Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top 10 Overrated Metal Albums of 2012

This post, as is always the case on this blog, is just my opinion. As such, if you see an album you really love on this list, take solace in the fact that you may well have better taste than I do. With that being said, as I've perused end-of-year lists of the best metal albums, I've seen many of the same names repeated again and again. Pallbearer, Woods of Ypres, Cattle Decapitation, and plenty of other bands whose new material I myself rated high have done quite well. Naturally, I've also seen many albums I didn't pick make repeated appearances on other lists. In many cases, these are albums I didn't hear, or albums which I liked but which didn't quite make the cut in my mind. Some, however, I have heard and I simply don't understand what about them excites so much positive attention. I said "overrated" in the title to save space, but in this post what I'll really do is list the top albums that I've seen on numerous year-end lists, but which I don't think belong anywhere near the top of the heap this year. These albums are presented in no particular order.

Les voyages de l'âme -by- Alcest
This one seems to be all over the tops of lists. I thought it was fairly pretty, but it was also a little boring and fairly forgettable. I can see why somebody might find this record somewhat appealing, but I really can't believe anybody thinks this is even close to the best record released this year.

Yellow and Green -by- Baroness
To be fair, I've never really gotten into Baroness, and it's entirely possible that I'm just missing something when it comes to their music. It is therefore no surprise that I didn't care much about this album. Even many Baroness fans seem to have issues with it, though, so it seems bizarre to me how many people have latched onto this as one of the year's top releases.

Book Burner -by- Pig Destroyer
Compared to the towering Monolith of Inhumanity, Pig Destroyer's grind effort felt like a generic and fairly mediocre offering. Yet somehow it seems to get placed right beside the former in many estimations of the year's best grind material. Sure it was aggressive, but it wasn't very interesting. Basically, it was just an okay album that has received a ton of positive attention.

All We Love We Leave Behind -by- Converge
I don't like Converge. I've never liked Converge, and while I'm willing to keep an open mind, I kind of doubt I ever will like Converge. With each new release, I see critics and reviewers pile praise on this band, and this year was no exception. I still don't see the appeal, though, and their newest record did nothing to change that.

RIITIIR -by- Enslaved
This record was decent. I even toyed with the idea of putting it in a low spot on my own list, though in the end it was well short of making the cut. It was too slow and it was not terribly metal, but it was reasonably well composed. Enslaved seem to be immune to criticism for some reason, though, because while other bands would have been decried as sellouts for producing this, Enslaved have instead been credited by many reviewers with releasing one of 2012's best albums.

Autotheism -by- The Faceless
This was another album that was perfectly decent, but nothing more. I'd heard good things about this almost as soon as it was released, and I've now seen it appear high on many lists. It's just nothing special as far as I can see, though. I mean, it doesn't annoy me or anything, but I went with a Top 40 list and I never got close to including it. In fact, I could easily have gotten to 60 or 70 before giving this serious consideration.

Whitechapel -by- Whitechapel
Ugh. I've been sick of Whitechapel since about a month after they released their debut album. I know I have a lot of metalheads on my side on this one, but there are also plenty who seem perfectly willing to accept these guys as much more than simply a mediocre deathcore band. Their new record, just like their previous ones, is extreme only in its ability to be boring and generic. Somehow, it's found its way onto several year end lists, which I largely attribute to listeners who simply don't know any better.

De Vermis Mysteriis -by- High on Fire
This one kind of pains me to include, because I actually like High on Fire quite well and I really wanted to enjoy this album. When I heard it, though, it just fell flat in my estimation. Since I can't give any concrete reasons why this release was worse than their usual fare, I may easily be in the wrong on this one. Still, it's been all over the top albums lists, and I just don't think it was that good.

A Map of All our Failures -by- My Dying Bride
Probably the best album on this list, my problem here is with just how much hype this record has received. It's a good doom album, and I can understand including it somewhere low on the deeper lists. But in a year that gave us brilliant material by Evoken, Ahab, Pallbearer, and Dopethrone (to name a few of the best) I cringe every time I hear this called the best doom album of the year.

Tragic Idol -by- Paradise Lost
If I had to pick a single word to describe this album, it would be "forgettable". I actually had to rework this list because I had totally forgotten about the album in the time between deciding to write this post and sitting down to actually do it, so I forgot to include it. I also had to look up the title two or three times, because I kept forgetting what it was called. Plenty of people liked it and remembered it fondly enough to include it on their lists of the year's best, but it made absolutely zero impression on me.


Koi No Yokan -by- Deftones
I've seen this record on enough lists of top metal albums that I feel I need to address it. It's a pretty good rock album, but that's what it is: a rock album. It doesn't really belong with these other albums, so it's not a part of the list proper. I just wanted to point out that I don't like hearing it called a top metal album, that's all.


  1. I agree with many of these, though there will be a couple of them on my Top 40 list coming up. I would probably put Neurosis's new album on a list like this myself.

  2. You've noted before that you never liked Neurosis, so that doesn't surprise me too much.

    And I'm guessing High on Fire at least will be on your list.

  3. Strongly agreed on Alcest and Whitechapel (based only on prior output, because I haven't heard the new ones and don't plan to). Very strongly and more credibly agreed on Enslaved. I think people are just afraid to say anything negative about a band that's been so consistently excellent for so long. Partially agreed on Pig Destroyer, and you know where I disagree.

  4. Also, on High on Fire: I've had that one on my iPod since it came out. It's just been sitting there, and I've listened to it a couple times, but simply don't have the drive to listen to it again. I'm not sure what to do with it. So maybe I agree with you on that too, but I'm not sure.

  5. Interesting post. Two thoughts. I tend to agree with you about Converge. They are good, but overrated. I think Jane Doe is exceptional, and I liked the previous release. But I can only take them in small doses. I don't often want to listen to them. I think it's because they are whining a lot, and I can only take so much of that. Suck it up. Re: High on Fire - when I first listened to it, had same feeling as you. Took about 4 listens, and now its one of my favorites of theirs.

  6. Great list.

    The only one I could even mount an argument about is Converge, but honestly, it wouldn't be that strong of an argument. I probably would've put it in my top 10...but that place could have easily been taken by Evoken, Satan's Wrath, Hooded Menace, or Gorod.

    As far as High on Fire goes: I agree completely and I'm glad you pointed out that it's a lesser effort.