It’s that time of the year again, where I bore you with the highlights of 2009, based on my shitty taste in things in general! Disagree with me? Did I miss something I really shouldn’t have? Let me know! Eventually we’ll have a survey so that we can all vote on this kind of stuff.
The year was probably a reasonably quiet year for music I thought. According to my media player, I listened to 92 different albums released in 2009, and I managed to pick a top 10 out, but not a convincing one. None of the albums were amazing from beginning to end, and a couple had a few duds on them. Anyway, in no particular order:
Manic Street Preachers – Journal For Plague Lovers
This is a British band which I imagine doesn’t have a huge profile in the US. From what I understand, this album was written based on the journals kept by one of the members of the band who’s been missing (presumed dead) for a number of years now. Not that it really makes a difference, the album is more or less a straight up alternative rock album, and a good one at that. I’ve never been a huge Manic Street Preachers fan, but this album converted me, so it must be a good one…
Living Colour – The Chair In The Doorway
Probably my favorite album of 2009, which is a surprise, as I really didn’t like it after a couple of listens. I persisted though, and it paid off – rewarding me with one of the best rock albums of the year. Those fans of Living Colour’s older work shouldn’t expect to see a regression here – this album is a continuation of the path they took with Collideoscope. Having said that, where Collidoscope was a sprawling range of sounds and styles, TCITD is a far more cohesive experience, and much better for it.
Pearl Jam – Backspacer
Pearl Jam recordings have been hit and miss for a while now, and while Backspacer isn’t as good as their older work, it’s still probably the best they’ve done in 10 years or so. Get Some and Amongst The Waves are probably two of my favorite songs from this year.
Magrudergrind – Magrudergrind
Magrudergrind are probably one of the best grindcore bands around these days, and their self titled release this year is probably as good a grind album as I’ve heard in several years. Fans of the genre should definitely be checking this out.
Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Agorapocalypse
Brutal album, this drum machine propelled grind/metal band kicked serious ass with this album. Features some of the best female vocals I’ve ever heard – more women in metal need to take note of this album.
Alice In Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue
AIC’s comeback album was a good one, though while I wrote this list I though it was lucky to make the top 10. Sure it had some great tracks, but it also had a few songs I couldn’t stand. Overall, a good album though, and I hope to see these guys live sometime in the next year or so!
Zu – Carboniferous
Probably one of the surprises of the year for me. This band makes wierd metal influences jazz type songs, mainly instrumental (though there’s one track with Mike Patton). Dub Trio fans will probably enjoy this album.
Isis – Wavering Radiant
Isis are a band that have frustrated me over the years. Their albums I’ve found have been good in parts, but largely a little too longwinded for my liking. In 2009 they released Wavering Radiant, and for whatever reason I quite like it. I’m sure if I can put a finger on why I prefer it over their other work, but I do. Looking forward to seeing these guys at Soundwave in a couple of months.
Behold! The Monolith – Behold! The Monolith
Behold! The Monolith made last years list with an EP that they released.. The released a full length this year, and in no real surprise to me – it’s quite good. These guys do basically progressive stoner metal, and in my opinion are probably one of the most overlooked in the genre. Make sure you check them out.
Propagandhi – Supporting Caste
Propagandhi are probably my favorite punk band. This album follows on in the same direction as their last album, and while not being amazing, is a solid album, and probably one of the most listened too this year.
The following didn’t make this list, but are worth checking out:
- Fistfuck – Rock n Roll Nightmare
- Between The Buried And Me – The Great Misdirect
- Clutch – Strange Cousins From The West
- Converge – Axe To Fall
- He Is Legend – It Hates You
- Mastodon – Crack The Skye
- Nile – Those Whom The Gods Detest
- Rammstein – Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da
No I didn’t forget Them Crooked Vultures – with the exception of two songs I thought it was quite boring.
I didn’t see a massive amount of live music this year, something I hope to rectify in 2010. Highlights of the year were Alice In Chains at Soundwave 2009, Pearl Jam at Adelaide Oval, Propagandhi back in Oz for the first time in years, and The Who with my Dad.
2010 looks promising already, with Soundwave bringing Faith No More, Isis and Meshuggah, and Converge, Between The Buried and Me, Nile, Origin and Misery Signals touring early in the year.
I play a whole stack of games, and I’d say I’m mainly a RPG and/or FPS player. My favorite game this year is probably a dead heat between Dragon Age and Torchlight. Both RPG games but in very different styles. Torchlight really caught me by surprise – it’s a great Diablo remake, and a game that has kept me coming back for weeks now. Dragon Age has been awesome as well though, it’s probably one of the better hard RPGs I’ve played in years.
As far as FPS games go, I enjoyed the single player Modern Warfare 2, despite it’s short length. Personally I think short FPS games are great (Portal is a great example), however I was extremely disappointed with MW2 contempt of the PC market, and the way it was over priced. Borderlands was great as well, though I found it a little repetitive. I need to play more of this in the new year though.
Spelunky is a platformer with an Indiana Jones type theme. It features randomly generated levels, and is probably one of the coolest and most fun platform games I’ve played in a while.
Mount & Blade is a action RPG where you play the role of an adventurer in a medieval world. Features horseback combat in an open world. A game I’ve been following for a few years now and it was nice to play this again as the completed version.
Armageddon Empires is a post-apocalyptic turn based strategy game. Well designed and good fun.
Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is a very polished rogue-like, featuring proper tiles for those that don’t like using an ASCII interface. Fans of rogue-likes and those wanted to give this genre a try should definitely give this free game a download.
This year should be a good one for gaming – I’m already looking forward to Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Fallout Vegas, Alpha Protocol, Red Dead Redemption and probably more I can’t think of right now. Diablo 3 would be awesome, but I can’t see that coming out this year sadly…
2010 is the start of a new decade, and hopefully one that should be fruitful for Tool fans. It seems likely that Tool will at lest start writing and recording this year, and there’s always a chance we may see a release late in the year, and possibly some tour dates. Of course there’s always talk of “Big Things” and such, hopefully some kind of DVD or video might make it’s way out there.
I’m sure Maynard will continue to work hard with Puscifer, though at the same time I hope after the tour next year he begins to change focus back to the band we really love. However far be it for me to try and tell the guys from Tool how to do things, they have delivered in the past despite long gaps between drinks and I’m expecting they’ll deliver again.
As far as Fourtheye goes, I hope to continue to make this a great site for all Tool fans to visit. I’m always open to suggestions on how to make things better, so don’t be shy – message me and let me know what you really think. Hopefully I can put a little more love into the technical side of Fourtheye in the next year.
For me, I’m starting a new job in 2010, starting tomorrow in fact. I don’t expect this will interfere with Fourtheye much, but if I’m a little quiet in the next few weeks then you’ll know why!
I hope all my readers have a great 2010, and thanks for taking the time to consume the site– Fourtheye is only ever as good as it’s readers!