Here is part II of the metal music finals for 2012. There is a good chance that in the future I will be making music related posts in a new blog (that’s if I can ever get my act together and find the time). For now, I’ll post this here because 2012 is over!
French heavy-hitters, Gojira, took their time coming out with this. It turned out to be worth the wait. What I hear is a good blend of From Mars to Sirius and The Way of All Flesh. The stomping-ground, mosh pit arena, industrial riffs are undeniably there, but so is the emotion and writing that makes it feel like more than just a gun show. Gojira has guns to be sure, possibly some of the biggest in the metal scene; they also have one of the most unique sounds, and that shows more than ever on Sauvage. Stand out tracks are “The Ax,” “Liquid Fire,” and “The Gift Of Guilt.”
I was worried about Baptized in Filth before it ever came out. In case you didn’t know, Impending Doom is a Christian band. Could have fooled me with the cover art and the name. But they have always been like that–more interested in a revelatory, apocalyptic, thou-shalt-burn-in-hell sort of Christianity…where do they make these people?! Whatever. It’s best to adopt a boys will be boys attitude with these metal-heads and enjoy the pleasure of being crushed under the churning wheels of their battle music. I loved their previous album, There Will Be Violence (I can still hear the pummeling chorus of the title track in my head when I write those words), and I was ready for more when it finally hit iTunes. With Death Metal it’s hard to decipher stand out tracks at first. It takes an educated (or desensitized) ear to listen for the best riffs. After the first few listens I kept discovering them…and discovering them until I realized that every song was a series of the most exciting explosions I’d ever heard. There are no stand out tracks. This has become one of my favorite albums that I mostly keep to myself, and it’s proof that not all Deathcore sucks.
The Contortionist takes the gold medal for jumping off the tallest career cliff ever…and walking away unscathed. At least mostly unscathed. After Exoplanet’s extraterrestrial magnificence they were safer taking the low road and writing a clone with a few twists. Historically, bands get sawed in half when they change as much as these guys did (look no further than In Flames). But the progressive sophomore cool-off album, Intrinsic can still hold its head up high. The album is practically a study of progression, and I can’t help but think these boys planned it all along. It takes patience. Give it a little time and Intrinsic will grow on you. Only then do you notice the undercurrents of genius in the music feeding those roots.
One of the most underrated bands in metalcore? Maybe. After their magnificent previous album Haunt What’s Left hit the scene, I became a loyal fan of their near flawless, energizing beats. I didn’t think anything could overpower Haunt, and while I’m still not sure which I like more, The Dead Years is undeniably a step forward for this band. Haunt What’s Left was a bundle of melodic metal joy. But The Dead Years is heavier, meaner, more experimental, more emotional and catchier than anything before. They took risks here. It shows. So most impressive of all is the fact that the risks paid off. Their other albums were solid and enjoyable; The Dead Years is…brilliant. This is better than August Burns Red and Parkway Drive. It’s better than As I Lay Dying. Hell, ToTA is the best metalcore band in the pantheon right now.
As fun as it would be to throw an underrated band into the number 1 slot, I have to be real…when the dust clears, no one can reckon with Between the Buried and Me. This album didn’t come as a surprise at all. After the fabulous part one EP of the Parallax series everyone who listened to it knew what was coming (give or take a few extra experiments). Do yourself a favor and listen to this album in its entirety as it was meant to be. If you have even more time start with Parallax I and flow through to “Goodbye to Everything.”