For years after I got into heavier music, I gave Cannibal Corpse a wide berth. Seems kind of blasphemous, doesn't it? At the beginning of this year, however, I started dabbling with some of Cannibal Corpse's previous material, starting with Evisceration Plague and gradually moving backwards. After several listen's Cannibal Corpse just started to click with me. I then eagerly awaited Corpse's newest offering, Torture, and it did not disappoint one bit. It's every bit as brutal as a Cannibal Corpse record should be and it will leave you craving more. Also, the bass solo on "The Strangulation Chair" is immaculate.
Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Glass Cloud and their superstar line-up burst onto the scene with their outstanding debut record, The Royal Thousand. Pretty much everything about this release impressed me: the heavy chugs, intricate guitar work, angelic clean vocals, and frantic drumming. Jerry Roush's clean vocals enmeshed with the top-tier shredding of Josh Travis is a near-perfect combination. Given the disbanding of Travis's other project, The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, this release is even better in the respect that it presents a bright future and new direction for the extremely talented guitarist.
When I first listened to Baptized in Filth, I thought nothing of it. In fact, I was initially planning to give the release a 5/10 for my review. After repeated listens, however, I began to realize the excellence of Baptized in Filth. It's the heaviest album Impending Doom has done since Nailed. Dead. Risen. and they sacrificed none of the elements that There Will Be Violence such an outstanding record. In short, Impending Doom took all of the best elements from across their discography and combined them to make Baptized in Filth.
Silence's Dead Presidents, despite being drastically different from the band's first EP, is an absolutely outstanding release in the burgeoning "djenty deathcore" genre. It puts similar releases, such as Bermuda's The Wandering, to shame. Dead Presidents is one of the most dynamic releases of the year due to Silence's incorporated of clean vocals, brutal chugs, beautiful melodies, and hellish growls. I initially doubted Dead Presidents and thought that it would be less entertaining than There's No Place Like Home, but it matched and surpassed my expectations by a mile and then some.
When Diamond was first released in the first half of 2012, I enjoyed it, but I was not completely taken with it. There were some jams, but it didn't hold up to The Hope Division. But then I saw Stick to Your Guns live on their tour with Motionless in White and Chelsea Grin. Stick to Your Guns was possibly the best band of the night and seeing the songs from Diamond played live gave them a whole new relevance and punch. As far as positive lyrical themes and messages go, Stick to Your Guns is unmatched. Jesse Barnett's live presence really drives the point of his lyrics home and it was Stick to Your Guns's electrifying live performance that catapulted Diamond onto my year-end list.
When The HAARP Machine was first signed to Sumerian Records, the metal community made a collective expression of excitement. Sumerian Records later posted a video featuring Al Mu'min playing "The Escapist Notion" and the excitement grew. Things grew quiet on The HAARP Machine front, however, as the band struggled with personnel issues. After months of waiting and anticipation, The HAARP Machine released Disclosure. Was this album worth the wait? You bet it was. Al Mu'min's exceptional and extremely polished guitarwork is the main attraction here and Mike Semesky's clean vocals are the cherry on top. Disclosure is easily one of the best progressive albums of the year.
In an age of social networking and advances in internet technology, internet bands are becoming more and more common. Slice the Cake is about as good as it gets in terms of online bands. Consisting of members from England, Australia, and Sweden, Slice the Cake is not only one of the finest internet bands around, they are also one of the finest progressive death metal bands in existence. Their output is extremely dynamic and unrelenting. Despite it's extremely lengthy duration, Slice the Cake's The Man With No Face has very few, if any, dull moments. The band's genius culminates in the final track, which, alone, clocks in at over twenty minutes.
Despite coming out at the very beginning of the year, Aborted's Global Flatline managed to outlast most of the competition and retain a spot on my year-end list. After years of sub-par outputs, Aborted managed to put themselves back on top of the brutal death metal world with Global Flatline. It's the band's most polished and most versatile release since 2003's Goremageddon and is possibly the band's finest release to date.
Veil of Maya has been one of my favorite bands for several years now due to their outstanding musicianship skills and slightly due to the fact that they are Chicago's hometown heroes. The Common Man's Collapse and [id] are two of my favorite releases of all time and Eclipse may also earn a place on that list in the near future. Marc Okubo stole the show once again with his outstanding skills on the axe and Veil of Maya's decision to include some synth in several places makes Eclipse one of Veil of Maya's most varied releases yet.
Several years ago, I came across Make Them Suffer's debut EP, Lord of Woe, on some second-rate metal blog. I downloaded it on a whim because why not? I was not expecting much from the release, but I was left picking my jaw up off of the floor. Lord of Woe is quite possibly my favorite EP of all time and Make Them Suffer's debut LP, Neverbloom, is an absolutely outstanding effort. While it lacks something that the EP had, Neverbloom is still an incredibly punishing symphonic deathcore release with excellent incorporation of choice black metal elements.
Abigail Williams - Becoming
Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood of Colour
Goatwhore - Blood for the Master
Thy Art is Murder - Hate
The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza - Danza IIII: The Alpha - The Omega