These are what I rank as my favourite releases of 2012. If you think there’s any underground gems or even mainstream masterpieces I’ve somehow missed, please tell me in the comments below so I can rectify this. Anyway, to the list!
5) Harmonicraft – Torche
This was my introduction to Torche and I am sure as hell glad that someone recommended it to me. The album so far seems to be have an insanely high replay value. This was something which I discovered after I spent an entire weekend (more or less) listening to nothing other than Harmonicraft. Heavy, sludgy, poppy, awesome, this is a great release and hands down one of the best albums of the year.
4) Brendon Small’s Galaktikon – Brendon Small
As this list will show, I was really into the fun, easy-to-digest (relatively) releases of 2012. Mastermind Brendon Small on guitar and vocals is backed by drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Bryan Beller. The trio also performs together as a band called Dethklok, which you may have heard of. Galaktikon is a concept album with an interesting and over-the-top storyline, which lends the lyrics more weight, in my opinion. Musically the album is a more melodic, rock-based affair than Dethalbum III (and Dethklok in general).
3) Epicloud – Devin Townsend
Devin Townsend is once again proving that he is one of the greatest producers, singers and composers to have walked our earth, this time through the poppy metal sounds of Epicloud. More than anything, this brings to mind a more advanced and varied version of Addicted. In a word: Fun.
2) Long Live Heavy Metal – 3 Inches Of Blood
I find it difficult to believe that I will ever get tired of these Canadians or their sound. This album was a true return to form for the band after the departure of Jamie Hooper and the slightly disappointing Here Waits Thy Doom. The solos are top notch, the riffs are great, Cam is soaring, the drumming is tight and the production is nigh on perfect. This album is perfect for the fools, the doubters and the naysayers who are convinced that metal is a thing of the past. This album not only proves that metal yet lives, but that it is stronger than ever and getting stronger still.
1) Down IV Part 1 – The Purple EP – Down
First things first, despite this being an EP, it’s also one of the greatest releases I have ever heard, so I’m including it regardless. Returning to the music at hand, this is one of the greatest collections of riffs I have ever encountered. The song-writing is top notch and both the drumming and bass-work are of interest, but for me it goes back to the amazing playing of Kirk and Pepper. This EP isn’t carried by its riffs. It is launched from their backs into the halls of greatness.