Thrash Hits

December 13th, 2012

The Thrash Hits Top 20 Albums of 2012

Thrash Hits Albums of 2012

Well, it’s all been leading to this. The votes are in, the results have been tabulated, calculated, and any other kind of mathematically something-lated you can think of. This is the Thrash Hits Top 20 Albums of 2012.

And just how did we work this out? We took everyone’s individual lists, and gave each album a score from 1 to 20 depending on how high it fell in the list. We then added up all the points, and voila – the collective list was born. In the case of a tie – of which there was just one within the top 20 scoring albums – Hugh and Raz picked which record would go above the other. There’s no half-arsed shared-spots on our list. So without further ado, here’s that all-important list…in reverse order:

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20. Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud

Devin Townsend Epicloud album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of EpicloudYes, Epicloud is unashamedly cheesy – but it appeals to that little gleeful part in everyone. The part that, even when you’re sober, when you hear that song, just wants to let rip and dance barefoot on the nearest table. Like singing in the shower, dancing without music – or a gospel choir without a Gospel – this record has no agenda other than having fun, freeing it to be unashamedly joyful, exuberant, transcendent, with a sound that’s practically stratospheric. (Click here to read the entire of Ruth Booth’s review of Epicloud)

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19. While She Sleeps – This Is The Six

While She Sleeps This Is The Six album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What Raz said after he heard the title track to This Is The Six for the first time: The title track to their first album proper is super. It sounds better and better each time you listen to it. Check out all the Ohs and Woahs. Seriously. They’re like the heavy metal Kaiser Chiefs. They’re both from Yorkshire. Maybe it’s something in the tea.

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18. Katatonia – Dead End Kings

Katatonia Dead End Kings album cover artwork packshot Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of Dead End KingsThe individual moments are brilliant but, once again, it’s the net effect that makes Dead End Kings so fantastic. The shifts between gorgeous gentleness and heavy beauty, between and within light and shade, and the layers of harmony being weaved together are an altogether winning combination. If Night Is The New Day was a gentle opus of self-reflection, this is a more pro-active exploration of the gloom, complete with the more frighting aspects that inherently comes with. With Dead End Kings, Katatonia prove once more that no-one can match them for dark, moody beauty. They’ve created a textured dream of a record that lives up to the exceptional standards they have set for themselves. (Click here to read the entire of Tom Dare’s review of Dead End Kings) 

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17. Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood Of Colour

Enter Shikari A Flash Flood Of Colour album cover big thrash hits 2012

What we said about A Flash Flood Of Colour back in January: Through their developing politics and their mashed up approach to musical composition, Enter Shikari are blazing a trail which hopefully many young bands with their heads in the news and their hearts in the right places will emulate. They are not the most punk band in the UK and they are not the biggest band in the UK but they are the biggest band with a punk mentality in the UK at this moment in time and as history shows, its always better to try and make a difference than make no effort at all. (Click here to read the entire of Tom Doyle’s column on Enter Shikari)

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16. Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence

Between the Buried and Me Parallax II: Future Sequence album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What Tom Dare had to say about The Parallax II: Future Sequence when he named it as his album of the year: It’s insanely catchy, it’s completely bonkers, it’s 72 minutes that flash by in what feel like seconds, it’s seamlessly written to sound like one entire work, it runs from brutal metal to Cole Porter choruses that make you do jazz hands to textured prog to twelve bar blues. Joyous perfection.

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15. Hawk Eyes – Ideas

Hawk Eyes Ideas album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of Ideas: Hawk Eyes have constructed an astoundingly diverse and coarse demonstration of metal, at a time when most other bands don’t dare to veer from more well-trodden paths. Ideas is a record filled with bombastic crunch and genuinely intriguing obscurity. If there’s any justice, it will shore up their claim to the highest reaches of Britain’s hard-rock hierarchy. (Click here to read the entire of David Keevill’s review of Ideas)

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14. Gojira - L’Enfant Sauvage

Gojira L'Enfant Sauvage album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What Raz said about L’Enfant Sauvage in his review for the BBC: 
There has been no compromise with a view to increasing commercial viability. As Duplantier contemplates his freedom as a musician in the lyrical and philosophical content, the band’s musicianship palpably eschews any opportunity to blend in with the crowd. Instead, this set strengthens their unique identity. Such is the depth of quality of L’Enfant Sauvage, there is no question that Gojira will stand apart from their contemporaries and their efforts will be noticed. (Click here to read the entire of Raziq Rauf’s review of L’Enfant Sauvage)

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13. Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral

Mark Lanegan Band Blues Funeral album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of Blues Funeral: Lanegan’s seventh solo album places deep and graceful acoustic blues numbers next to haunting synth beats, with touches of spacey, desert rock scattered about alongside lashings of Lanegan’s famously somber tone. One minute you’re miles from home, deep in late-era Robert Plant-esque blues rock territory [‘Gray Goes Black’] and the next you’re sat surrounded by pop-synths in the waiting room of ‘Harbourview Hospital’. (Click here to read the entire of Jon Kerr’s review of Blues Funeral)

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12. Orange Goblin - A Eulogy For The Damned

Orange Goblin A Eulogy For The Damned album cover artwork packshot Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of A Eulogy for the Damned: Orange Goblin suffer no fools, neither in their shifting lyrical focus (weed, bad police, weed, midnight assassins sweeping down from the clouds of Venus, weed) nor in the simplicity of their musicianship; we rarely move away from anything guitar led. ‘Save Me From Myself’ roils with a dark, drawling Southern riff and the choris of ‘The Fog’ segues into a huge, smouldering groove. The flexibility of the album is left to diminutive instrumental fills and varied degrees of ‘bounciness’ (for want of a much, much better word), and instead goes relentlessly balls to the wall in its efforts to produce incredibly pleasing and well-constructed metal. (Click here to read the entire of David Keevill’s review of A Eulogy for the Damned)

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11. Cancer Bats – Dead Set On Living

Cancer Bats Dead Set On Living album cover artwork packshot Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of Dead Set On Living: But it’s not simply that slowing things down doesn’t lose anything; it’s that it actively improves everything. The riffs (and DSOL is easily among the best sets of riffage Bats have ever compiled) have more space to get noticed straight away, to make you sit up, bang your head hard enough to injure yourself and feel your pulse shoot way above what’s healthy. It also allows loads more room for big fuck-off hooks in the vocals. The scream of “There’s a special place in hell for people like you” in ‘Rats’, and the roared “There’s safety in numbers!” during ‘Drunken Physics‘ are just two examples of titanic, shit-yourself-screaming moments that pepper DSOL from the off. (Click here to read the entire of Tom Dare’s review of Dead Set On Living)

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10. Neurosis – Honor Found in Decay

Neurosis Honor Found In Decay album cover artwork packshot Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of Honor Found in Decay: It’s the full wringer of emotions, of the raw animal panic of life, of rage, fury and menace, and of a hundred other colours of the emotional palette it exposes you to, that make Honor Found In Decay such a stunning piece of work. It wraps you up, draws you in and suffuses you through every pore and orifice, spitting you out at the end to try and work out what the Hell just happened, but feeling curiously better as a result. It’s Neurosis at their magnificent, psyche-ruining best. (Click here to read the entire of Tom Dare’s review of Honor Found in Decay)

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9. Gallows – Gallows

Gallows Self-Titled album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of Gallows: From raucous opener ‘Victim Culture’ to furious final track ‘Cross Of Lorraine’, there are no ballads. Their self-titled third album hurtles along without mercy but with heaviness in ladles. It’s exactly what you want a punk rock album to be. While the squealing riffs are the focal points of songs like ‘Last June’ and‘Nations/Never Enough’, the swagger of ‘Depravers’ and the stomp of ‘Odessa’are fuelled by enormous choruses. If you don’t find yourself singing along with the gang vocals, you’re dead inside. It sounds like the kind of band you want to be in. (Click here to read the entire of Raziq Rauf’s review of Gallows)

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8. Black Breath – Sentenced To Life

Black Breath Sentenced To Life album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What we had to say about Sentenced To Life: If this nominal notion that “Entombed-core” is actually a thing, then Black Breath are the clear leaders of this particular micro-genre pack. It might lack the waspish frenzy of Heavy Breathing, but instead it ladles on layer after laying of thick, suffocating riffs (go listen ton‘The Flame’ and tell us you don’t feel smothered in guitars. We dare you) to make something just as aggressive, but infinitely more menacing.

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7. Narrows – Painted

Narrows Painted album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of Painted: Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this record is how cohesive it feels inspite of being recorded across two continents and many rooms, none of which ever contained the bands entire number. Yet Painted is never anything less than razor sharp and hangs together like a proper album – a body of work best enjoyed in its entirety and in one sitting, which for a band as dense and unremitting as this is a true compliment. And while delicious low down rumble of closer ‘SST’ makes it a real highlight, (if this song was a painting, it would be pitch fucking black, not one shard of light breaking its dark shell) in truth it is difficult to find fault with anything on offer here. If you like your music bleak and crushing then this is definitely worth a listen – and you better believe that if the four horsemen do arrive, this is what they will be jamming to. (Click here to read the entire of Tom Doyle’s review of Painted)

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6. The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past

The Menzingers On The Impossible Past album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of On The Impossible Past: Whilst fans of buzz saw punk rock might find this a little soft around the edges there is plenty to recommend On The Impossible Past to those who enjoy beautifully conceived songs, well executed and performed in tireless, trendless fashion. Hopefully with the recent backing of Epitaph, The Menzingers will see their stock rise beyond a niche crowd and further into the horizons of the great many fans who will surely enjoy this beautifully-crafted LP. (Click here to read the entire of Tom Doyle’s review of On The Impossible Past)

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5. Baroness – Yellow & Green

Baroness Yellow & Green album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What Raz said in his review of Yellow & Green for the BBC: Yellow & Green sits apart from the stunning sludge of Red Album and Blue Record, material that made everyone from the metal press to the indie sheets sit up and take notice of the Savannah, Georgia quartet. This double album effort is a distinctly mellower affair. The abrasive vocals of yore are only hinted at, and the instrumentation has taken on more of a sprawling rock sound. But it’s brilliantly realised – the kind of album that will set Baroness apart from their peers in years to come. (Click here to read the entire of Raziq Rauf’s review of Yellow & Green)

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4. Torche – Harmonicraft

Torche Harmonicraft album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of Harmonicraft: Torche have also mastered a sound that doesn’t rely on being feral to express their attachments to metal. This is an album that screams of interesting, engaging music first and foremost, with “metal” coming in as some distant second. Despite that, Harmonicraft actually houses some of the best aspects of the genre; ‘Reverse Inverted’ is thunderous, and the vocals smoulder with inflections of malice, without ever sounding too desperate or contrived. (Click here to read the entire of David Keevill’s review of Harmonicraft)

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3. Every Time I Die – Ex Lives

every time i die ex lives album 2012 epitaph thrash hits cover

What we said in our review of Ex LivesI like honesty. I like progression. I like familiarity. I like ingenuity. I like style. I like aggression. I like songs. Every Time I Die provide every last one of these things and that’s why I like Ex Lives. Listen to this album a hundred times. It’s worth a couple of days of your life. (Click here to read the entire of Raziq Rauf’s review of Ex Lives)

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2. Deftones – Koi No Yokan

Deftones Koi No Yokan album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What Hugh Platt has to say about Koi No Yokan (if he ever pulls his finger out and finishes the damn article): The obvious comparisons for a new Deftones album remain both their crowning achievement – 2000’s White Pony – as well as whatever the most recent touchstone in their discography happens to be – in this case, the almost-as-good Diamond Eyes from 2010. But Koi No Yokan seems instead to carry a torch for the red-headed stepchild of Deftones’ back catalogue, 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist. Where the glacial sex and casual sleeze of that album was either buried under embarassed subterfuge, or left to freeze in the chill wind of fan-contempt like ‘Pink Cellphone’, almost the entire of Koi No Yokan seems wired up to specifically tickle the feminine part of metal’s identity construct. You know, the feminine side that metal tries to pretend it doesn’t have by overcompensating with all that macho bullshit? Yeah, that.

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1. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind

Converge All We Love We Leave Behind album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

What we said in our review of All We Love We Leave BehindThis is their least “artsy” album by far. There are no drawn out über-layered sound landscapes (not to say, however, that there is no trademark guitar layering on certain tracks by Kurt Ballou). In fact, only three songs clock-in over the four-minute mark and not one makes it over five. With short songs comes a full-on assault with everything from blast-beats, to D-beat, to stonery sludge riffs that put “those bands these days” to shame. Jacob Bannon’s lyrics are more introspective than the past two records. It seems he has been doing some real soul-searching about where he belongs now. Most anyone could relate to having to let go of the past to an extent to better belong to today. The album title is all too appropriate. (Click here to read the entire of Dan Pelic’s review of All We Love We Leave Behind)

When the votes were counted, nothing came close to Converge’s All We Love We Leave Behind. It’s an album that not only reaffirms Converge’s position as the world’s leading metallic hardcore / metallic metalcore / metallic mathcore / metallic WHATEVER band, but an album that (once again) reaffirmed our belief in the Massachusetts quartet. It’s why we picked ‘Empty on the Inside’ from this album as our song of choice when we guested on the BBC Radio 1 Review Show back in October. It’s one of the many reasons why Converge’s headline show at KOKO last month is a contender for gig-of-the-year. It’s why All We Love We Leave Behind is the Thrash Hits Album of the Year for 2012.

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Yep. That’s it. That’s our Albums of the Year 2012 lists done and dusted. If you want to check out the lists that all came together to make this fruity Top 20, here are Raziq Rauf and Hugh Platt’s lists, as well as Part 1 and Part 2 of our collected writer and photographer lists. BOSH.


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