I'm Terry Stevens, the host of Scary Terry's Saturday Nightmare, heard every Saturday Night from 9pm to Midnight CST on Rock 94.7/102.9 and online at www.rock947.com/listen-live.
Over the course of the last year, I've listened to a ton of new albums.
Metal is in an interesting spot right now. With the widespread availability of professional-grade recording software and hardware, a band who records in their bedroom can sound almost as high grade as a band that records in a full studio. On that end, the playing field has been leveled quite a bit.
What hasn't changed is that the songs still matter. All the Pro-Tools in the world don't mean a damn thing without the songs, the hooks, that "thing" that reaches into the heart of the listener and makes them say, "YES!"
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.
#20: Jeff Loomis - Plains of Oblivion
Wisconsin native, now Seattle transplant, Jeff Loomis makes the first entry on the list. Plains of Oblivion has something for everyone. Being a largely instrumental album, Prog-metallers can thrill to Loomis' compositional skills and guest appearances by guests like ex-Megadeth guitar-whizes Marty Friedman and Chris Poland.
Speaking of guest appearances, Death-metallers will roar with approval at the appearance of Emperor's Ishan on "Surrender".
There's even something for power-ballad fans with "Chosen Time" featuring guest vocals from Christine Rhoades:
All in all, a album packed with variety and impeccable musicianship.
#19: Nonpoint - self-titled
While other Nu-Metal bands spent the year flirting with Dubstep (Korn) or fighting on Twitter (Limp Bizkit), Nonpoint simply got back to work. Outside of lead vocalist Elias Soriano and drummer Robb Rivera, it's a brand new band and it shows.
Nonpoint sounds completely revitalized, and more importantly, relevant, current and alive. Just listen to the first track "Lights, Camera, Action":
I had a chance to chat with one of their new guitarists, Dave Lizzio. He had a number of the songs written in instrumental form before he hooked up with Nonpoint. He wasn't forced to conform to a "sound". His sound was incorportated into Nonpoint. The new blood and new energy in the band was evident when they kicked ass at the Fillmor in Downtown Wausau on November 17th, and it's evident on the new album too.
If you had told me at the beginning of the year that I would be putting a latter-era Nu-Metal band on my "Best of 2012 List" I would have thought you daft. What can I say? Nonpoint surprised me.
#18: Graveyard - Lights Out
Call it stoner-metal, vest-metal, 70's-metal or whatever, there was a LOT of it released in 2012. To be honest, a lot of it was really good. Astra, Atoma, Witchcraft, Gypsyhawk, Horisont, hell even Down got a little retro on the Purple EP. But for my money, the one that that kept me hitting "repeat" was Graveyard's latest. Whether it was a stomper like "The Suits, The Law, & The Uniforms"
Or bluesy jams like "Slow Motion Countdown":
Graveyard simply wrote songs that stuck out just a little bit more.
#17: Soulfly - Enslaved
I'll be the first to admit, Soulfly hasn't exactly dazzled me on every outing. I loved Sepultura back in the day. I bought every album through Roots. I loved the world music influences that Roots displayed. When Max Cavalera split with the band to create Soulfly, I was excited to see what wild directions he would take.
Well...Max Cavalera's experiments with Soulfly have been a pretty mixed bag, and that's good. There's no evolution without risk.
However, those experiments kinda made me wish that my ol' Sep would come back.
Enslaved is that wish come true in Soulfly form. Max and Co. get back, not "To the Primative", but to Chaos A.D.
There's something refreshing about hearing an artist finding his way again. It's no Sep reunion, but it's close enough for this metalhead.
#16: Whitechapel - self-titled
I started getting excited about this album when their Recorrupted EP came out in 2011. It featured some covers, remixes and one new song from their then upcoming album:
That was all I needed to be on the lookout their new one, and it did NOT disappoint. Dissonant, angry, punishing.
There are a lot of bands who do the deathcore sound. Few sounded as convincing as Whitechapel this year.
Feel free to leave accolades, criticism, complaints about typos and thinly veiled threats in the comments below!