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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:15 pm 
 

Ok fuck waiting for 2013, here's my top of 2012 motherfuckers!

TOP 10
Leeches of Lore - Frenzy, Ecstasy
Yeah, my love for these guys is not quite hidden. I reviewed this album and gave it a 98%, check it out to know my opinion on it. To be brief, it's a heavy/speed metal mashup with country, Morricone and prog influences. An amazing underrated band that I wish I helped a bit.

Witch Mountain - Cauldron of the Wild
Again, I wrote a review for this one if you're interested. It's masterful bluesy traditional doom metal with an amazing female vocalist. I was lucky to see the band live 2 times in 2012 and both times they were very great and very cool people (grateful for the review and everything)

Royal Thunder - CVI
Really amazing hard to classify rock music. When I first heard them, I dropped their name in the blacklist because they have really borderline metallic moments but they have so many influences. Great songwriting, soothing and intense atmosphere and a ball crushing front woman makes RT a band with a lot of potential, can't wait to see them live.

Jess and the Ancient Ones - s/t
Masterful Finnish occult rock à la The Devil's Blood, if you haven't heard them and you're into this genre, you're very late my friend.

Fall of the Idols - Solemn Verses
Weird trad doom from Naperoland once again, I also wrote a review for it. Interesing atmospheres, weird without being avant garde, experimental or you know, trying to be.

Enslaved - RITTIR One of my favorite bands, when they release an album it's in my top 10, usually higher though, I need to listen to the album more, but it's still a work made by geniuses

Mgla - With Hearts Towards None My favorite black metal album of the year, a perfect blend of sad melodies with old and modern influences. I was sad they canceled their presence at Messe des Morts, but they'll finally come in March and they'll play with Forteresse and another not yet announced band.

Nattfog - Mustan Auringon Riitti Another black metal album, not as well known as Mgla but as good, classic black metal with sorrowful leads, occult dark atmospheres and a pristine songwriting.

Castle - Blacklands Once again, read my review :) They toured with Witch Moutain twice so I got to meet them and they were also very grateful for the positive review I wrote for them.

Year of the Goat - Angel's Necropolis I really really like their EP and I was waiting anxiously for the album, it's not as good as the EP, but it is quite awesome, it's basically a male version of The Devil's Blood. It's with Griftegard's singer and he has a very enjoyable voice.

If you wanna see some of my other favorites, open the spoiler tags! I just ordered some album from Nuclear War Now so it's gonna change for sure.

About Dawnbringer, I liked the album, but Nucleus was much better (top 20 material for me).

TOP 2012 (つдC)
Spoiler: show
Remaining of the TOP 25
Bound by Entrails - The Stars Bode You Farewell
Rahu - The Quest for the Vajra of Shadows
High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
Rush - Clockwork Angels
Arkhamin Kirjasto - Torches Ablaze
Napalm Death - Utilitarian
Menace Ruine - Alight in Ashes
The Wandering Midget - From the Meadows of Opium Dreams
Arkham Witch - Legions of the Deep
Om - Advaitic Songs
Sigh - In Somnophobia
Horisont - Second Assault
Altar of Oblivion - Grand Gesture of Defiance
Marillion - Sounds that can't be made
Asphyx - Deathhamer
Louis-Jean Cormier - Le treizième étage
Hooded Menace - Effigies of Evil
Panopticon - Kentucky

Honorable mentions and the "too early to say"
Reino Ermitaño - Veneración del Fuego
Spiders - Flashpoint
Graveyard - Lights Out
Muse - The 2nd Law
Kontinuum - Earth Blood Magic
Dawnbringer - Into the Lair of the Sun God
Dark Nightmare - Beyond the Boundaries of Sin
Blue Aside - The Moles of a Dying Race
Skelator - Agents of Power
Cannibal Corpse - Torture
Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas
Denial of God - Death and the Beyond
Baptism - As the Darkness Enters
Beardfish - The Void
Winterfylleth - The Threnody of Triumph
Black Chalice - Submission
Bedemon - Symphony of Shadows
Accept - Stalingrad
Incantation - Vanquish in Vengeance
Faustcoven - Hellfire and Funeral Bells
Herman Frank - Right in the Guts
Kadavar - s/t
Horn of the Rhino - Grengus
Behexen - Nightside Emanations
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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:57 am 
 

Jonpo wrote:
Did you write a review that said something to the same eeffect? Maybe I've just read it from multiple folks. It strikes me funny though, the second half is definitely the stronger for me, with VI being my favorite. That song mixes in the Uriah Heep styled organ with the cast-off Iommi riff so perfectly, gets me everytime.


Nah, I haven't reviewed it. I'm pretty sure BastardHead has the exact same opinion and he writes a bunch, so maybe it was him. The midway shift in song style is obvious, and I guess there would be a few other people like me who much prefer the former over the later.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:57 pm 
 

I hate picking lists, because there's always a ton of stuff I didn't get to hear, but here we go...

Best of the Year

Kamelot - Silverthorn
Simply the most complete and evocative album of the year. With new singer Tommy Karevik, I wasn't expecting much, but Kamelot blew me away with striking poignancy and emotional power, plus their best songs in years.

Trail of Murder - Shades of Art
Full of hooky songs, heavy riffs and the inimitable vocals of Urban breed, this is an iconoclastic return for one of metal's long-absent sons. The best true metal album of the year.

Pharaoh - Bury the Light
Pharaoh's songwriting ability is unmatched, and with Bury the Light they continue to show why they are one of the best bands around today. Complex, intricate and beautifully melodic.

Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry
A massive work that is near impossible to understand with only a few listens, but this belongs on a Best Of list anyway - huge, epochal and orchestral work that stuns and amazes with its scope and vision.

Hellwell - Beyond the Boundaries of Sin
With a masterful, single-minded stroke Mark Shelton produces another great album in a long line of them. This is full of creepy keys and otherworldly Lovecraftian lyrics that set one of the best pulpy horror atmospheres all year.

Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name
Sonata Arctica's journey is not one of pleasing fans but of experimenting and exploring, and here they have written their catchiest album in years. Every song on here is memorable after just one listen and the band sounds inspired and excited to be playing music.

Threshold - March of Progress
After the death of singer Mac McDermott I wasn't sure what a new Threshold album would bring, and it turns out we get a massive, sprawling album of serene, super-catchy prog with some of the most insightful lyrics all year and some of the best songs, too.

Desolate Shrine - The Sanctum of Human Darkness
Epic, doomy death metal that submerges you in an ocean of torment and pain. This is a sweeping album full of long songs with killer riffs, monstrous vocals and a deep-rooted atmosphere.

Kreator - Phantom Antichrist
After a weak album in 2009's Hordes of Chaos, Kreator come roaring back with this sledgehammer of an album. This is Thrash infused with a heavy dose of epic, warlike melody and it makes the songs more forceful, more memorable and more urgent.

Degial - Death's Striking Wings
Old school death metal of the highest order, Degial invoke Morbid Angel, Dismember and even classic extreme thrash bands with their debut of furious, ripping Swedeath. Killer.

Paragon - Force of Destruction
I didn't even think Paragon would put out another album, but here they are with a killer album of riff after riff after riff, with a ton of energy and great gruff vocals too. Almost every song on here flat out kills.

Disappointments

Blaze Bayley - King of Metal
There are a few flashes of Blaze's usual high quality on here, but mostly these songs are poorly produced and poorly written, and the album as a whole feels really lazy.

Bloodbound - In the Name of Metal
Like Blaze's album (which also has an ode to metal in the album title), Bloodbound put out a weak, poorly produced and mostly dull album of what sounds like B-sides from previous efforts.

Running Wild - Shadowmaker
There are really no words to describe how lame this is, so I'm not going to bother aside from: don't listen to it.
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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:04 pm 
 

The new Kreator is awful, I still don't understand why some of you guys like it. It's watered down gothenburg influenced thrash with generic songwriting.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:17 pm 
 

Not getting that at all. The songwriting is generic, yeah, but only in the sense that it sticks firmly to the conventions of its genre, which I expected anyway. What I didn't expect was how much fun it was and how much energy exploded out of every riff and lead. And the melodies are great, even if they do get kinda Gothenburgy...but they are better than most actual Gothenburg bands do it, I think, more intense. Plus Mille sounds great.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:18 pm 
 

What'a you guys think about compilations of ancient material that were just released for the first time in 2012? Count? No? I was trying to think of ANY other 2012 releases I bought besides Dawnbringer and Hellwell, and I remembered the Epic Irae release Dreams and Delusions: 1989-1993.

This is the pre-Quicksand Dream band, basically a bunch of Swedish kids trying to worship their idols. Luckily they had a lot of creative force behind them and some ASTOUNDING idols. The compilation contains all three of their demos, each one very developed and easily matching the content of a full-length album. They mix in epic heavy metal, thrashing, Bathory-esque vocals and very active bass playing (as anyone who digs Quicksand Dream would expect).

I've had a LOT of fun spinning these three demos trying to work out their intricacies. I can't begin to explain how ambitious the songwriting is here, suffice it to say the second demo "One Cloudy Day" opens with a 16 minute epic.
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androdion
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:55 pm 
 

Yeah the new Kreator is a love or hate thing. For some people it's pretty awesome as it fondles with some of the mainstream's loved aspects, while to others it's horrible for the same damn reason. I stay somewhere in the middle, and as I said in my earlier post:

"Kreator - Phantom Antichrist -> Oh well, what now Mille?! It's the same album, formula, songs, melodic hooks and whatnot again? So the machine needs to keep running even though the songs suck balls and that Kreator hasn't released a decent album in almost (or probably over) a decade? Some people will eat this up but after so many years listening to the band I can't really vouch for this one. SSDD all the way!"

@Jonpo - If you're looking for 2012 compilations check the first part of my post.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:56 pm 
 

I'm not looking for others so much as trying to gauge whether the general MA community thinks they deserve a place on a year-end list, when the material wasn't actually from this year.

Also I'm just looking for an excuse to plug Epic Irae. Epic Irae. Epic Irae.


Epic Irae.
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androdion
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:00 pm 
 

:lol:

I read you. I do think that both the Timeghoul and Abhorrence compilations are utterly essential for any OSDM lover, the Autopsy one is a really well made thing but all of those EPs were already previously available. The other two however finally see a proper CD issue and that's worth noticing for sure.
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metaldiscussor666
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:37 pm 
 

MalignantThrone wrote:
1. Epicardiectomy - Abhorrent Stench of Posthumous Gastrorectal Desecration: my favourite album of the decade so far, easily. This is Cephalotripsy on every single illicit substance imaginable - all of the Czech Republic's monuments were probably leveled when the slams on this album were recorded. Clanky drums which know how to use syncopation flawlessly, a perfect sense of pacing, thick and memorable slams, and gruff but catchy vocals. My little blurb here really doesn't do this album justice, go read the ~3,000-word review I wrote for it here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUUxcEb4qmE

This is pretty cool. I've been really digging some of the other brutal death releases of the year such as Deadly Remains and 7 H. Target's new releases. There seems to be a lot of attention grabbing brutal death metal albums this year. Any idea where I can find a copy of this?

Also, where can I get the abhorrence compilation for under 20 dollars?
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IX Leviathan
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:39 pm 
 

I guess I'll throw my favourites of 2012 in here.

10. Svartidauði - Flesh Cathedral - Fuck, this was the biggest surprise of the year for me. Dirty Icelandic black metal with twisted riffs and melodies accompanied by great lead work and a crunchy as fuck bass tone. Found myself drawing comparisons to both early Blut aus Nord in regards to the lead work and riff structure as well as their later era, and maybe some Deathspell Omega in there as well with the whole dissonance factor, albeit I found this to be much more coherent and drawn out. Excellent production, spectacular album overall. This was easily the best debut of the year for me.

9. Leeches of Lore - Frenzy, Ecstasy - Looks like Tony beat me to this one, and rightfully so I suppose since he was the one who introduced these guys to me. Some great proggy speed with a whole mash up of different influences ranging from Western to psych to... whatever, there's a lot! (Doesn't appear to be any YouTube links up for the new album. Oh well.)

8. Menace Ruine - Alight in Ashes - Seems like these guys have come a bit of ways since Cult of Ruins. I haven't heard this album's direct predecessor, but if it's anything like this it should be awesome. Alight in Ashes delivers an excellent, emotional vocal performence accompanied by moving yet blissful melodies over top of a dense droney riffing and atmosphere with some martial industrial influence scattered throughout as well.

7. Panopticon - Kentucky - Excellent release, this should have been the follow up to Collapse. Austin expands on the aforementioned Collapse's concept, with a nice fusion of bluegrass elements and Cascadian tinged black metal. This is accompanied by covers (?) of traditional bluegrass songs that are also present in the release. Best thing he's put out since the split with Skagos, definitely looking forward to more stuff in this direction.

6. Saturnus - Saturn in Ascension - While it may not be Paradise Belongs To You, it certainly is the best thing these Danes have released since Kim Larsson's departure way back when. Dreary melodic doom/death akin Mourning Beloveth and early-mid era My Dying Bride (albeit without the gothic influence). Mournful leads, crushing riffs, and sombre growls make up this 70 minute melancholic masterpiece.

5. Be'lakor - Of Breath & Bone - This was probably my most anticipated release of the year in regards to melodeath after hearing their phenomenal sophomore release, Stone's Reach in 2009. I could probably count about 8-9 riffs in the first song alone (no, really, I mean it), and they aren't recycled to the slightest. This magnificent plethora of riffs is iced off by some dark, melodic leads, light synths that provide the majestic atmosphere, and nice drum patterns. The piano sequences are also still present, providing more substance to the tracks and let's not forget Kosmas' vocals either, which are still as surging and thunderous as ever.

4. Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry - Really, do any words need to be said here? This monolithic pillar of blackened funeral doom was worth the wait. Beautiful, sombre piano sequences and an absolutely immense atmosphere that will definitely keep your attention for the album's entirety. I don't care if Mutatiis takes another 5 years to write another album. If it's anything like this colossal masterpiece it will be well worth it.

3. Monolithe -III - Easily my favourite slab of funeral doom put out this year. Like their past releases, it's a one song album. There's a ton of different riff sequences here and some fairly ambitious drumming making it almost seem like funeral doom on crack. Stunning release throughout and I feel more people should definitely know about these guys. They can easily compete with some of the best in the genre. (Again, no YouTube link)

2. Om - Advaitic Songs - As usual, Om never fails to impress. Like their past releases, Advaitic Songs draws further away from it's stoner metal roots. 44 minutes of pure hypnosis that will immediately draw you in with a variety of traditional Mesopotamian and Indian elements. Cisernos' bass is thick and fuzzy as per usual and Amos' percussion patterns are pure trance inducing bliss. Best since Conference of the Birds.

1. Sigh - In Somniphobia - Again, does anything really need to be said here? Sigh, once again delivers the goods with another twisted horror show of riffs, and impressive saxophone and guitar solos. And of course, this is all shrouded within their sublime haunted dreamscape atmosphere. The influences on this album are wide, unique, and varied... or as one friend put it: black metal with casino music and bongo drums... Yeah. Knew this would probably be AOTY material as soon as it was announced and did not fall short of that prediction.

To avoid being tl;dr here's a list of the upper half of my top 25 accompanied by some honourable mentions.

Spoiler: show
Top 25

25. Lutomysl - Overcoming Babel
24. Bell Witch - Longing
23. Anathema - Weather Systems
22. Ereb Altor - Gastrike
21. Locrian - The Clearing/The Final Epoch
20. Paradise Lost - Tragic Idol
19. Skogen - Eld
18. Enslaved - RITTIR
17. Fall of the Idols - Solemn Verses
16. Rush - Clockwork Angels
15. Kontinuum - Earth Blood Magic
14. Ignivomous - Contragenesis
13. Mgła - With Hearts Toward None
12. Sear Bliss - Eternal Recurrence
11. Worm Ouroboros - Come the Thaw


Honourable Mentions

Altar of Oblivion - Grand Gesture of Defiance
Asphyx - Deathhammer
Dawnbringer - Into the Lair of the Sun God
Fire + Ice - Fractured Man
Incantation - Vanquish in Vengeance
Khors - Wisdom of Centuries
Mors Principium Est - ...And Death Said Live
Rome - Die Æsthetik
Tiamat - The Scarred People
Winterfylleth - The Threnody of Triumph
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John_Sunlight
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:34 pm 
 

My favs this year:

Tjolgtjar - Psychedelic
Tjolgtjar - Kjal Tjormejn
Tjolgtjar - The New Age
Tjolgtjar - Under Command of Tjolgtjar
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DeathfareDevil
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:54 pm 
 

metaldiscussor666 wrote:
This is pretty cool. I've been really digging some of the other brutal death releases of the year such as Deadly Remains and 7 H. Target's new releases. There seems to be a lot of attention grabbing brutal death metal albums this year. Any idea where I can find a copy of this?


This is the first link that turned up on google. If or when I decide to snag this CD, I reckon it'll be the site I use. Obviously I can't vouch for them at this time.
http://gorehouse.bigcartel.com/product/ ... esecration

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androdion
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:28 pm 
 

metaldiscussor666 wrote:
This is pretty cool. I've been really digging some of the other brutal death releases of the year such as Deadly Remains and 7 H. Target's new releases. There seems to be a lot of attention grabbing brutal death metal albums this year. Any idea where I can find a copy of this?

Also, where can I get the abhorrence compilation for under 20 dollars?

Here for the first request and here for the second. Pardon me for the Russian. :p
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MeltedFace
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:08 am 
 

10. Ereb Altor – Gastrike (Viking/Black Metal)
This album was a bit of a surprise for me. I loved Ereb Altor’s debut in 2008 and the follow up in 2010. Instead of getting more of the same doomy Viking Metal I was accustomed to, they released an album that is very thick on the Black Metal while still retaining some of the Viking Metal qualities I really enjoyed. It was a nice experiment, but I do hope they go back to the haunting style that originally got me into this band.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2_WYCNwmq0

9. Grand Magus – The Hunt (Heavy Metal)
Another solid effort by Grand Magus. Lots of great riffing and a really pounding production helped this album crack the top 10 for me. I love the vocals as well and think that Christofferson has some amazing chops. Some of the songs could have been a little more inspired though, so that’s why it didn’t get much higher on the list.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHZraXyHR2E

8. Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme (Death Metal)
Not much needs to be said about this album since I’m sure most members are familiar with it. I will say that this is one of the few albums by Dying Fetus that I’ve enjoyed from start to finish. I thought "Subjected to a Beating" was an amazing song and it’s what originally got me into this album in the first place.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ0_AEvv5PY

7. Aeternam – Moongod (Symphonic Folk/Death Metal)
A superb follow up to their 2010 debut, Disciples of the Unseen. This time around though, Aeternam has toned down the aggression a bit in favor of some more melodic pieces. Wonderful arrangements and awesome vocals coupled with hard hitting production. This band sounds like they’re straight out of the Middle East but they’re actually from Quebec which makes this album all the more intriguing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mn9yCWzfP9s

6. Hel – Das Atmen der Erde (Pagan Black Metal)
This is such a great album that elicits an amazing epic feeling, especially as you go through the songs for the first time. The clean vocals on this album are amazing and the harsh vocals are pretty good as well. The only issue I have with this album is that it’s little too long for my tastes. Most of the songs aren’t long by any stretch of the imagination, I just know I would have liked it a little more if Hel had shortened the length by a few tracks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElRrkDmPNww

5. Grief of Emerald – It All Turns to Ashes (Symphonic Death/Black Metal)
Fuck this album is intense. Tons of tremolo picking mixed in with lots of layering of the symphonic parts. This album kicks ass from start to finish and never lets off the gas. You can’t help but feel evil while listening to some of these tracks. I find new stuff to appreciate from It All Turns to Ashes with every listen through.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xtXUUyH6pA

4. Viking Skull – Cursed by the Sword (Heavy Metal)
Cursed by the Sword is another powerful outing for Viking Skull. This album is all about boozing, fucking, and causing havoc. Lots of very simple yet effective riffs and some in your face production to boot. Stone’s vocals are one of the highlights on this album for sure and I can’t help but laugh at some of the tongue in cheek lyrics.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugEnlLVduzA

3. Heidevolk – Batavi (Viking/Folk Metal)
Heidevolk continues to get better and better with every release and this is by far their best work yet. It was my number 1 for a very long time until I heard the next two albums on my list, but it continues to deliver with every listen. This time around, Heidevolk has decided to go with a much more intense sound (minus one relaxed interlude). Tons of tremolo picking and kick ass riffs along with wonderful dual vocals. Even if you’re not a fan of Folk Metal, this album is completely driven by the instrumentation and has tons of layering so check it out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wm1h3hz-4VA

2. Witchcraft – Legend (Doom Metal/Hard Rock)
I was completely surprised by this album from Sweden’s Witchcraft. I really enjoy the way that the band often lets the bass become the lead, and seems to focus the rest of music feed off the energy of the bass. It’s not an intense album, but there is something truly organic about what Witchcraft has put together here. Pelander’s vocals are haunting and the lyrical themes are very deep at times. It’s rare that I enjoy music that can be this mellow, but this is the best exception to the rule I’ve heard in years.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njeD-Id3hhc

1. Illdisposed – Sense the Darkness (Death Metal)
Fucking hell this album is what I’ve been waiting for from Illdisposed. There are no electronic synths nor are there any clean vocals. This time around, Illdisposed has decided to create a pure Death Metal masterpiece. Crushing intensity is the name of the game here. Sense the Darkness hits hard from the start and never lets you down. The song structures are not complicated, but they vary enough to make the whole album blend seamlessly. I originally thought this album was a bit simplistic, but after listening to it from start to finish repeatedly, I have to say I was just plain wrong. Sometimes Illdisposed hits you with devastating double bass and tremolo picking, while other times they hit you with slower chugs that pound through your heart. Bo Summer’s vocals are some of the best out there, and this album easily takes the number 1 spot for me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnKu53QNV60
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9sRC5R7N7Q
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:19 am 
 

MeltedFace wrote:
1. Illdisposed – Sense the Darkness (Death Metal)
Fucking hell this album is what I’ve been waiting for from Illdisposed. There are no electronic synths nor are there any clean vocals. This time around, Illdisposed has decided to create a pure Death Metal masterpiece. Crushing intensity is the name of the game here. Sense the Darkness hits hard from the start and never lets you down. The song structures are not complicated, but they vary enough to make the whole album blend seamlessly. I originally thought this album was a bit simplistic, but after listening to it from start to finish repeatedly, I have to say I was just plain wrong. Sometimes Illdisposed hits you with devastating double bass and tremolo picking, while other times they hit you with slower chugs that pound through your heart. Bo Summer’s vocals are some of the best out there, and this album easily takes the number 1 spot for me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnKu53QNV60
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9sRC5R7N7Q


I'll have to check that one out. Illdisposed used to be one of my favourite bands, but I started to lose interest when they released The Prestige; I feared the new one would be continuing in the vein of "There is Light...", so didn't even bother to listen to it.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:46 am 
 

Koji_Sunioj wrote:
In no order..

Unfathomable Ruination - Misshapen Congenital Entropy

This is a debut album from UK brutal death metal. I'm quite picky, but for some reason this seemed to be the most solid to me in most of the bands I heard from the same genre this year. I don't know anyone else that knows this album, but give it a listen. It's fantastic, everything you'd expect in good brutal DM. Not much else I can really say here besides that.


This one seems to be getting overlooked quite a bit and I'm glad someone else is noticing. This will easily make my top-10 list, as well. Fantastic is a great way to describe it. More on that later when I post my list. :)
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Necroticism174
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:46 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:56 am 
 

Alright, the order and albums involved have changed many times in the past few days so I'll just put this out there.

10- Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora's Pinata

A really strong follow up to their last one, this album saw the band expanding their sound even further and being quirkier and even danceable at times. Vocals that sound like the guy from Muse, but better intertwine with powerful female vocals, string instruments, a swingy drummer, and funky bass. I liked it so much because it was just so much fun and a joy to listen to many times, flowing seamlessly and ending with a stirring ballad piece that has heavy riffs morph into some kind of dubstep (I know how it sounds, but it's great.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2mZVOd0jWY

9- Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I

When I heard the first song of this, after being a huge fan of their first release for years, I was initially sort of disappointed with the production. The first one had this lower fidelity charm and almost unquantifiable implicit emotional intensity that the clearer production on this seemed to lack. With time, I realized it was very fitting to the vast array of sounds present on the album. This band weave in and out of passage seamlessly, each member playing off each other as if they jammed for a thousand years before recording, building to insane crescendos, with violin playing counterpoint to the guitars. The vocals go through many permutations through expert black metal emotional screams, to soaring clean singing (which is a bit TOO clean for my taste.) The gestation period was quite long, and you can tell. Each song having many passages but never being jarring like Opeth sometimes is (not that they sound anything like Opeth). It's hard to qualify what kind of metal niche this falls under, and I find the extreme progressive metal tag on their MA page quite fitting.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsh9xzTCFRk

8-Abominable Putridity - The Anomalies of Artificial Origin.

Addictive. Fun. That could literally be all I have to say about this album. It has all the hallmarks of what most people on here would despise. Overly triggered and loud, probably pro-tooled to hell drums, some of the cleanest guitars in slam, very simplistic song structures, super guttural vocals with some pig squeals etc... but when I put it on, I headbang until I'm sore. Every song is distinctive (I'm no slam expert or aficionado, so this is a rare feat for me), the slams are violent, and it just sounds perfect. Not too shabby for a band who's first album was probably one of the worst things ever.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4xu4qnVo8g

7-Orden Ogan - To The End

This was the surprise of the year for me and I thank Empyreal for it. I haven't checked out any of their other stuff yet because I don't want to ruin that perfect first impression. My only problem with it is that it does sort of lose steam around Take This Light, but it's a really long album and the strong tracks are exceedingly so. They have a very cold sound, with slick production, very strong vocals (only influenced by Blind Guardian in their use of lots of harmonization, the vocal lines themselves are quite distinctive) choruses that make you fist pump no matter what public bus you may find yourself on, solo's that WILL melt your face off, smart song structures, precise and intriguing riffing that only grows on you with repeat listens, and more. This was easily my power metal album of the year.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5dd1MD9Dro

6- Deathspell Omega - Drought

This was quite a year for EP's. Continuing the sound of the groundbreaking (and bloody amazing) Paracletus, this release was always going to be good. They grew even more coherent and even inserted more melodic yet disquieting moments. Blasting intensity, crackling unspeakable evil, and progression while still remaining distinctive are the name of the game here. I appreciate the very desolation based, still great lyrics on here. Could we see a move away from ultra satanism? Now that the trilogy is over and bookended by this piece of epic metal, one can only wonder where they'll go from here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiVz270W5fY

5- Dodecahedron - S/T

Ah! The student surpassing the master! To be fair, this is only slightly higher above the DsO release because there's more of it, and it has more variety and experimentation. Vicious vocals, dissonant spidery guitar, dark ambient passages, brilliant lyrics and song titles, perfect flow. It's great to be excited by music again. Just listen to it, damn it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vspWVrMy8CE

4- Naglfar - Teras

MELODIC BLACK METAL. I've never been much into this band before and this is by far their best release. Riff after riff after harmony after riff. Sweet and epic production, enviable vocals full of spite, drums coating everything in satisfying blasts. I spun this over and over again after I first heard it. And you should too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41QIUpKqyVQ

3- Swallow the Sun - Emerald Forest and the Blackbird

These miserable gloomsters have done it again. They've crafted another varied album of pure sadness, yet full of variety and amazing vocals. This has both their softest songs yet and their heaviest and most unrelenting ones. Even an appearance from that Nightwish chick couldn't bring this album down. These guys are tone masters too, the guitars have this immense heaviness while sacrificing no clarity at all. Shit, it has almost everything I like. Emotional or eerie solos, memorable choruses (quick, think of a death/doom band that has those), bittersweet melodies, crushing drumming. I'm going to go listen to it now actually.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpQnMwtwFCs

2- Anathema - Weather Systems

The masters of relatable sadness and amazing, emotionally stirring music and lyrics recently decided to give piercing our souls and simultaneously cradling them a break and aim for pure beauty and positivity. This they have achieved in spades. It's like they're unable to do any wrong at all. Truly one of the best active bands in the world right now. The songs ebb and flow, before crashing into crescendos of such magnitude most post-rock bands would be green with envy. They finally decided to give their female vocalist more prominence and I'm glad. She has a beautiful voice and her harmonies with the Cavanaghs are ethereal. There are no faux pas either. The first half of The Storm Before The Calm would have flopped in the hands of a lesser band, but when they bring it all up and up to heaven in the last few minutes the singular sense of purpose becomes clear again. This is pure songwriting. Undiluted by pretentiousness and from the heart. For this, I tip my hat off to them.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E9YAZQbNa8

1- Chrome Waves- s/t

I thought nothing could top that Anathema album. I thought it was amazing that all these albums somehow pierced through my vast apathy and Weather Systems was the apotheosis of this, but no. This little EP with members from a few different bands I love came out. Every song is simply beautiful post-black metal goodness. Slowly building to heights unheard in the genre. Altar of Plagues can keep taking 15 minutes to be half as effective as this, Chrome Waves will still achieve it in 5. At less than half an hour, you have no excuse to not hear this. I wish the lyrics were published, as it's hard to decipher these passionate high shrieks. If the drum tone was SLIGHTLY better this would be a legendary EP on all fronts. I await their first full length ecstatically.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtCro0bU97o

Honourable mentions:
Spoiler: show
Aborted - Global Flatline
Gorod - A Perfect Absolution
ST-Vitus - Lillie - F65
Cattle Decapitation - Monolith of Inhumanity
Dying Fetus - Reign Supreme
Om - Advaitic Songs
Katatonia - Dead End Kings
Enslaved - RIITR
Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas
Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliées
Jess and the Ancient Ones - S/T
Cannibal Corpse - Torture
Aeternam - Moongod
King of Asgard - To North
Der Weg Einer Freiheit - Unstille
Pilgrim - Misery Wizard
Striker - Armed to the Teeth
Mors Principium Est - ...And Death Said Live
Bell Witch - Longing
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:58 am 
 

This is always rather difficult. I thought I'd finalised my 'top 10' list a couple of weeks ago, but have since been overwhelmed by a flood of new releases that I previously hadn't heard... After shaking my fist at the sky in frustration and unsuccessfully trying to halt the flow of time itself, I gave up and just expanded the 'top 10' to a 'top 15'. Here it is (in no particular order); apologies for the length (I can put the main list in spoiler tags if needed:

Undergang - Til døden os skiller (death metal)
Sample track: Stranguleret
Not as startlingly brilliant as their first full-length, but, in my view, this follow-up is nonetheless a slab of gloriously filthy, skull-pounding heaviness that again manifests the wild mixture of death, doom and old school evil that brought the Danes so much acclaim the first time around. Note: free, legal download available via their bandcamp page, as is their incredible debut.

Abyssal - Denouement (death/black/experimental)
Every track is amazing, so here's his bandcamp page: just get this album. Get it now. It's free!
I lack the words to describe what is, amazingly, a one-man project whose work is available for free download via bandcamp; 'monstrous', 'gargantuan' and 'some Lovecraftian thing possessed Deathspell Omega and Gojira and forced them to collaborate in a hellish dimension' come to mind. Thanks to volutetheswarth (don't know if he reads this thread) for putting me on to this record.

Ignivomous - Contragenesis (death metal)
Sample track: Seventh Seal Gnosis
While I loved 'Death Transmutation', I'd have to agree with many of the reviewers of this new release and say that 'Contragenesis' really takes the band's sound to another, truly astonishing level of menace and force; I can also happily report that these songs are breathtaking live.

Evoken - Atra Mors (funeral doom/doom-death)
Sample track: The Unechoing Dead
Despite being a long-time fan of doom-death and funeral doom, I only got into this band recently; it was one of those 'where have you been all my life?!?' moments. This new album continues what I've come to appreciate in Evoken's sound: unrelentingly dark without becoming ponderous; crushing, yet contemplative.

My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures (doom-death)
Sample track: Hail Odysseus
I'd have to concur with previous posts about this release: with "A Map...", MDB found their sound again and managed to recapture what makes them great; it is, for me, quite simply the best thing they've done since "Songs of Darkness, Words of Light", and one of their best releases overall. It brings back some of the haunting solemnity of "Turn Loose the Swans" and the brutal grandeur of "Songs..." that I had felt was missing from their recent releases, and sees Aaron's clean vocals become more 'melodious' (if that makes sense) and affecting. It does, as some reviewers have noted, verge on funeral doom at times, and this is - in my view - a very, very good thing.

Asphyx - Deathhammer(death metal)
Sample track: Minefield
Again, I only began listening to this band this year, and found them to have just that sound that I look for. Bone-shakingly heavy, this rumbling, doomy beast stands out for me by being irresistibly catchy as well; you can't help but move somehow when you hear those riffs, public transport etiquette be damned.

Dying Fetus - Reign Supreme (death metal)
Sample track: Second Skin
I've long been a big fan of Dying Fetus, and this album led me to rediscover what I love about their sound. It can almost stand alongside "Killing on Adrenaline". The vocals are fantastic on this record, and the bass is thunderous; the sound is certainly 'contemporary', but, for once, the production doesn't diminish the sheer ferocity of the music.

Ea - Ea (funeral doom)
Ea
I'd never have thought that an album consisting of a single, almost 48-minute-long song could be good, let alone this. Ea are another favourite band of mine, yet I was nonetheless taken aback when I saw the track-listing for this; fortunately for all involved, though, this turns out to be an utter success. One of the few bands out there that could pull this off. Monumental.

Inverloch - Dusk | Subside (doom-death)
Sample track: The Menin Road
The next stage in the diSEMBOWELMENT/dUSK saga, though I'd say that this offers a new direction, rather than continuing the previous style unchanged; this has an atmospheric, eerie, experimental sound that requires - and rewards - patience.

Grave - Endless Procession of Souls (death metal)
Sample track: Disembodied Steps
One of the genre's undervalued legends returned to the murky splendour of "Into the Grave" this year with this roiling, miasmal creation; it successfully combines old school menace with modern stylings and is, quite simply, heavy. Sometimes, there are no other words for it, and, really, none are needed here.

Cannibal Corpse - Torture (death metal)
Sample track: Intestinal Crank
Yeah, yeah, I know. Eh, what can I say - I fell for this sound; I love it when CC slow things down a bit and go all doomy and chuggy and whatnot. I kept returning to this despite myself; there's something addictive about the pummelling bass and, well, the ability of people who know what they're doing to do it very well.

Monolithe - Monolithe III (funeral doom)
No full tracks on YouTube or bandcamp - damn you, internet!
Another new discovery for me; this has been getting a lot of well-deserved praise, and there's nothing that I can really add - bleak, atmospheric, relentless funeral doom. Another of those very few artists (aside from the above-mentioned Ea) who can pull off a one-song album that is nonetheless varied and engaging.

Worship - Terranean Wake (funeral doom)
Sample track: Terranean Wake 2: The Second Coming Apart
This has been such a good year for doom. Though occasionally derivative, this is nonetheless wonderfully dense, eerie and epic, a must for Mournful Congregation fans.

Desolate Shrine - The Sanctum of Human Darkness (death metal)
Sample track: Pillars of Salvation: The Drowned Prince
I was one of the few who actually really liked their first full-length, but I think that they have massively improved on this new album; they've added new atmospheric elements that make them almost resemble Funebrarum at times (emphasis on 'almost' - no one can truly get close, in my view). A monstrously chaotic blackened maelstrom, complemented by incredibly creepy multilayered vocals and a heavy bass that comes in now and then to rattle your ribcage, this is, well, stunning, actually.

Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry (blackened funeral doom)
First CD
I don't even know whether I truly like this or not - I just can't stop listening to it. Nightmarish, surreal, unpredictable and somehow (for me, at least) stunningly addictive, this is the kind of album you put on with the intention to just check out one track briefly, only to find yourself sitting utterly still, enraptured, for an hour, as it envelops you in its own dark world.

Honourable mentions:
Spoiler: show
Fuck...I'm Dead - Another Gory Mess (death-grind)
Meshuggah - Koloss (Meshuggah; don't even think the 'd' word)
Desecresy - The Doom Skeptron (death metal)
Binah - Hallucinating in Resurrecture (death metal)
Anatomia - Decaying in Obscurity
Any other year, these great releases would've been in my top 10; this year offered a veritable flood of albums that appealed to me, though, and these two were just overwhelmed by even better material. EDIT: edited to include albums I'd forgotten about.

Illidisposed - Sense the Darkness (death metal)
Shroud of the Heretic - Boiled to Death (death metal)
Ataraxy - Revelations of the Ethereal (death metal)
These are all releases that I only discovered very recently through other recommendations in this thread and couldn't bear to not include in my list in some fashion.

Funeral - Oratorium (doom-death)
Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage (whatever this is)
Coldworker - The Doomsayer's Call (death-grind)
Ahab - The Giant (funeral doom)
These were all pleasant releases that just didn't quite measure up to the grandeur of the various bands' previous releases; good, but not great.


Albums I haven't absorbed properly yet, but that would probably feature on a revised list:
Spoiler: show
Incantation - Vanquish in Vengeance (death metal)
Bell Witch - Longing (drone/doom)


Notable disappointments:
Spoiler: show
Swallow the Sun - Emerald Forest and the Blackbird (melodeath-doom): Not a bad album as such, just extremely underwhelming; the synths are too prominent, the melodies too soft, and the song-writing average at best. I was hoping for something as expressive of intense despair as 'Hope' was,; this fell far short of what I think they can do. Also, I can't quite forgive them for continuing the great 'Horror' series with such a lightweight song.

Anhedonist - Netherwards (doom-death): Boring. I can't believe how many websites'/magazines' 'best of lists' this is making; derivative and mediocre at best, this just sends me to sleep (which is saying something, coming from a funeral doom fan).

As You Drown - Rat King (death metal/deathcore): Their first release was a pleasant surprise, 'modern' death metal (bordering on deathcore) that kept something utterly vile at its core; fresh, catchy and pleasantly brutal. The new album just threw all that out the window, replacing it with a more generic, lifeless sound that, at its very best, felt like a pale imitation of the debut.


Last edited by Calusari on Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Necroticism174
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:46 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:11 am 
 

Great list! Very doom oriented. I forgot about Worship, that album was awesome. I think the MDB album was boring as hell though. The opposite of gripping. I'll have to check out the first three things on your list.
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http://www.last.fm/user/TheEndTimeRiff
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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:14 am 
 

Worship didn't actually impress me a whole lot, probably a little bit too by the books for my current mindset.
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Calusari
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:36 am
Posts: 707
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:28 am 
 

Yeah, Worship certainly aren't especially original; after listening to it a few more times, though, I thought that, while they don't do anything new, they really are very good at what they do. They nail that MC atmosphere, I think; if you're looking for innovation, though, I can see how they wouldn't be your thing.

Necroticism174 wrote:
Great list! Very doom oriented. I forgot about Worship, that album was awesome. I think the MDB album was boring as hell though. The opposite of gripping. I'll have to check out the first three things on your list.

:beer: Thanks! I've heard negative feedback about 'A Map...'; I can see how it'd be divisive, especially if you liked their recent albums. Eh. Each to their own.

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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:49 am 
 

I don't really get why we needed this extra thread, but oh well, may as well settle in for a long read, this thing is like nine pages long haha. I didn't listen to quite as much as I had hoped this year due to a big move and about 3 months without internet, but I've managed to hear pretty much everything I wanted to from the bands I knew from previous years, just not my usual numbers of bands that are new to me that others have talked up. 2012 got off to a slow start, I didn't even find anything worth putting on a best of list til mid March, but since then there has been a nice enough flow of great releases popping up on my radar. Lots of good stuff started flowing around September through to late November, which has given a pretty massive change up to my half way point list (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=88256&start=600 for those interested in seeing longer summaries for a few that dropped out). My Top 6 are the real rippers of the list, each being worthy of a mid 90s score at least, with the top two pressing up to the higher 90s.

The whole year continued the trend of giving me death metal I really like, something I haven't had since about 2009, the OSDM scene seems to be finally offering up stuff that is either a) interesting or b) built of out drastically improved riffs, which is a huge breath of fresh air after four years of bands trying to out murk each other. In addition to the 9 death metal bands which placements (plus two deathy death-dooms) the list of DM bands that are worth 70-85% or so and are only a short way out of my list is huge, Hour of Penance, Anatomia, Cattle Decapitation, Allegaeon, Desultor, Shroud of the Heretic, Diskord, Cryptopsy (Yes, I like it a lot!), Acephalix, Antropomorphia, Genocide Shrines, Sulphur Aeon and Aborted are all solid efforts worthy of some attention, so as a death metal fan this year has been a great one. Power metal has failed pretty abysmally for me, with Pharaoh being literally the only band which has appealed to me in the slightest all year, dubious links could be made to Urban Breed's new band too I guess. Black metal would get a pass mark, thanks to solid efforts by Winterflylleth, Rage Nucleaire and Ash Borer complimenting a few entries on my list. Finally doom underperformed for me, despite holding onto my top spot and five other (albeit lower) spots on the list, I guess I've been fanboying out on the genre of late, and expected more excellence from the style. The delayed arrival of Funeralium which was due in November but never came was most depressing. That's pretty much all the observations I have to make about the year as a whole, I seemed to be disappointed by a lot more stuff than usual, as many bands I had high hopes for under performed, not that that is particularly interesting. A very large portion of my list is bands that are new to me, but there a heaps of them which makes up for it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Best
As usual, I'm making my list based around all the albums I consider worthy of special attention from the year, rather than a strict top 10. This year I got to a slightly sloppy 26 list worthy albums, so in the interest of aesthetics I'll just give you the top 25. In the interest of brevity I'll only bother with short summaries of stuff that is worthy of list placement but outside of the top 10.

25. Hooded Menace - Effigies of Evil (Death Doom Metal)
I should like this more than I do, their most "fun" oriented album yet, and as great as ever, but all the riffs feel done before.

24. Trail of Murder - Shades of Art (Heavy Metal)
Urban Breed is awesome as shit, anyone who says otherwise is an objective idiot. This is him being awesome, but the riffs are the weakest backing he's had.

23. Witch Mountain - Cauldron of the Wild (Doom Metal)
Old school doom like early Sabbath or Candlemass with a versatile female singer, a thick tone and blues licks. Don't like her highs much, but her bluesy voice is great.

22. Trees Sickness In (Drone/Doom Metal)
Rather torturous droning doom with an extremely damaging vocal performance, reminds me of Khanate sans treble spikes, so not as painful, but just as punishing.

21. Neurosis - Honor Found in Decay (Post Rock/Sludge)
Lots of added melody and not too much over reliance on brooding atmosphere keeps this one interesting, the bands best.

20. Pseudogod - Deathwomb Catechesis (Death/Black Metal)
Immense sound, music is solid only but the perfect production job is enough, devastating vocals, unfathomably brutal.

19. Backyard Mortuary - Lure of the Occult (Death Metal)
Pretty by the books OSDM with lots of energy/some extra speed, the best stuff is album of the year material, but they fall back on the mundane too often.

18. Dysrhythmia - Test of Submission (Progressive Rock/Metal)
Jangly all over the place technical wank rock/metal, I guess I'd call them a non djenty, non dancey Animals as Leaders, love the bass rape all over this.

17. Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas (Black Metal/Grindcore)
Only delivers fully on three songs, but quality is solid throughout. Still a very good album, but the band is moving downwards.

16. Incantation - Vanquish in Vengeance (Death Metal)
'Tations gonna Incant. This is the masters doing their thing and doing it well, with a few nice additions here and there, but largely it all feels done before which holds back.

15. Evoken - Atra Mors (Death/Funeral Doom Metal)
Slightly disappointing, melodic bend is blessing and curse, many brilliant moments, but lacks some identity.

14. Desecresy - The Doom Skeptron (Death Metal)
Ex-Slugathor members making the best goddamned Finnish melody work since Slugathor.

13. Embrional - Absolutely Anti-Human Behavior (Death Metal)
Ripping Immolation styled death metal with enough stylistic visions to be interesting.

12. Anhedonist - Netherwards (Death/Doom Metal)
Heavy as hell death/doom with excellent slabs of death metal and mellower atmosphere to break up the crushing misery.

11. Dodecahedron - Dodecahedron (Black Metal)
Starts off like solid but unassuming DSO worship, then closes with a brilliant melodic and tightly composed progression from it.

10. Puteraeon - Cult Cthulu (Death Metal)
More OSDM for my list. Like pretty much all of it that's made it this year, this is up tempo, full of melodic flair, fun riffing out moments, and a nice modern OSDM production which keeps the low end crunch and some of the roughness around the edges of a 90's production job, but adds in a modern level of bombastic weight and note differentiation. This would be the cleanest of all the DM I've got here, but the mix of dirty crawling DM, Finnish melodicism and twisting slower stuff, crusty rocking swedeath ala Vomitory is pretty damned fun.

9. Graveyard - Lights Out (Rock/Blues)
Picking up with the same style as the last album, Graveyard continue to offer up some extremely addictive hard rock and blues. Last time around I thought a few of the vocal parts were weak, and a lot of slower, bluesier songs were lacking, but not here, it's all great. The band has three styles of song, being a regular catchy rock song, a shorter hard rock song and slow blues numbers, and alternates between them in a fashion that keeps things interesting, it's great.

8. Mgla - With Hearts Toward None (Melodic Black Metal)
This has a very simple formula of tremolo riffs with some nice big melodic hooks engrained in them over mid tempo drum work and good lower ranged vocals in the style of Mikko Aspa of DsO, but it works very nicely. Not particularly forward thinking, but the open and clear production makes this sound like more than just an early 90's rehash. The first song doesn't have the nice big melodic hook though, it's just mid paced trem riffs and plodding drum work and is really the main blemish of this one.

7. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! (Post Rock)
I'm not the worlds biggest GY!BE fan, I find they resort to silence in between their movements far too often, although they can build intensely dramatic scenes like no other band, but on a strictly musical entertainment level, they pad like crazy. For whatever reason this post reunion incarnation of the band is oddly against that approach. It's guitar driven as hell, which is admittedly less emotionally punchy as before, but it's actually entertaining on the whole, and there is pretty much no silence on it. Even the entirely violin driven "Their Helicopters Sing" is one singular piece of music, instead of two or three things stuck together. Each of the tracks here actually feel like individual songs, and I love it.

6. Undergang - Til Døden os Skiller (Death Metal)
Backing up the high speed excellence of many of my other OSDM picks is Denmark's Undergang bringing us, in both the most simple and most complex way possible of putting it, the most stupidly crushing mid paced DM you can imagine. Like Slugathor these guys are sheer weight incarnate, but this is more old school in sound and riffing style overall than that band. It's heavy as shit, it's riffy as hell, that's as much detail as I can really give.

5. Ataraxy - Revelations of the Ethereal (Death Metal)
An entertaining twist on the Asphyx and Autopsy school of OSDM, adding in a heaving dose of melody. It's used in quite a Finndeath manner, bursting out into a little lead melody out of all the lurching meatiness, but the melody itself seems to be quite doomy, and quite more developed than just a few creepy notes as per the usual use of the technique, makes me think of some doom metal that goes for that sort of "scary castle" music. Add in an excellent modern OSDM sound which is heavy, full of distortion but lives up to modern standards of instrument and riff differentiation, and you've got yourself one hell of an album.

4. Pharaoh - Bury the Light (Power Metal)
Excellent power metal, which I guess I'd put in the same kind of boat as the last Charred Walls of the Damned album, it has enough really heavy and really fast parts to keep this from being flowery and keep me entertained, but in the end it's the quality of the gruff yet epic vocals of Aymar, the extremely intricate guitar work in every riff, and the magnificent hooks and melodies that really make this album a winner.

3. Ignivomous - Contragensis (Death Metal)
Anyone who has heard these guys' debut or demos would be aware of the riffing chops these guys have, and the new album certainly lives up to it's predecessor in that regard. Again, it's very much fast Incantation with less and shorter slow parts, but the quality of the riffs and the sheer viciousness of the constant high speed swirling blast beating assault all come together to make this stand out from the other bands which don't throw much in the way originality at us from the modern OSDM scene. The production is a bit clearer and nicer on the ears than last time too, so that's another big plus. Riffs. Just riffs. All of them. Yes.

2. Svartidauði - The Flesh Cathedral (Black Metal)
This here is ridiculously good, and from Iceland of all places. It's in the recently trendy school of jangly discordant BM pioneered by DSO and BaN, but it's got a great melodic bent, and a good amount of more straightforward traditional styled stuff to keep everything moving. Along with this the vocals take the usual lower register wannabe Aspa vocals and take it a step towards a brutal death metal toilet gurgler, it's still fitting, but a bit more savage and fresh. The songs are lengthy, but they've got a good knack for getting the length out, there is no ambience here, or drones, or total break downs into a few drawn out notes which most bands of the style use to pad their music out to 10+ minutes, Svartidauði tend to opt for picking a melody and running it into the ground, and I love it; it's great to see a band say, "yep, we've written an epic and memorable melody out of our jangles and thumping, let's commit to it and base three minutes off it". It's the type of approach that could kill a song if the repeated part wasn't up to scratch, which is why most bands will move onto something else instead of risk it, but these guys get it right every damn time. Admittedly the last song has like 8 minutes with two riffs, but otherwise this is tight, exciting, and repeats at all the right times, never feeling padded. In addition to this, The Perpetual Nothing is easily the best song released all year.

1. Monolithe - Monolithe III (Funeral/Death Doom Metal)
Ok, maybe Ignivomous doesn't have all the riffs because Monolithe seem to have found more than their fair share, in a funeral doom album no less! Everyone likes it when an album does something completely out of the ordinary and completely flips the general conventions of a style on it's head don't they? Well look no further, Monolithe throw the funeral doom rulebook out the window and just play like, all the riffs, I've counted the first 5 minutes and there are 19 riff changes in it, this is kept up til about the 35 minute mark, which, means that this thing has I don't know, about fifteen or sixteen times the number of riffs a funeral doom album should usually possess, and it's so good. This album throws everything it can at you, and resulting wave of riffs, dirges, melodic leads and solos, heavy grooving sections, and energetic drum lines is just a never ending eargasm. This is the one big must hear no matter what for the year, it's a masterpiece. This is the antidote for all those fucking Aldebaran's and Profetus's who think that being boring as shit is what funeral doom is about, it's a goddamned thrill ride at 80bpm. Get this, right now.

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I'm inserting a spoiler tag here for my Suprises, Disappointments, Favourite Cover Arts, and a little discussion on the EP quality from this year, because this is kind of ridiculous already.

Spoiler: show
Surprises

Abigail Williams - Becoming
Notoriously shitty deathcore band becomes notoriously shitty Emperor worship band becomes surprisingly passable drawn out minimalist black metal band. Easy to listen to with nice sound and solid riffing.

Aborted - Global Flatline
I had only heard the last two borderline deathcore failures but this goes close to kicking ass, lots of energy, awesome soloing, as far as modern production goes a brilliant sound, lots of variation in music and vocals, but sadly it brings fuck all to the riffing department, with the guitars simply churning out masses of energetic but nondescript dadadadadadada stuff. Cattle Decapitation kind of handed this thing it's ass in this sort of high speed, high production, yellow cover violent death metal thing though,

Ahab - The Giant
This is pretty much exactly what I had feared it would be, but I still quite like it. It's mostly soft, it's at least 80% cleans, even on a lot of the heavy stuff, said heavy stuff is brief when it does appear, but I like it. The melodies are suitable aquatic, and it's a fair bit less psychedelic and meandering than last time, mercifully giving these songs some sense of movement. Not a classic, but it's worthwhile.

Ea - Ea
I've never really cared for these guys outside of their excellent debut, but this effort is pretty damn solid. Doesn't live up to their one classic, but one of the stronger entries into the flailing funeral doom genre this year. There is a surprise in the middle with is pretty unexpected for this band, and is a welcome touch.

Encoffination - Elegant Funerals for the Unknown Dead
I can't tell you how much I hated O'Hell, and I think the earlier stuff was merely ok, but holy shit does this EP deliver, the production is clearer and higher pitched, and as such swaps out unrelenting murkiness and gloominess for a helping of being evil as fuck and not sounding like ass. The first half is pretty straight forward, slow and heavy, but it's actually interesting this time around and has some semblance of actual riffs, and as I mentioned to production makes it all sound super evil. Side two goes nuts though, only one real "song", which has a fast part with a goofy punk beat, before closing with the classic bells stuff. Then two interludey type tracks that just go bell crazy, with some clear choir vocals, it's weird but great, and creates a whole new atmosphere which I've been calling similar to ritualistic cult which happens to convene their evil meetings in a Moby Dick era whaling town. The best thing they've done by far, it rules.

Neurosis - Honor Found in Decay
I am not a Neurosis fan, yes, they have some immense sludge and post metal riffage, the vocal combinations are badass and the band puts in a huge amount of heart and soul and effort bring their albums to fruition, but fuck, they are boring. Not so much here, this isn't too heavy, but it's quite melodic and it doesn't bog itself by trying to be brooding or ambient all that often, mostly it's big slow riffs bouncing off one another with that rolling tom work and excellent vocals all over the place, and as such it actually stays interesting for once. Not to say it's an atmosphere-less venture or anything, it's just less so, and focuses more on hitting with an ever shifting wall of (not particularly heavy) sound and grace. It still has some dull stuff that would appeal to an old fan like Bleeding the Pigs, or the first 4:45 in Casting of the Ages for instance, which is why it isn't contending for an absolute top 10 spot, but it's a must hear for 2012 at any rate.

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Disappointments

Alcest - Les Voyages De L'Âme
Boring as watching grass grow. None of the overt hookiness of the previous album, and lacks the simple childish beauty of the first, this just twangs away on a loose chord over and over while pedophiles hum sweetly over it. Very freaking boring and devoid of substance.

The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet
TMV are extremely hit and miss for me, with the debut and previous album being the only albums I've really liked, but both of those albums are among my favourite non-metal albums, so I was eager to see what they did here. There are some ok songs on here like Dyslexicon, but some really, really horrible ones too. The most striking thing is that this album is probably the first one of their that just feels like a collection of songs, rather than a cohesive album.

Blut Aus Nord - 777 - Cosmosophy
Pretty much went in a totally different way than I expected after the creepy trip hoppy outro on 777-2, instead of going into some kind horrific industrial trance thing, they've gone for extremely drawn out ambientish stuff with massive lead work, delivered in a slower more atmospheric fashion than the lead sex that was MVII, which does work well, but there is sooooo much padding here. The outro song is pretty much the same formula as "The Procession of the Dead Clowns" but shittier, and of the rest of the album there are 2 great songs (XIV, XVII), one great half song (second half of XVI), and one good half song (Second half of XV). It's still worth 75% or so, but since the first two got in my top 10 last year it is certainly underwhelming.

Evoken - Atra Mors
Despite its high placement on my list, this is actually a bit of a disappointment overall. I like that they mixed up their sound a little bit, they're exceptionally good at their whole "inescapable suffocating darkness" thing, but it would be pretty fair to think they're never going to top Antithesis of Light in that regard, simply because even riff for riff it's an equal, it's going to lose some shine for being similar. They could have gone back to the more laid back style of the early days and tried to push that even further, which would have been a challenge for the same reason, so I'm pretty pleased they went for something reasonably fresh. Yes, the slow moving, echoing grumbling funeral doom is here, there are those bass plucking notes that echo cleanly among the misery and generate plentiful feels, and the vocals are thunderous as usual, but there is some new stuff going on here. This is probably the least laid back they've been, there is is plenty of death/doom here, and very rarely do you get the droning riffs with nothing but atmospheric keys to drive the depressing hooks, instead they've gone the Mournful Congregation route and gone for a lot of lead guitar harmonies with the keys usually glooming alongside. And they're good at it, nobody could look at this stuff and say they've done a third rate effort like the shitty Aldebaran, it's very good without a shadow a doubt, and in cases like the mindblowing "Into Aphotic Devastation" is downright incredible, it just doesn't feel all that Evoken. This lack of identity is something which has irked me about funeral doom since about 2009, more bands have formed, less bands have that "yes, this is band X without question" instant recognition, Evoken has always been one with that trait, and the choices on Atro Mors have brought them closer to to other bands. With that said, it's an really good album, passages of brilliance are frequent amongst the usual drear, and it does have Evoken touches no other band could do, it's just not 100% Evoken through and through.

Forgotten Tomb - And Don't Deliver Us From Evil
Forgotten Tomb is dead. I hate to say it because I love those first three albums so very much, but Morbid has totally lost it. This was billed as something a lot more evil, intense and old styled than Under Saturn Retrograde was. And indeed it mostly is. A fair few groove metal riffs populate the slow and heavy realm where doom once lived and thrived, but other than that most of the album is melodies and black metal. No straight up pop songs like "Joyless" here (Oddly enough, that song is the most enjoyable thing they've done in the last couple of outings), instead you get Morbid doing his very best to be dark and depressing, and being woefully mediocre at it. This makes me long for Negative Megalomania, it's so dull, and so devoid of the quality that permeated through the bands prior sound. It is merely a shell. Forgotten Tomb is dead.

Bloodbound - In the Name of Metal
Speaking of bands that are dead, meet Bloodbound. I have no idea what was up with the band when they made Tabula Rasa, but it was a damned masterpiece. Then the inimitable Urban Breed left the group, so they replaced him with some random euro flowerfairy, and turned into... this. The last album was somewhat sucky, but this, THIS is on a whole new plane of sucking existence. This is pure, unfiltered euro flower metal garbage and it is vile. It's offensively vile. They've pretty much turned into Dream Evil, but unlike that band these guys used to be something that that could be taken seriously. Obviously tacky power chords and generic vocal hooks is easier than writing good music. Fuck this is bad.

Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas
A real disappointment here after the quality of the first two pre-release songs. Coming into it initially I was a little worried due the bands shift in chug riffing style to a more deathcore variety which sucks the energy out of songs, but "Blood-Dimmed Tide", "Forging Towards To Sunset", and "Fire and Fucking Pigs" are so good it's hard to not get excited about it, solid music makes up the rest of the album, with lots of industrial and melodic experiments which has the album leaving an extremely strong first impression, but on repeated listens many of the experiments don't really hold up to the Thrakh's former glory, with "To Spite the Face" and "Todos Samos Humanos" being the only ones I would consider particularly necessary out of the remaining track list. But overall it actually has less highlights then Passion did, it's still probably a slightly better album due to Passion having some outright suckitude, and this merely drops to "good", but underwhelming compared to their former glory.

De Magia Veterum - The Deification
Man, I'm a disappointed dick this year, not only are two of my disappointments right on the best of list, this one would still be a top 30 of the year album. This time DMV is just... restrained a bit. There's a bit more atmosphere and mid paced sections to go along with the swirling hellish chaos, but dammit, swirling hellish chaos is what made The Divine Antithesis such a mind-blowing album, this is just a bit timid in comparison, still a pretty rad album overall.

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Cover Art
Ok, here is a nice and easy top 10 of my favourite cover arts all year. In the interest of keeping the page lengths down, I'll just link to the images, rather than post them.

1. Funebrarum/Undergang - The Dead of Winter
I am a sucker for massive landscapes and stuff like that, and this is utterly gorgeous. Obviously done by the same guy who brought Disma's last couple of EPs and full length to light, it more or less has the full length's scope with the grayscale stylings of the EPs, it's just epic.
2. Asphyx - Deathammer
Look at it, Just LOOK at it. God damn, it's gorgeous.
3. Embrional - Absolutely Anti Human Behaviors
I'm not usually one for gore, and I admit the fair maidens shown have oddly perky breasts for dismembered corpses, but the pencil artwork and detail on the demon and skulls impresses me for some reason. A lot.
4. Pseudogod - Deathwomb Catechesis
Massive dragon, flames turning into snakes, creepy old man looking possessed or tortured, this is exactly as brutish and lunkheaded as the album deserved, and like the album, it is badass through and trough.
5. Wrathprayer - The Sun of Moloch
Creepy, horrific, badass as hell, carefully and artfully created and unique, everything the album is not.
6. Supher Aeon - Swallowed by the Oceans Tide
More stuff by Ola Larsson, this time going for a depiction of R'legh, which is a perfect fit for his style of twisty little details and touches. I actually like the EP's art a little bit more, which I am aware is merely a background of this, but the actual C'thulu here is the only thing I don't like.
7. Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry
As I was saying about epic before, I love it, here is a slightly more colourful, slightly less detailed ode to the immense.
8. Serpentine Path - S/T
Reminds me a lot of one my favourite Zdizlaw Beksinski paintings, with some green vegetation, that is a big positive, just a little bit under detailed.
9. Anatomia - Decaying in Obscurity
Surpisingly elegant for a dirty OSDM band, it's very well drawn, looks cool and ominous, and... well... there are boobs.
10. Diocletian/Weregoat - Disciples of War
Speaking of boobs, Here is death with like 8 boobs and six arms. Honestly, this is so cool it should be up in second or something, but I liked the boob segue too much

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As an extra aside, I'd like to draw attention to how excellent this year has been for EPs. I don't usually put EP's (Or splits for that matter) into my end of year lists simply due to the usual lack of length to them, but a fair few released this year would have have been put on there if they were 10 minutes longer. Inverloch and Deathspell Omega's EP's are both fantastic, Inverloch obviously sound like diSEMBOWELMENT and the music offered up is absolutely stunning. There are like 4 minutes of absolute silence in that 21 minute run time though. DsO pretty much shit all over everything I praised Dodecahedron for, it's songy, it doesn't meander, it's got some fresh melody, and most importantly it's musically brilliant. Agalloch is fantastic also, the black metal is still really mediocre, and a scorn on their existence, lots of crappy Cascadian style nothing riffs, but once they get back into their melodic leads and post rocky bits this is the best they've done since The Mantle, just sucks they want to be real black metal though. I didn't give enough credit to Monolithe first time around, it's not as totally ambient and unassuming as I first thought, and is actually pretty riffy at times. It is still their weakest release, but certainly good enough to stand with their other releases. It is also long enough to be on my list, but it's just not quite good enough and it emphasises my point on how good this year has been for EPs. Blut Aus Nord's EP blows Cosmosphy out of the water also, despite not being as good as the band can be.

But the best one? The best one is god damned Encoffination, I've got a lengthier summary in the surprises section, but seriously, it's awesome. It is honestly good enough for a spot and pretty lengthy, but I decided to use it down here as an example of 2012's ownership of the EP.

Even better would be Adversarial's half of the Adversarial/Antediluvian split, Admittedly it's less than 15 minutes, but god damn, they just keep getting better and better with each release. The riffs on there are as good as Ignivomous was, the production is exquisite, and the songs move in entertaining and exciting ways. If they released it just as an EP, and maybe with a couple of extra songs it'd be one of my favourite things released all year, but sadly it is a split with Antediluvian. Antediluvian aren't a bad band, but they're an atmosphere over riffing band first and foremost which just hasn't been floating my boat for the last couple of years. Adversarial though, damn, they're going to put out something absolutely classic sometime soon.

Well that's 2012 according to me, again, not much bad stuff, and a good dose of extremely good material. An excellent year, not quite topping 2011 for me, mainly due to 2011 having an absolute top tier release in Esoteric along with a similar number of list worthy albums, and while Monolithe is exciting and fresh and really, really good, it isn't quite playing in Esoteric's league. But overall this has been a nice 24 month period for metal offering up 50 odd albums that you really owe yourself to have a listen to. Currently the total breakdown of albums I've heard is: 26 worthy of being on the list, 49 quite good, 26 get a passing mark, and 25 I actively dislike or hate. Not a bad ratio by my standards to be honest, with 75 albums I think are worthy of some attention, which is triple the number of albums my existence is worse off for hearing. Although this year I did sample a lot more than just blindly download, so that will have cut out a lot of sucky releases. I didn't get as much listening done as I had hoped due to moving house, so I probably missed a bunch, so if you think there is something unmissable I didn't mention here, feel free to point it my way.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:18 am 
 

List including non-metal releases:

10. Rush - Clockwork Angels
My Rush experience ends with "Hold Your Fire", but the overwhelmingly positive reviews made me buy this anyway... and it surely does live up to the hype. Of course, you don't forget what you've learned before, but this isn't simply one of those veteran band albums, where you get recycled stuff... no, this one does more than that. It's not only full of energy, but it's really ambitious as well, so even without the reputation of the band this one would stand out this year.

9. Threshold - March Of Progress
Wilsons' performance is incredible, he provides every song with at least one memorable chorus. But other than that, I prefer previous efforts - especially "Subsurface" - for their more interesting songwriting.

8. Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken - The Death Defying Unicorn
Apart from being a great reverence to 70s/80s Progressive/Hard Rock, this one offers a high amount of musicianship and a well done fusion of rock, jazz and orchestra. It's not too complex, yet there are so many tiny details to be found, that you really want to explore this album, so chances are good that this one will stay in your player for quite some time.

7. Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
My first contact with the band, so I'm glad it's mentioned here several times, because then I'm not so wrong with my opinion that this is awesome. Pure raw energy coming at you with relentless intensity from start to finish... if you want to vent your anger, try thi.

6. A Forest Of Stars - A Shadowplay Of Yesterdays
The pure black metal passages are always a bit awkward and unvaried, but they aren't present that much here anymore... so, there's plenty of time to enjoy, because AFOS are really great when it comes to ambient/folk stuff and the mix-up of these styles, with black metal as well... the second half of "A Prophet For A Pound Of Flesh" demonstrates this most impressively. Plus, Mister Curse's vocals deserve being mentioned, he sounds like some eccentric and lunatic story-teller who probably rather speaks to himself than to anyone else.

5. Sigh - In Somniphobia
I thought this would end up in my top-3, but now that I listened to it again the excitement for it isn't as existent anymore as it was at the beginning of the year. It's still a truly original album, but it could use some shortening. Never got warm with "Amongst the Phantoms of Abandoned Tumbrils" and "Fall To The Thrall" feels too ordinary for this album.

4. Mothlite - Dark Age
It's easy listening music, but I think the songwriting is cleverly done, and it's not as intrusive as other pop albums, so while I don't feel the need to listen to it every day, I probably wont' get sick of this either.... songs like "Something In The Sky" or "The Underneath" just have a timeless appeal.

3. Dordeduh - Dar De Duh
Not quite as good as "OM", but certainly far better than the post-split effort by Negura Bunget. The founders of this band recently wrote in an interview, that Negru has no songwriting skills at all, so others write the material, and I surely believe them, because on "Dar De Duh", you have this feeling of deep spirituality and connectedness to nature again, that I couldn't get from "Vîrstele Pămîntului" at all. There is some space for improvement though: build-up of the songs could be more varied, and the black metal side isn't sufficiently compelling. But whenever traditional instruments are integrated, it gets breathtakingly brilliant.

2. Spawn Of Possession - Incurso
Call it wankery if you like, I just love it. It's one of those albums where you're surely rewarded for the efforts of getting into it; just like the grand finale "Apparition" is worth sitting through the rest of the album first.

1. Cattle Decapitation - Monolith Of Inhumanity
This is like a "best of death/grind" album, but additionally you get some unique features like Ryan's weird half-clean vocals or the highly atmospheric passages that are slightly reminiscent of what Anaal Nathrakh does sometimes. There's no need for superlatives, but still I feel like this album raised the bar for this kind of music.


Greatest Disappointments:

Moonspell - Alpha Noir / Omega White:
Usually, there's always been something apart from Ribeiro's voice that made Moonspell sound distinctive. But this is rarely the case here. With the exception of not even a handful of songs, this is mediocre at best.

Carach Angren - Where The Corpses Sink Forever:
The discrepancy between idea and realization is simply too big for me: the band went for a more serious approach to their music, but neither production nor quality of the lyrics can evoke a feeling of heightened atmosphere and terror. So, on one hand there's a song like "Sir John" that musically goes on without any climax at all and thereby doesn't manage to convey some sense of dread, on the other hand we have the lyrics for "Little Hector" which are by their choice of vocabulary rather kind of funny than disturbing to me. I mean, it's not all bad, but it's just not what I would have expected from these guys.

Rome - Hell Money
The description of this album lowered my expectations anyway, but usually there was at least one outstanding track on any Rome releases before. Not this time however, it's all nice to listen to, but I wouldn't miss anything if this album wouldn't exist.

Metal-Only-List

Spoiler: show
1. Cattle Decapitation - Monolith Of Inhumanity
2. Spawn Of Possession - Incurso
3. Dordeduh - Dar De Duh
4. Sigh - In Somniphobia
5. A Forest Of Stars - A Shadowplay Of Yesterdays
6. Threshold - March Of Progress
7. Monolithe - Monolithe III
8. Blut Aus Nord - 777 Cosmosophy
9. Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry
10. Testament - Dark Roots Of The Earth
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:30 pm 
 

Jonpo wrote:
So is Dave really the only one listening to Dawnbringer? Or was everyone else unimpressed? I can't make a list as that and Hellwell may be the only 2012 albums I've bought. I'm usually too busy playing catch-up.

Really though, check out the new Dawnbringer.


Dawnbringer was a mixed bag for me but it's not like many releases blew me away in 2012 so it will probably make my list in the lows.

Hellwell is certainly a top 10 album for me this year. That one I like a lot!

I'll post my top 10 around the new year :)
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:20 pm 
 

I wrote up my best of 2012 list right here:
http://autisticmetalhead.blogspot.com/2012/12/my-top-10-best-albums-of-2012.html

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:50 pm 
 

@Calusari - I agree with you on the Anhedonist opinion, it's an album that was put in a pedestal that it doesn't deserve.

@lord_ghengis - Interesting opinion on the new Neurosis album, and on the band by extension. If I read it well you feel like their more experimental stages are boring, while their most straightforward album is interesting?! I think you're the first person I've ever witnessed saying something like that! :p I'm a big fan of the band and while I think the album is good I believe it looses a bit of the band's identity by using a dramatic shift in the general mood employed and shown on the songs. I sense you'd find the vocalists' side-projects interesting if you like the album that much, maybe even Blood & Time could suit you. Give them a try if you haven't before. ;)
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:49 pm 
 

Here’s mine for 2012, broken down into Metal and Non-Metal. I didn’t follow the format exactly, but I did include YouTube links for one song per album.

Spoiler tags added to avoid an initial wall of text.

METAL:

Spoiler: show
The Top 10:

1: Cattle Decapitation-Monolith Of Inhumanity. An absolute furious and multifaceted extreme metal assault, taking cues from technical death metal, grind, and even black metal. Travis Ryan and David McGraw absolutely slay here, and new bassist Derek Engemann melds quite nicely with Josh Elmore’s insane riffs. Key Tracks: “The Carbon Stampede”, “Dead Set On Suicide”, “A Living Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat”, “Forced Gender Reassignment”, “Gristle Licker”, “Projectile Ovulation”, “Do Not Resuscitate”, ”Your Disposal”, and “Kingdom Of Tyrants”.

2: Devin Townsend-Epicloud. Like 2009’s Addicted this is just a fun, feel good prog metal/heavy rock record. I’m always going to prefer these types of albums-melodic, song oriented, whilst retaining his signature dense production-from Devy as opposed to the chaotic stuff like Deconstruction or Ziltoid. Key Tracks: “True North”, “Lucky Animals”, “Liberation”, ”Save Our Now”, “Kingdom”, “More!”, “Hold On”, and “Angel”.

3: God Seed-I Begin. This is just a fantastic album, and it’s awesome to see Gaahl back in action, and with an extremely varied performance to boot. I’ve never personally had an issue with the King-era Gorgoroth albums, and actually preferred them to the mid-period Infernus albums (as well as Quantos). The Ov Hell record was a step down, but this album exceeds that and anything King and Gaahl had done in Gorgoroth, by way of including new experimental elements alongside King-styled black metal. The new lineup is fantastic, especially Kapstad and Bratland. Key Tracks: “Awake”, “This From The Past”, ”Alt Liv”, “From The Running Of Blood”, “Hinstu Dagar”, “Aldrande Tre”, “Lit”, and “The Wound”.

4: Napalm Death-Utilitarian. In a common theme for veteran metal bands in 2012, Napalm Death is just getting better with age, and has made a career encompassing record. This record that is nasty, fast, brutal and vicious, but also hearkens back to their more dissonant, mid-tempo, and experimental mid 90’s records. Key Tracks: “Everyday Pox”, “Protection Racket”, “The Wolf I Feed”, ”Quarantined”, “Collision Course”, “Orders Of Magnitude”, “Think Tank Trials”, “Leper Colony”, “Aim Without An Aim”, and “Nom De Guerre”.

5: Neurosis-Honor Found In Decay. This was a very odd record to get a handle on. It is awesome, but is certainly hard to describe; it is simultaneously one of Neurosis’ most mellow records, yet at times has their most crushing and dark stuff. Nonetheless, Neurosis albums almost always get a pass into my top 10, and this one is no different. Key Tracks: “We All Rage In Gold”, “At The Well”, ”My Heart For Deliverance”, “Casting Of The Ages”, “All Is Found…In Time”, and “Raise The Dawn”.

6: Nachtmystium-Silencing Machine. Another band that has taken the best elements of their past records and melded them into a career defining album. This one sounds like Instinct: Decay fused with the Black Meddle records. Key Tracks: “Dawn Over The Ruins Of Jerusalem”, “Silencing Machine”, “And I Control You”, “The Lepers Of Destitution”, ”Borrowed Hopes And Broken Dreams”, “Reduced To Ashes”, “Give Me The Grave”, and “These Rooms In Which We Weep”.

7: Alcest-Les Voyages De L’ame. Alcest’s last gasp in retaining black metal elements before allegedly going full on post rock for their next album. This one is outstandingly beautiful, and Winterhalter is one of metal’s most criminally underrated drummers. Key Tracks: :”Autre Temps”, “La Ou Naissent Les Couleurs Nouvelles”, “Nous Sommes L'emeraude”, “Beings Of Light”, “Faiseurs De Mondes”, and ”Summer’s Glory.

8: Asphyx-Deathhammer. And I quote: “This is true death metal, you bastards!!!!!”. ‘Nuff said. Key Tracks: “Into The Timewastes”, ”Deathhammer”, “Minefields”, “Reign Of The Brute”, “The Flood”, “We Doom You To Death”, and “As The Magma Mammoth Rises”.

9: Marduk-Serpent Sermon. Yet another veteran band releasing a record that includes the best elements of all of their past work. This record sees Marduk retaining the fucked up dissonance introduced with the arrival of Mortuus on vocals (who sounds simply out of control here), while drawing on some earlier approaches (notably, more straightforward power chord and melodic riffing). Still blazingly fast, but what else would you expect?. Key Tracks: “Serpent Sermon”, “Messianic Pestilence”, “Souls For Belial”, “Temple Of Decay”, “Hail Mary (Piss Soaked Genuflexion)”, and “M.A.M.M.O.N”.

10: Pig Destroyer-Book Burner. I know a lot of people here were cold on this one, but I found it to be a razor sharp, very tight, and furious grind record. J.R. Hayes is a master lyricist, and one of the few metal lyricists I actually pay any attention to-the lyrics here just reek of desperate psychosis. Picking key tracks here was hard, because it really plays out as one 32 minute piece of music, and if you’re not playing close attention, you can easily miss where songs have changed. Plus the bonus punk cover EP is boss beyond belief, with special note to their fiery version of Negative Approach’s “Can’t Tell No One” (an absolute punk classic). Key Tracks: “Sis”, “The American’s Head”, “Eve”, Book Burner”, “Baltimore Strangler”, ”White Lady”, “Iron Drunk”, “Burning Palm”, “Dirty Knife”, “Totaled”, and “Kamikaze Heart”.

Honorable Mentions: Blut Aus Nord-777: Cosmosophy, Grand Supreme Blood Court-Bow Down Before The Blood Court, Grave-Endless Procession Of Souls, Ihsahn-Eremita, Incantation-Vanquish In Vengeance, Krallice-Years Past Matter, Netra-Sorbyen, and Nile-At The Gate Of Sethu.

Biggest Disappointment: I can say that no metal album this year was such a disappointment that it needed to be pointed out. There was a great deal of mediocre stuff, but nothing truly terrible that warrants special mention. A rarity indeed.


NON-METAL:

Spoiler: show
The Top 10:

1: Marillion-Sounds That Can’t Be Made. It’s obvious I am a huge fanboy of this band, so this was a shoe-in. That being said, this is an outstanding emotive progressive rock album. This band has simply never sounded better, and this is my album of the year, regardless of genre. Key Tracks: “Sounds That Can’t Be Made”, “Pour My Love”, “Power”, “Montreal”, “Invisible Ink”, “Lucky Man”, and “The Sky Above The Rain”.

2: Anathema-Weather Systems. I simply love what this band is doing these days, and this album and the previous We’re Here Because We’re Here simply negates everything this band has done in the past. This is just epic, powerful, positive, and uplifting progressive rock. Key Tracks: “Untouchable Part 2”, “Lightning Song”, ”Sunlight”, “The Storm Before The Calm”, “The Beginning And The End”, “The Lost Child”, and “Internal Landscapes”.

3: Godspeed You Black Emperor-’Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Acsend!. A magnificent and awe inspiring post rock record. Running the gamut of emotions and moods, from ambient to crushing to serene to chaotic and back again. This record simply needs to be heard to be understood. Key Tracks: ”Mladic” and “We Drift Like Worried Fire”.

4: Sigur Ros-Valtari. An achingly sadly beautiful record. The vast majority of this record is ambient and serene, but still oozes sorrow and frailty. Most of the second half of this record plays as one long song (and must be experienced this way). Only one song-the breathtaking "Varúð"-contains Sigur Ros’ trademark post rock dynamics. Key Tracks: "Ekki Múkk" , "Varúð", “Rembihnútur”, "Dauðalogn", and “Fjögur Píanó".

5: Garbage-Not Your Kind Of People. What a fun, fantastic 90’s throwback record. Shirley Manson & co. took the time to craft excellently written songs in their wholly unique and individual alt rock style, invoking the more slickly produced first three albums and raw rock of their previous. Key Tracks: “Big Bright World”, “Blood For Poppies”, “Control”, ”Felt”, “I Hate Love”, “Sugar”, “Battle In Me”, Man On A Wire”, “Beloved Freak”, and “Bright Tonight”.

6: The Gathering-Disclosure. Another outstanding record in a long line of outstanding records for this prog rock band. I could not be happier with Silje as a replacement for Anneke; she is absolutely perfect and seductive on this record. Plus, this is one of the most meaty and dense records from this band, instrumentally speaking. Key Tracks: “Paper Waves”, “Meltdown”, “Heroes For Ghosts”, “Gemini 1”, “Missing Seasons”, and “I Can See Four Miles”.

7: Steve Hogarth/Richard Barbieri-Not The Weapon But The Hand. A very, very interesting listen-keyboard based, electronic progressive rock. Hogarth delivers a morbid and subdued performance in contrast to his more bombastic work with Marillion, and Barbieri gets to stretch out from behind Steven Wilson’s/Porcupine Tree’s shadow. A very unique and haunting record. Key Tracks: “Red Kite”, “A Cat With Seven Souls”, “Crack”, Your Beautiful Face”, and “Only Love Will Make You Free”.

8: Rush-Clockwork Angels. I will readily admit that I was not too familiar with Rush’s later works, having focused my attention to their 80’s albums. I assumed from what I had heard that they were far more straightforward and less progressive. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was only partially true-definitely more straightforward, but not lacking in progress at all. This just sounds like the guys are having fun writing great music, and Peart is still relatively untouchable, if a bit restrained here. “The Anarchist” is quintessential 80’s Rush. Key Tracks: “Caravan”, “BU2B”, “Clockwork Angels”, ”The Anarchist”, “Halo Effect”, “Headlong Flight”, and “The Garden”.

9: Storm Corrosion-Storm Corrosion. The long awaited Steven Wilson/Mikeal Akerfeldt collaboration record. This is a bizarre record to say the least, and not what I expected at all. This took many listens to sink in, as expected from an esoteric prog rock album, but once it did, I found it very rewarding. There are really no rocking parts here, save for one section roughly two-thirds of the way though “Hag”, but even then it’s brief and doesn’t really resemble “rock” as it’s understood in any sense. I could sit here and write for hours on this record, as it is so difficult to describe and very challenging to listen to. I’ll try and sum it up by saying that it’s a dark, ambient, orchestral, weird, mellow, nearly rhythm-less prog album. Must be heard to truly be understood, and even then it needs like 10-15 concentrated listens to reveal its utter brilliance. Key Tracks: “Drag Ropes”, “Storm Corrosion”, ”Hag”, and “Lock Howl”.

10: The Killers-Battle Born. A fun 80’s amalgam record. Influences from Bruce Springsteen, Duran Duran, Tears For Fears, etc. are all on display and fused together to make the perfect 80’s homage. Epic melodies and storytelling, done with an anthemic rock feel. Key Tracks: “Flesh And Bone”, ”Runaways”, “A Matter Of Time”, “Deadlines And Commitments”, Miss Atomic Bomb”, and “Battle Born”.

Honorable Mentions: Garfunkel & Oates-Slippery When Moist, Mono-For My Parents, Muse-The 2nd Law, and Soundgarden-King Animal.

Biggest Disappointment: The Smashing Pumpkins-Oceania. I’m not sure what happened here, as the preceding Teargarden EP series-of which this album is supposed to be a part of and is musically and sonically reminiscent-were pretty solid. Maybe it’s the album vs. EP length, but this is a near unbearable listen. I can’t fathom at all why some people are heralding this as a glorious return to the classic sound-the best bits on this record are mediocre. One thing is for sure, the Pumpkins do not sound like the Pumpkins without Jimmy Chamberlin behind the kit, and his presence here is sorely, sorely missed.
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CoF
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:19 pm 
 

Nice, I didn't know that Netra had a new one out. I liked the debut, but found it a bit short and too one-dimensional in the sound, so I'm curious if there's a noticeable progression... thanks for mentioning this!
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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:38 pm 
 

androdion wrote:
@lord_ghengis - Interesting opinion on the new Neurosis album, and on the band by extension. If I read it well you feel like their more experimental stages are boring, while their most straightforward album is interesting?! I think you're the first person I've ever witnessed saying something like that! :p I'm a big fan of the band and while I think the album is good I believe it looses a bit of the band's identity by using a dramatic shift in the general mood employed and shown on the songs. I sense you'd find the vocalists' side-projects interesting if you like the album that much, maybe even Blood & Time could suit you. Give them a try if you haven't before. ;)


Yeah that's pretty much it. Sometimes my taste is less than sophisticated and artistic ponderings and atmospheric soundscapes piss me off, and with Neurosis this happens. I'm the guy at the back yelling at them to play Locust Star again while the rest the crowd stands in awe of some extended passage of intricate layering and substance. The new one is much more straight forward and hooky, and it appeals to my simple mind. As for the side projects, I've heard their solo things, and I hate them a huge amount. Bad poetry about blood sung in an uninteresting throaty drawl over the shittiest acoustics ever.
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MeltedFace
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:42 pm 
 

Calusari wrote:
I'll have to check that one out. Illdisposed used to be one of my favourite bands, but I started to lose interest when they released The Prestige; I feared the new one would be continuing in the vein of "There is Light...", so didn't even bother to listen to it.



I hear you. I haven't really hated (or even disliked) any of their material, it's just a case of wanting more from the band. It's tough when a band continuously releases stuff that is above average, but you come to expect so much more from them based on some of their past material. Most bands don't ever get out of that funk, but for some reason Illdisposed said "Fuck it, let's just do a pure Death Metal album that kicks major ass." I believe Sense the Darkness is finally the album that Illdisposed has showed what they are truly capable of.
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androdion
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:18 pm 
 

lord_ghengis wrote:
androdion wrote:
@lord_ghengis - Interesting opinion on the new Neurosis album, and on the band by extension. If I read it well you feel like their more experimental stages are boring, while their most straightforward album is interesting?! I think you're the first person I've ever witnessed saying something like that! :p I'm a big fan of the band and while I think the album is good I believe it looses a bit of the band's identity by using a dramatic shift in the general mood employed and shown on the songs. I sense you'd find the vocalists' side-projects interesting if you like the album that much, maybe even Blood & Time could suit you. Give them a try if you haven't before. ;)


Yeah that's pretty much it. Sometimes my taste is less than sophisticated and artistic ponderings and atmospheric soundscapes piss me off, and with Neurosis this happens. I'm the guy at the back yelling at them to play Locust Star again while the rest the crowd stands in awe of some extended passage of intricate layering and substance. The new one is much more straight forward and hooky, and it appeals to my simple mind. As for the side projects, I've heard their solo things, and I hate them a huge amount. Bad poetry about blood sung in an uninteresting throaty drawl over the shittiest acoustics ever.

It's an interesting opinion of the band I reckon. I'm not very fond of their solo stuff either but have you tried Blood & Time and A Storm Of Light? Specially the later which I feel employs some of the dynamics utilized on the latest Neurosis album, at least on their debut.

I'm actually curious about the new Illdisposed because it's the first time in a long time that I see the band talked about. I've actually began listening to their older stuff again after a period away from the band, their first three albums are killer. I've listened my fair share of 1-800 Vindication and Burn Me Wicked but I'm more in a mood of tackling their discography in order, which will obviously take a lot of time. How does the new album compare to the first efforts? Is it in line with them or more with the modern post-millennium approach of the band?
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Machine_Dead
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:23 am 
 

new Illdisposed is comparable to 1800 Vindication and Burn Me Wicked (and Something Rotten in a way..), only they cut down on synths and they dropped out the the clean guest vocals (and that has been like that since 'The Prestige'). The new album is pretty contrasting to their last effort (There Is Light), but i think it's obvious that that was an over the top experimental album if you look at the overkill of synths that are present on the album...
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:28 am 
 

Ooh, sounds good; that really makes me want to get the new Illdisposed one - I'll check it out as soon as possible. I'm glad to see them mentioned - they're a severely underrated act, in my view, especially for a band that's been around for so damn long. @androdion: I'd recommend doing that at some point; they have changed their style significantly over the years, and it's really interesting to chart their history. The first three full-lengths and 'Burn Me Wicked' are especially worth a listen.

@lord_ghengis: Interesting list; there are quite a few things there that I'll have to listen to now. Hooded Menace, Puteraeon and Ataraxy sound especially intriguing - never heard of them before.

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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:47 am 
 

Go for one of the first two Hooded Menaces, they're an excellent sort of Candlemass deathified, with Never Cross the Dead being my favourite. They do have a limited number or riffs though, and by this third outing its starting to show, with all the campy castle tunes feeling familiar, and the way they close off riff sets with little escalating patterns of three notes (daw naw neew) is started to border on self parody.

With all that said, I still find them very enjoyable and lively, I think they might be one of these "Whatever you hear first will be your favourite" bands.

The other two are excellent regardless though. I thought you would have tried Ataraxy when everyone was going nuts over them a few months back.

@androdion. I'll look into those sometime soon, if only my work holidays were longer.
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androdion
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:44 am 
 

lord_ghengis' explanation on Hooded Menace is spot on, and I'd personally also vouch for NCTD as the first contact with the band. Ataraxy is my favourite OSDM album of the year and it's one hell of an album!

I guess I'll have to reserve some time to tackle Illdisposed's discography in the near future. If the new album is really like that I can see myself enjoying it very easily, much like one can enjoy any new Jungle Rot album coming out. :p
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:12 am 
 

Thanks for the tips about Hooded Menace!

Yeah, I somehow managed to miss Ataraxy; glad to have heard about them now. I was very doom-focussed this year, and didn't keep track of death. That reminds me - Binah, Anatomia and Desecresy should have made it into my 'honorable mentions'.

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John_Sunlight
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:50 am 
 

Has anyone heard the new Rahu? I just remembered it came out and am very interested.
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Misfit74
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:01 pm 
 

Calusari wrote:
Thanks for the tips about Hooded Menace!

Yeah, I somehow managed to miss Ataraxy; glad to have heard about them now. I was very doom-focussed this year, and didn't keep track of death. That reminds me - Binah, Anatomia and Desecresy should have made it into my 'honorable mentions'.


Finally, a Binah mention. Same for Desecresy, though I'll have a hard time keeping Binah out of my top 10. Certainly the Binah album is part of a tough group for me to pare down in the construction of my list right now. Those vocals are outstanding on top of the proverbial chainsaw guitars I so love. :)
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:43 pm 
 

The Desecresy album is quite good!
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