The New Year has arrived and time has come to finally reveal my favorite albums from 2012. Overall, I think there have been many great releases this year, in fact if I look at my media player I listened to 148 albums this year, which is about 60 more than I did in 2011. The internet makes it very easy to listen to new music these days, and quite often bands stream albums for nothing. With bands releasing more and more vinyl, as well as the use of DRM free downloads such as Bandcamp, I’ve found I’m purchasing more music than I have in years, which is a great thing.
I haven’t attempted to limit the list to 10 albums, instead I’ll list all the ones I think are excellent and give you a quick thought about why I chose it. Anyway, here’s the list in alphabetical order:
7 Horns 7 Eyes – Throes of Absolution
This is an album that snuck onto my list quite late in the year after seeing it appear on several top 10 lists around the place. This band plays djent-ish progressive metal in a similar vein to Opeth. Despite the fact I don’t normally dig this genre too much, I found something about this album to be quite compelling. It features some great riffs and guitar playing, and is well worth your time.
Highlight: Phumis: The Falsehood of Afflication
Behold the Monolith! – Defender, Redeemist
Seems like a long time ago I picked up this album, and was immediately impressed. These guys have featured in my top lists in the past, and I continue to enjoy their work, and fans of stoner metal should definitely check this out.
Highlight: Guardians Procession/Halv King
Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence
I missed these guys when they played live here in Adelaide due to a bout of gastro, but by all accounts they were excellent. This album just crept onto my list, it features their usual mix of progressive metal and impressive instrumental skill, however for me the vocals hold it back from being truely great. Worthy of a spot on my list though!
Highlight: Extremophile Elite
Bison BC – Lovelessness
Bison B.C. are heavy metal band from Canada, and I’ve been a passing fan of theirs for about a year now. This year they released the excellent album Lovelessness, which I have plenty of love for.
Highlight: Clozapine Dream
Death Grips – The Money Store
I like my hip-hop to be unconventional and Death Grips have that style down pat. They released two albums this year, one with a dick on the cover and then this one, which I personally think is the better album.
Highlight: Bitch Please
Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Deftones released another album right on schedule, and this time it’s a pretty good one. It makes it to the list for the track Goon Squad alone, however thankfully the rest of the album is of high quality. Also I suspect I’d get a shitload of hate mail if I didn’t include it in my list.
Highlight: Goon Squad
Enabler – All Hail The Void
Gloomy, thrashy metal that I’m really digging. Another late entry into my best of 2012 list.
Highlight: All Hail The Void
Gaza – No Absolutes In Human Suffering
Gaza are a punk/grind band from Salt Lake City, and released a great album earlier this year. In fact so great it’d be close to my number 1.
Highlight: This We Celebrate
Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
These guys seem really close to releasing a classic metal album, and while this one wasn’t quite there yet, it was a solid album worthy of inclusion in this list.
Highlight: Mouth of Kala
John Zorn – Templars – In Sacred Blood
I’ve been a fan of Mike Patton for many years now, so it’s no surprise that an album with him on it would appear on this list. He’s aregular collaborator with John Zorn, and I thought the album was a great one.
Highlight: Libera Me
Meshuggah – Koloss
Meshuggah promised much with their new album, and for the most part delivered. Better than obZen, it fefatured killer tracks sucn as Behind The Sun and Demiurge, though had a few dull moments as well.
Highlight: Behind The Sun
Municipal Waste – The Fatal Feast
Municipal Waste are a pretty consistent band, and thankfully for then consistently good. Another slab of old school thrash metal for their fans to enjoy. Also released an awesome video.
Highlight: New Dead Masters
Philm – Harmonic
A new band featuring Dave Lombardo, the put out this ablum early on in the year, and it’s fantastic. Ranges from heavy metal numbers to punkier thrashier stuff, as well as some more atmospheric near instrumentals. Underrated…
Highlight: Sex Amp
Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
I love grindcore and Pig Destroyer are at the top of the genre at the moment. Living up to their hype, the released a fantastic album late in 2012.
Propagandhi – Failed States
Punk seems to get a bad rap sometimes, especially with the Green Days and Blink 182s of the world dominating, however Propagandhi show the world that not all punk rock needs to be light and fluffy. Melding pop punk with hardcore, with deeply political lyrics, these Canadians have been a long time favorite of mine, and took their songwriting skills to the next level on this album. If I were forced to name a favorite of 2012, this would be it.
Highlight: Unscripted Moment
Royal Thunder – CVI
I made a prediction in Synchtube the other week that women fronting rock and metal bands will be the next big trend in music, and Royal Thunder are the first cab off the rank, with some fantastic strong female vocals. A great rock album that keeps on giving.
Soulsavers – The Light The Dead See
David Gahan is the singer from Depeche Mode, and those familiar with his voice will immediately recognise he deep tones all over this album. Gospel Rock is the name of the game, and impressive it is…
Soundgarden – King Animal
I expected this to be a dud, after all, not many bands can disband for 12 years and then make a strong comeback. It’s not the perfect album by any means, it starts and finishes strongly, while middle section of the album is a little bland. Cornell’s vocals are excellent, and to my ears quite honest with both the flaws and strengths of his voice on show in an mainstream album without overly produced vocals.
Highlight: Non-State Actor
The Kill – Make ‘Em Suffer
More grindcore, this time a bunch of Aussies. Probably better than the Pig Destroyer album, features a great grindcore cover of a classic Slayer track.
The Mark of Cain – Songs Of The Third And Fifth
A band that takes longer than Tool to release records, this album was about 10 years in the making. Featuring John Stanier (Battles, Tomahawk, ex-Helmet) on drums, the album is a strong comeback of sorts, and harks back to the older more melodic days.
Highlight: Grey 11
When I compiled the list, I decided I’d added too many albums, so decided to cull a few and relegate them to the dreaded “honorable mentions” category. Some of them are quite possibly worthy of entry to the top list, but I just didn’t get the time to listen to them enough. Here they are:
Black Breath – Sentenced to Life
Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
Dyscarnate – And So It Came To Pass
Inverse Phase – Pretty Eight Machine
Napalm Death – Utilitarian
Old Man Gloom – No
OM – Advaitic Songs
The Faceless – -Autotheism
The Melvins – The Bulls & The Bees
Swans – The Seer
Useless Children – Post Ending // Pre Completion