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Album Review: TBA

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Feature: Johnskibeat's Best 20 Albums Of 2012

1. Gojira - L’Enfant Sauvage
In an industry increasingly dominated by individual scenes with bands lazily referring back to blueprints to create, Gojira inspire hope. The number of mathematical twists and turns that their music takes actually gives me goosebumps. I thought they'd created the ultimate devotional beast with my 2008 Album Of The Year, The Way Of All Flesh, but with such awe-inspiring peaks and emotionally-charged troughs as those that feature here, I'm beginning to believe they, unlike the majority, literally have no limitations. 

2. The Ghost Inside - Get What You Give
Simply put, this is without doubt the most powerful and unexpected album I have heard in a long, long time (yep, a real "Dark Horse"). In a genre that is floundering, for TGI to come along and break new ground, take metalcore places that it has never ventured before, is quite frankly mind-blowing. Hit up the track "Engine 45" and just dare to argue.
3. Skyharbor - Blinding White Noise: Illusion And Chaos
As word spread of Skyharbor's brainchild Keshav Dar and his progressive songwriting genius, as more and more legends signed up to his project, whispers became shouts and by the time this album had dropped, a new star had already been born. The input of ex-TesseracT vocalist Dan Tompkins was undoubtedly the key that turned tracks like "Catharsis" and the multiple award-winning "Maeva" from cotton into sheer silk. An outstanding and truly international album.

4. Lamb Of God - Resolution
Album by album, LOG are building the most impressive of portfolios. Here, vocalist Randy has never sounded angrier, never sounded more intensely determined and never sounded more effective. With portentous tracks like "The Number Six" and "King Me" these Virginian heavies have also proved, beyond doubt, that they are no one-trick pony. Throw fists, people.

5. Fear Factory - The Industrialist
The key to this album is and, always will be, the colossal chorus of "Recharger". That epic build to Burton C. Bell's soaring melodics. Those crazy programmed drums. The infinite echo behind it all that just reverberates on and on and on. The first time you catch a snatch of it, the rest of the album slots perfectly into place and the conceptual majesty of it all becomes apparent, defining the legendary power that Fear Factory wield, who they are and why they are such a tour de force.

6. Enslaved - RIITIIR
Continuing their sonic morphing between black and prog metal, from somewhere out of the ether, Enslaved have conjured up a stonker that marries past glories to more contemporary creations. Featuring a surprising subtlety of cadence, a mixture of rhythmic anomalies and a strong focus on concocting a vastness of sound, this one will confound like no other.

7. Graveyard - Lights Out
The kings of retro offer up yet another album of outstanding beauty. Breaking out the most stunning of croons, the kind that tip-toes between soft dough and rough crust, vocalist Joakim Nilsson adds the perfect accompaniment to complement those gently-undulating, subtly sludgy soups the band create behind him.

8. The Sword - Apocryphon
Intertwining fresh lyrical potency around their Sabbathian worship with galloping Maiden-esque rhythmic touches, The Sword offer up shifting tempos, synthesized wanderlust and a great deal of menace to produce their finest work to date.

9. High On Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
Often the most bamboozling of concepts seem to produce the greatest of albums. HOF have allowed their imaginations to run wild with this one and blown yet another hole in the doorway to our minds. If "Bloody Knuckles", an exhaustive lesson in the art of vitriolic power, doesn't leave you in pieces, then the warm, roiling broth of "Madness Of An Architect" will undoubtedly break your resistance.

10. Twelve Foot Ninja - Silent Machine
Another left-field doozy, Silent Machine really is a little of piece of sonic magic. These Aussie lunatics clearly have the attention span of a goldfish and the subtlety of an elephant, yet only men of genius could combine the cool cojones of Faith No More with the enigmatic, feisty grooves of System Of A Down and still manage to emerge with something wholly original. Come on people, let's conga!

Highly Recommended:
11. Feed The Rhino - The Burning Sons
12. Black Breath - Sentenced To Life
13. Cancer Bats - Dead Set On The Living
14. Hummune - Crafted In Darkness
15. O.S.I. - Fire Make Thunder
16. All Hail The Yeti - All Hail The Yeti
17. Family - Portrait
18. Ihsahn - Eremita
19. Texas Hippie Coalition - Peacemaker
20. The Weakening - Chains Of Plato

Full TNR Staff listings can be found here.
Full Ave Noctum Staff listings can be found here.

Other Top 20s: 2011 / 2010
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