Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gupta's Top 10 Albums of 2012

Well, here we are. The end of 2012. I think I've listened to more music this year than I ever have in the rest of my life. I've expanded my tastes a lot, tried tons of new and different styles and genres, and I like to think that all of this has made me a better person today than I was on January 1st, 2012. I'll save all the sappy stuff for later, so without further ado, here are my top 10 albums of 2012. For once, this list is actually in ascending order of favorites.

#10: Foxy Shazam - The Church of Rock and Roll

What can I say? Foxy Shazam hit hard this year with great rock anthems that sound equally at home in a sold out arena as well as in a sold out small, dingy, intimate venue. Definitely a throwback to bands like Queen, Foxy Shazam definitely crank out one of the most fun and addictive albums this year.

Listen:  I Like It

#9: Death Grips - The Money Store

This album. This. Album. Despite only having access to it for less than a year, now it's definitely become one of my favorite rap albums, ever. It's challenging, progressive, and noisy, but despite all of the experimental sounds and beats, songs can't help but to get stuck in your head. Hip-hop, trip-hop, experimental avant-garde progressive post-rap: call it what you will, Death Grips delivers a sonic experience quite unlike anything else.

Listen: The Fever (Aye Aye)

#8: Rush - Clockwork Angels

Rush dropped their 20th album this year, and by god, isn't it just something. Sounding somewhat like a return to form to their hard-hitting prog rock from their pre-synth rock days, Clockwork Angels tells a magnificent and world-spanning story, and the music definitely fits the bombastic and grandiose setting. This is definitely my favorite Rush album since 1981's Moving Pictures. Review here.

Listen: Headlong Flight

#7: Napalm Death - Utilitarian

Considering 2012 was the year I was introduced, learned to tolerate, and then learned to love grindcore with all of my blackened, icy heart, it only makes sense that grind godfathers and  extreme music heavyweights Napalm Death make this list. Politically charged and ready to maul your face off, Utilitarian is a tidal wave of distorted guitars, blaring drums and barked vocals. Not for the faint of heart. Review here.

Listen: Errors in the Signals

#6: BadBadNotGood - BBNG2

A genre like jazzy instrumental hip-hop sounds like a weird idea at first glance, but trust me, it works. Canadians (woo!) BadBadNotGood dish out a ton of different sounds, tones, and feelings on BBNG2, all of which are loved by this guy right here.

Listen: UWM (Feat. Leland Whitty)

#5: Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora's Piñata

Blends of jazz and metal have been around since about 1993, when Cynic released their amazing debut Focus, but since then, metal has really only taken cues from the technical and avant-garde side of the genre. DSO swings over to the other end of the spectrum and plays, well... swing jazz. Perfectly moshable as it is danceable, Pandora's Piñata is easily one of the most refreshing releases this year. Review here.

Listen: Voodoo Mon Amour

#4: Twelve Foot Ninja - Silent Machine

Speaking of refreshing releases, Silent Machine is not only refreshing, but innovative as well. Mixing nu-metal, djent, funk, latin fusion and reggae? That kind of stunt was unheard of before this. Maybe a comedy musician like Weird Al would've attempted it, but I assure you, Twelve Foot Ninja not only attempts it, but shows you it can be done well. I still have no idea how I found out about this band, but all I know is that I'm glad I did. Review here.

Listen: Coming for You

#3: Dawnbringer - Into the Lair of the Sun God

Old school heavy metal (a la Iron Maiden) meets modern day vest metal (a la Valient Thorr) in sound with a scope the size of a 70s prog rock epic (a la 2112-era Rush). No uber-technical playing, no blistering speed and aggression, just nine perfectly executed tracks. Sun God is something you can just toss on to headbang and air guitar to, but the fist-pumping metal is simply a medium for an incredibly intricate story to be told. Review here.

Listen: I

#2: Pig Destroyer - Book Burner

"This then, this is libel, slander, deformation of character. This is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of art. A kick in the pants to God, man, destiny, time, love, beauty, what you will. I'm going to sing for you. A little off key perhaps, but I will sing. I will sing while you croak. I will dance on your dirty corpse."

Review here.

Listen: Burning Palm

#1: Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

Atop the pedestal titled "Best Album of 2012" stands Converge. All We Love We Leave Behind just hit all the right spots for me. It was chaotic, challenging, extreme, emotional, melodic and everything else in between. Listening to this album is like feeling every emotion ever, at the same time. It's a giant whirlwind of love, hate, despair, and empowerment. It's a complete sensory overload; a feast for those who love to feel. My raving review can be found here.

So that's it. My top 10 favorite albums from 2012. I guarantee that now that this list has been published, I guarantee I'll find like, a shit ton of albums that I think are way better than every single album on this list. Whatever. That's the way the music reviewing world works. What were your favorite albums of 2012? Let me know down in the comments section or on Facebook. I'm really interested to see what everyone else has been listening to this year!

That's all for now, folks! Happy politically correct non-denominational December holidays!


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