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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Stacy Buchanan

Top 15 of 2012 in no particular order:
1) Disfiguring The GoddessSleeper (Self Released) The future of brutal heaviness.
2) PallbearerSorrow And Extinction (Profound Lore) A heavier/doomier version of Black Sabbath. Who wouldn’t love this?
3) MeshuggahKoloss (Nuclear Blast) Avant Swedish metallers dig their heels into down-tuned chugging, and somewhat pleasantly confusing, riffage.
4) Alaric/AtriarchSplit (20 Buck Spin) Deathrock and metal join forces for haunting yet catchy tunes from these two bands.
5) Bastard SaplingDragged From Our Restless Trance (Forcefield Records) For those who yearn for the simpler days of the second wave of blackmetal.
6) Cannibal CorpseTorture (Metal Blade Records) Great riffs and great production in this enjoyable deathmetal institution.
7) GojiraL’Enfant Sauvage (Roadrunner Records) Metal with just the right amount of inventiveness to bring under and above ground hessians together.
8 ) TragedyDarker Days Ahead (Tragedy Records) Probably their most ho-hum album, which still makes it lights years better than 95% of dark hardcore.
9) InverlochDusk | Subside (Relapse Records) Only three songs, but satisfying death/doom that balances tradition and exploration equally.
10) Circle Of OuroborusThe Lost Entrance Of The Just (Handmade Birds) Incredibly dense sounding blackhole metal (light on the “metal”).
11) Elysian BlazeBlood Geometry (Osmose Productions) Grandiose death/black/atmospheric metal that’s almost operatic without the cheese.
12) ConvergeAll We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph Records) Stripped down metallic hardcore. What? It’s Converge. You know what it sounds like.
13) BaronessYellow & Green (Relapse Records) Going further down their “classic rock meets metal” path equals less intensity but more fun.
14) The Great Old OnesAl Azif (Antithetic Records) Atmospheric black metal, but in an experimental way, based on HP Lovecraft. Dig it.
15) Anaal NathrakhVanitas (Candlelight) After a slight production misstep last album, some grit and crunch helped elevate this album’s potency.

Honorable Mentions:
LentoAnxiety Despair Languish
OccultationThree & Seven
NachtmystiumSilencing Machine
MgłaWith Hearts Toward None
EvokenAtra Mors
Hooded MenaceEffigies Of Evil
Killing JokeMMXII
Ash BorerCold Of Ages
HomewreckerWorms And Dirt

Maybe Not Metal, but still dug:
SwansThe Seer
MonoFor My Parents
UlverChildhood’s End
Chelsea WolfeUnknown Rooms: A Collection Of Acoustic Songs

Records I didn’t get around to listening (shame on me):
Royal ThunderCVI
LiberteerBetter To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees
Satan’s WrathGalloping Blasphemy
Cult Of FireTriumvirat

Best Songs:
Xibalba – “Sentenced”
Naglfar – “Pale Horse”

Biggest Surprise:
CryptopsyCryptopsy I don’t think anyone expected this band to recover after their last complete and utter abortion of an album (The Unspoken King), but they cut the shitty (and I mean totally, fucking shitty) clean vocals, metalcore influences and aimed to be brutal and fast once again. Huzzah!

Biggest Disappointments:
This year I wear the cap of “bitter metal curmudgeon”. I’ve seen plenty of ‘Best of 2012’ lists ranging from online sites, respected metal writers, Decibel and other magazines and I’m just completely let down. There were really cool releases this year, but whereas one would feel the “Best of the Year” comes with usually a grade ‘A’ average (some years A+, some A-), or once in a while a ‘B+’ will crop up… this year felt like somewhere around a ‘B-‘ to ‘B’. That is to say, good stuff for sure, but of the pedigree of past years inductions to the heralded pedestal of “Best of the Year”? I’ve got to beg to differ – and I’m the perennial optimist. Anyway… Here are some releases in particular that I was disappointed in:

KatatoniaDead End Kings Coming off one of, if not THE, best albums of their career (Night Is The New Day) the challenge and pressure was definitely on these Swede’s, and unfortunately nothing grabbed me about this record. It seems unfocused and a step down in songwriting in light of their previous album.
Deathspell OmegaDrought Correct me if I’m wrong, but when I put on DSO, I expect to get my face ripped off with intense, fast, esoteric blackmetal. Granted this is just an EP, but they’ve had EPs previously that have brought the energy and inventiveness, and though there are fast moments, this one just felt rather “garden variety” in comparison to their capabilities.
The FacelessAutotheism This record has some cool moments. But after a four year wait for what should have/could have been THE tech deathmetal record of the year, we’re treated to terrible clean vocals (nothing against clean vocals, but placement, use, context, etc. is off the mark here), pedestrian lyrics, and prog tendencies that are like rubbing a cat the wrong way (ie. the listener) made me more pissed at the band then bummed out.
NileAt The Gates Of Sethu I should really try to revisit this one, but the production is so compressed and tight in the mids it is annoying as shit to listen to. I’m sure this record has got parts that smoke, but delivery is an important part that outweighed the content. Lesson learned dudes?
SoundgardenKing Animal Seriously, I know I’m the one to blame here. What was I expecting? I guess I was just being optimistic. This record is like Down On The Upside (aka the least favorite Soundgarden record in their discography) except even lighter and more radio friendly. Which I don’t think I need to tell you means it sounds like garbage.
DeftonesKoi No Yokan Here’s one that I might retract my opinion on down the road mainly because it has the potential to be a grower. However upon the first couple spins is sounds like the Deftones cropped off the extreme opposite ends of their sonic spectrum (in general) and are focusing on the middle section of their musical palate. Not a bad thing, but somewhat limiting themselves and their potential we’ve seen on past releases.

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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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