2012 indeed was a great year for metal music. Great bands returned to the spotlight, others put a great effort of make something creative and different. I had great difficulty making this list, it were many great records that were left out that I enjoyed over the course of this year, but i have to make my mind on which ones really made a huge impact on me. So here they are my top 15 metal albums of 2012. Enjoy them.
#15 Xandria – Neverworld’s End
German symphonic gothic metal band Xandria released their 5th studio album Neverworld’s End at the beginning of the year. The album is a rendition to the old symphonic metal era, that includes a lot of operatic voices, symphonic orchestrations, and really heavy riffs. The voice of their new vocalist Manuella Kraller gives the band a new personality, not only her voice is beautiful and powerful, but is also an enchanting and mysterious. This attributes gives Neverworld’s End a powerful new sound that is magical and epic at the same time.
We got the chance to speak with Xandria about Neverworld’s end, and the idea behind the album.
#14 Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
One of the biggest thrash metal bands in the world, Kreator, returns with a kick ass masterpiece called Phantom Antichrist, the album itself is just pure unadulterated thrash metal. From beginning to end this album will make you head bang non stop, and mosh without control. The epic guitar solos & magnificent drum pounding are just enough to say that they keep the flame of traditional and true thrash metal established in the early 80’s alive.
#13 Huntress – Spell Eater
A year ago Huntress was a band was only known by a music video, and the sensation created by the voice of their singer Jill Janus. A year later, and after releasing their first album Spell Eater, touring North America and Europe twice. Huntress comes as one of the bands revelation of this 2012. Their album and concept are just so eclectic as fascinating. Forget about genre, or where this band comes from, is just pure fucking metal with a witch spell written on each song. Is not doubt that we will hear more from Huntress in the future, but for now just listen to Spell Eater and bang your head as the witch commands you to do so.
We talked with Jill Janus of Huntress before the release of Spell Eater, and their first tour in Europe.
# 12 Ex Deo – Caligvla
Roman Praetorian legion Ex Deo released this year their second album titled Caligvla, an album based around the idea of the infamous Roman Emperor. The album not only has a great concept behind it, but is also really heavy musically speaking. This time around not only the Roman lyrics and the stories of legendary battles, military campaigns were enough for Ex Deo. The album takes a look at the lives of citizens, senators, and even gladiators are the center of attention on this album. A great historic ride with really heavy music in the background.
We talked with Jeff F.Dagenais of Ex Deo about Caligvla during the band’s stop here in Tempe, AZ last October.
#11 Jeff Loomis – Plains Of Oblivion
This 2012 Jeff Loomis (ex – Nevermore) launched his solo career with the release of his second solo album Plains Of Oblivion, a ten track musical rendition of heavenly proportions as the guitar playing on this album is just out of this world. The execution, the technique, the patterns, the textures make of it an amazing album. Songs like Mercurial, The Ultimatum, Requiem For The Living are testimony of the skills and precise technique of one of the greatest guitar player of the metal scene today.
We talked with Jeff Loomis about Plains Of Oblivion & his new solo career during his stop here in Tempe, AZ last March.
#10 Crucified Barbara – The Midnight Chase
Since the release of The Midnight Chase by Swedish hard rockers Crucified Barbara the album haven’t left my Iphone. Heavy riffs, sexy and angry lyrics, and an enchanted voice made of this album a powerful and straight forward hard rock album. In the time of technicality and pretentious virtuosos (not that I have anything against it, it just a lot of it around these days) is good to heard a band that keeps the real spirit alive, really heavy riffs, kick ass lyrics and music personality.
We talked with Mia Coldheart about the album, and the band’s idea behind it
#9 Candlemass – Psalms For The Dead
Long time Doom metal patriarchs, Candlemass, said goodbye to the metal scene this year with a last album. A total opus, as they just poured all the darkness, rage, passion and madness left on them into Psalms For The Dead. The album itself is just great from beginning to end, you can find twisted Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and even Rainbow influences all over on this record. Songs like Prophet, Dancing In The Temple (Of The Mad Queen Bee), The Killing Of The Sun are just the kind of songs that personify their style, and their legend as one of the top Doom metal bands ever.
#8 Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol
Another band that returns with a new album after a long slumber. Paradise Lost not only is itself a metal institution as they are the pioneers of two different genres (Doom & Gothic metal). Their new album Tragic Idol is another step on their long-lasting career; the album is dark, heavy, diverse and full of emotions that shows their class as one of the biggest and most respected bands out there. Tragic Idol is another masterpiece not only in the discography of the band, but in the history of the genres they helped to create.
We talked with Aaron Aedy about their US tour, Tragic Idol and their future plans during their stop here last September.
#7 Tiamat – The Scarred People
After four years of absence Tiamat returns with an excellent new album. The Scarred People, is a 11 track perfect rendition of darkness and sorrow. The album draws a lot influences from Pink Floyd early concepts, as some of the songs sound a bit psychedelic and progressive. The band continues creating emotional and intelligent music from their own workshop and adapting them to the modern world. The Scarred People can only be categorized as a new dawn on the genre of gothic metal.
#6 Therion – Les Fleurs Du Mal
One of the most bizarre bands on earth, that musically speaking has found the formula to perfectly combine classical music and metal. Therion are the pioneers on their genre of Symphonic Metal, this time around they bring a new concept. Le Fleurs Du Mal is not only amazingly strange, heavy, vintage, and yeah very French as all the songs are covers of 1950’s and 1960’s French hits. The idea behind of this project is to be presented as an art piece that takes influences on the life and writings of one of the most infamous French poets Charles Baudelaire.
We had the pleasure to speak with Christofer Johnsson of Therion about the new album and the future plans of the band.
#5 Kamelot – Silverthorn
New vocalist, new album, and a new start were enough for the metal knights of Kamelot to reestablish themselves as one of the best comebacks to the metal spotlight this 2012. Silverthorn is an amazing album that does not sound like anything that this band has done in the past. The music is fresh, the epicness is back in business, and the voice that Tommy Karevik adds to the music of Kamelot are just amazing, just listen to Song of Jolee, Veritas or Sacrimony and you will see what I am talking about. Kamelot revamped themselves with a totally new and original concept that it was taken to the highest epic and majesty ever imagined.
During their stop here in Tempe, AZ last October we had the chance to speak with Thomas Youngblood and Oliver Palotai about the album.
#4 Wintersun – Time I
Six years in the making were worth the wait for the new Wintersun album, as the result speaks by itself. How else can I describe Time I if not as one of the most epic albums I ever listen to. The production, the orchestrations, and the performance are just amazing. Indeed the album took a good deal of time to be finish, but the results are beyond expectations. Definitely I can’t wait for Time II to be released. Wintersun not only pour their soul on this album, but after watch them play this songs live is not doubt there are one of the top metal acts out there.
We talked to Wintersun at their first ever North American show here in Tempe, AZ last November.
#3 Delain – We Are The Others
The third album of the Dutch gothic metal powerhouse Delain present us a more deep and compelling musical concept around the tragedy of Sophie Lancaster a British girl killed because of her gothic appearances back in 2007. On We Are The Others, Delain delivers a powerful message of tolerance, difference and singularity within the album. Not only the music is amazingly good, but also the voice of Charlotte Wessels had become more powerful than ever before. A great album by a great band with a meaningful message.
Early this year we had the chance to speak with Martijn Westerholt keyboardist and founding member of Delain about We Are The Others.
#2 Sabaton – Carolus Rex
The Swedish commandos Sabaton attacked this 2012 with Carolus Rex, a powerful album full of new ideas and a different historical prospective. The concept based in pure Swedish history, mixed with powerful riffs and the amazing voice of Joakim Brodén made of this record a blasting hit of atomic proportions. Besides the story and the creative and historical deal behind it, the music and the production done by non other than Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy, Pain) made of this album an instant hit. This album is like bringing a whole battlefield of sound to your own living room.
#1 Opera Diabulicus – †1614
Opera Diabulius has been in my Iphone non stop since their album †1614 dropped in my inbox late January. The project itself is just a conceptual masterpiece around the infamous Countess Bathory. Out of the minds of David Grimoire and Adrian De Crow The album features artist like: Snowy Shaw (Therion, Ex-Dimmu Borgir & King Diamond) Mats Leven (Therion, Krux), Niklas Isfeldt (Dream Evil), Jake E (Amaranthe, Dreamland), and Camilla Alisander Ason. The production, music, concept and story behind this record are amazing. A must have, if you like quality metal with a twisted personality and a punchy storyline.