TeethoftheDivine.com’s Staff Picks for 2012


. Another year, another winter spent threatening physical violence upon the staff here to get their year-end picks in. Now that the dust has settled, here are the results – the definitive list of critical picks of 2012’s best and worst releases. It’s all here: top albums, top EPs, top songs, biggest letdowns and the woulda shoulda coulda’s, as hand-picked by the TOTD staff. Feel free to comment, critique and tell us your own favorites for 2012. Thanks to all you guys for reading our little site in 2012 and here’s to another epic year of metal in 2013. Salut!

by Staff

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Adam Palm

1. EvokenAtra Mors (Profound Lore)
A flawless masterpiece of vast ambience, profound emotions, and intense heaviness. One of the very best death/doom albums ever recorded.

2. AsphyxDeathhammer (Century Media)
Very rarely (if ever) does a band create an album that surpasses their classics over two decades later, but that’s exactly what Asphyx has done. Their patented mix of vicious death and skull-crushing doom has never sounded more deadly.

3. EnslavedRIITIIR (Nuclear Blast)
I was surprised when this turned out to be the most polarizing album of the year. I found it to be perfectly unpredictable, memorable, forward-thinking, and emotive.

4. Lunar AuroraHoagascht (Cold Dimensions)
Sadly, these long-running German black metal masters decided to call it quits this year, but they left us with this final masterpiece that finds them slowing down and focusing more on atmosphere. I’d say it’s a fair trade. Anyone can do speed, but only Lunar Aurora can do atmosphere like this.

5. FaalThe Clouds Are Burning (Ván Records)
A successful bridge between the harsher and moodier sides of death/doom, making it one of the most powerful albums of the year, if not ever.

6. PallbearerSorrow and Extinction (Profound Lore)
Genuine emotions expressed through masterfully executed traditional doom metal.

7. DordeduhDar de Duh (Prophecy Productions)
The proper follow-up to the Negura Bunget’s modern classic, Om…sometimes calm, sometimes violent, but always captivating.

8. Paradise LostTragic Idol (Century Media)
Their last few albums brought back the heavy, but this one brings back the feel of their seminal albums, Icon and Draconian Times, making it one of the most fully realized albums they ever released.

9. AtomaSkylight (Napalm Records)
What this lacks in tonal heaviness is more than made up for in atmospheric weight. Add to that an epic futuristic theme and you have the soundtrack to the greatest sci-fi movie never made.

10. BorknagarUrd (Century Media)
Full disclosure: other than hearing a few tracks from them over the years, this was my first experience with this band, but their perfect mix of aggressive symphonic black metal and progressive metal on this album immediately won me over. And, repeated listens made me love it even more.

11. FuriaMarzannie, Królowej Polski (Pagan Records)
After some recent avant garde leanings, Poland’s Furia is back to what they do best: freezing cold, melancholic, hateful black metal.

12. AnhedonistNetherwards (Dark Descent)
Unlike most modern death/doom bands, Anhedonist does not skimp on the death part of the equation. On this album, they masterfully combine Incantation-esque chaos with bleak, dungeonous doom, recalling genre elites Disembowelment and Symphony of Grief, but with their own unique sense of gloom and despair.

13. MglaWith Hearts Toward None (Northern Heritage)
In an age when most black metal seems to be branching out in every direction, this album proves that the roots of the genre can still sound compelling through skillful songwriting.

14. Tempestuous FallThe Stars Would Not Awake You (I, Voidhanger)
Sole-member, Dis Pater (Midnight Odyssey/The Crevices Below), continues to amaze with his uncanny talent for creating richly atmospheric and deeply melancholic music, this time in the form of funeral doom.

15. ValborgNekrodepression (Zeitgeister Music)
With Celtic Frost as a starting point, this minimalist, avant garde mix of black, death, doom, and rock sounds familiar yet unlike anyone else.

16. Cult of FireTriumvirát (Self-released)
A stunning debut of passionate black metal that combines the sorrowful aggression of Ukrainian bands like Kroda and Nokturnal Mortum (minus the folk) with the distinctly Czech occult sound of Root and Master’s Hammer. This is a band to watch.

17. DiskordDystopics (No Posers Please!)
True avant garde death metal that’s somewhat like a mix of Autopsy and Disharmonic Orchestra, but with even crazier riffs and song structures. You really just need to hear it.

18. Blut Aus Nord777 – Cosmosophy (Debemur Morti)
This final piece of their ambitious 777 trilogy reveals yet another side of this ever-changing act. Their signature twisted, alien riffs are still present, but this time they’re enveloped in a dense aura of melancholy unlike anything we’ve heard from this band before.

19. IndesinenceVessels of Light and Decay (Profound Lore)
The cloaked gatekeeper beckons you on an epic journey of anger and desperation. Follow to reach cathartic enlightenment.

20. NecrovationNecrovation (Agonia Records)
These deranged Swedes have twisted old-school death metal into their own freshly rotten, beautifully hideous, gloriously unpredictable beast.

21. HorrendousThe Chills (Dark Descent)
Who would’ve guessed that three young dudes from Baltimore would create one of the strongest old-school Swedeath albums of late? It just goes to show how quality riffs and songwriting is what matters most.

22. BereftLeichenhaus (The End Records)
In the case of this album, the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” needs to include “authors and publisher” because this project from members of Intronaut, Graviton, Abysmal Dawn, and The Faceless on The End Records sounds nothing like what you would probably expect. Unless, you were expecting some of the best death/doom of the year, but I highly doubt it.

23. AtriarchRitual of Passing (Profound Lore)
Black and doom metal collide with deathrock to create one of this year’s bleakest and most original albums.

24. Napalm DeathUtilitarian (Century Media)
It’s Napalm Death. Need I say more? They perform with more intensity and conviction than most acts half their age. And, they still have the songwriting chops to back it up.

25. DesecresyThe Doom Skeptron (Xtreem Music)
Massive, crawling, chugging, grinding, haunting, distinctly Finnish death metal of the highest caliber.

Honorable Mentions
Daylight DiesA Frail Becoming (Candlelight Records)
The Great Old OnesAl Azif (Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions)
KhorsWisdom of Centuries (Candlelight Records)
Porta NigraFin de Siècle (Debemur Morti)
OkeraA Beautiful Dystopia (Self-released)
VetterVetterkult (Duplicate Records)
ÆvangelistDe Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis (I, Voidhanger)
Mare CognitumAn Extraconscious Lucidity (Self-released)
Desolate ShrineThe Sanctum of Human Darkness (Dark Descent)
The Levitation HexThe Levitation Hex (Self-released)

Top 5 Songs
1. Khors – “The Last Leaves”
2. Asphyx – “Minefield”
3. Enslaved – “Roots of the Mountain”
4. Borknagar – “Frostrite”
5. Blut Aus Nord – “Epitome XVII”

Top 5 EPs
1. InverlochDusk | Subside (Relapse Records)
2. Blut Aus NordWhat Once Was… Liber II (Debemur Morti)
3. AgallochFaustian Echoes (Dammerung Arts)
4. Deathspell OmegaDrought (Season of Mist)
5. EngulfedThrough the Eternal Damnation (Hellthrasher Productions)
6. UncannyThe Path of Flesh (Dark Descent)

Top 5 Reissues
1. DeathSpiritual Healing (Relapse Records)
2. Timeghoul1992-1994 Discography (Dark Descent)
3. CeremoniumDreams We Have Written (Weird Truth)
4. Armoured AngelHymns of Hate (Abysmal Sounds)
5. DeathwishDemon Preacher (Divebomb Records)

Top 5 Demos
1. Chthe’ilistAmechth’ntaas’m’rriachth
2. LasterWijsgeer & Narreman
3. BarrowlandsDemo 2012
4. Chasm of NisRedolent of Spheres
5. GhoulgothaNo Peace to Rest In

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  1. Commented by: Timmy

    Hey! Where’s Dane Prokofiev’s Top 10???!!!!!

    I like what that guy has to say even thought some people give him a hard time for no reason.

    Dane, please dial your top 10 picks in! (even if they’re a bit late….)


  2. Commented by: E. Thomas

    He is no longer on our staff as he left after 3 reviews and a few interviews- im sure hes got a list at one of his other blogs /sites

  3. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Based on some formula and calculations I did- Pallbearer’s Sorrow and Extinction is the TOTD staff album of the year!

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    hm, Pallbearer was only in 2 guys’ top 10 and 2 guys’ top 15 – sounds like less of a ringing endorsement to me and more an illustration that no one’s top 10 looked remotely the same or featured the same bands.

    which is great for the growth and creative health of metal overall, that 13 different TOTD reviewers (who collectively listened to hundreds and hundreds of albums this year) had wildly different tastes and couldn’t agree on anything :)

  5. Commented by: E. Thomas

    yeah it was hard tallying wildly different lists- but with my formula- Pallbearer came out on top-cos it was on 2 top 10 and 2 top 15s- barely. Belakor was 4th by .5 of a point. Jordan- i added 3 more guys lists since the article went up guys lists – did you count those- had it on 5 lists total?

  6. Commented by: Luke_22

    Yep Pallbearer was just pipped for the number 1 spot on my list and it keeps finding its way into my listening rotation. Of course I was late to the party for Anaal Nathrakh, Haiduk and various other killer bands/albums that had I discovered earlier might have made their way onto my list.

  7. Commented by: Plasmaterial

    No one likes Sylosis? One mention of Allegaeon? Ditto Ne Obliviscaris, Swallow the Sun and Cattle Decapitation? Mors Principium Est? In Mourning?

  8. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I figured more peeps would have put Cattle Decapitation on their lists too. I liked Ne Obliviscaris but Xanthochroid won out in that battle. And I didn’t even know In Mourning had a new one, sweet!

  9. Commented by: Kevin E.

    Cattle decap was on my list. One of the few if not the only one of us that did.

  10. Commented by: Apollyon

    Mors Principium Est released so late in the year that it’s practically a 2013 release.

  11. Commented by: bast
  12. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I checked out Disfiguring the Goddess back when Stacy reviewed it and kinda dug it, despite my general disdain of death core. Since he named it his #1 I’ve gone back to it and it has taken hold like a horrible fungus in my sack. Been playing it pretty often, just ordered a copy.

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