As I've previously stated, 2012 has been a monumental year for metal, and I listened to far more new material this year than I usually do. This is the first day of my Top 40 list, all of which are good enough to have had a shot at making my Top 10 list from last year. Today I present albums 31-40.
40. Incurso -by- Spawn of Possession
This Swedish tech-death crew released an excellent slab of brutality this year. Incurso shows some subtlety and variety in just the right places, but it never wanders too far off its crushing death metal course.
Another Swedish death metal release, Aeons Black came out less than a month ago. Aggressively anti-religious, the style here is just straight up, no frills death metal. It's not the most unique or inventive release, but it's meaty and heavy and just very good all around.
I'm typically not a big fan of Meshuggah. Their dis-harmonic, alien sound has just never appealed to me. With Koloss, the band took on a more organic sound that I found far more listenable. Many Meshuggah fans seems to have reacted negatively to this change, but personally I found this record easier to enjoy than any of their previous material.
As they have matured, Cannibal Corpse have grown increasingly technical and precise. I find the band's more recent output to be generally better than their crudely performed early albums, and Torture continued that trend. In that way, this was one of many very strong releases from veteran death metal acts over these past couple of years.
When I first heard this bizarre avant-garde electonic/industrial metal record, I really didn't know what to think about it. To be honest, I'm still not totally sure. What I do know is that it left a very big impression. I keep coming back to it and enjoying it long after I've forgotten most of the albums I initially heard at around the same time.
A Russian tribal metal band, Tenochtitlan's newest album is probably the band's strongest release to date. The blend of uniquely Russian flavor (which is generally quite different than the feel of other European groups) with traditional instrumentation from the old Native American empires and electronic programming to fill in the gaps creates an unusual and very appealing sound.
A British death-doom release, this is one of those records that isn't terribly unique but is very good. It's just well performed, powerful, and generally quite enjoyable. Basically, if you like doomy death metal, there's no reason you wouldn't like this.
Goatwhore have become one of the more consistently strong bands in extreme metal over the past decade. Their brand of blackened death metal brings tons of hostility and aggression to the music without a feeling of being tied too tightly to any one sub-genre. This may well be their best album to date.
I only recently heard this while reviewing it for Full Metal Attorney. This is a folky atmospheric black metal release from Romania. It's easy for this type of music to get lost in its wanderings and turn into a bunch of dull pattering, but this stays on track well enough to keep listener interest. It's beautifully crafted and should be very appealing to anybody who likes subtle delicacy in their metal.
A powerful pagan metal release, this was for a time the best that general sphere had to offer this year. It's got a lot of grit and force behind it, but it's also incredibly catchy. I'm still a little torn as to whether "pagan metal" is really the right label for this, but I don't want to dive into that right now.