Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lister's Top 20 Metal Albums of 2012 [Part 1]

Well, the year 2012 is just about over and there have been so many great releases this year (and even more shitty releases, unfortunately). Some of the albums that I had anticipated this year were just as good as I thought they would be, and there were also plenty of pleasant surprises, but overall, this was a very productive year for metal bands that's lead me to find some new bands I can call favorites, as well as given me some new albums that I can enjoy for years to come. There were so many good releases this year that I couldn't go with the traditional top 10, but 20, and still I feel like I left off a lot of bands. Here are the records that fill the 11th through 20th spots, and the other ten will be revealed in a separate post. 

#20. Resurgency - False Enlightenment (Death Metal)
This was an album that I was looking forward to, especially after I heard the very awesome split they were apart of in 2011. Fast-forward a year, and Resurgency has delivered a violent death metal album that should please fans of other destructive groups like the legendary Vader, amongst other great acts from the past that can be traced in these Greek metallers' sound like Bolt Thrower, Incantation, Entombed and others. Overall, this is a terrific album that doesn't pidgeonhole the band into a single sound and can please many fans of ruthless and aggressive music. Be sure to hit up the awesome Hellthrasher Productions and pick this one up!

Highlights - "Dark Revival," "False Enlightenment" and "Psychosis"

#19. Pseudogod - Deathwomb Catechesis (Black/Death Metal)
Pseudogod's debut full-length "Deathwomb Catechesis" is one of those surprise albums that took me in and proceeded to fracture my skull. Despite their numerous splits and demos, I was unaware of this Russian death brigade and their Angelcorpse-like assault, but am I glad that I looked into this album. These guys play a brand of music that's very easy to be entirely forgettable in, but these guys capture the insane brutality of bands like Blasphemy and the others that came before them. If you enjoy crude and blasphemous metal that doesn't suck, pick this album up from Kvlt records! 

Highlights - "Vehement Decimation," "Malignant Spears" and "Azazel"

#18. Asphyx - Deathhammer (Death Metal)
Asphyx is a band that needs no introduction, as they've been killing it since the early nineties with their brand of doomy death metal. It's always nice to see an older band release quality material years after their formation, and while "Deathhammer" is no "Last One On Earth," I can't imagine too many people who enjoyed that ancient classic not enjoying this monolithic record. Head on over to Century Media and get one of the heaviest albums of the year! 

Highlights - "Deathhammer," "Der Landser" and "As the Magma Mammoth Rises"

#17. Deathhammer - Onward to the Pits (Thrash)
Thrash doesn't get much more archaic sounding in 2012 than it does on "Onward to the Pits," Deathhammer's second full-length. Sure, there are definitely some bands out there who play music that's incredibly old-school sounding, but this Norwegian duo makes quality music, as opposed to noisy "kvlt" crap. If you like your thrash to sound evil in the vein of masterful acts like Venom, Bathory or (early) Sodom, then this is a must-get album, so hurry your ass to Hell's Headbangers before it's gone!

Highlights - "Voodoo Rites," "Emperor of Sin" and "Final Black Mass"

#16. Ataraxy - Revelations of the Ethereal (Death Metal)
Here's another newer band that I had no knowledge of until this year. Just that bad ass cover art alone would make me want to check Ataraxy out, and the music does indeed live up to the insane landscape. These Spaniards play a brand of dark and evil death metal that would make Convulse and Sentenced proud. It also helps that the singer is a dead-ringer for Martin Van Drunen (pardon my fanboy tendencies). This is death metal that is not for the faint of heart, but for those who enjoy music that is drenched in pure evil. You can get this awesome album from Memento Mori Records, but don't sleep on it, because you will regret missing out on the brilliance of "Revelations of the Ethereal."

Highlights - "Ethereal Slumber," "Demons of the Storm" and "Under Veiled Skies"

#15. Escarnium - Excruciating Existence (Death Metal)
The Incantation worship that seems to almost be a (tired) trend in death metal circles these days is pretty tiring, but then there are bands like Escarnium, who definitely don't mind going to "Onward to Golgotha" for inspiration, while also incorporating groovy destruction a la Bolt Thrower and more midpaced violence akin to Grave. This album will suck you in with it's dark and brooding atmosphere while simultaneously pummeling you to dust. Once again, I refer you to the great Hellthrasher Productions to obtain the awesomeness that is "Excruciating Existence."

Highlights - "Salvation Through Zyklon-B," "Self Proclaimed Messiah" and "Slaves of an Ending Fate"

#14. Weapon - Embers and Revelations (Death/Black Metal)
Weapon is a band that I only became familiar with sometime earlier this year, but they immediately clicked with me. These guys play a brand of twisted and dark death metal in the vein of groups like Morbid Angel and Absu, with some black metal tendencies inspired by the likes of Watain and Beherit. These Canadians have a sound that they can definitely call their own as each of their albums have been different, yet entirely killer. I can't wait for what they do next because it will be awesome. You can find this gem on Relapse Records, so snatch it up ASAP. 

Highlights - "The First Witnesses of Lucifer," "Vanguard of the Morning Star" and "Liber Lilith"

#13. Degial - Death's Striking Wings (Death Metal)
I know what you're thinking - "Another death metal band from Sweden?" Yes, but these guys aren't a subpar Dismember clone, in fact, they're far from it. These guys bring an evil assault that features incredibly thrashy riffs, sinister melodies inspired by the Swedish black metal scene and a pummeling intensity that would make the wargods in Angelcorpse and Impiety proud. This is a perfect album for those who need an alternative to the d-beat riddled Entombed worship, or for any death metal fan to be honest. Be sure to make Sepulchral Voice Records a designated visit and pick this album up! 

#12. Ignivomous - Contragenesis (Death Metal)
Surprisingly, this is Australia's first appearance on this list and what a monstrous record this one is. Ignivomous' sophomore full-length "Contragenesis" is absolutely devastating. It's heavy, fast and made for raising hell, as the songs on this album are an amazing combination of Immolation and Incantation-esque evil, Bolt Thrower grooving and sheer brutality akin to Order From Chaos and the like. Australia continues to pump out the awesome and with bands like Ignivomous producing nothing but stellar music, the country down under will continue to be one of the premier countries, if not THE premier country in today's metal underground. You can locate this beast of an album at the very awesome Nuclear War Now! label and proceed to headbang yourself silly. 

Highlights - "Monumental Cosmic Transgression," "Contragenesis" and "The Final Cadence to Bloodshed"

#11. Black Breath - Sentenced to Life (Metalpunk, Death Metal/Crust Punk)
This record is the equivalent to getting a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. These guys bring a chilling edge to their music courtesy of their death metal influences, but with an unbridled energy that could destroy music venues around the world. Black Breath capture the perfect amount of heaviness, speed and darkness with their death metal/crust hybrid and "Sentenced to Life" is a memorable, yet incredibly violent assault worth experiencing over and over again because of their skills. Southern Lord would be the label to contact for this savage record! 

Highlights - "Sentenced to Life," "Home of the Grave" and "Mother Abyss" 

Keep a look out for the top 10 records of 2012 to be posted soon!