This was originally posted at METAL BUZZ and you can find that post here: http://metalbuzz.net/site/justin-petricks-year-end-2012-top-20-more/
When putting this list together I started with a list of all of the new releases for this year. I removed any re-issues and as you will see below separated EPs from full length albums. I narrowed the list to 100 and then 50 and then the 20 you will see here. This list is a list of what I consider the best albums of the year, this was hard because there were so many great albums this year narrowing it down was very difficult but I only have so much time. Regardless, here it is in all of its glory, please feel free to disagree ad nauseam in the comment section.
End of Year List 2012
- Dawnbringer:Into the Liar of the Sun God This album is one of the finest albums I have heard in my entire life! Talk about getting it right! This is a full on concept album and one of the very rare concept albums that is fluid from beginning to end and has a story that is coherent and music that plays off of and influences and enhances that story. This is very near a perfect album to me with the right amount of storytelling and music for me to consider it a masterpiece. This album makes the top of my list because it is an album I cannot go more than a couple of days without listening to and that in and of itself makes it the best album released this year.
- Gypsyhawk:Revelry & Resistance This album was a close second to Dawnbringer’s brilliant album. Gypsyhawk’s first album was a solid debut but with the band’s lineup solidified for this album and the ability of this group as songwriters, this album is as solid a metal album as you will find. With their ability to use the influences of their past and build solid, catchy songs with strong hooks and plenty of great solos this album deserves to be high on everyone’s list and in everyone’s catalogue.
- Woods of Ypres: Woods V: Grey Skies and Electric Light Another album that very rarely makes it a week without being listened to at least once. As I wrote in my original review not that long ago this album is the bittersweet finale to a life cut short. David Gold and Woods of Ypres put everything on this album and allowed Gold’s voice to be the narrative to what ironically became the end of Woods of Ypres. The fact that this was a concept about a man and his journey through life/death/afterlife makes it that much more polarizing. You can’t listen to this album without feeling how strongly Gold believed what he was saying and for as sad as his death is his understanding of the inevitable makes it a little easier to listen to.
- Ihsahn:Eremita This album is just a bombastic cornucopia of accessible music. Ihsahn was able to focus on the music and the lyrics and write an album that is a great listen for fans of all genres of metal music. A bit of a departure from his previous band Ihsahn was still able to make an evil sounding record without beating the listener over the head with hyperbole. Plus it has an evil saxophone!
- Overkill:The Electric Age What could very well be the best album to ever come out of this band is right here in all of its thrash metal glory. There was a tight race in the thrash metal category on this list but I think this is above and beyond what an excellent thrash album should sound like. It is appropriate that Overkill will be touring with Testament this year as that was their main competition on this list for thrash album of the year and they squeaked out a win. Much like Anthrax last year and Testament the year before this is an instant thrash classic and as I said before the best album to come out of this band ever.
- Striker: Armed to the Teeth This is a great heavy metal album! Much like what I talked about with Gypsyhawk these guys know how to make a catchy, hook oriented album that makes you want to listen to the songs, and I think that is one of the greatest accomplishment by a band, making me want to listen to the songs. This is pure heavy metal at its best!
- Paradise Lost: Tragic Idol It was a doomy/stoner/sludge type of year for metal music this year and Paradise Lost put together an album that stands atop the rest. The completeness of this album is remarkable with well written songs and triumphant majesty. This album is a dark, and desolate ride, it allows the listener to take in every note and feel the agony and power within each song.
- Kreator: Phantom Antichrist Much like Testament, Kreator is a band that can do no wrong and they have done a great job on this album. There is nothing dramatically new on this album but there really doesn’t have to be as long as Kreator sticks with what Kreator does best and that is put out kick ass music. They have achieved it here and the added bonus of the cover of Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” only makes it that much better.
- Goatwhore: Blood for the Master For as much as I despise Goatwhore’s name I can’t take anything away from their music. This is a blackened/thrash album that literally beats you to a pulp and leaves you on the side of the road. The genius of this album is that after all of that it makes you want to come back for more. What these guys have put together with this band is really something special and this album proves that they have a long (dark) road ahead of them and if you haven’t yet checked them out you should. Even if their name is stupid.
- Testament:Dark Roots of the Earth Some bands just know how to do it and Chuck Billy and company are one of those bands. With the second album from the Bay area thrashers since the return of the original lineup this is another great thrash album that allows Chuck , Gene, and Alex to do their things while keeping a cohesive sound throughout. This album would have actually ranked higher had it not included the ballad (just not my favorite thing from a thrash band)
- The Sword:Apocryphon A great psychedelic tinged album from a band that are also capable of translating what is on the album with their live show. This album is a fun ride through the thoughts of this band.
- Orange Goblin:A Eulogy for the Damned A sludge/stoner infused delight, this album is a hard rocking frolicking good time. With a significant amount of surprises and originality that very few in this genre are able to achieve.
- High On Fire: De Vermis Mysteriis Another sludge/stoner gem as well as another concept album. This album is as good as it is thanks to Matt Pike’s ability to use his voice as it should and probably only can be used. These are fun (in a musical sense) songs that deserve the critical praise they have received.
- Christian Mistress: Possession It is a bit ironic that this album is included on my list because of the issues I have with female fronted metal bands. But As I often am I was wrong and the more I listened to this album the more I really love what they do with heavy metal. There are obvious influences throughout the whole album that harkens to metal’s past but done so without outright imitation. They are used as influences to enhance the product and it is a top notch album.
- Early Graves: Red Horse Surprisingly this is the only hardcore album that made this list. If you want pure balls to the wall aggression and speed with really good lyrical content then this is the album you buy. Not much more needs to be said about this excellent album.
- My Dying Bride: Map of All Our Failures This is kind of a surprise album for this list but one that I think deserves to be here. This album beat out a lot of other albums purely by being an album that as soon as I heard it I loved it. It didn’t take several listens for me to fall in love with this doom monolith one listen was all I needed to know that this is a really great album.
- Dust Bolt: Violent Demolition This debut album is a great pure thrash album that will surprise most. If you love old-school thrash like I do you will love this album!
- Allegeon: Formshifter This seems to me to be a bit of an underrated album this year. The second album from this band is a tight, punishing thrash/death album that shows off how talented of musicians and songwriters they are. Plus it is a concept album and an interesting concept at that, and at this point we all know how I feel about concept albums.
- Bloodshot Dawn: Bloodshot Dawn When it comes to technical brutality I am not sure there is a better album out there to show it. This thrash/death gem is a surprisingly great album from this UK band and worth a listen. Their ability to keep the technical side so pure and tight that it takes nothing away from the music itself. They have been able to contain themselves and not allow the technical side to overtake the hooky-ness of a really great album.
- Venomous Maximus: Beg Upon the Light I just flat out love this album! From the carnival barker vocals to the glorious melodies to the occult subject matter nothing on this album is bad. I have said it before about this album and I will say it again, when I listen to it I am completely trapped in the music that comes out of the speakers (voodoo!).
Even though they didn’t make the list, albums you should not miss:
Okera: A Beautiful Dystopia
Indesinence: Vessels of Light and Decay
Converge: All We Love We Leave Behind
Aeon: Aeons Black
Cradle of Filth: The Manticore and Other Horrors
Gojira: L’Enfant Sauvage
Gorod: A Perfect Absolution
Grand Magus: The Hunt
Worst Albums of 2012
Avatar: Black Waltz (A complete waste of time)
Hellyeah: Band of Brothers (do I really need to say anything here?)
Kill Devil Hill: Kill Devil Hill (I don’t know why but really expected more)
Metallica: Beyond Magnetic (Metallica Money Grab-There was a reasons these songs didn’t make the album)
Top EPs of the year:
- 1. Beak: Eyrie
- 2. Mammoth Thunderpower: I Am Thunder
- 3. Rex Shachath: Sepulchral Torment
- 4. Frost Giant: When Myth and History Merged into Mystery
- 5. Obssesor: In Fear of the End/ Mental Hell
- 6. Voice of the Soul: Into Oblivion
As I said earlier a ton of great music came out this year for everyone to listen to so I hope you can use this list as a guide if you happened to miss any of the releases above.
Until Later, Peace!