Tristan's Top 10 Albums

Tristan's Top 10 Albums

Here is a list of my top 10 albums of all time. First some rules. Firstly to hold a spot on this list, I have to LOVE every song on the album. I mean I have to believe that from front to back, there are absolutely no duds. Second of all, I restricted myself to choosing only one album per artist. Some of the bands on the list have a nearly flawless catalogue, so I had to choose only my favorite album. I didn't place any other limitations on my choices, and I think some on this list may surprise you! If you haven't heard of some of the music on this list, I strongly encourage you to look them up and give them a listen front to back. With that, let's get into it.
10. Laugh Tracks - Knocked Loose

Laugh Tracks by Knocked Loose is my all time favorite hardcore album. If I want to listen to music that makes me want to punch through concrete walls, this is it. The opening track Oblivions Peak is the quintessential sound of Knocked Loose. It starts off with a slow guitar riff that exudes the feeling of impending doom. A couple progressions later, and the band plays the same riff, but in typical fashion, speeds it up to a tempo that changes the entire feeling of the song. If Oblivions Peak tickles your fancy, let me just say that it solidly sets the tone for the rest of the album. You're in for a wild ride.

Favorite Songs: Oblivions Peak, Billy No Mates, A Fetish


9. Ocean Eyes - Owl City

This album is chocked full of whimsical melodies and lyrics that are heartwarmingly delivered. The deluxe version of Ocean Eyes has a song on it called Strawberry Avalanche which has some of my favorite synth sounds of all time. This is one of those albums that just makes you feel like a kid again.

Favorite Songs: Strawberry Avalanche, Cave In, The Saltwater Room


8. That's The Spirit - Bring Me The Horizon

That's The Spirit was the album that really got me hooked on Bring Me The Horizon, which I know to some people is blasphemous, but let me explain. The band completely took a right turn with this album. They completely changed their sound, and really hit on something special. I remember when they released the music video for the song "Throne", and knew the rest of the album was going to be special. People started comparing them to Linkin Park, and saying things like, "This isn't what they used to sound like. They sold out and ditched their roots.". But it was such a refreshing change of pace. The post production is what always blows my mind. I had the opportunity to practice mixing the song Doomed using an educational service, and the song had so many unexpected elements and layers. There was track after track of synthesizers, percussion, pads, vocal harmonies. A lot of thought and planning went into every song, and really opened my mind about what is possible during the production process.

Favorite Songs: Doomed, Throne, Avalanche


7. Periphery II - Periphery

P2 is the follow up to Periphery's first full length album, and they really nailed it in every way. There are guest features on the album from Guthrie Govan, John Petrucci, and Wes Hauch that are some of my favorite solos of all time. They really took advantage of the fact that there are three guitar players in the band by creating insane three part harmonies on songs like Luck As A Constant. They also snuck a trilogy of songs in the beginning, middle, and end of the album that are really interesting. This is my favorite album from Periphery because of the overall tonality.

Favorite Songs: Have a Blast, Luck as a Constant, Make Total Destroy


6. Siberia - Lights

The reason I love this album is simple. It sounds gentle, and dirty at the same time. Production wise that is. The drums and synth are often super saturated with distortion, while the vocals delicately sit in the forefront. The choice in lyrics is super unique too. Somehow Lights worked in lines like, Godforsaken precipice, and it works so well. 

Favorite Songs: Siberia, Timing Is Everything, Fourth Dimension


5. New Levels New Devils - Polyphia

New Levels New Devils was a groundbreaking album for me. Polyphia really took the post production to a whole new place with this one. Although Polyphia is known for incorporating a lot of elements from hiphop and rap, they really stepped it up to a whole new level throughout the entire track list. Electronic elements are often looked down upon in the progressive jazz fusion scene, but Polyphia leans into the sampled/synthesized side of music hard.

Favorite Songs: O.D., Yas, Rich Kids


4. Grow - Chon

Grow is my absolute favorite album in the progressive jazz fusion genre. There are such unique arrangements in these songs that have uncommon chord voicings, and melodies. The songs on this album taught me that just because something sounds calming doesn't at all mean that it's easy to play on the guitar. If you're up for an unexpectedly difficult challenge, pick any song and try to learn it.

Favorite Songs: Splash, Moon, Suda


3. The Amulet - Circa Survive

The Amulet is such an interesting album to me because of all of the changes between uncommon time signatures. This was the first album that showed me that every technical musical choice still must serve the song. The songwriting comes first and that is very apparent in songs like Premonition of the Hex. The choices in time signature convey this very unsettling feeling as if something isn't finished. My favorite thing about this album is the role that the ambient guitars play. They lay down this etherial pad like that is so washy and spacious. That coupled with the energy of the drums and the raw emotion of the vocals produces such a unique listening experience. The bass is amazing too, especially on songs like "Rites of Investiture".

Favorite Songs: Lustration, Premonition of the Hex, The Amulet


2. Dying Is Your Latest Fashion - Escape the Fate

This is the record that started to get me into harder music. I grew up in a small town where when people say they listen to everything, they mean whatever's on the radio, and around here that means country and a small amount of RnB and pop. When I was a teenager I frequently shopped at Hot Topic back when they had a section where they sold CDs and you could use headphones to preview what the albums sounded like before you bought them. What a wild time. Well I found Dying Is Your Latest Fashion on the rack of music, thought the album cover looked interesting, and decided to check it out. It was like nothing I had heard before. Breakdowns, guitar solos, and riffs galore. And the songwriting... I think many people who listen to post-hardcore from this era would agree that this was the staple album.

Favorite Songs: Reverse the Curse, Celler Door, My Apocalypse



1. Minutes to Midnight - Linkin Park


So this may be the most controversial choice on this list. I know a lot of you are going to say "Why didn't you choose Hybrid Theory? That's CLEARLY the BEST Linkin Park Album!". Here's the thing. Linkin Park is definitely one of my favorite all time bands, so much so, that I could put any of their albums in this number one spot. But there's something different about this album that's hard to explain. I think for me it's how eclectic it is. It begins with an ambient and soft intro track that changes into an energetic transitionary section. The second track on the album "Given Up" has one of the most recognizable intros of any song that I know. I can recognize the signature clapping and key jingling in a split second. Given up is probably the heaviest track on the album and features the famous 17 second scream from Chester Bennington. The third song on the album "Leave Out All The Rest" is a complete change from the previous track. It's a calming ballad type song with a powerful chorus. Chester sings the lines "When my time comes, forget the wrong that I've done. Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed. And don't resent me. And when you're feeling empty, keep me in your memory", which now resonate with Linkin Park fans more than ever. Bleed It Out is another classic from Minutes to Midnight. This is the first song on the album in which we hear the timeless combination of Mike rapping on the verses of the song, and Chester coming in hard on the chorus and bridge of the song. There are definitely some songs that are considerably underrated. In Between, In Pieces, and the ending track The Little Things Give You Away are some of the best songs on the album.

Favorite Songs: Given Up, In Between, In Pieces


Thank you for reading the list of what are in my opinion the 10 most perfect albums of all time. If you haven't heard of some of these, please check them out, and let me know what you like or dislike about them. Do you agree with my choices for this list?

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