First off, we have The Snowman with their truly ingenious album "The Horse, the Rat and the Swan." It is a dark, utterly eclectic and finely crafted studio album. Combining all sorts of melancholic and otherworldly sounds into memorable songs is a rare art and this album never flags in bringing you in to a world of mystery and shadow. Clanking pianos, reverb drenched guitars, folk percussion, electronics and random noises weave in and out with sometimes soft sometimes harsh vocals. I haven't been this impressed with a rock album taking off in it's own uncompromising direction since since "Saint The Fire Show" by Fire Show. An art equivalent might be Jean Tinguely's kinetic sculpture.
Up next: Dirge wins the award for most aptly named with their double disc "Wings of Lead Over Dormant Seas". This is a very forward looking album that might get labeled somewhere between dirge metal, doom metal, post-metal. But names aside, this is an epic piece of art in album form (the last song is over 60 minutes long) that interweaves massive amounts of slowly evolving compositions of sub-bass, hazy guitar interplay and hints of twinkling electronics with brief moments of howled vocals highlighting a couple of bars every 5 minutes or so. Like I mentioned, the music evokes the exact image of it's album name. This is the soundtrack to the rays of light sliding around the edges of a thunderhead over the ocean at dawn. This is music that is the soundtrack to massive Richard Serra rusting sculptures or Robert Smithson earthworks.