This year there were 374 entries, down on last year's 431 and just over half the 723 received in 2012 (the highest response in a number of years), but a huge 'Thank you' to everyone who got involved and took the time to submit their votes.
There seems to be a downward trend, possibly driven by the fact that our readership continues to age but also by some of the issues faced by DPRP over 2013 and 2014.
Things have been difficult but are now back on track and we look forward to some great developments in 2015, the 20th Anniversary year for DPRP.
The entries we have received cover a huge range of releases and once again it is great to see that many people all over the world are still enjoying Progressive music.
2015 has started well with some fantastic releases and DPRP will continue to cover as many releases and events as we can.
With a fall in the number of votes coming from each of the countries we generally find at the top of the list, the Dutch vote returned to the top, swapping places from last year with the U.K. vote which is the second highest. The U.S.A. and Canada hold their positions in third and fourth places respectively and Germany returns to the Top 5. Overall 38 countries are represented amongst poll voters.
Two thirds of the vote comes from Europe this year, an increase on last year, with a small rise in percentage terms (to more than a quarter) coming from the Americas, the vast majority of which from North America. Asia, Australasia and Africa are also represented underlining the global reach of the music.
This year unfortunately saw a large drop in the vote coming from readers not only in their teens and 20s but also 30s and 40s, the increase of those in their 50s and 60s underlining the fact that the prog audience continues to age.
The majority of respondents by far remain in their 40s and 50s and the average age is now 46.57, again up on last year's 45.08 (in 2012 it was 44.64, 2011 was 42.44), but submissions still cover a 50 year span with contributors from age 14 to 64.
This year 446 different albums received votes, down on last year but still a very high number of releases that shows the
breadth of listening amongst our readers and the huge array of genre related albums produced in what
has turned out to be another great year for Prog. Below you will find the Top 25.
Links have been provided to the DPRP reviews of these albums.
First, some quick explanations about the calculations. 'Votes' are the number
of people who voted for a specific album, regardless if it was their number 1 or
number 10. 'Percentage' is the percentage of all participants that voted for an album.
The 'Weighted Points' are calculated based on the ranking of the (max) 10 albums the
participants voted for; their number 1 got 10 points, number 2 got 9 points, etc.
'Weighted Points' is the sum of these points.
Something of a runaway winner this year is IQ with their long-awaited new album The Road of Bones making waves and being voted for by 58% of poll participants.
Following in second and third places are two albums that each received votes from more than 40% of the poll, Transatlantic's
Opeth's Pale Communion.
Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy have done well this year with their contributions to two albums marked in the Top 5 with Transatlantic's Kaleidoscope and Flying Colors' Second Nature.
Further down the list and away from the heavyweights it is great to see entries for the likes of Abel Ganz, Bjørn Riis and iamthemorning and the debut solo releases from Dave Kerzner (who did well last year as part of Sound of Contact) and Magenta's Rob Reed also rated highly, as did the long-awaited comeback from Enchant.
Worthy of note is Cosmograf who have appeared in the list for the second time in a row, this time with Capacitor at number 18 bettering their debut The Man Left in Space which got to number 20 in 2013.
A number of albums were voted for by more people than the albums above them but lost out by virtue of the weighted points. The highest rated of these were Steve Rothery's The Ghosts of Pripyat and Threshold's For the Journey which received more individual votes than Abel Ganz's Self-titled release but these votes didn't score them as highly and they finish below Abel Ganz.
Half of the albums in the Top 25 come from U.K. acts and with most of the rest coming from Europe this has been another very good year for bands and artists from this side of the pond.
A poignant entry is Pink Floyd's tribute to the late lamented Richard Wright with The Endless River which was seen by many as a fitting
end to their long career.
DPRP have now reviewed all of the albums that made the Top 25, the review of Kaipa's marvellous Sattyg being the final piece in the puzzle. Not a bad result despite the delays on publication for some of them.
The full list of 446 albums which received votes this year can be viewed HERE.
In total 51 different DVDs received votes, down from 69 last year, but 46 of these received more than a single vote.
Another runaway winner, perhaps unsurprisingly, this time with Transatlantic's KaLIVEoscope DVD of the Kaleidoscope tour which also did very well in the Concert section of the poll as we will see later. Steve Hackett's live shows continue to be popular with Genesis Revisited: Live at the Royal Albert Hall hitting second place, the same slot as last year's Live at Hammersmith DVD.
Peter Gabriel, Camel, Dream Theater and Marillion also did well, the latter two joining Rush by successfully getting a DVD in the Top 10 for two years running. In fact Marillion also got into the Top 10 in 2012, the DVD records of their Marillion Weekend festivals proving consistently popular.
Beyond the top half a dozen the returns were very small and it appears that DVDs just aren't as popular as they once were.
As usual, most of the DVDs in the list have not been reviewed at DPRP. We get far fewer review copies of DVDs than we do CDs and our offering mainly relies on DVDs obtained by the team themselves. Some of those we have so far missed will hopefully be reviewed on DPRP in the near future.
Before we go to the list of best individual tracks, let's see which 5 bands got the most votes, regardless of for which track.
IQ - The Road of Bones
A completely new Top 5 from last year and as you would expect all of the big winners have done well in the album vote but IQ came out on top ahead of nearest rivals Transatlantic, almost a third of those that voted picking at least one of their tracks.
It is interesting to see how many tracks receive votes from an album as a measure of the perceived quality in depth. In this respect the greatest success goes to Opeth, all 8 tracks from Pale Communion receiving votes. IQ received votes for 10 tracks from the 11 across the 2-CD version of The Road of Bones and Transatlantic got 4 out of 5 for Kaleidoscope. Elsewhere Perfect Beings received votes for 7 out of 10 tracks from their Self-titled debut and Flying Colors got 6 out of 9 for Second Nature.
Other bands with 4 or more tracks receiving votes making up at least 50% of the album include Anathema, Glass Hammer, Threshold, Tim Bowness, Tin Spirits, Enchant, Kaipa, Lunatic Soul and Yes.
In total 176 bands are represented in the list, 145 with more than one vote. Now let's see where the tracks placed individually.
The Road of Bones
Into the Blue
Moon Above, Sun Below
Open Up Your Eyes
Of the 332 tracks voted for this year IQ, Transatlantic and Flying Colors each placed two in the Top 10, IQ's in first and second place with the title track to The Road of Bones and Without Walls respectively, Transatlantic coming third with Into the Blue and also fourth with the title track from Kaleidoscope showing the dominance of these two albums this year.
Anathema, Opeth, Haken and Gazpacho also make the Top 10, as usual the longer tracks proved most popular. Haken are the only band in the Top 10 to also feature last year, their Restoration EP maintaining their popularity after 2013's The Mountain album.
Further down the list it is great to see acts like Cheeto's Magazine, Bjørn Riis, Fractal Mirror and Tin Spirits doing well and receiving double figure scores.
Like 2013 more than two thirds of the tracks appearing in the overall list received two or more votes suggesting that the quality of a smaller number of
songs now appeal to voters.
In total a massive 93 different albums received votes in the 'Best Artwork' category, considerably up on last year, 43 of these getting more than one recommendation.
Quite close at the top of the list this year with Ahmed Emad Eldin artwork for Pink Floyd's The Endless River the most highly regarded. Also scoring significantly were Tony Lythgoe's work for IQ, Travis Smith's design for Opeth, Thomas Ewerhard for Transatlantic and Hugh Syme for Flying Colors. Of these latter two, Thomas also made the Top 5 last year with his sleeve for Spock's Beard's Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep and Hugh last appeared in the list in 2012 with his work for Rush's Clockwork Angels.
Poll participants voted for 187 different concerts from 2014. To get a clearer picture of which stage performances were
most highly regarded last year, we'll first have a look at which of the 97 artists got the most votes, regardless of which individual concert.
Votes for Best Concert
Given the anticipation of their new album and the quality of their live shows, the "event" nature of Transatlantic's Kaleidoscope tour proved a big draw.
Like in 2013 Steve Hackett makes the second spot again this year showing the respect and appreciation gig goers have for his spectacular Genesis Revisited shows.
Marillion place near the top of the list most years showing the depth of their support and the strength of their performances and material, a testament to them following their own path throughout their long career. Anathema also make the list for the second time in three years.
A good year for IQ on the back of The Road of Bones album also sees them making the Top 5.
Some interesting results further down the list include Yes at number 6 showing that they are still well loved on stage despite the relative dissappointment with their latest studio work. Some unexpected yet unsurprising additions this year include Kate Bush and King Crimson, neither of those would have been anticipated at the start of 2014 and Kate's extraordinary run of 22 dates in London received 8 votes, each for a different night, so she just missed out on the Top 5.
97 artists received votes this year, 33 of whom received more than one vote, the full list can be viewed HERE.
Now let's have a look at which of these 187 individual gigs got the most votes for Best Concert of 2014.
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
The Forum, London, U.K.
De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Henry Cow: A Celebration Of Lindsay Cooper
The Barbican, London, U.K.
De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Night of the Prog, Loreley, Germany
Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Uden, The Netherlands
Spirit of 66, Verviers, Belgium
The most highly recommended concert of 2014 was the Transatlantic show at the 013 in Tilburg, The Netherlands, a venue that hosted many popular gigs in 2014 including the second placed show which was by Anathema.
Due to the nature of the voting and tied scored the Top 5 includes 13 entries this year with Transatlantic, Anathema and Marillion all apearing twice.
Gigs in The Netherlands proved most popular, unsurprising given the number of respondents and the size of the country, with 8 of the 13 shows. Two shows were in the U.K while U.S.A., Germany and Belgium each scored with one.
Event gigs like the Henry Cow reformation in celebration of Lindsay Cooper and the short run of King Crimson dates in the U.S.A. proved popular and it is nice to see Mystery score well to reach equal second place for their gig in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands.
Steve Hackett is the only artist who also appeared in the Top 5 last year.
187 individual gigs received votes and you can view the full list HERE.
This year 58 different bands and artists were voted for as Best Newcomer, down on last year but still a very impressive figure and an indication
of the amount of new talent (and not so new!) coming through.
Top votes for this year's newcomer went to Synaesthesia from the U.K. whose
Synaesthesia debut album was very well received.
Both from the U.S.A., Perfect Beings, the new band from Johannes Luley of Moth Vellum, and Dave Kerzner, who won the Nest Newcomer accolade last year as part of Sound of Contact, also scored highly.
Others making it into double figures of votes were Minor Giant from The Netherlands, Huis from Canada, Norwegian Bjørn Riis from Airbag with his solo debut and the multi-national group The United Progressive Fraternity involving members of Unitopia and others. There is, as you might expect, a bias towards members of groups who have already had some success but the list is filled with new names and young artists who are already making an impression and should be ones to watch in the coming years.
With 58 artists listed 24 received more than a single vote, you can view the full list HERE.
Many different events received votes for being the 'Biggest Disappointment' of 2014.
We grouped the votes until they referred to a more specific album, gig, event or incident which does generalise some
of the more specific points but makes it easier to make sense of them and rank them in some kind of order. Have a look at the full list
HERE to see some of the more individual disappointment.
Far and away the biggest perceived disappointment of 2014 was the latest album from Yes, Heaven & Earth, and it is generally albums that rate highly in this category. Pink Floyd, Transatlantic and Pendragon all scored highly as disappointments despite making the Top 25 for best albums of the year.
Elsewhere, the GenesisThe Sum of the Parts documentary was seen as a missed opportunity and the perenial problem of the classic band failing to reunite is still an issue. Other anticipated reunions that have not yet happened include Porcupine Tree and also Yes working with Jon Anderson again.
Poor concert performances are also noted as disappointments as are the deaths of such figures as Jack Bruce in 2014.
You can view the full results of the 74 entire for Biggest Disappointments HERE.
As a balance to 'Biggest Disappointment' we asked participants what they thought was the best thing to happen to Prog in 2014.
Kate Bush - 'Before the Dawn' concerts in London, U.K.
Far and away the biggest happening of 2014 was seen as Pink Floyd releasing their The Endless River album as the final act of their long career.
Other big scorers are the re-emergences of King Crimson and Kate Bush plus the Night of the Prog festival at Loreley in Germany which is always a popular event. Perhaps surprisingly the 'Prog Cruises' are seen as major events despite the costs involved in attending.
Albums scoring well include those from IQ and Transatlantic while live events such as Steve Hackstt's Genesis Revisited concerts and the Resonance Festival in London also receive plenty of support.
Many other live shows, tours, festivals, events and albums featured in the 81 entries and you can view the full results for the 'Biggest Happening' section HERE.
Best Individual Performances
In this section we asked people what they thought were the best musical performances of 2014.
As usual we received lots of different suggestions, too many to evaluate in great detail, but we have highlighted the Top 3 in each instrumental category with a brief discussion of the results. The full results for each category are linked below each section.
Steve Rothery - Marillion (photo by Léon van Hulst)
On the back of his debut solo album, The Ghosts of Pripyat, which has been well received by fans, Marillion's Steve Rothery tops the poll ahead of Roine Stolt for his contribution to Transatlantic's Kaleidoscope. Roine also got the runner's up prize in 2013 for The Flower Kings' Desolation Rose release and third place in 2012 for their previous album, Banks of Eden while Steve Rothery came equal first in 2012 for the latest Marillion studio album, Sounds That Can't Be Made showing that these two are certainly amongst the most highly regarded and consistent performers on their chosen instrument.
Another heavyweight, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour comes in at third this year for The Endless River with Flying Colors' Steve Morse, IQ's Mike Holmes and Pendragon's Nick Barrett also scoring 10 or more votes each.
Very close at the top in the Keyboardist category with IQ's Neil Durant just beating Neal Morse for his contribution to Transatlantic, each with around 10% of the overall vote, Pink Floyd's late keyboard man Richard Wright coming third for The Endless River. These three were far ahead of the rest.
Artists scoring with multiple releases were Don Airey for his own Keyed Up album plus his contribution to the Celebrating Jon Lord concert at The Royal Albert Hall in London, Erik Norlander for both of 2014's releases by Rocket Scientists (including the Supernatural Highway album) and workaholic Neal Morse who scored with three, Transatlantic's studio and live albums plus Flying Colors' Second Nature. Neal also hit the top spot in 2012 with his Momentum solo album.
There were 66 different keyboard players voted for and you can see the full results HERE.
Another convincing winner in this category with IQ's Peter Nicholls ahead of Damian Wilson for Threshold's For the Journey, he last featured in the 2012 poll for Headspace's debut I Am Anonymous. In third place is Mikael Åkerfeldt for Opeth's Pale Communion with Anathema's Vincent Cavanagh also scoring well for the Distant Satellites album.
A number of artists featured received votes for more than one project: Anne-Marie Helder (Panic Room and Luna Rosa), Damian Wilson (the aforementioned Threshold and Dave Bainbridge's Celestial Fire), Jon Davison (Yes and Glass Hammer), Ted Leonard (Enchant and Transatlantic) and Neal Morse is again represented by three performances (Transatlantic live and studio, Flying Colors).
There were 82 different vocalists voted for and you can see the full results HERE.
A country mile ahead of the field this year is Mike Portnoy for Transatlantic's Kaleidoscope album, polling more than three times as many votes as his nearest rival and a third of all the votes cast. Mike last appeared at the top of the poll results at number 3 in 2012 for his contribution to Neal Morse's Momentum album. Portnoy also manages equal third this year with Flying Colors' Second Nature and actually manages four entries in the list with votes also coming for Transatlantic's KaLIVEoscope live album and Bigelf's Into the Maelstrom to cap an impressive year. In total he polled 88 of the 214 votes cast in the Drummer category.
Opeth's Martin Axenrot split the Portnoy vote to come second this year for Pale Communion and tieing for third place with Portnoy is IQ's Paul Cook for The Road of Bones.
Other players with more than one entry include Gavin Harrison (iamthemorning and King Crimson), Morgan Ågren (Kaipa and Mats-Morgan Band), Nick D'Virgilio (Cosmograf and Dave Kerzner) and Pat Mastelotto (ToPaRaMa and King Crimson).
Overall there were 68 different drummer entries and you can see the full results HERE.
Ahead of the Bass Player field is the other half of the Transatlantic rhythm section, Pete Trewavas, for Kaleidoscope with IQ's Tim Esau second for The Road of Bones and Dave LaRue third for Flying Colors' Second Nature. Pete Trewavas last appeared in the Top 3 in 2012 for Marillion's Sounds That Can't Be Made and has three entries this year for both the Transatlantic live and studio albums and Marillion's A Sunday Night Above the Rain live set.
Others who scored in double figures were Jonas Reingold for Kaipa's Sattyg and Mariusz Duda for Lunatic Soul's Walking on a Flashlight Beam. These two managed second and third respectively in 2013 and Jonas also came out second in 2012 and in total has three entries this year (for Kaipa, Karmakanic and Barracuda Triangle) making him one of the most highly regarded and in demand bassists around. Duda also has two entries this year, for his live performances with Riverside alongside the Lunatic Soul album.
There were 69 different bassist performances voted for this year - nearly twice as many as 2013 - and you can see the full results HERE.
As we have already said, a massive 'Thank You' to everyone who took the time to submit entries to this year's DPRPoll and congratulations to every one of the artists noted above and, indeed, everyone who received votes.
We have received many comments from voters regarding the work of DPRP and I'll take a moment to round up the main points.
After a difficult year or so between 2013 and 2014 for DPRP things have now settled down and are back on track and we have received many positive comments. Thank you for these, we appreciate them and it makes all the work worthwhile.
The Something For The Weekend feature has proved very popular and has just hit its first anniversary of providing mini reviews and links to new releases from lesser known bands and artists that can be listened to in full. DPRP Radio also continues to go from stregth to strength so a huge thanks is due to Andy Read for both of these initiatives.
Criticisms have raised regarding a number of issues. The email newsletter has been sporadic - apologies for this - and we will try to issue it on a more regular basis. The reduced number of Interviews and Gig Reviews has been raised and again we are hoping to rectify this situation in 2015. The Long Songs list has not been updated in some time but this may be done at some point as part of the soon-to-be implemented new website for DPRP. The lack of News Updates has received some negative comments but thanks to the enthusiastic work of Raimond Fischbach this is now back on track. There are still high-profile releases being missed and we can only apologise for this, we try our best to cover as many releases as we can but some are always going to be missed due to the huge number of releases, many of which we don't receive. That said, our dedicated team of reviewers work very hard to bring you quality reviews from across the whole range of prog releases - and sometimes slightly beyond! - so a big thank you to them for their efforts which are greatly appreciated.
The comments this year have also raised a number of suggestions:-
Weekly or monthly charts and a new release guide have been requested but at the moment a lack of time and resources means that this won't happen but it may be something we can look at in the future.
Older features like Counting Out Time and Forgotten Sons have been highlighted as something you would like to see reactivated. Again, staffing and time has put this on the back burner but Andy Read has recently started a new initiative called The Archives of Prog to revisit and re-examine key releases from the past
A request for regional gig guides for other territories is something that we've considered previously but is not currently an option, our efforts remaining limited at present to those for The Netherlands & Belgium and The U.K., the latter courtesy of our friends at The Progressive Aspect.
The Forum has unfortunately fallen by the wayside but if this can be relaunched in a new form in the future we may attempt to do so.
Various new categories have been suggested for the DPRPoll and this is something that I have been keen to implement for the last couple of years. Time is again the problem here together with the vagaries of the coding behind the current site. This might change for next year.
An interesting suggestion which would be good to try is a feature wherein musicians and artists discuss topics relating to the current state of Prog and the music industry. We'll have to have a think to see if this is something that we can run with.
So on to 2015 and the 20th Anniversary Year for DPRP. We are planning a number of special events to mark the occasion and we hope that our newly designed website will be available too with upgraded design and functionality.
We hope that you continue to enjoy and support DPRP as we try to maintain a vibrant and independent source of information. Thanks for your support so far.
Click here if you wish to see the full results of the poll.