2012 was one hell of a year for Metal music. So much so that even listing off every amazing/top notch/legendary Death Metal album from last year is practically impossible, especially in a Top 10 list. These 10 albums were chosen after much deliberation and part of that process was listening to so many phenomenal LPs that choosing 10 almost felt wrong. In the end though, these 10 albums have towered over everything else in technical death metal all year. These are the albums that redefined bands and bent genres and only one can be the very best. Let’s get to it…
**As a quick disclaimer, Gojira’s ‘L’Efant Sauvage’ and Meshuggah’s ‘Koloss’ will not be a part of this Top 10. Including those two albums would cheat deserving bands out of first and second place. I think my username is indication enough of how much I love both albums.**
#10. Aborted – Global Flatline:
Aborted gave the Death Metal community at large quite a scare with ‘Strychnine.213’ That is of course until ‘Global Flatline’ kicked every naysayer in the ass, as if to say ‘Let’s see if anyone ever dares to doubts us again’. It’s easily the band’s best since 2003’s ‘Goremageddon’. Much like ‘Goremageddon’, the intensity of ‘Global Flatline’ can be compared to being trapped in the middle of a razor blade tornado. If ‘Global Flatline’ had been released in 2011, it would have broken in to my Top Five, easily. If you haven’t bought this album yet, there’s something wrong with you.
#9. Aegaeon – Being:
I’ve been anticipating ‘Being’ since ‘Dissension’ completely blew me away and like the geniuses I knew they were, Aegaeon managed to completely annihilate my expectations. ‘Being’ features a double dose of the progressiveness and brutality that made ‘Dissension’ the revelation it was. You have never heard Deathcore this simultaneously majestic and uncompromising. ‘Being’ is easily some of the most tightly performed and phenomenally written metal music of 2012. Even at six songs, there’s no shortage of awe-inspiring melodies, riffs, fills, blasts and yes, breakdowns. Even the most hardened of Deathcore skeptics have no excuse to not listen to this release.
#8. Omnihility – Biogenesis:
If there’s one thing Omnihility’s proven with ‘Biogenesis’, it’s that they have the balls to look a band like Origin in the eyes and say ‘Oh yeah? Beat this, motherfuckers.’ ‘Biogenesis’ is easily the best (ultra) technical death metal album since both ‘Antithesis’ and ‘Apocalyptic Feasting’ but beyond that, it secures Omnihility a spot in the technical death metal hall of fame. Remember how fast ‘Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas’ was? Multiply it by 10. Remember how intense ‘Echoes Of Decimation’ was? Not anymore. There’s a new force to be reckoned with in tech-death. Prepare yourselves or get out of the way.
#7. Abiotic – Symbiosis:
In my ‘Top 5 Albums You May Have (Tragically) Overlooked In 2012’, I described Abiotic’s ‘Symbiosis’ as Deathcore’s ‘Effigy Of The Forgotten’. That assessment has not changed one bit. ‘Symbiosis’ makes short work of just about every other effort in Deathcore history with its expert mixture of technicality, brutality, memorability and downright talent. I knew Abiotic would reap the rewards of their hard work and Metal Blade Records had better treat them with the respect/admiration they deserve. The metal world is theirs for the taking and Abiotic are never ones to disappoint. Here’s to the future; it’s gonna be great.
#6. Pencil Lead Syringe – Pencil Lead Syringe:
If ‘Pencil Lead Syringe’ wasn’t an EP, there’s a good chance it would be in my Top 3 albums of the year. As it stands, ‘Pencil Lead Syringe’ is just about the greatest follow up to ‘Suffocated And Embalmed’ I could have asked for. Between the untouchable gutturals of Ramon Mercado, the unbelievable stringed prowess of Chris Phillipsen and the drumming wizardry of Gerry Flores, this Inland Empire trio can do no wrong. If you haven’t already experienced ‘Pencil Lead Syringe’, stop stalling. This EP’s free on SoundCloud, so there’s no excuse not to love this material, short of deafness.
#5. Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme:
How can anyone not love Dying Fetus? They’re one of the most dependable Death Metal bands this side of Bolt Thrower and ‘Reign Supreme’ sees the release of the band’s best material in years. It is the best culmination of the band’s successes imaginable. It features the rage of ‘Purification Through Violence’/’Killing On Adrenaline’ with the tightness of ‘Destroy The Opposition’ fed through the technicality of ‘Descend Into Depravity’. Best of all, even with its inspiration from past Dying Fetus LP’s, ‘Reign Supreme’ never feels derivative. Overall, ‘Reign Supreme’ sees Dying Fetus as tough and ready to rumble as ever.
#4. Inanimate Existence – Liberation Through Hearing:
‘What the hell is ‘Liberation Through Hearing’ is the question I’m sure the majority of you are asking yourselves. Breaks down like this; ‘Liberation Through Hearing’ is a combination of 90’s technical death metal ingenuity/vision (as displayed by bands like Demilich, Liers In Wait & Oppressor) and modern tech-death production values/aesthetics. It’s clear from the get go that Inanimate Existence has no use for any other tech-death sound beyond one that they’ll build from scratch. Beautiful, shocking & magnificent…As a work of sheer originality, there’s nothing like it from 2012. You owe it to yourself to pick this one up.
#3. Cattle Decapitation – Monolith Of Inhumanity:
Never before did I think a Cattle Decapitation release could breach my Top 3 Albums Of The Year. Then again, ‘Monolith Of Inhumanity’ did a great many things I never expected; breaking new ground for intensity and progressiveness in deathgrind, the inclusion of well-done clean vocals compliments of Travis Ryan and above all else, a sense of cohesiveness and structure that Cattle Decapitation has never achieved. By all accounts, ‘Monolith Of Inhumanity’ is a triumph. It’s made fans out of virulent haters, and proven once and for all that Cattle Decapitation had the power to release a masterpiece like this.
#2. Spawn Of Possession – Incurso:
In many ways, ‘Incurso’ is more than just a technical death metal album. It’s a full-fledged rebirth of classical music, particularly in the vein of Rachmaninoff. There is no other neo-classical death metal band that can ever achieve what Spawn Of Possession have here. With Christian Muenzer as a band member, their dominance is unquestionable. This is not only some of the most technical music ever made, it’s also some of the most haunting, beautiful and downright game changing of all time too. How Spawn Of Possession can ever top this, I have no idea.
And the best technical death metal album of the year is…
#1. Malignancy – Eugenics:
There’s no two ways about it; ‘Eugenics’ is a perfect record. From the flawless guitar riffs to the impeccable drumming, from the monstrous growls & shrieks to the otherworldly bass lines, there isn’t a single second on this record that doesn’t resonate with the Death Metal nirvana some bands spend their whole careers trying to reach five seconds of. No other band can match what Malignancy has done this year, new or old. Years from now, this record will still be a shining example of everything right and true in Death Metal and music…a true magnum opus.