PERIPHERY – PERIPHERY II: THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL
This wasn’t just an album, it was an event. The anticipation was so high for this record you could have cut it with a chainsaw. And when it hit, it hit hard. There’s division amongst the metal community, but it’s hard to deny the musical excellence without being an elitist (refer to the intro of the segment). “Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal” was damn near perfect. Every virtuosic member of this band progressed significantly, making serious contributions to form a masterpiece. Intelligently crafted and executed, every track offers something unique and awe-inspiring. “Periphery II” deserves album of the year. Easy.
THE HAARP MACHINE - DISCLOSURE
From the very first time Sumerian Records announced The HAARP Machine, it was evident they would become a metal juggernaut. But at the time, there was no way of telling just how amazing they would be. “Disclosure” is everything you could hope for and some. Providing a cutting edge Progressive sound and a serious, shred heavy Technical approach along with Mike Semesky’s amazing vocal work, Abdullah Al Mu’min and crew created one of the best albums to come out in 2012. This is a masterpiece through and through. This is evinced by tracks like “Pleiadian Keys”, “The Escapist Notion”, “Disclosure”, and “Esoteric Agenda”.
SKYHARBOR – BLINDING WHITE NOISE: ILLUSION & CHAOS
THE SAFETY FIRE – GRIND THE OCEAN
There’s so much to say about this album. The Safety Fire made one of the strongest debuts all year with their full-length, “Grind The Ocean”. Years in the making, they have managed to create a stand out masterpiece. Bringing next level creativity and writing some of the best riffs known to man, this UK musical unit is easily one of the most promising bands out there. “Grind The Ocean” covered so much ground both musically and thematically, making for an abundance of classics on this record. “Huge Hammers”, “Circassian Beauties”, “Floods of Colour”, and the rehashed versions of “Sections” and “DMP (FDP)” are just a few greats among many.
RINGS OF SATURN – DINGIR
Aliens, man…. aliens. Rings of Saturn write some of the sharpest, most technically proficient Death Metal that will ever bless your ears (…or shred them). “Dingir” is absolute brutal chaos from start to finish. This band shreds like no other \m/ Plain and simple. Actually they do it so well we’re convinced they aren’t human beings. Thus aliencore. Songs like “Objective To Harvest”, “Faces Imploding”, “Peeling Arteries”, and “Hyperforms” should be locked up in Area 51. You can actually stream the ENTIRE album below and see why. This is definitely recommended if you have forty minutes to kill (bad Death Metal pun intended).
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME – THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me always seem to expand and improve with every release. Which is saying a lot considering they’re practically gods of Progressive Metal already. This is true as ever with their epic full-length “The Parallax II: Future Sequence”. The band’s sixth studio album is also the second part of the band’s interstellar space saga. And it’s safe to say it expands upon the concept of the original EP brilliantly. The release is teeming with master level classics. “Astral Body”, “Telos”, “Goodbye To Everything”, and “Extremophile Elite” are just a few examples of the absolute greatness on “The Parallax II”. Welcome to hyperspace.
THE CONTORTIONIST - INTRINSIC
The Contortionist are certainly standing out as one of the premiere bands of the metal underground. They have expanded and grown much since their debut, moving away from their Deathcore roots in favor of a Progressive approach and pure creativity. Not to say there isn’t extreme heaviness to be found on “Intrinsic”, just twice as much genius. This album is mind-blowing on so many levels (more puns). “Intrinsic” is a high-octane adventure through the inner workings of the human consciousness, providing captivating soundscapes for brains to explore. “A secret dimension of noise” – That lyric pretty much sums it up.
MESHUGGAH – KOLOSS
The masters of Math Metal never seem to disappoint. We’re actually fairly convinced Meshuggah are robots, void of humanity, designed by the Swedish government to decimate the eardrums of metal listeners worldwide. Listening to Meshuggah is like receiving a heavy brain massage. Listening to “Koloss” is like having your brain massaged by a robotic titan. Expect massive grooves, mechanical technicality, and unparalleled polyrhythms. This is a prime example of Meshuggah doing what they do best. They crank out goods like “Do Not Look Down”, “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion”, and “Demiurge” for this colossal experience.
THE FACELESS – AUTOTHEISM
The Faceless came back as strong and creative as ever with their third full-length “Autotheism”. This album seemingly took forever to be released, but was well worth the wait when it hit. There were serious line up changes, but The Keene Machine raised the bar with Evan Brewer and Wes Hauch in the mix. In many ways, this is really a side step for the band. “Autotheism” is an unexpected treat to listen to with an increased focus on melody and a theatrical approach. It opens up with singing for christ sake. Who honestly expected that? When all the factors are added up, it makes for a phenomenal listening experience.
DEFTONES – KOI NO YOKAN
Deftones has been in the business of making awesome music for over two decades and they haven’t even come close to losing their spark. Their tenth studio album, “Koi No Yokan”, is perfect evidence of that. This record delivers in all the ways that matter. It is the complete package from flying through the air with “Swerve City” to the genius, floaty closer “What Happened To You?”. All the songs in between are outstanding as well. “Leathers”, “Tempest”, and “Entombed” just to name a few. This album is just plain amazing. It’s recommended you give it a good listen but watch out… you may end up falling in love after listening (get it?).