Allyson’s Top 10 of 2012
This was such a great year for music. Some of my favourite bands came out with new material, and a lot of it was just fantastic. Whittling down a list for this site was difficult, and my entries are not necessarily based on what I scored the album in my reviews or how perfect I think they are, but rather what has stuck with me, touched me, or carried me emotionally through the year in some way. Let’s get down to it!
1. Wintersun –Time I
If 2012 will be known for anything for me, it will be the year I started to get comfortable with growling vocals. If you’ve read other stuff I’ve written on this site, you’ll know I’ve never been a fan of growling at all and I’ve eschewed a lot of music just because of this particular vocal style. And while I’m still not a huge enthusiast, but I’ve come a long way. The fact that this album has made my #1 is a testament to that journey. I loved this album from the first time I listened to it, and I have been spinning it repeatedly since I got it from iTunes the day it was released. And bonus: I got to see Wintersun play most of it live in Vancouver on December 3, and they were fabulous. That was a definite highlight of the year for me. My favourite song is “Time”; the raw emotion of that song and Jari’s delivery of the vocals gives me chills every time I listen to it, which is often.
2. Ex Deo – Caligvla
Here is another album with a growling vocalist. It’s is so fun and catchy that it didn’t take long for Maurizio Iacono’s voice to grow on me. This is another band I saw live in Vancouver, back in October, and they put on a great, great show. Fun is the key with this album; here is my full review.
3. Nightwish – Imaginaerum – The Score
Gorgeous score for a film I have not seen and have no idea when I will ever see. There seems to be delay after delay with the release. But this is a beautiful, relaxing instrumental album I chilled out to a lot after I got my hands on it.
4. Sabaton – Carolus Rex
Catchy as hell and way better than Sabaton’s previous release, Coat of Arms (which I found milquetoast). The band really outdid themselves with this release, and I am looking forward to seeing them rockin’ it out live in Vancouver February 13th!
5. Akoma – The Other Side
This is a little known symphonic power metal band from Denmark that I have loved since their three-track release of 2009, Lost Forest. This is a band I highly recommend you check out if you are a fan of this genre. Their sound is very rich and lush and there really is nothing like it out there.
6. Dawn of Destiny – Praying to the World
I adore this hard working but little known power metal band from Germany. I’ve been a fan for years. Why this band does not have a deal with a major label is a crime if you ask me because they are one superbly talented group. This is their fourth album, the first with their new singer, Jeanette Scherff, and it didn’t disappoint me at all.
7. Pythia – The Serpent’s Curse
This British symphonic power metal band really impressed me with this album, especially as I wasn’t a fan of their first effort. The Serpent’s Curse makes my list this year because of its infectious catchiness, and I give it a regular spin because of this. Oh, and Emily Alice Ovenden is a kick-ass singer. My review is here.
8. Opera Diabolicus – +1614
You can read my gushy review of this album here. I loved pretty much everything about this release, from the menacing atmosphere, to how the retelling of the legend of Countess Bathory was conveyed through song, to the literary-ness of the lyrics. Great album from another sort of obscure band (though Snowy Shaw is a member) that I hope gets a lot more attention.
9. Amberian Dawn – Circus Black
I initially gave this album a pretty meh score in my review here on Black Wind Metal, but I reviewed it before I had my hard copy with lyrics booklet in my hot little hands. And as soon as I was able to read the lyrics as I listened to the CD, this album totally clicked with me in a very different way. I now regret my 3.75/5.0 score. I would like to revise it to a 4.25.
10. Sound Storm –Immortalia
This album really knocked my socks off over the summer, when I reviewed it. Since then, I have been following the band on Facebook and they seem like such hard workers, and have had the privilege of opening for such acts as Haggard and Tristania. This is definitely a band to watch out for in the future.