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).

  64 Responses to “LISTMANIA: AN INVITATION”

  1. I need to start on my list and it will be a top 20. Names of bands that will be there: Gojira, Enslaved, Weapon, 7 Horns 7 Eyes, Aborted, Grand Supreme Blood Court, Cattle Decapitation, Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Ihsahn, probably Incantation, just to name a few.

  2. I am very much willing to do this 😀

  3. I’m still polishing it up, but I’ve got most of a top 40 list done.

  4. I am still compiling my list, not even sure what has been released this year, and what i’ve just discovered this year. Also waiting for a couple of releases still.

  5. I’m almost set with a top 40, but it still needs a few tweaks.

  6. Count me in (at least to post a list in the comments), though I’ll probably be finalizing my list sometime around Christmas.

  7. “it could be a Top 2 list.”

    Lol. Perfect jab at me.

  8. 1. Testament-Dark Roots of Earth…The title track is amazing
    2. Pig Destroyer- Book Burner
    3 Converge- All we love we leave behind
    4 Deftones-Koi No Yokan
    5 Everytime I Die- Ex Lives
    6 7 Horns 7 Eyes-Throes of Absolution
    7. Gojira -L’Enfant Sauvage
    8. The Chariot-One WIng
    9 Revocation- Teratogenisis
    10 Demon Hunter- True Defiance…yeah I know people either love them or really hate them. I love em

    • I got a real weak spot for Demon Hunter, too. Part of it is probably my Seattle bias at work, but I go way back with that band’s music and I’ve had a hell of a time at every show of theirs I’ve attended.

  9. Top 20, not in any particular order:

    Alcest-Les Voyages De L’Ame
    Anaal Nathrakh-Vanitas
    Carach Angren-Where The Corpses Sink Forever
    Gorod-A Perfect Absolution
    Krallice-Years Past Matter
    Ne Obliviscaris-Portal Of I
    Oak Pantheon-From A Whisper
    Secrets Of The Moon-Seven Bells
    Anathema-Weather Systems
    Between The Buried And Me-The Parallax II: Future Sequence
    Devin Townsend-Epicloud
    Neurosis-Honor Found In Decay
    Planks-Funeral Mouth
    The Omega Experiment-The Omega Experiment
    Converge-All We Love We Leave Behind
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor-‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

  10. Top twenty list will be worked up and sent out as soon as I get back from out of town (shouls have brought my laptop). Will also have mu very late, but not forgotten guest post sent to you as well

  11. In no particular order:

    Acyl – Algebra
    Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
    Mencea – Pyrophoric
    Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I
    Be’lakor – Of Breath and Bone
    Khonsu – Anomalia
    Allegaeon – Formshifter

    also thrashed the Aegeon ‘Being’ EP quite a bit, a short offering but hopefully heralds more to come.

    Found I couldn’t quite get into new Sylosis, Fear Factory, Meshuggah… they’re all well and good, but just missed something for me.

    • FYI, in case you missed it, Aegaeon put out a full-length in 2011. It’s more deathcore-sounding than “Being,” but probably the best deathcore release I’ve ever heard. Lots of death, just enough core.

      • That sir I did not know. ‘Lots of death, just enough core’. Lol, love that description, I’ll have to check this out

  12. Deftones – Koi No Yokan
    The Faceless – Autotheism
    Atoma – Slylight
    Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
    Anathema – Weather Systems
    Ihsahn – Eremita
    Nachtmystium – Silencing Machine
    Endevor – 296 Above Parallels
    Ankhagram – Thoughts
    Pseudogod – Deathwomb Catechesis

  13. I won’t be choosing a single album of the year since that’s stupid, but the ones I enjoyed the most are:

    Gorod – A Perfect Absolution (brilliant tech death from France, super layered and catchy as fuck)
    Spawn of Possession – Incurso (ridiculously complex)
    Nomega – Deimos (psychedelic/stoner instrumental rock from Romania, #1 surprise of the year for me)
    Muknal – S/T (horrific cosmic death metal from the US, shame that it’s so short)
    Horseback – Half Blood (amazing album mixing black metal, post-rock, drone and Americana twangy blues)
    Graveyard – Lights Out (duh)
    Witchcraft – Legend (loved it)
    Veil of Maya – Eclipse (djent/deathcore, I have no idea why I keep listening to it, but it buried itself inside my brain)

    I still have a fuckload of listening to do, though, so it is all subject to change.

  14. (Sorry for the wall of text. I was bored)
    Top 2. These are in their own class – beyond music. Much like Emperor and Primordial, i don’t listen to them, as much as experience them.
    Woods of Ypres – Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light
    Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I

    Other good ones. The original had some 40 albums on it, but i managed to cut it down a bit.

    The Faceless – Autotheism
    – This was a surprise. Aren’t The Faceless supposed to be shitty deathcore, not awesome prog?

    Blodhemn – Holmengraa
    – Briliant debut from this amazing one man band. Its nothing too original, but he captures the spirit of Norway.
    It has ALOT of elements similar with Taake, and you can hear inspiration from Darkthrone and Mayhem.
    There is even one part of “Thingvellir” wher Blodhemn stops existing, and transform into Immortal. Part of that song IS Immortal.

    Cobolt 60 – The Grim Defiance
    -Ripping, filthy, hateful, misantrophic Black Thrash onslaught. What more do you need? Just turn it up and Hammer The Creationist!

    Moongod – Aeternam
    -Melodic Death Metal with a very Eastern sound. Like a mix between Ex Deo and Melechesh.
    Catchy, with good and interesting riffs and some clean vocals. They use some sampling, but don’t rely on keyboards.
    The melody comes from the songwriting and guitar, the epic comes from samples

    The Forsaken – Beyond Redemption
    -Another Melodeath band doing it right. They are swedish, but not of the gothenburg school. If anything they sound like Amon Amarth.
    They don’t use keyboards, but instead rely upon a dual guitar attack to create melody.
    Many of todays Melodeath bands are in reality just power metal with growling. This is melodic DEATH METAL. You can almost smell the Entombed.

    Lich King – Born Of the Bomb
    -Hey guess what, bitch, they’re back! This is fun, pure and simple. Supreme riffing. Great vocals, Hilarious lyrics. (see Fan Massacre and We Came to Conquer)
    Maybe other bands play
    and maybe Manowar kills
    But none of that shit matters
    Lich King rules

    Exumer Fire & Damnation
    -After 25 years we fianlly have a new album from thrash legends Exumer. I think they must have been in a coma or something, because they obviously think its 1988.
    They pick things up right where they left off, only more angry. Thrash album of the year.

    Windfærer – solar EP
    -Not sure what to say about this, its just awesome. Epic soaring riffs, thundering drums and furious vocals, come together and create something awesome. Atmosphere.

    Runner Ups – most of them haven’t gotten the attention they deserve – yet..
    Carach Angren -Where the Corpses Sink Forever
    Kreator -Phantom Antichrist
    Cripper – Antagonist
    Bio-Cancer – Ear Piercing Thrash
    Cryptopsy -Cryptopsy
    Master -The New Elite
    Ex Deo -Caligvla
    Anaal Nathrakh -Vanitas
    Kamelot – Silverthorn
    Ragnarok – Malediction
    Causemos – Infinite Event EP
    Loch Vostok – V The Doctrine Decoded
    rage nucleaire – unrelenting fucking hatred
    Saturnian – Dimensions
    Khonsu – Anomalia
    Catuvolcus – Gergovia

    Yet to listen to, but i know they will impress :
    Dark Forest – Land of the Evening Star
    Nidingr – Greatest of Deceivers
    Faustcoven – Hellfire and Funeral Bells
    Finsterforst – Rastlos

    • Nice list. Bio-Cancer is pretty interesting stuff- just stumbled on them a week or so ago. The guys in Vektor just endorsed the new Lich King for (possibly) thrash album of the year last night on their facebook page and stirred up a bit of butthurt from haters of “retro-thrash” (a term that I hate). It got me to check them out.

      • It has been a pretty good year for thrash in general, with Kreator, Destruction, Tankard, Lich King, Overkill, Exumer, Municipal Waste, Cobolt 60,Nekromantheon(I see now i forgot them in my list!) Aura Noir, Cripper, Kill Ritual, Tantara, Memorain, Sonic Pulse, Vindicator, Die Hard, Vesen, Dust Bolt, Testament, Dublin Death Patrol, Attomica!, Suicidal Angels, Hexen, West of Hell, Bonded by Blood, Algebra, M-pire of Evil, Ketzer, Bio – Cancer, Angelus Apatrida, Havok, Game Over, Desaster all releasing an album or EP this year.
        Sure, not all of them are great, but most of em were!

        • Wow, Desaster was the best of the bunch for me, but I haven’t heard all of the ones you listed- there’s definitely still a few I’m interested in. Ketzer and Aura Noir were also high quality, and I want to throw in Bestial Holocaust as another black/thrash hybrid that deserves some attention.

    • Great list, again with lots of new discoveries for me — and I appreciate the commentary about your main picks.

    • The Forsaken….damn, that’s a name I haven’t heard since the early 00’s. Back in my college days, I used to rock the fuck out to Manifest of Hate. I had no clue they were still a band, much less had a new album out. I will have to give it a spin. Thanks for the heads up.

  15. 1. Cattle Decapitation – Monolith of Inhumanities

    This is easily my favorite of the year. Everything else below is kind of all in second place. Your Disposal and Lifestalker and perfect songs in my book and Travis Ryan has grown to be one the best and unique heavy metal vocalists out there.

    2. Dysrthythmia – Test of Submission

    Another mind-melting release from my favorite instrumental trio. Running Towards the End is one of the band’s best songs in a career full of great tunes.

    3. Royal Thunder – CVI

    Not my usual cup of tea, but something about this album has sucked me in. I have a sneaking submission it has something to do with the stellar lady vocals. I love me some lady vocals.

    4. Devin Townsend – Epicloud

    The album delivered on the promise given by the title, 100%

    5. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind

    6. BTBAM – Parallax II

    I think this is an improvement upon ‘The Great Misdirect’, but still not the perfection of ‘Colors’. Though, ‘Telos’ and ‘Lays Your Ghost to Rest’ are all time best material from the band.

    7. Murder Construct – Results

    One of my favorite metal moments this years, is the point in ‘Compelled by Mediocrity’ where Travis is belting ” BORN TO SUCK”.

    8. Gojira – L’enfant Sauvage

    9. Pig Destroyer – Book Burner

    10. The Faceless – Autotheism

    • That’s a very diverse list. My only comment is to say that I had trouble getting deep into the new Dysrthythmia, despite the fact that they’re a band with incredible instrumental talent. Maybe I started listening to it in the wrong frame of mind, but it was so unhinged that I pulled up short before finishing it.

  16. This has been a hell of a year. I can’t get a list cut below 20, our beloved genre has just become too diverse. I’d also like to mention that mine is no attempt at a “best of” but merely personal favorites. In alphabetical order:
    Abyssal – Denoument
    Amon – Liar In Wait (The triumphant return of the Hoffman brothers)
    Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas
    Black Breath – Sentenced To Life
    Cannibal Corpse – Torture
    Burzum – Umskiptar (Varg is a shitty human but his last three albums really chill me out)
    Cara Neir – Sublimation Therapy
    Cattle Decapitation – Monolith Of Inhumanity
    Charon – Sulphur Seraph: The Archon Principle
    Goatwhore – Blood For The Master (You all know you love it)
    High On Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis (Candidate for infectious song list: King Of Days ?)
    Hour Of Penance – Sedition
    Marduk – Serpent Sermon
    Ne Obliviscaris – Portal Of I
    Okera – A Beautiful Dystopia
    Panopticon – Kentucky (Holy shit, I never saw this coming)
    Sylosis – Monolith
    Temple – On The Steps Of The Temple
    Whitechapel – Whitechapel (This album will crush you on a good bass system)
    Wound Upon Wound – Wound Upon Wound

  17. I figured I’d get the most accurate list if I simply looked at what I listened to most (only slightly corrected for how long an album has been available; 10 spins in two months is better than in 10 months). Thus I find the following bands:

    Allegaeon – Formshifter
    Be’lakor – Of Breath And Bone
    De Lirium’s Order – Veniversum
    Haemic – Fields Of Sanguine
    Hideous Divinity – Obeisance Rising
    Konkeror – The Abysmal Horizons
    Obscura – Illegimitation

    Of these, I return to Haemic and Konkeror the most, followed by Allegaeon and Be’lakor. The former two really deserve some more attention (though both were featured here at NCS; I thank you for that).

    A word of mention is required for De Lirium’s Order – Veniversum, with two near-perfect tracks (Autistic Savant, My Kingdom From Baekdu); it’s a pity they decided to put that last song in the package as well, it really destroys the ambience from My Kingdom.

  18. Gotta say, I am SUPER fuckin’ shocked that Dragged Into Sunlight’s “Widowmaker” has not popped up on some more of these lists. I’m still plotting mine…

  19. Excuse me while I slip in some thoroughly non-kvlt selections (and maybe a couple kvlt ones, too).

    Ne Obliviscaris – “Portal of I”
    Easily my album of 2012. Like, no contest, man. This is lifetime top 10 material for me.

    Exotic Animal Petting Zoo – “Tree of Tongues”
    Mathcore with a sense of fun. It’s like Dillinger met the Deftones. Speaking of..

    Deftones – “Koi No Yokan”
    Up there with “White Pony” and “Diamond Eyes” in my estimation.

    Art by Numbers – “Reticence: The Musical”
    Showy guitar runs, stratospheric vocals, a song with a swing beat … the prog is strong in this one.

    Between the Buried and Me – “The Parallax II”

    Converge – “All We Love We Leave Behind”
    “Jane Doe” fans get ready for it …. I think this is the best Converge album.

    Stolen Babies – “Naught”
    It hasn’t quite grabbed me like their debut, but a lot of good songs, and I didn’t see this on any of the other lists and felt it deserved the love.

    Numbers – “Numbers”
    Far too metalcore for most tastes, but the zany genre leaps and massive melodic moments really hit me. It’s only an EP, but I’m keeping an eye on these dudes.

    Periphery – “Periphery II”
    An across the board improvement on their first record, featuring some of the catchiest tunes of the year.

    The Odious – “Joint Ventures”
    This actually hasn’t come out yet, but if they make good on their claims of releasing in December, it will belong on my list for sure.

    Nope, no kvlt ones. I was wrong.

  20. I’ve got mine narrowed down to 25 or so, and that’s skipping all the “big name” releases which I’m not going to put in the list (Korpiklaani, Enslaved, etc). I expect it will be done sometime around Easter.

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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

  24. 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.

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