Best of 2012 – Waspman
1. Beyond the Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit
I reviewed this way back in February of this year and said it would be a contender for album of the year – I guess I was wrong…it IS my album of the year. The reason the album is so good is the band’s ability to write songs that take you on a journey. I keep coming back for more of this album, easily making it #1 for me this year.
2. Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
DLR is back baby! In their day, no one rocked like Van Halen, and this reunion proves that they’ve still got it.
3. Kamelot – Silverthorn
4. Accept – Stalingrad
5. Pharaoh – Bury the Light
6. Dragonforce – The Power Within
7. Eclipse – Bleed & Scream
8. Circus Maximus – Nine
9. Sabaton – Carolus Rex
10. Testament – The Dark Roots of Earth
11. The Cult – Choice of Weapon
12. Spheric Universe Experience – The New Eve
13. Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline
14. Fozzy – Sin and Bones
15. Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas
16. Overkill – The Electric Age
17. I Am I – Event Horizon
18. Cradle of Filth – The Manticore & Other Horrors
19. Rush – Clockwork Angels
20. Wintersun – Time 1
Best new band
Beyond the Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit
These guys put out my favorite album of the year; so obviously they’re a lock to win this category.
Pleasant Surprise of the Year
Rush – Clockwork Angels
Man, I haven’t like Rush for almost thirty years, but based on all the hype I just had to check out this album. I’m thrilled that I did, because everyone saying that this is awesome is absolutely right – this really IS the best Rush album in many years, and a thrilling listen all the way through.
Discovery of 2012
Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas
Eclipse – Bleed & Scream
I have a tie here this year, and these bands couldn’t be further apart, stylistically. Eclipse simply blew me away with their refined hard rock sound, while England’s hateful Anaal Nathrakh is one of those bands that I’ve been meaning to check out for years and just never had the chance. My mistake, as the duo’s insane black metal is well worth exploring.
Nightwish/Kamelot (at the Sound Academy in Toronto, Sept. 20th)
This was show was an exercise in dichotomy: a triumphant return for Kamelot with their new vocalist, and one of the last shows for ex-Nightwish singer Annette Olzen. While I enjoyed the hell out of the whole show, I thought something seemed off about Nightwish, and I guess I now know why.
As an added bonus, I attended the show with the mighty EvilG!
Best Live Album
Gamma Ray – Skeletons & Majesties Live
There were a slew of great live releases this year, but I this is the one I’ve enjoyed the most. The Rays’ exuberance and sense of fun is palpable, making for a fun, fitting closure to 15 years with drummer Dan Zimmermann.
Dark Tranquillity – Zero Distance
I find that few EPs are worth bothering with, but when these Swedes put one out, I pay attention. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s typically great music from these guys.
Best Covers Album
Issa – Can’t Stop
Issa wins this category simply by virtue of being the only covers album I’ve heard this year. Still, her vocals are always top-notch, making this a worthy listen.
Whether you agree with some of the choices made during this series or not, you can’t deny this is the most comprehensive documentary on heavy metal ever attempted and that alone deserves respect. Plus, it was entertaining and informative so yeah, win.
Disappointments of 2010
Ministry – Relapse
After going out with a spectacular trio of albums, Ministry returns with this merely “OK” retread of past ideas. Boo.
Ten – Heresy & Creed
Gary Hughes sounds tired, both vocally and in his song writing.
Shadows Fall – Fire From The Sky
These guys have always relied on a tried & true formula, but for some reason, it’s just not as forgivable this time around.
Running Wild – Shadowmaker
OK, so it’s not nearly as bad as some have said, but it’s also not nearly as good as this band can be. Hopefully the Giant X project gets all of the rock ‘n roll tendencies out of our man Ralf and RW comes back with the ripping power metal we all want.
Missing a ton of new releases this year
I missed so many albums this year, from the likes of: Slash, Black Breath, Swallow the Sun, Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, Nachtmystium, Manowar, Ufomammut, Ensiferum, Nile, and High On Fire. Time, I STILL just don’t have enough of it.
The on-going ridiculousness of Queensryche and Geoff Tate
Seriously, is it over yet? At least there may be a silver lining if the new Queensryche with Todd La Torre on vocals returns to former greatness.
The legal bullshit of Randy Blythe
Man, I don’t even like Lamb of God, but this manslaughter crap from Prague just incenses me. Look, it’s very sad that a fan died, but this is a travesty of justice and legal scapegoating at its worst.
Greatest Hopes for 2013
New kick ass Judas Priest album
Here’s hoping the fresh blood in the band returns them to making kick-ass heavy metal.
W.A.S.P. Retrospective / Historical Set
As JP and I have said in the past, Blackie needs to get off his duff and put out the definitive historical W.A.S.P. set. This band’s history is as interesting (and sordid) as they come and it would be a fascinating listen/viewing.
New album releases
Looking forward to the likes of: Black Sabbath, Gamma Ray, Crash Diet, Stratovarius, and Atlantean Kodex.