#10 Ash Borer - Cold of Ages
This is classic Ash Borer in every way just with better production. Their being signed to one of the hottest metal labels out there right now has not caused them to take a turn for the worse or lack what made them great to begin with. And no, they're not becoming the next Wolves in the Throne Room.
The production is definitely better. Vocals are higher in the mix as well. Ash Borer excels at creating emotional landscapes that have immense atmosphere - perhaps influenced by doom and post-rock - and playing a few riffs per song that play off one another and bridge seamlessly from one to another. The atmosphere is chilling and dark, and a lot of the riffs are downright terrifying, especially with the choirgirl vocals. The non-metal ambient passages on "Removed Forms" with choirgirl vocals are extremely effective (the opening in particular, as well as the passage around the 7:45 mark) and cause the long songs to feel even more elaborate than they already are.
Jessica Way of Worm Ouroboros lends her beautiful voice to this album, and it increases the atmosphere of the second half of the record quite a bit. Ash Borer is not a band that really wants to accent vocals too much, but rather, use them for atmosphere and ambiance. Her vocal parts really do this well. If you enjoyed Faith Coloccia and Jessika Kenney on Celestial Lineage and Jamie Myers on Malevolent Grain, chances are you'll like the similar touch here as well. I don't even think she's singing any lyrics, she's just adding beauty to the songs.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Descended Lamentations," "Convict All Flesh," "Removed Forms"
#9 Leech - If We Get There One Day, Would You Please Open The Gates?
Leech is an almost ambient post-rock band from Switzerland that has a pretty sparse discography. Their last album was released in 2007, which I haven't heard, so I'm guessing they worked on this one for quite a while before putting it into form. This album, by a quick rough count, is about ninety minutes in length.
Leech uses piano and electronic touches like Mogwai and God Is An Astronaut, but also the classic post-rock formula perfected by Godspeed You! Black Emperor - loud-quiet dynamics and build-ups. The build-ups are less "epic" than some other bands have done and do, but they're effective nonetheless. This album is especially low-key for a post-rock album, it makes for easy, unfatigued listening. It's very soft, pleasant, soothing, and even therapeutic. In fact, for an album that lacks the advantage of containing a lot of harsh "in-your-face" moments, this one is downright emotional. There are a few heavier parts, like around 8:00 into "March Of The Megalomaniacs," and one passage in "Hand Full of Hearts, Heart Full of Stones," but this album never hit me upside the head or crushed me with heaviness or burdened me with weight. Quite the opposite, in fact. The ambiance and gentle catchiness lifts the weight off your shoulders... makes you feel a little freer and innocent (or perhaps less guilty). It's a very intimate album. Fans of post-rock should definitely devote a little time to this one. It's been under-acknowledged and under-appreciated in a year that's largely been overshadowed by the first post-rock release by a certain band in a decade.
By the time "Endymion" comes around, the album begins to take shape in the listener's mind as a journey of some sort - maybe the journey of life - in which "Endymion," with its brilliant build-up and eventual climax, represents man reaching his final resting place. If we happen to find ourselves waking up next to a certain wall with a gate, this album playing might actually convince God to allow us admittance to the other side, even if we don't deserve it.
#8 Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliees...
This was the first album I flipped out over in 2012. It somewhat made up for what Les voyages de l'âme lacked, and for that I was thankful because the Alcest album hit me hard and sent me into a negative frame of mind looking ahead into 2012. This album is the Écailles de Lune of this year. Not quite as good, but still good - definitely the best shoegaze record since. I didn't expect it to fall out of my top 5.
This album is not a big departure from the debut, but it's very good nonetheless. It's only a little shorter, but it feels lighter and less dense. I really like Fursy's songwriting and style, so I don't really mind more songs in the same vein as those on the debut, and I think it's too early to criticize the band for lack of evolution, but regardless this album has received a very luke-warm reception. The material here is very well written and thought provoking. There is a gorgeous reprise in this album. Some albums utilize this so well it elevates the enjoyment and memorability of the album considerably, examples being The Beatles' Abbey Road, Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, and Baroness have nearly perfected it (especially with Blue Record), and with the intro to the album, "Linceul d'Hiver,"and "Les Regrets," Les Discrets write a tune that's definitely worth remembering and definitely worth repeating, and the second time around it leads into an explosive climax. The atmosphere of this record ranges from bright and hopeful to bleak and disconcerting, but overall Les Discrets focus on making warm, enveloping music that concentrates on creating beauty more than anything else. The album ends very strongly - the last four songs are all gorgeous. And the last song is an acoustic version "L'Echappee," which was on one of their splits some time ago. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Le Mouvement Perpétuel," "Ariettes oubliées I : Je devine à travers un murmure...," "Les Regrets"
#7 OM - Adviatic Songs
Adviatic Songs more or less picks up where God is Good left off. This is truly inspirational music. OM is another one of the Giant Squid's or Bloodiest's or SORNE's of the world... the music is just so different it's hard to put into words. Those familiar with OM know their music is classified as "Middle Eastern psychedelic doom metal," or something like that. It's similar in structure to "Tibetan and Byzantine chant," as Wikipedia points out (I'm not familiar with those genres of music so I can't confirm, but it sounds correct enough). "Om" is the Hindi symbol known for the natural vibration of the universe. OM is a very religious inspired band. They've written music that touches on religious and spiritual themes from Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism, and in the past they've explored the similarities between these religions. And here we have a picture of John the Baptist himself on the cover of the album - an important figure in many different faiths, especially Christianity - so it seems OM is still using interwoven themes, and on this record they seem to be predominantly Christian and Islamic. The lyrics... I'm going to try to dissect some of them (and the song titles), but they're so oblique they're borderline incomprehensible, kind of like Saturnalia Temple's lyrics except with religious connotations instead of occultist. My guess is as good as yours though, so…
"Addis" is in Hindi, and not even in Sanskrit, but in the Pinyin equivalent of Sanskrit (I don't know what the name is for it in Hindi), so we'll skip over this track. I'll just say it opens with clean female chanting and we start to hear Indian tabla drums.
"State of Non-Return" seems to start at the beginning with Adam & Eve's expulsion from Eden which represents the start of man’s journey outside utopia and his induction into knowledge:
Light trickles through the adjunct worlds, the soul galleon prevails
Liberates in wisdom, to complete state of negation
The five roads subsumed by grace emancipates from dream
"Gethsemane" is the name of the garden in Jerusalem which is said in the gospels to be where Jesus and all his disciples (except Judas) spent their final hours before the Crucifixion. It was here where Jesus sweated drops of blood, and came to terms with his fate in conversation with God:
Nocodemus awaits in vigil weeping
The Arahat rising and the healing ghost descends
Lamentations cease enter rarefied light prevails
Nicodemus being the pharisee that showed favor to Jesus. I'm unsure of the total lyrical relevance to the song title, but Lamentations cease enter rarefied light prevails seems to represent the lifting of anguish off the shoulders of Jesus by God. Jesus did after all pray to God to spare him of the suffering.
"Sinai" is of course where Moses was given the ten commandments. The lyrics from "Echoes," on Paramaecium's last album, read: As I climb the long pathway of repentance, towards the peak of Sinai in the still dark hours of the morn, I yearn for the daylight which will tame my hesitations. This more or less summarizes what comes to my mind when I think of Sinai. The mountain represents the end of trepidation, and the enlightenment to come.
Walk Melchizidek shrine descender
At Lebanon - priest ascending
And back toward Lebanon priest ascending
Melchizidek being the king during the Abraham narrative in the Book of Genesis. He must have climbed Sinai.
I don't have a clue what the lyrics in "Haqq-al-yaqin" mean, but I do know when you throw the song title into Google Translate it comes out as "the reality of certainty," which is the third degree of the classical Yaqeen Sufi doctrine. It's a three level hierarchy of human identity, like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but identity: scholars, gnostics, and lovers. With the most latter being the most important. The Yaqeen (تيقب) phase of Suffism (صفي), and yes I actually typed those in on an Arabic keyboard using my mad Arabic skills, is an ascetic sect of Islam in which one can, as the head of the Shadhiliyah brotherhood basically said, "purify himself from inner filth by excluding his inner being from everyone but God and travel into the presence of the divine." In this phase - the last phase - the liberation cycle is finished. And the reality of certainty is where experience becomes the object of certainty. Knowledge is transferred into experience and vice versa, and it becomes revelatory to the one experiencing it.
As for the sound, I mentioned it's inspirational. That's kind of a disservice. It's hypnotic (in a different way than Black Math Horseman and Giant Squid and bands like that), embellishing, blissful, and transcendental. The use of cellos, flutes and tamburas have become integral parts of OM's sound. There are mantra-like incantations. The bass tone is unlike any other I've ever heard. There are moments on every great album that stand out... moments of not just greatness, but distinguished greatness. The cello/violin outro in "State of Non-Return" is that moment on this album, and one of 2012's finest moments. I can't recommend this album enough, just damn. Listen to it. This band truly brings spirituality to music, and if you let it his album will do absolutely incredible things for you.
HIGHLIGHT: "State of Non-Return," "Gethsemane," "Sinai"
#6 Borgne - Royaume des Ombres
Aaaaaaaw yeah, this is Borgne's best album to date, no doubt about it. This is *[SPOILER]* my favorite black metal record of 2012. I was shocked by how very, very good this album was. Borgne specializes in industrial black metal. Unlike many bands that incorporate electronic effects into black metal, which usually effectively creates ambient black metal that lacks aggressiveness and "big" sound, Borgne writes huge compositions and gorgeous soundscapes that are unbelievably atmospheric and broad in scope. CS Lewis said that if we zoom into a painting, we will see dots of color and can discover things about those dots, their patterns and structure according to the limited view we hold. Borgne draws huge elaborate pictures, but it's better to not zoom in on it - just sit back and admire it.
At times in some of these songs I picture a boat caught in a tempest. There's a wall of sound that sounds like its rocking up and down, back and forth, on large violent waves. At times it's actually soothing and solemn, other times it's completely misanthropic and lacks any notion of hope or salvation. The last three or four minutes of "All These Screams Through Me," is a good example, and it's also the best track on the album.
You want to leave but you can’t
You have no place to be
Even in your body you’re not well
Even in your head you’re not well
The night is looking at you, and following you
Others want to avoid you
You want to be a debt for someone
But you never will be
“Only The Dead Can Be Heard,” and the album closer “The Last Thing You Will See,” explode out of the speakers with a furious assault of quasi-traditional black metal. Fans of Leviathan, Xasthur, or even Burzum should dig these tracks. A lot of this album is reminiscent of Burzum, just with heavier guitars. Most of the album is midpaced and it's very lengthy. Overall, this album has the best atmosphere of any black metal album I've heard this year. And it's also the most emotional.
HIGHLIGHTS: "In the Realm of the Living Dead," "All These Screams Through Me"
Never whistle while you're pissing.
Nice picks in this batch. Unfortunately the Om record didn't make my Top 25, but State of Non-Return is probably my favorite song of the year.
8/20 Amonie/Muscle & Marrow
9/3 Sete Star Sept
9/19 Punch (?)
10/30 KING DIAMOND
#5 pg.lost - Key
idrinkwine and Natrlhi turned me onto this album during a period when post-rock seemed to be very down this year. A lot came together in the last few months of the year. I found myself really investing a lot in this album because it grabbed me so quickly.
It's easy to hear post-metal influence seeping into pg.lost's music. Russian Circles and The Evpatoria Report can be heard in this album! It’s a welcome change of pace for a band that previously relied heavily on Explosions in the Sky as influence, and didn't really push its boundaries. “Terrain” is a prime example of this - the band has revitalized its style of songwriting. While retaining the beautiful aspects of its sound, pg.lost adds the aforementioned heavy instrumentation with skill. Like much of Key, "Terrain" is very driven with a strong sense of focus (though slightly repetitive), with the percussion being very responsible for keeping a deliberate pace. This album ends stronger than it begins. By the time we get to “Weaver,” the album has already left an impression, but this is the track that drives it home. It's very different from the rest of the record, as it lacks the overall focus of each of the other tunes. It lacks repetition. But it makes up for anything it lacks with fantastic atmosphere and very impressive songwriting. Piano and guitar paint a sense of urgency as the song goes through multiple transitions until it finally reaches a breathtaking climax and eventual release. “Weaver” is pg.lost's flagship tune to date, revealing the band's true potential as songwriters and musicians.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Sheaves," "I Am A Destroyer," "Gathering," "Weaver" - the last four tracks are my favorite on the album, they flow together so well.
#4 Baroness - Yellow & Green
There seems to always be an album or two every year that divides fans. I think most would agree this is that album, or at least one of them, this year. Going back to the Cake Frosting Diarrhea Discussion thread, to quote Natrlhi, "now that the dust has settled from all the butthurt, false praise, hype, anti-hype, wailing & gnashing of teeth and so forth that took place when the album first dropped, I think I can say that it was a challenging album to love right out of the gates, but the more I listen to it, the more I appreciate it." That more or less sums up my thoughts on the album perfectly. To be even more of a deviant, I think the Green side is better than the Yellow side.
Like any other product or piece of art, music is never as good when it's forced. The greatest creations come from the heart - it's the key ingredient. And as long as it's sincere, usually the result is at least good and/or respectable. Listening to this album, I really feel Baroness are doing just that. They aren't trying to force out a product their heart's not in... they're doing what they feel like doing. I will take that any day over "going through the motions and putting out another metal album just to please fans." This album is sincere, there's a ton of feeling and emotion in it, and c'mon... it's fucking Baroness. It's practically impossible for them to write bad music, even if it's not the style you're looking for. But before we denounce this album from being metal or anything like that, let's be clear... this album is very rooted in metal, it's primary influence is metal, and parts of the album are metal. Especially on the Yellow side. Very distorted bass is heard frequently, and parts are sludgy. But if the whole album had to be classified, I would go with heavy alternative rock. But has any band ever done it like this? No... no they haven't. At least not that I've heard. This is the most unique album of the year, like it or not. This album takes rock, metal, folk, alternative, progressive, maybe even pop, and throws them all in a cup. Stirs. Tips the cup... feeds the fire.
The Yellow theme is the least memorable of any of Baroness' themes. Of course, "Take My bones Away," "March to the Sea," "Cocainium" and "Back Where I Belong" are excellent tunes, and some of the best tracks on the album. It quickly becomes evident that Baroness went into experimental mode with this album. They do things with their guitars they've never done before (strange noises), there are keyboards, there are - what sounds like - electronic effects, the drums are different than they were on the previous two albums, the vocals are clean and there aren't any of those infamous John Baizley shouts we all know and love so much. But as interesting as things were on the first half of this record, things went into perfect flow and motion on the Green side. The theme is back up to Baroness standards, and from there to "If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry," the emotion pours out through soothing ballads and gentle guitar tunes, and I find myself drifting in audio heaven. I was always a sucker for 80's ballads, and it doesn't bother me one bit that this whole side, with very few exceptions, is soft and mellow.
"MTNS. (The Crown & Anchor)" is one of the best songs on the album. "Psalms Alive" -> "Stretchmarker" is absolutely brilliant. "Stretchmarker" is the best <4:00 song of the year, and it's not even close. It's simple but absolutely gorgeous. There are so many musical ideas and textures on this album... yet it's still cohesive. There are some dud tracks, but overall Yellow & Green is - in my mind - well worth the patience, and more than the sum of its parts.
#3 Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
Yes, the mighty return of Godspeed. I found out about this on October 1 around 10:00pm when I was on Sputnik browsing some reviews for F# A# Infinity, and someone posted a link to a tumbler page that had some pictures of - what appeared to be and allegedly was - a new album for sale at GY!BE's show in Boston. Sure enough, it was the real thing. Within the next 12 hours Constellation confirmed the release, the vinyl was ripped, it leaked, and I had it on itunes the next morning.
This album is definitely a return to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's traditional post-rock hallmark. It's better than Yanqui U.X.O., and on a tier just below F# A# Infinity and Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven. And it's only just below those two because the two standout tracks on this album are quantitatively less than on F# A# and Lift Your Skinny fists. "Mladic" and "We Drift Like Worried Fire" belong right up there in Godspeed's mighty rafters. Add a third twenty minute song of that caliber to this album and it's as good as their first two, no doubt.
To criticize first, the two drone tracks, "Their Helicopters' Sing" and "Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable," are a little lacking. It wouldn't be as much of an issue if they composed less of the album, but between the two of them they make up about fifteen minutes. Godspeed has always utilized drone material in-between their elaborate compositions, what some argue is "filler" material, which I have tended to argue against... but this time around it does sort of feel like "filler" material, even if it comes in places where transition pieces are necessary. It wouldn't have been difficult to throw some sound samples in the mix, an eccentric recording or two - some Murray Ostril or Arco AM/PM Mini-Market. I know these have meaning in the context of their surrounding arrangements, but surely ten years on leave has given the band time to find ample "awesome stuff" they could have used; it's one of the reasons they're so eclectic. Historically, it hasn't been hard for this band to make mundane things interesting. "Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable" though, is pretty damn mundane without being interesting.
"With his arms upstretched, with his arms upstretched, with his arms upstretched, can you get him, do you see him? Hang on, hang on, hang on..." I about lost it when I listened to this for the first time. It was immediately recognizable as the band that has done more for me in the last five years than any other, and this was the first time since being introduced to them that I was listening to something new. The strings on this album are very strong and prominent, "Mladic" (especially) is very angry and throbbed with distortion, and it's probably accurate to say this is the heaviest material Godspeed has ever recorded. The third track is the best on the album... it's rhythmically and structurally complex, littered with beautiful harmonies that shift easily and naturally between sections. I mentioned in the Summer Fades Away blurb that few post-rock bands can shift between sections and arrangements effortlessly - well, Godspeed is the master of it. One thing leads to another, perfectly and seamlessly. Volume levels are used to alter the prominence of individual instruments and melodic lines.
I had been waiting patiently (and impatiently) for years to hear new Godspeed material. This year I finally got it. 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! was the best surprise of 2012. And it was also awesome that there were no press releases or announcements of the album until it was available for purchase. And in the one press statement Efrim gave he basically criticized press statements.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Mladic," "We Drift Like Worried Fire"
#2 Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction
This album didn't sink in with me for the longest time. There was so much praise revolving around it I continued to give it more chances, and I'd personally hyped it up a lot coming into 2012 after hearing Brett Campbell's stunning guest vocal work on Loss' 2011 debut, Despond. When an album doesn't grab me there comes a point when I just discard it. That point comes at different times with different bands and different albums (I'll give some albums more chances if it's by a band with a strong discography, for example, of if it's by a band I've historically been a fan of). Thankfully for me, I kept giving this one more chances, and because of that at one point it just clicked with me and I allowed myself to be engulfed by it. I discovered how amazing this band really is, and what a monolith of an album they had created.
Given to the Grave is an unbelievably powerful song. Four lines make up the lyrics to an eleven minute song:
Carry me to my grave,
When at long last my journey has ended,
On the path that leads from here to oblivion,
Where no more sorrow can weigh me down.
Campbell's vocals are enough to bring you to your knees. High and mighty, coming off like an amalgamation of Ozzy Osbourne and Geddy Lee, the grief soaks into every fabric of your being. As one review said, "he sounds like a wise and weary old soul that's traveled many a desolate mile, and can now finally sleep in the eternal arms of the reaper." There are moments where he genuinely sounds like he's on the verge of weeping.
There are so many reviews out there of this album, most of which praise it. Desolate, depressing, crushing, stunning, visionary, haunting, etc. are all some adjectives I've seen thrown around a lot to describe it. But what is really noteworthy is how reading all the reviews is really fun because everyone seems to have a different take on it. That's perhaps the best part about the record - there's so much to be taken away from it. Way more than you could possibly take after first listen. This album has many, many different things to offer - way more than most albums. Chances are, if you're looking for something, it's in this album somewhere.
As for my take, there's a very strange un-doomy sound in this album that coincides with the grief and sorrow and funereal depression it embodies - an almost uplifting sound. This album is the soundtrack of embracing death with open arms. It's definitely a soundtrack to dying, but a lot of melodies seem more uplifting than depressing. It's more like it's a soundtrack to accepting your fate, or of a kind of relief experienced after realizing the fate that awaits you. The album artwork heavily uses purple and gold - the color purple is associated with mourning, and according to the bible, Christ was shrouded in a purple cloak on his way to be crucified. Which probably explains why a lot of classic doom bands like Sabbath and Saint Vitus used purple in their logos/cover art/etc. After Jesus accepted his fate he embodied it, and I think that's the tone this album sets.
Also, I saw it questioned somewhere whether or not the ship on the cover is supposed be Noah's Ark. Which would further extend the biblical metaphor even though there's no biblical lyrical content on the album. It would make sense though considering the overall theme of the album, and with "extinction" being in the title. There you go, I know some of you conduct interviews... so if you ever happen to find yourself sitting in front of Mr. Campbell with a recorder in hand, ask him if the ship on the cover has any metaphorical meaning to "extinction."
Of all the themes and lyrics in this album, and of all the things you can take from it, there's a passage that's at the heart of all the others:
In the shadows I wander
A solitary man, fearing not the hidden
In this harsh world of deception, I will stand up once more
And find within myself the strength to stumble again
I tremble when I read it and I tremble when I hear it. My eighth grade English teacher used to say "a hero is one who stands up when he can't." Every time I listen to this album I envision Brett Campbell walking towards his grave and falling over time and time again on his way. But he always manages to stand back up, even when he can't, and keep on walking towards it.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Foreigner," "Given to the Grave"
#1 Ahab - The Giant
This album is better than The Divinity of Oceans and The Call of the Wretched Sea. In fact I like it much, much more than those albums. Ahab has to be, especially with this release, the most accessible funeral doom band out there. For a genre that's usually a hard pill to swallow for even the most open-minded listeners, funeral doom doesn't produce music this well done very often. I feel that this album, because it's so well done, is more accessible than maybe any other funeral doom album to date. If this is your introduction to the genre, fortunately or unfortunately for you - whichever way you look at it - the bar has been set incredibly high.
The Call of the Wretched Sea was a Moby-Dick themed album with a lyrical fixation on dark, oppressive, oceanic themes. The Divinity of Oceans was a soundtrack to Owen Chase's infamous book, "Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex," published in 1821, that in fact inspired Herman Melville to write the classic story, "Moby Dick." And their 2012 album, The Giant, takes its inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket," which happens to be about a whaling ship called the Grampus and the various adventures and misadventures that befall the poor captain (including shipwreck, mutiny, and cannibalism) on his journey across the southern seas.
I used a similar analogy with Borgne's album, but Ahab’s music is as reminiscent of the ocean as its lyrics are. Sonically, The Giant at times paints a picture of calm waters and fair seas, and other times paints a dark, horrifying picture of tempests and the terrible might of the vast, powerful sea. The dynamics switch from soft to heavy, calm to violent, in the blink of an eye, recalling the unpredictable savagery of the ocean. The album opener, “Further South,” is a fine example of this. It begins softly with delicate guitar notes, subdued drumming, and clean vocals for the first 4:30 before the song explodes into heavy, doomy riffs. Such dynamics are showcased throughout the entire record, which makes it superior to its predecessors. This album is dynamic in every way. It's hard to stress how critical this is - dynamics are the difference maker between good albums and great albums. The Giant is really all over the place in terms of musical ideas and sounds. It's even accurate to say post-rock is an influence here. I never thought I'd say it... post-rock influenced funeral doom.
The vocals on this album are also incredibly dynamic and diverse, ranging from whispers to refined cleans to bellowing shouts to gutterals to screams. Sometimes he sounds like a ship captain verbally abusing his crew. The vocals change up on this album constantly (an aspect of it that I absolutely love), and they're very layered and compliment perfectly every tone this album projects throughout its great length. At times there is an echo present behind them. Even Herbrand Larsen makes a guest appearance on "Antarctica the Polymorphess" and "Fathoms Deep Below" to offer yet further vocal diversity.
Overall, the cleaner production, increased dynamics, influence, carefully crafted atmosphere, and the shear massiveness of this album sonically makes it album of the year. This is the most ambitious body of art that's come out of the metal department in a number of years. For those who aren't fans of Ahab's first two albums - give this one a chance. It's a different animal altogether.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Aeons Elapse" (listen for the guitar solo at the 9:35 mark), "Deliverance" (the best part of the song starts around the 4:00 minute mark... the riff and then the solo), "Antarctica the Polymorphess" (the best song on the album, and possibly the best song of 2012), "The Giant" (incredible vocals between 1:00 and 2:00)
Never whistle while you're pissing.
08/23 - Alice in Chains
09/19 - Deafheaven
09/26 - Belphegor
10/18 - King Diamond
11/01 - Suffocation
11/30 - Devin Townsend
Solid set of albums! Although I disagree with your first sentence in your The Giant review...
Awesome thread bro!
8/20 Amonie/Muscle & Marrow
9/3 Sete Star Sept
9/19 Punch (?)
10/30 KING DIAMOND