I may as well take this time to do my Top 10 Albums of 2012
But I’m actually doing 11. For the lols.
The Safety Fire - Grind the Ocean
It took me a while to get used to the vocals, but once I did, this album quickly became one of my favorites this year. These Brits are prog metal geniuses, and manage to mix, heavy, melodic, dissonant, and beautiful all together to make a killer album.
Art By Numbers - Reticence: The Musical
I was originally skeptical of the short song lengths, but this is probably my most-listened-to album this year. Partially filling the void that the Human Abstract break-up/hiatus left in my heart, Reticence: The Musical takes neo-classical metal, runs with it, and doesn’t look back.
The Faceless - Autotheism
I was really hoping that I would like this album, considering I was one of the very few people who was gravely disappointed with Planetary Duality (ask my why, please), and boy did I get my wish. This album really solidifies The Faceless as a progressive band, in my eyes. Michael Keene seems to have listened to a lot of Devin Townsend and BTBAM, and that’s perfectly alright with me.
Skyharbor - Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos
Holy Dan Tompkins. Every thing this man touches turns to gold. The credit should be evenly distributed though, as this much-anticipated album really delivers everything I hoped it would be. This album is ethereal prog beauty. This album (especially the Illusion section) has no filler. Every song feels to be an integral part of this extremely well-crafted album.
Mandroid Echostar - Mandroid Echostar EP
This band’s first EP is only 4 songs, but I’m already sold on them. Extremely catchy Coheed-esque vocals with proggy goodness on the instrumental end (sense a trend in this list?), these guys bring a fresh, new sound to the metal world. I can’t wait to hear what their first full length sounds like.
Between the Buried and Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence
At first listen, this album was a bit overwhelming, both for it’s density, and it’s sheer length. There’s so much going on, I STILL don’t feel like I’ve absorbed all of it. Regardless, BTBAM are no strangers to pushing the boundaries. I’m not sure how they continue to top themselves, but they’re damn great at it.
Cloudkicker - Fade
Many people have cited In Time by Intervals as their top instrumental pick, but Cloudkicker never does me wrong. This one man project has such a range from album to album, many people wouldn’t pick up on it all being composed by the same person. Ben Sharp shows a very mature side of his music on this album, varying but tasteful, and a very accurate representation of his compositional talents.
Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud
While it did not live up to the hype that many people expected it to, I personally felt this album was exact what Devin said it would be. And for that, I appreciate it for what it is. Being a fan of pop-influenced metal (not to be confused with “pop metal”), I found this album to be quite enjoyable. I can definitely see this album serving as a “gateway album” to many people who are unfamiliar with Devin, in many ways (and more) that Addicted did. In my opinion, it falls a bit short of a Addicted, but I greatly enjoyed it nonetheless.
Lamb of God - Resolution
I feel like this album got overshadowed by many others because it was released so early in the year. While I do feel like several songs are filler (as almost every LOG album has), the non-filler songs are extremely memorable. While this album would probably have been more enjoyable if it were only 10 or so songs, Resolution does sport some of LOG’s most enjoyable songs to date, including the album’s epic closer, King Me.
Zelliack - Noir Tone EP
One of several Eliot Coleman projects, this seems to suit his voice the best. This funky collection of “smoove jams” has been called “sex music” by many, and I don’t disagree. With a mix of jazz, soul, R&B, and some definite 80’s influence, listening to this EP may very well increase your chances of intercourse. At the very least, enjoy this EP with a glass of wine and/or a warm blanket.
Glass Cloud - The Royal Thousand
Probably the heaviest selection on this list, The Royal Thousand packs quite the punch. The intermittent clean vocals add a nice touch, differentiating Glass Cloud from the monotony of today’s metal/core scene. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed this album nearly as much without the clean vocals, and quite possibly may have never even given it a second listen. However, I do feel that this album was quite solid, as it does convey an original angle on a genre that can be quite bland.