People seem to love or hate these Year End Top Metal albums list-thingys. As a long-time reviewer, I enjoy doing them, but you have to find the right balance. Last year I tried to do a top 100 list, and honestly it was brutal, and I don’t mean the music. This year I have cut the list down to a more manageable number. A full list of Top 40 albums will run next week, but for the next two days, we’ll run the top 20. Without further ado here is my list from 20-11.
#20. ALCEST- Les Voyages de L’Âme (Prophecy Productions)
Hauntingly beautiful, disturbing and introspective. Those are the words that describe ALCEST in general, and their early 2012 offering. Maestro NEIGE is one of the most creative thinkers, genius lyricists and bravest art makers in all of music, not just metal.
#19. ROYAL THUNDER- CVI (Relapse)
For a band that has only had the public ear for a few years, ROYAL THUNDER’s CVI is amazing and refreshing. MLNY PARSONZ is a reluctant hero and front woman for the bluesiest, brooding proto-metal band to come along in ages.
#18. WOODS OF YPRES- Woods V: Grey Skies and Electric Light (Earache)
With the one year anniversary coming up of the tragic death of DAVID GOLD, it was bittersweet revisiting this album recently. His passing looms large over the music left behind in retrospect. Woods V is an epic masterwork of gloom ridden, melodic Doom. A terrible loss for the music world.
#17. HIGH ON FIRE- De Vermiis Mysteriis (E1)
Another concept album that made the top 20 list. Another magical, proto-metal burst of grand musical ambition from Messrs MATT PIKE and company. This is a band that keeps getting better and better. The record is also a guitar playing tour de force from start to finish too.
#16. DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT -Epicloud (Hevy Devy/InsideOut)
DEVIN TOWNSEND is at the pinnacle of his powers. He might also be the JAMES BROWN of metal, the hardest working man in the business. Epicloud is his most straight forward, rocking and fun effort. Worth buying for the performance of ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN alone.
#15. GOATWHORE- Blood For The Master (Metal Blade)
One of the top outfits in metal, 2012 saw the band release another great album. They even get some commercial exposure for the first time ever. It was long overdue for a unit that has made some of the most consistently harsh, and evil music from America in a long time. Kudos!
#14. CONVERGE- All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph)
For a band that has rewritten some of the heaviest music in their career, they shun the term metal or the typical definition of it. Yet, their latest album is one of the hardest to come out this year. A band that continues to write and re-write the book on modern music.
#13. THE DEFTONES- Koi No Yokan (Reprise)
Not quite as heavy as their previous efforts, but still an astounding melodic statement from one of the most creative forces in modern metal. Few albums can be said to be this rough and gorgeous sounding too. THE DEFTONES pulled it off.
#12. LAMB OF GOD- Resolution (Epic)
One of the heaviest and bad-ass albums of the year. Credit to the band for also making the most diverse album of their career, without sacrificing what has made them the leaders of modern metal. The shame of RANDY BLYTHE‘s legal troubles abroad has been not enough attention has gotten paid to how adventurous and cool Resolution is musically.
#11. MARES OF THRACE – The Pilgrimage (Sonic Union Metal)
Just missed the top ten. A complex, heavy concept-thick album that stays with you long after the music stops. G THÉRÈSE LANZ doesn’t get nearly enough notice for her lyrics, which match the best of any album in 2012. Another brilliant release from the most brutal band in Canada, and maybe sonically; the heaviest tone in modern metal too.
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes