Perhaps more so than the last handful of years in metal music, 2012 has been pretty crazy, especially when considering the density of phenomenal albums released so far. In typical music fashion, there have been blockbusters, surprises, let downs, newcomers, and game-changers. Thankfully, most of the surprises (for me anyway) have been good ones. Many of the albums and bands covered below have already been featured in Metal Monday this year—if you’re following along, then you’ll be familiar with most of these acts already.
Both Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus released strong albums that largely feature more of the same from the two bands. Fear Factory‘s follow-up to Mechanize further cements their comeback, of sorts, and shows that they’re still the same old Fear Factory. Shadows Fall dropped an album that doesn’t particularly change their mold either, but is good none-the less. The real surprise from a more high-profile act was High On Fire, whose De Vermis Mysteriis was a huge step up from their last album, Snakes For The Divine. Job For A Cowboy‘s Demonocracy also featured more of the same, but a bit better this time around (not surprising, given the quality of the Gloom EP from a few months prior).
If you’re looking for the best of the best from metal 2012, it’s a pretty hefty list as there have been a bunch of complete blockbusters. Meshuggah, Ihsahn, Beneath The Massacre, Every Time I Die, and Royal Thunder have all released incredibly strong albums. However, it’s possible that the top two albums of 2012 aren’t quite released yet: Gojira‘s L’enfant Sauvage and Baroness‘ Yellow & Green (though, you could argue that Baroness’ album is barely even metal). To make this list a “top ten so far,” I’ll throw in Cattle Decapitation, High On Fire and Alcest (barely released in 2012, I know) and call it a day.
The aforementioned Royal Thunder’s CVI is a fantastic album, and coincidentally their first full-length record, which makes them a somewhat obvious choice for “best newcomer” of 2012 so far. Thanks to an interview with guitarist Josh Weaver and a recent live performance, I can attest that this band is the real deal and here for the long haul. Before 2012 is over, there will be a lot more people who know about Royal Thunder, and rightfully so. After all, OurStage isn’t the only publication showing them love.
Of course, we all know the year is only half over, so what can we expect from the rest of 2012? Well, in terms of bands due to have releases out, here are some of the most notable: The Contortionist, Zonaria, Om, Testament, Ensiferum, Katatonia, Sybreed, Dethklok, The Sword, and, potentially, Deftones. If you ask me, that’s a pretty great list of releases to be excited for. Will any of them steal the crown from the current rulers Gojira and Baroness? Hard to say, but I’ll be sure to tell you if they do.
What are you most stoked for in 2012?