In reference to this post's title, I've noticed, as I've continually trolled for new listening material, that I've encountered a number of records that I really wish I'd heard last year. My end-of-year list would have been far stronger for their inclusion. Some, like Verinen Saagat by Valtyr, got their moments of attention early this year before there were enough 2012 albums out for me to shift to exclusively reviewing those. Not long ago, though, I encountered possibly the most glaring example yet of an album I deeply wish I'd heard in time to include it on last year's list.
In April of last year, the Canadian prog/tech death metal outfit Beyond Creation released their full-length debut The Aura. This record is, without exception, the best death metal release I've heard from the past two years. It's powerful and intense, it features dynamic and inventive shifts in tone and tempo that are more fluid and effective than any I've heard in any death metal album I can think of, and it has the single greatest use of bass I have ever encountered in any extreme metal release of any kind. In short, this album is insanely, impossibly good. It would have shot to the top of my list for last year if only I'd heard it in time. Since I've stopped reviewing albums from last year, and this obviously can't make my 2012 list, I really just wanted to give the record special mention rather than allow it to slip between the cracks, because frankly it's a release I think any serious death metal fan will be richer for hearing.
The YouTube video below contains the full album.