Earlier this year, we attempted to get burgeoning progressive death metal group Fallujah onto the Summer Slaughter Tour and urged all of you to vote for them. Unfortunately they didn’t make it and were edged out by Cerebral Bore, but they did wind up on Slaughter Survivors tour alongside Pathology. Close enough, and them being on the poll and getting such high numbers in the first place earned the band a legion of new fans! Their debut album The Harvest Wombs became a surprise hit with us when it dropped late last year and still gets the odd spin or two. We decided to reach out to the band’s frontman Alex Hofmann to get his take on this year’s new music. His selections may surprise you!
I’m Alex, the Vocalist for Fallujah from San Francisco. 2012 was an awesome year for new records; in my own personal sense it was a great year for non-metal records. Nearly everything that really stuck with me was from alterior genres.
10. Headhunterz – Sacrifice
I was an avid critic of Hardstyle for a long time. I found it obnoxious and the epitome of music for people on meth or speed. Sacrifice was the first album from the style that really displayed tasteful and clever songwriting with groove and energy.
9. Deadmau5 – Album Title Goes Here
Deadmau5 is probably one of the most mainstream figures in modern dance culture. What makes him reign as supreme is his obvious talent for songs that are both catchy and inspiring. He has a way of writing an album of songs that each tell their own story, and are distinguishable from the sea of copycat progressive house producers these days.
8. Memoryhouse – The Slideshow Effect
As a sucker for female vocalists, I was sold after hearing ‘Lately,’ which was a tribute to a 50 second score track from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This shoegaze influenced indie group is tasteful and and atmospheric. And their newest album was on repeat during the Slaughter Survivors tour.
7. Whirr – Pipe Dreams
Whirr have been good friends and one of my favorite bands for years. Guitarist Nick Basset was our roadie on one of our first tours and their former singer Bianca lives up the street from me here in SF. They are the best example of modern shoegaze, in my opinion. Distressor was an very important album to me, and I was anxiously awaiting their full length. The album delivered in every way I wanted.
6. The M Machine – Metropolis Pt.1
This trio are San Francisco natives and are really setting the standard for progressive and unique dance music. I saw them live here in SF and it was one of the greatest DJ sets I’ve ever seen. The band has wall of sound production mixed with unique melodies, lending heavily to the retro 80’s synth pop sound that is prevalent here in the San Francisco.
5. Big Chocolate – Red Headed Locc
Cameron Argon is known primarily among the metal scene for his work as a vocalist. Many people fail to acknowledge his achievements in the EDM scene. Red Headed Locc is a progressive and interesting take on Drum and Bass as well as the swiftly developing Trap scene. Clever songwriting and a fresh perspective made this album one of the more unique EDM releases this year.
4. Cold Body Radiation – Deer Twilight
Cold Body Radiation is shrouded in mystery like many bands of the sort. Their previous release might be one of my top three favorite black metal albums of all time. This album is an equally genius collection of tracks bearing shoegaze soundscapes and black metal production techniques. CBR is one of those bands that makes you restless and optimistic for what is coming in the future.
3. Reso – Tangram
Reso I discovered fairly recently through a pitchfork.com review. One problem with a lot of modern American-influenced dubstep is its repressiveness and lack of character. Tangram is a modern and fresh production based on the old-school London sound. His structuring and oscillation techniques are so creative, blending dark atmospheric vibes with crushing power.
2. Soundprank – The Time Machine EP
Soundprank in the course of about a week ascended to be one of my top three electronic producers in the world. This genius yet seemingly unknown producer illustrates that you dont need dominating lead chords and cheesy vocals to have great trance and progressive house tunes. The phrasing and layering of melodies is what makes this producer so unique. Every song creates a calming atmosphere that eventually builds to uplifting intensity. The song ‘Beginnings‘ takes the cake for my favorite and most played track of 2012.
1. Submotion Orchestra – Finest Hour (The Remixes)
Finest Hour was actually released in 2011, but the band issued many of the tracks over to some producers and the collection was released this year. This band made my number one list by writing an album that blended the soul of neo-noir and jazz with the modern edge of grime and 2-step. The vocalist (female once again) has the perfect tone for the style of music, contributing to what I think is going to one day be a huge band. The remixes add such new dimensions to the originals and open your mind to new perspectives on other songs. This was hands down my favorite release this year.