Monday, December 10, 2012

The Top 12 albums of 2012 Numbers 3-1

The best three albums of the year.  We have made it, ladies and gentlemen.  The year 2012 in music has been a good one, jammed with great release after great release.  The last thing I want to do by picking favorites is to make some artists we have talked about here feel left out or inadequate.  It has been a difficult task to pick just 12 albums, so after the music, I'm going to write a special 'honorable mention' section to note all the artists who have crafted brilliant music that didn't quite make our top 12 list.  At any rate, these bands should feel honored.  So, without further ado, the top three albums released in 2012 are as follows:

3. Lacuna Coil-Dark Adrenaline.  We have raved about this band more than once here in the past.  This was a strong inclusion due to the impeccable vocal nature of this band.  Switching back and forth from male to female vocals like a duet can be difficult and most bands do not attempt this.  Lacuna Coil not only attempt, but deliver in spades.  The music is dark, but uplifting.  Most term them as a gothic metal group, but this band continuously pumps out high-voltage hard rock tunes that are remarkably well-produced.  Not many music embeds are available for this release, so we have included the band's official music video for Trip the Darkness.  It is incredibly catchy and has excellent riffs and keys that should make many metal fans feel right at home.  Even if you are not a metal lover, you might enjoy "Dark Adrenaline"

2. Hammock-Departure Songs.  Double albums for some reason rarely make end of year lists in general.  Hammock is a delightful exception to this unwritten rule.  This Nashville post-rock band has released several good albums, but "Departure Songs" is their best effort yet.  Stretched out melodies intertwine with atmospheric ambiance and warm textures of dreamy pop.  If you listen to only one post-rock album all year, make it "Departure Songs".  This album delivers tons of amazing melodies and even insert gorgeous pop-like vocals on some songs. Below is one such track.  If you like post-rock, you will certainly enjoy Hammock's best release to date.

1. [Insert drummroll here] Syqem-Reflections of Elephants.  No one saw this coming.  This album came as a surprise.  Progressive Metal may be hit-or-miss with many fans, but for me, this was a huge hit.  A blog I read posted about this amazing album, and from the first couple riffs and vocal lines I was hooked.  Mostly clean vocals are the highlight of this disc, but it includes so much more than good vocals.  Atmospheric harmonies sneak around behind a tapestry of humongous metal riffs and flourishes of electronic sounds that are not based on samples.  This band may be somewhat similar to Deadlock, but without the typical metal screaming.  "Reflections of Elephants" is an exceedingly fun listen and is definitely worthy of its number one ranking.  Check out the track below, which provides just a glimpse of the jaw-dropping music on display.

The year 2012 also marked plenty of other excellent albums and EPs by various artists.  In no particular order, here they are:
Be'lakor, Epica, Tamaryn, The Luna Sequence, I Will Never be the Same, Ulrich Schnauss & Mark Peters, Delain, 2:54, Monochromie, Bloody Knives, Barren Earth, Drowner, The Agonist, Devin Townsend Project, Joy Wants Eternity, Craft Spells, Inner Trip, Airiel, Gojira, Xandria, Abigail, Causemos, Arundel, Asidefromaday, Beliefs, Cloud, Decortica, Dysrhytmia, Endless Melancholy, FPRF, Glass Vaults, Handlingnoise, Hans Zimmer, Hazy Mountains, Helios, Insomnium, Jack Trammell, Kevin Hufnagel, the Mark Lanegan Band, Mile End, Black Marble, Matchbox Twenty, Mist Glider, Moonshine Blues, Nick Efremov, A Place of Owls, Pulsar Wind Nebula, SkyPilot, Spc-Eco, Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, & Reinhold Heil, the Townhouses.

Thank you so much for reading and enjoy these wonderful selections!

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