15. If These Trees Could Talk - Red Forest
Northeast Ohio represent! This album is only the second full-length from Akron, Ohio's own If These Trees Could Talk, and in the space of a few short years, this band have not only shown that they belong on the international metallic post-rock stage, but that they are in fact one of the best bands out there making this kind of music. Now, I'm fully prepared to be accused of local bias here, and while it's true that I've met these guys and spoken with them on several occasions and found them to be some of the most decent and humble musicians (and people), I'd also like to think that I've proven myself over the years on this forum and elsewhere as a person who can set aside those things and give an honest, unbiased opinion. That opinion is that this album is simply outstanding. That's all there is to it. Not only that, but it's heavy at times - which is something that guitarist Mike Socrates told me to expect when I spoke to him once while they were still writing it, but little did I know they would combine the heavy with the beautiful so well. I saw them again a few months later on tour for this album and showed them my year-end list from 2012, which had their current touring partners Caspian just slightly above them on the list, and they thought I was joking. Then I showed them that the list was actually published on a metal website and they turned red. I told them that they deserve to be ranked up there with the best in the business - especially by virtue of this amazing album - and I'd stand by that statement whether they were from Akron or Australia. If you like post-rock and haven't checked these guys out yet, you need to remedy that unfortunate situation immediately.