Harley's Top 11 of '12

This is my last post for TDM and I have to say I have enjoyed blogging here.  Many thanks to Rob for taking me on and to Scott for his support through the year.  Next year I will be contributing to We Love Metal, rather than starting my own blog at this point.  “Real life” just has too much going on, from finishing up my master’s degree, a 10 week intensive military school, another 2 week National Security course, helping run a photography business, and a move next summer to who-knows-where with a new job to learn.

I have been absent lately from here due to demanding classes in school, last minute trips for work, and spending 3 weeks in October and November supporting the response to Hurricane Sandy in NY & NJ.  Plus a quick vacation in October.  It’s been a little crazy and Metal blogging has taken a back seat.

All that said, the reason for this post is to share with you my top albums for 2012, as well as my song and show of the year.  It was really a hit or miss year, with few hits I think.  It is impossible to predict if any of these will be long-term solid albums, ones I go back to years from now and stand the test of time, but there may be a handful of candidates.  My list consists entirely of veteran bands, averaging over 8 full length album releases over their careers, so no one-hit wonders here.

Some albums that were close, but didn’t quite make it to my list are Varg’s Guten Tag, Kreator’s Phantom Antichrist, Sabaton’s Carolus Rex, At Vance’s Facing Your Enemy, Rush’s Clockwork Angels, and Diablo Swing Orchestra’s Pandora’s Pinata.  Here we go…..

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Harley’s Top Albums For The First Half of 2012

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 NoirAlthough 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.

-Harley

Devil’s Review: Pharaoh – Bury the Light

Pharaoh came to my attention a few years ago with the release of their previous album Be Gone, a superior effort in the metal world.  I was definitely drawn to and intrigued by their unique brand of American power metal and shortly thereafter added their two prior releases to my collection.  They are not a typical power metal band, and have a distinct sound, through both their songwriting and their album production.  Here Pharaoh proves to be the gold-standard in power metal, the Philly band taking their place beside some of the other all-time great American power metal bands like Iced Earth, Manowar, Nevermore (RIP), Jag Panzer (RIP), Circle II Circle, and Manilla Road.

Continue reading

Devil's Review: Pharaoh – Bury the Light

Pharaoh came to my attention a few years ago with the release of their previous album Be Gone, a superior effort in the metal world.  I was definitely drawn to and intrigued by their unique brand of American power metal and shortly thereafter added their two prior releases to my collection.  They are not a typical power metal band, and have a distinct sound, through both their songwriting and their album production.  Here Pharaoh proves to be the gold-standard in power metal, the Philly band taking their place beside some of the other all-time great American power metal bands like Iced Earth, Manowar, Nevermore (RIP), Jag Panzer (RIP), Circle II Circle, and Manilla Road.

Continue reading