Melvins | The Bulls & The Bees
Tags from last.fm: grunge, sludge, stoner rock, rock, metal
Favorite tracks: The War On Wisdom, We Are Doomed
From: Montesano, Washington.
These guys have been around forever. Not one of those tags is right, except maybe “rock.” I’m not exactly sure which tags are right for the Melvins, but it’s not those. I liked this album way more than I expected to. It’s actually quite good.
Meshuggah | Koloss
Tags from last.fm: progressive metal, math metal, technical metal, death metal, metal
Favorite tracks: Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion, Swarm, Do Not Look Down, etc.
From: Umeå, Sweden.
As a friend of mine said about one of their songs off of Obzen, Bleed is “an uber-tank of doom firing chainsaws of badassery.” That pretty much sums Meshuggah up, too. These guys are just, well, just awesome. I gave the whole damn album a five-star rating when I first listened to it and haven’t felt the need to change it since.
Mumford & Sons | Babel
Tags from last.fm: folk, indie, acoustic, bluegrass
Favorite tracks: Where Are You Now, Hopeless Wanderer, I Will Wait
From: London, England.
I know it might seem like all I listen to is metal, but it’s not so. It just happened that there were a lot of metal releases in 2012. One of the decidedly non-metal selections I picked up was Babel. Those tags up there pretty much sum it up, but I’d add “banjo” to the list. I am a sucker for banjo.
Napalm Death | Utilitarian
Tags from last.fm: grindcore, death metal, brutal death metal, metal, grind
Favorite tracks: Analysis Paralysis, A Gag Reflex
From: Birmingham, England.
Like Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death has been around since the dawn of the electric guitar. And they never stop being awesome. And loud. Awesome and loud.
OFF! | Self Titled
Tags from last.fm: hardcore punk, punk, punk rock, hardcore, alternative rock
Favorite tracks: Jet Black Girls, Wiped Out, I Got News For You
From: Los Angeles, California.
Yay! OFF! I haven’t been so excited for a new album in a while. OFF! is Keith Morris from the Circle Jerks at his hardcore finest. This album is 16 songs in 15.7 minutes, the way it used to and should be. Thanks to Keith Morris for knowing where it’s at and continuing to do his thing. With album art from Ray Pettibon (who did The Circle Jerks’ and Black Flag’s album covers back in the day), OFF! is old school punk rock at its finest, only it’s brand spanking new. Long live OFF!
Orange Goblin | A Eulogy For The Damned
Tags from last.fm: stoner rock, stoner metal, doom metal, stoner, hard rock
Favorite tracks: Return To Mars, Red Tide Rising
From: London, England.
Way back when, The UK produced some of the biggest, rawest, heaviest and best music around with Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Motörhead, Judas Priest, et al. Well, Orange Goblin is picking up the slack. Big, big sound. These guys rock.
Pelican | Ataraxia/Taraxis
Tags from last.fm: post-rock, instrumental, post-metal, sludge, doom metal
Favorite tracks: Parasite Colony, Lathe Biosas
From: Chicago, Illinois.
I love Pelican. I have all of their albums. I thought they had broken up, but they surprised me by putting out a new record. I’m not quite sure what genres they fall into, but I have them in my post rock playlist.
Sigur Rós | Valtari
Tags from last.fm: post-rock, ambient, alternative, indie
Favorite tracks: Just put on the record and listen in order. It’s kind of necessary.
From: Reykjavík, Iceland.
If I had to pick one word to describe Sigur Ros, it would be ethereal. They did a DVD where they performed in a field surrounded by absolutely nothing for miles (or kilometers, if you prefer) except amazingly beautiful Icelandic landscape. Now, whenever I hear SR, it’s like I’m flying just above ground over that landscape. It is breathtakingly beautiful.
Sleigh Bells | Reign of Terror
Tags from last.fm: electronic, noise pop, lo-fi, experimental, female vocalists
Favorite tracks: Leader Of The Pack, Comeback Kid
From: Brooklyn, New York.
Nonsensical band name aside, I adore this band’s last album, Treats. Reign of Terror doesn’t quite measure up to it. One of the things I love about this band is their devastating loudness. Even with the volume turned down, they’re just loud, if that makes any sense (which it probably doesn’t). This album has some good stuff on here, but it’s not quite as loud as Treats and therefore, isn’t as good.
The Sword | Apocryphon (Deluxe Edition)
Tags from last.fm: doom metal, stoner metal, stoner rock, heavy metal, metal
Favorite tracks: Apocryphon, and I’m awfully fond of their cover of ZZ Top’s Cheap Sunglasses.
From: Austin, Texas.
The Sword might just be the world’s dorkiest band. All of their songs are about D & D type stuff. I’m not kidding. They are as dorky as they are talented though. They can write the hell out of songs. This is their fourth album and I’ve loved them since their first. I would imagine that The Sword would be best enjoyed on an eight track player in a van similar to this:
Tame Impala | Lonerism
Tags from last.fm: psychedelic, psychedelic rock, indie rock, rock
Favorite tracks: Elephant, Why Won’t They Talk To Me?, Mind Mischief
From: Perth, Australia.
Fuzzed out, psychedelic guitars, a spacy voice that comes from the side, not the front and irresistible beats. I don’t quite like this one as much as their last album, InnerSpeaker, but I haven’t listened to it quite as much either.
Torche | Harmonicraft
Tags from last.fm: sludge, stoner rock, stoner metal, doom metal, stoner
Favorite tracks: Kicking, Letting Go, Sky Trials, Skin Moth
From: Miami, Florida.
Yay! New Torche! Masters of hooks, rulers of lyrics, and just generally all around good dudes from what I hear. They keep making in harder for me to pick my favorite album with every new release. Torche should be way more famous than they are. By the way, these tags aren’t even close to being right either. I’d put them more in the straight up rock and roll category myself. They have a pretty broad appeal I think.
Witchcraft | Legend
Tags from last.fm: stoner rock, hard rock, rock, stoner
Favorite tracks: Dystopia, Deconstruction, It’s Not Because Of You
From: Örebro, Sweden.
Ooooh, this band. Good stuff. They don’t really sound anything like you’d think a band named Witchcraft ought to. For instance, I have another album by a band named Witchcraft that is very much death metal. This is not. It’s way less Wicked Witch of the West and a lot more Glinda The Good Witch. They sound like they’re straight out of the late 60’s early 70’s to me. Not too hard, but with great hooks and a singer who can really actually sing. Now, if you go searching for this band, keep in mind that there are several other bands with this name.
I’m missing a few albums because I didn’t realize how many there were when I started this, and frankly, I’m tired. Also released in 2012 and sitting in my music library:
Black Country Communion | Afterglow
The Company Band | Pros And Cons
Haarp | Husks
IronHorse | Dragged Down A Dead End Path
ISIS | Temporal Bonus Tracks
Job For A Cowboy | Demonocracy
Lamb of God | Resolution
RPG | High Loathsome
Six Feet Under | Undead
Soundgarden | King Animal
Van Halen | A Different Kind of Truth
† Verdun † | The Cosmic Escape of Admiral Masuka