Friday, December 28, 2012

Best of 2012



This was originally written for the hiplanta blog I write for my metal top fifteen that I'm writing for this blog will be up Sunday ...I'm still sorting the bottom five out...so spoilers for that list will be found here as I did touch on some metal for this article

When it came to mainstream/ commercial music 2012 was pretty horrid, despite the Internet's ability to hold a treasure trove of awesome music waiting to be found, the American Sheeple continued to let the lowest common denominator sink lower making anything on commercial radio unlistenable. How ever a lot great stuff came out from the darker corners of the universe in fact having dug up some goth music blogs in Greece ( of all places, praise Pluto) so I'm going to amend this list after I finally get me iPod on some of the death rock revivalist stuff I have been chasing down all year. Some artists     like Cold in Berlin are excluded from the list as they are unattainable not only from iTunes but also from their record label , who I hunted down trying to get their stuff. 

My metal list after lots of downloading and digging through the nine levels of hell still stands strong so here's my list of the top ten non-metal albums of  2012, which will be followed by my album of the year which is also the number one album on my overall top10 list of 2012 , followed by  my top ten of assorted categories  and awards. So let's count down the non metal.

Top Ten Non-Metal Albums of 2012

10-"No Youth" by Wreck and Reference- Just because it's not metal doesn't mean it's not going to be heavy, as that's how I roll. This duo I comprised of a sampler who handles the croons and screams and a drummer, who holds this stark experiment in musical bi-polar together . Dark wave with an edge at times, these guys are influenced by metal as much as they are Kraftwerk and Godflesh.

9-"Les Voyages De L' Ame" by Alcest- If  I was going to have a shoe-gaze album of the year this ethereal French band would win it. Though unlike Sigur Rios, whose meandering drifts off these guys have a drummer whose into metal and knows how to drive the songs forward. Niege's vocals sound great on this, I think the reason it's not higher is it's a little straight forward in the songwriting department and it had to grow on me , but survived a year in my iPod.

8-"Unknown Rooms" by Chelsea Wolfe - This one came out in October and I just got my hands on it, so the even more ghostly approach to the songs is still growing on me , if  you read my personal blog Abysmal Hymns, I'm reviewing it Sunday and from initial listens will get at least a nine, so that should say something. Her voice is great it's just as depressing as an acoustic album with cello e.q'ed so bassy it booms like a doom album.

7-"The Haunted Man" by Bat for Lashes- Natasha Khan raises the bar for the experimental cold wave influenced pop diva contest so Zola Jesus look over your shoulder girl. Influenced heavily by Annie Lennox and Kate Bush, this is how I like my pop music melancholy even when I'm dancing.

6-"self titled" by Pinkish Black- Another electronic duo , this one a singer/keyboardist who can crush you with his left hand and a drummer. These two stir up a cauldron of very dense darkness that sometimes drones at other time pounds the point home, the album gradually gets heavier with each song and should be played loudly at night.

5- "Information Retrieved" by Pinback- These guys matured a lot on this album which traded in the quirky bounce of the past for a more brooding listen. The bass and guitar interplay is stellar and they are masters of setting melodies and harmonies ontop of one another in compelling ways. I give these guys credit for time and time again not taking the easy way out, even on the most commercial sounding track on here which could have come close to veering into the Fray territory , they still give it a creative twist making it an enduring album.

4-" Love Will Prevail" by Cult of Youth- Considering who the top three are these guys have accomplished something to have crafted a masterpiece that is able to sit next to  legends.  Morose yet still full of hope, the songwriting is really knocked out of the ball park. It borders punk and old wave and rolls along for countless listens o.k ....Last Fm said I listened to it 52 times since November . They really reestablished a musical indentity for themselves , and distanced themselves further from Death in June comparisons with the songs often boisterous energy.

3- "MMXII" by Killing Joke- I already had a deep respect for this band and their tremendous influence , but this really blew me away Jaz's  voice sounds invigorated with his pipes more powerful and fluid that singers half his age, so it should go on record age is never an excuse to to rock the fuck out. Sounds more relevant than any other industrial album that came out in recent years.

2-"Anastasis" by Dead Can Dance- This one was tough and I didn't want to say it was a tie, although this is a very different album than the number one band, and it's my two favorite bands going for the top spot.  this album has some of the years best vocals on it and I might have even listened to it a little more than the number one band's album, as it's an easier listen, but that's the reason it's not in the top spot Because they played it a little safe on this where the number one album was wildly experimental, relentless and darker. That doesn't take away from the fact this album sits next to the classics of Dead Can Dances epic legacy, even if it's a little tame and straightforward for them. 

1-"the Seer" by Swans,  A double album in a year where every one can only muster out an e.ps worth of  intensity Gira and company slap you with a double dose.  I love is album Because it succeed s on two levels, it embraces a return to their more classic sound but still tries new this and integrates it into their sound. Sonically this is heavier than most of the metal albums that came out this year. Gira. 's voice sounds  much better, the groove on this are thick and Sidney as their new bass player has now made himself at home. It like listening to it as one complete work and according to last fm I have gone on that adventure over four hundred times. It was all I could listen to for a couple weeks until i got Dead Can Dance and then they fought for my iPod. 

Overall top ten albums of 2012
1. The seer by Swans
2. Anastasis by Dead Can Dance
3. Ritual of  Passing by Atriarch
4. MMXII by Killing Joke
 5.  Love will prevail by Cult of Youth
6.Sorrow and extinction by Pallbearer 
7. Silencing Machine by Nachtmystium 
8.s/t by Pinkish Black
9. Atra Mors by Evoken
10. Information Retrieved by Pinback

Other bests
1 Best live performance ...Dead Can Dance
2 Best pop album ....the Haunted man by Bat for Lashes
3 Best Rap album...the money Store by Death Grips
4...Best post - rock ...Only the Ocean Knows by An Autumn for Crippled Children
5.Best Prog album... In Somniphobia by Sigh
6. Best Metal album...Ritual of Passing by Atriarch
7. Worst Album...Coexist by the XX
8.Best Black Metal...Silencing Machine by Nachtmystium 
9. Biggest Sell out....Shining
10. Best Tribute band....the Musical Box



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