Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ripple Top Albums of 2012

 Racer's Top 10 of 2012 (in no particular order

The Cult - Choice of Weapon
Black Bombaim - Titans
Doctor Cyclops - Borgofondo
Orange Goblin – A Eulogy For The Damned
Baroness -  Yellow and Green
Orcus Chylde - S/T
Blood Of The Sun - Burning On The Wings Of Desire
Arkona - Slovo
Heidelvolk - Batavi
Lonely Kamel - Dust Devil

Pope's Top 10 of 2012

1.     Alcest - Les Voyages de l'Âme
Post-black metal with a poppy sensibility and charm, it’s almost toe tapping in its accessibility while remaining rooted in all that is dark and gloomy. More reminiscent to the first Les Discrets album than the follow up.

2.     Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora's Piñata

A hodge-podge of musical styles on full display, filled with grooving dance numbers, ultra-heavy operatic metal, and propelled into the cerebral cortex by the most violent drumming of 2012.

3.     Hypno5e – Acid Mist Tomorrow
The long-awaited follow up to the epic debut album, Des Deux L’une Est L’Autre,this French art-metal quartet brought the goods, combining the heaviest off-time metal heard since Gojira, yet extremely accessible and packed with memorable melodies.

4.     Katatonia – Dead End Kings
They could release a platter of shit and it would probably still sound good. Thankfully, Dead End Kings is a return to the form that intrigued me enough to investigate this band back on Viva Emptiness. Gothically dark, haunting and moodier than a gynecologists waiting room, and perfect in every way.

5.     Les Discrets – Ariettes Oubilees

6.     Moonspell – Apha Noir/Omega White
Dark and dastardly, these Portuguese metal mainstays return to the fray with a haunting and demonically heavy epic double LP set.

7.     Mos Generator – Nomads
A triumphant return to the fold, this Port Orchard trio delivered the goods when everyone seemed to forget they ever existed. Soul searching song craft is on full display in this 40 minute gem!

8.     Om - Advaitic Songs
Mesmerizing. Like walking through the Sahara desert with Farflung as your tour guide. Ripe with Middle Eastern tones and themes, yet heavy and accessible at the same time. A complex listen, but one of the most satisfying.

9.     Secrets of the Moon – Seven Bells
Never has evil sounded more brutally beautiful. The bands most focused release to date, clear and concise, the let us know the end is near.

10.  Wo Fat – The Black Code
Dallas, Texas trio has redefined the meaning of HEAVY with this five song marathon of blues-based doom-tinged rawk.

11.  Year of the Goat – Angels’ Necropolis
I fell in love with their 4 song EP from a couple of years ago and to have this drop at the end of 2012 tells me that someone, indeed, loves me. High quality musicianship and song craft, lyrically dark, dripping with images of séances and the Dark One, yet musically accessible enough to bop your head to.

Honorable mention:

Doctor Cyclops - Borgofondo
Dordeduh – Dar De Duh
Blood of the Sun – Burning on the Wings of Desire
Syven - Aikaintait
Xandria – Neverworld’s End
Corrosion of Conformity – S/T

 Woody's Top 10 of 2012. (Very glad this year is over, been a rough one.)

Chips & Beer #3 (magazine)
Corrosion of Conformity - Corrosion of Conformity
Cortez - Cortez
Federale - Not Your Vessel
Groan - The Divine Right of Kings
Mos Generator - Nomads
Dee Snider - Shut Up and Give Me the Mic (book)
Superchrist - Holy Shit
Ufomammut - ORO: Opus Alter
Voi Vod - To The Death

 Horn's Top 10 of 2012

10    Ufomammut, Oro: Opus Alter
9      Nachtmystium, Silencing Machine
8      Serpentine Path, Serpentine Path
7      The Sword, Apocryphon
6      Saint Vitus, Lillie:  F-65
5      Sylosis, Monolith
4      Windhand, Windhand
3      Pig Destroyer, Book Burner
2      Witchcraft, Legend
1      Cattle Decapitation, Monolith of Inhumanity

Ollie's Top 10 of 2012

Wow, Top 10…no easy task by any means…especially as I got it down to around 14 or 15 and should all be in my top 10. I couldn’t really out them in a particular order so the running is purely arbitrary. If I overthink this it could all change so I went with gut instinct!!!

1)       Mos Generator – Nomads
2)       Lord Fowl – Moon Queen
3)       Orange Goblin – A Eulogy For The Damned
4)       Doctor Cyclops – Borgofondo
5)       Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell – Don’t Fear It…Hear It
6)       C.O.C – C.O.C
7)       Imperial State Electric – Pop War
8)       Stone Axe – Captured Live! Roadburn Festival
9)       Alunah – White Hoarhound
10)    Turbonegro – Sexual Harassment

I have to give honourable mentions also to:

Mother Corona – Out Of The Dust
Black Magician – Nature Is The Devil’s Church
Mighty High – Legalise Tre Bags
Sun Gods In Exile – Thanks For The Silver

I could add a load more but it’d get silly!!!

Penfold's Top 10 of 2012

Top 10 of 2012 (in Alphabetical Order):

Alestorm – Back Through Time
Blackfoot Gypsies – On The Loose
District 97 – Trouble With Machines
Ebert, Matt - Hard Work
Gift of Gab – The Next Logical Progression
Random – Language Arts Vol. 1, 2, and 3
Royal Headache – Royal Headache
Sigh – In Somniphobia
Wilson, Jim – Jim Wilson
Wino & Conny Ochs – Heavy Kingdom

Honorable Mentions:

Atherton – No Threat
Brother Ali – Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color
Coup, The – Sorry To Bother You
Fiasco, Lupe – Food And Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1
Immortal Technique – The Martyr
Leiana – Lucky #3
Orange Goblin – A Eulogy For The Damned

Swedebeast's Top 10 of 2012

1. Pale Divine - Painted Windows Black
2. Magnum - On The 13th Day
3. Marillion - Sounds That Can't Be Made
4. Chowder - Passion Rift
5. King Giant - Dismal Hollow
6. Kontinuum - Earth, Blood, Magic
7. Blood Of The Sun - Burning On The Wings Of Desire
8. Killing Joke - MMXII
9. Monolithe - Monolithe III
10. Alunah - White Hoarhound

The Professor’s Top 10 of 2012

1.     Thrice- Anthology
One of the greatest bands of all time (and I’m not exaggerating) puts out their final and most epic piece of work they’ve done.  Anthology is a live album recorded along the final tour of their amazing careers.  It’s a fitting conclusion. 

2.    We’re Doomed- How to Destroy Something Beautiful
When I was given this band to review for The Ripple, I was stunned by the quality of the work here.  Moody, oppressive, gorgeous, sad, and professional, this crew has jumped up into “favorite band” category.   Just waiting on a full length release!

3.    Between the Buried and Me- The Parallax II: Future Sequence
What can you say about Between the Buried and Me that does them justice?  They are some of the greatest musicians in metal.  Hell, in any category.  They create beautiful arrangements that erupt into violent explosion. The Parallax II is far superior to its predecessor, and may be BtBaM’s finest album to date.  That’s saying a great deal.

4.    Deftones- Koi No Yokan
I’ll admit that I was ready to write off the Deftones new album when I heard the single Tempest.  I hate that song.  Still do.  However, the rest of the album is grade A Deftones.  It’s one of the most enjoyable albums of their career.  It’s nice and heavy with just a splash of moody electronica.  It’s great, and I highly recommend it. 

5.    Set it Off- Cinematics
I was stunned when I heard this excellent pop-punk-orchestra affair.  It’s straight up beautiful, with incredible lyrics that are easy to relate to.  It’s catchy as hell and well thought out.  There is a ton of energy involved with this band.  When my band, Cover of Afternoon opened for them, we learned that their live show was as intense and energetic as their album.  Easily the best live band I’ve seen this year.

6.    Wretched- Son of Perdition
If it wasn’t for Between the Buried and Me, this album would win my “Guitar Work of the Year” award..  if it mattered.  Or existed.  These boys can shred.  John Vail is a legendary guitarist, and he’s flanked by the equally talented Steven Funderburk.  Sick stuff. 

7.     Lower than Atlantis- Changing Tunes
It was hard for me to listen to Lower than Atlantis’s new album, because the previous outing World Record is listed as one of my all-time favorite spins.  This album didn’t disappoint.  While not as stellar as WR, It’s a compelling follow-up that has the gorgeous melodies surrounded by the punk guitar.  It’s a great album.

8.    Trioscapes- Separate Realities
Sexy sax jazz metal.  Need I say more?

9.    By the Bull-  Ghosts and Prophecies
An unheralded little band out of Columbia South Carolina, Nick Brewer and co. bring a certain style to their brand of rock.  Part Fall of Troy, part nothing I’ve ever heard, and all freaking fantastic.  The first four tracks of the album stand are amazing.  Especially the acoustic and piano driven The Push. It’s possibly my favorite song of the year.  Check these guys out. 

10.    Jowls- Cursed

I freaking love the aggressive explosion that is Jowls.  This album bleeds anger and is as brutal as any shred metal without being overbearing.  It’s all emotion. I absolutely loved it. 

Mr. Brownstone's Top 10 of 2012

Beach House- “Bloom”
Cat Power- “Sun”
Gotye- “Making Mirrors”
Grimes- “Visions”
Jack White- “Blunderbuss”
Kimbra- “Vows”
Lana Del Rey- “Born To Die”
Passion Pit- “Gossamer”
Sleigh Bells- “Reign of Terror”
The xx- “Coexist”

Old SchoolLists, Lists, Lists!
Racer is at it again.  He wants a Best Music of 2012 List.   A list of bests.  I'm supposed to judge what I've heard in the past year and tell you - in fact, more than tell you - persuade you that I know what's best.  Or, maybe it is so you can judge me and my musical tastes?

Racer, don't you see the whole list thing is what's wrong with the music world?  We all want to take the upper hand in the argument, be seen as the most, come out on top, and be able to look down on the competition.  But, when for the love of music did music appreciation become a contest?

I think it must be ingrained in us to contrast and compare all things and create a little hierarchy of like-kind items and then, to try to impose it on others as "truth". Sure, one apple may taste sweeter than another and be better in your apple hierarchy, but where do you place it in the context of all the fruit you ate this year?  The desire to elevate that which we prefer by subjecting others to our opinions is just misapplied Maslow to music with consequences as serious as misapplied Darwinism to social economics.  What you get when you impose your preferences on others is not what is best.  It may be the most publicized or top grossing, but it is not the "best."  What you get is stuff like "Gangham Style" and Justin Bieber, and I really don't want to go there.

Music is an experience that takes you on a journey. It is not a mineral, fruit or vegetable.  It breathes and moves, has structure and has rules that were made to be broken.  Whether it is The Ben Rice Band on Pour Me Some Whiskey taking you through a scathing slide guitar blues; Heavy Manic Souls' electrified power bluesrock on their self-titled album; Amy Hart's powerful blues-based vocals on Congratulations or Jon Herington showing his funky side on Time On My Hands - all 2012 releases - what do I add if I say they are some of the best blues rock releases of 2012?  Nothing, I add nothing, and it means nothing  unless you also listen and agree. Yet, even that does not mean any of it is "best".

How could it be? Is it even possible to compare releases by The Ben Rice Band, Heavy Manic Souls, Amy Hart and Jon Herington with alternative pop rock such as All The Right Moves'  release The Monster I've Become; Monte Pittman's step from behind Madonna's pointy bra on his album Pain, Love & Destiny'; or Bethpage Black's eclectic rocker Black Magic?  Contrast and compare.   Rule one effort best or better than another? Hardly.

You may hate pop, detest the blues, are non-plussed by alternative rock and only crave the harder stuff like Ripple Music's own Stone Axe's Stone Axe II; Mos Generator's Nomads; or Trucker Diablo's The Devil Rhythm.  So how is it possible with such disparate styles and sounds (and I haven't even mentioned classical, latin, reggae,  metal, country, symphonic, rap, hip hop, jazz, progressive, experimental, stoner, psychedelic, acoustic, emo, gypsy, or any one of a million other human categorizations of the sounds humans make that we call music) anyone can judge one better than another or ever come up with a list of the ten best efforts they heard this year?  It is an impossible, unnecessary and useless task.

The way I look at it we should not compare and contrast to determine which is better or best.  It is all music and, in my humble opinion, in it we should find harmony.  It is not to be placed in a pecking order. So, Racer, you go ahead and rank your aural journey. You won't get a 2012 top ten list from me.

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