The Deadstation are good friends of the site. Ever since Gunnar gave them high marks, we’ve invited them to contribute to Heavy Blog and we’ve been running an ad on the site for their debut EP since October. When considering who to ask to contribute to our year end retrospectives, it only made sense to extend a guest countdown to these purveyors of prog. Below, TDS guitarists Shjon Thomas and Ryan Mattheu outline their picks for 2012, offering a touch of contrast from our otherwise collective overlapping selections!
Shjon Thomas – Guitarist
5. Storm Corrosion – Storm Corrosion
This one gets the “most interesting album” award from me this year. I feel like it’s the audio equivalent of some creepy old object you might find in your grandparent’s attic. You don’t know exactly what it is, or what it’s used for, but it looks fucking COOL. This is a great “headphone” album too, in my opinion… just throw it on, stare at the ceiling, and let the weirdness take you away.
4. Passion Pit – Gossamer
Don’t kill me… but this giddy synthpop band is actually one of my favorite non-metal bands. I’m a guitar player, but I also have a love for keyboards, drum machines, and other electronic instrumentation. These guys combine those elements with extremely catchy pop songwriting, and surprisingly dark lyrics. I feel a little weird for mentioning this album on Heavy Blog is Heavy, since it’s the complete opposite of heavy and the album artwork is pink… but it was truly one of my favorites this year. I apologize in advance to anyone who wants to vomit after listening!
3. Revocation – Teratogenesis
I have an undying love for great thrash riffs, so it’s no surprise that Revocation’s free EP Teratogenesis is one of my favorites this year. I also think that these guys are one of the BEST new metal bands out there right now. In my opinion, they have a vibe that harkens back to early Megadeth and Metallica… that’s something that I haven’t heard in any new bands in a long time. I have a huge amount of respect for these guys and I really hope that they get the attention they deserve. (Somebody get them on tour with Megadeth!)
2. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
Gojira’s L’Enfant Sauvage is the album I anticipated most this year. I really loved The Way of All Flesh… mostly for the guitar riffs and production, so I was very excited to hear another album in the same vein. I feel like it’s a bit more streamlined this time though, with some more hooks thrown in here and there. Mario Duplantier’s playing and drum sound is also a big plus for me… just MASSIVE.
1. Alcest – Les Voyages de L’Âme
Ryan Mattheu – Guitarist
5. Minus the Bear – Infinity Overhead
Minus the Bear is somewhat of a new band for me, but this album was in my CD player a lot this year. The high level of songwriting really drew me in, and the hooks had me coming back repeatedly. I feel like there’s a bit of a prog quality to it actually, which appeals to my roots, but it’s still very accessible. I saw them live for the first time a couple of months ago too, and it was a totally awesome experience.
4. Revocation – Teratogenesis
Revocation is a really fresh sounding band, in my opinion. Considering that hardcore influences have really dominated the metal scene in recent years, a band that sports Testament t-shirts in their videos and lists Guns ‘N Roses among their major influences… that’s something that gets me excited. Teratogenesis is a total riff-fest, as is their last album Chaos of Forms. They introduced a bit of 7-string guitar-work on this one though, which makes for an extra heavy listening experience.
3. Katatonia – Dead End Kings
Shjon and I were really excited for this release, and we were blown away by the production. If there are any textbooks out there about “the art of metal production”, they should be dedicating whole chapters to Katatonia. On top of that, the songwriting is killer as always. We had the privilege of watching one their recent gigs from side stage, so we got an “up close and personal” look at how the new songs came across live… needless to say, our jaws were on the floor.
2. Rush – Clockwork Angels
I can’t say I’ve heard a Rush release that I didn’t like. There is no bad… only different degrees of awesome. Clockwork Angels is proof that they still “got it” after all this time. The main guitar riff in “BU2B” is one my favorites this year. It’s really heavy, yet it’s catchy enough to get stuck in your head after only a few repetitions. These guys are expert songwriters, and they’re not afraid to show it.
1. Muse – The 2nd Law
My favorite album this year was absolutely The 2nd Law from Muse. I’ve been a fan of the band for a while now, and I was very excited to see them experimenting with their sound. There’s elements of funk, synthpop, electronic, etc… mixed in with some signature Muse moments. I’m actually starting to think that “Panic Station” might be their best song, believe it or not. (And they have a ton of amazing songs.) Overall, it was a really refreshing release in my opinion, and I can’t wait to see where they go next.