Top Albums of 2012

Alternative Rock
Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour
Big Wreck – Albatross
Bloc Party – Four
Bob Mould – Silver Age
Jack White – Blunderbuss
Muse – The 4th Dimension
the Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania
Soundgarden – King Animal

Electro/Electronica
Air – Le Voyage dans la Lune
Azure Ray – As Above, So Below
Grimes – Visions
Trifonic – Ninth Wave

Folk/Folk Rock
Andrew Bird – Break it Yourself
Bahamas – Barchords
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Here
Evening Hymns – Spectral Dusk
Glen Hansard – Rhythm and Repose
Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg
Jason Collett – Reckon
John K. Samson – Provincial
Langhorne Slim & the Law – The Way We Move
Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
the Tallest Man on Earth – There’s No Leaving Now
the Wooden Sky – Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun

Indie Rock
Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
Father John Misty – Fear Fun
Joel Plaskett Emergency – Scrappy Happiness
The Shins – Port of Morrow
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Yukon Blonde – Tiger Talk

Metal
As I Lay Dying – Awakened
Baroness – Yellow & Green
Between the Buried and Me – the Parallax II: Future Sequence
the Contortionist – Intrinsic
Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
Periphery – Periphery II: This Time it’s Personal
Lamb of God – Resolution
Meshuggah – Koloss
the Safety Fire – Grind the Ocean
Torche – Harmonicraft
Veil of Maya – Eclipse

Pop
Mumford & Sons – Babel
Neon Trees – Picture Show
the Salads – Music Every Day
St. Lucia – St. Lucia EP
Tenacious D – Rise of the Fenix

Progressive
Art By Numbers – Reticence: The Musical
Chimp Spanner – All Roads Lead Here
David Maxim Micic – Bilo 2.0
the Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud
Intervals – In Time
Jeff Loomis – Plains of Oblivion
the Mars Volta – Noctourniquet
Rush – Clockwork Angels
Sithu Aye – Isles EP & Invent the Universe
T.R.A.M. – Lingua Franca

Punk
Cancer Bats – Dead Set on Living
Circa Survive – Violent Waves
Every Time I Die – Ex Lives
the Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
Japandroids – Celebration Rock

Rap/Hip Hop
Kendrick Lamar – good kid, M.A.A.D. city
Moka Only – Airport 6
Nas – Life is Good

Soul/RnB
Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

My Top 10

1. Father John Misty – Fear Fun
2. Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour
3. Periphery – Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal!
4. the Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
5. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
6. Bloc Party – Four
7. Sithu Aye – Isles EP
8. Big Wreck – Albatross
9. Meshuggah – Koloss
10. Jason Collett – Reckon

Bands that are ‘Metal as Fuck’

So I’m listening to Revocation right now and I was like “Holy shit this is fucking metal.”  (Made ever more apparent by the fact that I’ve been listening almost exclusively to folk music for the past three weeks.)  If anything is ‘Metal as Fuck’ THIS is.  Then I was like, “What other bands are ‘Metal as Fuck’?” This could be an interesting point of discussion, one that may or may not be related to the origin of species.  A subject that requires great insight and delicate analysis into the realm of ‘Metality’, and thus, I scrub my iPod.

Being the nerd that I am; Here are a bunch of other bands I think are ‘Metal as Fuck’.

Lamb of God – Lamb of God are fucking Metal, like holy shit. I don’t care what anyone says, I just can’t help but make this face every time I listen to them.  It’s retarded how Metal they are.  If Metal was a kingdom, they would be the rulers and pillagers.  They would rape all in their path. Randy’s growl alone could take down an army.  An army of tanks made of bullets and steaks.  Steel steaks.  Metal. As. Fuck.

Slayer – I have to include Slayer because they’re apparently the undisputed ‘Most Metal band ever’ according to most people.  I don’t even really listen to them at all, and couldn’t name hardly any of their songs, but Reign in Blood is fucking awesome.  I listened to it the other day.  Seriously, it’s undeniable.  Slayer, I salute you in all your ‘Metal-as-Fuck’-ness.

Meshuggah – Easily one of my favourite bands, they melt my brain. Crazy rhythms abound, and unrelenting, demonic-sounding vocals, with super heavy riffing. The music just pulsates and never stops, and just when you can’t take it any more, the grooves get even heavier, deeper, and more unrelenting.  They’re like a Metal Sauna.  Jens Kidman says it best.

Pantera – Holy fuck, Dimebag Darrell is fucking awesome. Just listen to ‘Mouth For War‘ and tell me that song is not fucking awesome. Seriously, what can you say?  The man could play guitar better than most dudes can jerk themselves off. No homo. Fuck!

Behemoth – They’re so metal that Leukemia couldn’t even kill them!  The Metality cannot be stopped with this band.  Just one of the most epic, demonic, brutal bands ever.  And they don’t give a shit about your religions or your laws surrounding them.  They will burn the bible in front of you and you will learn to love it… Mainly because they won’t ever stop… Sort of like hell… In an Atheistic sort of way… Yeah.

Strapping Young Lad – Fuckin’ Canadian Metal eh!  National allegiances aside, Strapping ruled the roost for a significant period of time.  Devin was all like, “I’m gonna try my hardest to be as heavy as fuck all the fucking time and make you think I’m fucking crazy.”  Then he stopped smoking weed and everything got very mellow… Unless you listened to Deconstruction, like holy shit.  Plus Gene Hoglan played drums, enough said.

Arch EnemyThis band has a female singer that is more metal than 99% of dudes screaming their balls off on the entire planet.  Angela’s more metal than the tinman!  She’ll eat your soul I swear. She might be smokin’ hot, but stay away from that one, she was sent straight from hell just to scare the crap out of us and eat us alive.  Meh, I’d still hit it.

Cannibal Corpse – Cannibal Corpse are seriously fucking metal. Are you gonna tell me they’re not? Cause you’d be so wrong.  There is nothing in the world that would be more wrong.  Maybe like… Babies raping dogs… or vice-versa, but Cannibal Corpse probably have a song about that.  Remember that part in Ace Ventura when Ace goes through that Metal show to find that researcher dude? New England Clam Chowder. White.

Amon Amarth – They’re fucking vikings.

Dethklok – Their fans will risk their livese to see them live.  The band does not care if the fans live or die at their performances.  They are the seventh largest global economy.  There are dead, rotting employees clogging their drainage pipes in their Lair. They have henchmen.

Honourable mentions: EmperorEntombed, The Faceless, The Red Chord, Revocation(duh!)

I’m sure there are other ‘Metal as Fuck’ bands out there that I am so obviously omitting, but I care not.  I either do not like those bands, consider them not to be 100% ‘Metal as Fuck’ , haven’t discovered them yet, or I’m too fucking lazy and don’t give a shit.  So fuck off.

Thanks for reading.  Let the haterade begin.

5 Albums that kicked me in the teeth this year.

Ouch my poor teeth.

These albums have all kept me occupied in some way, shape, or form over the past 9 months. They were comfort in my time of need, need in my time of comfort, a distraction in a time of boredom, and made listening to music every day all the more interesting.

I listen to a lot of Metal as you will be able to tell, but fear not, although I am a Metalhead, I’m also a softy. It may not make much sense, but it seemed they made me like a sponge, only one that’s already cleaned your dishes.. so to speak.

NinjaSpy – Pi Nature

This album dropped into my lap one day early in the year and seemingly came out of nowhere. “Who the hell is this ridiculous trio screaming and yelling, and skanking through my headphones?” NinjaSpy. A Triad in Blood. Three brothers from the Vancouver area, discovered by GGGarth Richardson who proceeded to record their first Full Length album and release it to the unwitting masses, most of whom still haven’t heard of the band. They are unsigned as far as I know and I had the pleasure of enjoying their show at the Annex Wreck Room this summer for North by Northeast Festival. They rocked out to about 20 of us all gawking at them while hanging off the bar, which probably made them feel like Zoo animals. Sorry guys if we made you feel uncomfortable, but you still played as if the place was packed so all the power to you. The album itself is a blend of Hardcore, Punk, Ska, Rock & Metal, which to me is a recipe for brilliance. I urge everyone who can stand a bit of shouting and yelling to check out this band, you may just re-evaluate your existence.

Protest the Hero – Fortress

They came, they saw, they conquored, and they built their own palace with this album. Whitby’s Protest the Hero are winning an audience left, right, and centre in the metal community, and their latest installment is no different than their previous trend-setting concept album “Kezia”. They have come a long way since their days of small town Punk Rock shows (some of which I may have attended, although I’m never quite sure) This album starts off with a bang and is unrelenting for the entire duration of the record. If you want a full-on sonic assault of Melodic and Technical Metal you’ve come to the right place. This album has “timeless” written all over it, and I’m already spotting some copy cat bands coming out of the woodwork. I personally can’t wait for their next album, because I’ve pretty much worn this one out by repeated listens.

Meshuggah – Obzen

The masters are back. Meshuggah, arguably the greatest true Metal band in the world right now. They’ve turned it up a notch with this latest album, easily their most accessible effort yet. This album comes on the heals of the ambitious concept album “Catch 33” which was by and large one single composition, abstractly split up, and a very demanding listen. Now listening to Meshuggah at all for any extended period of time is a challenge to almost any listener, but “Obzen” has some familiarity to it. For one, the songs are shorter and faster. It keeps a pretty steady pace for most of the record, and if you’re familiar with the band, there’s is nearly nothing to disappoint in my opinion. Meshuggah is a pleasure and a challenge to listen to and understand, and if you’re looking for very heavy music, with very complex composition, look no further. There’s something to be said for creating music with the sole purpose of being complex, some do it masterfully, some attempt it and fail miserably. One must know where to draw the line, and that line is Meshuggah.

Sikth – Death of a Dead Day

Sikth, dead before I even knew you. I found out about this band as they were announcing their break-up. This left me like a deer in headlights, unable to form a coherent sentence, as I tried to describe the band to my colleagues. “There’s um these guys, they’re… I can’t believe… how did I not know… what’s happening to me!?!” It was a dire situation, and consulation was sought. Conveniently enough, news of their demise caused a deep depression in me, a depression followed by inspiration, one that was only counter-balanced by listening to their album “Death of a Dead Day” every single day for a week or two straight. This provided me with the momentum I needed to bring meaning back into my life and reason to live another day, as their break-up nearly crushed my soul and spirit outright, like it would any casual listener I’m sure. The band (from the UK), blends Technical, syncopated riffing, with dualing vocals (they have two singers), and a Progressive/Theatrical nature, not seen since… ever! This band blew me away with their technicality and musical maturity, and also with their sonicly-crushing metal storm. My only regret is never being able to see them live. Maybe some day.

Misery Signals – Controller

This one capped off my summer nicely. Produced by eccentric-puppet master Devin Townsend, this album straight-up kicked me in the face.. hard. I couldn’t get enough of it. People would tell me to stop playing this album so much. I really don’t know why I liked it as much as I did? It wasn’t like anything else I was normally found listening to. It had this kind of polished, driven, focused vibe to it. Like the band never had any doubt about what they were creating when they were doing this record. The songs were crushing, intricate, and melodic. The vocals were tough, powerful, focused and clear. You can hear every word that comes out of the singer’s mouth. I could really latch onto the lyrics and it would motivate me when I listened to it. It just simply made me feel good to put on this record. I feel this album is leaps and bounds better than their previous effort “Mirrors”, which wasn’t bad by any means but did not turn out nearly as well as this record did. It could be the influence of Devin that has this band pulling out it’s best. That combination looks like a perfect match and I hope the band will go back to Devin again in the future. This album is as real as Metal gets and if you’re open to honesty and stripping away metal cliches then this is worth checking out. I highly recommend.

Now go out and listen to all of these albums, or you will be forever ignorant of their mastery.

Splurge,

Jon