First up is Thousand Foot Krutch. Welcome to The Masquerade, in addition to being TFK's best album to date, is probably one of the best marketed franchises in Rock. The "Masquerade" Franchise contains three CD's, The Original Welcome to the Masquerade, the Live CD/DVD combo Live at The Masquerade, and their Deluxe CD which is entitled the Fan Edition.
Trevor and company seem to put out consistently superior product. While any fan edition is essentially a best of product, sometimes a bands idea of best of and a fans are polar opposites. In this case, I don't think anyone can disagree that TFK has put their best amplifier forward. The 16 Songs are a 5 Star Rocking Ride. I can hardly wait for The End is Where We Begin, scheduled to drop in March.
Moving on to our Second Perfect Album. Chevelle has come a long way since its debut on Steve Taylor's Squint Entertainment Label back in 1999. It's hard to imagine they've put out Eight albums. This alt-rock bunch has improved. I have the Debut CD, and it's good, though slightly uneven. Like Switchfoot, though, these crossover artists have consistently put out quality work. Ruse is the song that hearkens back to Point #1, but they rock out the hardest on the title track. Hats off to Chevelle, they managed to sneak in a Perfect Album among the rush of Christmas Releases. Sometimes stealth is the best marketing technique of all. (A heads up. The link goes to a non-music post. Scroll to the bottom of the post for my comments on Hats of to The Bull.)
Last, but certainly not least of all is Amy Lee and Company and their eponymous release Evanescence. Their return this fall from a long self-imposed exile showed nary a trace of rust. The band rocks out with a few wry comments on their absence ("Hello, Hello, Remember me" from What You Want) and Amy's Haunting Voice is at its best on Lost in Paradise. Spawning a host of Imitators in their absence (Eowyn among them. Check out Beautiful Ashes and compare), Amy and company prove that there is no replacing an original. We even have a hit in the rare lighthearted pop song Swimming Home. Evanescence on easy listening radio, now there's something to get your mind around. Click the link to be taken to my original review of the album back in October.
Now on to the second tier. At least those that have fallen short of the glory of a perfect 5. We'll announce these in simple list format.
- Emery - Ten Years 4.5 Emeralds
- Seventh Day Slumber - The Anthem of Angels 4.5 Emeralds
- Various Artists - Christian Workout Playlist, Fast Paced 4.25 Emeralds
P.S. - The Poll results are in and the '60's are the Decade you like best. It's hard to argue with the decade that gave us The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Votes were also cast for the '70's, 80's and 90's. New bands take note, there were no votes for favorites after 1999.