2012 was quite a bad year here in Portugal with many austerity measures applied in our country. Unemployment rising, corrupt politicians, no perspectives, no hope for the next years... My escape was music. Trying to discover more and more bands was one of my resolutions for 2012. I not only discovered great new bands with lots of potential but also rediscovered some others.
2012 was indeed a great year for music. It was quite difficult to come up with a Top 10 list and leaving some fantastic releases from bands like Royal Thunder, Black Bombaim, High on Fire, Indian Handcrafts, Process of Guilt and others out.
Anyway, here goes:
10. Sinistro - Sinistro
One of the biggest surprises of the year! Sinistro's debut caught lots of people by surprise with their extremely original instrumental metal. They have already recorded an EP to release next month. Cannot wait!
9. Witchcraft - Legend
I have to confess that I had never paid a lot of attention to Witchcraft. I had always thought of them as just another copycat retro band.
Well, I was completely wrong! Legend is a great release! Great guitarwork and great vocals. It made me revisit their old catalog and I fell in love with the band.
8. Caspian - Waking Season
Another band that I was not into that much before this release. Soothing instrumental rock with some electronic elements. It is relaxing and comforting to listen to. A very complete album. They are definitely up there with Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky within the genre.
7. Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay
What is there to say about Neurosis that has not already been said? They are the kings, the masters, the leaders. They never disappoint and Honor Found in Decay proves it. Insane, heavy, hypnotic and mindblowing.
6. Graveyard - Lights Out
Sweden's finest. Great follow-up to the great Hisingen Blues. Riffs galore, great melodies, great production, catchy songs and one of the best voices out there right now: Joakim Nilsson.
5. The Sword - Apocryphon
Great release from The Sword. Once again they did not disappoint. Warp Riders was good but this is so much better. They have grown so much as musicians since Age of Winters.
4. Torche - Harmonicraft
They have released their most complete album to date. They managed to mix all the elements that make their sound in a perfect way. Just the right amount of heavy, punk, pop, sludge, stoner adding up to this awesome record. Very fun to listen to.
3. Anathema - Weather Systems
More prog than doom nowadays, Anathema have release what I consider to be their best album to date. Mixing post-rock elements with some prog, they have consolidated the sound they have been creating over the past few records. The Storm Before The Calm may as well be one of the best songs in 2012.
2. Baroness - Yellow & Green
Baroness surely turned many heads with Yellow & Green. They extended their fan base and also lost some of their older fans who were disappointed with the fact they became "softer". For me Yellow & Green is a very complete double album full of great melodies, pop-sludge atmospheres and great songwriting. It was very difficult to decide if it was going to top the list or be runner-up.
1. Deftones - Koi No Yokan
I never know what to expect from the Deftones. They have released classic records like Around the Fur and White Pony, but also some letdowns such as their self-titled record and Saturday Night Wrist. Diamond Eyes, their previous album, was a return to form and Koi No Yokan is probably their best release to date. It has all the elements you want and need from the Deftones: melody, aggressiveness, atmosphere, samples, heavy riffs, pounding drums, soothing vocals... you name it! It is incredible how they have pulled this out from their sleeve after years of band member disputes, criticism and tragedy. Top notch!