Well, it’s that time of year when everyone expects people that have have opinions about things, then publish those opinions, to sort through them and then rate them from best to worst. So, after thinking about whether or not to meet the unspoken obligation of my thousands, and I use that word lightly, of fans, I finally realized that it would actually be an enjoyable experience to do just that. These are just according to my opnion, which only includes what I actually listened to (which is far less than it should be), so if you don’t like it, then go publish it somewhere, and then we can publicly dislike each others opinions. So here are some of my picks according to the categories I posted not too long ago.

Best album of 2011: White Willow: Terminal Twilight. Now, people might be crying heresy for this one, but it is a very strong album. The composition is incredible, effortless, and engaging. The production is unreal (and done on a laptop by the band members). The mood is set beautifully. I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever heard an album that sets a mood as well as this one does. Every note that’s played contributes to it as much as it possibly could. Now, there are other albums that came out that were really vying for this spot for me, but Terminal Twilight had the advantage of landing in my hands right when my mom’s descent into madness really kicked into high gear, and caused a TON of family issues. I was so stressed. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t eat much. I couldn’t focus. And here comes this album, beautifully ambient, incredible mood, excellent composition and production, that just was able to take me out of my world and let me relax. I found personal meaning in most of the songs that was very poignant; This album was like a nice cup of warm soup and a blanket on a cold day. Taken without this personal touch, the album still has a strong position for first place, but that just cements it in my opinion.

Best production: Terminal Twilight without even a close second. This is the definition of production as an instrument. Sorry Steven Wilson.

Most Original Album: Unexpect: Fables of the Sleepless Empire. These guys are nuts. If you want something weird and really off kilter, take a listen. And yet, somehow, through all the craziness, this is one of the catchiest albums I’ve ever heard.

Best album presentation/packaging: Tie!

  • Turisas: Stand up and Fight. These guys had a leather digipak. I don’t think I need to say more than that.
  • Symphony X: Iconoclast. The artwork was awesome. The digipak was awesome.

Best Keyboard Performance: Lars Fredrik Frøislie. Did I just neglect to mention an album? Yes.

Best Keyboard Solo: Lalle Larsson: The Black Forest. The keyboard solo on the title track gives me goosebumps. Skip to 4:27 to hear it.

Biggest Depends Moment: So many to choose from. Matt getting a Mellotron. Getting a signed copy of Weird Al’s new album. Getting offered free CD’s to review after having the blog up for a couple weeks. Dream Theater playing Fatal Tragedy at their show. I think the winner is getting my first promo copy to review, Terminal Twilight. I know, I have it on here enough, but it was the first, and I did need some depends. But, since this does need to be in an album that came out last year, listening to No Part of Me from Steven Wilson’s album in 5.1.

Biggest Fail: The Rhapsody Of Fire debacle. Now there are two Rhapsody bands. And, they’re both named Rhapsody. How much fail is this? This. Much.

Best Chord Progression: Wobbler: In Orbit. Specifically, 9:12 to the end. Unfortunately, no youtube video for this one.

Best Metal Album: Nightwish: Imaginaerum. Now, this is pushing it because the US release wasn’t until this month, but it did release in Europe in December. And it was awesome.

So there you have it. Best of luck to all the bands that will be included in the finals for the “prestigious” Progulator award!