Dec 212012

We’ve been re-publishing the Best Metal of 2012 lists that we’ve seen on other web sites, focusing on sites that have really big audiences — which sorta means, by definition, that they’re not metal-only sites. So far, we’ve reported about the lists on Pitchfork, Exclaim!, Stereogum, PopMatters, and Loudwire (and we also included DECIBEL magazine’s Top 40 list and a list from You can catch up on all that by using this Listmania link.

Today, we’re reporting on The Top 50 Albums of 2012 as selected by Adrien Begrand for MSN Entertainment. MSN Entertainment (which is owned by Microsoft) is another broad-scope entertainment site that includes coverage of music, film, games, videos, celebrity gossip, and a wide range of music. They claim over 23 million unique visitors to the site every month, narrowly edging out NCS in audience size. Once again, we’re featuring their list of the year’s best metal because we’re curious about what mass-audience outlets are touting from our precious underground genre.

MSN Entertainment has been rolling out their Top 50 list all week in segments, and as of this morning, the list is now complete. To see the list at MSN Entertainment, along with Adrien Begrand’s comments about each album, GO HERE.

A few thoughts about the list, plus the list itself, appear after the jump:

First, I was pleasantly surprised to see the recognition given to some bands who put out killer albums this year but who have been largely overlooked on other lists we’ve been publishing: King Giant, Early Graves, and Bison B.C.

Second, I found the list more heavily weighted than other lists with bands whose music is in the retro/NWOBHM/occult/stoner/heavy-rock category (which I guess is really multiple categories), as well as a healthy dose of power metal. In other words, there’s a lot more melodic, hook-laden, pop-dabbling heavy music than sheer cathartic extremity. Which means you’ll see a slew of albums on the list to which we’ve given little or no attention on this site.

Third, I’m very intrigued by some new names on the list (at least new to me), based on Adrien Begrand’s descriptions of the music: Horisont , Árstíðir Lífsins, and Year of the Goat.

Finally, this is yet another list on which Dawnbringer and Author & Punisher finish very high — but not as high as Rush (?!?!?).


50. Anguish, Through The Archdemon’s Head (Dark Descent)

49. Wild Hunt, Before the Plane of Angles (Kemado)

48. Striker, Armed To The Teeth (Napalm)

47. King Giant, Dismal Hollow (Graveyard Hill)

46. Testament, Dark Roots Of Earth (Nuclear Blast)

45. Sabaton, Carolus Rex (Nuclear Blast)

44. Torche, Harmonicraft (Volcom)

43. Sigh, In Somniphobia (Candlelight)

42. Kreator, Phantom Antichrist (Nuclear Blast)

41. Ihsahn, Eremita (Candlelight)

40. Hooded Menace, Effigies Of Evil (Relapse)

39. Horisont, Second Assault (Metal Blade)

38. Indesinence, Vessels of Light and Decay (Profound Lore)

37. Bison B.C. – Lovelessness (Metal Blade)

36. Locrian & Mamiffer, Bless Them That Curse You (Profound Lore)

35. Árstíðir Lífsins, Vápna lækjar eldr (Ván)

34. God Seed, I Begin (Indie)

33. Royal Thunder, CVI (Relapse)

32. Asphyx, Deathhammer (Century Media)

31. Early Graves, Red Horse (No Sleep)

30. Blut Aus Nord, 777 – Cosmosophy (Debemur Morti)

29. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph)

28. High On Fire, De Vermis Mysteriis (eOne)

27. Christian Mistress, Possession (Relapse)

26. Atriarch, Ritual of Passing (Profound Lore)

25. Nile, At The Gate of Sethu (Nuclear Blast)

24. Gojira, L’Enfant Sauvage (Roadrunner)

23. Alcest, Les Voyages de l’Âme (Prophecy)

22. Graveyard, Lights Out (Nuclear Blast)

21. Woods Of Ypres, Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light (Earache)

20. Spiders, Flash Point (Crusher)

19. Witch Mountain, Cauldron Of The Wild (Profound Lore)

18. Mares of Thrace, The Pilgrimage (Sonic Unyon)

17. Year of the Goat, Angels’ Necropolis (Ván)

16. Dragged Into Sunlight, Widowmaker (Prosthetic)

15. Panopticon, Kentucky (Handmade Birds/Pagan Flames)

14. Meshuggah, Koloss (Nuclear Blast)

13. Krallice, Years Past Matter (self-released)

12. Aluk Todolo, Occult Rock (The AJNA Offensive)

11. Jess and the Ancient Ones, Jess and the Ancient Ones (Svart)

10. Deftones, Koi No Yokan (Warner/Reprise)

9. Accept, Stalingrad (Nuclear Blast)

8. Grand Magus, The Hunt (Nuclear Blast)

7. Author & Punisher, Ursus Americanus (Seventh Rule)

6. Devin Townsend Project, Epicloud (InsideOut)

5. Enslaved, RIITIIR (Nuclear Blast)

4. Baroness, Yellow & Green (Relapse)

3. Dawnbringer, Into The Lair Of The Sun God (Profound Lore)

2. Rush, Clockwork Angels (Roadrunner)

1. Pig Destroyer, Book Burner (Relapse)


  1. Thats a solid list overall..props for including Anguish and Árstíðir Lífsins…

    • I didn’t get to listen to the Árstíðir Lífsins album this year, but I also like that they made the list. Another really interesting Icelandic band.

  2. I’m still a bit baffled by Book Burner being at the top of so many lists. It’s not a bad album or anything, I just can’t really get into it. The main problem for me is the vocals, I have the same problem with the new Cryptopsy album.

    • I have to agree with this post. enjoyable album for sure but continually at the top of so many lists. very surprising to me.

    • I think if you swapped its place with All We Love We Leave Behind on this list it would make perfect sense. Book Burner’s a really solid album and I’ll probably listen to it for quite some time, just not as much as I do Phantom Limb and Prowler in the Yard. And All We Love flat out made me reevaluate my feelings on Converge. I still doubt I can get into Jane Doe but christ, it’s one monster of an album.

  3. Nice to see Grand Magus here, it’s the one “traditional” heavy metal release that I really enjoyed this year.

    Also, whatever happened to thrash this year? Even the few releases that came out with a lot of fanfare (Testament, Kreator) are barely showing up on lists. Personally, I’ve grown bored with the genre. The only thrash-ie release that really caught on was Sylosis–definitely one hell of a record.

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