25. Christian Mistress Ė 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, itís kind of impossible not to point out the obvious resemblances to 70ís 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 Ďem! 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 youíre old, like old things, or like things that are badass. Or all of the above.
The Way Beyond
24. Every Time I Die Ė Ex-Lives
Iím 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 doesnít 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 Iím 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 theyíre doing with this band is fine by me. Well-crafted pieces of hardcore music executed with technical precision and taste.
Holy Book of Dilemma
23. Meshuggah Ė Koloss
Thanks to Periphery and the djent movement happening since 2010, itís not often youíll 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 theyíve used through out their career that werenít 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, itís 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 Demonís 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. Thatís all I can really say. If you like Meshuggah, youíll like this record
22. Hooded Menace Ė 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 PyykkŲ 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 Ė Love Is Love // Return to Dust
Code Orange Kids quite a unique young band. While Iím not expert on the genre, there arenít many other hardcore bands Iíve 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 itís only 2 minutes long. I donít 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 youíre looking for imaginative hardcore that is fast, heavy and smart, this is your album.
Flower Mouth (The Leech)