The Best (& Not So Best) Albums of 2012: L-Z

Welcome home!

Continued from part One: A-K.

Melvins | The Bulls & The Bees


Tags from 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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