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List Name Is Required: 2012 (updated 27.01.2013)

Thumbs up: +2
Ordered from best to worst. Because listing it is easier than voting and much easier than voting twice.

Latest additions: Blutmond, Wrathblade, High On Fire

Today is January 17, 2013. The update previous to this was on 5/5/12. Welcome to the future.
Fear not, dear reader, I've only been neglecting the list, but not the music.

My little prediction has been proven true, 2012 indeed was a better year than 2011. Overall.
There have been disappointments (Candlemass, Testament, Witchcraft), but it's somewhat cancelled out by the old guard that delivered (Borknagar, Enslaved, Diablo Swing Orchestra). Best of all, I've discovered a couple of bands to add to the ever-expanding list of favorites - Netherland's Carach Angren doesn't have a bad record to their name, and the 2012 one is their best yet - and for a time was my pick for Album of the Year, while Om (formed by Al Cisneros of Sleep) slowly found its way into the topmost ranks, but now it is firmly entrenched, and the rest of the discography seems to be of the same high quality.

Anyway, I've decided to rank equals (in terms of score) alphabetically. How exciting. I know.

But think of it as tiers. When the alphabet restarts, that's the beginning of another tier. So, 1-5
are the first tier (rating starts at 4/5 and goes down by 0.5), 6-19 are the second (so that's 3.5/5), and so on. In general, I wouldn't recommend stuff past 19 to everyone, and wouldn't suggest anyone but the most die-hard genre/band aficionados bother with stuff past 33.

There are 17 or so albums I've yet to hear, though not all of them are metal, so this list will change once again. I took a quick look at the 2011 one, and it sure could use a rehaul, though the first five or so remain.

As for my non-metal album of the year pick, I'm torn between Swans (The Seer) and
Pepe Deluxé (Queen of the Wave). I highly recommend both, though I suspect the Swans
hold more appeal for the crowd on Metalstorm.

I've added a small feature: now there's a track pick behind a slash, though not for all albums.
It denotes the track I think you should hear if you wish to be convinced via such sampling.

Created by: eponymous | 28.04.2012

1. Borknagar - Urd
Does a great job of capturing the beauty of dead cities. / The Beauty of Dead Cities (heh)
2. Carach Angren - Where the Corpses Sink Forever
Between Deathspell Omega and this, I'm once again enjoying BM. That makes me a bit happy. This album lost a bit of its power since I first heard it. That makes me a bit reluctant to include it in the top five. Still, I firmly believe you need to hear this, even if you dislike BM. / Bitte tötet mich
3. Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora's Piñata
Some sense of humor these guys have - make the weakest track the single and album opener? Anyway. I love this album. I love all their albums. Riot opera indeed. / Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball
4. Enslaved - RIITIIR
Carach Angren and DSO have 3/3, but Enslaved have 12/12 (1994-2012). I currently cannot think of another band that can boast such a feat (to be precise, of a band I like). / Materal
5. Om - Advaitic Songs
I fucking love this, despite the fact it's rather short. In time, even the intro/outro grew on me, and so it found its way into the top five. Fuck yeah for ex-Sleep. Oh and, this is in the not-exactly-metal category, but don't let that bother you. / State of Non-Return
6. Accept - Stalingrad
Drags on in places, but pretty good nevertheless. Opener hooks you. / Hung, Drawn and Quartered
7. Akhpaezya - Anthology IV: The Tragedy of Nerak
I'm not sure this should be here, but since they're on Metalstorm, I'll go with it. / Utopia
8. Aluk Todolo - Occult Rock
Oh wow, I didn't expect this from an album called "Occult Rock". I was thinking Black Widow and got Ulver's Nattens Madrigal mixed with post-rock. I don't remember the last time I listened to an instrumental album multiple times. / -
9. Christian Mistress - Possession
Decent heavy metal. Female fronted, no less. The obligatory ballad is somewhat better than these usually are, which was a pleasant surprise. / -
10. Dawnbringer - Into the Lair of the Sun God
Solid heavy metal record. Sort of conceptual, I suppose. Silly lyrics as you might expect. / I
11. Dissona - Dissona
Inverted Swarm would easily make top 5 songs this year. Nothing else on the album impresses as much, though it's not bad by any means. Also, it's a pay-what-you-will download on Bandcamp, so there is no excuse for not getting it. / Inverted Swarm
12. Dordeduh - Dar De Duh
Negura Bunget. 'Nuff said. Oh, okay. I didn't love it instantly, but it certainly grew on me. And made me want to listen to Negura. / -
13. Hail Spirit Noir - Pneuma
Very interesting stuff, but I've found myself listening to it less and less as the year went by. Which probably means nothing. / -
14. Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
Yup, I like this. / -
15. Occultation - Three & Seven
My initial excitement and enthusiasm have dwindled quite a bit since the last update (5/5/12), and I have to say it didn't listen to it very often. I feel this could become a really special band if they develop their songwriting skills a bit. The sound is already there. / Three & Seven
16. Pharaoh - Bury The Light
Good album, though the hype is ridiculous. Is the power metal scene really that deprived of greatness lately? I don't think I've listened to it once since the update. Perhaps it's just the fate of early year albums? BTW, no metal in 2013 as of the time of this writing. / -
17. Roaches Remain - Eat Play Love
This band isn't featured on MS, and probably rightly so, though I dare say it's not more borderline than some others here, so I'll plug them. The band call themselves "Chiptune-flavored modern metal", and that probably gives you an idea of what they sound like. If not, they're on Bandcamp, so you can easily hear for yourself. Another pay-what-you-want. Recommended. / Attack
18. Sigh - In Somniphobia
Sigh indeed. I still think this is a good album, but I've noticed it somewhat bores me. / -
19. Woods of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light
Another album that was just short of ascending to the heavenly ranks of 4/5. Actually, it's the lack of brevity that's the problem - a song finishes, and then you hear it again before the track ends, if you catch my drift. Still, it's a very good album. I sort of missed everything WoY since the debut, but there seems to be some consensus that those two are their best. This one is, in my opinion, superior to the debut. The vocalist, David Gold, died in a car accident in 2011, so that makes this the last WoY album. Not a bad legacy. / Career Suicide
20. Barren Earth - The Devil's Resolve
It's a decent album, but I was a touch disappointed. I guess I expected something more Swanö-ish from a band touted as prog rock + death metal. I like the cover. / -
21. Beardfish - The Void
A prog rock band turned metal? A weird prog/metal album? Sounds great! Alas, the tracks are in need of culling when it comes to length and better writing when it comes to meshing. Fun album nonetheless. / He Already Lives In You
22. Blutmond - The Revolution Is Dead!
This was supposed to be avantgarde BM. Easy sell. Not much luck. Interesting in parts, I guess, but it feels sort of gimmicky. If you're going to be insane, go all out.
23. Cloudkicker - Fade
I remember when I discovered Cloudkicker during my free music binge. I was so happy. I'm glad he's still pumping out decent albums, but Fade doesn't appeal to me as much as, for example, The Map Is Not the Territory did. / -
24. Deathspell Omega - Drought
Yes, yes, an EP. So shoot me. I fell in love with DO this year, and this EP is rather good, though not as good as, say, Veritas Diaboli(...). Are you now thinking how late to that party I am? Well, actually I was early. And their early stuff was the same old Darkthrone worship that bored me to death in the first place. And I didn't find their transitional record very fascinating, either, so it really was a surprise to me when I first heard the phenomenal Paracletus. / -
25. Drug Honkey - Ghost in the Fire
Weirdo doom? I'm sold. But wait, this is their "more sensible", "mature" effort. Yeah. Kinda boring. Not that Death Dub was as "out there" as some people would like you to believe anyway. / -
26. Ex Deo - Caligvla
Symphonic death metal of the melodic kind. Listenable but easily forgotten. Save for the entertaining opener. / I, Caligvla
27. High On Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
Another year, another High On Fire album. It must be me, I just can't get into it. I like them best when they approach Monster Magnet territory, but most of the time they seem content with rather average sludge. No need to point out which member of Sleep is doing better. It'll be interesting to see what these guys do now that they've reformed Sleep.
28. Katatonia - Dead End Kings
I was sort of afraid this might happen. Katatonia are repeating themselves, and this last instance doesn't have anything going for it. Defines average. / -
29. Meshuggah - Koloss
Slight improvement. Dunno why I still bother, nothing they've put out since Nothing has pleased me. And this has remained so post-last-update. Have they lost their magic? Have I grown impatient? Maybe it's because it used to be Meshuggah and a couple of clones, and now it's a subgenre of sorts, and so many bands are djenting away, it all sounds so....heard before. Or no, since that could be said about any other (sub)genre featured here. But yes since it cost Meshuggah their uniqueness. But did it? To me, Koloss sounds nothing like DEI or Chaosphere. Oh how I would like another Chaosphere. / -
30. Pallbearer - Sorrow And Extinction
Foiled by hype once again! Not saying it's bad, though. Makes for a decent if unmemorable listen. / -
31. Snail - Terminus
Decent. Downloadable at Bandcamp. / -
32. Tiamat - Scarred People
Oh ho ho, another band doing what they've done before, only it turns out less good. I much prefer this to Katatonia and Meshuggah, though. This has some pretty damn good tracks, scaterred amongst the easily forgotten, uninspired sounding stuff. Damn, maybe I should reconsider the rating. But when I rememer there are songs you could play to me and I'd have no idea what album they're off or that I've ever even heard them...yeah. Still, if you like Tiamat, this isn't terribly disappointing and I'd recommend it to a fan. / Born To Die
33. Wrathblade - Into The Netherworld's Realm
Oooh, this is kinda interesting. I'm strongly reminded of Slough Feg, which is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge plus for me. Even the vocalist sounds vaguely reminiscent of the one and only Mike Scalzi. However, these guys really need to work on their songwriting. And a better production wouldn't hurt, either. It's good, but entirely unmemorable, which is quite a problem when you're playing heavy metal.
34. Alkerdeel - Morinde
Listenable, but throughly unimpressive. I love the cover art, though. / -
35. Burzum - Umskiptar
Good in small doses. Rather forgettable otherwise. I actually wish he continued with the neo-classical ambient stuff. I love those two just as much as the earlier BM stuff. / -
36. Candlemass - Psalms for the Dead
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!!!! Why did the disappointment of the year have to be them? Why end their career (no new records, they've said...I hope they reconsider) on a low note? The magic is gone, apparently things became sour between Lowe and the rest of the band, and it really hurts the album. I'm a sad fuckin' panda when it comes to this one. / -
37. Horisont - Second Assault
Somewhat difficult to place. Short and enjoyable. Nothing special. Nothing memorable. The retro fever is still going strong in Sweden, but these guys are no Witchcraft or even Graveyard. / -
38. Horrendous - The Chills
A rare case of believing reviews against my own (better) judgment. It should be said I'm not a huge fan of death metal. I love the ones I like, but the rest I wouldn't even use as background music. Having said that, I can't really say this is bad. It's average, boring, same ol' same ol', but it's not terrible. / -
39. Kälter - Ubuntu
I didn't really think I was going to like it, but it's called Ubuntu and it's free [Bandcamp again]. If that doesn't mean anything to you...well, I'm not going to explain, actually. I liked a single track. 'Nuff said. / Tribulation
40. Saint Vitus - Lillie: F-65
Sounds like an uninspired clone of Saint Vitus. Oh wait... / -
41. Judd Madden - Artesian
Competes with Saint Vitus heh. At least this is a free Bandcamp download. / -
42. Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth
Oh FML. And I thought Candlemass was disappointing. If Saint Vitus sounds like an uninspired clone, this sounds like a parody of Testament. Gawddammit. / -
43. Witchcraft - Legend
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Candlemass, Saint Vitus, Testament, Witchcraft. The disappointment crescendo of 2012. I remarked how Horisont are no Witchcraft, but this thing isn't either. I understand no one wishes to repeat themselves forever, but then make a clean break - start another band, evolve or divorce your sound from what you've done before, but don't drag it through the mud, FFS. Disappointment of the Year, in a very tough competition. / -
44. Anathema - Weather Systems
New Age crap. The pinnacle of artistic dishonesty. And I'm counting Black Metal. POS of the Year, though honestly this thing shouldn't even be on this list, it's so far removed from anything resembling metal. Or music. / -
45. Marilyn Manson - Born Villain
Villainous indeed - nothing should be this boring and uninspired and tiresome. I remember BNR writing MM is bound to burn out, but nope, he seems content to fade out. Fuck, instead of repeating the same old tired stuff, how about a nice dark folk album? Some acoustic gothic? Trip-hop maybe even? Anything but more "industrial rock" this fucking tedius. / -

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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