Guided by the moon as always, this year's Festival Of Lights comes early. Nevertheless, let me add my own highly subjective list of this year's Best Of The Best. Well, 2012 turned out to be quite an extraordinary year:
So, in January soul journeying became a genuinely wonderful affair due to ALCEST, when ABIGAIL WILLIAMS unveiled their true potential. It would be difficult to choose between the two, hence the “Album Of The Month” thing goes to the unstoppable Virginians, LAMB OF GOD, and their resolute frontman Randy Blythe. The rest of the month was filled with music by BIOHAZARD, AVATAR, ABORTED, FARSOT, DODECAHEDRON, AZAGHAL, LIBERTEER, SUICIDAL ANGELS and NOTHNEGAL. Monthly visuals (videos) were provided by MORBID ANGEL, CANNABIS CORPSE, SOLSTAFIR, MASTODON, LACUNA COIL, Norway's SHINING, DEATH WOLF, BORN OF OSIRIS, CITY OF FIRE, BRUTAL TRUTH, CYPHER SYSTEM, SUIDAKRA, TERROR and MISERATION.
After long and careful consideration, I’ve decided to award February to CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, with GOATWHORE and TERRORIZER following close on their heels. Softer tunes were in February supplied by DRUDKH, CHRISTIAN MISTRESS, LES DISCRETS, WOODS OF YPRESS, ORANGE GOBLIN, SOEN, PRIMAL ROCK REBELLION, CHIMP SPANNER, SWALLOW THE SUN and THERAPY? and the harsher ones by ASPHYX, NAPALM DEATH, PSYCROPTIC, CALIBAN, DESASTER, DAWN OF ASHES and HELLSAW. February's videos came courtesy DEICIDE, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, BENIGHTED, EMMURE, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, UNEARTH, DARK TRANQUILLITY, PUSCIFER, DARKEST ERA and FALLSTAF.
Well, closely contested March was eventually won by SECRETS OF THE MOON, with LORD MANTIS second and 3 INCHES OF BLOOD and ADRENALINE MOB getting there third. The four giants, OVERKILL, CANNIBAL CORPSE, SOULFLY and MESHUGGAH put forth their contributions to their respective genres, as have SHINEDOWN, EVERY TIME I DIE, AURA NOIR, BLACK SHEEP WALL, FESTER, SIGH, NAGLFAR, MENCEA, GOD FORBID, SPAWN OF POSSESION, IMPENDING DOOM, BORKNAGAR, MPIRE OF EVIL and of course IF THESE TREES COULD TALK, OSI and HORISONT. The picture elements came from FINAL DARKNESS, CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED, JUNGLE ROT, AUTOPSY, THE HUMAN ABSTRACT, LOCK UP and ROSVO.
April was HIGH ON FIRE's as far as I’m concerned. JEFF LOOMIS loomed high, as have PARADISE LOST, SAINT VITUS, THE WRECHED END, WODENSTHRONE and JOB FOR A COWBOY. Next came 16, MUNICIPAL WASTE, INVERLOCH, CANCER BATS, DEMON HUNTER, BEYOND TERROR BEYOND GRACE, EXUMER, UNLEASHED and REVERENCE. Monthly respite was provided by EARTHEN GRAVE, BEFORE THE DAWN, ACCEPT and CASTLE. Moving pictures belonged to SUICIDE SILENCE, THE ATLAS MOTH, TOMBS, SKELETONWITCH, DECAPITATED, KATAKLYSM and FURYON.
In May, MARDUK nearly made some sort of a believer out of me, heh. Next, I listened to HORSEBACK, ROYAL THUNDER and HURT a lot, then to CATTLE DECAPITATION, MUTILATION RITES, SIX FEET UNDER, CARACH ANGREN, GRAND MAGUS and ALLEGAEON. The rest of the month was made up of tunes from FIREWIND, THE FALLEN DIVINE, SHADOWS FALL, and ANGELUS APATRIDA. And finally, May was also the month the word “epic” was redefined by ENGEL. Video clips this time spotlighted NEARA and CHILDREN OF BODOM.
In June, I was so! proud of WHITECHAPEL. I know, at my age I should go for the intelligence of IHSAHN, the meticulousness of FEAR FACTORY, the spirituality of GOJIRA, for the bearing of KREATOR or the tenacity of DYING FETUS but no, an occasional breakdown does it just fine for me, thank you very much. I have also enjoyed music provided by BOSSE-DE-NAGE, AGALLOCH, BLACKLODGE and AHAB, and listened to HELLYEAH, TREPALIUM, MNEMIC, GOTTHARD, PURIFIED IN BLOOD, OLD MAN GLOOM, MY RUIN, PUTERAEON, DAWN OF DEMISE, BILOCATE and BE'LAKOR. It should be also pointed out that in June the world celebrated the re-awakening of SETH. Monthly videos came courtesy DJERV, IMPENDING DOOM, IN SOLITUDE, SLAVES ON DOPE, RUINED SOUL and XEROSUN.
Letting us bite our fingernails in anticipation until the last days of the month, NACHTMYSTIUM nevertheless win July. It was between them and BARONESS whom I wish quick and complete recovery from any and all injury sustained in that nasty traffic accident that has befallen them barely a month after the release of their excellent album. In July, I also listened to TESTAMENT, NILE, P.O.D., CHROME WAVES, THE HOWLING WIND, A FORREST FULL OF STARS, EVOKEN, DEW-SCENTED, BURY TOMORROW, TANKARD, KING OF ASGARD, TITANS EVE and SLIPKNOT. I watched videos unleashed by our own THE FADING, SINTAX and HAMMERCULT and those of DARKEST HOUR, THE ROTTED, THIS IS HELL, DEMON LUNG and THE INIQUITY DESCENT.
I’ve been away for most of August, enjoying live performances by many of already mentioned bands and those from KORN, MACHINE HEAD, HATEBREED, PAIN, AMON AMARTH, SODOM, SEPTICFLESH, HELL, MADBALL, MILKING THE GOAT MACHINE and HATESPHERE (and many, many others). But when reconnected, with all due respect to KATATONIA, GRAVE, KRALLICE and LOCRIAN, I have enjoyed KHONSU's album most. Additional fun was provided by GYPSYHAWK, IN THIS MOMENT, FOZZY, TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION, ALL HAIL THE YETI, BONAFIDE and SVÖLK. ZATOKREV and OVER YOUR THRESHOLD balanced things out and BATTLECROSS delivered the moving pictures.
September goes wholeheartedly to BLUT AUS NORD, though the “Handsomest Band On The Planet” award must be granted to DOWN, and DEVIN TOWNSEND & Co. must receive the “Most Positive & Romantic Album” prize. ENSLAVED, THE CASUALTIES, VISION OF DISORDER and AS I LAY DYING pulled out their big guns, and we delighted in BEASTWARS', KHORS', RIVAL SONS', ORCHID's, WITCHCRAFT's, KONTINUUM's and GLOWSUN's new albums. In September, you sure liked POSTHUM, as have I, and we were guided toward the light by MURDER CONSTRUCT, BEHEXEN, NETTLE CARRIER, WINTERFYLLETH, SERPENTINE PATH, ILLDISPOSED, UNDERCROFT, BY THE PATIENT and KRYPTOS. In September, REVOCATION felt especially generous, and I discovered a new genre, courtesy BEYOND ALL RECOGNITION. Video clips were released by ABSU, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, EVILE and ARCH ENEMY.
Though I was completely unaware of it at the time, it turned out ANAAL NATHRAKH did it again and better in October, when giant albums were put forth by YAKUZA, CONVERGE, PIG DESTROYER, NEUROSIS, PARKWAY DRIVE and INDESINENCE. Fine albums were released by MY DYING BRIDE, THE SWORD, GRAVEYARD, BISON B.C., BETWEEN THE BURIED AN ME, GOD SEED, RAGNAROK, SYLOSIS, ATRIARCH, STONE SOUR, WINTERSUN, DAWNFALL OF GAIA, WAR FROM A HARLOTS MOUTH, A LIFE ONCE LOST, WEAPON, RAGE NUCLÉAIRE, EARLY GRAVES, ANTROPOMORPHIA and ZODIAC. Monthly benevolence came courtesy DEAD BEYOND BURIED. Monthly videos were provided by RED FANG, INSOMNIUM and (an especially disgusting one) by RWAKE.
Well, December might yet be filled with wonderful tunes… but November goes to DEFTONES. Quite amazing tones were presented by SOUNDGARDEN, HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS, BELL WITCH and AMENRA as well. In November, this blog celebrated accomplishments by DEATH and DESTRUCTION and was blitzkrieged by AEON, GRAND SUPREME BLOOD COURT, HELL MILITIA and DEVOLVED. Then I listened to ALTERNATIVE 4, HORSEBACK & LOCRIAN, SONNE ADAM, TROUBLED HORSE, MAMMOTH MAMMOTH, FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING, DESTINY and eventually to NINE COVENS and NIDINGR. Generosity in November came by way of MEDICATED, and charity via Century Media and Relapse Records.
All in all, 2012 was and still is quite an amazing year, music-wise. Now, you make 2013 an even better one, and I will do my best to spread the word. Yours truly :-)