We decided to do something a little different this year for our 'Best of' roundup. Instead of a master list compiled of submissions from our contributors and writers, we wanted to give our writers a chance to pick their own Top 5 list of the best of the year in music. Over the next three weeks we will be unveiling our writers' picks for the best of 2004.

Every day we will be posting a new Top 5 list from one of our writers, selected at random. At the conclusion we will reveal the master list. We also want to let you take part and will be accepting nominations for a readers' choice list.

To kick things off antiMUSIC critic Mark Hensch gives us his Top 5 of 2004.

Mark Hensch.

5. Bigelf - Hex: An album that awoke within me a respect for classic rock that had previously been lacking. My dad also loves it, and as such, the two of us can finally talk music and air guitar together. (samples / buy cd | review)

4. Mastodon - Leviathian: Having just been recently able to purchase any Mastodon albums, I can finally say that all those tracks I had before hand were worth it...though many decry this follow-up as a bastard attempt at greatness, I measure this CD totally alone, away from both Remissions and Life's Blood. This brilliant concept album tackles Moby Dick, hitting us with heavy metal, southern prog, and jazz drumming along the way. Fully righteous.(samples / buy cd)

3. The Dresden Dolls - The Dresden Dolls: This is what pop music should sound like!!! A piano, a set of jazz drums, and two people who dress like mimes and sing horribly cynical and darkly amusing tunes. Picture a tryst between The White Stripes and Elton John that somehow ended up with a bunch of depressed gothic clowns singing songs that convey true emotion in a landscape often devoid of it. If I didn't love heavy music as much as I do, this would be much higher. The best "quiet" CD you'll ever hear.(samples / buy cd)

2. The Blood Brothers - Crimes: Easily one of the most important bands in the last decade, at least in terms of punk/hardcore/extreamo music. Thought this album isn't as good as last year's MASTERPIECE Burn Piano Island, Burn, the new album will (hopefully) change the (at times) horribly boring punk/hardcore worlds with the insane polyrhythm, time signature changes, effects, and surreal lyrics. (samples / buy cd | review)

1. Shadows Fall - The War Within: Gothenburg Death Metal perfection...a perfect example of how music is not in a state of decay, and a benchmark of meaty riffs, mind-numbing solos, pounding double bass, and an almost historical trip through seamlessly blended metal sub-genres. A must have for any fans of extreme musical styles.(samples / buy cd)

Check back tomorrow when another member of the antiMusic staff checks in with their top 5 list.

Wait! Be sure to submit your nominations for the Readers' Choice list.

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