Nov 222012

At least in my crazy country, Thanksgiving is a pivotal day in the year. Today, people who are lucky eat too much in the company of friends and/or family.  Tomorrow, people begin spending money they don’t have on presents people don’t need. And today also begins the countdown to the end of the year.  From now ’til then, people take stock of the year and begin making lists of the best and worst that the year has brought us.

In the world of metal, that means lists of the best albums (and sometimes the worst).  Back in 2009, when this site was just an ugly, smelly baby a few days old, I wrote a post about year-end lists and why people bother with them. The best reason still seems to be this: Reading someone else’s list of the albums they thought were the year’s best is a good way to discover music you missed and might like.

We don’t do an “official” NCS year-end “best albums” list. It’s just too damned much work, and I’m allergic to work. Fortunately, we have some other regular contributors who have more energy, and we’ll be publishing their year-end lists in December. We’ll also be publishing the year-end lists that major metal publications and “big platform” web sites are compiling; we started doing that yesterday with DECIBEL magazine’s list of 2012’s Top 40 Albums.

We’re also inviting some other folks to give us their lists in the form of guest posts for this site. And we’ll also have our annual list of the extreme metal songs we thought were the most infectious of the year. Soon, I’ll post an invitation for your song suggestions.

But we ain’t stopping there. If YOU have made your own list of the best metal albums you heard this year, we want to see it. Because we’re fucking nosy like that. (details about this invitation are after the jump . . .)

Here’s the deal: In the Comments to this post, or in an e-mail to me (, give us your own list of the metal albums you’ve heard in 2012 that you thought were the best. It doesn’t have to be a specific number — doesn’t have to be a “Top 10″ or “Top 20″ list, it could be a Top 2 list.

And it doesn’t have to be a cross-genre listi.e., the best of all metal you’ve heard this year.  It could be the best hardcore albums you heard, or the best death metal, or the best black metal, or the best grind, or the best folk metal, or the best reggae metal, or the best prog, djent, or whatever-core, or the best rap metal — pretty much whatever you want to do and feel comfortable doing, as long as it fits your definition of metal.

Don’t be shy, and don’t worry about being judged. It ain’t our style to criticize or poke fun at what someone else thinks is great metal. Leave us your lists here or send them to me and I’ll put them in the Comments without identifying you by name, if you prefer anonymity. We’ll use this post as a collecting point for people interested in finding new metal that other NCS readers thought were great.

If you don’t have a list ready yet, no sweat, because you can come back to this post whenever you like and add your list later — or comment on the lists others have posted. I’ll put a link to this post at the top right side of every page so people can find it quickly — look for the link to NCS READERS’ YEAR-END LISTS.

Finally, if you’re willing to put your list in the form of a guest post, with some kind of description of the music and/or explanations of why you think the music is the best you heard, send it on to me by e-mail. Adding links to album covers would be nice, too, but not essential. I can’t promise I’ll post all guest submissions — I have to retain some minimal discretion about these things — but I did post every guest submission I received in response to my early-November invitation, so there’s that.

So start thinking and start commenting (please, and thank you).


  1. bucketochicken says:

    Certainly not in any order indicative of quality or preference, these are the albums that I can remember right now that tickled my prostate (aurally-speaking, of course) this year so far:

    1. Ohio Sky – Curses
    2. Torche – Harmonicraft
    3. Cancer Bats – Dead-Set On Living
    4. Black Breath – Sentenced to Life
    5. Meshuggah – Koloss
    6. Baroness – Yellow & Green
    7. Jack White – Blunderbuss
    8. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…
    9. Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud
    10. Sylosis – Monolith
    11. Enslaved – RIITIIR
    12. Ihsahn – Emerita
    13. Deftones – Koi No Yokan (holy shit this album is so fucking good)
    14. Rob Delaney – Live at the Bowery Ballroom (ok yeah not technically an album per se, but fuck you it’s my list)
    15. Gojira – L’enfant Sauvage
    16. Melvins Lite – Freak Puke
    17. Fitz & the Tantrums – Pickin’ Up the Pieces (ok technically this came out in 2008, I just discovered them this year and fucking love it. Again, fuck you, my list)
    18. Beach House – Bloom
    19. Fang Island – Major
    20. Shovels & Rope – O, Be Joyful

  2. Metalwolf says:

    The lack of Meshuggah in this thread is sickening.

    1. Meshuggah – Koloss
    2. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
    3. Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme
    4. Napalm Death – Utilitarian
    5. Liberteer – Better to Die on Your Feet Than Live on Your Knees

    …is my short list of most-favorites. Dark Roots of Earth was unbelievably shit though. Really disappointed in one of my favorite bands.

  3. JB says:

    In alphabetical,not preferential order:

    A Million Dead Birds Laughing – Xen
    Aborted – Global Flatline
    Acyl – Algebra (a late addition-thanks,Booker!)
    Alcest – Les Voyages de L’Ame
    Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas
    Carach Angren – Where the Corpses Sink Forever
    Cattle Decapitation – Monolith of Inhumanity
    Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Pinata
    Eryn Non Dae – Meliora
    The Fathomless Deep – Equilibrant EP
    Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
    Gorod – A Perfect Absolution
    In Mourning – The Weight of Oceans
    Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I
    Necroblaspheme – XXVI:The Deeper the Better
    Necrovation – Necrovation
    Oak Pantheon – From A Whisper
    Royal Thunder – CVI
    Stam1na – Nocebo
    Synestesia – Nereus

  4. One still hasn’t been able to decide on anything other than One’s favorite release of the year – Portal of I by Ne Obliviscaris.
    There have been so many releases this year listed in these comments that One doesn’t even remember being released this year, leave alone remember having listening to… (._. ) …This is going to be a long December.
    In any case, One shall post a link here to One’s list sometime at the beginning of next year, for anyone interested.

  5. ShortyGreasySpotSpot says:

    Not in the final order but my top 20 for 2012

    Sigh- In Somniphobia
    Enslaed- RIITIIR
    Ihsahn- Eremita
    Gojira- L’Enfant Sauvage
    Pallbearer- Sorrow and Extinction
    Anguish- Through The Archdemon’s Head
    Sear Bliss- Eternal Recurrence
    Evoken- Atra Mors
    Dawnbringer- Into The Lair of the Sun God
    Wound Upon Wound- Wound Upon Wound
    Mare Cognitum- An Extraconscious Lucidity
    Daylight Dies- A Frail Becoming
    Wodensthrone- Curse
    Solbrud- Solbrud
    Schattenbrandung- I-Apophanie
    Elysian Blaze- Blood Geometry
    Fuoco Fatuo- 33 Colpi di Schizofrenia Astrale Nell’Abisso Nero
    The Cold View- Weeping Winter
    Ysengrin- To Endotaton
    Tempestuous Fall- The Stars Would Not Awake You

    I’m looking forward to listening to the new Desolate Shrine album and the new Old Corpse Road (released in December) and also checking out some of the other recommendations from everyone else’s list, so many albums so little time so little money!

  6. FT says:

    Top 40, let’s go.

    1. Faustcoven – Hellfire and Funeral Bells
    2. Anguish – Through The Archdemons Head
    3. Ysengrin – To Endotaton
    4. Tardigrada – Widrstand (Demo)
    5. Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extinction
    6. Orchid – Heretic (EP)
    7. Evoken – Atra Mors
    8. Revenge – Scum. Collapse. Eradication.
    9. Velvet Robe – The Celestial Intelligencer
    10. Lord Mantis – Pervertor
    11. Morbus Chron – A Saunter Through The Shroud (EP)
    12. Saccage – Death Crust Satanique
    13. Bell Witch – Longing
    14. Rust – Damned Hellish Voids
    15. Bunker 66 – Infernö Interceptörs
    16. Shroud of Despondency – Pine
    17. Ash Borer – Cold of Ages
    18. Bastard Sapling – Dragged From Our Restless Trance
    19. Wodensthrone – Curse
    20. Satan’s Satyrs – Wild Beyond Belief!
    21. Anhedonist – Netherwards
    22. Valborg – Nekrodepression
    23. Agalloch – Faustian Echoes (EP)
    24. Hellvetron – Death Scroll of Seven Hells and Its Infernal Majesties
    25. Hooded Menace – Effigies of Evil
    26. Nekromantheon – Rise, Vulcan Spectre
    27. Deathhammer – Onward To The Pits
    28. Charon – Sulphur Seraph
    29. Ignivomous – Contragenesis
    30. Jess and The Ancient Ones – S/T
    31. Krallice – Years Past Matter
    32. Horrendous – The Chills
    33. Coffin Texts – The Tomb of Infinite Ritual
    34. Necrovation – S/T
    35. Aura Noir – Out To Die
    36. Muknal – Muknal (EP)
    37. Desaster – The Arts of Destruction
    38. Incantation – Vanquish In Vengeance
    39. Windhand – S/T
    40. Ilsa – Intoxicantations

    • Kazz says:

      Nice to see Coffin Texts on another list. Overall there’s a lot here that I liked, so I’ll check out some of the ones I hadn’t heard about starting with Hellvetron because it’s on Spotify.

  7. morbidcorpse says:

    I only skimmed the thread, but I haven’t seen anyone mention Pathology??? And not enough people have Cattle Decapitation at their top pick, or maybe I’m just biased as I’m a vegetarian and share a similar philosophy as the band?

  8. A Sandwich (Of Knuckles) says:

    Last year I mainly listened to brutal death metal or tech death. This year I have listened to a lot of thrash and music with a lot of melodic guitar parts. So here is my end of the year list with some metal and some non-metal:

    1: Baroness – Yellow & Green

    2: The Sword – Apocryphon

    3: Sonny Landreth – Elemental Journey

    4: The Cast of Cheers – Family

    5: Gorod – A Perfect Absolution

    6: Witchcraft – Legend

    7: Down – The Purple EP Part 1

    8: Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage

    9: Tourniquet – Antiseptic Bloodbath

    10: Municipal Waste – The Fatal Feast

  9. Christopher says:

    High On Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
    Asphyx – Deathhammer
    Hooded Menace – Effigies Of Evil
    Cannibal Corpse – Torture
    Serpentine Path – Serpentine Path
    Ævangelist – De Masticatione Morturoum In Tumulis
    Cardiac Arrest – Vortex Of Violence
    Kowloon Walled City – Container Ships
    Unsane – Wreck
    Killing Joke – MMXII

  10. Critch says:

    Amazing year for metal in all its forms, my top 25 in order….

    1. Kadavar – S/T
    2. Winterfylleth – The Threnody of Triumph
    3. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
    4. Black Breath – Sentenced to Death
    5. Witchcraft – Legend
    6. Alcest – Les Voyages De L’Ame
    7. Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas
    8. Desecresy – The Doom Skeptron
    9. Horisont – Second Assault
    10.St Vitus – Lillie: F-65
    11.Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extincton
    12.Anathema – Weather Systems
    13. Meshuggah – Koloss
    14.Dodecahedron – S/T
    15.Graveyard – Lights Out
    16.Conan – Monnos
    17.Whores – Ruiner
    18.Wolfbrigade – Damned
    19.Burzum – Umskiptar
    20.Enslaved – RIITHIIR
    21.Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker
    22.Gallows – Gallows
    23.Ahab – The Giant
    24.Indesinence – Vessels of Light and Decay
    25.Monolithe – III

    Grand Magus – The Hunter

    Black Magician – Nature is The Devils Church
    Hooded Menace – Effigies of Evil
    Inverloch – Dusk Subside

  11. Goshicrazy says:

    In no particular order:
    Becoming the Archetype – I Am
    Coldworker – Doomsayer’s Call
    The Contortionist – Intrinsic
    Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
    Enslaved – Riitiir
    Gojira – L’enfant Sauvage
    High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
    Hour of Penance – Sedition
    Lamb of God – Resolution
    Meshuggah – Koloss
    Nile – At the Gates of Sethu
    Spawn of Possession – Incurso
    Tombs – Path of Totailty

  12. Shaneos says:

    10. Agalloch – Faustian Echoes
    9. Black Breath – Sentenced For Life
    8. Revocation – Teratogenesis
    7. Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
    6. Aeon – Aeons Black
    5. Before the Dawn – Rise of the Phoenix
    4. Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I
    3. Be’Lakor – Of Breath and Bone
    2. Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas
    1. Alcest – Les Voyages de l’Âme

    Honorable mentions:

    Whitechapel – Whitechapel
    Wodensthrone – The Storm
    Enslaved – RIITIIR
    Deathspell Omega – Drought
    Parkway Drive – Atlas
    My Dying Bride – A Map of All our Failures
    Katatonia – Dead End Kings
    Asphyx – Deathhammer
    Dew-Scented – Icarus
    Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage

    Albums not on this list:

    Wintersun – Time I

  13. Ben says:

    Top 10 German Metal Albums

    Lunar Aurora – Hoagascht
    Ahab – The Giant
    Planks – Funeral Mouth
    Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
    Sophicide – Perdition of the Sublime
    Desaster – The Arts of Destruction
    Downfall of Gaia – Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes
    Galaktik Cancer Squad – Celestia
    Wolfhetan – Was der Tag nicht ahnt
    Secrets of the Moon – Seven Bells

  14. Arjan says:

    Since other people have put music like Deftones on their lists as well I will not refrain from stuff that might not be metal, strictly speaking. Furthermore I just wanted to add that I thought this was once again a great year for metal, and a ton of interesting stuff has come out.

    1. Swallow the Sun – Emerald Forest and the Blackbird
    2. Khonsu – Anomalia
    3. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
    4. Zatokrev – The Bat, the Wheel and the Long Road to Nowhere
    5. Okera – The Beautiful Dystopia
    6. Anathema – Weather Systems
    7. Be’lakor – Of Breath and Bone
    8. Cradle of Filth – The Manticore and Other Horrors
    9. Ne Obliviscaris – The Portal of I
    10. Inborn Suffering – Regression to Nothingness
    11. In Mourning – The Weight of the Oceans
    12. The Pineapple Thief – All the Wars
    13. Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming
    14. Lamb of God – Resolution
    15. Aoria – The Constant
    16. Deftones – Koi No Yokan
    17. Before the Dawn – Rise of the Phoenix
    18. Barren Earth – The Devil’s Resolve
    19. Alcest – Les Voyages de L’Áme
    20. Moonspell – Alpha Noir/Omega White

  15. Amelia says:

    1. Anhedonist-Netherwards
    2. Sigh-In Somniphobia
    3. Sabaton-Carolus Rex
    4. Thy Catafalque-Rengeteg (it was released in North America in 2012, so I figure it counts)
    5. Woods of Ypres-Grey Skies & Electric Light
    6. Derketa-In Death We Meet
    7. Diablo Swing Orchestra-Pandora’s Pinata
    8. Asphyx-Deathhammer
    9. Alcest-Les Voyages de L’Ame
    10. Heidevolk-Batavi

  16. Necrophagist says:

    Top 10 Albums of 2012

    1. Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme
    2. Cannibal Corpse – Torture
    3. Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
    4. Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Piñata
    5. Municipal Waste – The Fatal Feast
    6. Spawn of Possession – Incurso
    7. Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
    8. Aborted – Global Flatline
    9. Gorod – A Perfect Absolution
    10. Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas

  17. HighZoolander says:

    OK, here goes (if the links don’t format right I’ll repost in a more legible format).

    My favorites of 2012. I just couldn’t limit myself to 25 full length albums, there were too many phenomenal EPs, splits, and compilations. So I made two lists, one for full lengths and one for the rest. Overall, I thought it was a good year for death metal, with lots of very good releases, but ultimately not a lot that truly stood out from the pack as great. It wasn’t such a great year for black metal, and there weren’t very many new releases that I enjoyed (but I managed to find a few, of course).

    Full Albums (alphabetical order is boring, so here they are from roughly the least to most depraved):

    Witchcraft – Legend (doom rock)

    Occultation – Three and Seven (occult doom rock)

    Therion – Les Fleurs du Mal (operatic)

    Hail Spirit Noir – Pneuma (psychedelic black)

    Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Pinata (avant-garde)

    Arkham Witch – Legions of the Deep (traditional/doom)

    Hour of 13 – 333 (traditional/doom)

    Natur – Head of Death (traditional)

    Candlemass – Psalms for the Dead (doom)

    Desaster – The Arts of Destruction (black/thrash)

    Bestial Holocaust – Into the Goat Vulva (black/thrash)

    Mongrel’s Cross – The Sins of Aquarius (black/thrash)

    Faustcoven – Hellfire and Funeral Bells (black/doom)

    Pact – The Dragon Lineage of Satan (black)

    Secrets of the Moon – Seven Bells (black)

    Nocturnal Torment – They Come At Night (death)

    Resurgency – False Enlightenment (death)

    Incantation – Vanquish in Vengeance (death/doom)

    Putrevore – Macabre Kingdom (death)

    Beheaded – Never to Dawn (death)

    Demoncy – Enthroned is the Night (black)

    Pseudogod – Deathwomb Catechesis (death/black)

    Proclamation – Nether Tombs of Abaddon (death/black)

    Aevangelist – De Masticatione Mortuorum (death/black)

    Revenge – Scum. Collapse. Eradication. (death/black)

    Splits, EPs, and Compilations (alphabetically, because these are all pretty damn depraved; no links, but they’re worth seeking out):

    Coffins – March of Despair (EP) (doom/death)
    Deathspell Omega – Drought (EP) (black)
    Decayed – A Feast of Decay (compilation)(black)
    Diocletian / Weregoat – Disciples of War (split) (black/death)
    Gospel of the Horns – Ceremonial Conjuration (EP) (black/thrash)
    Hypnosia – Mental Terror (compilation) (thrash)
    Nightbringer / Acherontas (spit) – The Ruins of Edom (black)
    Purtenance – Sacrifice the King (EP) (death)
    Teitanblood – Woven Black Arteries (compilation)(death/black)
    Timeghoul – 1992-1994 Discography (compilation) (death)
    Ungod – Chaos, Conquest & Defiance (compilation) (black)
    Wooden Stake – At the Stroke of Midnight (compilation)(doom/death)

  18. Silas says:

    Really late to the game, but here are my top 25:

    Top 10 (ranked)

    1) Pallbearer- Sorrow and Extinction
    2) Meshuggah- Koloss
    3) Wintersun- Time I
    4) Be’Lakor- Of Breath and Bone
    5) Anaal Nathrakh- Vanitas
    6) Anathema- Weather Systems
    7) High On Fire- De Vermis Mysteriis
    8) Bereft- Leichenhaus
    9) If These Trees Could Talk- Red Forest
    10) Vita Imana- Uluh

    Other 15 (not ranked):

    Alcest- Voyages de l’ame
    Black Break- Sentenced to Life
    Deftones- Koi No Yokan
    The Devin Townsend Project- Epicloud
    Eluveitie- Helvetios
    Elysian- Wires of Creation
    Gojira- L’enfant Sauvage
    Old Man Gloom- NO
    Om- Advaitic Songs
    Ufomammut- ORO: Opus Primu and Opus Alter (technically two albums)
    Vintersorg- Orkan
    Winterfylleth- The Threnody of Triumph
    Wodensthrone- Curse
    Woods of Ypres- Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light
    4 Arm- Submission for Liberty

  19. Patrick says:

    1. In Somniphobia -by- Sigh
    2. Monolith of Inhumanity -by- Cattle Decapitation
    3. Atra Mors -by- Evoken
    4. Odalheim -by-Unleashed
    5. Rastlos -by- Finsterforst
    6. The Giant -by- Ahab
    7. Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light -by- Woods of Ypres
    8. Honor Found in Decay -by- Neurosis
    9. Where the Corpses Sink Forever -by- Carach Angren
    10. Sorrow and Extinction -by- Pallbearer
    11. Sorathian Dawn -by- Sorathian Dawn
    12. L’Enfant Sauvage -by- Gojira
    13. III -by- Dopethrone
    14. Sentenced to Life -by- Black Breath
    15. The Burden of God -by- Nightmare
    16. Deathwomb Catechesis -by- Pseudogod
    17. Drought (EP) -by- Deathspell Omega
    18. And So It Came to Pass -by- Dyscarnate
    19. Time I -by- Wintersun
    20. Thou Strong, Stern Death -by- Põhjast
    21. Bury the Light -by- Pharaoh
    22. Land of the Evening Star -by- Dark Forest
    23. Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs -by- Thy Darkened Shade
    24. Alpha Noir -by- Moonspell
    25. Portal of I -by- Ne Obliviscarus
    26. Sedition -by- Hour of Penance
    27. Caligvla -by- Ex Deo
    28. The Hunt -by- Grand Magus
    29. Of Breath and Bone -by- Be’lakor
    30. Dark Roots of Earth -by- Testament
    31. Omen -by- Ahnengrab
    32. Dar de Duh -by- Dordeduh
    33. Blood for the Master -by- Goatwhore
    34. Vessels of Light and Decay -by- Indesinence
    35. Creation of Earth -by- Tenochtitlan
    36. Enter the Dagobah Core -by- Umbah
    37. Torture -by- Cannibal Corpse
    38. Koloss -by- Meshuggah
    39. Aeons Black -by- Aeon
    40. Incurso -by- Spawn of Possession

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