Thus far, I would say that 2012 has been a good year for Metal, but not particularly spectacular as yet. Certainly there have been some solid releases, as well as some disappointments. Since it is already halfway, I am pretty sure that a few of the albums here will make the year end list. Does my list look like I would have predicted? Nope – not even close. I definitely expected Manowar to be here, probably another Power Metal album or two (Firewind perhaps), maybe long-time favorite Prong, as well as possibly Eluveitie’s Helvetios. As I have it, though, with 5 albums, there is Power, Progressive, Thrash, Folk and Death-ish.
Honorable Mention: Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Pinata. A great improvement over their previous work, Pandora’s Pinata brings back some of the freshness of the band’s debut.
5. Overkill – The Electric Age. I am a looooong time fan of Blitz, DD and the Wrecking Crew. The Electric Age is simply a great thrash album.
4. Lanfear – This Harmonic Consonance. This is a fresh (yet familiar) take on Progressive Metal. The band has been around a while, but are new to me. I am still finding this one rewarding and can’t wait to see them at ProgPower in a couple of months.
3. Moonspell – Alpha Noir. Although I appreciated Moonspell’s previous album, Night Eternal, when Rob asked me if I wanted to review this one, I certainly didn’t think it was going to be one of my favorites. Their Dark Metal suits me.
2. Pharaoh – Bury the Light. I was absolutely looking forward to this album, and it did not disappoint. Complex, powerful, well-written and executed, it almost could swap places with #1 depending on my mood. I continue to hope for a Pharaoh tour.
1. Vintersorg – Orkan. This is the biggest surprise on my list. I definitely did not see it coming and offered to do a review on a whim. Turns out to be my top album of this half. Vintersorg have impressed.
So what does the 2nd half of 2012 have in store? A few albums I am looking forward to are Testament’s Dark Roots of Earth, Ensiferum’s Unsung Heroes, Wintersun’s Time I, Devin Townsend’s Epicloud, Grave Digger’s Clash of the Gods, Korpiklaani’s Manala, and Threshold’s March of Progress. I am sure there will be others, and I hope at least one of them becomes that “spectacular” album of the year.
I hear the sound in a METAL way.