Darren Ressler’s 5 Favorite Albums (in no particular order)

rjd   1. Lotus / The Strength of Weak Ties (Harmonized)
This Philly-based instrumental outfit stepped up to the plate and embellished their jam band inspired brand of dance-rock with flourishes of jazz, world music and—gasp—even a vocal.

2. Sissy / All Under (Global Underground)
This might be the most emotionally wrenching albums since Portishead’s Beth Gibbons declared, “Nobody loves me, it’s true.” A sly produced trip-hop/downtempo classic that slipped through everyone’s cracks.

3. Blowoff / Blowoff (Full Frequency)
The combination of former Hüsker Dü vocalist/guitarist Bob Mould and remixer Richard Morel was a former punk kid turned electronic music fan’s dream come true. Forget about Jay-Z and R.Kelly—this is the best of both worlds.

4. Unearth / III: In The Eyes of Fire (Metal Blade)
On their second, angriest, hardest and most melodically challenging album, producer Terry Date (Soundgarden, Deftones) steers Unearth away from Killswitch Engage’s emo-metal angst into gloriously heavy—yet musically provocative—territory. This is controlled musical chaos at its best.

5. Lamb of God / Sacrament (Epic)
Instead of trying to outsmart the din of metal mayhem they created on Ashes of the Wake, LOG bring the noise on edgy songs that add a new dimension of possibilities to the genre. Vocalist Randy Blythe’s shriek is destined for the Heavy Metal Hall of Fame.

Biggest musical disappointment: Neil Young’s Living With War. Neil, you’re a genius, and we agree with the political sentiment, but what the hell were you thinking?

Worst album of the year: Paul Oakenfold’s A Lively Mind. Prediction: The Geneva Convention will outlaw its use on captured Taliban fighters.

Guiltiest musical pleasure
: Justin Timberlake’s “My Love.” Like I’d admit it.

Most anticipated album of ’07: LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver. James Murphy hits the nail on dance-rock’s head with a spirit, unironic affair.

Most anticpated tour of ’07: Ronnie James Dio reuniting, recording, and touring with Black Sabbath. RJD has a better voice than Ozzy, and he doesn’t require a teleprompter. I’ll feel 13 all over again when I see ’em at the NYC show.

Darren Ressler