8 Dec 2013

2013, Part I: Stuff I Missed in 2012

For the past couple of years I've done top 10's as well as some other stuff in one long post. This form just isn't very easy on the eyes, so this year I've decided to split the end-year post into 5 parts, which are as follows:

Part I: Stuff I Missed in 2012
Part II: Disappointments of 2013
Part III: Top 10 - Non-metal
Part IV: Top 10 - Metal
Part V: Honorable Mentions & Runner-Ups

Part I: Stuff I Missed in 2012
I have found that some of the best albums are also some of the less known. As such years sometimes go by before I notice them, and indeed some of my current musical obsessions are top 10-worthy albums that I missed last year.

Conan - Monnos
A few years ago I had seen the cover of Conan's third release, "Horseback Battle Hammer". It had me somewhat enthralled, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what the band was called. When I found Monnos I immediately began binge-listening the British band's entire discography which counts a few esoteric EP's and a few other releases as well. I was astounded at the mammoth sound of Conan, everything from their far away haunting vocals to the droning guitar and bass and to the dragging drums. The intensity and heaviness of their debut album seemed like the perfect culmination of the first few releases in the way that it neatly sums up the crushing and captivating atmosphere that Conan had previously brought forth. Count me as severely stoked for their forthcoming album "Blood Eagle", set to be released in 2014.

Dawnbringer - Into the Lair of the Sun God
Most people would classify Dawnbringer as a somewhat unusual band, I think. Their brand of heavy metal often relies on themed albums and a weird affiliation for blackened riffs in a dry style. Into the Lair of the Sun God, the follow-up album to their acclaimed 4th album "Nucleus", features 9 tracks with Chris Black's signature bleak vocals, insanely catchy riffs and some weird organ work that brings to mind that of Deep Purple's Jon Lord, which is especially evident on the track "VI". 2 years, which is the time between Nucleus and Into the Lair of the Sun God, is the shortest time they've ever taken to write an album, but it certainly doesn't show. Their 5th album may well be their best yet, and it shows enormous potential to be one of those albums you keep coming back to.

Dodecahedron - Dodecahedron
Progressiveness and technicality often comes at the cost of listenability. Many artist and songwriters become so obsessed with their music being "weird" or "unusual" that it becomes out of place or otherwise unnecessary. With Dodecahedron this was at first the feeling I got, but after letting the album sit for a while and letting it fall into place I found that there was more to it than that. Every strike of the drum, every shred on the guitar, every faint howl seems thought through and deliberate. Though there are no songs that stand well on their own, the self-titled debut album from the band previously known as Order of the Source Below is a phenomenal listening experience when taken in as a whole.

Rattenfänger - Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum
When your band features the members from Drudkh, Blood of Kingu and Hate Forest you have quite a reputation to live up to. Contrary to the preceding bands, Rattenfänger is a death metal band with crushing doom influences. Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum is the band's only offering thus far but shows insane songwriting skills complete with cavernous growled vocals, an archaic beastly sound and some of the most varied drumming I've heard on a death/doom album for a long time. This album is an absolute must have and is criminally overlooked.

Witchcraft - Legend
Most of those who delve into the realms of doom metal and psychedelic rock will at some point have heard one of Witchcraft's previous albums. Though Legend is a lot less doomy and a lot less psychedelic there's still room for plenty of enjoyment as they've found themselves a niche in the worship of 70's hard rock. Legend is a testament to great riffage and could well be considered a modern classic.

Think I missed other albums too? Comment here on the blog to let me know!

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