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Every The Appleseed Cast Album Ranked From Worst to Best

The Appleseed Cast has quietly been one of the lasting emo and/or post-rock and/or indie rock bands of the last few decades. And for a band that evolved their sound so much, it’s hard to believe they don’t have any garbage albums among them. Typically when a band explores and ripens their sound, fans have a tendency to instinctually turn on them. Humans fear change, so naturally we fear Appleseed Cast’s evolution. But thankfully they’ve never let us down. Here’s how their ever-evolving albums stack up against each other.

9. The Fleeting Light of Impermanence (2019)

The main problem with this band is how long they took to write albums in the last decade. They’ve assembled six perfect studio albums in the 2000s, but only two since. What are you doing here? Give us music. In fact, this is the only album on this list that is under 10 tracks. Simply unacceptable. The Appleseed Cast is the only band that can loop the same three notes over and over again for eight consecutive minutes and I will still repeat the track after it’s finished. Give me more of that already. Immaculate album otherwise.

Play it again: “Chaotic Waves,” “Collision,” “Last Words and Final Celebrations”
Skip it: Skip whatever Spotify-assembled playlist you’re currently listening to and put on this album.

8. Low Level Owl: Volume II (2001)

It must be stressed that this album is actually quite excellent and should not be discredited, despite placing so low on this completely objective ranking system. It’s a nice continuation of “Low Level Owl: Volume I” and respectfully ambitious, but sometimes almost feels like the B-side version of its counterpart. Not a bad thing. Not a good thing either. Just a thing.

Play it again: “Ring out the Warning Bell,” “A Place in Line,” “The Last in a Line”
Skip it: Skip that salad you were just about to eat, order pizza instead, and listen to this album.

7. The End of the Ring Wars (1998)

“The End of the Ring Wars” is a very difficult release to rank when standing next to the band’s entire discography. Sure, it’s an emo classic, but it seems like it belongs more in Sunny Day Real Estate’s catalog when considering what Appleseed Cast wrote after. If you’re like, “You fool, this album should be first,” you might be right. If you think, “You fool, this album is deservedly the worst,” you might be right again. But if you’re like, “Wait, who are these guys?” then you’re absolutely correct yet again. There are no wrong answers when listening to this album.

Play it again: “Marigold & Patchwork,” “Antihero,” “On Sidewalks”
Skip it: Skip your job right now and take a mental health day. You deserve it.

6. Peregrine (2006)

Have you ever been personally ranking one of your favorite band’s discographies and come across a “Peregrine” where it could be, depending on the day, as high as “second best” or as low as “you forgot to include it because it’s not one of the immediate ones you think of when you’re in an Appleseed Cast mood”? That’s the inner turmoil known as this album. Impeccable on a Tuesday, but not top of mind by Thursday.

Play it again: “Ceremony,” “Sunlit Ascending,” “Here We Are (Family In The Hallways)”
Skip it: Skip your grandmother’s funeral and put on this instead.

5. Sagarmatha (2009)

“Sagarmatha” starts out white hot as a quintessential post-rock album. The first three tracks are all over seven minutes long each and there are hardly any vocals, which just gets in the way of all that juicy repetition that gives your brain the soothing recurring patterns it craves so deeply. That’s why the mind neurogically gravitates toward post-rock. That’s just science. Or psychology. One of those.

Play it again: “As the Little Things Go,” “The Summer Before,” “A Bright Light”
Skip it: Skip your dentist appointment and listen to this album. You were going to skip it anyway.

4. Two Conversations (2003)

“Two Conversations” is far less interlude-y than its previous “Low Level Owl” records, so it seems more accessible. It’s like the band experimented with their sound on LLO, regretted it, and tried to atone for their iterative ways by giving us “Two Conversations.” Either that or they simply grew organically in a direction that felt natural for them and it’s actually the music critics who need to get their shit together and respect the band’s musical choices. Probably the latter.

Play it again: “Innocent Vigilant Ordinary,” “Hanging Marionette,” “Ice Heavy Branches”
Skip it: Skip this album if you’re not that into the Appleseed Cast.

3. Illumination Ritual (2013)

Typically, a band’s eighth studio album has no business being top three anything, but this one is extremely late in the band’s discography yet quietly satisfying. It’s got everything you want on an album. It’s sonically pretty, percussively elegant, rhythmically ethereal, celestially layered, goosebump-inducing at times, and I couldn’t tell you a single lyric on the album despite listening to it on repeat. Perfect record.

Play it again: “Clearing Life,” “30 Degrees 3 AM,” “Cathedral Rings”
Skip it: Yeah, no.


2. Low Level Owl: Volume I (2001)

There is a remarkable amount of musicianship happening on this album. For instance, I am not quite sure what exactly is going on in the track “Steps and Numbers” that makes me feel like I am ascending into another plane of harmonized existence nor do I really need to know. The great thing about post-rock is that if you are really into one particular part of a song, chances are you’ll hear it for a good three minutes before it moves on to the next progression. It’s nice that the Appleseed Cast gave the fans what they wanted over and over and over again, whether we knew we wanted it or not.

Play it again: “Steps and Numbers,” “On Reflection,” “Sentence”
Skip it: Don’t you dare.

1. Mare Vitalis (2000)

“Mare Vitalis” is Latin for “sea of life” and this album somehow perfectly captures the feeling of being stranded in the middle of the ocean, I think. There are calm before the storm moments between times where your life feels like you’re at the mercy of the potentially ominous oceanic tides ahead of you, yet it also can feel like there might just be hope after all despite all signs pointing to your inevitable death where eventually the seagulls will be picking away at your lifeless corpse. To conclude, “Mare Vitalis” is an emo classic, a post-rock classic, an indie classic, and a seafarer’s classic alike.

Play it again: Play it all again.
Skip it: Skip going in the ocean. Nothing good happens there.