Ultimate Guitar readers loved their Chili Peppers.
You exercised your right to vote for the most awe-inspiring album of the year, and we shall not make you wait any longer for the results. With over 10,000 votes submitted to the 2006 Ultimate Guitar Reader's Poll, a little of everything was represented, from metalcore or emo to progressive rock. There were a few bands, however, that definitely seemed to appeal to the majority - one which has been infatuated with using California in its song lyrics, and the other a bit enamored with that old favorite, death.
At the end of the counting, veteran rockers The Red Hot Chili Peppers came out ahead of all the rest with its double-album Stadium Arcadium. Pulling in 611 votes, the Chili Peppers proved yet again that they are not going anywhere. And for all of you who had a fondness for My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade? You fought the good fight, losing by less than 100 votes.
And now for your list of winners
01. Stadium Arcadium - The Red Hot Chili Peppers (611 votes)After over 20 years in the music business, the Chili Peppers have proven they have just as much staying power as U2. The band's 1st double album Stadium Arcadium, which just recently garnered 6 Grammy Award nominations, focuses more on a low-key Peppers' style (some might use the dreaded adjective mature) versus its more over-the-top funkadelic days. While it may not live up to the legendary status of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the 28-track Stadium Arcadium is still jam-packed with a number of likely hit singles.
02. The Black Parade - My Chemical Romance (517 votes)While the Chili Peppers might have taken the top spot in the UG poll, The Black Parade was the most intriguing My Chemical Romance release to date. The concept album that vocalist Gerard Way called completely over the top, borderline psychotic leads listeners through a cancer victims' understanding of life and death. Although the slightly morbid topic adds to the drama, it is the music that made the biggest impression here. And who knows, MCR might just have pulled off what many deemed impossible: proving that it is much more than just an emo band.
03. The Crusade - Trivium (380 votes)Trivium did a risky thing this year by tackling a fresh, less scream-filled style. Although a different turn for the band, the new sound has not seemed to dissuade the majority of fans from embracing the band's latest release, The Crusade. It's hard not to be in awe of the amazing guitar work of Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu, which once again played a prominent role on the band's 3rd record. Some debate has risen about Heafy's Metallica-sounding vocals (which seems to be fulfilling the band's desire to be the next Metallica), and some fans just couldn't handle the departure from the usual sing-scream format. Standing at #3 on the UG poll, however, Trivium has obviously maintained a huge portion of its fan base.
04. Decemberunderground - AFI (282 votes)Like Trivium (although in no way are the two bands musically similar), AFI also received some backlash from its diehard fans with the release of Decemberunderground. AFI had been known for its earlier punk-driven songs, so recording the more pop-friendly songs on Decemberunderground was a risky move. Fortunately, most of AFI's fans (some of which were lucky enough to be chosen as back-up chanters on Miss Murder) found the new synth-experimentation to be yet another brilliant move for the California natives.
05. A Matter Of Life And Death - Iron Maiden (227 votes)Iron Maiden's influence has entered so many aspects of today's metal that it seemed appropriate for the iconic band to have a bit of its own music out in the present music scene. Probably the biggest indicator of the band's influence was shown during the opening week that A Matter Of Life And Death was released: It became the 1st album to become a top-10 Billboard chart hit for the British icons. With each song averaging over 7 minutes long, the record features classic work from vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Steve Harris. While it's not quite as classic as Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, A Matter Of Life And Death definitely still deserves its rightful place in the UG Top 10.
06. Sacrament - Lamb of God (193 votes)Recently named Album of the Year by Revolver Magazine, Sacrament impressed plenty in 2006, particularly when it came to the guitar work from Mark Morton and Willie Adler. Sacrament represents the band at its best, and you should definitely pick up the deluxe edition with DVD if you haven't already. You'll get a behind-the-scenes look at the songwriting process between Morton and Adler, who each have distinct styles that they add to LOG. When you throw in the trademark roar and grim lyrics by vocalist Randy Blythe, the songs on Sacrament are not easily forgotten.
07. 10,000 Days - Tool (184 votes)Tool has always been known for its intricate and complex musical compositions, and 10,000 Days satisfied this expectation in full. The latest record opened to mixed reviews, primarily from critics, but it still features a variety of classic Tool sounds - from drummer Danny Carey's ornate percussion to vocalist Maynard James Keenan's emotionally-charged vocals. The Pot and Jambi are up there with the likes of Sober, and the musicianship has never been better. The angrier days of Tool are passing rapidly, opening up the way for a more reflective (Wings For Marie) and often ritualistic (Lipan Conjuring) sound. 10,000 Days might be a bit too extreme for the casual rock listener, but many diehard Tool fans have called it yet another masterpiece.
08. Black Holes And Revelations - Muse (145 votes)The band that has a seamless way of intertwining indie rock, electronica, and classical music makes its mark at #8 on the UG poll. While the band has been critics' darling for a while now, Black Holes And Revelations found a place with fans alike this time around. With vocalist Matthew Bellamy sounding like Radiohead's Thom Yorke at times, his extensive vocal range enables Muse's songs to have a bit more depth than plenty of other new releases. The result is a synth-fused rock extravaganza with undeniably catchy melodies.
09. Light Grenades - Incubus (135 votes)If it wasn't common knowledge before, Incubus' popularity was confirmed in November when Light Grenades debuted at the top of the Billboard charts. Granted, the total albums sold was still quite a bit less than the 2001 release Morning View, but it still has plenty of tracks that could cause the same stir as Wish You Were Here. Brandon Boyd's vocal work has never been stronger and could easily be called one of the best rock singers in the business today.
10. City Of Evil - Avenged Sevenfold (129 votes)Avenged Sevenfold has a whole slew of new fans now that The Beast And The Harlot has been immortalized in Guitar Hero II. Of course, legions of AS fans knew that the band was always destined to overtake the masses. City Of Evil takes a step toward classic hard rock/metal with an abundance of harmonic guitar solos that would make Iron Maiden and Judas Priest proud. Even Guitar World Magazine ranked City Of Evil as the 63rd greatest guitar album of all time. Yes, you should buy this album now.
Before you start throwing your computer monitor out the window because your favorite 2006 release didn't make the cut, there are a few more records that came very close to joining the Top 10. These records are indeed honorable mentions, most specifically Wolfmother, which lost out on tying for 10th place by one vote. Ouch.
The Honorable Mentions:Wolfmother - Wolfmother (128 votes)
Blood Mountain - Mastodon (116 votes)
Christ Illusion - Slayer (102 votes)
As Daylight Dies - Killswitch Engage (96 votes)
Revelations - Audioslave (82 votes)
Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam (80 votes)
The Great Burrito Extortion Case - Bowling For Soup (79 votes)
The Sufferer And The Witness - Rise Against (77 votes)
The Poison - Bullet For My Valentine (75 votes)
Inhuman Rampage - Dragonforce (73 votes)
Amy Kelly @ 2006. For Ultimate-Guitar Holiday Edition.