Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best Metal Albums of 2012: Chosen By Musicians (Pt. 1)

(Elizabeth, where vultures land)

Are you completely fucking hassled and bored of year end lists already? Well too bad, as the ancient Mayans used to say, "Life is short, and then you fucking die man". So this year I got in touch with some bands to do a "best of" list for metal albums in 2012. Now, don't mistake this for the abysmal MetalSucks version they do over there… their metal sucks. That was puerile. But really, the majority of those lists turn out to be a "best of rock and generic metal choices" thing, and that's cool if you're not really looking to broaden your musical horizons a little bit, or strengthen thy metal.

Here is part one, from fucking radical musicians in radical bands choosing those in the realms of thy own ilk to stand among thee top. Some of them break the rules, some of them went above and beyond and even wrote blurbs, some of them couldn't seem to pick an order, and most of them have some awesome choices! Here's who did it best this year according to…

 •  •  •

Cobalt - Phil McSorley

01. Revenge - Scum.Collapse.Eradication
02. Bestial Warlust - Satan's Fist  
03. Pseudogod - Deathwomb Catechesis
04. Dagger of Sacrifice - Demo
05. Vomitor - The Escalation
06. Warfire - Of power and steel
07. Goatpenis/Nyogthaeblisz - (split 7")
08. Niantiel - Cavern of the Skeletal Spirits
09. Intolitarian - Berserker Savagery
10. Sickrites/Nuclear Hammer - Abomination To The Lord (split)

Witch Mountain - Nathan Carson

01. Rush - Clockwork Angels
02. Agalloch - Faustian Echoes (EP)
03. Wizard Rifle - Speak Loud Say Nothing
04. Ides of Gemini - Constantinople
05. Chelsea Wolfe - Apokalypsis
06. Show of Bedlam - Roont
07. Occultation - Three & Seven
08. Pinkish Black - S/T
09. Atriarch - Ritual of Passing
10. Menace Ruine - Alight in Ashes

Black Sheep Wall - Scott Turner

10. Deftones - Koi No Yokan
Deftones come in at number 10 with an album that proves why they remain one of the most important heavy bands in “mainstream media.” Lush soundscapes take precedent on this one making it easy to channel that 15-year old in me that used to dream to “White Pony.”

09. Hot Water Music - Exister
When I heard Hot Water Music was getting back together I lost my shit. Maybe a bit more tame than most fans remember Hot Water Music being on their previous albums, but they don’t miss a step and it feels just as relevant as anything in their stellar catalogue of albums.

08. Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
Not my favorite Converge record by any means, and I still find myself confounded by some of the riffage on their, but there is no denying that in the short time “All We Love We Leave Behind” has been out that it has been in constant rotation for me.

07. Old Man Gloom - NO
The super group that can do no wrong returns with an album that see's their brand of noise driven extreme music finding a perfect balance between terrifying soundscapes and some awe inspiring song writing. Definitely my favorite release from OMG so far, let's hope we don't have to wait another thousand years for the next one!

06. Propagahndi - Failed States
Unexplainably catchy, and it gives you the feeling that you’re listening to something that matters. Like a fine wine, Propagandhi only gets better with age, all while managing to outdo almost of their peers at the same time.

05. Code Orange Kids - Love is Love // Return to Dust
Sometimes I find myself in intermittent periods of introspection as I find myself listening to less and less heavy music as I get older. A couple years back it was Trash Talk that kept my head in the game, but this time it’s these kids from Pittsburgh. This shit is furious, full of emotion, and it makes me feel like The Incredible Hulk. Saw them live recently too, that really kicked all kinds of ass. 

04. The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know
The Twilight Sad is known for their dark, almost industrial like take on indie rock. Well on “No One Can Ever Know,” dark is an understatement. Sometimes I close my eyes and think about committing suicide when I listen to this album. Did I mention it’s super catchy? Don’t worry, I’m not brave enough to kill myself!

03. Pig Destroyer - Book Burner
Scott Hull and his band of grind warriors return with their followup to their 2007 nihilistic sonic assault “Phantom Limb.” “Book Burner” shows a slight return to form, digging up some of the tricks that made them the grind powerhouse that they are today. The whole album just sounds scary really, something I look forward to from every Pig Destroyer album.

02. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
I was thrown for a loop when I first put this album on. I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I do now. Smooth tunes that are reminiscent of some of the gems that Motown used to pump out back in the day. The lyrics are clever, and you can feel the “bigger picture” Frank Ocean was going for with “Channel Orange.”

01. Summer Vacation - Condition
This album actually came out in December of 2011 with like two weeks left before the new year so I’m going to take a small liberty here, and just include it in my list. These SoCal punks have crafted an album that evokes the same emotion I got when I first heard “All” by the Descendents. It’s an album that I often find myself repeating as soon as it’s over. Summer Vacation are melodic, honest, and one of the catchier bands I have heard in a very long time. I’m calling it now, these guys are going to be huge.

Panopticon - Austin Lunn *In no particular order*

Borknagar - Urd
Wodensthrone - Curse
Swans - The Seer
Winterfylleth - The Threnody of Triumph
Blood of The Black Owl - Light the fires
Nechochwen - Oto
Drudkh - Eternal Turn of The Wheel
Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay 
Blut Aus Nord - 777 Cosmosophy 
Xanthrocroid - Blessed He With Boils

Cormorant - Matt Solis

10. Samothrace Reverence to Stone

Fucking crushing. The sound of being trampled by your saddest memories.

09. Worm OuroborosCome The Thaw

Simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking. The soundtrack to doing heroin on a deserted beach with the ghost of your dead lover.

08. ConvergeAll We Love We Leave Behind

Goddamn furious. I think that main riff in “Sadness Comes Home” might be my favorite of the year.

07. WitchcraftLegend

Still don’t understand all the butt hurt. This album rocks hard. Great guitar work.

06. Hooded MenaceEffigies of Evil

One of the best old-school death metal albums I’ve heard in recent years. Sounds like being chased through a mausoleum by a rotting mummy. Also, DEM RIFFS.

05. PallbearerSorrow and Extinction
Doom done right. Amazing arrangements, sick vocal performances, all around crushing greatness.

04. GraveyardLights Out

Fuck yeah, Graveyard. Another stellar release full of songs that make me want to stop washing my hair and mainline barrels of whiskey.

03. EnslavedRIITIIR

Metal’s most dependable band comes through yet again. Progressive, thoughtful, brutal and beautiful all at once. If you don’t like modern Enslaved I want to fight you.

02. AstraThe Black Chord

They moved from Pink Floyd worship to King Crimson and Yes worship. Sounds like a jaunt through an inter-dimensional wormhole. Sounds like drugs. Sounds fucking awesome.

01. AhabThe Giant

One of the best doom albums I’ve ever heard. Sounds like being crushed under the foot of a Goliath sea monster in the murkiest depths of the deepest oceans. Amazing work.

The Great Old Ones - Sébastien Lalanne

01. Dodecahedron - S/T
02. Enslaved - RIITIIR
03. Der Weg einer Freiheit - Unstille
04. Gorod - A Perfect Absolution
05. Hooded Menace - Effigies of Evil
06. Krallice - Years Past Matter
07. Monarch! - Omen
08. Wildernessking - The Writing of Gods In The Sand
09. Winterfylleth - The Threnody of Triumph
10. Asphyx - Deathhammer

 Winterfylleth - Chris Naughton

01. My Dying BrideA Map of All Our Failures

02. EnslavedRIITIIR
03. WodensthroneCurse

04. A Forest Of StarsA Shadowplay For Yesterdays

05. RattenfängerEpistolae Obscurorum Virorum
6. DrudkhEternal Turn Of the Wheel

07. Alcest - Les Voyages De L'âme
8. Grand MagusThe Hunt

09. PallbearerSorrow & Extinction

10. IndesinenceVessels of Light & Decay

Trap Them - Brian Vincent Izzi *Brian is a cheater, he submitted 12* (I'll allow it because Okkultokrati rules)

Asphyx - Deathhammer
Aura Noir - Out to Die
Burzum - Umskiptar
Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
Enslaved - RIITIIR
God Seed - I Begin
Grand Magus - The Hunt
Nettlecarrier - Nettlecarrier
Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay
Nidingr - Greatest of Deceivers
Okkultokrati - Snakereigns
Tulus - Olm Og Bitter

The Howling Wind - Ryan Lipynsky *In no particular order*

Tragedy - Darker Days Ahead
Virus -
Oblivion Clock 
Haarp - Husks
Drudkh -
Eternal Turn of The Wheel
Old Man Gloom -
Mgła -
With Hearts Toward None
Deathspell Omega –
Drought (EP)
Nekromantheon -
Rise, Vulcan Spectre
Saint Vitus -
Lillie: F-65
Column Of Heaven -
Mission From God

Profound Lore Records - Chris Bruni *bonus round*
(omitted my own releases to keep things objective)

01. Swans - The Seer
02. Twin Shadow - Confess
03. Knelt Rote - Trespass
04. Scott Walker - Bish Bosch
05. Krallice - Years Past Matter
06. Weapon - Embers and Revelations
07. Godspeed! You Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
08. Death Grips - No Love Deep Web
09. Vatican Shadow - September Cell
10. (Tie); Pseudogod - Deathwomb Catechesis / Vomitor - The Escalation


  1. some real surprises on this list but Enslaved is the clear winner here.

  2. Sweet lists. I see you talked to Matt from Cormorant. I think I spoke to him in Cleveland... their last release was fantastic.

    1. "Dwellings" was definitely up there last year for best release, I had it somewhere in my top 1o. Where did you see Matt in Cleveland?

  3. also surprised not one person has Charon - Sulphur Seraph on there

    1. I agree, I'm glad there is a healthy variation though, with the expected usual suspects still.

  4. The Swedish MetalheadDecember 22, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    I haven't made a list for this year, but i am certain that Lunar Aurora - Hoagascht would make that list with ease. Nice to see someone listing the Faustian Echoes EP by Agalloch as well, also a personal favourite this year

    1. I mean, in my eyes it's considerably weaker than "Andacht", but that also is among one of my favorites, so that still isn't saying a whole lot. It's disappointing to know Lunar Aurora have called it quits though.

    2. The Swedish MetalheadDecember 25, 2012 at 6:44 AM

      I agree with you, it doesn't hold up to"Andacht", but damn do i love the atmosphere in Hoagascht, it's pretty special to me. I hadn't heard until now that they split up again, too bad.

  5. Need to make a list myself. Conan's Monnos will be in the top three. Ahab's The Giant will make it. Fuck, I didn't even realize Graveyard had a new one.

    1. Monnos is definitely a good one, it was out fairly early in the year so I listened to it a decent bit then, but haven't touched it for sometime. I suppose it's fair to say it won't be in my year end though.

      John, feel free to send your list my way.

    2. 1. Antediluvian / Adversarial - Initiated In Impiety As Mysteries
      2. Panopticon - Kentucky
      3. Conan - Monnos
      4. Njiqahdda / Oaks of Bethel / Funeral Eclipse - Departures of the Golden Temple
      5. Castle - Blacklands
      6. Monomakh - MMXII
      7. Monolithe - Monolithe III
      8. Ahab - The Giant
      9. Crystal Viper - Crimen Excepta
      10. Windhand - S/T

    3. Healthy dose of doom this year for you eh? What did you think of the Witch Mountain release? I haven't grabbed Crystal Viper yet, doing so.

    4. I'm surprised there is anything but death metal on the list, such a good year, lol. Cauldron of the Wild was fantastic, I could easily have put it in the middle of my list and felt happy. I may be forgetting an album (or half dozen), but those are the ones that stuck with me the most. If you haven't heard Windhand, go grab now.

  6. and whats the deal with the chelsea wolfe album? i keep seeing it in lists and absolutely loved it but wasnt it released mid 2011?

    1. Apokalypsis was released in 2011 She did release a album this year, its just not entirely original material

    2. Yeah, what Wership said. She released an album called "Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs", though I'm pretty sure it's comprised of old/rare/b-side songs redone, in acoustic? I haven't heard it yet though.