If you missed Part 1 of “The Metal Monday Top 12 of ’12” here it is. All caught up? Good because we’re rolling on with Part 2! Are ya ready? Great! Here we go:
This album just recently seeped back into my consciousness and with good reason: It’s fucking awesome. It’s been a tumultuous year in the LOG camp with that little thing called a manslaughter charge hanging over Randy Blythe’s head. Despite that and the upcoming trial set or 2013, Lamb Of God delivered their latest, most diverse, and possibly heaviest album in Resolution. Released in January, Resolution kicked all kinds of metal ass with tracks like “Desolation”, “Ghost Walking”, and “The Number Six” which really showed off Blythe’s vocal range.
The best kept secret of 2012 was the release of Old Man Gloom’s latest, No. Just as brutal as you would expect from a band featuring members of Isis, Converge, and Cave In, Old Man Gloom exploded back onto the scene with a rare mini US East Coast tour where they were selling the vinyl and cassette versions of NO a full month before the album was released in digital and CD versions. More stripped down than previous releases but just as heavy, NO took just 9 tracks to get its point across. There were the more immediate tracks like the Newton-led “To Carry The Flame” or Scofield’s intense “The Forking Path” while others like “Rats” or “Common Species” took listeners on aural journeys towards a brutal destination.
The apocalypse + Killing Joke= A match made in hell. MMXII, the second album to feature the reunited OG members of Killing Joke, is a slow burn of a record that while not as immediate as Absolute Dissent is just as good if not greater. From the ominous opening in “Pole Shift” through to the straight up industrial sized “Rapture” or the Pandemonium-style techno romp of “Trance”, Killing Joke once again proved that age only makes this band better.
A blistering return to form, Carved Into Stone is Prong incarnate through and through. Perhaps Tommy Victor’s most compelling Prong record to date and featuring Tony Campos (Static X, Ministry) and Alexei Rodriguez in the line up, Carved Into Stone covered everything that has made the band and still went beyond. Tackling some more straight up hard rock by way of Sabbath with the title track and then some of the most melodic with “Path Of Least Resistance” on one end and then delivering some of the best Prong concoctions with “Reinvestigate” and “Eternal Heat” easily made carved Into Stone’s one of the best metal releases of 2012.
Easily one of the most anticipated metal releases of 2012, French metallers Gojira delivered on all fronts. Their first for Roadrunner Records, L’Enfant Sauvage embodied all things Gojira and was infinitely more vicious than 2008’s The Way Of All Flesh which says a lot. The six and a half minute opener “Explosia” easily set the tone of various mood and time changes that would permeate throughout L’Enfant… The complex songwriting is easily some of the best of Gojira’s career as proven by songs like “The Gift Of Guilt”, “Born In Winter” and especially the visceral “Mouth Of Kala”.
If you doubt this one taking the top spot for my list then I implore you to listen to “Grace”, “More!” or “Libernation”. Proving that metal doesn’t always have to be doom and gloom, Epicloud is Devin Townsend at his most unfiltered but the album is almost more solid than any of the themed records that preceded it. Think of it as “Happy Metal”. For every “Grace” or “More!” there’s a song like “Where We Belong” or “Save Our Now” to balance it out making Epicloud not only one of the best metal records of 2012 but also one of the best records of 2012.