Steven Pongrac's Top 10 Releases of 2012

10. Pentimento - Pentimento
This year was full of surprises and the first of which for me was Pentimento's self-titled full length. Pentimento incorporates so many different sounds and styles into their music and it really shows on this album. I loved every second of the self-titled album and I've come back to listen to it several times since it was released, especially after seeing them put on an incredible performance a few weeks ago. Heck, even my 55-year old dad seemed to really enjoy this album when I've played it in the car a few times.

9. The Ghost Inside - Get What You Give
The Ghost Inside seemed to get its fair share of negative press because of the usage of clean vocals on Get What You Give, but I think the cleans were executed excellently. The Ghost Inside tried something different on this album while not deviating from their trademark sound (melodic leads, crushing breakdowns, immaculate vocals, and meaningful lyrics). The entire album impressed me greatly and it's one of my favourite metalcore/melodic hardcore releases of 2012.

8. I Call Fives - I Call Fives
I Call Fives has always been one of my favourite pop punk bands and they really stepped it up a notch on their self-titled full length. Every song is extremely catchy and loaded with excellent pop punk riffs and leads, and no matter how many times I listen to it, I never grow tired of hearing it. Actually, with more and more listens, I think I'm starting to like this album even more. It has been on constant rotation for nearly two weeks and it was initially meant to be on my "honorable mention" list.

7. Misser - Every Day I Tell Myself I'm Going To Be A Better Person
This album came out of nowhere. I had never heard of Misser before they released a single from Every Day I Tell Myself I'm Going To Be A Better Person ("I'm Really Starting To Hope The World Ends In 2012"). As soon as I heard that song, though, I made sure to keep a lookout for the full length. Taking the raspy vocals of Brad Wiseman and the innovative pop punk riffs and vocals of Tim Landers, Misser is an extremely unique pop punk band.

6. Major League - Hard Feelings
Prior to Hard Feelings, I wasn't much of a Major League fan. I liked their Variables EP, but I never got too into them. However, after my first listen of Hard Feelings, everything changed. I found this album to be a huge step up from their other works, both on the catchiness scale and because of better musicianship. The album progressively gets better and the last four or five tracks are absolutely perfect. Hard Feelings isn't my favourite pop punk album of 2012, but it's probably the catchiest.

5. With The Punches - Seams & Stitches
Similar to Major League, With The Punches was a band that I liked a bit in the past, but didn't have big expectations when it came to their debut full length. Seams & Stitches is an excellent album from start to finish, and no matter how many times I listen to it, I still adore it. There isn't a single song that seems out of place, every track is catchy, and some of the guitar parts are incredible. Because of that, Seams & Stitches just barely squeaked into my top five.

4. Citizen/Turnover - Split EP
Similar to Real Friends' Everyone That Dragged You Here, I instantly fell in love with the Citizen/Turnover split. Both bands really put their all into this release and it shows, even on the acoustic renditions of their older songs. At first, I liked Citizen's half of the split, but was blown away by Turnover's half. Now, I have 100+ plays on the entire split and 200+ plays on Citizen's half. I think it's safe to say that Citizen blew me away, too.

3. Parkway Drive - Atlas
Being a longtime fan of Parkway Drive (they've been my favourite band for nearly six years), I had extremely high expectations for Atlas. After my first listen, I was disappointed, but still thought that Parkway Drive had put out a very solid album. As I gave it more listens, though, I really started to notice how much that they progressed and improved as a band. Horizons still remains my favourite metalcore album of all-time, but Atlas is making a bid to enter my top five, and it's definitely my favourite metalcore album of this apocalyptic year.

2. Real Friends - Everyone That Dragged You Here EP
Ten seconds into my first listen of Real Friends' Everyone That Dragged You Here, I knew that I was going to love it, I just didn't know how much. Everything (meaningful lyrics, passionate vocals, excellent instrumentals, etc.) is perfect, in my opinion. Nearly a year later and after accumulating more than 150 plays, Everyone That Dragged You Here is one of my favourite pop punk releases of all-time. Also, I had the privilege of seeing Real Friends in early December and they put on one of the most entertaining sets I will ever witness in my life.

1. Heart To Heart - Heart To Heart
Perhaps the biggest surprise of 2012 for me: Heart To Heart and their self-titled debut full length. I liked the band's previous releases, but I was absolutely blown away by their new album. It is easily one of the most diverse albums that I have ever heard. There's pop punk, punk, hardcore, alternative, and melodic hardcore influences spread across its 45-minute playtime (if you include the bonus track), and it all blends together for one extremely unique sound that can't be compared to anyone else.

Honorable Mentions
After Me, The Flood - Still Searching
The Afterimage - Formless EP
Be Easy - I Hope You Hear Me
Being As An Ocean - Dear G-d...
Stick To Your Guns - Diamond

By Steven Pongrac ~ Me Gusta Reviews



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