A look back at 2012 with a little help from our friends. Enjoy top lists from Blow The Scene staffers, and lists by members of Municipal Waste, Ceremony, Oathbreaker, Drain The Sky, His Hero Is Gone, Brutal Truth, Total Fucking Destruction, Joe “Hardcore” McKay, r5 productions, Brutal Panda Recs and more.
Lists are posted in the order that they were received.
1. Gaza – No Absolutes In Human Suffering – This album features many essential elements that constitute phenomenal extreme music. No Absolutes in Human Suffering is a heartfelt, suffocating, innovative, political, and dark album with glimpses of subtle beauty seamlessly woven into the fabric. It’s been a pleasure watching this band develop into one of the leaders of pack. For those just tuning in- We reviewed the album, interviewed singer Jon Parkin in October and November, and showcased Gaza’s recent headlining performance in Philadelphia.
2. Martyrdöd – Paranoia – Modern d-beat and crust bands take note- This is how it’s done. Hauntingly discordant melodies over driving Swedish d-beats, bone crunching riffs, throat shredding screams, and 10+ years of experience put this band a head and shoulders above most of their peers. We reviewed Paranoia in detail upon it’s release on Southern Lord. A must have of 2012.
3. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind – Converge has etched and refined a niche of metallic punk that has had an immeasurable impact on modern extreme music. Thus, it’s almost impossible to compare this band’s output to any of its peers, standing in class all its own. You are forced to judge Coverage on the basis of an internal past catalog. And along those lines, we have yet another chapter of intense, intricate, innovative song offerings complemented by ever-increasingly masterful recordings and engineering work of guitarist and GodCity Studios main man, Kurt Ballou. We recently caught up with Converge drummer, Ben Koller for an exclusive interview.
4. Enabler – All Hail The Void – We had the honors of dropping the only official stream of the album, which you can still listen to here. We strongly suggest you do so and then buy this beast of album. One of the most promising up-and-coming bands of 2012 with a live show to match. Tons of sub-niches of metal worked into this infectious blend for a catchy and punishing LP from start to finish. Fans of metal, d-beat, and metallic punk should find a lot to love here.
5. Larry and His Flask – Hobo’s Lament – One the best live bands on the touring circuit, Larry and His Flask have delivered an energetic and eclectic release showcasing their punk-folk flavor chock full of rippin’ banjo leads, standup bass, guitars, and more. We recently caught up with band for an exclusive interview.
6. The Secret – Angus Dei
7. Rise and Fall – Faith
8. Grin and Bear It / Masakari – Split 7″ –
9. Living Eyes – Who Will Remain?
10. Narrows – Painted
11. Tragedy – Darker Days Ahead
12. Baroness – Yellow & Green
13. White Lung – Sorry
14. Black Breath – Sentenced to Life
15. Cattle Decapitation – Monolith Of Inhumanity
16. Nails / Skin Like Iron – Split 7-inch
17. Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
18. Code Orange Kids – Love is Love // Return To Dust
19. Birds In Row – You, Me, & The Violence
20. Municipal Waste – The Fatal Feast
21. Neurosis – Honor Found In Decay
22. Primate – Draw Back a Stump +3
23. Wolfbrigade – Damned
24. Burning Love – Rotten Thing To Say
25. From Ashes Rise – Rejoice the End / Rage of Sanity 7-inch
Carl Auge (artist, Bassist of Drain The Sky, His Hero Is Gone)
My top five for 2012:
Neurosis – Honor Found in Decay LP
Common Visions – Dangers of the Mouth LP
Kicker – Not You LP
Gringos – Pearly Gates LP
Arctic Flowers – Procession EP
Richard Hoak (Drummer of Brutal Truth, Total Fucking Destruction, Peacemaker)
2012 top thirteen:
Winters in Osaka: Clandestine lp
Old Head: Maximum Rock lp
Bastard Noise: The Progression of Sickness 10 inch EP
Tussock: Devastation of Nuclear Proliferation cassette
FU: On the Earth cd
Chimpgrinder: Oliver cd-r demo
G.O.D.A: Pure Hate & Anger cd
Rumplestiltskingrinder: Ghostmaker lp
Carcass: Excreted Live at the BBC picture lp
Chicago Thrash Ensemble Monsters Of The Midwest 12″EP
Life Ends/Slump split cd
Unholy Grave/Nakat TLAL split 5”
AC: The Old Testament 1988-1991 2xcd
Tony Foresta – Municipal Waste / Iron Reagan
My Top List for 2012 (in no particular order)
Torche – Harmonicraft
Boston Strangler – Primitive
Converge/Napalm Death split 7”
The Rival Mob – Mob Justice (Demo)
Kreator – Phantom Anti-Christ
Title Fight – Floral Green
The Spits – Mude Und Einsam 12”
Napalm Death – Utilitarian
Old Man Gloom – No
Teenage Bottle Rocket – Freak Out
At The Gates– Live poolside on Barge to Hell
Youth of Today-Fun Fun Fun Fest
Dinosaur Jr playing a Deep Wound song to about 10,000 confused people
at Dour Fest in Belgium
Rancid in Prague- One of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life.
Forward partying way harder than Municipal Waste at Chaos in Tejas
Watching the guy from Korn use a teleprompter to read his lyrics at Metal Camp
The Dag Nasty/Sean Brown reunion I’m going to see really soon!
Tom Schlatter BTS’s One Path Review (Capacities, Black Kites, In First Person, Etc)
In no particular order:
Trenchfoot – Endless Disgust
Pity Sex – Dark World
Apart – Gray Light
Damaged Goods – Demo
Beau Navire – Lumens
Nation On Fire – Demo
Itto – S/T
The Great Reversals – To the Ends of the Earth
Mean Man’s Dream – Demo
Lord Snow – Sovngarde
Bob Lugowe – Owner Brutal Panda Records
Top 15 Albums of 2012
Baroness – Yellow & Green
Beach House – Bloom
Royal Thunder – CVI
Goat – World Music
Gojira – L’enfant sauvage
Sigur Ros – Valtari
Meshuggah – Koloss
Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
Om – Advaitic Songs
Witchcraft – Legend
Storm Corrosion – S/T
High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
Ladder Devils – Nowhere Plans
Title Fight – Floral Green
Blacklisted – So You Are A Magician
Beware – Won’t get the best of me
Code Orange Kids – Love is Love // Return to Dust
Ringworm – Stigmatas In The Flesh
Rock Bottom – Down With The Devil
Early Graves – Red Horse
From Ashes Rise – Rejoice the End/Rage of Sanity 7″
Verse – Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace
Strife – Witness A Rebirth
Blank Realm – Go Easy
Constant Mongrel – Everything Goes Wrong
Daughn Gibson – All Hell
Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE
Julia Holter – Ekstasis
Merchandise – Children Of Desire
Raime – Quarter Turns Over A Living Line
Scott Walker – Bisch Bosh
Shackleton – Music For The Quiet Hour/The Drawbar Organ EPs
Sickoids – self titled
Burial – Kindred
Daughn Gibson – Lite Me Up
Dawn Of Humans – Blurst Of The Birdfish
Fennesz – Fa 2012
Give – Voodoo Leather
Hoax – 3rd EP
The Ropes – Always Nothing
Savages – Husbands
Scott & Charlene’s Wedding/Peak Twins split
Total Control – Scene From A Marriage
Jeffrey Ziga (T-Shirt Seller for Paint It Black, Former Fill-In Drummer for Paint It Black (3 gigs), Bottle Player for Ceremony (3 times), R5 staffer.
1) Opening Little Baby’s Ice Cream World Headquarters at 2311 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa 19125.
2) Being nominated for a 2013 Adult Video News Award, Category: Best Original Song. (AVN Awards are the Oscars of the Adult Film Industry!).
3) Having a video on YouTube with almost 3 Million Views .
4) Talking to Sam McPheeters on Twitter.
5) Seeing the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New York Giants Live at The Linc.
6) Frank Ocean Live at Union Transfer / Cock Sparrer Live at Union Transfer / R.Kelly Live at The Tower Theater.
7) Moshing to Quicksand Live at Bowery Ballroom.
8) Declining an invitation to participate in my own old hardcore band’s reunion gig.
9) Fronting a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Tribute Band and having John Sharkey diss it in The Philadelphia Weekly.
10) Being named one of the “52 Smartest People In Philadelphia” according to Philadelphia Magazine (1/3 of #22!).
11) …and getting a Beavis & Butt-Head tattoo.
1. Graveyard – Lights Out (Nuclear Blast); hands down my album of the year, since it’s release in November, I’ve listened to it every day multiple times and every person I’ve played it for has been hooked as well, it’s just so ducking good!
2. Terrible Feelings – Shadows (Deranged Records); I’ve been hooked on this bands since seeing them earlier this year. Yes I’m very partial to Scandinavian music, but that has no influence on how much I enjoy this depressing yet poppy mix of rock.
3. Royal Thunder – CVI (Relapse Records); This band is even better live then the recording, I’ve seen them four times since September and I wish that number was doubled or tripled they are that good live. This is a very strong debut full length that has been in my regular listing rotation since it’s release.
4. Struck by Lightning – True Perdation (Translation Loss); I was very much so looking forward to the release of this album, and found after listening that I was happy with the direction they took and I love the sound.
5. Woods of Ypres – Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light (Earache Records); The main topic of this album is death and coming to terms with your demise, a topic I almost always gravitate to when done right. I reached into my memory vaults for this one since it’s release was back in February and it is still getting played at least once a week.
6. Rise And Fall – Faith (Deathwish); it’s crusty and European what’s not to love? This bands just keeps improving and I really hope I get a chance to see them play live soon.
7. Christian Mistress – Possession (Relapse Records); I was very sad to hear these guys broke up, cause this album shreds and I was looking forward to future releases. At least I still have this one for air guitar sessions.
8. Baroness – Yellow and Green (Relapse Records); I didn’t think I liked it the first time I listened, so I didn’t listen to it again until two months later. Then giving it another try i found that I kept listening to it more and more, now I would say it is a work of art in both a visual and audio sense.
9. Tim Barry – 40 Miler (CHUNKSAAH RECORDS); I’m a sucker for songs about trains.
10. Brother Ali – Mourning In America (Rhymesayers); I’m a big fan of diversity in my music and this is one of the best hip hop releases in years.
Andy McNeil, resident giant at Blow the Scene
1. The Sword – Apocryphon (Razor & Tie)
2. Torche – Harmonicraft (Volcom)
3. Royal Thunder – CVI (Relapse)
4. Old Man Gloom – No (Hydra Head)
5. Hot Chip – In Our Heads (Domino)
6. Metric – Synthetica (Metric Music International)
7. Wild Nothing – Nocturne (Self-Released)
8. Enabler – All Hail the Void (Southern Lord)
9. Tame Impala – Lonerism (Modular)
10. Death Grips – The Money Store (Epic)
Anne Spina (Blow The Scene Staff Photographer, Anne Spina Photography)
1. Mindset – Leave No Doubt
2. Title Fight – Floral Green
3. Ruckus – Of Malice and Man
4. Beware – Won’t Get The Best Of Me
5. Rude Awakening – The Awakening
6. Code Orange Kids/Full Of Hell split 7”
7. Bloc Party – Four
8. Expire – Pendulum Swings
9. Wisdom In Chains – The Missing Links
10. Night Sins – New Grave
Larry West – Blow The Scene site designer, Larry West Productions
1. Devin Townsend Project – “Epicloud”- This was a three-way tie because all these albums are amazing in their own ways and I couldn’t pick one if I tried right now. After being a fan of Devin Townsend’s work for nearly 10 years, I was actually late to the party when it came to Devin Townsend Project. On this album, Devin and company have crafted an album that transcends everything you know about music itself! “The album itself has more of a hard rock basis, using metal riffs to help propel it to another dimension. As usual, there is a nice mix of slower numbers such as “Where We Belong” and “Divine”, but most notable are tracks such as “More!” and “Lucky Animals”. “Grace” mixes Meshuggah-style riffs with Gospel(!) music in a way that only Devin Townsend could do! The piece-DE-resistance? The re-recording of “Kingdom”, which just pounds away at you and raises you to a higher plane! It is, without a doubt, the best written and performed album of 2012!
1. Van Halen – “A Different Kind of Truth” – I won’t lie, I wasn’t expecting much from Van Halen when I heard “A Different Kind of Truth” was coming out with “Diamond Dave” back on vocals. Well, I was wrong, and thank god for that! Yes, “Tattoo” is an abomination, but behind that are 12 of the best songs from Van Halen since 1983! “China Town” shreds like Eddie in his prime and has one of my favorite riffs ever, “Bullethead” just pounds through, and “Outta Space” rocks with an outer-space riff that kicks ass! “As Is” is the stand-out track and just builds up and careens through with this almost punk-like abandon! This album got under my skin in January and I haven’t stopped listening to a track every day ever since!
1. Lamb of God – “Resolution” – Its almost as if words could not begin to describe this album! Every time Lamb of God releases an album, I always ask, “How are they going to top that last one?” Well, they always do, and they released another masterpiece of an album! “Desolation” and “Ghost Walking” just pound away and soar like crazy, creating this visceral feeling of everything being destroyed! “Cheated” and “To the End” are bound to keep you going nuts! “King Me” was a brilliant closer, combing a bit of symphony with this bands brilliant and always technical musicianship! Its an instant classic of an album!
4. Ministry – “Relapse” – You can’t keep a good ‘Al down! Despite “retiring”, he came back with an album that perfectly defines who and what he is, as well as where the state of the world is. “Ghouldiggers” is the perfect statement of the music industry and serves as the epitaph of a zombie as he screams, “I’m not dead yet!” There’s a sample in the song “Kleptocracy” of a member of congress talking about how they’re sworn to protect us, and in the context of the song it’s one of the most powerful things you’ll hear! Along with “99 Percenters” and an amazing cover of “United Forces”, this album is just going to blow you away every time!
5. Iron Maiden – “En Vivo!” – This is, without a doubt, my favorite Iron Maiden live album EVER. I was a big fan of “The Final Frontier”, and here you get at least half, if not more, of that album live. The live setting makes every track from that album pop, and its great hearing a track like “The Talisman” along with “The Trooper”! Whenever I put this album on at my computer and I start designing, I always feel like I ‘m right there on stage with Iron Maiden themselves thanks in part to their energy on stage as well and the roar of the crowd! If you love Maiden, this should not be missed!
6. NOFX – “Self Entitled”
7. Fear Factory – “The Industrialist”
8. Black Breath – “Sentenced to Life”
9. Overkill “Electric Age”
10. Garbage – “Not Your Kind of People”
11. Kreator – “Phantom Antichrist”
12. Lacuna Coil – “Dark Adrenaline”
13. Tankard – “A Girl Called Cerveza”
In no particular order:
Wovenhand – The Laughing Stalk
The Soft Moon – Zeros
Swans – The Seer
Amenra – Mass V
Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II
Self Defense Family – Self Immolation Family b/w World Virgins
Neurosis – Honor Found In Decay
Whirr – Pipe Dreams
Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky
In no particular order:
Rise And Fall – Faith – It may seem like an obvious choice to some but this album was everything I hoped it would be. Great songs, a good balance of ‘expected’ and ‘unexpected’ etc. A band truly at the top of its game.
The Men – Turn It Around – I liked their previous album, ‘Leave Home’ and I enjoyed seeing them live back in 2011 but this is the album that made me a fan. Great melodies, better songs and a sense of urgency.
Creature With The Atom Brain – The Birds Fly Low – I was obsessed with their previous album, Transylvania and even though the follow-up hasn’t managed to grab me in the same way, it’s still better than most.
Black Breath – Sentenced To Life – Easy choice. Black Breath know their riffs, they’re an amazing live band and they can write pretty pummeling songs. The final guitar solo in ‘Obey’ is close to perfection.
Goat – World Music – I’ve read they wear masks on stage, that they stem from a collective of townspeople from some tiny village in Sweden, etc. I just know a friend told me this was an awesome record, I picked up a copy and agreed. Psychedelic stuff, but the good kind.
Sex Drive – s/t
This is just a great, primitive hardcore single. It’s got 5 songs and it’s 45RPM, so you know what you’re in for. No nonsense, no gimmicks.
The XX – Coexist – There was a huge amount of buzz around this band when they released their first album. Buzz I completely missed out on so I kind of discovered this band 3 years after everybody else did. Great minimalistic pop, a real beauty of a record.
Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind – Converge delivers every time and you never get what you expected. I love every Converge record for different reasons and that’s exactly what sets this band apart. Instead of taking the easy way out and building on what has proven to be successful in the past, they keep pushing the envelope.
Neurosis – Honor Found In Decay – Another band in a league of its own. Neurosis continue to redefine their sound, creating a nothing less than impressive back-catalog along the way.
Amenra – Mass V – I’m putting Mass V at the end of my list because I like the idea of beginning and ending my top-10 with the two best bands Belgium had to offer in 2012. Amenra focuses on the bare minimum, a stripped carcass that fits the band’s origin and initial philosophy. Mass V was a difficult process but it was well worth the wait.