My Top Ten Metal Abums Of 2012
Well 2012 has almost come to a close. I’m not really sure how I feel about this right now because 2013 will be just like 2012 was unless the world really does end next week. Otherwise things are going to be the same. Every problem in this country from taxes, gun control, your overactive bladder, Conan still having a TV show down to the Raiders putting up another horrible season can and will all be blamed on one thing: Obama. That sure does sound like a lot to get excited over doesn’t it? Maybe the Tool album that was tentatively coming out in 2010 will decide to appear in 2013. If it doesn’t, I’ll make sure we all blame Obama as well. Don’t worry, I didn’t vote for the Mormon colostomy bag either. But before I go off on a rant about a heavy load of shit here (I’m looking at you too, Ministry’s Relapse), I’ll provide you with my top ten metal albums of a year that will unfortunately be better remembered more for school shootings instead of things America should actually shine in such as the Olympics or the NHL.
10. Goatwhore – Blood For The Master
Another cycle of constant touring, another sexy as fuck black metal release by the Cajuns From Hell. It’s not an album that redefines the genre or anything, but much like Carving Out The Eyes Of God, it’s an awesome, yet easily accessible album that you didn’t have to blow the guy down at the obscure record store to get a shitty cassette tape copy of the more kvlt black metal band than yours just to hear something in the genre worth listening to.
9. Katonia – Dead End Kings
I wish I could rank this album higher, because God damn I love this band and I feel that they can do no wrong. I’ve also been listening to this album more than most other albums this year just because I can never get enough of this band in general. My problem is that no tracks on this album stand out as immediately memorable on their own, with possibly the exception of the closing track ‘Dead Letters’, although the album as a whole is still wonderful.
8. Fear Factory – The Industrialist
The initial thought of a concept album by a band this far along in their career often scares the shit out of me. Upon listening to the album however, the concept theory gets lost when the in your face metal reminiscent of Demanufacture and Mechanize having a love child starts to sink in. It’s a wonderful return to form album for the band that gives you hope that there is still something left in the tank.
7. Deftones – Koi No Yokan
I can’t believe that a few short years ago everybody was ready to stick a fork in this band. Sure, nu-metal is dead unless you are Revolver magazine and you think that Korn had the best album of 2011, but the Deftones just keep getting stronger with age and haven’t seemed to run out of ideas yet. This album went experimental without going soft and whiny but still maintained its chops like you would expect from them. If this album wasn’t the follow-up to an album as perfect as Diamond Eyes I would have probably thought even higher of it.
6. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
It seems like the fifth time I’ve said this in as many albums, but Gojira has released another wonderful album. I’m honestly amazed that they aren’t one of the biggest metal acts out there right now in terms of popularity, sales and touring. I have no complaints about this album as a whole. Much like their prior albums, I seem to wear out their latest release until they release something newer and this one has been no different.
5. Lamb Of God – Resolution
These guys have mighty big shoes to fill with every release it seems, yet somehow they keep managing to pull it off. Each album feels like a more mature version of its predecessor and Resolution picked up right where Wrath left off. At times it wasn’t as heavy and some songs didn’t feel like the individual gems that the past three albums were loaded with, but the album instead got darker and took on new form as something else special instead. Let’s all just hope that there are many more albums on the horizon for Mr. Blythe and that he doesn’t have to do his best Varg imitation and write songs from his cell for the next dime.
4. Ex Deo – Caligvla
This might be the best death metal album to still not have its own Wikipedia entry almost six months later, so somebody who isn’t as lazy as me should really get on that now. On top of being a spectacular death metal album, it also feels like a crash course on the Roman Empire put into the form of a battle anthem. If only the gladiators went into the amphitheatres with such beautiful songs at their back, most people would take the time to still give a shit about their World History classes. While I thought that their debut album Romulus was something special to behold, this album further separates itself from the Kataklysm foundation while creating something as good as or better than anything ever created by either project.
3. Moonspell – Alpha Noir/Omega White
What an absolutely amazing double album treat by what I believe is the only Portuguese band that I listen to. Instead of trying to force something different down our throats or by trying to put in smaller clips of beauty, they released Omega White as a standalone in what feels like an homage to Type O Negative and certain Paradise Lost albums. I would have been happy with just that album, so with Alpha Noir being a much heavier but no less catchy of a companion was just icing on the cake for me.
2. Woods Of Ypres – Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light
What an absolutely beautiful album from top to bottom. When I reviewed this album for the first time at the end of 2011 it was still in promo version form released by Earache Records in mourning of the passing of vocalist/guitarist/drummer/founder David Gold. Since then an official release has come with an additional song and a completely mixed up track listing, but the end result is the same. It became a doom metal album that is absolutely essential for any fan of the genre that is haunting and eerie given the circumstances under which the album was released. While many of us lost a wonderful artist, some of us also lost a friend, but David’s swansong left us all with something amazing for a very, very long time.
1. Allegaeon – Formshifter
The number one album of the year comes from an unlikely place: Colorado. Usually the place doesn’t have much to be proud of aside from South Park and Coors Light (are they proud of that?!) when they don’t have someone named Elway or Manning on their team. I guess times are changing. Hopefully most metalheads have at least heard of this band and given them a shot since it seems like their touring opportunities have been a bit scarce in comparison to much shittier bands that get on every tour imaginable. They are a sexy mix of technical metal, death metal and everything else good that isn’t immediately dumped into the “-core” cesspool. Hell, they blow away the metalsucks.net user voted album of the year, Periphery’s Periphery II, from every technical standpoint without the Linkin Park sounding vocals. With a little bit more exposure there’s no telling where this band is going. Their debut album, Fragments Of Form And Function was undeniably amazing but the overall feel of the album was a bit scattered at times it seemed like which might have limited its exposure. Formshifter puts all of the pieces together correctly and keeps everything on the same page and shoves it down your throat. The album is a keeper for anybody who listens to bands anywhere from Amon Amarth and Nile to The Faceless and Atheist and they want something heavy with a lot of substance, while at the same time don’t have to dissect layers of guitar show and tell to enjoy the actual song.
There you have it kids, there’s my top ten albums for 2012. The past couple of years I was nice enough to give a bunch of honorable mentions of albums that were good but not quite great. This year, I’ll mention six albums in no particular order that also kicked ass but weren’t quite as good as the first ten to me. All six are totally worth going out and owning however and will most definitely get you laid when in the presence of somebody who doesn’t suck.
Eluveitie – Helvetios
Ensiferum – Unsung Heroes
The Faceless – Autotheism
Devin Townsend – Epicloud
Dethklok – Dethalbum III
Swallow The Sun – Emerald Forest & The Blackbird