A Very Slapguitarer 2012!
Howdy ho, fellas. It's that time of the year where everybody shares their favorite musical moments of the past year. This year was a little different for me. Due to having a busier/more mature schedule (last semester of high school, job over the summer, first semester of college), I didn't take in as much music from 2012 as I did in 2011. I also didn't go to as many shows. But that aside, it was still a good year for both albums and shows. This year I expanded even more musically, as you'll see in my list. So, what should expect to come from this thread? Here's the plan:
My Top 25 albums of 2012
My Top 5 EPs/singles
Top 10 live performances
Most disappointing album over year (gotta stir up some shit some how ;))
I'll be doing albums in increments of 5, like last year.
And like I said, I was busier than ever before this year, so there may be some albums that could of been shoe-ins for this list that I may have not gotten around to. There are also a lot of albums that I thought would be making the top cut, but didn't due to it disappointing me. So if you're expecting to see some albums here and don't find 'em, you know why. Also, to the disappointment/disapproval of many, I didn't listen to like, any post-rock from this year (with the exception of one record). You're welcome to throw some at me, but it's too late for it to appear on this list. I dun goofed there.
First set of 5 to come some time today!
[U][I][B][COLOR="Cyan"][SIZE="7"]A VERY SLAPPY CRIMBUS!!!![/SIZE][/COLOR][/B][/I][/U]
25. Christian Mistress – Possession
Hailing from Olympia, Christian Mistress stared the year early with their sophomore release, Possession, dropping it back in February. These guys make blistering traditional/NWOBHM style heavy metal equipped with sinister riffs, harmonized guitar leads, a tight rhythm section and a hell of a front woman. Along with the obvious NWOBHM influence, it’s kind of impossible not to point out the obvious resemblances to 70’s female front hard rock like Heart and Pat Benatar. Front woman Christine Davis has the strong, retro voice that made guys around the world turn the heads when they first heard the like of Pat and Ann Wilson. Musically speaking, Christian Mistress usually keep the songs up beat and filled to the brim with awesome guitar licks that have a evil tone that resemble guys like Brian Tatler. Even the slower songs like There is Nowhere and The Way Beyond are filled to the brim with these sinister riffs. This album is chock full of ‘em! And the rhythm section is extremely tight on the record. Neither drums nor bass are doing anything revolutionary here, but they compliment the music extremely well and the bass tone is delicious. This album is excellently crafted old-school metal that has a evil side to it. Check it out if you’re old, like old things, or like things that are badass. Or all of the above.
[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6khvP-TWxsM"]The Way Beyond[/URL]
24. Every Time I Die – Ex-Lives
I’m sure this album being on my list may come as surprise to some of you, since I make my disdain for metalcore pretty well known on any message board I frequent. And while ETID doesn’t fall strictly into that genre of music, they definitely borrow from it quite a bit. My interest for this band started when looking for band I might enjoy at the 2012 Warped Tour. A few people with music tastes I trust like them, so I checked it out and I really enjoy the raw aggression and hostility that comes from these guys. So I checked out their new album, Ex-Lives, and was very impressed. The album show cases a good variety of tunes, from quick sonic blasts of mayhem like Holy Book of Dilemma, speedy songs with a twang like I Suck (Blood), and heavy hitters like Indian Giver. The band uses a wide array of sound spanning from southern rock, mathcore, hardcore punk, and as mentioned earlier, metalcore. The band does such a good job of crafting short pieces of music that show cases tons of musical prowess that I’m surprised none of them are doing anything a little more ambitious. The guitar players definitely have chops for fast speedy music with technical licks and singer/screamer Keith Buckley has a bark that bites and voice that could fit anywhere from a hardcore band like Every Time I Die to any form of radio friendly rock. But what they’re doing with this band is fine by me. Well-crafted pieces of hardcore music executed with technical precision and taste.
[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SmHZocjphg"]Holy Book of Dilemma[/URL]
23. Meshuggah – Koloss
Thanks to Periphery and the djent movement happening since 2010, it’s not often you’ll find many reputable artists with 8-string guitars in their hands, but Meshuggah come into 2012 to reassure us that at least somebody can do the 8-string one. Koloss demonstrates Meshuggah expanding and revisiting many styles they’ve used through out their career that weren’t present on the critically acclaimed album, Obzen. While Obzen was mainly about aggressiveness and technicality, Koloss takes a break and focuses more on groove and complex rhythmic patterns. But even though the music is more relaxed tempo wise, it’s not any less primal. The heavy chug Meshuggah have perfected and are known for is still every present on this record, but the styles from song to song vary more this time. You have groovy songs that build into intense pieces like Swarm, I am Colossus, and Do Not Look Down, and songs that are still fast and angry, The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance. The variety in sounds is definitely the most refreshing thing about Koloss, because for the most part, most everything is Meshuggah by the numbers. That’s all I can really say. If you like Meshuggah, you’ll like this record
22. Hooded Menace – Effigies of Evil
Hailing from Finland, Hooded Menace are a death/doom duo that write really heavy, dark, ugly metal that has a sense of melody and catchiness at times. The band is made up of Lasse Pyykkö on guitar, bass, and vocals while Pekka Koskelo covers drums. The songs range from slow churning riffs to sludgy death riffs and the also throw in some melodic leads in the mix that are often harmonized as well. They even write some cool, catchy riffs like, what you hear during the second half of Evoken Vulgarity. Using all these tools, they craft decently long (6-8 minutes) that are very eerie and creepy, often throwing in samples from old horror movies to make things a little spooky. This album is full of heavy, dark music, but also has moments that are actually quite catchy and has a sense of melody at times. Interesting death/doom to say the least.
21. Code Orange Kids – Love Is Love // Return to Dust
Code Orange Kids quite a unique young band. While I’m not expert on the genre, there aren’t many other hardcore bands I’ve heard that are quite like these kids. On their debut album, Code Orange Kids release an album of chaotic, heavy, and experimental hardcore punk/sludge. There are quite a few sounds on this record, and they all come suddenly and hit you in the face with a fierce fist. You have elements of hardcore, sludge, shoegaze, doom, and more. They remind me of a a younger more hardcore Kylesa circa To Walk a Middle Course. These guys often go from fast a furious blast beats to slow and heavy sludge riffs in a matter of 10 seconds. On the album opener, Flower Mouth, there are about 4 different changes in the song, and it’s only 2 minutes long. I don’t mean change in riff, I mean the song takes a 180 and goes somewhere completely different than it where it was going 2 seconds ago. These guys are excellent songwriters considering their age, and really know how to pull the rug from under your feet and grasp your attention. If you’re looking for imaginative hardcore that is fast, heavy and smart, this is your album.
[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpVa-x7YndY"]Flower Mouth (The Leech)[/URL]
That Christian Mistress record is pretty good. I listened to it a few times early in the year but haven't really touched it in a while. Maybe i'll throw it an honorable mention when I get around to doing my list.
I never did listen to that Christian Mistress. :eyes:
Ya'll gone get mad
[U][B][SIZE="4"]MOST DISAPPOINTING ALBUM OF THE YEAR[/SIZE][/B][/U]
Between the Buried and Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues was up there with my favorite BTBAM releases and progressive releases of the new last 10 years. It seemed like BTBAM had really secured their sound, combining progressive rock, death metal, technical prowess and tons else to make some of the most interesting metal in a while. It also showed vast improvement in the song-writing department. Not once on the album did it feel like they were thinking “okay, heavy part, soft part, proggy part, heavy part, solos, break, soft part, crescendo, and ba boom”. That of course is hyberbole, but it did feel that way at moments on their 2009 LP, The Great Misdirect. On Hypersleep Dialogues, everything felt cohesive and blended well together to make an awesome progressive metal smoothie. And on top of all of that, they introduced a story for a two-part concept album. So with all these exciting things, I was extremely excited for the follow up, The Parallax II: Future Sequence. But after repeated listens, I was pretty disappointed with what they had come up with.
Let me start this off with saying that Future Sequence isn’t a terrible record. It definitely has its good moments. At first, I loved it, because I was blinded by a bad case of fanboy. When I heard Telos, I was pumped to hear them getting brutally heavy again, but it also felt chopped and pasted like some of the material on TGM. They start the song heavy, die down into a calm part, then heavy part ending with prog stuff. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it wasn’t nearly as strong as anything on Hypersleep. Then I got the album, and I went through initial fanboy reaction to everything good about the record. Astral Body sounded really bright and hopeful while still having the screamed vocals. They had a throw back to Specular Refection on Extremophile Elite. There were a lot of cool new sounds like what we hear on Goodbye to Everything, The Black Box, and Bloom. And on top of that, this is the record Tommy Rogers sounds most confident with his clean vocals, and really makes ‘em shine. His keyboard playing too. And the rest of the band is in tiptop shape. But there are quite a few things I can’t get behind.
It seems BTBAM have taken into account all the recent progcore bands they’ve influenced and borrowed from them… You have way more chugga-chugga crap since this line-up has been established on the record. It’s not everywhere, but it’s there. Not to mention that it feels as if they’re trying a little hard to remind that they’re a progressive band, with all the wank on the album, like the intro to Astral Body, the end of the album, and other moments. As I mentioned I earlier, it also seems that they’ve lost their touch with combining all elements of BTBAM into one passage. You either have a heavy section, soft section, or circus prog time. There are also a lot of stupid, short quirky moments, like the two seconds of surf rock on Lay Your Ghost To Rests, the stupid tuba/marimba/violin thing on Extreophile Elite. And a lot of it seems kind of half-assed, like many of the recent progcore bands. It seems that most of these songs are made of single passages they wrote and then put together like a puzzle to see what best complimented what, as opposed to writing songs that feel like one cohesive piece. There are many times a song feels like it could end, but it doesn’t, and that makes it drag. And it doesn't help that the record is already 72 minutes long. :hecho:
While there were a few other albums I thought were fairly disappointing due to lack of innovation, I found this to be a disappointment because I feel it’s a step down from their previous work. I understand this isn’t the popular opinion, but that’s my take on this album.
I haven't been terribly impressed with anything they've done since Colors.
And I never really got the hype for the Christian Mistress album. When it comes to 2012 traditional metal albums, I think the Witchcraft one is better.
Illuminatus, give that Christian Mistress album a spin, it's good. Powerslave, I think everything BTBAM has released has been solid, especially everything from Alaska and on. But the new one... well I already gave my case
I was expecting a bit more of a response, but whatever. I'll post the next chunk of the list in a few minutes.
20. Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I
Almost 10 years in the making, Australian prog band Ne Oblivicaris finally release their debut album Portal of I, and it definitely sound like the product of a decade of work. While three of the tracks showed up on a demo they released that was released in 2007, the majority of the album is finally seeing the light of day on people’s computers and mp3 players just now. Ne Obliviscaris are a 76-piece, featuring, a harsh vocalist, two guitarists, bassist, drummer, and clean vocalist/violinist. These guys write really intricate, layered, long-winded progressive metal that has tons of sounds thrown in. The three bands that I think sum up their sound are Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, and Unexpect. Now, that’s sounds like a winning combination, so why isn’t this top 10 for me? Well, while these guys are definitely writing some of the most ambitious metal I’ve heard all year, with tons of technical precision, beautiful melodic passages, blistering riffs, and really just tons of more sounds, it does come as slightly try-hard and there seems to be formulas happening. Like how every song needs an acoustic guitar passage that last a minute or two too long. And the clean vocals seem too forced and whiny at times. Plus when most every song goes over ten minutes and there’s 7 on the album, it’s a long listen. This is definitely one of the best recent efforts in progressive metal. Tons better than every djent/progcore/technical deathcore/pseudo-prog record released this year by far. This is definitely a great start for what can be a truly amazing band, there just needs to be some polishing in some areas.
19. Anhedonist – Netherwards
Anhedonist create some of the heaviest, eeriest and tortured death/doom of the year with their debut record, Netherwards. The album comprimses of four tracks, most extending to about ten minutes, with exception of one 5 minutes long, and all tracks are straight, heavy-as -could-be death/doom that is scary, evil and hellish. These guys have riffs that sit for minutes at a time and slowly evolve as the song progresses. There’s sounds vary on the album, going from slow doom riffs with low growls to double bass driven passages with higher growls and such. Each passage they write is done tastefully and sounds great. There’s not much else I can really say. This is album is straight evil, heavy-as-hell death/doom that you should check out now!
18. Ash Borer – Cold of Ages
The new sons of northern (California) darkness, Ash Borer, return to 2012 with their sophomore album, Cold of Ages, representing actual northern California with their own, unique strain of black metal. Of course there are bound to be comparison to other American black metal bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, since they do incorporate atmosphere and slower, droning moments in pieces, the album shows a lot of influence from 2nd wave black metal, with a lot of the albums being fast, tremolo picked guitar leads and blasting drums. But whether they’re adhering to older or modern styles of black metal, they’re creating really dark, grim, chilling music. The album only has 4 songs but each span over 10 minutes, the longest stretching a little past 18. Each song sits on certain themes for larger chunks of time, but when things change they’re sudden and unexpected which makes them quite engaging. Each section is thickly layered and expertly crafted, some ever featuring guest vocals from Worm Ouroboro’s Jessica Way that add a really eerie feeling. Cold of Ages is a breath of fresh air in the American black metal scene, using both old school and modern styles and sounds to make some chilling new black metal.
[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RAFwiRAY5A"]Convict of All Flesh[/URL]
17. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Like Most people, I was taken completely by surprise when I found out GY!BE were releasing a new record, ten years since the previes. In fact I first found out on 4chan, before there was an official announcement from the band, when somebody posted that they were selling a new record on vinyl at their live shows. A few days after seeing that post, the news was all over the Internet, on every music news website and the album was on most every file sharing site. The album is made up of two songs that have been part of their live repertoire and two knew drone tracks. I’m not really big into the whole drone thing, so I look past those and look at the two songs. Both songs are just seconds short of 20 minutes a piece, so you definitely get a lot of material. Both tracks are full of every thing you know and love about these guys. Awesome melodies that get fleshed out like no other and turn into huge bombastic crescendos and multi-part tracks. The first track, Mladic, is definitely more on the rock side of post-rock, with the really groovey middle-eastern theme present through out most of the track and really loud and energetic drum tracks. The second track, We Drift Like Worried Fire, goes threw more sounds and emotions, from the cheery first section, to the really dark and eerie section in the middle that evolves into an uplifting crescendo that then falls back into a movement that feels unsure, but slightly optimistic, driven by violin and drums. Of course my brief overviews of the two tracks are just that, brief overviews. A few sentences can’t begin to describe how good these songs are. Only reason this album is a little low on the list is because it’s just that, two songs. And listening to new Godspeed makes me think about how I’ve had 8 opportunities to see them and I MISSED. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. Either way, great stuff coming from truly wonderful band.
[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP6-wlhviKw"]We Drift Life Worried Fire[/URL]
16. Worm Ouroboros – Come The Thaw
The Bay Area makes its first appearance on the list with Worm Ouroboros’ sophomore record, Come the Thaw. For those unfamiliar with this band, they’re a doom/neofolk/shoegaze/dark ambient trio consisting of two female vocalists that also take care of guitar and bass. Aesop Dekker of Ludicra and recently, Agalloch handles what little drums are being played on the record. The band’s signature sound is a very-slow building wave of sound that is very dark and distant while maintaining a sense of serenity and innocence that builds up than comes back down to crash against the shore. Vocalists Lorraine Rath and Jessica Way have voices that are very sweet but when combined the music they produce sound very pained. The music often starts with just one instrument then both vocalists come in providing vocal lines that are often a sort-of call and response in contrary motion. After a few minutes, the other instruments join in to set a ground for the song, and they build on it and let it churn for a while. Of course, that’s not every track; there is plenty of variation on the record. The album is full of different flavors, from the dark ambiance of Release Your Days, the heavy riffs on Further Out, and plenty more. The guitars are both very clean with reverb and delay or super heavy and fuzzy. Bass either has a clean or fuzzy tone and the way the guitar and bass interact with each other is much like the vocals, focusing on a common theme or melody, but playing something completely different, creating a heterophonic texture to the music, while the drums keep everything together. They truly have a unique sound and it is really something special. If you like music that is just as dark and melancholic as it is serene, check this out.
[QUOTE=slapguitarer;503412]Ne Obliviscaris are a 76-piece, featuring, a harsh vocalist, two guitarists, bassist, drummer, and clean vocalist/violinist.[/QUOTE]
What do the other 70 members do? ;)
I need to check out that Ne Obliviscaris album. I've heard a lot of good things about it. Your description of Worm Ouroboros sound interesting. I'll have to check that out, same with Anhedonist.
Those Ash Borer and Godspeed albums are great. :fist:
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