With so many brilliant releases this year, it became hard to pick just 10. My two favorite classic rock bands and some of my favorite black and thrash metal bands released albums, and not a bad one in the bunch (not including the album listed at the very bottom). Between these and tours, 2012 was an amazing year for metal, and if you don’t see that then…well…that’s kind of a personal problem you have there. Whatever the subgenre, there was something that even the most narrow minded person could enjoy. Unless you only listen to post-progressive-melodic-black-grind-technical-synth-funk-avant-garde-neo-mathcore, or something of the sort.
10. Enslaved – RIITIIR
Something with the style of RIITIIR wasn’t something you’d normally catch me listening to. I’m not a “progressive” fan at all, so it takes me awhile to get over that and appreciate the album for what it is. Much like everyone else, I was astounded at how good the album was….it’s so easy to catch yourself singing along to it (even if you can’t sing to save your life) as it envelops you in the riffs and alternating vocals. I’m glad I was able to be more open minded to a style of music that remains foreign to me, but since I’m still not a fan of anything that is prog-rock influenced, the album could only go up to #10 for me.
9. Enthroned – Obsidium
Since I have all your attention, I’d like to point it out that I do not have an Enthroned shirt yet, and that the holidays are coming up. Just pointing that out, in case anyone wanted to know. Or has an extra Enthroned shirt. Anyways, as with all the other albums I put in my top 10 (aside from Vision Divine), I’ve been a huge fan of the band since before I even listened to their newest releases, and Enthroned is no exception. The album is a continuation of everything in Enthroned that is wonderful, and makes them one of those “if you don’t know them, then you should” bands. Even though it didn’t replace Tetra Karcist as my favorite album of theirs, it’s nothing less than a step on their rise to fame, so to speak. What I truly mean to say is, it’s such a good album that enough people should buy it, so they’ll get their foreign asses back to the states to tour.
8. Testament – Dark Roots of Earth
Yet another release from the almighty Testament, and another amazing one at that. Perhaps I’m just talking out of my ass because I’ve seen the band thrice and own a large portion of their discography, but there isn’t too many non positive things that can be said about the album. I do admit that it’s probably only about my 5th favorite Testament album, but that’s just because I hold the others to such a high regard that aren’t easily mirrored. When the band comes back in February on tour supporting the release, you can be damn sure my hind quarters will attend the show.
7. Dethklok – Dethalbum III
“Why is a fictional band’s album on her top 10?” SCREW YOU ALL. We all know those dim witted people who feel that they can’t like something that’s “mainstream”, but it’s truly their loss. For every new episode, I stay up and watch it, for every DVD release, I preorder it. I love this show to a tremendously large extent, and every time I hear a song off the album, I instantly remember the episode it was off of and get a grin all over my damn face. Putting the comedic value of it aside, the album would be worth the listen even if it was a standalone release, with no involvement with the show. Brendan Small is too good with sweep picking and writing to say the least. Although it is partially a soundtrack, Dethalbum III is no less musically ingenious than other metal releases this year, and should be respected for not only it’s ties to Metalocalypse, but it’s content.
6. Ragnarok – Malediction
I looked at other reviews for the album (other than my own), and saw that not everyone shared the same OHMYGODTHISALBUMISAMAZING viewpoint. Needless to say I was disappointed (the fools), but paid it little mind as Malediction dominated my “recently listened tracks” on last.fm. The album was stunning, as much as every other release by Ragnarok. Just as every other summary of each album for my top 10, I’ll add in my little plea for a U.S. tour that swings by my area. I can only imagine how it would sound live, when it’s destroying my speakers with only iTunes.
5. Rush – Clockwork Angels
Pretty much, if you don’t like Rush, you suck. Not many other ways to put it into words…Rush can’t be copied or looked down upon, and their legacy speaks for itself. I first heard some of the songs off of the album last year when the band played them on their Time Machine tour. Youtube quickly became my best friend as I scoured for bootleg recordings of the show I saw, so I would be able to hear Caravan again. With Clockwork Angels, you see that Rush still remains the band they always were, and you still try to drum along with every song.
4. Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day
Although it may not be a metal album, one must always save love for Led Zeppelin. As one of my favorite bands as well as one of the bands I’m in denial about never being able to see live, hearing the good quality of their reunion show just brings a smile to my face. The internet was plagued with bootlegs of their 2007 reunion where most of the sound was buzz, screaming, and a bit of guitar here and there, but it’s great to finally hear it in the quality it deserves. With a release on Blu-Ray as well as CD and DVD, it’s one of the closest things a fan can get to seeing them live. Even if Celebration Day was a letdown, it’d still be something to behold, and I can only watch with jealousy for the people who saw the show first hand. Led Zeppelin will never disappoint.
3. Vision Divine – Destination Set to Nowhere
I’m just going to come out and say it, I don’t like Power Metal, Gothic Metal, or Symphonic Metal. I really don’t. I give certain bands a try, respect them as musicians, but just want nothing more than to never listen to them again. But since one of the few Power Metal bands I like is Rhapsody of Fire (more like love with a dying passion), I decided to give Vision Divine a shot, seeing as Fabio Lione was the vocalist. However, due to my true and everlasting hatred for Power Metal, before I listened to this album I heaved a big-ass sigh and prepared for the worst. Well, seeing as it’s on my top 10, you can tell that I was definitely surprised. Everything is so damn catchy that certain tracks have been popping into my head constantly, even while I’m listening to something else. The musicianship, concept, and production are all beautiful and are melodic without getting carried away to the point you don’t know if there’s any guitar at all, and Fabio’s vocals are just as perfect as they are in Rhapsody of Fire. I can honestly say I need 10 copies of the album. One for the house, one for the car, one in a fireproof safe, one in the CD player at all times, one to just look at, one for the bathroom, and the others for if I accidentally break any of the others.
2. Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
Due to being an avid Kreator fan, the album was already one of my favorites of the year before it was even in my grubby little hands. But of course, it’s the quality of the album that kept it on replay. You get the sound that you automatically know comes with Kreator, without a massive rerelease of everything they’ve done in the past. It’s not just because it’s a release from Kreator that you like it, it’s the kind of album that would turn first time listeners into fans. All the riffs correlate into multiple minute long masterpieces, which would probably have been face smashing live (but what do I know? It’s not like their show here was cancelled at the last minute and my hopes and dreams were instantly smashed with a hammer and pissed on, or anything).
1. Marduk – Serpent Sermon
Ah yes, the album has been played so much that it is currently adorned with millions of scratches. My poor CD…it deserves so much better than that, but if Marduk put out shitty albums this wouldn’t be a problem. The lyrics, the guitar, the drums, the vocals, the everything, it’s all perfect. I’m truly anal about saying too many nice things about any creative work, but I’d honestly have to devote a large portion of my day to completely tear this album apart just to find one small thing wrong with it.
Least favorite album of this year, possibly of all time:
Wodensthrone – Curse
I realize many people out there think that this album is the greatest thing since toasters and the internet, but I can full heartedly say that I BEG TO DIFFER. I first heard the album when Maddie set out to do a review on it, but wasn’t expecting to hear the horrors that reached my ears. The reason her review is not on the website is because it was so very negative, and that is also the reason I cannot go into detail for how much I truly dislike this album. I would end up writing a 10 page essay on every inch of the album and why I hate every part of it. It’s not the style of music per-se, but more that every second I would stop and say “that sounds a lot like a riff from this band”, then think that a good number of times before the song is over.