Kicking off our Best of 2012 lists here at Speak Into My Good Eye we sought the opinion of first time contributor Jordan Schursky who is our personal consigliere in all matters concerning metal. Below is his list of the best heavy & hardcore releases that have contributed to his progressive decline of hearing in 2012.
25. Acephalix – Deathless Master
Deathless Master is a relentless assault that takes ahold of you and never lets go. The contentious bombardment of groove riffs makes it one of the heaviest records of 2012. The album does have the tendency to wave off into repetition towards the last few tracks, but never once bores.
Track Pick – “Bastard Self”
24. Xibalba – Hasta La Muerte
I argue with my friends constantly that Xibalba may be the best nu metal band playing currently. Despite the sometimes ridiculous lyrics (“I stare at the sun til my eyes catch fire”) the mosh-focused riffs found on Hasta La Muerte can make any fan of hardcore lose their mind.
Track Pick – “Cold”
23. Gaza – No Absolutes in Human Suffering
Take no prisoners is the motto for No Absolutes in Human Suffering. With its dynamic power, Gaza crafts a delicate album fueled with such force. From spastic riffs to tranquil passages, the album doesn’t leave much room to catch your breath.
Track Pick – “Not With All The Hope in the World”
22. Abraham – The Serpent, The Prophet & The Whore
I was a big fan of Abraham’s previous effort, An Eye On The Universe, so naturally I was excited for their latest album. It does not disappoint. The perfect blend of atmosphere and sludge, The Serpent, The Prophet & The Whore is a journey through the darkest depths of the abyss.
Track Pick – “New King, Dark Prophet”
21. Liberteer – Better to Die on Your Feet Than on Your Knees
The social and political statements found in the lyrics on Better to Die on Your Feet Than on Your Knees might scream for attention, but it doesn’t take away from the sheer impact the record has. It’s grim sense creates the strength it carries through the 17 tracks – clocking in around 25 minutes.
Track Pick – “Build No System”
20. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
Before I hear the cries of how Converge’s latest record could be so low on this list, allow me to explain. It’s Converge. The band that made Petitioning the Empty Sky, Jane Doe, Axe to Fall, etc. And if All We Love We Leave Behind was the first Converge record I ever listened to by them, I’d say it was one of the best heavy records ever made. Period. But, it wasn’t the first Converge album I had listened to. It’s a great album, but unfortunately, doesn’t live up to what I’ve come to expect from them.
Track Pick – “Trespasses”
19. At All Times – The Writhing Sea
Technically a 2011 album, At All Times’ The Writhing Sea was released just a few days shy of 2012 – so I’m counting it as a 2012 release. This is an atmospheric post-rock/metal album at its ?nest.
Track Pick – “The Writhing Sea”
18. Aussitot Mort – Nagykanizsa
France’s Aussitot Mort created one of the most eclectic heavy albums of 2012, Nagykanizsa. Part experimental, part post-rock, part hardcore, something makes all these elements work together such beautifully. The album always feels like it’s climbing upwards to a peak, and when it reaches, the effort it well worth it.
Track Pick – “Une Defaite A La Piaule”
17. Torche – Harmonicraft
Torche is one of the best heavy bands currently out there. That’s a fact. Harmonicraft is their latest effort that while is a fun album, it’s nothing in comparison to some of their other material. Even the b-side “Harminonslaught,” that was released a few weeks ago seems to out shine the entire album. Focusing on pop hooks and safe sing alongs, Harmonicraft at times feels half fast. That doesn’t mean Harmonicraft is a bad record. It simply was something I didn’t expect from Torche.
Track Pick – “Sky Trials”
16. Old Man Gloom – No
The power house that is Old Man Gloom is known for their intricacies. No is no exception. The album is off, strange, and at times just plain weird. It plays more like an experimental album than a metal album. But its oddness is what intrigues and keeps my attention till the very end.
Track Pick – “Shuddering Earth”
15. Unsane – Wreck
Wreck plays like it was made for the 90s underground scene. And it rules. It’s a fun and nostalgic record that speaks to the time where fuzz distortion was once the sound on every alternative album.
Track Pick – No Chance
14. Mutilation Rites – Empyrean
Mutilation Rites’ debut Empyrean, offers everything you want from a decent metal album. The riffs, the hooks, the blast beats, etc. But what makes Empyrean stand out is its sheer ferocity and unwillingness to give the listener anytime to catch up.
Track Pick – “Realms of Dementia”
13. Samothrace – Reverence to Stone
Seattle’s Samothrace sophomore effort Reverence to Stone lays down the framework for how post-metal should be done. With only 2 tracks, the album feels like a transcendent voyage into the netherworld.
Track Pick – “When We Emerged”
12. Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
The almighty Pig Destroyer’s latest effort Book Burner is sadistic, violent, and most importantly awesome. It’s nowhere near a grindcore classic, but for the year, it’s one of the more memorable.
Track Pick – “The Bug”
11. Braeg Naofa – Self Titled
This album took me by surprise and I think I listened to it for two months straight. The track title-less album is a near perfect atmospheric sludge album.
Track Pick – “III”
10. Dawnbringer – The Lair of the Sun God
For anyone that loves riff-heavy 70s rock n roll, this album is for you. This is one of the more fun records I’ve listened to in a long time. And one of the catchiest. Another a titleless album.
Track Pick – “I.”
9. Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Though nowhere close to the amazing Diamond Eyes, Koi No Yokan is a great album on its own. Deftones have somehow managed to get away from their haunting nu metal past and create a new, better sound.
Track Pick – “Swerve City”
8. North – The Great Silence
North are one of my favorite post-metal bands currently active. Their latest album The Great Silence showcases their incredible talent as a band to create beautiful music and perfectly juxtapose it with such chaos and devastation.
Track Pick – “Sentience”
7. Code Orange Kids – Love is Love/Return to Dust
I have to admit I dragged my feet with this band for a while and I still beat myself up for it. Code Orange Kids are one of the best hardcore bands playing. Period. This album proves it.
Track Pick – “Nothing (The Rat)”
6. Neurosis – Honor Found in Decay
The Gods themselves. Neurosis’ latest is everything you’d come to expect from them, but this album never ceases to feel boring or repetitive. It’s nowhere near their best stuff, but it’s damn close.
Track Pick – “We All Rage in Gold”
5. High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
With every High on Fire release, they get better every time. With De Vermis Mysteriis, High on Fire once again establishes themselves as the current Kings of stoner metal. The album never feels rushed or forced, rather it takes its time and allows you sit back and soak it all in.
Track Pick – “Madness of an Architect”
4. Blut Aus Nord – 777: Cosmosophy
A friend of mine recommended Blut Aus Nord’s latest record a few months back and I honestly had no expectations. I will admit, the first listen I gave I brushed it off. However, came back to it, and I became intrigued at the strange nature of the album. Something began to resonant within me and the more and more I listened, the more engaged I became with it.
Track Pick – “Epitome XVIII”
3. Black Breath – Sentenced to Life
Every time the opening track of this album comes on I just want head bash a brick wall while being set on fire. This is album is raw, hard, and unrelenting.
Track Pick – “Feast of the Damned”
2. Baroness – Green/Yellow
I don’t think Baroness turned their back on heavy music. It was a natural progression. Is this a more hard rock/pop record than it is a heavy metal record? I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s a great album. I do prefer Yellow over Green.
Track Pick – “Eula”
1. Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extinction
This album surprised the hell out of me. I honestly feel it’s one of the best sludge/doom records in a long time. What I love so much about the album is how natural it is. There are no climactic build ups, no pay offs, instead it’s just simple riffs that stretch almost the entire length of the songs (around 8 minutes). If you’re a fan of heavy music and you don’t have this album already, get it.
Track Pick – “Foreigner”