A Recap Of 2012… So Far
Well it’s already a month into 2012, so you know what that means: The end of the world is coming. Surely someone is saying, “No, not John, he isn’t possibly buying into this shit about the world coming to an end!” I’m sorry to tell you that it’s true. But don’t be mistaken, I don’t fear zombies or the apocalypse or even my own demise. There are only two things that will make the world implode in 2012 – hipsters and politicians. I was one of those people who said that my shithole of a city would never be overrun with A Day To Remember loving, gaudy plaid and skinny jean wearing, faux Mohawk styling with thick rimmed glasses to finish it off douchebags, but I stand corrected. They fill up every desirable place in this hellhole that I call home, leaving only street corners and Planned Parenthoods as places for me to hang out until I run into something even worse – politicians and their supporters or opposers. This leaves me in a daily moral dilemma of driving home from work or nineteen counts of vehicular manslaughter just to get home and have a television overrun with more garbage about Obama being a terrorist and how Mitt Romney molests kittens. Thankfully a month into this whole mess of a year, there has been a lot of good metal to keep me from mass genocide.
There has been talk about what Newt Gingrich’s new theme song should be since he can no longer use “Eye Of The Tiger” because apparently nobody has ever wrote a song about being batshit crazy before for him to borrow. Stormtroopers Of Death had this snazzy little jingle called ‘Kill Yourself’ which would have worked perfectly for him or anyone else on the ballot, but nobody has taken the bait yet. I also feel like Obama could use some help from the metal community in his reelection bid. Just as HHH had Motörhead kick in with ‘The Game’ as he entered the wrestling ring, Obama can have ‘Ace Of Spades’ blowing up the P.A. before each press conference. Optimism would be at an all time high.
Alright, I feel like I’ve ranted and haven’t gotten much of a point across yet. The point is that there has amazing music to come out so far this year to keep me from shooting myself or many other people out there lately. All of these albums will end up on many end of the year lists including my own.
Lamb Of God – Resolution
Since America is the problem here, I should start with something that isn’t a problem in America. Lamb of God unleashed yet another killer album that is a bit heavier than the past couple of releases but still just as catchy as anything since Ashes Of The Wake. The only downfall of the whole album is that any attempt to push the boundaries of a well established Lamb Of God blueprint seem a bit forced at times. The spoken word and acoustic intros and interlude are all fine and well and even add a small element of surprise, but at the end of the day we are all here for the meat and potatoes of the album which is a pissed off Randy Blythe and the rest of the supporting cast unleashing hell behind him. 9/10
Woods Of Ypres – Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light
The only downer about this album is the circumstances under which it was released. Following the tragic death of David Gold in December, Earache Records posted the album for download in his honor. It follows in the footsteps of Woods 4 in terms of gloominess and despair but the songs are more refined and to the point making the album more of a compact and ideal listen. While its official release date was January 31st and has now been pushed back to April 10th, all of the diehard Woods of Ypres fans have already listened to it a million times by now and have songs like ‘Death Is Not An Exit’ burned into their brain for days at a time. The album is 56 minutes of heartfelt doom metal that questions relationships, religion and existence itself. Woods 5 closes with the now very ominous ‘Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)’ Parts 1 & 2 that gives the whole situation an even more somber feeling. I could go on and write reviews of every song but the lyrics and musicianship are moving enough to speak for themselves upon the first listen. It’s one of the few albums that will send shivers down your spine from start to finish and it is definitely the pinnacle of David Gold’s tragically short career. 10/10
Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline
Lacuna Coil has finally taken a step forward after a couple of huge leaps backward in the releases following their 2002 breakthrough Comalies. While it’s not Comalies by any stretch, it’s pretty much an enjoyable listen for any fan of female vocals this time around. The R.E.M. cover of ‘Losing My Religion’ was pretty neat the first time I heard it, but the luster has worn off a bit with it since. Essentially much like Devin Townsend did with his Addicted release of creating a metal pop album, Lacuna Coil inadvertently took the same route. The vocals and song structures both beg for mainstream attention while maintaining enough edginess to not be bland and forgettable like most of Karmacode or Shallow Life were. 7/10
Swallow The Sun – Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
You know what’s awesome about Swallow The Sun? Everything they’ve made. They always seem to find a way to stay unique, unpredictable, heavy and absolutely beautiful at the same time. Once again Swallow The Sun doesn’t disappoint by creating a ten track masterpiece that will be one of the finest releases of the year. It has moments of beauty reminiscent of a Katatonia or a later Opeth album (‘This Cut Is The Deepest’) but it quickly flips a switch and sounds like what Cradle Of Filth (‘Hate, Lead The Way’) only wish they could be. Even ‘Cathedral Walls’ featuring Anette from Nightwish turned out flawless (which is more than I can say about the most recent Nightwish release). It’s definitely a keeper just like everything else they’ve done. 8.5/10