Belwood Music Awards 2022

As the time for ringing in the new year draws ever closer, let’s take a moment for one last glance back at the past twelve months. The music that most defined our 2022, that provided the soundtrack of our summer and kept us company on the long winter nights. Without further ado, here are our awards for the most noteworthy releases of the year. Continue reading

Top Ten Albums of 2022

Time for the big one; the best albums of the year. Reflecting honestly on the biggest releases of the past twelve months, I can’t help but feel that 2022 was an off year for albums. More so than any year in the blog’s history, it felt like there was an abundance of albums that either missed the mark or just flat out failed to spark excitement. They’re not what we’re for however, and if anything they merely helped make the most brilliant records of the year seem to shine all the brighter. Here are the albums that broke the mould, that met and exceeded expectations, and provided the standout musical delights of the past year. Continue reading

Top Ten Videos of 2022

Our Listmas celebrations continue as we dive in to some of the best music videos of the past twelve months. Much like our album covers list, it’s an opportunity to show some appreciation for all the hard work that goes into making the accompanying visuals that help turn music releases into a real feast for the senses. Whether a pitch perfect pairing for a specific song, or a work of art in its own right that transcends the music, these are our picks for the best videos of the year. Continue reading

Live Review: Porcupine Tree, Wembley Arena, 11th Nov 2022

Photo by Joe del Tufo

I’m not usually the kind of music fan that thinks “if only I’d been around to see them live”. I’d much rather spend my energy being thankful for the amazing gigs I’ve been lucky enough to attend over the years, than fretting about the multitude of acts that passed me by. But one notable exception has always been Porcupine Tree. The rich textured atmospheres, the juggernaut riffs, the memorable and melodious hooks, that haunting balance between bleak and beautiful – the band was a perfect storm of intriguing ingredients that all combined to form a sound completely their own. They were one of the formative bands of my teenage years, and yet sadly had already called it a day as a band by the time I discovered them. Though I’ve dabbled in various side projects and solo work over the years, none of those records ever truly scratched that PT itch. But after twelve long years finally came the announcement of a new album, and with it an accompanying tour – a chance I never thought I’d get to see one of my favourite bands, can’t say no to that, can you? Continue reading

Live Review: Steven Wilson, Bridgewater Hall Manchester, 31st March 2018

sw2-01Having been a Porcupine Tree fan for many years, and with the band playing a key part in my musical development as it were, a trip to see the main man himself Steven Wilson was long overdue. With his new solo record To The Bone offering some of his most well constructed songs to date (and with the size of his back catalogue that’s saying something) now seemed like the perfect time. I had not been this excited about a gig in a long time, and knowing his reputation for his spectacular live performances over the years, I was eager to see one of my idols in action.  Continue reading

Must Own Albums: Progressive Metal

scenes from a memoryDream Theater – Scenes From a Memory

One of the best modern concept albums from perhaps the most famous prog metal band. It follows a man named Nicholas using hypnotherapy to find the truth about his past life as a girl named Victoria and trying to solve the mystery of her murder. This album, as well as the great storytelling, shows a virtuoso level of musicianship that most can only dream of.

deadwingPorcupine Tree – Deadwing

While most would consider their breakout album ‘In Absentia’ to be their finest work, I would argue the point for ‘Deadwing’. I find it to be both more musically diverse and more consistently high quality. It features some of the band’s finest moments, from the radio friendly piano driven ‘Lazarus’, to the heavy riffage of ‘Shallow’ to the intricate shifting time signature of ‘Start of Something Beautiful’.

mindcrimeQueensryche – Operation: Mindcrime

One of the all time greatest concept albums and quite possibly the greatest piece of musical storytelling. It follows a drug addict who joins a revolutionary group to help overthrow the corrupt society he lives in. The group’s leader Dr. X uses brainwashing and mind control to turn the protagonist into his own personal assassin.

lateralusTool – Lateralus

The musical equivalent of the world’s most intense acid trip. It’s the high point of a band that is dark, brooding, bewildering and unlike anything that came before it. It is intricate and otherworldly, most of all on the title track whose lyrics and complex time signatures follow the Fibonacci  sequence.