Jan 022013

Our year-end Listmania series here at NCS can be divided into two categories. First, we post a handful of metal lists created by metal print publications (though this year we only reported DECIBEL’s list) and so-called “big platform” web sites, i.e., sites who cover genres of music well beyond metal but have very large audiences. Second, we post the year-end lists of our staff writers and numerous guest contributors.

The one thing we haven’t done up to now is re-publish year-end lists that have appeared at other metal blogs and sites, mainly because if I started down that road, I wouldn’t know where to stop. I’ve seen a lot of good lists at a lot of other sites compiled by people whose opinions I respect, but I really wouldn’t know how to pick just a few without falsely implying that I think better of those writers than of others.

But I am making one exception today, primarily out of a desire to further expand the range of recommended metal for those of you who are using our Listmania series as a menu of new music to explore. This list comes from a writer (with whom I’ve had no personal contact, just to be clear) who goes by the name autothrall — a name I suspect is already familiar to many of you. He’s responsible for about 99% of all the reviews that appear at a blog called From the Dust Returned.

autothrall listened to a fuckton of metal this year — by his own estimation, 400-500 new albums, EPs, and demos — and wrote about a shitload of what he heard, reviewing several hundred releases over the course of the year. My mind boggles at those numbers. And I’m even more boggled by the fact that he writes not only so prolifically, but also so well. He also seems to have a near-encyclopedic knowledge of metal stretching back decades, and to see what I mean, check out these lists he made.

But apart from the fact that he’s one of those other bloggers whose opinion I respect (I’ve discovered a lot of great music through his reviews), the reason I’m singling out his list for re-publication here is because it delves even more deeply into the more extreme and shadowy undercurrents of metal than most (though not all) of the lists we’ve been posting, and I thought it would be a useful way to give NCS readers even more choices.

Using myself as a guinea pig, I can tell you that I’ve only heard five of the albums in his Top 20. I can also tell you that if I had more time and didn’t have to devote myself so intensely to wet-nursing our own ugly baby of a site, I’d check out the music on the other 15 for sure.

So, here’s autothrall’s list of the Top 20, which includes links to his reviews of the selected albums. To read his accompanying discussion, go to this place, and to see an even more exhaustive list of music he recommends from 2012, go here. If anyone feels like chiming in on his picks based on what you’ve heard from his list, please leave a comment.

Autothrall’s Top Metal Albums of 2012

The Top 20

01. Tiamat (Sweden) – The Scarred People
02. Putrevore (Spain) – Macabre Kingdom
03. Necrovation (Sweden) – Necrovation
04. Horrendous (USA) – The Chills *debut of the year*
05. Occultation (USA) – Three and Sevens
06. Spectral Lore (Greece) – Sentinel
07. Anhedonist (USA) – Netherwards
08. Drug Honkey (USA) – Ghost in the Fire
09. Ævangelist (USA) – De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis
10. Pharaoh (USA) – Bury the Light
11. Sigh (Japan) – In Somniphobia
12. Prong (USA) – Carved in Stone
13. Incantation (USA) – Vanquish in Vengeance
14. Corrosive Carcass (Sweden) – Composition of Flesh
15. Anthem (Japan) – Burning Oath
16. Ysengrin (France) – To Endotaton
17. Spawn of Possession (Sweden) – Incurso
18. Paradox (Germany) – Tales of the Weird
19. Cannibal Corpse (USA) – Torture
20. Soulless (USA) – In Death’s Grip


  1. cool – I hadn’t seen his top 100 list, but autothrall is my most respected reviewer at this point – I’ve never been disappointed by an album he rates highly.

    On a side note, it does make me sad in a sense that as impossible a feat as it seems to me to hear 400-500 new albums in a year, metal archives lists almost 5000 full length albums released in 2012 alone (over 11,000 if everything is included) .

    It’s hard to imagine how much good stuff there is that no one might be listening to.

  2. Oh shit, I had no clue that Anthem was still around. Gotta check that one out.

  3. Autothrall is a man amongst boys as a reviewer, and I can say I’ve heard most of this list due to his recommendations over the course of the year. Some of these albums (Putrevore and Necrovation, especially) should be big hits with the NCS crowd, too. I can’t totally align myself with any list lacking Ne Obliviscaris, Gorod or Woods of Ypres, but this is the strongest list I’ve seen from anyone up to now.

  4. Going down the list, my internal monologue went something like this: “death metal…death metal…death metal…death metal…doom metal…black metal…death/doom metal…death/doom metal…black/death metal….hmmm, power metal…avant-garde/black metal…Prong…wait, what?” Diversity is good and there’s nothing wrong with Prong, it just seemed like an odd pick after the preceding bands.

  5. Necrovation (34), Horrendous (32), Incantation (38), Anhedonist (21) and Ysengrin (3) all resided in my Top 40. I can also vouch for Occulatation, Spectral Lore and Pharaoh as all being good albums. However, Tiamat I found to be godawful. That being said, Autothrall is the man. Jeez, I thought I listened to a lot of new shit. And to be able to write about them all and write about them all incredibly well? Goddamn.

  6. For me it’s not so much the amount of new stuff he listens to that’s impressive but that he’s able to write so many reviews that are done very well, when presumably he doesn’t spend a ton of time with each release. I thought the Tiamat album was decent but was hardly enamored with it. Also it’s not a completely metal album, but it’s not the only example of that on this list.

  7. Lovers of Swedish death should do themselves a favor and check out that Corrosive Carcass album…good stuff

    • ..and From the Dust Returned is an awesome blog..one of my go-to places to find music

      • Definitely a new discovery for me, that is sure to become a daily stop. So much wealth of information. I started perusing through the genre lists, and holy shit… And to think he’s also posted best-of lists for movies, games, and books. I sure hope the man (robot?) makes a living through this?

        NCS, not too jealous I hope? How do you feel about polybloggy?

        • Polybloggy is okay! Otherwise I wouldn’t have written this post. But seriously, I think we’ve pretty consistently tried to bring other good blogs to peoples’ attention. We’ll either continue to earn people’s attention by what we do here or we won’t, but we won’t do it by trying to pretend we’re the only site worth visiting — because we’re not!

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