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Best of 2012

Atanamar's Top 10 Albums of 2012

Posted by on December 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm

And so it begins, all this week (and perhaps some of next week), we will be recapping the best of the year, with year-end lists of albums, shows and other various lists from all Metal Injection contributors. As always, we want to hear your top albums as well. Make your voice heard here.

My metal proclivities took a decided turn for the morose this year, descending into a delightful morass of doom. There’s plenty of death lurking in these depths, but black metal in its purer forms seems to have failed me in 2012 (blasphemy, I know). And where did I hide the grind? There's a bit baked into my list, but as usual, I won't know what I really missed until I lay eyes on the Grind and Punishment year-end list.

The following albums were key to my own survival in 2012:

10. King Giant – Dismal Hollow

King Giant are a true non sequitur from my musical tastes, but Dismal Hollow has earned its keep repeatedly throughout the year. These tales of grit, greed, and glory are habit forming, swinging in deep grooves of southern-doom and blues nostalgia. Dismal Hollow is made transcendent by its canny, coarse vocals, but the devil is in the details; every solo, segue and melodic flourish is perfectly executed. (Listen)

9. Horrendous – The Chills

Horrendous have mastered and owned all that is righteous in death metal on their very first try. If “The Womb” doesn’t make you lose your shit, we probably can’t be friends. Glib comparisons to Swedish death metal luminaries are easy to make, but The Chills is miles beyond mere mockery. Horrendous have crafted a debut of mystifying depth and dimension, pouring piles of putrescent riffs on top of gorgeous groove and magnificent melody. (Listen)

8. Mutilation Rites – Empyrean

Never discount an album's ability to induce an insensible metal intoxication. Mutilation Rites take black metal and turn the raging up to 11. Empyrean infuses thrash and compelling melody into its breakneck beauty, draping it all in the most vomitous vocal performance this side of Gomorrah. Mutilation Rites just do not give a fuck; you should. (Listen)

7. Gaza – No Absolutes in Human Suffering

Gaza proffer a shroud of rage and oblivion, stitched around a core of glorious grinding noise and sludge. No Absolutes in Human Suffering is not musical escapism, but rather a direct confrontation of reality and its vicissitudes. Gaza channel catharsis through caustic dissonance and forced enlightenment. Truth itself is locked in these absurd, bursting polyrhythms and eviscerating howls. Just read the lyric sheet and you’ll be free. (Listen)

6. Anhedonist – Netherwards

On their full-length debut, Anhedonist circle the murk with precipitous skill. Colossally satisfying riffs trample the shores of of death and doom, moving with propulsive urgency. When the majestic tentacles of melody slide from the mire to drag you down, there’s no resisting. Netherwards wants you for dead. (Listen)

5. My Dying Bride – A Map of All Our Failures

Rising out of a creative lull, My Dying Bride return with an exceptionally satisfying litany of woe. The band regain their center, refocusing on the memorable confluence of melody and madness, riffs and sadness. The forlorn formula still works after all these years and I’m all in. The Bride abides. (Listen)

4. Krallice – Years Past Matter

Krallice are capable of inducing both savage fits of metal psychosis and mind-melting somnambulant trance. On Years Past Matter, the scale tilts towards violence. These seething currents of blistering pointillism roil and thrash under the lash of dominating blastbeats. You still might sink below the surface and lose consciousness in its grasp, but Years Past Matter will drag you up and continue the esoteric beatings. (Listen)

3. Dysrhythmia – Test of Submission

I’ve always found Dysrhythmia’s work to be awe-inspiring, their instrumental machinations as entertaining as they are mind-boggling. Test of Submission, however, is the first Dysrhythmia album that reaches beyond sonic oddity to grab hold of my consciousness in a more profound way. Without uttering a single word, Test of Submission communicates chaos, madness, melancholy and harmonious balance. These songs speak to me in empathic tongues. (Listen)

2. Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extinction

Pallbearer ply the supernatural on their full-length debut, layering the low and slow doom-churn with harrowing and haunting clean vocals. Sorrow and Extinction is a sublime compositional masterpiece; the album’s unearthly atmosphere is mind altering and its sonic ethos irresistible. Pallbearer will tear out your heart and make you row your own boat down the Styx; whether or not you return is your own choice. (Listen)

1. Woods of Ypres – Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light

There was really no contest here. David Gold’s last will and testament has been a constant companion throughout the year. Metal may often be obsessed with death, but Woods 5 is an academic study of life’s cessation, the eradication of love, and the passing of our dreams. These concepts are conveyed via infectious songwriting in tongues of morose, melodic doom. Ingenious hooks, captivating vocals and righteous rhythms demand introspection, uncontrolled headbanging, and more than a little bit of singing along. David Gold tells us in no uncertain terms that “the dead are to be forgotten.” David’s music, however, makes this request impossible. (Listen)

Other Albums I Loved (a.k.a. 11-25)

11. Napalm Death – Utilitarian (Listen)
12. Bosse-Di-Nage – III (Listen)
13. Baroness – Yellow & Green (Listen)
14. Hooded Menace – Effigies of Evil (Listen)
15. Dephosphorus – Night Sky Transform (Listen)
16. Pelican – Ataraxia/Taraxis (Listen)
17. Lord Mantis – Pervertor (Listen)
18. Paroxsihzem – Paroxsihzem (Listen)
19. Skeletal Remains – Beyond the Flesh (Listen)
20. Imbroglio – Declared Self Hatred (Out on 12/21/2012)
21. Flourishing – Intersubjectivity (Listen)
22. Catheter – Southwest Doom Violence (Listen)
23. Acephalix – Deathless Master (Listen)
24. Meek is Murder – Into The Sun Where It Falls Off The Sky (Listen)
25. Emptiness – Error (Listen)

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