Monday, January 7, 2013

Year End Extravaganza: Top Albums of 2012 According to Matt Solis (Cormorant)

I met Matt Solis from stellar prog-metal crew Cormorant about seven years ago when he was playing guitar for Northern California gore fiends Shitstorm and I was doing absolutely nothing with my life. He's always been a respected source of great new music in my life, and has always managed to share his interests with me in an eloquent and friendly way. As he's got a unique perspective on these things, I asked him to contribute some of his favorites of the year and he shared this massive list of wonderful albums. 

25. Of Monsters and Men: My Head is an Animal
I think this came out in their native Iceland in 2011, but fuck that, I got the American release. Eurofolk with just the right amount of pop sensibilities and amazing songwriting

24. Agalloch: Faustian Echoes
One long, badass song. Nice return to their black metal roots. I also dig the creepy “Faust” samples.

23. The Great Old Ones: Al Azif
This record snuck up on me at the very end of the year. Fucking awesome Lovecraftian black metal with tasteful post-rock influences. Hail Cthulhu!

22. Blut Aus Nord: 777 - Cosmosophy
Atmospheric as fuck, great guitar work, weird electronic stuff, an overall sense of foreboding…another solid Blut Aus Nord release!

21. Evoken: Atra Mors
Top notch funeral doom. Filthy as fuck. I sort of want to take a shower after I listen to this record.

20. Deathspell Omega: Drought (EP)
Another weird one from the kings of French black metal. I love the pronounced post rock influences on this EP, and the fast parts make me want to punch holes in the nearest wall.

19. Between the Buried and Me: The Parallax II: Future Sequence
Great follow up to their 2011 EP. If you don’t like BTBAM because they’re “too random,” I want to fight you.

Not quite as awesome as Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde, but still amazing in its own right. Thoughtful, powerful stuff. Black metal that your girlfriend might like. Might.

17. The Sword: Apocryphon
Bringers of mighty riffs and tasty jams. I got this one on orange vinyl and it sounds great. Probably my second favorite Sword record behind Age of Winters.

16. Cattle Decapitation: Monolith Of Inhumanity
The best part about this album is Travis Ryan’s seemingly impossible vocal performances, which are somehow more varied than ever before. Great release from death metal’s most underrated band.

15. Father John Misty: Fear Fun
Ex-Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman reinvents himself as a hip swinging, drug taking, musical dick slinger. Some amazing songs on this one.

14. Deftones: Koi No Yokan
This one surprised the fuck out of me. I pretty much wrote Deftones off in my later adult years, so when I first heard this album my jaw hit the floor. Really, really good. Might even be on par with White Pony for me.

13. Svartidaudi: Flesh Cathedral
Icelandic black metal. Fuck yeah.

12. Neurosis: Honor Found In Decay
Great to see a strong release from Neurosis in 2012. I saw them perform most of this album live recently, and it seems like they have a renewed sense of vigor that’s translating into some really magical stuff.

11. Samothrace: Reverence to Stone
Two songs that will crush your balls into dust. Some of the heaviest shit I heard all year.

10. Worm Ouroboros: Come the Thaw
Beautiful, heartbreaking and heavy all at once. Renowned Bay Area band whore Aesop Dekker brings a lot of subtle dynamics to the drums on this record. I don’t recommend killing yourself in a bathtub, but if you have to, make sure you throw this on the stereo.

More furious than previous release Axe to Fall, yet complemented with some ball swingin’ grooves that produce some of Converge’s most memorable riffs, like that main one in “Sadness Comes Home.”

8. Witchcraft: Legend
Shit rocks. Fuck everyone who says they don’t like the production. The songs sound like classic Witchcraft with even better guitar work.

7. Hooded Menace: Effigies of Evil
Old school death metal with some funeral doom thrown in for good measure. Ye gods, the filthy riffs on this album.

I will always love Rush unconditionally and immediately purchase anything they put out, but allegiance or no allegiance, there’s no denying this is a legitimately great album. The fact that a 40-year old band could write and record an album that’s on par with some of their greatest work is nothing short of astounding. HAIL RUSH.

5. Pallbearer: Sorrow and Extinction
Doom done exceedingly well. Awesome guitar work, chilling vocal deliveries, crushing riffs…it succeeds on all fronts. Great record.

4. Graveyard: Lights Out
Another great album from Graveyard that sounds like it was lifted from the 1974 vaults. This is music that makes me want to stop bathing and roll my own cigarettes.

3. Enslaved: RIITIIR
My favorite metal band releases another instant classic. Progressive, heavy, thoughtful and inspiring. Enslaved cannot be fucked with.

2. Astra: The Black Chord
I really liked The Weirding because it was Pink Floyd worship done right, and I really, REALLY like The Black Chord because it’s YES/King Crimson worship done right. I get high just thinking about this album.

1. Ahab: The Giant
One of the best doom albums ever. I love Ahab’s previous work, but there’s something different about this album…an overall atmosphere that I’ve rarely felt when listening to music. Sounds like being crushed at the bottom of the Mariana Trench by some horrible, undiscovered sea monster. LOVE.

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