If I had my say, there would be a top one hundred list, because I enjoyed so many different albums this year. I’ve changed this list fifty seven times over the past week, so this list is me finally making a decision. It’s honestly been harder choosing this list than it has been choosing classes for next semester. I must say that 2012 has shown that music has not totally gone down the drain, because there are still so many amazing bands I’m just now hearing about, and so many great albums to listen to. So, without further ado, here are the twenty best albums to come out in 2012, and the six best albums that would be twenty one through twenty six that just didn’t make the cut.
20. Krallice – Years Past Matter
I thoroughly enjoy Krallice. Whether you think they are “hipster” or not, there is no denying that they come out with consistently awesome black metal releases. This record has some of the best music the band has ever written, and hopefully the band doesn’t stop anytime soon.
Favorite Track: ‘IIIIIIIIIIII’
19. Slice The Cake – The Man With No Face
This record actually shocked me. I figured it would be another mediocre deathcore release, but it turned out to be one of the best debut records I’ve heard, especially from a deathcore band. And with the recent release of a new single, the band is already showing that they can improve and go to even greater heights.
Favorite Track: ‘Of Gallows’
18. Cattle Decapitation – Monolith Of Inhumanity
Travis Ryan and co. have done it. They have created their opus. This record is full of amazing songs and killer instrumentation. But the real standout is Travis’ “new” vocals that incorporate some sort of note and harmony into the music. A great step forward for an already great band.
Favorite Track: ‘A Living Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat’
17. Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
Being their first new record in half a decade, I was skeptical of how well the band would fare. But they fared very well. The 19 songs on this record are absolutely stellar, and if you’ve read the lyrics, you’ll notice that both J.R. and Hull are on point with their lyrics and music, respectively. Easily the best grind record to come out this year.
Favorite Track: ‘Baltimore Strangler’
16. Job For A Cowboy – Demonocracy
Another surprising record was the new record by Job For A Cowboy. Their ‘Gloom’ EP was killer, but I wondered if they could expand on it and make a great record. As it turns out, it’s the best record they have ever made. And when I saw them perform it live via Summer Slaughter, it just went to show how the band had improved over all these years.
Favorite Track: ‘Black Discharge’
15. Whitechapel – Whitechapel
One of my favorite deathcore bands, I was more than stoked for this new record. I heard the single ‘Hate Creation’ and instantly knew I’d love the rest of their release, and love it I did. It’s not only their best record, but quite possibly could be their opus, surpassing ‘This Is Exile’. In my eyes, it does. This is the deathcore record of the year right here.
Favorite Track: ‘Hate Creation’
14. Monuments – Gnosis
After much delay Monuments released ‘Gnosis’, and finally we had gotten the great record we’d been waiting since 2009 for. Say what you want about the whole “djent” scene, but Monuments were among the first to join in the new wave, and though a little late with their first record, it blew me away. A killer debut from a band that has many great things ahead of them.
Favorite Track: ‘Regenerate’
13. Katatonia - Dead End Kings
The masters of melancholy returned with their new record. And, in short, it’s awesome. Katatonia haven’t disappointed me yet, and just seem to get better and better as the years go on. Jonas’ vocals are flawless and haunting, and Anders’ guitar work is simply beautiful. If you love doom and gloom, listen to this record. It’ll blow you away.
Favorite Track: ‘Lethean’
12. Enabler – All Hail The Void
After I heard the opening song for this record, I knew I had found something special. These young kids took hardcore made famous by the likes of Converge and Terror and made it into their own, and the record will shred you to pieces. They also sound black metal-ish at times which is really cool considering they are a hardcore band. Listen to the record and tell me otherwise. Watch out, world; Enabler are here to mess you up.
Favorite Track: ‘Save Yourself‘
11. Skyharbor – Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos
This record came out of nowhere and instantly became one of my most listened to releases of 2012. It also stars Dan Tompkins of former TesseracT fame on vocals for the first part of the album, and he does a wonderful job, as always. Heavy, textural and emotional at times, this record puts Skyharbor on the map, and here’s to hoping it stays that way.
Favorite Track: ‘Maeva’
10. Lamb Of God – Resolution
I don’t even need to say this record is awesome, because by now you should expect nothing less from the masters of the grooving riff. All you need to know is that Lamb Of God wrote it, the same five guys played on it, and that it turned out to be fantastic, and in my opinion, their best album yet.
Favorite Track: ‘King Me’
09. In Mourning – The Weight Of Oceans
This record is killer. It’s the best melodic death metal album to come out this year. From start to finish no riff goes on for too long, no vocal passage too abrasive, and no weak spots anywhere on the album. There’s a reason it got a perfect score from me. Trust me when I say that this record is the band’s zenith.
Favorite Track: ‘The Drowning Sun’
08. Ne Obliviscaris – Portal Of I
I had heard of this band about a year ago when I heard they were working on their debut, and heard one of the pre-production tracks and fell in love. This band has a fiddle for god’s sake. They play a style of black metal that is eclectic as it is unifying, but it works well. Definitely an amazing debut from a very promising band with an even more promising future.
Favorite Track: ‘And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope’
As I said in my review of the album a few weeks back, to me this is the band’s opus, a classic record that still contains many of the elements fans of The Sword fell in love with back on ‘Warp Riders’ that have been expanded upon. A killer release from one of the best heavy metal bands out there.
Favorite Track: ‘Hawks & Serpents’
06. Spawn Of Possession – Incurso
This is the best technical death metal album to have ever been written. In the history of technical death metal. Ever. Better than Atheist. Better than Obscura. Better than Beyond Creation. So, there you have it. Go and see for yourself.
Favorite Track: ‘The Evangelist’
05. Exotic Animal Petting Zoo – Tree Of Tongues
The sophomore release from EAPZ has resonated with me since I first heard it a while back. There isn’t one person I don’t show this album and sing its praises to. It’s a collection of eleven awesome songs, all killer no filler style. Definitely a band that should be better known, this album is proof that when music comes from the heart, it means a hell of a lot more than when it comes with a nice paycheck.
Favorite Tracks: ‘You Make Wonderful Pictures’, ‘Whore Of Babel’, ‘Thorough.Modern‘
04. Baroness – Yellow And Green
This is Baroness’ best record. This is an amazing double album. This is over an hour of killer music that should not be ignored. This is Baroness in their finest form. This is what heavy should sound like. This record is simply phenomenal, and no other word could accurately describe it. It’s one of the most beautiful record I have heard all year, and at times it even gives me chills all over my body. It’s also the only record this year to make me actually shed tears over it. Seriously. I cried over a record. And that’s never happened before. It’s just that good. And if you listen to it, you’ll see why.
03. Between The Buried And Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence
I never thought Between The Buried And Me would surpass Colors. I’ll be perfectly frank. But, somehow, they did. And man, did they ever. This record is 73 minutes of pure bliss, a prog-master’s wet dream. This album is the best concept record I have ever heard. And that’s no bull. If you read our *prognotes about it, you’ll see how far back the story stretches and why I believe it surpasses not only their former opus, but any other progressive metal record.
02. Deftones – Koi No Yokan
I thought Deftones couldn’t get any more awesome, but somehow they did. And this record is proof that the band still have many more years of writing amazing records left in them. It’s heavy, atmospheric, gentle, subtle, and haunting all at the same time. It’s a collection of 11 of the best songs the band have ever churned out. It’s quite possibly their best record. And it’s also the reason why I wrestled with this album and the number one pick for weeks. This record is as close to perfect as almost any other record this year gets.
01. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
I had waited three long, anxious years to hear this record. I had checked my mail every single day for the pre-order package to come in the mail. I had hyped this album up to everyone imaginable, including myself. But would it live up to the hype? The answer is no. It put all my expectations to shame. This is an amazing record. From start to finish every single song kicks ass. I thought nothing would ever surpass Jane Doe, which was my favorite hardcore record ever. Until now. AWLWLB is a fantastic release that’s greatness can never truly be done justice with simple words on a page on the internet. Go and listen to the album yourself and you will see why it is not only the best record to be released this year, but also the best hardcore record I’ve ever heard, and the best record Converge have ever written. It is the definition of the perfect record.
- Gojira- L’Enfant Sauvage
- The Contortionist- Intrinsic
- Alcest- Les Voyages De L’Âme
- Parkway Drive- Atlas
- The Omega Experiment- The Omega Experiment
- Enslaved- RIITIIR
RIFF OF THE YEAR:
DEBUT OF THE YEAR:
Enabler – All Hail The Void
This band surprised me so much with their debut album. These guys are on to something great; I can feel it.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR:
Rush – Clockwork Angels
Returning from their lackluster Snakes And Arrows album, this is quite possibly the best album Rush have written in 30 years. Well done, gents.