To see numbers 5 though 1, keep on reading.
BTW, the following ranked list of metal albums is based on listener feedback, requests, airplay, download/CD sales 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.
Also, feel free to leave your outraged "I'm can't believe you ranked [insert you favorite band] over [band you don't like as much]!" rage-filled diatribes in the comments below.
#5: Sylosis - Monolith
Earlier in the countdown, I mentioned that there was a lot of stoner-metal released this year. 2012 also saw a flurry of releases by New Wave Thrash Bands.
Maybe it's because I grew up with the original wave of thrash bands, Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Death Angel, etc., but a lot of New Wave Thrash leaves me a bit flat.
Don't get me wrong, those bands are filled with talented musicians, but they'll always bear the burden of having their work directly compared to the bands to which they're paying homage. It's the old "Why would I listen to a tribute to Megadeth, when I can just listen to Megadeth?" problem.
Sylosis is a welcome exception. Rather than rework the classic thrash formula in an attempt to pay homage, Sylosis updates the sound for our modern metal sensabilities.
Sylosis' Monolith is the perfect combo of speed, technical proficiency, and killer songwriting, earning it a top spot.
#4: In This Moment - Blood
Much like Nonpoint, our number 19 entry on the list, In This Moment found themselves starting over with Blood. Lead guitarist Chris Howorth and vocalist Maria Brink (who also happens to be my future ex-wife) had split from their former bandmates. It was just the two of them. Their prior album was successful enough, but they knew that they had to take things to the next level.
Blood is that next level:
Chris walked us through the writing of the album during a 13 Questions Interview earlier this year. Forget everything you thought you knew about In This Moment going into Blood. It's experimental, passionate, and most important, well-written.
When you have a lead vocalist with Maria Brink's...er...assets, it's easy to assume that they're an atypical metal act with a pretty face for a lead singer. Nothing could be futher from the truth. Those who dig beyond the image and get into the music will be handsomely rewarded. Spoken word passages, experimental sounds, even the occasional channeling of Eminem:
In This Moment threw a ton of passion into Blood and it shows. Maria's lyrics are intensely in personal and when she sings, the conviction is evident. Speaking of singing...
This album also made Lunchbox's Top 20 Rock Albums of 2012. Heavy, experimental, yet with crossover appeal. In This Moment's Blood has absolutely earned a top 5 spot.
#3: Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
Honestly, I had this album in the #1 and #2 spots in several early drafts of this list. Gojira's latest album is that freaking good.
Songs that sound epic without being epically long.
Keeping things heavy, while adding enough technical spice and unexpected flourishes to keep it interesting. Just check out the Spaghetti Western piece at the end of "Explosia":
I could just loop that part over and over again and be good for the day.
Like I've said a few times already in this countdown, it all comes down to the songs. L'Enfant Sauvage isn't just a collection of pretty parts and tech-wizardry. The songs are catchy and well written:
Plenty of heavy metal bands start and stop with heavy. Gojira takes heavy to a higher place.
#2: Lamb of God - Resolution
Lamb of God has had stronger albums in the past, but no band defines the modern state of metal like they do.
Death metal growls.
Lamb of God is the band everyone else in the scene has to measure up to. Resolution is one big-ass measuring stick.
If you can listen to "Desolation" and not want to eff ish up, you have the serenity of zen monk. Now get out of the way so we can mosh here, sensai:
Lamb of God even experimented a bit on the final track, adding orchestral flourishes, something I never expected Randy Blythe and co. to blast out:
7 albums in to their career, a lesser band would have run out of things to say. With Resolution, Lamb of God proves that not only do they have a lot more to say, they're going to define the modern state of metal in the process.
#1: Napalm Death - Utilitarian
There were several bands on this list that made it by sticking to a successful formula. No harm in that. If it works, work it.
Napalm Death has had a successful formula of their own. They change the formula on every album.
You know it's Napalm Death, but you never know if it's going to be "Grindcore Napalm Death", "Death Metal Napalm Death", "Death and Roll Napalm Death" or some other mashup.
On Utilitarian, you get Napalm Death...with...clean...singing...parts and gothy bits? Not just on one song either:
Utilitarian also marks the lead vocal debut of guitarist, Mitch Harris on "The Wolf I Feed". The back and forth between he and Mark "Barney" Greenway is something I'd absolutely welcome again:
And then they went and added saxophones:
Having been around since 1987, and with 15 albums and scads of EPs and the like, Napalm Death could easily play it safe and release formulaic fluff, trading on their good name to move units.
The fact that they don't play it safe, and released an album as unrelenting and uncompromising as Utilitarian speaks volumes about their artistic integrity and talent. Add in the fact that Utilitarian is one hell of a listen and you've got Scary Terry's Metal Album of the Year for 2012.
Just because it didn't make the list, doesn't mean it wasn't good. Here's some other 2012 releases you should make it a point to check out:
Accept - Stalingrad
Overkill - The Electric Age
Goatwhore - Blood for the Master
Kreator - Phantom Antichrist
Asphyx - Deathhammer
Cradle of Filth - The Manticore and Other Horrors
Dethklok - Dethalbum III
Cattle Decapitation - Monolith of Inhumanity
Katatonia - Dead End Kings
Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline
Headspace - I Am Anonymous
Cannibal Corpse - Torture
Nile - At the Gates of Sethu
Ex Deo - I, Caligula
Enslaved - RIITIIR
Mnemic - Mnemesis
Wintersun - Time I
Varg - Guten Tag
The Agonist - Prisoners
And of course, [Your favorite band] - [Album that totally should have been #1! You suck, Scary Terry!]
Hope you enjoyed the countdown! With Metallica, Slayer, Ghost, Avenged Sevenfold, Tesseract and many more kick ass bands set to release new stuff in 2013, next year's list will be full of awesome too!
Feel free to tell me how much you disagree with this year's dumb list which was obviously written by a tone-deaf poopy-head in the comments below.