The following ranked list of metal albums is based on listener feedback, requests, and my own highly biased opinion. Of all the albums that were released in 2012, these made the most noise. In case you missed them the first time around, these are highly recommended purchases.
#15: The Chariot - One Wing
Not many bands get more done in less time than The Chariot did on One Wing. In the world of DVDs and video games, there's is a type of content called an "Easter Egg". It's a delightful surprise that you find when you dig a little deeper into areas of the game or movie.
The Chariot has more Easter Eggs than the famous bunny or Cadbury. Case in point, I guarantee you won't see the bridge of "First" coming from a mile away.
Or this little nugget:
Not many metal bands have the stones to veer that wildly.
The final track, "Cheek", features a sample from Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" that makes me want to change the world:
The fact that each song title combines to form a sentence is just one more layer on an album that rewards repeated listening in spades.
#14: Deftones - Koi No Yokan
Unlike The Chariot, Deftones dropped a multilayered album that's a bit easier on the ears. Chino Moreno's vocals soar, the band brings the heavy low end that you love along with the "just enough" progressive songwriting that seperated them from their Nu-Metal peers back in the day.
The band that blew up our speakers back in the day with "Bored" continues to evolve and leave us anything but.
#13: Baroness - Yellow and Green
Yes, they're critical darlings, but this DJ thinks they're darling too. Baroness has that stoner-metal vibe, and hooks for days. In the race to see who could be the most brutal, they went with emotional weight. Check out the lament in "March to the Sea":
"Heroin, where did you take my friend?" Again, emotional weight.
"Take My Bones Away" is no slouch either:
Plenty of trippy moments on the album too:
If you're looking for something to help you come down after a Pantera/Lamb of God/Slayer fest, Baroness delivered big time in 2012.
#12: The Devin Townsend Project - "Epicloud"
Metal lends itself to an angry mood like few other genres can. Especially in 2012, when economic gloom and doom pervaded. That's why it was so unexpected to get a brilliant burst of optimism from Devin Townsend. The guy who brought you Strapping Young Lad brings you an album that's a flat out joy to behold. Check this out:
"The time has come to forget all the bull$#!+ and rock! Let's rock!"
Nothing sums up getting over a train wreck dumpster fire moment like that line right there.
Epicloud, appropritately enough, is epic. It sounds like a heavier, less flamboyant version of Queen. It's full of Heavy Devy's quirks:
Lots of artists helped me feel pi$$ed off this year. Devin helped me feel the hope for better days.
#11: Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence
Hmmm. Looks like numbers 15 through 11 on this list will be the "critical darlings" section.
Yes, I know that BTBAM made a lot of critics' year-end lists, but there's a reason for that. It's that damn good.
Jazz, classical composition, Mr. Bungle zanyness in spots, Between the Buried and Me isn't a "hit singles" band. In one song alone, they take you all over the muscial map. Check out "Telos":
BTBAM's proggy nature may not win over more casual metal fans like "Pantera Guy" or "Mainstream Metallica Guy" but metalheads who are looking for an album with depth and breadth won't go wrong with Parallax II.
Feel free to leave accolades, criticism, and thinly veiled threats in the comments below!