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2012: Towards The Megalist

I'm (sorta) back. *The Finishing Touches* OKAY, so obviously not as much stuff from the last half of the year as the first. Sorry guys, but that first six months nearly killed me. Some stuff as a result will be missing, but major stuff not present is stuff I probably didn't care for. Alrighty then, enough with the "stuff"...

This list, which is rated and listed in order of preference, will strive to include everything I've listened to in 2012 whether good or bad (separating it from my decade list). I'll try to be as helpful as possible. All ratings and placements are VERY subject to change and descriptions of music are subjective. Any albums that receive a rating of 5 or below won't get a recommended track in most cases, since they aren't worth listening to at all in my opinion. I buy what I feel is worth buying (if I can afford it), and that's all I'll say on the matter. Don't be surprised if a few non-metal releases sneak in.

Sorry for the lack of quality in my one line overviews. It was pretty painful making the switch, but it had to be done due to the line limit.

Recently added: Enslaved, Wintersun, Katatonia, Paradox
Reconsidered: Sigh
What I DO mean to add later: Dordeduh, Atoma

I currently have 40+ albums on my 'to listen' list, so suggestions may be added slowly. Don't be afraid to keep them coming, though. Disclaimer: Some of my musical descriptions here may be slightly altered and used in my M-A reviews as Metal_Detector. If you should happen to notice, it isn't plagiarism either way.

2-4 are kind of deadlocked right now.

Without further adieu, here it is.

Created by: strade | 23.01.2012

1. Bound by Entrails - The Stars Bode You Farewell
9.7 (prog extreme/symph. black) - If you told me three weeks ago that my first legitimate frontrunner for 2012's AOTY would come from an unsigned BM band from Alaska, I would have stared you dead in the eyes and laughed. I'm not laughing now. BBE's final effort is a crowning achievement for the ages that took time to unlock. Once that door starts to open, however, one begins to take in the glorious bounty that lies beyond it. Words of warning: the 'atm. black' label on their album page is patently wrong. Sure, there's a transfixing atmosphere and some black elements, but the contents are set in highly melodic soundscapes with avant-gardeish touches. And that's not even considering the occasional folk and prog rock influences. Just check it out on their BC. Kind of an acquired taste I guess, but it seriously blows me away. Take a bow, gentlemen, for this is a masterpiece. Song to check out: "Apprehension"
2. Royal Thunder - CVI
9.3 (southern hard rock/doom) - When it comes to rock music, Royal Thunder's full length debut is bound to be the be all end all this year. The amount of power and strength of songwriting on display here is nothing short of enchanting. The vocals, however, go beyond that. Parsonz easily puts on a performance men could only envy, grabbing you by the balls from the first few seconds and never letting go even when the going gets slow and atmospheric. One to cherish. Song to check out: "No Good"
3. Akphaezya - Anthology IV: The Tragedy of Nerak
9.3 (avant-garde) - It's interesting that such a mixture of various styles can sound so cohesive and easy to listen to. In fact, I would barely consider this within the metal realm apart from some growls and heavier moments. The ridiculously talented Nehl Aëlin brings much to the table vocally here, complementing the music with her versatility. Akphaezya can be fun, pretty, hectic, and sexy; as a result, this record is like the musical equivalent of a beautiful woman. Song to check out: "Utopia"
4. Dissona - Dissona
9.2 (progressive/avant-garde) - I'm pretty much blown away by this album. However, I am afraid that those who aren't prog initiated will yawn and roll their eyes once more. Don't mistake this for another Dream Theater exercise in tedium. This is fairly technical (but highly melodic and theatrical) metal that chooses to deliver short bursts of unbridled creativity rather than interminable walks through nothingness. Sometimes it comes in catchy colors, sometimes it whimsically explores in free-form territory. The vocals are amazing: somewhat operatic, but with an effective harder edge. There's growls, too. Oh, and this is just a debut. Song to check out: "Fawn"
5. Anhedonist - Netherwards
9.0 (death/doom) - Imagine that movie 127 hours, except that you've gotten your arm lodged into a dark underwater cavern and the nightmarish dwellers of said purgatory are tearing you limb from limb, allowing you to live only to suffer. Yeah, meet Netherwards; she's kind of a downer. I can only shudder to think of what the physical embodiment of this record would be. An old school production and vibe courses through it, though the harrowing melodies are unlike almost anything I've heard. People like to throw words like atmospheric around (I've been guilty), but the coupling of the the searing guitar and the varied and emotive vocals is... unearthly. After forty minutes, these four epic endurance tests burrow deep in the soul and stay there to wreak more emotional havoc. Song to check out: "Estrangement", which is just unforgettable.
6. Pharaoh - Bury the Light
9.0 (trad. power) - Pretty much absolutely brilliant. This is no bullshit aggressive power metal that still possesses enough melody to plant itself deep in the recesses of the mind. The guitar-work is insanely elegant and somewhat complex, and you know Tim Amyar is gonna rip this thing apart (and his own throat in the process). This is pretty much as good as modern power metal gets save for maybe The Black Halo, Defying the Rules, or Be Gone before it; aware of its roots and inspirations, but not derivative of them. Music that simply doesn't get old. Song to check out: "Cry"
7. Horrendous - The Chills
8.8 (old school death) - This is a killer mix of early Floridian death and a melancholy vibe more Swedish. There are songs and riffs here I'll be humming for a while, and it's all cloaked in that early 90s production that fits so well. Very consistent and highly recommended. Horrendous bests this relentless bevy of pathetic OSDM bands that is all too pervasive these days (just look to the bottom of this list). Get The Chills and get the chills. Song to check out: "The Somber (Desolate Winds)"
8. Aborted - Global Flatline
8.8 (brutal death/grind) - The artwork's sick; the title's sick; so it's only fitting that the music is so damn sinister. It's fast, heavy, and ready to demolish all in it's path, busting out some awesome variation in the vocal department and shredding solos that fly. I dare you to sit still while listening to it. Can't. Stop. Banging. Head. Song to check out: "Coronary Reconstruction"
9. Rush - Clockwork Angels
8.8 (alt./prog rock) - Thinking big for forty years, Rush almost seems ageless in yet another worthwhile effort. Songs like "The Wreckers," "BU2B," and the breathtaking "The Garden" are just incredible. Get on this.
10. Sigh - In Somniphobia
8.8 (avantgarde/black) - It took many months and much effort, but Sigh's wacky avantgarde feast finally grew on me to become on of my favorites for the year. The heaps of classical influence, jazz touches, and even psychedelic trance moments here and there all somehow congeal into a musical portrait that mirrors the simultaneously beautiful and haunting cover image. This is one monumental effort that's almost challenging to a certain extent, but it's worth the time of day (or night). Song to check out: "The Transfiguration Fear"
11. Enslaved - RIITIIR
8.7 (prog black) - Okay, so this was my most anticipated release of the year, and for good reason. It's fuckin' ENSLAVED for Odin's sake... which is one of the reasons I was ever so slightly let down by the release coming off the tail of the absolutely marvelous Axioma Ethica Odini. It's still great (as if it couldn't be), so don't get your pantie in a bunch. It's just that I couldn't quite get as excited this time as I could two years ago. Still a crucial pickup. Song to check out: "Thoughts Like Hammers"
12. Infera Bruo - Infero Bruo
8.7 (prog black) - So you like modern Enslaved, eh? Well then, you need to drop everything right now, head to Infera Bruo's Bandcamp, and drink in this alluring elixir this very minute. This is awesome, with clean laser riffing, memorable chorus parts, blackened snarls, and more of those morose clean vocals I can't get enough of in this style. This should hold over rabid listeners of Below the Lights and Axioma Ethica Odini. Four tracks at 34 minutes, and this isn't just an exercise of cloning... Song to check out: "Upon Stone"
13. Hail Spirit Noir - Pneuma
8.7 (prog/avant-garde black) - Too awesome for words. I have fallen in love with the eccentricity known only as Hail Spirit Noir, a staggeringly fresh musical group in every regard. The most surprising aspect is the sheer unforgettable quality of this album; it's like I've got the whole thing stuck in my head at once. Truly wonderful cleans and bewitching black snarls coexist easily across this vast, flowing canvas of 70s psychadelia and melodic ease, almost mirroring a Goblin soundtrack for a classic Argento film. Seriously, the last track blows me the fuck away every time, making me reminisce about the main theme from Inferno. Epic. I do have to gripe that the last four minutes of the 13 minute epic ("Into the Gates of Time") are basically pointless, which is a lot when you consider it's only a 37 minute recording. Oh well, it still kills. Song to check out: "Haire Pneuma Skoteino"
14. Anathema - Weather Systems
8.7 (atmos./depr. pop rock) - Those still expecting another Alternative 4 or (one of my personal all time faves) Judgement really need to get over themselves. It's kind of like expecting another Ride the Lightning from Metallica; unlike the aforementioned group, however, Anathema is still making music that's worth hearing and even loving. Weather Systems is a thing of beauty, featuring great, not-so-subtle but still emotive melodies and effective female vocal accompaniment. Will probably bore many and scare metalheads that too cool for school. If you can tolerate the lighter (read: EXTREMELY light) stuff, WS is sure to please. Song to check out: "The Beginning and the End"
15. The Omega Experiment - The Omega Experiment
8.5 (modern progressive) - These Bandcamp groups are killing me this year, and by killing me, I mean that they're practically smothering me with unabashed excellence. The Omega Experiment is simply great. Blending Biomech-style avant-garde tendencies with guitar virtuosity and angelic, Anubis Gate-like vocal melodies, TOE explores vast progressive territories and essentially creates a 54 minute eargasm. I love Anubis Gate and Biomech almost as much as my parents, so that's saying a lot. This band and Dissona are bringing US prog metal back, and I couldn't be happier. (Special thanks to IIIWorldFuckface for this one). Song to check out: "Furor"
16. Backyard Mortuary - Lure of the Occult
8.5 (old school death/doom) - Oh yeah, killer stuff from the Australian underground to be found here. This features one of the crispest production jobs I've heard for this style ever (especially for a self-released album), with awesome vocals and truly decadent riffs. The variation in pacing helps send this across the threshold of morbidity and into the plains of memory. Also, DRINK, DRINK, DRINK FROM THE CHALICE OF DEMON'S BLOOD! Ahem. Song to check out: "Lure of the Occult"
17. Paradox - Tales of the Weird
8.5 (mel. thrash) - Definitely my favorite thrash effort of the year, and yet another great release in a long series of consistently enthralling albums. Paradox has had a killer ear for melody since 1990's outstanding Heresy, and Tales... simply continues the tradition of crafting hard-hitting and highly memorable tracks. Let's hope they keep delivering. Song to check out: "Escalation"
18. Agalloch - Faustian Echoes
8.5 (atm. black/folk) - Yep, more great material from Agalloch, no surprises to be had here. The proceedings are a shade darker than ever before, but they retain the life-breathing melodies and rhythms that you'll have stuck in your head all day. Awesome EP, but don't keep us waiting too long, 'k?
19. Lord Wind - Ales Stenar
8.5 (inst. medieval ambient) - That genre description must sound insane to you, but one listen to Ales Stenar will make everything clear. An hour of hypnotic jester marches, this album is a joyously mellow affair that should give you a breath of fresh air in this chaotic age of cynicism. Won't you come take a walk with me... through medieval times? Certainly a non-distracting listen for doing homework or the like. I can see myself breaking this out every once in a while. My opinion of this album continues to grow, and I'm amazed by how addictive it is. I don't think recommending a track would be particularly beneficial in this case.
20. The Foreshadowing - Second World
8.5 (gothic/doom) - A brooding, majestic, and consistently great offering of gothic doom metal. I nominate it for album cover of the year, not only for the reason that it looks freaking great, but for the fact that it represents the musical contents and mood perfectly. There are ambiguous feelings at work here; one can sense the quiet desperation and longing in Marco Benevento's voice (whose tone is AMAZING and easily the highlight here), but there is a certain hopefulness in there, too. In any case, The Foreshadowing has delivered great songs and an intriguing, 'floaty' atmosphere. Song to check out: "Ground Zero"
21. Christian Mistress - Possession
8.3 (trad./NWOBHM) - Like a metal version of Concrete Blonde. Okay, so that might not sound as appetizing to others as it does to me, so let me go into more detail: Christian Mistress is an awesome young group that joins 70s hard rock, NWOBHM, and some subtle doom touches and drenches it all in a dark but fun environment. Christine Davis provides a rather, um, ballsy vocal performance to it all; and back to the CB connection, she seriously sounds like Johnette Napolitano. I can't get enough of this album. Song to check out: "Possession"
22. Faal - The Clouds Are Burning
8.3 (atm. post death doom) - The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Oh... false alarm, that was just a burning cloud. Rather than making another 'fail' pun (no offense, because they ARE funny), I'll make a point of saying that this is a seriously kick ass mixture of deathy doom, drone, and post rock that captivates with a very free and open atmosphere. The production values are just perfect, and there's enough variation in store to justify several playthroughs. No Faalure here! Damn, just couldn't help myself... Song to check out: "The Clouds Are Burning"
23. Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora's Piñata
8.3 ('riot opera') - It's a riot. Song to check out: "Honey Trap Aftermath"
24. Lurk - Lurk
8.3 (doom/death) - A monolith of slow, sludgy, crushing riffs. Simple yet delectable rhythms keep this one flowing along though it does bust out some epic atmospheric moments and even black metal bellows. Imagine that Tom G. Warrior decided to do full on death growls and you'll have a good idea of the vocal delivery here. In fact, this whole album has a sort of modern Celtic Frost/Triptykon feel. Fun to repeat again and again. Song to check out: "Unfinished"
25. Outcast - Awaken The Reason
8.3 (tech death/thrash) - Positively mind-warping. Awaken the Reason is a relentlessly technical and heavy force to be reckoned with, far surpassing what Outcast has done in the past and what its peers are doing. The proceedings are definitely djenty (but not too much), and there's a dash of Devin Townsend weirdness here too. The only thing even slightly weak here is the vocals, which are a bit uniform and shouty, but the music will bend your mind into a savory, surrealist pretzel. Song to check out: "Abysmal"
26. The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet
8.2 (prog./alt. rock/pop) - Many refer to The Mars Volta as a progressive rock band, but that's really stretching it in my opinion; they are very much rooted in the alternative pop arena, and I don't like them any less for it. Noctourniquet (which ironically sounds metal in every sense of the word) delivers a surprising dense and enjoyable record. Little electronic flourishes and experimental sounds (with a scatterbrained drum performance reminding me of Radiohead's excellent In Rainbows) add to the simplistic formula established here. I could do without 1-2 of the thirteen tracks offered here--particularly ill-advised single "The Malkin Jewel"--but Noctourniquet mostly shines with charismatic vocals, awesome songs, and charming, enigmatic lyrics. Great Pink Floydian cover art, too. Song to check out: "In Absentia"
27. Tort - Tort
8.0 (sludge/doom/thrash) - Total Rust Music is quickly becoming one of my favorite labels in the underground. They gave us that Lurk album which rocks, and now we have a similarly structured debut from Tort. Raw, heavier than a handbag filled with bricks, and pissed off to boot, Tort produces a couple of slow, ten minute stunners amidst this concise five track package. Sometimes it crawls like doom, sometimes it blitzes like thrash, but the important part is that it's all awesome. Song to check out: "Gnosis of the Dead"
28. Timeghoul - 1992-1994 Discography
8.0 (death) - I normally wouldn't even acknowledge a comp like this at all, but considering that these songs were never officially released and that this is such a quality set of recordings, I simply had to put it in here.This consists of the two sole demos by the cult classic underground band Timeghoul from the early nineties, the former of which crushing with raw, headbanging brutality and the latter branching off into more exploratory progressive territory. That comes to six songs and forty-four minutes of ahead of its time death metal mastery. The overall package and artwork here are also mesmerizing, making an already intelligent purchase an essential one. Limited release. Song to check out: "Gutspawn"
29. Grimes - Visions
8.0 (baroque/indie pop) - Excellent lo-fi pop music from a one girl project. The over the top nature almost sounds Japanese, but attribute this record to Canada. Go figure. Anyway, Grimes offers an upbeat, spacy dance escape to the often overbearing weight that metal machismo drops upon its possessors. Catchy as swine flu. WARNING: as easily as some will love Visions, many will hate it with the sucking power of a trillion black holes. Even I tend to get OD'ed from it after a while. Use with caution.
30. Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
8.0 (mel. groove/death) This is a more concise and compact package from Gojira, one that lacks the the sense of scope musically that their last two albums had. With that said, there's still a lot to like and more songs to be loved included. They might want to think about making a more striking evolution next time around, however.
31. Asphyx - Deathhammer
8.0 (classic death/doom) - You know what to expect: a crushing, old school concoction of doom and death.
32. Gory Blister - Earth-sick
8.0 (mel. brutal death) - I wish there were more releases like this, sacrificing neither brutality nor melody in their quest for domination of your skull. Vicious AND hooky.
33. Overkill - The Electric Age
8.0 (thrash) - All revved up and no place to go but to thrash. True to its roots.
34. Iron Fire - Voyage of the Damned
8.0 (euro power) - Iron Fire redefines themselves and comes away with a much better sound. VERY catchy.
35. Pallbearer - Sorrow And Extinction
8.0 (classic doom) - It's slow, it's heavy, it's doomtastic! Lots of space and grandeur.
36. Anguish - Through the Archdemons Head
7.8 (old school doom) - Classic in every sense of the word. Imagine Candlemass with a dash of the occult. That's what you'll get. And it's nice.
37. Moonspell - Alpha Noir/Omega White
7.3/8.5 respectively (goth./mel. black) - The latter album is definitely better. Alpha Noir is okay, but I tired of it too quickly. Omega White has plenty of awesome songs and a more compelling sound.
38. Enthroned - Obsidium
7.8 (black) - Enthroned really tried hard this time around, and it shows in this memorable effort. Good stuff. Mirrormaze
39. Bejelit - Emerge
7.8 (euro power) - Upbeat and powerful material that could be a decent alternative for disappointed SA fans. Catchy fun.
40. Napalm Death - Utilitarian
7.8 (grind/death) - A typically ferocious offering from one of the founding fathers.
41. Deathhammer - Onward to the Pits
7.8 (blackened old school thrash) - Rawness from the bowels of hell. Fast-paced and fun.
42. Liberteer - Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees
7.8 (arachno-grind) - Sound the horns of annihilation!
43. Nocturnal Torment - They Come At Night
7.8 (old school death) - Relentless OSDM by the unholy book.
44. Psycroptic - The Inherited Repression
7.8 (tech death) - One of the few technical death metal bands that doesn't forget to be memorable.
45. Orange Goblin - A Eulogy For the Damned
7.8 (mel. sludge/stoner) - A very accessible and catchy entry in the genre.
46. Shroud of Despondency - Pine
7.8 (black/atmos. doom) - An alluring nature metal hybrid of atmospheric black and doom.
47. Pseudogod - Deathwomb Catechesis
7.8 (old school death/black) - Evil, dark, and bludgeoning. Nightmarish extremity.
48. Allegaeon - Formshifter
7.7 (tech melodeth) - A driving mixture of technical and melodic death metal, each in an appropriate dose.
49. Borknagar - Urd
7.7 (mel./prog black) - Cool outing that often seems like a prog record with black influences rather than the opposite.
50. Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Lost in the New Real
7.7 (prog rock) - A lush and 70s-style concept album concerning the havoc of modern times.
51. Voices of Destiny - Power Dive
7.7 (symphonic power/melodeth) - One of the few symphonic albums that hasn't bored me this year.
52. Ahnengrab - Omen
7.7 (mel. black/folk) - Freaking awesome cover art. Oh, and the music's decent too. They've got energy and atmosphere.
53. OSI - Fire Make Thunder
7.7 (amb. prog rock) - Cool and relaxing tones from a consistently unique band.
54. Castle - Blacklands
7.7 (old school doom) - A brief, rather entertaining outing here.
55. Steelwing - Zone of Alienation
7.7 (old school trad./power) - The revivalism's getting a bit old, but Steelwing still prevails.
56. Goatwhore - Blood For The Master
7.7 (mel. black/death) - Short and sweet tunes in a cozy package of conciseness.
57. Master's Hammer - Vracejte Konve Na Místo
7.7 (weird-ass black) - Really great at first, but doesn't have enough replay value. Still good.
58. Nightmare - The Burden of God
7.5 (heavy/power) - Solid modern PM from France that retains some grit.
59. Amalgama - Мечта
7.5 (melodic power) - More obscure foreign power metal for your buck. Refreshing.
60. Abnormality - Contaminating the Hive Mind
7.5 (brut. death) - Tight, mechanical, and technical death metal for your daily dose.
61. Ignivomous - Contragenesis
7.5 (old school death) - More dirty old school material for those in need.
62. Nekromantheon - Rise, Vulcan Spectre
7.5 (old school thrash) - Germanic barbarity 101. Lacks in originality, but classically appealing.
63. Swallow the Sun - Emerald Forest and the Blackbird
7.5 (doom/mel. death) - Many melodic doom cliches are present. Mostly, that's okay.
64. Paradise Lost - Tragic Idol
7.5 (gothic metal/rock) - Great guitar tone and a bunch of good songs. Not entirely consistent, though.
65. Burzum - Umskiptar
7.5 (amb. black/dark folk) - Not quite as engaging as I first thought, but a pretty good piece of dark folk/black metal. The hate is ludicrous.
66. Unisonic - Unisonic
7.5 (euro power/rock) - Kind of fell short of my great expectations, but Unisonic is still a rocking good time for the whole family. Welcome back, Michael Kiske.
67. Undergang - Til Døden Os Skiller
7.5 (old school death) - Some more murky and cacophonous OSDM for your needs. Intense.
68. Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II
7.5 (drone/doom) - Serene sounds from the desert and beyond.
69. In Mourning - The Weight of Oceans
7.5 (melodic death) - Cool melodies and a sound that will have audiophiles jumping in joy. Runs long.
70. Mgła - With Hearts Toward None
7.5 (old school black) - Utterly archaic sounding black metal. Raw goodness that plays it safe.
71. Barren Earth - The Devil's Resolve
7.5 (modern doom/prog rock) - 70s synths, prog rock, and doom metal all in one. Go figure.
72. Macabra - Blood-Nurtured Nature
7.5 (old school death) - Seriously sounds like a demo from the early 90s. So, if you like that...
73. Accept - Stalingrad
7.3 (heavy metal) - I can definitely respect this release and band, but non-Udo Accept hasn't wowed me yet. Close...
74. Flying Colors - Flying Colors
7.3 (prog. rock) - The first and last tracks are orgiastic. The rest are 'okay' and poppy fare.
75. Gorod - A Perfect Absolution
7.3 (tech death) - I can't decide whether it's more jazz or death metal. Take that as you will.
76. Rage - 21
7.3 (power) - Jesus, 21 albums and no end in sight. Pretty good, but not up to their 80s releases. No surprise of course.
77. Kreator - Phantom Antichrist
7.3 (mel. thrash) - Mixed feelings. On one hand, it starts off extremely well with a couple of killer thrash numbers, but then devolves into overly slow and melodic anthems with an excess of sing along leads and gang shouts. I still like it, but I can't help but feel that they missed the mark a little bit.
78. Netherion - Sphere of Terror
7.3 (death) - A little rough around the edges, but this is still decent and somewhat unique stuff from Syria.
79. Wodensthrone - Curse
7.3 (atm./folk black) - I definitely like it better than their debut. One of those bands I can only enjoy as background material.
80. Neon Trees - Picture Show
7.3 (alt./pop rock) - One of my biggest guilty pleasure bands. There's no song as timeless as "Animals" here, but the choruses of highlights like "Lessons in Love" and "Trust" are just irresistible. Basically, enjoyable pop crap.
81. Dodecahedron - Dodecahedron
7.3 (post-black/avant-garde) - Derivative but entertaining modern black weirdness. I don't like it as much as I did back in January.
82. Black Breath - Sentenced to Life
7.3 (old school death/thrash) - Awesome sound quality, decent songs. Packs a punch.
83. Waning - The Human Condition
7.3 (modern black) - Good music, but could have used more variety.
84. Eluveitie - Helvetios
7.2 (folk/melodic death) - It's way too long and gets kind of repetitive, but the formula shines.
85. Augrimmer - Nothing Ever Was
7.2 (mel. pagan black) - Not exploring far beyond the norm.
86. Process of Guilt - Fæmin
7.2 (sludgy doom/death) - Good album, but something seems missing to me. Too empty? I don't know.
87. Ketha - 2nd Sight
7.2 (post/tech death) - I don't know what to make of it. Interesting, that's for sure.
88. Infinitum - The Sixth Extinction
7.2 (death) - Technically adept death metal with pristine production values.
89. Cannibal Corpse - Torture
7.2 (death) - Another tried and true offering from the usual suspects. This corpse is aging, I should note.
90. Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name
7.2 (euro power/rock) - Much, much better than I expected. It occasionally tests my patience, but mostly it's a surprisingly pleasant if inconsistent affair.
91. The Lumineers - The Lumineers
7.2 (acoustic rock/pop) - Simple and catchy. Speaks for itself.
92. Coldworker - The Doomsayer's Call
7.0 (death/grind) - Mechanical and soulless death of the grind-influenced variety. Pretty vicious, though.
93. Primal Fear - Unbreakable
7.0 (speed/old school power) - Some tunes kill, others channel watered down AOR. The former manages to prevail.
94. Bloodshot Dawn - Bloodshot Dawn
7.0 (mel. death/thrash) - Some pretty good modern deathrash with pretty bad vocals.
95. Sphere - Homo Hereticus
7.0 (death) - Typical Polish death metal, but not without a few casualties.
96. High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
7.0 (sludge) - I like it in small doses. I can't quite fully get into this band, though.
97. Angel Witch - As Above, So Below
7.0 (NWOBHM) - Enjoyable but flawed comeback. It just needs something more.
98. Hexen - Being and Nothingness
7.0 (mel. prog thrash) - Decent but plain offering of pseudoprogressive thrash. Highly melodic.
99. Taranis - Kingdom
7.0 (mel. black/folk) - Great vocals as usual, but musically it's nothing special.
100. Desaster - The Arts of Destruction
7.0 (black/thrash) - Ancient rites of darkness recounted yet again. Some flavor still remains.
101. Spawn of Possession - Incurso
7.0 (tech death) - Could be more memorable, but Incurso is quite a display of power nonetheless.
102. Hour of Penance - Sedition
7.0 (tech/brutal death) - ^ see above
103. Fukpig - 3
7.0 (sludge/grind/death) - Enveloped in grimness and griminess.
104. Dying Fetus - Reign Supreme
7.0 (death) - A band sticking to what they do and mostly succeeding.
105. Fisthammer - Devour All You See
7.0 (death) - Decent compound of classic and modern death aesthetics.
106. Reverence - When Darkness Calls
7.0 (power) - Par for the course modern power metal with good vocals.
107. Agua De Annique - Everything Is Changing
7.0 (alt./pop rock) - Somewhat shallow but kind and sweet on the ears. Good for a few listens.
108. Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliées...
7.0 (blackened shoegaze) - Better than Alcest's latest at least, but symbolizes the blackgaze decline.
109. Desecravity - Implicit Obedience
6.8 (brutal/tech death) - Impressive brute force and technicality. It kind of blurs to me, though.
110. Nattfog - Mustan Auringon Riitti
6.8 (old school black) - Exudes Finland.
111. Black Obelisk - Мёртвый Сезон
6.8 (trad./power) - Has foreign charm and a couple catchy tunes, but it could have used more.
112. Fester - A Celebration of Death
6.8 (black/death) - Just above average in terms of atmosphere and riffs.
113. Possessor - City Built With Skulls
6.8 (old school speed/thrash) - A simplistic 80s brew of speed, thrash, and death metal.
114. Caves of Steel - Troposphere/Magnetosphere
6.8 (instrumental post-rock) - EP. Fair output for the style.
115. Meshuggah - Koloss
6.8 (djent/groove) - I'm not the biggest fan of this band, but I don't dislike them. One of their least engaging, though.
116. Drakkar - When Lightning Strikes
6.8 (euro power) - Never exemplary, but those seeking an accessible dose of melody won't go wrong.
117. Woods of Ypres - Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light
6.8 (alt./melodic black) - Lukewarm swansong. Competent, but not an award-winning sendoff.
118. Dragonforce - The Power Within
6.7 (uber flower power) - I'm just surprised I didn't completely hate it. The new vocalist's American flavor helps, though the music has changed all too little.
119. Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
6.7 (prog black/folk) - Convincing talent and creativity, but the songs are simply aimless. Interesting but ultimately unmemorable.
120. Lonewolf - Army of the Damned
6.7 (power/speed) - Running Wild and Sabaton's somewhat inadequate lovechild. Okay for short doses.
121. Savage Messiah - Plague of Conscience
6.7 (revivalist thrash/modern power) - One of those things that sounds great at first but bores you by the time it ends. Textbook.
122. Cattle Decapitation - Monolith of Inhumanity
6.7 (deathgrind) - Everyone's loving it, but it's still not quite catching me.
123. Pathfinder - Fifth Element
6.7 (symph. power) - Too much bombast and not enough substance this time around. Overbearing.
124. BeSpaleva - Music Book 1
6.7 (instrumental avant-garde) - A lot of strangeness here. Not technical strangeness, but sample strangeness.
125. Nowen - Essence of Fear
6.7 (melodic death) - Blends styles of death metal acceptably but never with great success.
126. Nothnegal - Decadence
6.7 (melodic death) - Young band tries their hand at melodeath. You've heard it before, but it shows promise.
127. The Intersphere - Hold On, Liberty!
6.7 (alternative rock) - A-B-A-B song structures. Shallow music not without catchy moments.
128. Carach Angren - Where the Corpses Sink Forever
6.7 (symph. black) - Their style has done little for me. That hasn't changed.
129. Beyond the Bridge - The Old Man And The Spirit
6.7 (progressive) - Some nice vocals. The rest is predictable yet occasionally entertaining prog.
130. Job For a Cowboy - Demonocracy
6.7 (death/deathcore) - One pun later and this formerly 'bleh' band has improved yet more. Nothing great.
131. Obscurcis Romancia - Theatre of Deception
6.7 (symph. black) - My incapability to enjoy this genre very much shines again.
132. Be'lakor - Of Breath and Bone
6.5 (melodic death) - More melodeath that does nothing for me.
133. Six Feet Under - Undead
6.5 (death w/groove influences) - WHAT?! Can it be? Is it true? Yep, 6FU, a band which I would easily put in the running for worst in the history of death metal, has released something that doesn't suck. Mark it on your calendar if you care. Granted, Undead is definitely still hampered by some pedestrian moments throughout, but for once I can bear it. Nope, no Ice T to be found. Thank your imaginary deity and prepare for the inevitable Graveyard Classics IV. May Chris Barnes have mercy on us all.
134. Your Tomorrow Alone - Ordinary Lives
6.5 (gothic doom/death) - Intriguing, but never left much of an impression on me.
135. Ram - Death
6.5 (old school trad./NWOBHM) - Yet another revivalist band. Check out Enforcer or Portrait instead.
136. Disguise - Second Coming
6.5 (melodic black) - All right. A safe, acceptable melodic black metal release.
137. Frailty - Melpomene
6.5 (death/doom) - Most of the time it's just... there.
138. Enthrallment - People From The Lands of Vit
6.5 (death/grind) - Abrasive. That's about it.
139. Azaghal - Nemesis
6.5 (black) - For those who haven't heard much black metal already. Has its share of cliches.
140. Monolithe - Interlude Second
6.5 (atmospheric drone/doom) - EP.
141. Decaying - Encirclement
6.5 (old school death) - Not every riff's a waste, yet it could've been more compact and lost nothing.
142. The 11th Hour - Lacrima Mortis
6.5 (deathy doom) - Decent background music, but offers nothing new.
143. Before the Dawn - Rise of the Phoenix
6.5 (mel. death/doom) - Dashes the cleans. That's pretty much the only deviation from formulaic BTD here.
144. Xenocide - Galactic Oppresion
6.5 (tech death) - EP. Par for the course for the style.
145. Candlemass - Psalms For the Dead
6.5 (doom) - Not bad, but pretty bland and generic by Candlemass standards.
146. Reverence - The Asthenic Ascension
6.5 (exp. black) - One of those releases with a following that I just couldn't get into.
147. Arctic Plateau - The Enemy Inside
6.5 (shoegaze) - Light and inoffensive. Bears little impact.
148. Crystal Viper - Crimen Excepta
6.5 (power/speed) - Listen to the first three songs. Ignore the rest, which repeat the Running Wild formula with less success.
149. Possessor - City Built With Skulls
6.5 (old school speed/thrash) - More silly revivalist stuff.
150. Beneath the Massacre - Incongruous
6.3 (tech death/core) - A congruous blob of technicality that fades from memory as soon as it finishes.
151. Metal Detector - Metal Demon
6.3 (old school power/speed) - I wanted to like it more than I did. A victim of botched execution.
152. Terrorizer - Hordes of Zombies
6.3 (grind/death) - Has force but is rather dull and unmemorable.
153. Circus Maximus - Nine
6.3 (prog/power) - Bland prog with radio-friendly hooks.
154. Opera IX - Strix Maledictae in Aeternum
6.3 (symph. black)
155. In Virtue - Embrace The Horror
6.3 (power/prog)
156. Perversion - Pillars of the Enlightened
6.2 (death) - Typical death offering is a dime a dozen.
157. When Nothing Remains - As All Torn Asunder
6.2 (doom/death) - Nothing new. You're in for a long one, folks. Just stare at the pretty cover.
158. Rizon - Masquerade
6.2 (power)
159. The Reverend of Despair - Subversive Activities
6.2 (doom) - Uneventful.
160. 3 Inches of Blood - Long Live Heavy Metal
6.2 (power/trad.) - My indifference for 3IOB grows with each release. Fans should like it.
161. Secrets of the Moon - Seven Bells
6.2 (black) - Long-winded black metal with too few highs.
162. Desert Sin - Destination Paradise
6.2 (heavy/power) - Has some highs, but it's too inconsistent to leave a lasting impression.
163. Watch Me Bleed - Kingdom
6.2 (groove/death) - I have nothing to say about it.
164. Saint Vitus - Lillie: F-65
6.0 (classic doom) - This music would have been an anachronism in the 70s.
165. Xandria - Neverworld's End
6.0 (symph. power) - Doing Nightwish ad nauseum. Better than the average album of its type, though.
166. Jeff Loomis - Plains of Oblivion
6.0 (instr. shred) - Nothing special aside from some nice guest appearances.
167. Ominous Crucifix - The Spell of Damnation
6.0 (death) - OSDM Bargain Bin Pt. 1
168. Wintersun - Time I
6.0 (symph. melodeth) - Pretty much exactly as I was expecting. Mostly average and overstuffed.
169. Desultor - Masters of Hate
6.0 (blackened power/thrash) - Insanely repetitive and shallow songwriting breeds one dimensional music.
170. Lamb of God - Resolution
6.0 (groove) - A love 'em or hate 'em type of band. I choose to shrug.
171. Occultation - Three & Seven
6.0 (old school doom-lite) - Rather boring doom with a tame 'haunted house' feel.
172. Revel in Flesh - Deathevokation
6.0 (old school death) - OSDM Bargain Bin Pt. 2
173. Whitechapel - Whitechapel
6.0 (deathcore/death) - Well... at least it doesn't suck as much as some of their old stuff.
174. Alcest - Les voyages de l'âme
6.0 (blackened shoegaze) - Disappointing. This style has seriously stagnated.
175. Sabaton - Carolus Rex
6.0 (power) - The formula's really showing through.
176. Dimension Act - Manifestation of Progress
6.0 ('prog') - *cough* DREAM THEATER *cough*... I find the title ironic.
177. Drudkh - Eternal Turn of the Wheel
6.0 (atm. black) - Monotonous, boring, etc.
178. Funeral Whore - Step Into Damnation
5.8 (old school death) - OSDM Bargain Bin Pt. 3
179. Witchden - Consulting the Bones
5.8 (sludge'n'roll/doom) - The extremely annoying vocals really put me off.
180. ReinXeed - Welcome to the Theater
5.8 (euro power) - Soulless power metal with songs about Star Wars and the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Seriously.
181. Massive Assault - Death Strike
5.7 (old school death) - OSDM Bargain Bin Pt. 4
182. Suicidal Angels - Bloodbath
5.7 (thrash) - One of the most boring thrash releases I've ever heard. Settles for the minimum of its potential.
183. Ahab - The Giant
5.5 (sludgy doom) - Ouch, I really didn't enjoy this one. Never really goes anywhere.
184. Veil of Maya - Eclipse
5.5 (tech deathcore) - Typical deathcore fodder. Simply not my style.
185. Exumer - Fire & Damnation
5.5 (thrash) - Another thrash 'comeback' for the garbage disposal. Not interesting in the slightest.
186. Avatar - Black Waltz
5.5 (melodeath) - Stagnant and musically vapid. The album cover has the troll face on it. What else you wanna know?
187. Epica - Requiem For The Indifferent
5.5 (symph. power) - I never cared for this band.
188. King - Forged By Satan's Doctrine
5.5 (black/death) - There's taking yourself seriously, and then there's King.
189. Annihilation - Decimation
5.5 (old school death/thrash) - I couldn't hear anything through the impregnable veil of fuzz, though, there probably wasn't much to hear in the first place.
190. Shadows Fall - Fire From the Sky
5.3 (melodeath/metalcore) - The art of treading water. Sunk deeper by crap cleans.
191. Ecliptica - Journey Saturnine
5.2 (power) - Poor vocals and songwriting make this one DOA.
192. Vengeance - Crystal Eye
5.0 (hard rock/glam) - Completely stuck in the 80s, and not in a good way.
193. Katatonia - Dead End Kings
5.0 (alt./atm. rock) - The biggest disappointment of the year for me. I completely defended them after Night is the New Day, one of my favorite albums ever, but this is just... unflinchingly ineffectual. So boring it almost hurts.
194. Soulfly - Enslaved
4.8 (groove/nu metal/rock) - To quote Ankläger: "Enslaved should title their next album "Soulfly" and show these punks how it's done." Yep, it's not good. Go figure. Imma go listen to real Enslaved now, kthanxbai. More like LOLfly... hehe.
195. Abigail Williams - Becoming
4.7 (atmospheric/post-black) - So... did they mean 'becoming' just like Two Hunters era WIITR? There's practically no reason for this to exist even if it's not poorly performed; and most of it is just plain boring on its own. Simply parasitic and overdrawn. Maybe Abagail Williams will choose symphonic death metal for its next foray in trend-hopping.
196. Running Wild - Shadowmaker
4.7 (trad. metal/cock rock) - Yet another case of one of my all time favorite bands sucking in the modern day. I can hear no other motivation from Cockrock'n'Rolf here than picking up his latest paycheck. Slow, boring songs and an overriding sense of "jolliness" pervade this dishonest attempt at a comeback. Just hang it up, listen to Black Hand Inn, and pretend this album never existed, gentlemen. Honestly, this isn't the colossal trainwreck of the year it could have been thanks to a couple catchy tracks here and there, but it does suck. Song to check out: "Riding on the Tide"... and that's pretty much it.
197. Worm Ouroboros - Come the Thaw
4.5 (doom/drone rock) - I love the vocals, but there's so much "nothing" going on here it's almost unbelievable. Seriously, hitting a string every few minutes aimlessly does not equal music. I love the calm/mellow acoustic stuff in almost all occasions and this still lacks any enjoyable qualities whatsoever. I'd say it lacked good songwriting, but there IS no songwriting to begin with. The new alternative to sleeping pills.
198. Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline
4.5 (alt. rock/nu) - Plastic.
199. Skylark - Twilights of Sand
4.2 (mel. power) - Skylark has never been a band I've particular cared for, but Twilights of Sand (?) takes that indifference to a level of loathing. This is one of the most overbearing, ridiculously flowery and "happy" power metal albums I've ever heard, giving exclusively extreme metal fans another testimony to their perceived worthlessness of the genre. Lead singer 'Ashley,' if that is her real name, certainly doesn't help. Oh and guess what? It's 65 minutes long without the bonus tracks, one of which is a karaoke version of... *zzzz* huh!? Oh, it seems I fell asleep there for a minute. Sorry 'bout that.
200. Adrenaline Mob - Omertá
4.0 (alt. hard rock/metal) - Seriously, what the fuck? Why would Russell Allen even waste his time in this pathetic rehashing of already stale ideas when he could be at work on the next Symphony X opus? Omerta basically sounds like Iconoclast run through a shit blender: it smells offensive, and it's worse in every possible way. The heavy guitar tone masks the underachieving songwriting, which barely even aspires to modern rock standards. I've even slightly enjoyed a Disturbed record or two, and I still think this sucks. I'm sorry, Iconoclast, for even mentioning you in a description of this crap. Dispose of safely.
201. Caliban - I Am Nemesis
3.7 (metalcore) - Wait a minute, why did I even listen to this? Clearly I wouldn't like this anyway. Poor decision on my part, so I won't even take the time to trash this band for being yet another stupid metalco- ... Ooops.
202. Abominable Putridity - The Anomalies of Artificial Origin
3.5 (slam death) - Banality. The monotonous, garbled 'vocals' suck, the 'riffs' are pedestrian, the 'songs' are as forgettable as possible, and even the drums are somniferous. I was hoping it would live up to the rather rad album title and cover, but Anomalies... seems content enough to live down to the band's name. Abominable? Check. Putrid? Check. Alternate title: How To Make A Modest 25 Minute Runtime Taxing In Two Easy Steps. Conclusion: avoid.
203. Freedom Call - Land Of The Crimson Dawn
3.2 (Euro power) - *facepalm* This is the nadir of hairspray-intoxicated flower metal. It's kind of like a heavier, much crappier version of Queen, and the results are disastrous. The lyrics are unbearable. To think some people take this shit seriously is rather humorous. Also: subject-verb agreement. Read about it.
204. Semargl - Satanic Pop Metal
3.0 (satanic pop metal) - Nothing needs to be said here. There aren't words.
205. Tracedawn - Lizard Dusk
2.3 (mel. death/power/electropop) - An even lesser form of recent Norther and Children of Bodom, now with all your teen pop needs! Basically, an embarrassment for all involved. Treat it like the plague: with heavy alcohol use and self-induced bleeding. Also, Lizard Dusk? What the fuck is with the name Tracedawn, anyway?
206. Black Vulture - Way
1.0 (experimental black) - Wow. This is It seems that the musician(s?) fired up a guitar and some drums, recorded whatever came to mind, took the first take, and ran (stumbled) with it. I'm axing my previous description and just saying this: it's putrid shit. NEVER listen to it.

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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Comments: 103   Visited by: 561 users
01.07.2012 - 00:12

Written by Oaken on 30.06.2012 at 01:24

A new death metal band from Syria, Netherion, released their debut on 28/6. It can be streamed here:
Crushing death metal. I ask you to support them and support the whole scene here.

Will definitely listen, man. I try to get a bunch of underground DM stuff on here, though I'm still waiting for another batch of promos to arrive.
My lo-fi synth project:
01.07.2012 - 01:37

Considering your (long awaited ) rating of Royal Thunder's latest, I must needs check her out. Good hard rock is far too good to pass up.
01.07.2012 - 20:46

Written by PēterisP on 26.06.2012 at 22:39

Really can't believe that you've listened to all these albums or this has been done just once. cause a lot of good albums are deep down in your top while some real BS are quite high.

Perhaps it's my list with my opinions and not yours? Really, it's not very hard to listen to this amount of albums when you don't have full time employment or many necessary obligations. Sure, I listen to many of them only once or twice (since that's all I feel they need), but others I've listened to a dozen and often more times.

As of this very moment, there are 196 entries on this list. There have been about 180 days in this year. That means I listen to only 1.09 (rounded) new albums per day. Do you really think that's impossible when I have roughly 10-12 free hours each day? Should I write a detailed thesis for every album and supply a link under each entry? Would that satisfy the doubters? Keep in mind I still like to enjoy the music I listen to. If things get too scientific or clinical, I'm no longer able to fully enjoy the music I love so dearly. Granted, my opinions are weird as hell, but as Troy said, everyone has strange opinions/ratings in certain ways. These are mine, take them for what you will, but this is not a perfect guide to pure musical bliss. This is my opinion.

My lo-fi synth project:
01.07.2012 - 20:50

Written by Druss on 01.07.2012 at 01:37

Considering your (long awaited ) rating of Royal Thunder's latest, I must needs check her out. Good hard rock is far too good to pass up.

Ah yes, not a pure hard rock outing (since it has doom and drone elements), but a spectacular one nonetheless. My only slight complaint is that there aren't enough quick and killer songs like "No Good" and "Whispering World". Definitely worth listening to. A lot.
My lo-fi synth project:
01.07.2012 - 23:47
Written by strade on 01.07.2012 at 00:12

Will definitely listen, man. I try to get a bunch of underground DM stuff on here, though I'm still waiting for another batch of promos to arrive.

Thanks a lot for listening to them and putting them on the list. 73/196 is a very decent spot for a Syrian band, especially that the band recorded the album in very shitty conditions.
In that case, man is only air as well.
01.07.2012 - 23:55

Written by Oaken on 01.07.2012 at 23:47

Written by strade on 01.07.2012 at 00:12

Will definitely listen, man. I try to get a bunch of underground DM stuff on here, though I'm still waiting for another batch of promos to arrive.

Thanks a lot for listening to them and putting them on the list. 73/196 is a very decent spot for a Syrian band, especially that the band recorded the album in very shitty conditions.

No problem, it was pretty good. The female vocal parts were pretty interesting for that music. I'm gonna try to get the atmo. black suggestions done all in one sitting one of these days, but that style isn't exactly my forte, so don't expect too much expertise or fellating from my direction. I'm willing to try pretty much anything, though.
My lo-fi synth project:
07.07.2012 - 20:32
There's a new Castle album!? That info just made my week, their debut was cool heavy/doom stuff! I'll also give Royal Thunder and Anhedonist a go, the latter sounds like a nice piece of soul punishment.
09.07.2012 - 18:01
Ag Fox
Angel No More
Written by R'Vannith on 07.07.2012 at 20:32

There's a new Castle album!? That info just made my week, their debut was cool heavy/doom stuff! I'll also give Royal Thunder and Anhedonist a go, the latter sounds like a nice piece of soul punishment.
Yes. the new castle is pretty good from the parts that I've heard. Royal Thunder is great
loves 小巫
31.07.2012 - 20:01
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Great list, don't agree with all of it, but nevertheless it's great. Some suggestions for adding are (by band name); Bosse-De-Nage, Wilds Forlorn, Agruss, Verdunkeln, Natan, and Inquinamentum.
10.08.2012 - 05:41

Such a great list - I've been visiting it regularly.

You could check out Viter's first full length "Springtime." I'm really loving it (the band includes a instrumentalist from Kroda, but sounds nothing like them).
I'm interested in reading what you think!

Keep up the great work!

Edit: Forgot to mention that you have Possessor listed twice (I actually camped out with those guys at Warriors of Metal).


Completely agree with you on the Hail Spirit Noir love, but Worm Ouroboros so low? Say it ain't so!
16.09.2012 - 18:27

Hey man great list! The effort you have put into this is incredible:) Check out a band called Strage ( if you like your bandcamp bands these guys will blow you away!!
18.09.2012 - 20:45

This Bound by Entrails stuff got me curious. To be honest, I don't immediately hear its greatness, but I imagine it will open up to me with a few spins. Pretty neat, especially the clean vocal parts. Listening to Swan Song now, it's neat. I wish the production was better; if it sounded like the latest Borknagar, the songwriting would probably shine more.

Added to my list, anyhow. May write a mini review by the end of the year.
22.09.2012 - 07:13
Eh good ass list but too much nay saying on certain bands I like. Overall good list

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