My Favorite Studio Albums (and more!!)

Updated: Dec 13, 2018


Over the past six months, I have discovered some incredible music, composers, bands, singers, and instrumentalists. In discovering them, I had to wade through an insane amount of listening; to put it in perspective, I created a playlist where I would add any track that piqued my interest. In the beginning of October, this playlist hit a whopping 1300 tracks. 1300!! Despite that overwhelming amount of music, these stood out to me as my favorite studio albums, live albums, and songs, so let's get into it!


Top 10 Favorite Studio


Albums


First Couple


10. Shamall - Ambiguous Points of View Parts I and II


9. Echoes of Giants - The Way to Us



8. Ayreon - The Human Equation



7. Sully Erna - Hometown Life




Top 5 Favorite Live Albums


5. Ayreon - The Theater Equation



4. Linkin Park – One More Light Live



3. Anneke van Giersbergen – Symphonized


It’s not out yet, as it's about to drop on Friday, but based on what she’s put out so far from this album, I predict that it will land somewhere around here.

2. Anathema - A Sort of Homecoming



1. Metallica - S&M -


Metallica collaborated with the San Francisco symphony in putting on this show, which featured a number of their biggest hits arranged by Michael Kamen to showcase both Metallica and the symphony.

Edit: Now that Anneke's album Symphonized is out and I've already listened to it twice, I am confident in saying that it exceeded my expectations, and now takes number one. Therefore, Metallica's S&M and Anathema's A Sort of Homecoming both move down one spot.


Continuing My Top 10 Favorite Studio Albums


6. Stream of Passion - The Flame Within



5. Anathema - Weather Systems



4. Daniel Cavanagh (of Anathema) & Anneke van Giersbergen - Monochrome



Favorite Songs


15. Chromatics – “Into the Black” (from their album Kill for Love)

14. Lana Lane – “El Dorado” (from her album El Dorado Hotel)

13. Anneke van Giersbergen - "Everything is Changing" (from her album Everything is Changing)

12. Ayreon – “The Tunnel of Light” (feat. Anneke van Giersbergen) (from their album Into the Electric Castle)

11. Avantasia – “The Scarecrow” (from their album The Scarecrow)

10. Shweta Mohan & Vijay Vesudas – “Pacha Theeyanu Nee” (from the film Baahubali - The Beginning)

9. Linkin Park – “Crawling” (from their album One More Light Live)

8. Gustavo Santoalla – “The Last of Us” (from the video game The Last of Us)

7. Anathema - "San Francisco" (from their album the Optimist)

6. Anathema - "The Optimist" (from The Optimist)

5. Daniel Cavanagh & Anneke van Giersbergen – “Soho” (from their album Monochrome)

4. Lux Terminus - "The Courage to Be" (from their album The Courage to Be)

3. Nightwish – "Imaginaerum" (from their album Imaginaerum)

2. Lux Terminus - "Epilogue: Fly (IV)" (feat. Anneke van Giersbergen) (from their album The Courage to Be)

1. Stream of Passion - "Street Spirit" (from their album The Flame Within)


Back to My Top 10 Favorite Studio Albums


3. Nightwish – Imaginaerum


Imaginaerum is a symphonic metal concept album telling the fictional story of an old composer reminiscing about his youth while on his deathbed.

2. Anathema - The Optimist


The Optimist is about a character (named the Optimist) who first appeared in their 2001 album A Fine Day to Exit. Anathema, who was classified as a Goth metal band when they began, sounds much more prog rocky on this album, combining electronic elements with symphonic ones.


Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)


Lux Terminus – The Courage to Be


My good friend Vikram Shankar's band

Stream of Passion - A War of Our Own



Stream of Passion - Embrace the Storm



Anathema – Judgement



Anathema - A Fine Day to Exit



Basically every Anathema album


Evanescence - Synthesis



Devin Townsend & Ché Aimee Dorval – Casualties of Cool



Phantasma - The Deviant Hearts




Number One!


If it isn't clear by now, after diving into Anneke van Giersbergen's work (The Gathering, VUUR), she became my all time favorite singer. The same goes for Arjen Anthony Lucassen's compositions (Ayreon, Stream of Passion); Anathema is similarly now my favorite band.


1. The Gentle Storm - The Diary



Arjen and Anneke collaborated on the Gentle Storm’s The Diary, on which there are eleven songs, each done two ways - a "gentle" version, which is folk meets acoustic rock, and a "storm" version, which is classical meets metal. Anneke's lyrics tell the fictional story of two lovers from the Netherlands separated due to war in the 17th century. Every track is a masterpiece, which makes it difficult to call any one song my favorite. Sometimes I say it's "Endless Sea," because what better track is there than the first one? Other times, I'll say it's "The Storm" because of the wicked piano part in the gentle version, the constant calls and responses, and changing time signatures. But if I had to pick three right now, I'd say the gentle version of "The Moment," the storm version of "Cape of Storms," and either version of "New Horizons."


© 2019 by ANTHONY DENNIS.