Top 10 metal albums of 2012

Whenever there’s a list of albums on FL – be that best albums, overrated albums or underrated albums – there’s inevitably a complaint that the list “needs moar metal”. This list is the exception to that rule.

To countdown the top 10 metal albums of 2012, FL turned to Australia’s leading expert on all things heavy – Andrew Haug. As the host of triple j’s Full Metal Racket from 2001 till 2011 Haug has undoubtedly listened to more metal than almost everyone else in Australia and he’s still spreading the gospel according to metal on Australia’s only 24/7 online rock and metal station. His list of 2012’s best metal records travels the globe to bring you the best from Australia, America, the UK, France and Sweden from a mix of familiar (Soulfly, Stone Sour) and unfamiliar names (Klone, Anathema).

10. OSI – Fire Make Thunder

It’s no secret I love progressive music. OSI features Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater, keyboards, vocals) and Jim Matheos (Fates Warning, guitars) alongside Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, drums). It’s a solid and creative blend of progressive rock and electronica backed up by a soothing and pristine production. This band deserves more credit for simply for being pure and honest.

9. The Levitation Hex – The Levitation Hex

I sorely miss Australia’s most criminally underrated Australian act Alchemist. Yes, whilst we can still indulge in the back catalogue we can also move forward with main man and visionary Adam Agius and continue the journey with his new band The Levitation Hex, featuring bassist/vocalist Mark Palfreyman and guitarist Scott Young from Alarum, and drummer Ben Hocking from Aeon of Horus. The trademark Alchemist signature sounds are totally there but they also bring in the influences from other band members. It won’t be long before these seasoned metallers are back where they belong as one of the leaders in the Australian heavy music scene.

8. Anathema – Weather Systems

I can admit I missed the boat on this band many years ago but you know what? You can always jump in and swim after it then get onboard. These lush and emotive dark rockers from the UK have delivered a beast of a record that truly requires your undivided attention when listening. If you’re distracted you’ll miss it. It’s simply astounding how great the song writing is but sadly will never be considered for any commercial airplay simply because? Well, you know the drill with the school of cool attitudes in today’s media blah blah so just listen and drift away.

7. Soulfly – Enslaved

I know many are still praying for a Sepultura reunion to come; and, yes I’ve been guilty of praying too. But if you stay in this mindset too long you will miss out on just how brutally heavy the ex-Sepultura main man Max Cavalera has delivered with his band Soulfly’s eighth studio record Enslaved. Many can say some of the previous Soulfly releases have never been up to par in comparison with Sepultura’ greats such as Arise and Chaos AD but when it comes to blunt force delivery this record has its all, enough to make the jaded sit up and really take notice. Killer riffs a plenty!

6. Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol

For a good career to have longevity means you need to consistently release great music. Some bands fall short of this when they hit album number six but not Paradise Lost who have delivered yet another cracker of a record with their thirteenth album. I don’t use the word ‘consistently” lightly but this band has not released a bad record – even in their “less riff driven” era of the early 2000’s. What a band, what an institution!

5. Grand Magus – The Hunt

Swedish three piece, Grand Magus has one of the best vocalists since Bruce Dickinson and Ronnie James Dio in their ranks. Big call I hear you say? Well, hear me out. Janne “JB” Christoffersson isn’t a clone but another great singer with his own identity and sound – something lacking greatly today in many genres of heavy music claiming vocal originality. The Grand Magus is a must for fans of straight up loud and proud heavy metal without the sword wielding cheese and leather thrown in. Hail the Magus.

4. Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud

The music machine returns. Devin Townsend is possibly the most honest artist in music today; never shy to admit anything at anytime and then miraculously capture these thoughts, emotions and experiences on tape. His fifteenth record Epicloud is the conclusion to the remarkable quadrilogy under the moniker Devin Townsend Project. It has all the bells and whistles of a new age pop record but is also very heavily laced with crunch and grit creates the perfect ying and yang that has become the stable balance of Devin’s musical life. An absolute one-off artist.

3. Klone – A Dreamer’s Highway

Who? Some of you say? Klone that’s who! Hailing from France and somewhat of an undiscovered gem til now as some people are finally taking notice. This is their fourth album and surely one to establish this act as a progressive powerhouse with a bright future ahead.

2. Stone Sour – House Of Gold & Bones Part. 1

While many fans prefer frontman Corey Taylor to keep his stoopid mask on and yell obscenities to the kiddies, I prefer this side of him. Stour Sour a rock band? Yes! A metal band? Yes! A great band? Yes! Lump ‘em in whatever genre you want but this band knows how to blend it all ever so seamlessly.

1. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage

A MONSTER OF A BAND! Their riffs are bigger than Godzilla and if you’ve ever had the privilege of seeing this band live, then you’d agree that there aren’t too many acts that play with so much emotion, strength and conviction as Gojira. This band deserves to take over the world.

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