10. The Sword- Apocryphon
Another intriguing entry from The Sword. It continues on the path taken by Warp Riders with sections evoking 70s rock. The Sword haven't deviated from their formula, as why this record didn't get further on this list, however, it retained a supreme sense of musicality and technicality. You can hear the fact that they have all gotten better as musicians, and they do not disappoint. Delivering great syncopated viciousness and upbeat rock, an album definitely worth one's time.
9. It's Not night it's space - Bowing but not Knowing to What
The first full-length from Hudson Valley - stalwarts It's not night : It's Space. A combination of eerie psychedelia and monolithic-sabbathian stomp, INNIS built a beast from just their fans. A kickstarter construct- and a personal favorite- these guys kicked everyone's ass with something homegrown but unique in its exploration of intrepid spiritual (or psuedo-spiritual) heaviness. The opening track, The Gathering, is a testament to all that is right with dark psychedelia!
8. Five Horse Johnson - Taking of the Black heart
5HJ killed us with Taking of the Black Heart. A truly awesome release, they played some straight up gritty, swampy, downright bluesy riffs. The key to all of this music inherently lies in the blues, it's great to see a band stick to those roots and lay down some curvy woman-thick blues.
7. In the Company of Serpents - S/T
A demonic duo, In the Company of Serpents hit hard with their self-titled, some indigenous and vicious sludge. The best part is how precise these guy sound, they are tight musically, hence why their duo format works the way it does. A dose of powerful, low-end filled sludge that towers above a lot of the other Kylesa ripoffs these days.
6. High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
High on Fire never seem to disappoint us with their battle axe-sharp riffs. Matt Pike takes us back with this record, one more reminiscent of Blessed Black wings. Bludgeoning sludge with relentless force, this was a terrifying album. My all time favorite track is of course King of Days, the heaviest freaking tone of the year quite possibly.
5. Neurosis - Honor Found in Decay
The Godfathers of Post-metal, Neurosis struck hard with Honor Found in Decay. Full of enveloping textures and whirring, grind that could incur heart palpitations, this was a definite favorite. This record evoked tones previously heard on their seminal Through Silver in Blood. We Rage in Gold! The group never fails to produce terrifyingly heavy truths and vicious riffs with their music. Thought-provoking, and disintegratingly brutal.
4. Radar Men from the Moon - Echo Forever
A well-produced, swirling, grooving, pulsing foray into european psych. Reminiscent of both Spacemen 3, and Hawkwind, this one does not fall into the cliches of repetitive bVII-I grooves that many other bands do. A swirling long-form exploration of the self, complete with ominous delayed guitar and disgustingly awesome high-hat work. The best part is they are MASTERS of contrast, their creation of different feels enables them to soar above the pack. Go listen to "Dance of Black and White Paint." 'Nuff said.
3. Colour Haze - She Said
The cream of the crop of the psychedelic rock. Prog, Doom, Stoner, and psych all meet and coalesce beautifully on this record. The tones are organic, full, and impressive, their command of long-form is breathtaking. Both technically blissful as well as emotionally and musically intense, this record is a beautiful example of all the right things with psych, namely the fact that they do not stick to the tried and true formula of simple echos and repetitive riffs, their music evokes the past as well as pushing towards the future. A great rock album. Period. "Breath"
2. Pallbearer- Sorrow and Extinction
This record caught me by surprise. A record with great melodic content, informed content. A truly epic and emotionally moving record, this band took time to crafted a mountain trail, rather than just staying on the rails. A great debut record and a phenomenal display of both musicianship and a new take on older sounds. A demonic combination of old-school doom, and modern post-metal.
1.Om - Advaitic Songs
Al Cisneros knows how to make droning, middle-eastern music burn through gargantuan amplifiers. Om's first record as more than a duo, the subtle and calm guitar tones melded with the visceral and vicious bass-tones, the utter mastery of relentless ancient sounding music. Only a record like this could make a Cello haunt my dreams. With an unabashed fear of evoking North Indian viciousness and creating visceral meditative music that blinds your senses, Om created a towering record that makes drone doom-bands wish they knew what they were doing. Without fear of experimentation and with beautiful instrumentation, Om built my favorite record of 2012, because they did something that still relegated itself to the doom realm, but in many ways reaches far across the aisle to the universe of World Music. A brilliant and moving record.