It’s obviously incredibly late to be listing my favorite albums from a year that’s been over for almost two months now, but nonetheless, I had to get this post done for pure catharsis sake. I’ve been busy with various projects and haven’t had time to devote to the site in a while. Honestly, this list looks like crap format-wise and probably doesn’t make any sense, but I had to get it done and posted to get that weight off my shoulders and move forward with new stuff for the blog. If you see something on there that sounds interesting, look em up, and if you can’t find any info, message me on Facebook and I’ll link you to their music. Enjoy!
1 Saint Vitus – Lillie: F-65
This is one of the few albums I heard last year that truly is perfect all the way through. Though the album only has five real songs, each one of those songs is one of the greatest Saint Vitus have ever written. I think part of my obsession with this album is because it only has five actual songs, so there isn’t much to take in, and also because I’ve seen all five of those songs played live twice this year and every one of them sound WAY better live than they do in the studio.
2 Napalm Death – Utilitarian
The best grind album of 2012, and possibly one of the best of their career. Every song on here is laden with hooks, but also some incredible blasts of grind fury. Napalm Death have once again claimed their crown of best grind band ever.
3 baroness – yellow and green
This record was my favorite of the year for a while until the very end, honestly. It’s completely different from every other album they’ve ever put out and both discs are a rollercoaster of badassery, without question.
4 converge – all we love we leave behind
The heaviest hardcore band on the planet got heavier and more ridiculous.
5 overkill – the electric age
This album, along with Royal Thunder, was my biggest surprise of the year. I knew Overkill would come out swinging for the fences, because that’s what thrash metal icons do, but I had no idea they’d knock the cover off the ball like they did with this record.
6 christian mistress – possession
I normally don’t dig female vocalists much, but this band is the major exception to the rule. Heavy as balls riffs, coked-up rock n’ roll fury and songs catchier than Jerry Rice in Super Bowl XXIII.
7 testament – dark roots of earth
Testament are one of my favorite thrash bands of all time and this record just goes to show that they still have it. Native Blood might be my favorite song all year.
8 pallbearer – sorrow and extinction
This is one of the greatest doom albums I’ve ever heard, without question. Riffs so heavy they’ll knock the fillings out of your teeth.
9 graveyard – lights out
People always talk about how rock n’ roll is dead, but if they’ve ever heard these Swedish monsters, it’s obvious that rock n’ roll is VERY much alive.
10 royal thunder – cvi
Incredibly bad ass bluesy, southern rock n’ roll. I hadn’t listened to them much prior to this year, so this album would have to be my biggest surprise of the year, without question.
11 deftones – koi no yokan
I haven’t heard a Deftones album since Self Titled that I wasn’t obsessed with, and Koi No Yokan was no exception. They have once again incorporated beautiful vocals and atmosphere with seven-string riffs that kill, and a powerful rhythm section. I would say this is definitely one of the best albums of their career, without question.
12 torche – harmonicraft
Any time Torche puts out a new album, they seem to unleash something new upon the world. With Harmonicraft, they somehow managed to include, ridiculously heavy, signature Torche riffs with elements of arena rock and pop punk. Fantastic driving album.
13 neurosis – honor found in decay
Neurosis have released yet another album that sounds like Neurosis, but doesn’t resemble any other album in their back catalog. It’s one of those albums that has so many elements in it, that you hear something new on each spin, and it can’t be classified under any real genre because it just sounds like Neurosis and not much else.
14 horseback – half blood
2012 was definitely the year of Relapse Records. One reason is because of bands like Horseback who completely pushed beyond genre limitations to create one of the sickest psychedelic rock albums ever. It’s got occasional black metal vocals sung over soothing, trippy, bass-driven rhythms that just melt my heart.
15 pig destroyer – book burner
I am a pretty big fan of Pig Destroyer, but upon hearing Book Burner, I became much more obsessed with them. This record has all of the elements that make them great, but they also added Adam Jarvis from Misery Index on drums, which took them to a completely new stratosphere of heavy.
16 conan – monnos
Words can’t express how disgustingly heavy this album is. It’s got the hugest, fattest tones i’ve ever heard on a doom album. These guys are the Yokozuna of British doom metal.
17 meshuggah – koloss
Meshuggah are one of my favorite bands on earth, so it wasn’t surprising how good their new record was. What did surprise me, however, is how they were able to slow it down and change their pace just enough to avoid sounding like they were ripping off the genre they unintentionally created.
18 cattle decapitation – monolith of inhumanity
I’ve always had respect for this band, but this is the first album of theirs that really blew my doors off. It’s got all of the usual brutal death/grind riffs going on, but the real star of the show is Travis Ryan’s version of clean vocals, which consists of disgusting, undead howls.
19 liberteer – better to die on your feet than live on your knees
When I first heard this album, I was completely floored. The stunning mix of HM2 death metal with grindcore and civil war type passages is absolutely crushing.
20 asphyx – deathhammer
This album is part two of Martin Van Drunen’s brutal death metal assault in 2012. It sounds like an Asphyx record, obviously, but with the fantastic production of the record, it’s helped them continue to reign as one of the heaviest bands on the planet.
21 black breath – sentenced to life
The cool thing about this band is the fact that they took a style like old school Entombed-style death metal that’s very old and familiar, and they added their own hardcore influence to make it even more intense and pummeling. This is a perfect mosh-pit album.
22 municipal waste – the fatal feast
At this point, it’s very easy to lump Municipal Waste in with the 80′s thrash bands as one of the best thrash bands of all time. Their new record continues that legacy with a ton of awesome thrash/punk anthems, as well as an appearance by John from Nuclear Assault which rules.
23 corrosion of conformity – corrosion of conformity
This is the first COC album in forever without Pepper on guitar, and in my opinion it’s one of their best. The mix of their doomy rock n’ roll era with their hardcore punk/thrash roots is just delicious.
24 incantation – vanquish in vengeance
This is another album that caught me by complete surprise. It’s an old school death metal album, but it’s also got a lot of slow, devastating doom riffs that add an extra 100 lbs to their already insanely heavy death metal.
25 pilgrim – misery wizard
In my review of this record, I stated that this band is like the football team that wins by running the ball up the middle and playing violent defense. The reason I said that is because this album is a slow, plodding, thick slab of doom that rarely changes pace and beats you to death every step of the way.
26 grave – endless procession of souls
I’m obviously a sucker for old school death metal and Grave are one of my favorite bands of the genre. This new record is just another gory chapter in their fantastic discography.
27 grand magus – the hunt
This album caught me by complete surprise with how catchy it is. It’s got a lot of heavy, bone-crushing riffs, as well as some epic Norse-themed lyrics, and it’s impossible to not headbang to.
28 the sword – apocryphon
I’ve always been a big fan of this band, and this record is another flawless part of their discography. It’s got all the foot-stomping classic rock/doom influence, as well as the cool sci-fi element that makes them continue to be interesting.
29 enslaved – riitir
Enslaved are a band that has been able to continually change and progress over the years, and with this record, they brought that progression to it’s highest peak yet. The vocals on this album are much cleaner than on previous records, which actually gives it a bit of beauty at times.
30 inverloch – dusk subsides
This band was formed in the ashes of dISEMBOWELMENT, and they picked up right where they left off. Slow, plodding funeral-esque passages lead to huge, monstrous doom riffs and back to a crawl again. It’s a shame this album wasn’t a full length, because it is truly intense.
31 paradise lost – tragic idol
Though they are a legendary British doom band, Paradise Lost have taken on a much stranger tone with their newer albums, but I love it. The biggest thing for me was the hooks all throughout this album, it’ll stay with you for MANY days after you hear it.
32 down – down iv part 1 purple ep
With this first of four EP’s, the boys from Nola seem to have gotten in touch with their Saint Vitus influence and I couldn’t be happier. I just hope the next three EP’s sound this awesome.
33 dying fetus – reign supreme
2012 was an amazing year for brutal death metal, particularly when a band like Dying Fetus comes out with a back-to-basics death metal album full of the slams and monstrous blast beats their fans know and love them for.
34 norska – norska
Though this album is a reissue, it was one of the finest doom albums I’ve heard all year thanks to their incredibly creative riffs. These guys definitely offer up a fresh take on a genre that is sometimes lacking in the freshness department.
35 unsane – wreck
Some people call Unsane noise rock, but it’s more than that. It’s a heavy, groovy, bruiser of an album. Chris Spencer’s voice is also incredibly grating and it never gets old to me.
36 prong – carved in stone
Tommy Victor perfected the art of “groove metal”, and when you hear this album, you’ll understand why. The man can also still write a hook like nobody’s business.
37 bison bc – lovelessness
Though these guys are a mix of stoner metal and Mastodon, they have managed to progress more and more with each album, culminating in one of the best albums of their career. This is another album that’s great for drinkin heavily and drivin fast.
38 ihsahn – eremita
The former Emperor main man has always managed to stay ahead of the curve as far as prog metal goes. “Eagle And The Snake” is one of my favorite songs of the year.
39 Nile – At The Gates Of Sethu
Another burly, technical, semi-eerie slab of Egyptian death metal from the only band in America that knows how to do it.
40 The Faceless – Autotheism
Definitely a change of pace for these guys from their previous albums due to a new vocalist, but still just as proggy and brutal as ever, with a touch of Opeth for good measure.
41 Grand Supreme Blood Court – Bow Down Before The Blood Court
One of the loudest albums I’ve heard all year. Seriously, it’s impossible to turn it up very loud without blowing out your ear drums. It’s brutal, old school death metal featuring current and former members of Asphyx.
42 Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
This album features a legendary German thrash band doing what legendary German thrash bands do…playing fast, infectious thrash metal.
43 Katatonia – Dead End Kings
This album is absolutely gorgeous at times. It seems that this album is quite a bit more melodic than previous records, and they also don’t sound like Chevelle anymore, thankfully.
44 Murder Construct – Results
Absolutely bloody grind/death metal from members of Pig Destroyer, Intronaut and more. Fast and violent win the race.
45 A Life Once Lost – Ecstatic Trance
This is their first new album in a while, but stylistically, they are just as nuts as ever. The manner in which they layer a crap-ton of awesome solos and leads over a huge, monstrous groove is just amazing to me.
46 haarp – Husks
These guys are one of the best bands going in New Orleans these days, so it’s not a surprise that this album is awesome. What did surprise me, however, was the fact that it only has three songs…three very long, brutal, depressing songs.
47 Bereft – Liechenhaus
This band features current and past members of bands like Intronaut, The Faceless and Abysmal Dawn, so I didn’t know what to expect from them style-wise. The end result is a ten-ton mountain of soul-crushing doom.
48 Nachtmystium – The Silencing Machine
The boys from Chicago broke away from the Meddle theme of their last two albums and went back to making hateful black metal. The results are exactly what you’d expect, only a little better due to better production, as well as a still-lingering Floyd influence.
49 High On Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
Matt Pike is a complete monster, plain and simple. When you combine his amazing songwriting abilities with Kurt Ballou’s incredible production, good things are bound to happen.
50 Burning Love – Rotten Thing To Say
I listened to this album because their singer is Chris Colohan from Cursed. I fell in love with it because of their hardcore-punk mentality with some rock n’ roll thrown in for good measure.
51 Cannibal Corpse – Torture
If you have ever heard Cannibal Corpse, then you know what this album sounds like. Brutal lyrics and an uncompromisingly punishing form of death metal have been their calling card for 20 years.
52 Car Bomb – w-^-w-^^-w-^-w
This album reminds me of a mixture of Dillinger and Meshuggah, but at times fastier and groovier and a little more insane.
53 Castle – Blacklands
This album has a bit of a thrash metal influence, but it’s tuned way down and has a cool doom-rock vibe to it.
54 Bell Witch – Longing
Very emotionally-draining, super intense funeral doom. It’s made by just two guys, but you sure can’t tell due to the intense, soul-eviscerating riffs.
55 Horrendous – The Chills
Many bands try to sound like Entombed, few manage to pull it off the way these guys do. I’m a big fan of old school death metal, and apparently these guys are too, because this record could have come out in 1991, easily.
56 Angel Witch – As Above, So Below
I’m so glad that these guys got a real record label, because the production on this album is amazing. Music-wise, it’s exactly the kind of old school, epic metal you’d expect from one of the O.G. NWOBHM bands.
57 Candlemass – Psalms For The Dead
Epicus. Doomicus. Metallicus. This is supposedly their last album, and it’s got all of their typical bells & whistles to leave fans with a good taste in their mouths.
58 Pelican – Ataraxia Taraxis
Though this isn’t really the Pelican I’ve grown to love, I think I can appreciate what they were going for with this Ep. It’s way more rock n’ roll than their previous albums to say the least.
59 Dawnbringer – Into The Lair Of The Sun God
The only genre I could really give this album would be “heavy metal”. It’s throwback, epic metal with classic rock vocals, basically.
60 Gaza – No Absolutes In Human Suffering
It seems these guys get angrier and nastier with every album. At this point, they remind me of a hardcore band who tried to make technical death metal.
61 Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
I assumed that signing to a huge label would ruin these guys, but it actually made their unique brand of groovy, technical metal even heavier and more preposterous.
62 D.I.S. – Becoming Wrath
The letters in their name means destroyed in seconds, which is kind of a fitting band name for this incredibly mean-spirited mix of black metal, death metal and hardcore.
63 Cryptopsy – Cryptopsy
They finally got back to making violent, dizzying technical death metal, and it paid massive dividends.
64 Hooded Menace – Effigies Of Evil
A very cool mixture of death and doom metal, with a dash of horror samples to make it even more terrifying.
65 Swans – The Seer
This album was almost too much for me to take in due to it’s length. It’s not really metal by the standard definition, but it’s the kind of sprawling, gorgeous album that is very rewarding when you let it sink in.
66 Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas
Loud and abrasive would be the operative words to describe this album. It’s blackened death metal with a sprinkle of weirdness.
67 Evoken – Atra Mors
Slow, plodding, depressing funeral doom. The perfect album to listen to while walking through the woods at night.
68 Dysrhythmia – Test Of Submission
Brain-rattlingly technical instrumental metal. Colin Marston knows how to make instrumental metal not boring.
69 Ancestors – In Dreams And Time
Very dreamy, sludgy post-metal. Great music to sleep to.
70 Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming
A nice mixture of doom and death metal. It could be said that this is what Opeth should sound like these days.
71 Spawn Of Possession – Incurso
Insane, technical death metal. They seriously cram like 5,000 riffs into each song. Incredibly brutal.
72 Fight Amp – Birth Control
This album is also very hard to classify. I would say they are like Torche, but with maybe a bit more of a Jesus Lizard influence.
73 Evocation – Illusions Of Grandeur
More old school death metal that uses the crap out of the HM-2 pedal. Incredibly heavy and awesome.
74 Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker
A nice, depressing, terrifying mixture of death and doom, but it’s more like the soundtrack to a serial murder, honestly.
75 Agalloch – Faustian Echoes
One twenty minute song of melodic, gorgeous, Agallochian black metal.
76 Gypsyhawk – Revelry And Resilience
Upbeat, throwback rock n’ roll just the way I like it. They have an amazing Rick Derringer cover on here as well.
77 Samothrace – Reverence To Stone
This album has just two songs, but both of them are thick, depressing and heavy as hell doom.
78 Kowloon Walled City – Container Ships
Very sludgy metal that’s hard to define, but they remind me of bands like Torche that have a rock n’ roll influence mixed in with doom.
79 Mutilation Rites – Empyrean
Very dense black metal, but also got elements of crust and thrash to keep it interesting.
80 Aborted – Global Flatline
Brutal Swedish goregrind/death metal with some…creative song titles. This record also has some cool guest vocalists like Trevor Strnad of Black Dahlia.
81 Old Man Gloom – NO
This album wasn’t as awesome as I initially thought it’d be, but when it hits the heavier songs, it definitely brings enough thunder to make up for the slower parts.
82 Chrome Waves – Chrome Waves
Can’t decide if this album is black metal or not, but it’s definitely fast, chaotic and intense. Stavros from Atlas Moth does an insane job on the vocals, the most unique part of the album.
83 Ram – Death
Traditional heavy metal in the vein of Judas Priest or Dio-era Sabbath.
84 Dethklok – Dethalbum III
Their last album was incredibly boring, so I was shocked to hear how brutal this album turned out to be. Then again, anything with Gene Hoglan is going to be at least a little awesome.
85 Mares Of Thrace – The Pilgrimage
Very eerie stoner/doom similar to The Melvins, but with a lot of shred and a lot of very intense passages.
86 Wizard Rifle – Speak Loud Say Nothing
Spastic mix of garage rock and sludge metal. Reminds me of a more spastic version of Pissed Jeans
87 Enabler – All Hail The Void
An insanely fun mix of black metal, punk and hardcore.
88 Zombiefication – Reaper’s Consecration
Incredibly vicious old school death metal. They’re clearly fans of Entombed and Autopsy.
89 Sons Of Tonatiuh – Parade Of Sorrow
A raw mixture of sludge/doom and punk from Georgia, but they sound like a band you’d hear opening for Eyehategod or Crowbar in New Orleans.
90 Hour Of Penance – Sedition
Insane technical death metal, but unlike some bands who just wank it Necrophagist-style…they are more hellbent on speed than anything.
91 Unconscious Disturbance – Mind’s Corner
Creative progressive rock with a jazzy touch, as well as Human-era Chuck Schuldineresque vocals.
92 Antigama – Stop The Chaos
Straight up face-smashing, creative grind.
93 Acephalix – Deathless Master
Brutal old school death metal done the right way.
94 Aura Noir – Out To Die
Awesome mix of old school thrash and black metal. Very similar to Venom or Celtic Frost.
95 Tiamat – The Scarred People
An absolute classic from the old school progressive death metal band turned into semi-gothic doom metal stalwarts.
96 National Sunday Law – Festival Of The Horned God
Ridiculously crushing atmospheric doom. Nice, beautiful acoustic passages one minute, insanely heavy doom riffs crashing down the next.
97 Vaginal Bear Trap – Just The Tip
Incredibly catchy goregrind/death metal. Also, best band name ever.
98 Martyrdod – Paranoia
Blistering blackened crust punk/thrash.
99 Grave Disgrace – Grave Disgrace
Very obscure Russian sludge/stoner doom that I stumbled on randomly, but fell in love with.
100 Abigail Williams – Becoming
Surprisingly good, epic black metal. Definitely their best album.
Ya know, it’s kind of funny that I named this site Johnny Ringo’s Reviews, and started it just so I could review albums I listen to alot and really enjoy, yet it seems I am only able to do one new release post a month due to release schedules not being consistently good as well as the other posts I’ve been putting up on the site. With July now being over, I chose my favorite albums I heard that were released and I hope you’ll check them out. Thanks so much for reading and check out my Facebook page to keep up to date with my posts.
Even if you’ve never heard Nile before, you could probably tell from the name and their artwork that founding guitarist Karl Sanders is a huge nerd for Egyptian folklore. They are one of the more unique death metal bands you’ll ever hear due to their incredibly complex/unique Egyptian theme.
Though I haven’t enjoyed an album of theirs front-to-back since 2005′s “Annihilation Of The Wicked”, I was pleasantly surprised by this album. It seems that their last two albums, particularly “Those Whom The Gods Detest” got kind of boring after awhile, but “Sethu” manages to keep me intrigued throughout the entire affair. Though the album is incredibly heavy and technical, it does feature a few strange tracks that aren’t really metal, particularly the song “Slaves of Xul” which sounds like something from an Indiana Jones movie. The songs on the album that stood out in particular to me are the album closer “The Chaining of the Iniquitous” and “The Inevitable Degradation of Flesh” because both of them feature some incredibly catchy guitar work with a very unique tone. I also love the song “Tribunal of the Dead”which features headbangable riff upon headbangable riff.
Though this album still sounds a lot like the majority of Nile’s discography, I enjoy it quite a bit because the riffs are heavy and incredibly catchy, plus the album gets better and better with repeated listens. The album is especially worth listening to if you’re a fan of the band or their drummer George Kollias.
Bonded By Blood are a thrash revivalist band from Pomona, Ca and “The Aftermath” is their third album put out by Earache Records. Though I’m not normally a fan of newer thrash bands -especially ones who directly rip off their name from a classic thrash album- I actually love this band.
Before hearing 2010′s “Exiled To Earth”, their last with founding vocalist Jose Barrales, I wrote them off as another boring thrash band, but after reading about that album’s amazing sci-fi concept, I gave them a chance and fell in love. One interesting note about “The Aftermath” is that the album features vocalist Mauro Gonzalez who joined the band right after “Exiled” was released, but this is his first album with them. Musically speaking, if you know what thrash metal sounds like, you can fairly predict how the album sounds genre-wise but I feel they do have a strong amount of musicianship and considering they only feature one guitarist now, I have to say I’m still pretty impressed with how this record turned out. As far as standout tracks go, check out the songs “Shepherds Of Rot” and “Show No Fear” as they are perfect for beer-drinkin and hellraisin.
When you compare Bonded By Blood to some of the other standout thrash revival bands nowadays like Vektor, Municipal Waste, and Havok, they definitely hold their own, and they definitely make you want to bang your head as if up from the dead, particularly because intense metal is all that you need.
Primate is a band from Atlanta, Ga formed by Kevin Sharp of Brutal Truth and Bill Kelliher of Mastodon. According to Kevin Sharp, the band was formed simply because he wanted to be a part of a band with all members located in Atlanta, but if you didn’t know that you would assume they were formed out of necessity one night after drinking a few too many beers and listening to too much Discharge and breaking things together.
The album actually came out a year or two ago, but it was released in a limited run by the band themselves and it’s just now getting a proper release by Relapse Records this year. Musically speaking, the album is full of scathing punk rock/d-beat fury, and it features the trademark vocal style of Kevin Sharp which is now legendary in my opinion; I’m also incredibly impressed at Bill Kelliher’s riffs and solos which are much more extreme than anything he’d do on a Mastodon album nowadays. As far as the attitude of the album goes, when you listen to songs like “Draw Back A Stump”, “Drinking And Driving”, “Wasted Youth” and “Get The Fuck Off My Lawn”, you can tell that this band’s only goal really is having fun and unleashing a pure, unadulterated, furious punk rock energy, and if you like angry, fast music that’s played well, this is the record for you.
One thing I’d like to mention is that this review is not going to be very long because when it was released I did an extensive review of it for my friends at Sojourners Indecisive, which you can view HERE.
If you’re reading this and you’re a fan of heavy music, you’ve probably already, if not heard this record, you’ve at least read a ton of reviews of it. Just in case you haven’t heard it, all you need to know is that it’s the best album to be released this year without question. The thing that makes it so good to me is the fact that they are able to seamlessly mix their signature style of huge, epic guitar riffs with an incredibly unique, previously unexplored style that’s incredibly hard to label as anything other than beautiful rock music.
In my review for Sojourners Indecisive, I said the album is like a rollercoaster and I firmly believe that’s the best way to describe it honestly thanks to sounds like “Take My Bones Away” and “Sea Lungs” which both feature amazing upbeat rock n’ roll riffs only to have the vibe change completely with songs like “Little Things” and “Eula” which have more of an indie/psychedelic vibe to them. This album features two discs and like the songs on each that vary in style and delivery, both discs also have a different sound with Yellow being more upbeat and Green more indie influenced. The bottom line on this album is that it’s a HUGE step in a new direction for the band and I feel it’s one that’s going to change their career path from underground heroes to rock n’ roll legends, a transformation not unlike their friends and fellow Georgia natives Mastodon and Kylesa have undergone and they definitely deserve every accolade they are going to receive.
One cool thing about this blog is that I’m occasionally sent music to review that completely blows my mind and leaves me no choice but to write about it. This album from Black Cowgirl is definitely one of those albums. Black Cowgirl are a rock n’ roll band from Lancaster, Pa who feature a sound very similar to Clutch and as well as their instrumental side project The Company Band. This debut full length of theirs is actually two old E.P.s combined to create one full album of incredibly solid, groovy, monstrous riff after monstrous riff.
When the albums opener “Talk Of Wolves” begins, one thing becomes incredibly evident, guitarist/vocalist Ben Mcguire’s voice sounds eerily similar to Chris Cornell-not the whiny douche Cornell has morphed into today, mind you, it’s more like the Cornell of the debut Audioslave album and Soundgarden’s heyday. Once I got past the grungy vocals on the album, the other thing that struck me is the super bluesy, southern-fried, almost funky guitar riffs courtesy of Mcguire and fellow guitarist Nate Rosenzweig. In fact, if you were listening to this album without knowing anything about the band, you might assume they are from Arkansas, Alabama, or Georgia, not Pennsylvania. Another fact worth noting is that their drummer is Mark Hanna, previously of the awesome band Backwoods Payback.
The first song I heard from these guys, and undoubtedly the one that got me hooked, is “Weigh Of Oblivion” which features an awesome, guitar heroey intro that reminds me alot of bands I heavily adore like Kyuss and Fu Manchu, but you can tell that their main influence is Clutch as far as guitar tone and tone and whatnot is concerned. Aside from the obvious influences, another band they remind me of with their grungy vocals laid over a furious rock n’ roll sound, is a band called Kings Destroy who, like Clutch and Black Cowgirl, are from the north yet they proudly sport a decidedly southern sound. If you are looking for bad ass rock music with a bluesy swing, these guys are definitely worth a listen. You can check them out on Facebook HERE and you can purchase their music on itunes or listen to it HERE.
I still remember the exact moment I became a fan of this band. It was at a show in Monroe, La with a band called Thumbscrew. I specifically remember being blown away by how technically proficient they were, but the thing I really remember was when their vocalist Casey Hansen said “hello Louisiana, we are Gaza from Salt Lake City, Utah and I hope you guys aren’t pissed we stole your basketball team”, the best part of that story is that I was literally the only person in the crowd who even had an idea what he was talking about.
As far as the music on the album goes, these guys started out as a chaotic “mathcore” band and have progressed mightily since their infantile stages, in fact I’d say they have added quite a bit of doom to their repertoiree because there are some riffs on this album that are absolutely preposterously heavy. If I had to pigeon-hole Gaza into a particular genre I would call them doomy mathcore sludge grind…confusing right? That’s the thing, though the album is incredibly heavy, the speed and style with which each song and riff is delivered varies quite a bit on the album, always managing to keep you on your toes wondering what they’re going to do next.
One thing about Gaza that I’ve never understood is how underrated they are, these guys are like the John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek of the metal community and hopefully with the release of their third super solid album in a row these guys will finally get some well-earned recognition.
Man, I’ve been waiting quite a while to hear this album and I must say, it was totally worth the wait. This is Nachtmystium’s sixth full length studio album and their third for Century Media. Their last two albums for Century Media were part of a series called “Black Meddle” in which the band, who are traditionally black metal, added a heavy psychedelic Pink Floyd vibe to their music that created a deliciously unique sound. For the new record, however, the band went back to their straightforward black metal ways, however, there are certainly some awesome twists and turns.
One thing I’ve noticed about the sound of Nachtmystium aside from a heavy black metal influence, is the fact that they have many different influences and a few of them, particularly their love for post-rock and classic rock came out on this album. Though they didn’t use “Black Meddle” in the title of the album, when you listen to songs like “Decimation, Annihilation” and “Silencing Machine” you can definitely hear some weird noises courtesy of keyboardist/producer extraordinaire Sanford Parker that give you the sensation of tripping on ecstasy in a dungeon trying to avoid being tortured at all cost.
Overall, I feel like Blake Judd and company came out and produced an incredibly solid record that mixes awesome, furious black metal with some very cool sounds and styles to create one of the more unique black metal albums you’ll hear all year, and honestly, I think that just because it doesn’t have Meddle int he name, doesn’t mean it’s not super creative.
So far 2012 seems to be the year of thrash, man. So far we’ve gotten killer releases from Overkill, Kreator and Municipal Waste, as well as Bonded By Blood so with the release of Testament’s tenth album “Dark Roots Of Earth”, it appears the winning streak will continue.
Testament are one of my favorite thrash bands of all time and definitely deserve to be recognized alongside the other huge names of the genre as one of the greatest. Their newest album “Dark Roots Of Earth” is the follow up to 2008′s masterpiece “The Formation Of Damnation”. The album features all of the band’s signature elements like Chuck Billy’s legendary voice as well as the guitar work of Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson- a duo that I consider to be one of the greatest of all time-the album also features Mean Gene Hoglan on drums for the first time in 15 years. As far as the actual songs on the album go, I wasn’t big on the song “Native Blood” when I first heard it, but after listening in the context of the album it’s an absolute monster. I also really like the song “Dark Roots Of Earth” for it’s old school “New Order” vibe, in fact, it’s not the only song on the album with an old school vibe, the song “A Day In The Death” starts out with a great bassline from original bassist Greg Christian and then proceeds to unleash an epic old school thrash attack. Aside from awesome old school thrash songs, the album features an incredible cover of Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave” where Chuck Billy puts his own touch on the vocals and creates absolute magic.
Honestly, if I had never heard of Testament and were walking through a record store and saw this album cover, I would buy it immediately based on the cover and title alone. I really shouldn’t have to convince you to buy a Testament album because it features their original lineup of Skolnick, Billy, Christian, and Peterson playing super awesome thrash with Gene Hoglan on drums and there’s not much else to say.
This evening I continue my mid-year look at some of the best albums of 2012 with a guest submission from Erin Malone, guitarist of Fall Of Seraphs, Mercurial, and Cancer Whore. Erin is currently putting the finishing touches on the new Fall of Seraphs album and it should be ready by the fall, so be on the look out for it, you can check them out on facebook HERE. You can check out all of Erin’s bands’ music by clicking the links above. If you or your band would be interested in submitting a guest post, please contact me at my Facebook page.
1. VAN HALEN – “A Different Kind of Truth”- Say what you want about 8 of 13 songs being old demo’s re-worked for this album… isn’t that what every recorded song is anyway? A song the band has played for some time letting it grow and then recorded in a studio for a full length album? The deal is now a days with technology you can access these old bootleg demos and hear them. I’ve listened to each of these songs demo’s from the Gene Simmons financed “ZERO Demo” and they sound way better now. Anyways, this album is awesome and EVERY song is great…even Tattoo! Eddie is shredding solo’s (China Town!!!) and DRL is still the best front man of all time. Though his vocals aren’t what they used to be, he makes up for that in a “story telling” type of mannerism with a few of his signature “ panther screams” still injected just at the right moment.. Only thing is its missing Michael Anthony… but that wouldn’t have changed the song writing/ structure, just missing his signature background vocals and bass lines. This is my #1 pick of 2012 and has been along wait since I first heard Van Halen with DLR in 1984!
2. ADRENALINE MOB – “OMERTA’ ” – Russell Allen…enough said. The greatest progressive/ power metal singer alive today. His main band Symphony X is probably my favorite band. Combine Russell Allen with Mike Portnoy and you have some amazing talent just ready to highlight some decent songs written by unknown guitar hero Mike Orlando. Some of the lyrics can be “cheesy“ at times…but I love this CD and it sounds really great in a good car stereo! The rhythm section is awesome but the true highlight is Russell Allen. His talent and power can not be denied! Also try Symphony X “Iconoclast”… you won’t be disappointed!
3. HUNTRESS – “Spell Eater” – this band has been on the cover or main article of almost every metal mag lately. The reason is the singer/ main songwriter Jill Janus is really hot. But she is really talented as well. Every review I have read has bashed this album, but I really like it. The guitars have a Mercyful Fate kind of ring to it and Jill’s vocals are a cross between Chuck Schuldiner’s vocal tones meets King Diamond’s vocals patterns. Its all about witch craft and paganism. The solo’s rip, the drums are constant and pummeling. It’s just a really great album with a sound all its own. Give it a shot… this band will go far if they can hold it together.
4. BORKNAGAR – “Urd” – the return of I.C.S Vortex! Plus keeping Vintersorg on vocals!!! This is like having David Lee Roth return to Van Halen and keeping Sammy Hagar! Definitely Borknagar’s best album since ICS vortex led album “the Archaic Course”. My favorite track is “Frostrite”. Vortex’s vocals are unmatched by anyone in all genre’s of Metal. He has his own sound that no one can imitate. David Kincaid’s drumming is also a major highlight. Best CD out of Norway in years.
5. ABIGAIL WILLIAMS – “Becoming” – Just read this band is calling it quits after their current US tour. Sucks because they are my favorite new black metal band. This album is very organic. No triggers, sound effects, super production. Just real drums and guitars making some really haunting black metal the way it is supposed to be! I prefer the album prior “In the Absence of Light”, but “Becoming” is definitely an album worth purchasing ASAP! Go check out Abigail Williams before they call it a day. They will be in Baton Rouge on August 19th I believe… hopefully I can make it!
6. VESPERIAN SORROW – “Storm Wind of Ages” – You have probably never heard of this band. They are an excellent black metal band out of Austin TX. I first heard of them when I saw them on a flyer for other Austin TX black metal favorite of mine “Bat Castle”…so I checked them out. They definitely don’t sound like they’re from Texas. Imagine Cradle of Filth/Dimmu but extremely focused, fast and not annoying. I have all of their albums and I hope someone checks them out after reading this. Awesome band that is very underrated and unknown.
7. SIX FEET UNDER – “Undead”- Chris Barnes really made a come back here. If there was a contest between this CD “Undead”and the new Cannibal Corpse “Torture”… Six Feet Under wins by a log shot! The new drummer (Kevin Talley/Daath) and bassist (Jeff Huggel/ Brain Drill) run circles around former members Greg Gauhl and Terry Butler. And new main song writer/guitarist Rob Arnold (Chimera) really brings new life in to this band that was basically on its death bed. Best death metal cd of the year if not last few years.
8. IHSAHN – “Eremita”- I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first 3 solo albums by Ihsahn. To me “the Adversary” is the best then followed by “Angl”. Actually they seem to be less interesting as they go. I have only had this CD for 2 weeks now so I have not been able to listen to it enough for it to really sink in. It’s not bad, but not as good as “the Adversary”.
9. MEGADETH – “13”- This just made me want to listen to old Megadeth. Sounds to “radio friendly”. It’s not bad, just a little less interesting then the previous album “End Game”. Still better than anything Metallica has done in 20 years. Dave should never feel underneath them, he will always be truer to metal and a guitarist than Metallica will ever be.
10. CANNIBAL CORSPSE – “Torture” – Cannibal Corpse is always trying to write the perfect album. Problem is they get further away from making the mark each try. Corpse grinder needs to try some new vocal patterns… if he would write his own lyrics and patterns he might have a shot, but when the guitarists and drummer write the lyrics and patterns… its always going to sound the same and follow the music. There are a few good songs on here, none suck, just nothing new. Last really great CD by them was “Bloodthrist”. The cover art work is awesome and a return to old. That’s a plus.
11. TESTAMENT – “Dark Roots of the Earth”- This one hasn’t been released yet but is the most anticipated cd on my list. The one track I have heard “True American Hate “is awesome! The fact that Gene Hogland is drumming makes this a 1st day release purchase for me. Can’t wait for this one. Cover art is awesome too!
12. GOATWHORE – “Blood for the Master”- A few good tunes on here, but over all too many songs that sound the same and too many songs period. I love the guys in Goatwhore, but they need something new to bring to the table. I don’t know what it is but hopefully they can figure it out. Great live band though.
13. OBSCURA – “Illegimitation”- Fucking awesome tech metal from the guys that used to be in Necrophagist .This sucker has some killer cover songs on this one. Death- “Flesh and the Power it Holds”, Cynic- “I’m But a Wave To”…, and an Atheist track. Those 3 are worth buying this one alone!
14. TERRORIZOR – “Horde of Zombies”- This was recorded BEFORE Pete Sandoval had his back surgery. It’s actually really good, grooving brutal death metal. Definitely worth checking out and jamming while driving fast!
16. NILE – “At the Gates of Sethu”- Same ole shit. I haven’t enjoyed this band since “In Their Darkened Shrine”. Nothing new here except some ridiculous attempts at clean vocals. Worth 1 listen to hear George kill the drums and that’s it. Their well has run dry. Time to try something new or quit.
17. RUSH – “Clockwork Angels”- I haven’t listened to this one enough yet, but Rush is Rush. I believe it hit #2 on the billboard charts, no easy feat for a band that is 40 years old and still kicking ass! If you like Rush you will enjoy this. I also recommend the documentary “Beyond the lighted stage” it’s awesome!
18. JEFF LOOMIS – “Plains of Oblivion”- I thoroughly enjoyed Jeff’s playing in Nevermore…sucks he left the band. His 2 solo albums are ok, reminds me of Jason Becker and Marty Freidman style solo albums. Good stuff but doesn’t have the strength to resonate long. Killer solo’s though and guest vocals by Ihsahn and Devin Townsend. And several guest guitarists. If you play guitar definitely worth a listen or two.
19. KILL DEVIL HILL – “Kill Devil Hill”- Decent album if you like Alice in Chains. Perfect cd to listen to with your girlfriend that’s not too heavy or technical but not that ole grunge era shit you cant stand
20. AMON – “Liar in Wait”- The Hoffman brothers come back CD, Deicide definitely doesn’t miss these 2 bums. Horrible attempt at a comeback. If they are trying to compete with Glen and Steve, Amon, vs. Deicide, why even use the old name Amon? Why? Because it’s the only way to get any attention for these guys. You can’t even buy a hard copy of this cd; it’s only available online. It sucks, been done a thousand times, horrible production. I was intrigued to hear what they had to offer, but it doesn’t have a leg to stand on against any new death metal act, much less recent Deicide albums “the Stench of Redemption, or “To Hell with God”. Save your money and ears.
With the NCAA tournament’s 1st round finished and full of exciting upsets, the March Thrash Madness tournament also seems to be heating up. There is only one day left of first round matchups and then the real fun begins. With the tournament one day away from the Elite Eight, please leave a comment stating who your Final Four picks are from the remaining candidates.
Round 1, Match 5
Megadeth – Rust In Peace
Nuclear Assault – Game Over
In this matchup between Megadeth and Nuclear Assault, both of these bands are pretty evenly matched on paper. Megadeth plays a pretty straightforward thrash attack with occasional progressive flourishes and an absurd amount of soloing, and Nuclear Assault play very straightforward thrash with occasional flashes of punk and hardcore, with a break for ice cream in the middle. Both bands feature incredibly talented bassists and guitarist/vocalists with Megadeth featuring Dave Mustaine and Dave Ellefson, and Nuclear Assault having John Connelly and Danny Lilker. When you get past the matchups on paper between these two, however, the comparisons get a little thin. Nuclear Assault’s first album “Game Over” wasn’t as commercially successful as “Survive” and “Handle With Care” which were both on the billboard charts, but with songs like “Brain Death”, “Betrayal”, and “Stranded In Hell”, this album is definitely their best in my opinion. Megadeth’s entry into this tournament could have also been albums like “Peace Sells”, or “Countdown To Extinction”, but honestly, “Rust In Peace” is my favorite Megadeth album and it’s an absolute landmark for the genre, not to mention, it has my favorite album cover of all time. When trying to decide the winner of this matchup, all it took was hearing songs from “Rust In Peace” like “5 Magics”, “Take No Prisoners”, and “Tornado Of Souls” to determine which one would immerge victorious. Even though Nuclear Assault scored plenty of points with a fantastic effort, Megadeth are just on another level altogether and, unlike the Duke Blue Devils,they pulled this one off quite easily.
Final Score: Megadeth: 140 – Nuclear Assault: 99
Round 1, Match 6
Testament – The New Order
Suicidal Tendencies – Lights…Camera…Revolution!
This is by far, one of the best matchups of the first round in my opinion, as it features two of the first thrash albums I ever fell in love with that weren’t by a band that rhymes with shmushmallica. Both of these albums are absolute bruisers, but the best part about this pairing is that, like yesterdays matchups, both of these bands have two distinctly different and awesome styles. L,C,R! is Suicidal Tendencies’ fourth album and, unlike their previous albums, it’s predominantly a thrash album through and through, and not as hardcore punk influenced. L,C,R! also features the classic Suicidal lineup featuring Rob Trujillo(currently in Metallica though you can’t tell), Mike Muir, and Rocky George. Suicidal aren’t the only one in this with a lineup full of thrash legends however, Testament has their fair share of legends on “The New Order” with Chuck Billy and legendary guitarists Alex Skolnick, and Eric Peterson. “The New Order” saw Testament quickly rise towards the top of the bay area thrash bands, and it features some of their greatest songs, notably “Disciples Of The Watch”, “Trial By Fire”, and “Into the Pit”. Suicidal’s best songs on L,C,R! include the legendary “You Can’t Bring Me Down”, as well as “Send Me Your Money”, and “Get Whacked”(giggity). If you were to compare the two albums to actual baskeball teams, Suicidal would be the fast, flashy team that thrives on scoring in transition, while Testament are more methodic, and focus more on scoring in the paint and gobbling up rebounds and blocking shots. When trying to decide a winner between these two, it was pretty much impossible, however, the decision was pretty much made for me, due to Mike Muir headbutting a ref in the third overtime with a tied score, and the game being handed to Testament by forfeit.
Final Score: Testament: 115 – Suicidal Tendencies: 115(forfeited)
2011 was an incredible year for metal, without question. The best part is, 2012 is also shaping up to be a monumental year for metal. 2011 was a year full of releses from fantastic new bands like Atriarch, Disma, and Vallenfyre, but 2012 will be the year that some of the genre’s best put out new albums. This list i’m making is completely ridiculous because it’s based solely on predictions by both myself and record labels and even other magazines.
*UPDATE*: I have included links to my reviews for all of the albums on this list, so check them out if you are wanting a better idea of what some of these records sound like. Also, for more information on awesome upcoming releases, check out my Facebook page.
The first part of this list are all the albums coming out in the next few months with already confirmed street dates, that i will definitely be listening to.
The legendary goregrinders are back with a new record and i have a feeling it’s going to be a monster. Will have guest appearances from members of Black Dahlia Murder, Misery Index, Rotten Sound, and Benighted
This band has gotten more and more boring over the years as they’ve become bigger and bigger, but i have a feeling this album will be pretty decent at least. They benefit from dropping it at a time with no other big records dropping. No offense to Aborted, of course.
Super progressive grind album from Matt Widener of Cretin. First song i heard had a swedish death metal type tone and seems like it’ll be a solid album.
I don’t like technical death metal near as much as i did when i was younger, but if i did i’d be stoked to hear a new Psycroptic album. I’ll definitely give it a listenthough.
This is a band i haven’t listened to alot, but Martin Va Drunen is a legend in the death/doom community and with a limited amount of albums distracting from it, it has potential to gain alot of attention.
This will be their eigth album, and first with the Animosity era lineup in a really long time. I have a feeling this album is going to either be incredibly mediocre, or it’s going to absolutely rule, there’s not much grey area when a band goes from crossover to southern metal and attempts to go back to it’s crossover lineup and recreate magic.
I will guarantee you that i’ll be purchasing this album and listening to it non-stop upon it’s release. It seems that every single Napalm album gets better than the one before it, and judging by how good “Time Waits For No Slave” was, this album is going to be a monster.
This album is basically a re-recording of all of Autopsy’s random demo’s they’ve recorded over the years. There could be some terrible songs on there, but more than likely it’s going to sound alot like Macabre Eternal and it’ll completely kill.
Already pre-ordered this album. Old school metal aesthetic played with a classic rock tone. This album is recommended for anyone who likes Heart, Motorhead, or awesome hard rock/heavy metal.
Saint Vitus – Lillie: F-65 (north american release date delayed)
I have no idea what this album title is in reference to, and I really don’t care. So glad they are finally scheduled to release this album, they played a new song when i saw them in New Orleans and it was fantastic. Wino’s voice sounds awesome on record these days so this album will be one of the best of the year, I truly believe.
Testament – The Dark Roots Of Earth 4/27/2012
One of the greatest thrash metal bands of all time. This is the followup to their last album which blew the doors off of their back catalogue and this album will do the same. Also some guy named Gene Hoglan did drums on this album, not sure if he’s any good, but I think this record will rule.
The second part of my most anticipated list are bands who’ve either been advertised to put out a new album, or who i’ve heard rumored to be putting something out this year. A few of these are just rumors, some are being recorded as we speak, but if even a few of them actually put out records like they’re supposed to, 2012 will be another epic year for metal.
Admittedly, I sort of hate the guitar tone Slayer has taken on over the last 20 years, but i’d be lying if i said i’m not excited to hear them put out new music, specifically more stuff that sounds like “Psycopathy Red”.
I have a feeling that if they release a new record this year, it’s going to sound completely different from anything they’ve done before, which may or may not be a good thing. I can definitely say that it’s going to be worth listening to for sure.
Unlike the first 2 bands in this list, there is not a single doubt in my mind that if their new album is released this year…it will char the skin off of all who get in it’s way. So ready to hear new material from PxDx.
If Axe To Fall is any indication on where these guys are headed, they are going to release another unquestionable album of the year candidate.
High On Fire
Snakes For The Divine was a landmark release by Matt Pike and co, but I think that if they can build on the formula they started with that album, that the new one that’s being recorded right now will be just as deadly, if not moreso.
Supposedly they are going to do part 3 in the Black Meddle series, but i could really care less, i’m ready to hear anything Blake Judd is ready to unleash.
I have a feeling there will definitely be a new Voivod album next year, and they have their original bassist back, plus a fantastic guitarist named Dan Mongrain, therefore I think their new album will run circles around their last 2 decades worth of material.
It seems that, with every new album these guys release, they reinvent themselves completely. Considering how awesome ObZen was, that fact alone means that whatever they put out this year will be purchased by me immediately upon it’s release.
This band also features Danny Walker from Exhumed/Murder Construct, but instead of playing death metal, they are more similar to bands like Isis, but they aren’t just another Cult of Neurisis band by any means and i’m sure guitarist/vocalist Sacha Dunable has more than a couple tricks up his sleeve that’ll make this album their best yet.
Neurosis is recoring an album right this very second with Steve Albini. No reason in wasting anymore words on this one. Very stoked.
Supposedly they are going to put out a new record 1 ep at a time until they’ve done 5. To me, it sounds like a waste of time not putting all of those songs on one disc, but they are good enough musicians, that i think it’ll be worth the wait.
I heard they were supposed to put out a new album in 2011, but nothing ever came of it. I’m really hoping they release the follow up to Watershed this year so that they can finally prove they are still an awesome death metal band and not a bunch of folk rock wannabes like people claimed Mikael Akerfeldt was trying to turn them into.
Other albums supposed to be coming out in 2012 i’m looking forward to:
Kyuss Lives! (not really metal, but still amazing)