mk’s 2012 Metal Top 10

10. Bonded By Blood – The Aftermath

I’ll finally start to give these guys a little credit with their efforts in the new wave of thrash. Musically it is tight and certainly in that classic vein, however the vox is the one thing that I still can’t relate to – he’s no Joey, Tommy, Dave or James.

9. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage

I read that this is their best effort to date and with that I can’t argue. It was their 2005 effort (2 records ago) that bought me into their world of guitar laden, angry technical death metal is probably the best way I can describe it. That’s the uniqueness right there – this sound is quite unique and kudos to them. It has its dull moments in terms of repetitiveness particularly toward the end of the album but that squealing guitar complimented by a heavy bass line is attractive.

8. Cannibal Corpse – Torture

Hard to find good help these days – well a good DM release. Seriously there is no comparison when it comes to CC. I like the tempo mix they do very well these days and Corpsegrinder continues to nail it on vox. There is not much more to say really. You know these guys, you know what they are capable of and you know they NEVER disappoint!!

7. Aura Noir – Out To Die

Scrapes into the list partly on favouritism it must be said, the production is terrible. It sounds very distant and the more I think of it, this is more of a listen on your stereo rather than the headphones. Still, it’s not as raw edged and fast paces as the last few efforts, but much like bands such a Khold – they have their style which is very noticeable and they do it very well.

6. My Dying Bride – A Map Of All Our Failures

Seriously, that brooding, dredging guitar sound shortly followed by Stainthorpes infamous hollows in the first 20 seconds of track one sets the scene for yet another chapter of despair and hopelessness you’d expect from these guys. From here however there is a noticeable difference between more recent releases and this one. It seems to be more ‘mellow’ and less ‘anger’ in the lyrics and musical approach. For this reason alone, it’s not a winner in my book as much as recent efforts but still deserves some credit.

5. Candlemass – Psalms For The Dead

This is a band I will always put every effort into liking. The general theme of the music is not far removed from that dark, sluggish, drag-yourself-into-a-hole space, with a little more of the keyboard, but I can forgive them that. We are now 3 albums in with Rob Lowe fronting the vox and this is where I still have a little bit of contention – he doesn’t have the range of Messiah!! Interesting he left the band only a few weeks after this release. In any case, I just love the music, so can forgive that. Lets hope for a better music/vox match in the future.

4. Ufomammut – ORO, Opus Alter

It has been a few years since I’ve listened to a credible lyric-devoid, down-tuned and crunching release. Thinking ISIS, Neurosis type style with an extra tonne of cement entering your ears to fill up all those cavities. They released two records this year and I’ve chosen the one that finally had me sinking to the bottom of the harbour with the sound.

3. Enslaved – RIITIIR

This is possibly the best prog release I have heard for a few years. I’ve been concerned previously with listening to a full record given the keyboards etc they like to include. While they are still there, they don’t seem to be as noticeable. The vox is a perfect complement to the music in the right places if that makes sense. Definitely worthy of a top10 place.

2. King Parrot – Bite Your Head Off

Blast beats, buzzing guitars and frenetic desperation in the vocals, what more could you want? Definitely a mood required to listen to this one. As everyone will know I do like some variation in smashing my face against a brick wall. This one does the smashing with a level of respect (thankyou fellas) but also offers the opportunity to take a breath, wipe the blood off your face with a used yiros wrapper and then continue said beating. If you don’t like it, you’ve got shit on your liver folks!! \m/

1. Funeral Whore – Step Into Damnation

Brilliant slab of gritty death metal. Memories of old Carcass, Slayer and even Pungent Stench come flowing back to me with this one. Fast paced, but melodic also. A welcome surprise.

Honourable Mentions

Cattle Decapitation – Monolith Of Inhumanity

Ouch, that hurts. A wall of brutal sound that will stop you in your tracks and ask the question ‘are you prepared to have your ears bleed?’. Would love to see these guys live as heck knows how they would do it. There are a bunch of newish death metal bands looking to deliver the listener something new. While I am still set in my ways (such as the new CC release for example) there is no question over these guys’ chops and what they can add to the DM legacy.

Cryptopsy – Cryptopsy

A tricky one as they are pretty much at the top of their league in the death/grind scene, but unless you are a huge fan, it’s likely you’ll see this is a quality release but nothing new. That’s where I sit. Interesting comparison would be to Cannibal Corpse circa 2002. Cryptopsy have a similar wall of sound but much more modern and relentless, not stopping for that slower melody, which for me is equally brutal if you can hold that with a Corpsegrinder vox happening.

Napalm Death – Utilitarian

Well what can you say about these guys? No need to listen generally between records, however I’d suggest that you do listen to this one as it has some noticeable differences in style. Sure for the most part Embury and the crew are giving you a lesson (in case you needed it) on how to write a straight-up brutal DM release. However there are some points in the record where my ears pricked up in relation to some different sounds. I’d have to say I’m on the fence with this one, thus not an entry in the Top10 as you might expect.

Nachtmystium – Silencing Machine

No doubting the talent in this band and their interpretation of the BM sound. I really liked their Black Meddle efforts – it was the first time I had listened to their sound. This one now suffers the unfortunate circumstance of me comparing it to those records. For me it doesn’t quite match it. Less aggressive and actually more complex in the sound if you give it a few listens. Is that what I’d like from these guys? Still undecided.

Dis-honourable

Ihsahn – Eremita

So when you sing with a gravel voice as the legend has always done, I have no complaints. When you match it with music that Delta Goodrem could sing to, then I have a little bit of a problem with where the dude is heading. Seriously, its progressive with that growling verse/melodic chorus approach, but really are we hearing anything ground breaking here? Absolutely not. If anything the band provides the landscape of colour and our main-man simply provides the out-of-colour lipstick to what could be a far better effort given his pedigree.

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