Angel’s Top 5 Albums Of 2012 So Far
Posted by Mark/Angel
Following on from Matt’s post earlier about his Top 5 albums of 2012 thus far, I thought I’d throw in my own piece on the albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to as we approach the halfway mark of the year. I think it says something that 2 of the 5 already are début albums, and all are astonishing in their quality.
N.B. In order to indicate a lack of ranking (I’ve never been one for a 1-5 approach with albums, it’s too challenging), we’ll go for an alphabetical list.
N.B. No. 2: Fanboy incoming.
1. Alcest – Les Voyages De L’Âme
This album was my first outing with Alcest, although I’d heard much about their “blackgaze” sound, blending elements of post-rock and black metal together. On paper it sounds like my cup of tea, a pleasant journey. However, there were no words to describe the emotions that were coursing through me after I finished the YouTube album stream. The combination of the guitar and vocal melodies, the placement of the harsh screams, the flow between ethereal parts and blistering metal; the whole album is near-flawlessly executed. Les Voyages De L’Âme becomes even more beautiful if you consider the lyrics (French only, provided in translation), influenced by nature as a lot of this style of black metal is: “A distant prayer, carried by the evening wind/Enlivens leaves in their languid dance.” If you don’t listen to any new music in 2012, make sure you grab a copy of this album, and lose yourself in its melancholic beauty.
2. Centimani – Aegaeon
This one was a surprising discovery; Centimani are a blackened death metal band from Colorado, and they asked me to review their début album Aegaeon before it was released (date June 29th). Taking equal parts Dimmu Borgir and Ex Deo, the mature songwriting belies their relative freshness to the scene, and has enough of a kick and catchiness to it for the CD to have got through multiple subsequent spins since I reviewed it on my site. Fans of either black or death metal will be more than pleased with the output of Centimani thus far, a band that I can tip to be one to watch for the future. Mark your calendars.
3. King Giant – Dismal Hollow
I’m still a relative newcomer to the stoner metal genre, but even my fresh ears could quickly pick up the power coursing through this band’s sophomore release Dismal Hollow. There’s no obvious influence worship, no jarring moments, everything just fits together perfectly in a way not unlike the inebriated sway of a saloon’s patrons. The band are a cohesive unit, never attempting to outdo one another but instead working towards a goal, one which I can confidently say they achieve on each of the 8 tracks. Give this one time, and as I stated in my review, it’ll mature like the finest of whiskeys.
4. The Omega Experiment – The Omega Experiment
The second reason in this list for why I am thankful to be a music reviewer can be encapsulated in The Omega Experiment’s self-titled début, masterminded by Dan Wieten. Here is a concept album dealing with drug abuse, but wrapped in the kind of insanity that only someone like Devin Townsend or Unexpect could exude. This exceeded all expectations when I gave it a review, managing to blend both pop, bombast and fury, sometimes within the same song. The production is incredible for a home studio; to indulge in a cliché, it smells a million dollars. Granted, The Omega Experiment won’t be to everyone’s taste, but progressive metal aficionados should be abuzz with excitement for this release, and the sophomore which will be on its way in the future.
5. Savage Messiah – Plague Of Conscience
Staging a comeback which got thrash fans foaming, UK thrash act Savage Messiah decided to add fuel to the fire by releasing their long-coming third album for free download via Earache before bringing it out in physical format at the beginning of this year. And what an album it is, one of the best melodic thrash albums I’ve heard in a while. Dave Silver’s voice is on top form, and the rest of the band deliver riff and solo like the oldschool masters in their prime. It’s a headbang/neck-whirl haven for thrash and speed fans from first to last. If you haven’t already given this album a spin, then I ask you: why the hell not?
These five should be good starting points for those looking for top-notch new releases. Obviously it’s impossible to try and listen to ALL the albums that have been released up to this point, so if there are any suggestions of albums I should pick up, then drop a comment below. Happy headbanging!