Top 10 Albums of 2012

These, in my opinion, are the best 10 records I heard from 2012.

It was pretty easy this year. Here we go.

10.) Torche - Harmonicraft

I didn’t listen to this record (and, to be quite honest, never listened to anything of theirs) until a couple weeks ago. I stumbled upon this one after looking through all the releases of 2012. I’m really glad I did.

These guys fit in well in my library, and Harmonicraft was an awesome record. Really good, classic rock inspired metal. I need to check out their other stuff after hearing this album.

9.) Meshuggah - Koloss

Koloss. This album broke my head the first time I listened to it. Rattle the mountains with rhythm jackhammers.

I’ve been awaiting this release since obZen, which to this day I think is still one of the heaviest records EVER. Koloss is lot more groovy than obZen was heavy, which is fine with me.

8.) Lamb of God - Resolution

Lamb of God is the workhorse of metal. You usually know what you’re getting into with them. And Resolution is no exception. That being said, they’re so polished and heavy it’s kind of hard to NOT get pulled in by their tunes.

Excellent record from an excellent band.

7.) Exotic Animal Petting Zoo - Tree of Tongues

Never heard of these guys before 2012. Then I saw the video for Thorough.Modern online and it really caught my attention. They’ve got this weird later era Poison the Well meets Glassjaw meets Dillinger Escape Plan kind of mathy vibe to them. I love it.

These guys fucking rock. Big surprise from this record. I listened to it a lot over the year. It has a meaty set of songs that are really bizarre in that good way.

There’s lots of mathy prog metal bands, and a lot of them are really good. The tinge of hardcore these guys bring to the table really sticks out to me. Really memorable songs that were stuck in my brain long after the first listen.

6.) Gojira - L’Enfant Sauvage

I never really got into these guys heavily. I think I’ve heard all their previous records, I just never dove in. I think I listened to this record 15 or 20 times right after it came out.

I was really surprised by this one. Explosia came on my speakers and that riff just blasted me in the face. Then those machine gun double bass kicks coming in. Raw.

5.) Every Time I Die - Ex-Lives

To paint you the picture of how much I was anticipating this record, I pre-ordered it, and when it came to my mailbox the day before the release date I blasted this on my singer’s PA system in my basement 3 times while drinking whiskey. Exactly as it should be.

I’ve been a ETIDiot since just after New Junk Aesthetic came out. My friend Gordon turned me on to them, and I’ve eaten up all their songs since.

This was well worth the wait. The Buckley brothers keep it killer on this batch of tunes, and it feels just like every party I’ve ever wanted to go to.

I saw them live for the first time recently, and every video I’ve seen was an understatement. They’re even better live than on record, and that seems impossible to do at their breakneck pace.

Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space, I Suck [Blood], Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow, and Business Casualty are club bangers in their own right. Great record, I can’t wait for the next one.

4.) The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet

I like The Mars Volta. I like their experimental, noisy, abstract, jammy stuff from previous recordings.

That being said, I think this is their best, most cohesive record to date.

I listened to a lot of interviews with them leading up to the release, and they talked a lot about the song writing process. They also discussed a lot of the At the Drive-In performances, and it seems like the presence of that other group really brought out the best of them on Noctourniquet.

It’s a joy to listen to. It’s easily the most accessible and song-like album The Mars Volta have released, but I think that’s ok. These songs just dig in and don’t let go. It’s a wonderful listen from start to finish, and reads just like the story they intended.

3.) Between the Buried and Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence

I was looking forward to The Parallax II after I enjoyed the hell out of The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP that came out last year. I heard it would continue on with the same themes, and that got me excited.

I got onto their band wagon pretty late in their career, but have become a big fan. They’ve been described to me as “The Pink Floyd of Death Metal” before, and while that might not be exactly accurate, it does paint the right picture.

This record is really well produced, thought out, and performed. They nailed it. Silent Flight Parliament is perhaps one of my new favorite songs of all time. This album has it all.

2.) Deftones - Koi No Yokan

What can you say about the Deftones that hasn’t already been said? They’re one of my favorite bands and have kept up the momentum of Diamond Eyes with this record.

As always from these guys, you get a great blend of aggressive riffs, ethereal atmosphere, and lush soundscapes. Coupled with Chino’s always encompassing vocals, you get the formula for modern rock majesty.

Leathers has crept its way into my subconscious, as have Goon Squad, Rosemary, and Poltergeist.

Another classic from the Deftones. Get well, Chi.

1.) Baroness - Yellow & Green

I appreciate the way that Baroness names their records after colors. I usually associate music with colors pretty aggressively myself. It’s always been that way for me.

I also tightly couple music to seasons of the year, as well. When I first heard this record, it hit me with a blast of the feeling I get in the fall listening to new music, despite being released the day after my birthday in July. I was floored.

When Yellow & Green came out, I was just starting to really appreciate The Blue Record and it’s majesty, and had only listened to The Red Album a few times. I liked Baroness, but wasn’t a huge fan or anything.

After giving Yellow & Green a few spins, I was a convert.

The way these guys write songs hits very close to home for me. From the lyrics and themes to the guitar melodies and riffs, every song is a unique in it’s own right.

To me, both albums feel completely independent and on their own, yet both perfectly complement the other. The first disc (Yellow) feels a lot more like a classic rock era record, while the second (Green) sounds a bit more produced and experimental.

Every single song on these records speaks to me. John Baizley writes some damn good stories, and I for one can’t wait for the next batch, whenever they recover from the bus crash. Every single song on Yellow should get single/video treatment.

March to the Sea, Take My Bones Away, Eula, Cocainium, Little Things, Board Up the House, I mean, I should just put the whole record here. Every one is a standout in it’s own right. If you haven’t checked this out yet you owe it to yourself to do so as soon as possible.

Hands down my favorite album of 2012. I wore out the bits on this one.

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