We’re back with our Best of 2012 list, only four months late this year. Maybe next year, we’ll cut it down to three months? 2012 was yet another banner year for diverse metal offerings, and TONS of great metal releases struck our collective fancy, from well-established bands (Napalm Death, Paradise Lost, Morbid Angel, Deftones) to not-so-well-known-yet acts (Author & Punisher, Abiotic, Inverloch, Dragged Into Sunlight, Mother’s Green). Our list mixes the familiar with the unknown, and without further ado…
#10: “Rise Up” from Testament’s Dark Roots of Earth (Nuclear Blast). Is it just us, or have Testament gotten better with age? Even more amazing is that four-fifths of the band is the original line-up: Chuck Billy, Alex Skolnick, Eric Peterson, Greg Christian, and they added the mighty Gene Hoglan as drummer—who actually played with them previously on 1997’s Demonic during their lean years.
#9: “Wrong Side of History” from Kowloon Walled City’s Container Ships (Brutal Panda). KWC are a post-core/-rock quartet from San Francisco who’d probably be on Hydra Head if they were still around. On tour now with Zozobra (who also has a new album out, starring Adam McGrath and J.R. Conners of Cave In).
#8: “Ash” from Abstracter’s Tomb of Feathers (The Path Less Traveled). Like many metalheads, we have an affinity for Bay Area bands, and Abstracter blew our minds this year. They play Neurosis-styled, build-and-collapse doom but more in the vein of Mindrot, -16-, and Yob. “Ash” is 16 minutes long (our longest podcast cut yet), so get ready to DOOM!
#7: “The Innsmouth Look” from Chowder’s Passion Rift (I Voidhanger). Chowder play amazing, vocalless prog-doom from Maryland that’s a crooked cross between Rush and Karma to Burn. Their label, I Voidhanger, will be an interesting one to watch for cool bands. Chowder is not the greatest choice for names, mind you, but does that make their fans Chowderheads (“Chowdah-heads” for all you New Englanders)?
#6: “bear” from haarp’s Husks (Housecore). With a little “h” but a big sound, haarp are another New Orleans band molded after Eyehategod and Crowbar, but slower—more akin to North Carolina’s Weedeater but with longer songs. Three tracks only on this current album Husks, and our song pick “bear” is almost 9 minutes long. On Phil Anselmo’s label, Housecore, natch!
#5: “Curses Scribed in Gore” from Hooded Menace’s Effigies of Evil (Relapse). Here’s a Finnish band whose sole purpose is to emulate all the classic death/doom of Winter, Cathedral, and Candlemass. Special thanks to Mark & Jason for getting us into these dudes with Episode 048 of Requiem Metal Podcast!
#4: “iDeath” from Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s Don’t Hear It…Fear It! (Rise Above/Metal Blade). This oddly named band hails from England and is named after a real-life British naval officer from the 17th century. An obvious titular nod to Sir Lord Baltimore, this wily trio play psychedelic rock/metal like the MC5, Status Quo, et al., plus they have a man-sized red bird as their mascot!
#3: “Raise the Dawn” from Neurosis’s Honor Found in Decay (Neurot). Our third Bay Area band on the list, Neurosis always produces quality, thought-provoking music and has been a major influence on Isis, which in turn were the inspiration for countless more bands. They have always had exactly the same line-up, with the exception of Noah Landis, who joined in 1996 and quit just recently. This is their tenth studio album, and they show no sign of early retirement.
#2: “Vanquish in Vengeance” from Incantation’s Vanquish in Vengeance (Listenable). This perennially solid band is also featured in our next episode, Episode 011: SDM Vol. 2, and we spend more time talking about them there. Hands down, one of the very best American DM bands!
And the #1 song of the year: “Wonder-Room” from
Katabatic’s Heavy Water (Raging Planet). “Katabatic” is an adjective describing the cold, fast wind that travels downslope from mountaintops. The band Katabatic are a four-piece from Lisbon, Portugal that play almost vocalless atmospheric doom in the vein of Isis or, more obviously, Pelican. The light/dark shift in our song choice, “Wonder-Room,” just blows us away like those katabatic winds!