Here we are, 2013.
2012 is a thing of the past (and hopefully anymore predictions of the “rapture”). But there is one thing I need to reflect on, and that was an amazing year for the Metal world! Sure nothing is perfect and there are some wonderful blemishes on this beautiful Metal World’s face, but let’s be serious, how is 2013 going to top 2012?! And yes, I realize it’s February, but I needed time to reflect on the year that was. Now don’t get me wrong, just because some albums didn’t make the cut for the Top 10, doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. Check at the bottom of the page for a quick list of noteables that you all should check out.
TOP 10 of 2012
10: 3 Inches of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal
Everyone’s favorite “old school” metal band, 3 Inches of Blood, returned in 2012 with, arguably, their best release to date! Tracks such as “Metal Woman” and “Dark Messenger” really helped put this album on a pedestal in the past year. From front to back, “Long Live Heavy Metal” puts you on an amazing journey that only Cam Pipes and Company could put you through. Oh and for you big hockey fans, “Leave it on the Ice” has become my personal hockey theme song before every Bruins game!
9: Whitechapel – Self-Titled
Whitechapel has always been that one deathcore band that I can listen to at any point without getting physically ill from the lack of originality. One of my biggest concerns with these guys is how will they be able to evolve enough to not be cookie-cutter deathcore, but also not completely leave their roots. With their self-titled release, I think they have found a comfortable media. From the get go, an ominous piano guides the listener into “Make it Bleed.” Every song continually beats your eardrums harder than the last up until the last note of “Possibilities of an Impossible Existence.” Some of my personal favorites is the politically hot “Faces” track and the extremely heavy “I, Dementia.” The six-piece was able to still have their roots to death metal but also not just filter the album with redundant breakdowns. I found the gang vocals sprinkled throughout this album, although small, a big factor in why this release still gets played in my car. Take a look at Thrash Mag’s view on Whitechapel’s self-titled right here.
8: Dethklok – Dethalbum III
Let’s be real, did anyone think Dethklok WOULDN’T make this list? Dethklok’s third release (with the predictable title, Dethalbum III) has cemented into the minds of the metal world that this isn’t just a late night joke on Adult Swim. Ok, they still make hilarious songs such as the opener, “I Ejaculate Fire,” but the songs absolutely slay! I had the privilege of catching them on tour in 2012 in support for this release and I think it’s safe to say that “The Galaxy” is one of the best songs I have ever seen live. It’s heavy, it’s melodic, and it’s damn epic as Hell! If you are more for the funny side of Dethklok, then I’m sure you have fallen in love with “Impeach God.” Something about cartoons and anti-religion just always brings a smile to my face. If you liked the first two releases from the almighty Dethklok, then this will certainly make your day. Remember: if Dethklok tells you to kill yourself you better do it!
7: Cannibal Corpse – Torture
If you haven’t given this record a spin yet, then you must not like Cannibal Corpse. But let’s say you do: go check out my review for this album here. I don’t grade graciously here at Thrash Mag, but these guys deserved a 4.5/5.0 with what was one of the best albums of the year.
6: Eluveitie – Helvetios
This friggen band can’t make bad music. Thrash Mag’s own Derek Rix would have to agree with me on that after a quick read up on his review of Helvetios. The Swiss folk-metal gods (and goddesses) have graced the world with another beautiful, emotional, and epic history lesson on the days of the Celts. If you haven’t given Eluveitie a fair shot yet, I highly recommend this album as it has something for everyone.
5: Deftones – Koi No Yokan
From what I have gathered, a lot of people actually aren’t okay with this newest release from The Deftones and I am quite baffled. I actually couldn’t stop playing this album front to back for weeks and weeks and now months. Koi No Yokan is another typical album from Deftones where you get your upbeat songs and a few slower ones; ballads if you will. You get a great opening track in “Swerve City” and then my personal favorite off the album, “Leathers” comes a few minutes after that. As for the “ballads,” there are two amazing ones that I look forward to on every play through this album. “Entombed” offers a very spacey feel while “Rosemary” is a more typical “slow song” from Deftones, but still pleases the ears. This album, despite what many say, deserves a spot next to past Deftones albums including the almighty White Pony.
4: Ensiferum – Unsung Heroes
Maybe it’s because of my growing obsession with the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim video game, but Ensiferum’s “Unsung Heroes” is one of the most epic albums to listen to in battle. After being kind of let down from the previous album, I was hoping for these guys to bounce back, and damn did they do that and then some! Some of my personal favorites are: “In My Sword I Trust,” “Burning Leaves,” and “Retribution Shall Be Mine.” Another added bonus to this album is the few acoustic songs that work as interludes that gave me the feeling like the battle is over and we are traveling to the next. “Celestial Bond” is a great example of this with guest vocalist Laura Dziadulewicz lulling you into a false sense of security that this album lightens up. It doesn’t matter if you play Skyrim or not, this album is a must own from 2012.
3: The Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud
I really couldn’t think of a better album title than The Devin Townsend Project’s newest release, Epicloud. It’s epic, it’s loud, and it’s damn fun! The newest album from DTP really brought out all the many sides they have to offer. You have the melodic, slow side with “Save Our Now” and “Where We Belong” only to go into a very “djenty” rerecorded version of “Kingdom.” And what would DTP be without a good song to laugh at? “Lucky Animals” answers this question with quite the funny music video as well. You also get some “feel good” songs in “Liberation,” “More!” and the very powerful but fun “Grace.” Devin has once again made an amazing album with a collection of great songs that touches upon every emotion. If you have liked the projects past releases, this is sure not to disappoint. If you haven’t even given The Devin Townsend Project a chance yet, well you have some catching up to do!
2: Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
Gojira is one of those bands to me that, with every release, sound even better than they did before. Not knocking any of their past releases, but L’Enfant Sauvage really knocked it out of the ballpark for me. I haven’t stopped listening to this album since it’s release date. If you are familiar with Gojira’s past work, imagine the same style, but even more fist raising then before. Honestly, I bang my head through this whole album, even during the interlude track, “The Wild Healer.” From “Explosia” all the way until the last second of “The Fall,” this album will get you pumped up for anything and everything from a sports game, a concert, or even just heading into work trying to beat rush hour traffic. Some of my favorite tracks are: “L’Enfant Sauvage,” “The Axe,” “Liquid Fire,” and “The Gift of Guilt.” Oh and all of those fun pic scrapes and squeals are found throughout the album to keep your head spinning so don’t even think that Gojira is evolving away from what has made them the outstanding band that they are today. Don’t be a stooge, go buy this album!
1: Cattle Decapitation – Monolith of Inhumanity
And finally, my favorite album of 2012. Cattle Decapitation has come a long way to get to Monolith of Inhumanity, but they have put out an album that literally made my jaw drop. Travis’s bizarre vocal abilities really shine in this album while on a technical level, the instrumentals are flawless. I cannot choose certain tracks on this album to listen to as I can literally listen to every track and love each one. However, when showing some unsuspecting people, I like to play “The Monolith” as an intro into “Kingdom of Tyrants” since they mix so well together to close out a perfect album. Not only does this album absolutely destroys you, but some of the song titles give you the slightest giggle when you first read the track listing such as “Gristle Licker” and “Forced Gender Reassignment.” I actually had the privilege of reviewing this masterpiece in 2012 and you can head on over and read it here. If you enjoyed past work of Cattle Decapitation, then this album is sure to blow you away. If you are new to this band, just press play, buckle in, and get ready for a bumpy ride.
Testament – Dark Roots of Earth
Enslaved – RIITIIR
Meshuggah – Koloss
Job For a Cowboy – Demonocracy
Alcest – Les Voyages de l’Âme
Abigail Williams – Becoming
Lamb of God – Resolution
Goatwhore – Blood for the Master
Shadows Fall – Fire From the Sky
Overkill – The Electric Age
Ex Deo – Caligvla
As I Lay Dying – Awakened
Wintersun – Time I
Fear Factory – The Industrialist
Biohazard – Reborn in Defiance
Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme
The Agonist – Prisoners
Sybreed – God Is An Automaton
Soulfly – Enslaved
Aborted – Global Flatline
To clarify, these “Honorable Mentions” are all fantastic albums on their own but I couldn’t quite put them above the Top 10 as you read above. Now I leave it up to you, leave your comments below. Tell me I’m wrong, let me know which albums you thought sucked, tell me of an album that I missed (I am sure I missed a ton). There is one thing that certainly looks great already, and that’s 2013! The Metal World is currently awaiting releases from big names like Ghost, Darkthrone, Rotting Christ, Soilwork, Finntroll, Killswitch Engage (with Jesse Leech back!), Rob Zombie, Amon Amarth, and Dark Tranquility just to name a few . We already have releases from Holy Grail, Suffocation, and Voivod… which I need to get my greasy paws on immediately! All in all, 2012 was an amazing year for Heavy Metal and 2013 looks just as promising.