Mar 042013

(I bet you thought we’d finished our 2012 Listmania series. Think again. BadWolf brings us one more list.)

Three months into 2013, here’s another top 10 about 2012. These are my favorite articles to write every year, and also the most difficult. 2012 in particular was a musical gauntlet. The more promos we get here at NCS and at the other sites I write for, the more metal I listen to, the more I need non-metal records to give myself a break. It’s an infinite feedback loop.

I thought this would be an easy article. So many of my favorite artists in my favorite genres released albums in 2012 that I anticipated the article would write itself. Needless to say, things did not turn out that way. Old favorites like Marillion and Titus Andronicus released middle-of-the-road records. At the same time, I developed a tremendous appetite for hip-hop. One version of this list was entirely populated by rappers, which would have necessitated another top 10 list.

Also, so many metal labels released more-or-less rock records that I debated including them. In the end I opted not to: you know who Graveyard are, and they don’t need me for a cheerleader (seriously, though—listen to Graveyard).

In the end, these ten albums made the cut more-or-less based on play counts alone. They all share certain qualities with my favorite metal albums: intense sound, aggressive or melancholy delivery, vocals. You could call those things the core of my taste. Perhaps they’re also at the core of yours. Continue reading »

Jan 242013

With one or two possible late-arriving exceptions, our 2012 edition of Listmania has finally drawn to a close. Or to put it differently, since we’re approaching the end of 2013’s first month, I decided it was time to wrap this up and move on.

Our 2012 series of lists proved to be another extensive one: We published almost 50 lists with accompanying commentary. Some of these were lists that appeared at other “big platform” web sites or magazines — places with large audiences, most of which cover musical genres well beyond metal. We also published our own staff lists, of course. But the largest group of list posts came from guest writers — NCS readers, band members, and fellow bloggers. Plus, we also received many lists in the comments to THIS POST.

In this article I’m collecting links to all of the 2012 list posts that we published. But in this year’s wrap-up we’ve got an extra treat: NCS reader, commenter, and occasional guest writer Old Man Windbreaker has created a synthesis of all those lists, assigning point values based in part on how often an album appeared, in an effort to create a composite ranking of 2012’s best albums based on the lists published at NCS.

As you’ll see, this required a shitload of work, and I’m really grateful to the Old Man for this vast labor of love. His explanation of what he did, and the results, come right after my collection of links to the 2012 lists we published. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to 2012 Listmania and to everyone who made time to read what we pulled together. Continue reading »

Jan 212013

‘Sup dog!

(NCS reader and frequent commenter Old Man Windbreaker, who hails from India, helps us wrap up our Listmania series with a big-ass list of his favorite 2012 listening.)

Greetings. Over the length of this text, you shall be subject to Old Man Windbreaker’s self-indulgent eccentricities, primarily because you allow it. Here is a list of lists of One’s memorable listening experiences from 2012 (and the past couple of weeks). Furthermore, the items in the lists are provided with Bandcamp streams or Soundcloud playlists or YouTube playlists [Lists]. Note that One said “listening experiences”, and not “albums” or “music releases”. Quite a few of the entries are composed of mutiple releases. Anyway…

Feast your eyes and ears upon the list-yness!

But, in case you don’t want to read One’s commentary for some reason, here is a summarised list of Old Man Windbreaker’s favorite listening experiences of 2012, in no particular order after the top 3:

1. Portal of I by Ne Obliviscaris
2. Cognitive by Soen
3. Rengeteg by Thy Catafalque
4. Beastwars and Tower of Skulls by Beastwars
5. Griseus by Aquilus
6. Gods of Eden by Gods of Eden
7. Utilitarian by Napalm Death Continue reading »

Jan 202013

(Here’s the fourth and final part of TheMadIsraeli’s multi-part rollout of his list of 2012′s best metal. Sample songs are at the end of the post. And you can find the first 16 albums on his list herehere, and here. Despite the numbering, the albums are presented in no particular order.)

Finally, the end of my LP’s of the year.  These are, for me, the albums that blindsided me with how good they were.  Mostly new bands that came out of nowhere are here.

17. Infant Annihilator –  The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution

An album that dare I say is deathcore’s resurrection.  Infant Annihilator brought a titanic atom bomb impact with a style of technical deathcore that just destroyed everything in its wake.  I can’t wait to see what these guys do next. Continue reading »

Jan 122013

(We’re winding down our 2012 Listmania series, but we still have a few we’re excited to bring you.  This one comes from our fellow blogger Eric Yanyo, a/k/a Valley of Steel.)

So here we are, nearly two weeks into 2013 (how the hell did that happen??), and by now I’m sure all of you have completely forgotten about 2012 and all of the year-end “listmania” stuff, right? Well, could I possibly interest you in one more? Maybe?

It’s been a really busy time for me, as I’ve been getting involved with a number of new projects — plus I compiled my own huge collection of year-end lists: check out a whole slew of them here, featuring a whole bunch of Pittsburgh-area musicians and music scene luminaries, talking about their favorite albums or shows or whatever from last year.

Anyway, my own list of my favorite 2012 releases has been pretty much put together inside my head for a while, but it’s been a struggle with a variety of other priorities just to find the time to get this in writing. But finally, here we go.

Continue reading »

Jan 082013

(For the second year in a row, our colleague MaxR — the proprietor of the Metal Bandcamp blog — makes another welcome guest appearance at NCS with this year-end feature on his Top 10 Metal Bandcamp doom favorites.)

10 tracks in no particular order. 2 hours 56 minutes and 50 seconds of music. Enjoy.

1. Samothrace – “A Horse Of Our Own”. Sludge infused doom with unhinged vocals and beautiful psychedelic guitar leads. Like flying through a mountain range, soaring above the peaks, and diving into the valleys.

Continue reading »

Jan 062013

(Here’s the third part of TheMadIsraeli’s multi-part rollout of his list of 2012′s best metal. Sample songs are at the end of the post. And you can find the first 10 albums on his list here and here. Despite the numbering, the albums are presented in no particular order.)

The ol’ reliables.  I’m pretty sure even if you don’t agree with these albums being the top of the top, we all knew they were going to be good.  The bands in this part of the list have established catalogues  showcasing a consistent excellency throughout.  Without further ado…  Also, the list is getting bumped up to top 21.

11: Meshuggah – Koloss

I was SO psyched for this album it isn’t even funny.  I’ll admit, I had trepidations concerning how the djent fad had taken off.  I worried maybe this would in turn psychologically effect my perception of Meshuggah’s music in hindsight, but in fact it did not.  Meshuggah proved they are still at the top of their game here, bringing in an album that combined elements of all their eras while creating their most varied release to date.  It doesn’t matter whether it is the atmospheric and tribal nature of “I Am Colossus”, the balls to the wall thrash attack of “The Hurt That Finds You First”, or the oddly adventurous doomy territory of “Behind The Sun”, this band know they are the owners, the masters, and the creators of their craft.  No amount of 8-string-toting core bros will ever impose on that. Continue reading »

Jan 042013

(Um, I guess it’s obvious that neither I nor my NCS cronies wrote this.  Guest contributor KevinP did.)

MYRAETH — In Glorious Death

Kudos to the “Facebook Stalker box” on this one.  Saw a friend comment on a band status,  so I took a look.  Death/doom from Sydney, Australia.  Picture My Dying Bride, with all-male harsh vocals, clean female vocals, less wrist-slashing depression, and a tad more upbeat.  Mighty good stuff indeed (I blame the salted yeast laced with B vitamins).   (digitial & CD available here)

Continue reading »

Jan 032013

(In this guest post, NCS reader deckard cain, who hails from India, provides a list of six overlooked albums from 2012 that he recommends.)

Ah yes another best of 2012 list eh? Well not exactly. On the contrary, this is something a tad different. I have a gripe with most other ‘best of 2012’ lists out there, and I am pretty sure that most of you here agree to it as well (NCS is the only site where it is different ). More times than not we have the same bands making their way onto different lists, and it definitely has been getting redundant. NCS has managed to have the best lists on any site by a mile, but for the most of part I tend to ignore most of the other lists out there, for a single quick sweep over everything listed makes you realize that it is more of the same. And trust me, I’ve been through almost every list out there. You can’t really blame the makers of the lists since a ‘best of’ list has its limitations.  Yet I would like to point out a few good releases that deserve to be heard. So let’s start with it already:

1.     Deserted FearMy Empire

The German band Deserted Fear play old school death metal with a distinctively modern sound (courtesy of Dan Swanö), by which I mean the production is smooth as crystal and yet does not seem to compromise the trademarked organic sound that defines the genre.

Released by FDA Rekotz, their debut album My Empire is a galloping horse which shall trample over anything and everything in its path.  With melody brought in only at precisely the right moments, this album is an aural onslaught. Yes, the band is not groundbreaking by any means, in fact they don’t even go beyond the self-limiting OSDM mold, but they still pack in a good punch of tunes to keep the listener interested. Continue reading »

Jan 032013
(Only the really long-term readers of this site will remember how crazy we went over a Swedish band named Canopy and their 2010 album Menhir. We’re still pretty fuckin’ crazy about them — and there’s reason to believe we will be getting new Canopy music in 2013. As I have for the last two years, I invited Canopy’s vocalist Fredrik Huldtgren to share with us his year-end list of favorite albums, and he again agreed.)
1.    MGLAWith Hearts Toward None

As Groza is one of my favorite black metal albums I had some very high expectations for Mgla’s latest album With Hearts Toward None. The album follows in Groza’s footsteps with some very infectious riffs and great vocal delivery. I find it hard to put into words what it is that Mgla do so right, which usually means that it is not only one thing, but the excellence of all parts and the composition thereof. Even though you might think that they have hardly broken new ground, I feel that the album excels where others have failed and I have a hard time believing that I will tire of them. The fact that they also get to grace the top of my 2012 list, above bands such as Deathspell Omega and Anaal Nathrakh should also speak volumes for this album. Continue reading »