10 Best Metal Albums of 2012
This year 2012 will be remembered as one that was incredibly rich with quality metal albums, with some of extreme music's most consistent bands having issued near-perfect additions to their discographies this year, many of the albums listed here could have easily come in at No. 1 if released in past years. Albums from Between the Buried and Me, Converge, Pig Destroyer and Gojira made 2012 an incredibly competitive year, and certainly one of the best so far in the 21st century. The year also saw stellar new releases from the likes of Down and Lamb of God, among others. For fans who lean more rock than metal, we've got a separate list for you. But here, we present our picks for the 10 Best Metal Albums of 2012:
'Blood for the Master'
Coming in at No. 10 is Goatwhore's blackened death metal gem 'Blood for the Master.' Released on Feb. 13, the band unleashed one of their heaviest and greatest career achievements early in the year. With 'Blood for the Master' fueling an ever-increasing fanbase, Goatwhore earned a place on this year's Summer Slaughter tour along with opening shows for High on Fire, Hate Eternal and 3 Inches of Blood, among others, in 2012.
Lamb of God continued their streak of creating addictive "pure American metal" with 'Resolution.' The band stays the course with their latest album, with powerful consistency and flawless execution. While there is no mistaking the album's tracks as anyone but Lamb of God, the band experiments with some doom with 'Straight for the Sun' and spoken word parts with 'King Me.' Add pummeling tracks such as 'Desolation' and Ghost Walking,' and you've got a killer album.
'Down IV, Part 1 - The Purple EP'
Although 'Down IV, Part 1 - The Purple EP' contains only six songs, the tracks within offer a sustaining energy that carries the weight of a full-length. The vocal prowess of Phil Anselmo remains powerful, especially when delving low into his range, while the rest of Down pump out monstrous sludge into the groove-driven 'Levitation' and the anthemic 'Witchtripper.'
'Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light'
The tragic death of Woods of Ypres mastermind David Gold in December 2011 was a massive loss to the metal world, and tragically, Gold did not live to see the release of 'Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light.' Gold harnessed immense depth and introspective thought, using death itself as the album's central theme. 'Woods 5' follows a man who sees death after being struck by lightning and finds neither a God nor an afterlife.
With an album so good even Larry King contributed to it (kind of), Pig Destroyer ended a five-year wait for new material in 2012 with 'Book Burner.' The addition of Misery Index drummer Adam Jarvis to the lineup delivered a much dirtier and twisted sound to the new record, displayed prominently in 'The Diplomat.' Along with the all-knowing guitarist / producer Scott Hull and tremendous guest vocalists accompanying J.R. Hayes, the grind of Pig Destroyer remains second to none.
Although Gojira already possessed mountains of fans and a solid discography, the band is widely considered to be the breakout metal act of 2012. The French metallers unveiled 'L'Enfant Sauvage' to universal acclaim, successfully balancing the band's key components of brutality, beauty and progression with flawless production attached. For songs like 'The Axe,' 'Explosia,' the title track and much more, we say 'merci beaucoup' to Gojira.
'De Vermis Mysteriis'
High on Fire gifted fans with the incredible trippy sludge-fest 'De Vermis Mysteriis' in 2012, which explores the story of Jesus Christ's time-traveling stillborn twin brother who drinks a serum to see the past through his ancestors eyes in order to discover how his brother became a religious icon. Still with us? Even if the concept goes over your head, the brilliance of tracks such as 'Fertile Green' and 'King of Days' will bring you to sonic enlightenment.
'All We Love We Leave Behind'
Converge possess one of extreme music's most impressive discographies, and 'All We Love We Leave Behind' ranks among the band's crowning achievements. The group strides closer to their hardcore roots with 'Trespasses' and 'Sparrow's Fall,' continue the legacy of Kurt Ballou's ingenious shredding with 'Sadness Comes Home' and even create experimental beauty with 'Coral Blue.'
Many metalheads expected just another grind record with Napalm Death's 15th studio album, 'Utilitarian.' Those people were wrong. 'Utilitarian' turned out to be not just a phenomenal album, but a monumental achievement for the British legends. Barney Greenway's unmatched voice remains terrifying and demented, while the band's songwriting created an avant-garde niche consisting of scattered saxophone solos and otherworldly clean vocals.
'The Parallax II: Future Sequence'
'The Parallax II: Future Sequence' is metal music's greatest conceptual accomplishment of the year. Set in outer space, BTBAM have created the most complex music you'll ever zone out to, performed by the strongest group of pure musicians within the realm of metal. Much like the band's 2007 album, 'Colors,' the record takes unexpected twists and turns while sonic plates spin without the slightest wobble. For that, we crown it the Best Metal Album of 2012.