
2. Fates Warning – Theories of Flight
1. Avantasia – Ghostlights

Joe:
10. Headspace – All That You Fear is Gone
9. Circus Maximus – Havoc
8. Iamthemorning – Lighthouse
7. Fates Warning – Theories of Flight
6. Anderson/Stolt – Invention of Knowledge
5. Haken – Affinity
4. Alcest – Kodama
3. Explosions in the Sky – The Wilderness
2. Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence
1. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

Songwriter/Composer of the Year
Nick: Jim Matheos (Fates Warning)
Mason: Matt Page (Dream The Electric Sleep)
Joe: Neige (Alcest)

Vocalist of the Year
Nick: Ray Alder (Fates Warning, Redemption)
Mason: Ray Alder (Fates Warning, Redemption)
Joe: Ross Jennings (Haken)

Guitarist of the Year
Nick: Eric Gillette (Neal Morse Band, Eric Gillette)
Mason: Nick Van Dyk (Redemption)
Joe: Devin Townsend (Devin Townsend Project)

Bassist of the Year
Nick: Connor Green (Haken, Eric Gillette)
Mason: Jonas Reingold (Karmakanic, The Fringe)
Joe: Anton Dang (O’Brother)

Keyboardist of the Year
Nick: Adam Wakeman (Headspace)
Mason: Sigurd Sheie (Hammers of Misfortune)
Joe: Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater)

Drummer of the Year
Nick: Ray Hearne (Haken)
Mason: Josh Mathis (Cyborg Octopus)
Joe: Ray Hearne (Haken)

Song of the Year (Song Under 10 Minutes)
Nick: The Lamb, The Badger & the Bee (Kyros)
Mason: Let The Light Flood In (Dream The Electric Sleep)
Joe: Stormbending (Devin Townsend Project)

Epic of the Year (Song Over 10 Minutes)
Nick: The Light and Shade of Things (Fates Warning)
Mason: Let The Storm Descend Upon You (Avantasia)
Joe: Knowing (Anderson/Stolt)

Disappointment of the Year
Nick: The Astonishing (Dream Theater)
Mason: The Astonishing (Dream Theater)
Joe: Act V: Hymns With the Devil in Confessional (The Dear Hunter)

Comeback Album of the Year
Nick: The Prelude Implicit (Kansas)
Mason: Creatures Watching Over The Dead (Charred Walls of the Damned)
Joe: Kodama (Alcest)

Newcomer of the Year
Nick: Vicious Circle (Edge of Reality)
Mason: Learning To Breathe (Cyborg Octopus)
Joe: Stranger Heads Prevail (Thank You Scientist)

Album Cover/Artwork of the Year
Nick: The Seasons Turn (Lee Abraham)
Mason: Codex Atlanticus (Serenity)
Joe: Kodama (Alcest)

Top 3 Shows/Tours of the Year
Nick:
3. Avantasia (New York City, NY)
2. ProgPowerUSA (Atlanta, GA)
1. Haken & Thank You Scientist (Various)

Mason:
3. Epica (House of Blues Orlando, February show)
2. Weird Al Yankovic (Lakeland Center, Lakeland, FL)
1. Avantasia (PlayStation Theater, NYC)

Joe:
3. Jesu & Sun Kil Moon (Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA)
2. Explosions in the Sky (The Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA)
1. Sigur Ros (Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA)

Top Concert Video of the Year
Nick: The Theater Equation (Ayreon)
Mason: Welcome to Atlanta Live (Seventh Wonder)

Most Anticipated Releases in 2017
Nick: Ayreon, Flying Colors, MindMaze
Mason: Ayreon, Byzantine, Enchant, Iris Divine, Jolly, MindMaze, Odin’s Court, Once Human, Pain of Salvation, Seventh Wonder
Joe: Sigur Ros, Pain of Salvation, Flying Colors, Anathema

The Best of 2015

Steven WilsonAs 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