We’ve not written anything in ages because we are lazy & dead inside. Thankfully the end of the year has arrived giving us a chance to round up all those albums we really wanted to review but never got round to because…. I can’t even be bothered to think of an excuse. Sorry kids. Anyway, it has been a pretty spectacular year for music & here are the first 5 albums I could think of that may or may not have come out in 2012.
5 : Grand Magus – The Hunt
Grand Magus have slipped very comfortably into their new role as heir to Manowar’s throne. I can’t imagine any other band on the planet fit to wear Eric Adams’ leather girdle when he finally dies in valiant battle with 72 oz steak or loses a leg to diabetes. The Hunt is a heavy metal purist’s wet dream. No experimentation, no bullshit, just a denim clad power trio busting out old school solos & lyrics on such diverse subjects as swords, Valhalla & swords. Whilst it lacks the immediate punch of Hammer of the North, persist with it you’ll find not a single bad track.
4 : Neurosis – Honour Found In Decay
There is heavy & then there is Neurosis. While other bands piss about with the odd menacing riff, Scott Kelly & co set out to crack the planet in two through unrelenting walls of sound. Recent releases have seen a shift to a more sludgy sound with notorious genius/cunt Steve Albini handling production & it is business as usual in that respect. Tempos are allowed to build over vast distorted guitar work & only to crash back down to the ground once they’ve threatened the well-being of your home stereo equipment. Doomy apocalyptic post metal at its absolute best.
3 : Woods of Ypres – Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light
The word tragedy is often overused but entirely appropriate here. Woods of Ypres were positioned to explode in popularity with the perfect level of hype surrounding them & an absolutely stunning album about to land. David Gold’s untimely death a year ago tomorrow lends poignancy to the brutally morbid yet tongue in cheek nature of the lyrics. The ultra-masculine might find fault with the fact that this is genius doom pop for girls but that’s ok because they secretly practice docking in the gym showers & masturbate whilst wearing their girlfriend’s underwear.
2 : Black Magician – Nature is the Devil’s Church
These dapper English gents wandered in from out of nowhere & dropped a bona fide masterpiece on our laps. Early Cathedral plus Jon Lord is a winning formula, it would appear. Managing to sound like a classic from the first listen is quite a feat; warm, deep tones & an organic production that owes more to classic prog than the modern doom template. There might only be 3 full songs & 2 instrumentals on here but the whole thing clocks in at over 40 minutes & peaks on the historical epic Chattox. Refined doom for the thinking man, now where did I leave my top hat?
1 : Baroness – Yellow & Green
Wah wah wah! It’s not heavy enough! It doesn’t sound like early Mastodon! I want my mum!
Baroness’s sprawling double album certainly has divided the fans. Half have heralded it as the greatest rock album of the past decade & the other half are morons. From the straight forward rock of Board Up The House to the haunting Eula, they manage to cover the whole spectrum of emotion in the 18 track run. The two halves beautifully mirror each other with each half with 9 tracks a piece. Beautiful, heartbreaking, emotional yet completely accessible rock music. I can’t imagine the levels of retardation required not to love this album.