It’s time for list #6! It’s time for my TOP 30 Metal CD’s of this year. This one took some serious thought as to where to rank everyone. It was another banner year for metal and it’s always hard to narrow it down to a mere 30 records. I could easily do a Top 50.
These are all records that you can hear played on my radio show, Auditory Riot Radio, every Wednesday from 7-10 pm EST on Mad World Radio Networks.
There’s one more list after this and then it’s head long into the new year!
30) The One Hundred – Chaos and Bliss
This English bands kicks us off with their volatile mix of crushing metal, electronica, and Grime rap. Incredibly catchy while remaining super heavy, this band strikes the perfect balance.
29) Satan Takes A Holiday – Aliens
Imagine if the White Stripes had actual talent and played in a metal band…it’d sound something like this but not nearly as cool.
28) Tetrarch – Freak
Mixing a combination of clean and shouted vocals over the brilliant guitar playing of guitarist Diamond Rowe, who this year had the honor of becoming the very first African American female lead guitarist to be featured in a major guitar publication. This band is poised to become a major player in the metal world.
27) The Unguided – And The Battle Royale
The Unguided are back with more of their trademark Melodic death stylings. This record is sure to please fans of bands like Soilwork, In Flames, The Haunted, etc.
26) Body Count – Bloodlust
Ice T has always been one of my favorite rappers but he’s also developed into an incredibly forceful metal vocalist, as well. Now on their sixth record, the band gets tighter and more aggressive with each. This record features a particularly vicious cover of “Raining Blood/Postmortem” from Slayer.
25) Liv Sin – Follow Me
Singer Liv Sin comes in here with the debut from her new band, a record that is far heavier than her previous projects and really shows that she’s got the ability to carry even the heaviest of tunes. On songs like “Godless Utopia” and “Let Me Out”, she gives Rob Halford a run for his money.
24) Cavalera Conspiracy – Psychosis
Definitely the strongest outing yet from Max, who here is once again paired with brother Igor, on drums. Ranging from all out thrash, to doom, and even with some tribal and industrial touches, This album could easily serve as the proper follow-up to the Roots album.
23) Galactic Cowboys – Longs Way Back To The Moon
The band returns after a long hiatus with a record that should serve a proper introduction for people that did not know them before…as well as one that will please long time fans. Layering heavy grooves, trippy guitar lines, and intense vocals together to create soundscapes are the trademark of this band and they do it as well as any band in the world. Like King’s X, they’re a band that is grossly underrated and should be far more popular.
22) Accept – The Rise of Chaos
Accept has built their name and brand on delivering high power metal records that are both melodic and heavy. They come in here with a record that should please long time fans and even win them some new ones. Songs like the title track, “Koolaid” and “Carry The Weight” are some of the best material the band has delivered yet.
21) Helker – Firesoul
With a sound that I think most people are going to compare to Dio, this band from Argentina comes in here with a solid recording of tunes that should please any metal fan. And yes, while the Dio comparison is fair, they also add their own touches to the style.
20) Fozzy – Judas
Is there anything that Chris Jericho can’t do? Wrestler, Author, Actor, Metal Singer, Radio host, the guy is all over the place. It’s awesome to see how far he’s come on the singing side of things since the first CD. Easily the catchiest set of tunes yet from the band, this is a CD that is great for just rocking out without having to get too serious with the content.
19) Demon Hunter – Outlive
Just when you think this band can’t get any better, they come along with a record that is even better than the previous one. Mixing more clean vocals with stunning guitar work, this is a record that showcases exactly why people love this band so much.
18) Within Silence – Return From The Shadows
Playing Power metal of the highest order, this band returns with their newest release, a sweeping, epic sounding record that delivers plenty of thrills along with positive, uplifting messages.
17) The Mantle – The Mantle
Featuring Max Gorelick, the son of Kenny G, on guitar here, this outfit deliver a highly technical yet still super melodic, instrumental style record. It’s a smashing debut for them and should establish them as a force in the metal world. I’m super impressed by this record and can’t wait to hear more from them in the near future.
16) Serenity – Lionheart
The second band from the Ulterium Records label (Within Silence being the other), this is a giant sized concept record based on the historical records from the life of Richard The Lionheart. This band can tell a hell of a story and really put extra effort in to make sure their subject matter is extremely well researched, right down to the detail in the outfits used for videos.
15) NEED – Hegaiamas (A Song For Freedom)
I had the pleasure of seeing this Greek based Progressive metal band open for Evergrey earlier this year and they were nearly flawless in their delivery. This is a genius record that packs a punch. With longer songs, including the title track, which closes the record, clocking in at 22 minutes. If you dig Evergrey, you’ll love this band.
14) Sikth – The Future In Whose Eyes
Playing a genre of metal that I generally find very little to like about, this band manages to create a sound that doesn’t come off as artsy fartsy. It’s a highly likable record with some monster grooves and solid vocals.
13) Dr. Dementia – Shocker
This record was submitted later in the year so I didn’t get nearly as much time with it as others on this list. More time with it would have resulted in a much higher ranking as this is a very well written concept record in the style of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond. Telling the terrifying tale of Doctor Dementia, which is set during the late 19th Century in a village in Eastern Europe. The band is already working on writing Part II to this record.
12) DED – Mis-An-Thrope
If any band on this list is poised to break out next year, it’s this band. With a sound that mixed the best elements of Korn and Slipnot, to create a deadlier hybrid all their own. This is a no holds barred style record that is one of my favorite ones to crank up in the car.
11) Emil Bulls – Kill Your Demons
This German band returns with their newest record. It’s yet another record that mixes highly melodic vocals with hooks for days, layered over propulsive rhythms that will make you want to jump up and break shit! One of my favorite metal bands currently going. One listen to this masterpiece will make you a fan for life!
10) Ember Falls – Welcome To Ember Falls
This record has all the elements that any metal fan loves about the genre: raging guitars, tons of gang style vocals, and razor sharp production. This is the bands debut record and leaves you with the impression that this is just the beginning for these guys.
9) Hulkoff – Kven
The mighty Hulkoff returns with his new record, a raging mix of power metal, thrash, and industrial elements. Guaranteed to get the blood surging and your fist pumping, it’s a collection of tunes written for the warrior in us all. One of those records you just have to experience to understand how good it really is.
8) Kreator – Gods of Violence
35 years into their career, this band is still one of the most consistent in the business and only seems to be getting better. Sounding as fresh as they’ve ever sounded, this record is is everything you expect from them and more. They’ve also added extra melody this time around to make the vocal parts even better.
7) Threshold – Legends of The Shires
Progressive metal of the highest order. Threshold have written a record for the ages on this one. It’s a 14 song, double CD that sees the return of vocalist Glynn Morgan, his first CD with the band since 1994. Any fan of music that isn’t in awe of this record is quite simply not a fan of good music.
6) Seven Spires – Solveig
Sounding like the musical lovechild of Savatage and Cradle of Filth, this band has created an unholy cacophony that takes the listener on the ultimate musical journey. Vocalist Adrienne Cowan unleashes her voice as a weapon of mass destruction over the group’s precise and deadly musical attack. It’s truly a wonder to behold.
5) CyHra – Letters To Myself
Combining the guitar attack of Jespar Strombland (Ex In Flames) with the outstanding vocals of Jake E. (Ex Amaranthe), you get the debut of this fabulous new band. It’s Pop Music for Metalheads or Metal For Pop Fans, whatever you prefer. Hopelessly singable tunes with hooks for days, all smothered with a extra large helping of heaviness that will have the metal fans banging their along with it. It’s a hell of a start and I can’t wait to see what is next for them
4) Downfall 2012 – Everyman For Himself
Bombastic, that is the word this CD will bring to mind. This Texas trio has written the ultimate FUCK YOU record. It’s an unforgiving slab of tunes that have the subtleness of a sledgehammer to the head. These guys aren’t here to win no fashion show, they just want to kick your ass and drink beer…and I’m pretty sure they’re out of beer…
3) Kyle Morrison – Pianometal
It takes a lot of skill and vision in today’s musical market to pretty much create your own subgenre, without it just being garbage music. Morrison has created what he’s coined as ‘Pianometal’, a hybrid mix of classical music, death metal, and instrumental shred. It’s part Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Part Fleshgod Apocalypse, and part Malmsteen all done up in a blast the eyebrows off your face way. Trust me, you won’t hear anything else like it out there.
2) Sparanza – Announcing The End
It only took one listen to this record to know it was going to be a contender for record of the year. Reminding one of the classic Sentenced stuff with lots of modern touches and hopelessly catchy songs that will be stuck in your head long after the record ends. Songs like “Damnation” and especially “Breathe In The Fire” are just pure metal perfection. Fans of Volbeat will also probably dig this.
1) Zeal & Ardor – Devil Is Fine
Oh, what to say about this masterpiece. It took me a bit of time to get to this one but once I did, Holy shit! It’s an absolutely genius concept taking old ‘negro’ spirituals and combining it with black metal to create a record that is just terrifying at times. It’s the musical equivalent of a horror movie about Slaves that choose to pledge their allegiance to Satan instead of God. Seriously, I hope someone turns this into a movie. It would be absolutely terrifying in the best kind of way. Easily the most unique and original record this year, regardless of genre, it’s a record that you have to hear to even believe. I’m really at a loss for the proper way to describe how great it is. Just get the damn thing and listen.