Kylie’s Top 10 Metal Albums Of 2012
11. Vorpal Nomad – Hyperborea
So my Top 10 goes to 11. So does this album. I love NWOBHM-style albums, and this fits the bill perfectly!
10. Epica – Requiem For The Indifferent
I’ve read a lot of, well, indifferent reviews for this one, but I found it to be quite enjoyable. It’s not quite as amazing as the prior Design Your Universe, but it’s still quite the metal album.
9. Kamelot – Silverthorn
After Roy Khantatat left the band (and toured with Fabio Lione), I too was unsure of the direction the band would go. Silverthorn, however, is a marked improvement over the prior two releases (Ghost Opera and Poetry For The Poisoned).
8. Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
For a change, this was a slight step downward from the incredible predecessor, Hordes Of Chaos. But it’s still a very competent thrasher that, when it is good, is really damn good.
7. DragonForce – The Power Within
I thought they were done, too. I always held Valley Of The Damned and Sonic Firestorm in very high regards, but also felt that Inhuman Rampage and Ultra Beatdown were mindless self-parody (like a Euro-metal Manowar). They cut out the mindless wankery by a considerable amount, and returned to more focused songwriting and hey, the results are astounding!
6. Striker – Armed To The Teeth
Kind of my surprise release of the year, as I had never heard of the Canadian speed metal outfit until I was tasked to review their sophomore effort. It’s not really original, but what it does, it does SO right.
5. Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth
2008’s The Formation Of Damnation was incredible. Add Gene Hoglan on the skins, and you get one hell of a thrashterpiece. Testament is slowly approaching Exodus as my favorite “returned from far too long of a break” thrash band.
4. 3 Inches Of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal
This is my “fun” album of the year. I was rather disappointed with the prior Here Waits Thy Doom, but they really hit their stride here. A great romp through all their trad metal influences, from Rainbow to Priest to Maiden.
3. Rush – Clockwork Angels
Ok, so I’m going out on a limb calling Rush “metal” here, but this one deserves some serious mention. I actually enjoy their 90s output (especially Counterparts and Test For Echo), and didn’t quite get into their more recent material as much as I would have liked. However, this steampunk-inspired concept album really grabbed my attention. Melodic, progressive, and incredibly enjoyable!
2. Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Ascending To Infinity
After a few duds from Rhapsody Of Fire, I thought Luca might have run out of ideas. Damnit, I love it when I’m wrong. While not the same as Rhapsody’s usual fare of albums-long storytelling, it’s an amazing experience.
1. Seven Kingdoms – The Fire Is Mine
It’s about time I got what I expected for an album. Their 2010 self-titled release really hit me, and they ramped up the songwriting and performances on this one. Think Iced Earth ca. 1992 with Herman Li on lead duty and put a great female vocalist on top. It doesn’t get any better than American power-thrash that soars and shreds!