Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 10 Albums of 2012

Welcome to my top 10 albums of 2012. Before I start, I want to make everyone aware of my eclectic musical tastes. I listen to albums from a wide array of genres. The list below isn't just confined to any single type of music. You should also keep in mind when reading this that it is truly "My List". These are my opinions, and while I do respect yours. Be prepared to present a good valid argument to back up your opinions if you choose to present them. Also, please consider the fact that I may not have heard your favorite album yet, so all listening suggestions left as comments will be taken under consideration!

10 - Marylin Manson - Born Villain

At 43, Marylin Manson isn't slowing down one bit, The bands 8th studio release, Born Villain, can simply be described as slow and evil. While being received with mixed reviews upon its release, Born Villain ironically found it's way onto Heavy rotation on my iPod. Two of my favorite tracks off the album are "Slo-Mo-Tion" and "The Gardner". Even if you're not a Manson fan, this album is certainly worth giving a listen to. Critics have claimed that Born Villain solidified a resurgence for Marilyn Manson.

9 - El-PCancer 4 the Cure

Cancer 4 the Cure represents El-P's 4th solo effort. Born and Raised in Brooklyn, the CEO of the Def Jux record label treated us to a sensational effort of progressive lo-fi underground hip hop. While Def Jux has been on hiatus for the past two years, El-P spent his free time in the studio producing this gem. His 2006 release featured collaborations from the Mars Volta and Trent Reznor, however, Cancer 4 the Cure isn't devoid of guest stars such as Killer Mike and TV on the Radio's Jaleel Bunton.

8 - Sybreed - God is an Automaton

God is an Automaton served as my introduction to Sybreed. The band hails from Geneva, Switzerland, but I'm sure their sound is far from neutral. Sybreed is greatly influenced by Fear Factory's dark industrial metal sound, which is quite evident on this release, and probably why I liked it so much. God is an Automaton is an album worth listening to in it's entirety, as the band's high energy level never quits throughout. 

7 - Killing Joke - MMXII

Even with a musical legacy that spans well over 40 years, I'm still quite shocked when people tell me they've never heard of Killing Joke. While I truly enjoyed their 2010 release entitled Absolute Dissent, I found this album to be a bit more streamlined. It's slightly less influenced by the bands earlier sound. Industrial, Rock, Punk, Post-Punk, New Wave, this band has dabbled in many genres over the years, but their latest release MMXII is a solid Rock album. For anyone interested in listing to all of Killing Joke's past greatness, a  new Singles compilation will be available in 2013.

6 - La Coka Nostra - Masters of the Dark Art

Ever wonder what happened to House of Pain? Well, you're looking at them. La Coka Nostra is a rap super group made up of House of Pain members Everlast, Danny Boy, and DJ Lethal (Limp Bizkit), along with Non Phixion's Ill Bill, and Special Teamz's Slaine. Sadly, Everlast left the group upon his daughter's cystic fibrosis diagnosis, and he isn't featured on this release. For more of Everlast, check out La Coka Nostra's 2009 release A Brand You Can Trust. Unlike their previous album, Masters of the Dark Art is a bit more serious and well... Dark! For a collective that never had any intentions of recording an album, La Coka Nostra has become an underground rap act that can't be ignored. If you love the old school and hate the new school hip hop that's being played on the radio today, this album is for you!

5 - In This Moment - Blood

In This Moment takes the 5th slot this year with another great release entitled Blood.The band formed in Los Angeles in 2005, and became an instant sensation by featuring their early demos on Myspace. They were soon discovered by former Ozzy Osborne bassist Rob Nicholson, and the rest was history. Blood is an angst riddled album, and lead singer Maria Brink belts out her frustrations with meaningful force. It's beyond me to comprehend why New York city wasn't a stop on their recent support tour of Halestorm. In This moment puts on a hell of a live show! Blood is the first album recorded without founding members Blake Bunze and Jeff Fabb. Itdebuted on the Billboard 200 chart at #15.

4 - Overkill - The Electric Age

Having been released way back in March of 2012, I gave The Electric Age a listen and thought it wasn't as good as their previous release, Ironbound. I soon dismissed the album, and it wasn't until a friend reminded me of it that I decided to give it another listen. I was certainly wrong about this album! Not only was it good enough to rank #5 on my top 10, but I'm now starting to believe it's a better album that Ironbound! Overkill continues it's resurgence, and singer Bobby Blitz hasn't lost a single step over the years. If you enjoy fast blazing good old-fashioned Thrash Metal, Overkill can certainly satisfy your addiction!

3 - Testament - Dark Roots of the Earth

When it comes to the heavy hitters of Trash Metal, Testament will always be considered one of the top bands (Second to Metallica) for  musical influence within their genre. Talk about comebacks, Testament has definitely had one in the past few years. Having seen them live in 2011, I can certainly testify that Testament is still capable of putting on a great live show. Dark Roots of Earth is certainly an effort in the right direction for Testament. My favorite tracks of this album are "Dragon Kills" and "Man Kills Mankind."

2 - Deftones - Koi No Yokan

I don't know where to begin talking about how great this album is. Koi No Yokan, which means
Premonition Of Love in Japanese, is impressive! For a band that survived the NuMetal era, the Deftones have evolved into an artful band. Dare we call this album Light Metal? Koi No Yokan is a dreamy and drifting album, which has become the signature sound of Deftones. Every track on this album is worth listening to over and over again. When I first saw the Deftones at Hammerstein Ballroom many years ago, I had never thought of them as a band that would play such large arenas as Madison Square Garden. They're popularity has truly skyrocketed in an era where modern Metal bands usually have short lifespans. This album is a must own for everyone, regardless of what music you're into! Trust me on this!

1 - Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage

Gojira is arguably the best Metal act to ever emerge from France. Their name, taken from the Japanese name for Godzilla, serves as a fitting tribute to the band's monster success. The moment  you start listening to the intro on the opening track "Explosia", you'll think they're just another atypical metal band, until you are greeted by an explosion of powerful guitar riffs. Upon hearing those riffs the mood will be set for the rest of the album, and a rush of energetic bliss will wash over you. That's basically how my first experience with this masterpiece went. Title track "L'Efant Sauvage", is my favorite on the album (watch the video above). "The Wild Healer", another standout track, is an atmospheric instrumental that is nicely arranged and contains a few well placed synths as well. I recommend L'Efant Sauvage to any Death Metal fans. Do yourself a favor and give this album a listen from start to finish. Hopefully you'll enjoy it on the same level as I did.

2012 Honorable Mentions: , Sister Sin - Now and Forever, Huntress, Sister Sin - Now and Forever,
Shadows Fall - Fires from the Sky, Aesop Rock - Skelethon, Die Antwoord - Ten$ion
Rush - Clockwork Angels, Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud, Accept - Stalingrad, James Bond Skyfall OST

Concert of the Year: Refused at Terminal 5 - It's been 15 years since I first heard Shape of Punk To Come, and I waited 15 years to finally see this band live. Miraculously they decided to reunite, and they just picked up where they had left off. And Amazing performance for the most controversial band ever to come out of Sweden. 

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