Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 50 Metal Releases of 2012

So here it is, list time.  Ahhhhhhh!!!!!! I know I said I was going to do a top 20 list in my last post, but I was looking at the year and there were just to many really great releases.  So I'm deciding to do a top 50 list.  This year was a really great year, way better than last year for sure.  I really didn't have a major upset this year.  I had some releases that I wasn't particularly happy with, but nothing that really floored me as horrible.  Like last year with Metallica, Morbid Angel, and Winds of Plague.  I know I say that the current year was the best so far, but this year really has been a really good year for metal in particular.  So this list won't have runners up, it'll be just my top 50.  I know I did that in the past but this year with bringing in the 30 I figured I would just do it that way.  So without further a due lets get started.

50.  Witchcraft

49.  Christian Mistress - Possession

48.   Angel Witch - As Above, So Below

47.  Goatwhore - Blood For The Master

46.  Faithful Darkness - Black Mirrors Reflection

45.  Unsane = Wreck

44.  Sigh - In Somniaphobia

43.  Krallice - Years Past Matter

42.  Zonaria - Arrival Of The Red Sun

41.  Spawn Of Possession - Incurso

40.  Accept - Stalingrad

39.  Aborted - Global Flatline

38.  Sear Bliss - Eternal Recurrence

37.  A Forest Of Stars - A Shadowplay For Yesterdays

36.  Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay

35.  Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliees

34.  Dodecahedron - Dodecahedron

33.  The Foreshadowing - Second World

32.  Devin Townsend - Epicloud

31.  In The Silence - A Fair Dream Gone Bad

30.  Frailty - Melpomene

29.  Be'Lakor - Of Breath And Bone

28.  The Sword - Apocryphon

27.  Katatonia - Dead End Kings

26.  Napalm Death - Utilitarian

TOP 25 

25.  Torche - Harmonicraft

I discovered Torche this year thanks to the wonderful Needledrop.  His YouTube channel has helped me a lot in discovering new music.  He is one of the best music critics I've ever watched, and has such a wide range of tastes.  Go check his channel out if you guys haven't yet.  Why I haven't known about Torche astounds me.  These guys pack so much melody and richness into their particular style of heaviness.  There are a lot of great drone, or stoner like sounds, accompanied with really great tight sounding riffing.  Torches back catalog is nothing short of great as well.  I highly recommend this group if your into maybe, Baroness, or just great post rock artists

24.  Overkill - The Electric Age

Overkill are one of the great thrash metal giants to come out of the 80's as well all know.  The Electric Age just furthers why they are a giant among the rest.  These guys really know how to pack a punch, and leave you stunned.  After I listened to this record I was seriously tired from all the metal thrashing madness.  Great riffs, superb drumming, crisp production, and a great vocal intensity to mach all the blissful ear smacking.  Overkill continue to knock it out of the park, and not many can come close to their perfection.  

23.  Ne Obliviscaris - Portal Of I

Just a great metal record all around.  There are influences from all around the metal spectrum.  There's a real black metal friendly sound at moments, then they'll go to a guteral vocal approach that really sends chills down your spine.  The clean vocals are done really well as well, and the guitar work is great.  Some really great technical playing, and very melodic as well.  I really enjoyed the use of the strings, and melodic parts stuck in there at times.   I discovered these guys this year from the heavy metal sight  In my opinion the absolute best sight for metal music everything.  So with this release it was a hell of an exposure.  We will see how they continue to stack up for me in the future.

22.  Asphyx - Deathhammer

I've known about Asphyx for a while but never really paid them any attention.  And boy was I sorry.  These guys really know how to bring some major talent to the floor of black metal.  Some pretty sinister sounding blackened death metal stuff here.  I was smiling the entire time I first listened to it, and I still wanna raise my fist and yell yeah bring it on.  Asphyx will be one of my favorite metal bands in this particular vein of metal.

21.  Abigail Williams - Becoming

Abigail Williams continue to astound me with every release.  I have been watching these guys since their first studio release in 2008 with In The Shadow of A Thousand Suns.  Every release gets better and better.  In The Absence of Light in 2010 was an amazing release, and they continue to push their sounds further and further.  There are some great atmospheric elements, accompanied with a great black metal sound here.  Nothing less than perfect when it comes to atmosphere.  I really felt like I was in the bowls of hell listening to this masterpiece.  Another great release from a band that will continue to amaze us all in the metal community.

20.  Testament - Dark Roots Of The Earth

Testament have always been one of my favorite thrash metal bands.  These guys are at the top of their game with this one.  The Formation Of Damnation in 2008 showed a great return to form for these guys, and was one of my favorite records of that year.  This one is nothing less of eargasmic.  Some of the best thrash metal I've heard in a long time.  Next to Overkill, and Kreator there is nothing better.

19.  Black Breath - Sentenced To Life

Yet another discovery from The Needledrop.  These guys pack a lot of fist pumping riot friendly punk madness into their very thrash metal classic sounds as well.  The intensity is held strong throughout the entire record, and sometimes I feel like jumping around starting a mosh pit.  It's fun, energetic, spastic metal that is right up my alley.  They really hit home with Sentenced To Life, and if they continue down this road of perfection they will continue to be in my top releases every time.

18.  Meshuggah - Koloss

No matter what these guys do they always amaze me every time.  Koloss is something a little different, and new from these guys while still sounding like the Meshuggah we know and love.  Meshuggah will forever be one of the driving forces in progressive death metal.  It's really hard to put a certain style or sound to Meshuggah.  They stand alone in their own ass kicking category   Koloss while being a little different which I know raised a lot of eye brows still hits home for me just like every release from these progressive giants.

17.  The Faceless - Autotheism

The Faceless really went out on a daring limb on this one, which really blew me away.  I enjoyed the melodic elements, and the atmosphere these guys brought to Autotheism.  The technical s are just as strong as always, and the production is top notch.  When I first heard the second track it blew me away at how they were able to transition into an absolute speed frenzy from a symphonic intro.  They switched a few things around, and tried some new things as well, which I think really paid off. This release is fresh, and very interesting the whole way through.

16.  Cattle Decapitation - Monolith Of Inhumanity

Cattle Decapitation really blew me away this year with this one.  These guys are absolutely amazing.  By far my favorite death metal record of the year.  The high pitched screams on this record are so sick sounding.  Some of the best death metal drumming I've ever heard, and the high pitched screams are so intense.  I feel like my eyes are going to start bleeding, and I'm going to start going into epileptic shock or something.  Watch the video of the vocal production.  It will blow your mind at how he achieved the high pitched vocals for the record.  These guys really stepped up their game ten fold and are dominating the technical death metal world right now.  So if you haven't heard this record yet.  What the hell are you waiting for!

15.  Kreator - Phantom Antichrist

Hands down the best trash metal release this year.  There was some pretty stiff competition with Testament, and Overkill giving Kreator a real run for their money.  But Kreator just killed it this year.  A great release from in my opinion the best surviving thrash metal band from the 80's.  These guys know exactly what they're doing, and they seemingly plan to take over the world with their in your face, barrage of chest pounding metal.

14.  Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage

Gojira are one of the bands that really give me a fuzzy warm feeling every time I listen to them.  Every record they release is amazing.  I've been jamming them for a few years now and can't get enough.  L'Enfant Sauvage shows a few different elements to these progressive giants, while keeping it within the Gojira staple. Just another great release from a great technical metal band.

13.  Nachtmystium - Silencing Machine

 By far the best black metal release this year.  Nachtmystium really know how to mold sheer aggression, with  absolute perfection, and precision.  The darkness in this record is immense, and I feel like shadows are taking over when I listen to this record.  It's dark, it's evil, it's everything that perfect black metal is.  Something to listen to in a dark room, with a candle lit, and sink into the world of darkness that is Nachtmystium.    

12.  In Mourning - The Weight of Oceans

Yet another new discovery this year.  I got this one from, and I was asking myself when I got this record.  Why haven't I known about these guys?  Some of the best melodic Progressive death metal out there right now.  I went and got their earlier workings and they are equally as astounding as The Weight Of Oceans.  In Mournig is probably going to continue to rise as one of my favorite bands with every listen.  I highly recommend these guys if you're into stuff like Daylight Dies, or Swallow the Sun.

11.  Woods Of YPres - Woods 5: 

One of the most passionate, straight to the heart albums I've ever hear.  I remember when I first heard this record I couldn't stop listening to it.  It was on repeat for like 3 months straight.  I started to do a little research about the band and discovered that the singer, and guitar player was killed before the record was released this year.  When I found that out I almost had to stop listening to the record, because he speaks of his death like as if he knew his time was up, and was saying his goodbyes.  I still get chills when I listen to Kiss My Ashes Goodbye.  He will be remembered forever through his music, and imprint he's left on many of the metal maniacs out there.  R.I.P. David Gold

10.  Paradise Lost - Tragic Idol

 Paradise Lost have always been one of my favorite bands.  Their particular style of doom stylings have gone unmatched in my opinion since these guys came around back in 88.  They released their first studio album in 90 with the masterpiece Lost Paradise and have been going strong ever since.  Everything these guys release have always been on my top and will probably forever be on top of pretty much everything I listen to.  I highly recommend these guys to anyone who likes doom type stuff.

9.  Blut Aus Nord - 777 - Cosmosophy

A wonderful ending to a great trilogy.  Blut Aus Nord have really done an excellent job at setting the mood, and flow on cosmosphy.  I have never heard anything like this and its a very interesting concept.  I can't wrap my head around what to classify this release as.  It's not quite black metal, it's definitely very atmospheric, and instrumentally driven.  It has some really great ambiance to it, which really gets my mind running.  I could listen to this in my headphones really low at night when I'm sleeping and get drawn into the deep sunken mood of the record for sure.

8.  Alcest - Les Voyages De L'Ame

I discovered Alcest in 2010 with their wonderful Escailles De Lune.  It was one of my favorite records of the year.  Until then I had never heard of french show gaze black metal.  Alcest do just that, and are the absolute best at what they do.  They are going for a more melodic, show gaze vibe than a black metal aesthetic with each release I feel.  Which is fine with me just as long as the project whatever the vibe may be, be done well.  And Alcest do not disappoint.  The passion, melody, the richness  goes unmatched and I will be a fan of these guys for a long time to come for sure.

7.  Daylight Dies - Frail Becoming

Daylight Dies is by far one of my favorite bands of all time.  I love everything they've released.  I can hear distinctive differences, and some of the same great elements in every record that these guys have released.  And this record is no different.  On this one we hear more melodic vocal passages, and melody which is great touch I think.  The progression is still just as present as always, and the doom quality is there as well.  Daylight Dies continue to amaze me with every release and I am in awe with this record.  I loved it, and if you are into stuff like In Mourning, Swallow the Sun, or Opeth you will love Daylight Dies.

6.  Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

Converge do it again with All We Love...  Their particular breed of metal is nothing less than perfect.  I like to call it controlled Chaos.  And there is no better band out there in the hardcore world.  I really can't say what Converge are either.  They at times have a real death metal friendly sound, and then other times have a real grind core, or hard core groove.  Either way it's amazing stuff that rocks the whole way through.

5.  High On Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis

High On Fire are so eargasmic for me.  I can't say enough good things about this band.  They have a real classic metal sound at times, and then bring a major kick in the ass with their style of metal.  Matt Pike really has such a distinctive voice.  At times I think if Motorhead, and Black Sabbath got together and jammed.  It wouldn't sound half as good as High On Fire.  Haha no but really these guys continue to amaze me with their fist pumping, crazy awsome heavy metal.

4.  Baroness - Yellow & Green

One of my favorite bands do it again.  This record for me when it came out was number one.  I couldn't put it down, and with every listen I liked it more and more each time.  It's a lot different than the normal Baroness which I love.  A lot of people were turned off by the overall softer approach on this record.  I on the other hand embraced it.  I really enjoyed hearing all the different elements to this record.  The drums sound amazing, and there are so many guitar textures that it's almost hard to wrap my head around the guitar parts at times.  The amount of thought that went into this record is just ridiculous.  Nothing short of perfect, and it's a double album to boot.  So twice the awsomeness.

Lead Singer and guitar play John Baisley talks about the various approaches to the record.  Breat watch.  He really is on top of his craft.

3.  Graveyard - Light's Out

When I heard that Graveyard were going to be coming out with a new record this year right after releasing Hisingen Blues last year.  I knew it was going to be fighting for the top spot.  Hisingen Blue was my number two record right under Opeth, and honestly the only reason Opeth was number one is because they are my all time favorite band.  Graveyard have such a classic groove, accompanied with a real blue rock over tone.  Nothing comes close to Graveyard.  This record really pushed their blues vibes.  At times I thought I was listening to The Doors, or Cream.  And then there were moments where I heard Sabbath, or Led Zeppelin.  Graveyard are climbing as one of my favorite bands and will continue to blow me away with their passionate blues wankery.

-An Industry of Murder- My favorite track

2.  Enslaved - Riitiir

Progressive black metal at it's finest   Nothing comes close to these giants of black metal.  I remember the first time I hear Enslaved.  I was shocked, and couldn't get my head around everything that was going on in this wonderful band.  These guys mesh melody, and intensity together very well.  Just when you think you can't take anymore screams they switch it up and sing with some of the best clean vocals I've beard in black meta.  Their progressive natures, and ability to bring new elements to the table go unmatched,  Enslaved have really made an absolute master piece with Riitiir, and I can't wait to see what's in store for Enslaved next.  All I know is that I will love it.

1.  Swallow the Sun - Emerald Forest And The Blackbird

Of course these guys would get my number one spot this year.  Anything these guys have released I've loved.  New Moon in 2009 was amazing, and I can't stop listening to this one.  There is so much atmosphere and texture on this record.  Sounds like Labyrinth Of London, and the opener are great mood setters.  The guys in Swallow the Sun are some of the most talented bunch of guys in metal right now in my opinion.  Their influences are all over the place, and they do a great job at reflecting them all very well.  There are some of the beefiest guitar sounds on this record, and some of the clearest melodic passages as well.  If you haven't heard this record yet it is absolutely necessary that you go check it out right now.  Another great release from a great melodic progressive death metal band,

-Labyrinth Of London- My favorite track off the record

So there you have it.  My top 50 metal record of the year.  Man there were a lot of great ones out this year, hence why I did top 50.  Obviously the top 25 were the ones that got the most listens probably, and were the only that I really liked.  But there were a lot of great releases this year that I couldn't just do 25 and not give props to some of the others.  I always say that the current year was way better than the last one, but this year has really honestly been an amazing year for metal.  So many great records man.  So there are probably a few that I left off here and there.  I wanna know what you guys thought.  what were your favorite records, and which ones did you not agree with.  So until next time.  Stay hard, stay heavy