DESTRUCTIVE MUSIC’S 2012 WRITERS POLL | ALBUMS OF THE YEAR!
2012 has been a spectacular year, and instead of a massive speech I’ll let the bands speak for themselves! Here is the Destructive Music writers poll for the best albums of 2012! One thing to note from the lists, OLD CORPSE ROAD seems to be a popular choice!
1. UNDERSMILE – ‘Narwhal’
2. MOONLESS – ‘Calling All Demons’
3. ALLERJEN – ‘Equilibrium’
4. OLD CORPSE ROAD – ‘Tis Witching Hour… As Spectres We Haunt This Kingdom’
5. TRIAXIS – ‘Rage & Retribution’
6. STASIS – ‘Bloodhoney’
7. EYE OF SOLITUDE – ‘Sui Caedere’
8. WINTERFYLLETH – ‘The Threnody Of Triumph’
9. GRAND MAGUS – ‘The Hunt’
10. ISHMAEL – ‘Hell Is Empty & All The Demons Are Here’
*I’d also like to note LACUNA COIL’s ‘Dark Adrenaline’ & AMEBIX – ‘Sonic Mass’. Also ARKHAM WITCH’s ‘Legions Of The Deep’
1. ANATHEMA – Weather Systems
2 Moonspell “Alpha Noir / Omega White”
3 Dodge “To The End”
4 Davidian “Our Fear Is Their Force”
5 By Night “Sympathy For Tomorrow”
6 Kreator “Phantom Antichrist”
7 Tiamat “The Scarred People”
8 Beyond All Recognition “Drop=Dead”
9 As I Lay Dying “Awakened”
10 Zonaria “Arrival Of The Red Sun”
7. Kill Ritual – The Serpentine Ritual
1. Cannibal Corpse – “Torture”
2. Manowar – “The Lord of Steel”
3. 3 Inches of Blood – “Long Live Heavy Metal”
4. Eluveitie – “Helvetios”
5. Be’lakor – “Of Breath And Bone”
6. Dying Fetus – “Reign Supreme”
7. Nile – “At the Gate of Sethu”
8. Kreator – “Phantom Antichrist”
9. Cattle Decapitation – “Monolith of Inhumanity”
10. – “Giant”
1. OLD CORPSE ROAD -’Tis Witching Hour’
2. ‘Voices From Valhalla’
3. Rush-’Clackwork Angels’
4. Grand Magus-The Hunt’
5. Corrosion of Conformity-ST
6. Testament-’Dark Roots of the Earth’
7. Mammoth Mammoth-’Vol III: Hell’s Likely’
8. Uncle Acid and the Deadbaets”Bloodlust’
9. Overkill-’The Electric Age’
10. Led Zeppelin-’Celebration Day’
1 Anaal Nathrakh Vanitas
2 Dying Fetus Reign Supreme
3 God Seed I Begin
4 Burzum Umskiptar
5 Pig Destroyer Book Burner
6 Cannibal Corpse Torture
7 Winterfylleth The Threnody of Triumph
8 My Dying Bride A Map of all Our Failures
9 Deserted Fear My Empire
10 Laceration Tortured Inauguration
Okay, let’s get this out of the way first – yes, my album of the year is by Dragonforce. I completely understand if you choose to stop reading and ignore my opinion about music from now on – but in case anyone’s actually still reading, I’m going to attempt to justify the unjustifiable.
The received wisdom amongst “true” Metal fans is that Dragonforce have always been shit, but this is not the case. Their Dragonheart demo and Valley Of The Damned EP (later beefed up to a slightly less satisfying full album) were brilliant examples of joyful, unpretentious Heavy Metal songwriting with razor-sharp hooks and massive choruses, that took the triumphant energy of European Power Metal and married it with a solid, earthy HM bad-assery that you’d expect from the band who used to be Demoniac. Sonic Firestorm sped things up and threw more riffs in, and though it was a lot of fun at the time with hindsight it set the band down the Wrong Path, as Inhuman Rampage and the ghastly Ultra Beatdown saw them abandoning the song-writing flair that had made them so interesting in favour of Guitar Hero posing and seven million solos a second. Live performances during this period became dreadful affairs as the band struggled to play songs that were built entirely on studio polish, and the band became a shining example of superficial shit Metal for teenagers who don’t know any better.
The Power Within sees the band not just stepping back from the edge of the cliff, but proceeding to conquer the entire fucking mountain. With instantly recognisable vocalist ZP Theart out of the band and their now-trademark guitar-widdle-tornado turned right down some fans complained that they’d lost what made them special – but in fact what they’ve really done is to finally reclaim it. Dragonforce were never good because they squeezed fifty-four riffs and twelve solos into a single minute – in fact, that’s why they were shit – they were good for THE SONGS. And JESUS FUCKING CHRIST ALMIGHTY, they have rediscovered how to write them.
When we’re old enough to stop being precious about our musical tastes and how different they make us we realise that Heavy Metal is another form of pop music (and all the better for it), but Dragonforce have taken that to its extreme. This isn’t so much a Power Metal album as an album of unrestrained, shameless high-energy Pop filtered through a Heavy Metal paradigm, as if a boy-band decided to play all their songs with guitars for a bet. The choruses here are enormous and absolutely demand to be screamed at the very top of your voice, but unlike the case with many Euro Power Metal bands the songs aren’t just empty vessels for the choruses – every moment of every track is perfectly sculpted for maximum catchiness and hook. Driving, anthemic and rapturous in equal measure, each song does exactly what it sets out to do with no padding or fluff – even solos are used sparingly an efficiently, something which seems unbelievable after their last two albums. If the vocalist doesn’t quite have ZP’s range or identity, and if the guitar gymnastics aren’t as breathless, that only serves to emphasise the fact that song-writing is King here. There’s little point naming highlights – even the weaker tracks on here are near-perfect gems of Pop Metal catchiness with hooks that could pull your face off if you weren’t smiling so much.
The real mark of an Album Of The Year, of course, is how often you come back to it across the year, and how effectively it continues to touch you emotionally. There are other albums this year that are cooler, or cleverer, or sound less like East 17, but none that have made me punch the air, grin like a twat, scream until my throat is sore or even fully laugh out loud even half as much. I’ve been listening to this album at least once a fortnight for over six months now, and it still makes me happy every time I listen to it.
I’m now going to listen to Antediluvian for a week in order to prove that I’m still Metal.