Saturday, 15 December 2012

...and finally! Top 20 Albums of the Year - Part 2

This is the one you've all been waiting for; my top 10 albums of 2012! Enjoy as I take you on a journey from number #10 through to that glorious number 1 spot:

#10 - The Fusion Syndicate - The Fusion Syndicate

One of the most unique albums I have heard; involving producer Billy Sherwood (Google him), as he collaborates with some of the finest jazz, prog and fusion musicians in this living age. Usually I would find an album like this particularly dull, it would generally drag on and sound repetitive. But The Fusion Syndicate is absolutely of the finest calibre, the musicians resonate off of each other so majestically. The combination of genres work together in a way that leaves you feeling stunned. It is not your typically jazz fusion album. Each song is roughly 7 minutes, but the tracks take you on a musical journey of pure enlightenment. I urge you to step outside the box and give this one a listen, it is a homage to an underground genre of the 21st Century.

Molecular Breakdown -

#9 - While She Sleeps - This Is The Six

And now for something completely different, coming from British hardcore band While She Sleeps. This is a band I only discovered this year, and I'm glad that I did. They are refreshing to the metal scene at a time when things were looking a bit desperate. They're now starting to create a bigger fan base, and are receiving praise from huge rock industries such as Kerrang!, after picking up the award for Best British Newcomer. Their album This Is The Six is a well polished record, showcasing what they're about; which is basically a clash of pure metal and hardcore, meaning that there is melody interweaved with the heavier elements. The name of the album 'the Six' is representing the five members of the band, plus the fans. This shows in the album as the fans are getting what they deserve; fantastic music from a band who will take the world by storm in the next few years. You heard it here first... or maybe second...

Seven Hills -

#8 - Lower Than Atlantis - Changing Tune

One of my favourite up and coming bands of the last few years have returned with yet again another classic album, in the form of Changing Tune. Releasing an album a year since their first one in 2010 is no easy task, especially if the aim is to put out an album that is progressively superior to the last, but consistency is no problem for these guys. With the right influences like Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World, Lower Than Atlantis are blowing up on the music scene right now. Front man Mike Duce is phenomenal, he is what music should be all about, as he illustrates an amazing imagery in his music and lyrics. For fans of good ol' rock music, with short and snappy tunes, Lower Than Atlantis are the band for you. Just like While She Sleeps, they are showing how British music is fighting back against the Americans.

Love Someone Else -

#7 - Marilyn Manson - Born Villain

Here's an album I never thought I'd see in my top 20, let alone my top 10, but it is right in the midst of my list. For me, it is a huge return to form for the metal icon. Despite what his live performances may be like nowadays, this record does not disappoint. It is dark as you'd expect, the musicianship is powerful. The eeire parts of the tracks create a creepy atmosphere which flows throughout the album. Plus Manson doesn't sound half bad on the record. His voice still has that distinctive tone to it, and it works perfectly. If you thought Manson had fallen off like the rest of us, then maybe this album will prove to you that he's making a comeback. Antichrist Superstar standard? Maybe not, but it still is a high quality album, let's hope he doesn't butcher the songs live.

No Reflection -

#6 - Every Time I Die - Ex Lives

Ah how it feels good to see Every Time I Die in my list! One of the craziest, exceptional bands in music history have returned with an incredible album, their sixth studio effort. It is exactly what you'd expect of them to have achieved, but to a higher level. By far their best record yet, and that is a huge call. Every song has a uniqueness about it like no other band can accomplish. Some parts are melodic and epic, other parts are crushing, and even more so, some parts are perfect sing-a-long/shout-a-long moments. The band are completely underrated, and they deserve a lot more recognition, and this album should draw in a bigger fan base and help this band reach their deserved heights of fame.

Revival Mode -

#5 - Shotty Horroh - Shotty vs. Horroh; Battle in the Belly of the Beast

And now for the all important top 5. This one of something completely different to the rest of my list, as not only is it not an official 'album', is it also my only rap/hip-hop album in my top 20. Recently Manchester is known widely for its powerful surge of the arrival of amazing rap acts, but Shotty is by far the most talented lyricist, and one of the biggest names in the underground scene. Some people may know him just as a battle rapper, which he has a huge talent for which has taken him globally, but his music is what gets him most of his credit and praise. With his release earlier this year, there are 26 tracks which are incredibly produced and contain lyrics about the struggles of life, partying, and various other gritty topics. The lyrics are combined with flow and technicality which makes the whole thing that extra bit superb. Some music 'fans' frown upon the rap genre, but usually only because they're ignorant about it, how it isn't 'creative' and how they only talk about guns and violence. Well, they couldn't be more wrong. There are rappers out there who make fantastic tracks about subjects which are relevant to most people and Shotty Horroh is one of them. One day he'll break through to a wider audience, he deserves the credit he gets.

Zombie -

#4 - Axewound - Vultures

Back to the metal world, and here's an album that has completely blown me away. The 'supergroup', made up of Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats on lead vocals, Matt Tuck from Bullet For My Valentine on guitar and backing vocals, Mike Kingswood of Glamour of the Kill fame on guitar, Jason Bowld of Pitchshifter on drums and last but not least, ex Rise to Remain member Joe Copcutt playing bass. It is probably the album I have listened to the most this year, and surprisingly not in my top 3, but it shows the high standard of albums this year. This one is by no means an exception, as Vultures shows how well executed heavy music can be on a record. You feel the emotions of the band better on this record than any other record I've listened to this year. The guitar playing from both Matt Tuck and Mike Kingswood is outstanding, the riffs are great, but the solos are of a different kind. But the credit for the best solo on the album has to be given to guest guitar player Synster Gates (from Avenged Sevenfold) on the opening track, which is self titled. So overall an amazing album, to the point where if the members main bands stopped, then I'd be more than happy for Axewound to continue.

Exorchrist -

#3 - Tenacious D - Rize of the Fenix

Top 3 time, and who better to start it off than the almighty comedy duo Tenacious D! Everybody knows who Jack Black is, and how much of a genuis he is, and this reflects in all of Tenacious D's output. New album Rize of the Fenix is a journey of how far the band have come and how they have conquered all. The songs are just as funny as the old material, the lyrics are as insane and hilarious as ever, but musically I'd say this is their finest effort to date. JB's voice is golden, and seeing as he's not a classically trained singer, he does an awesome job. Kyle Gass (KG's) guitar playing is also an integral part of the duo's music, but of course they are aided with their backing band, who are hard rocking. "The nicest man in Rock n Roll" Mr Dave Grohl is on drums again for the album and it's safe to say we can see why he's one of the greatest drummers of all time. Tenacious D are as relevant as ever in 2012, and if like me you were lucky to see them live this year, then you'd know how amazing a show they put on. Pure entertainers and they love giving back to the dedicated fans.

Rize of the Fenix -

#2 - Stone Sour - House of Gold & Bones; Pt 1

An album I have reviewed a couple of months back, it has made it into my top 2. Such a brilliant album from one of my favourite metal bands. Such a clever concept record and an emotionally intelligent journey when listening to it. The music is the best the band have ever made and I'm excited for Part 2 in 2013. If you want to know more about the album, and you know you do, then check out my review of it!

Gone Sovereign/Absolute Zero -

#1 - Deftones - Koi No Yokan

It was probably predictable, but nevertheless it is here! My number 1 Album of the Year is from Deftones, with Koi No Yokan. This is another album I have previous reviewed in-depth, so please check out that review! This album shows a band who were struggling, making an album that has silenced all critics. Such a 'beautiful' album and if you haven't checked it out yet, then now is the time to do so, I'm not angry that you haven't, I'm just disappointed.

Tempest -

So there you have it, my Top 20 Albums of the Year, and by far the most diverse list you'll see! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. I'll have plenty to review next year, but until then, enjoy the rest of 2012 and keep rocking!

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