2012: A Sonic Apocalypse

21st of December is over and there was no apocalypse because everything about all religions is nothing but superstition and hoax. The only thing real in this world is art, and so here I am and a list of great pieces of art, released in 2012; records that the mass media overlooks, tunes that define an actual apocalypse that happened -- the sonic apocalypse. As said before in the Holy Grails Of 2011 article, 2012 seemed to be a very potent year in music from the early days, and so it was. The number of great records released this year was nearly insane. In fact, several times I came to the decision not to arrange a list at all, but since I hadn't reviewed anything in 2012, except for some records in January, it would have been a total disgrace not to write about all these fantastic albums. Anyway, the list is here, and I should also mention that like the previous year's list, this year's list isn't in any order -- which means it's all randomly arranged, and the reason to that is simply because we're talking different music, so, to compare those would be sheer idiocy.

Swans - The Seer

There is something private about Swans' latest album that makes both the fake critical acclaim and the collective element in the making of it, extremely disturbing.

Nels Cline & Elliott Sharp - Open The Door

The soundtrack to the svelte.

Van Morrison - Born To Sing No Plan B

Folk jazz delivered with elegance.

Unsane - Wreck

Five years after the release of their last album, "Visqueen", Unsane have returned with a real monster. "Wreck" conquers both of their post-2000's albums; "Blood Run" and "Visqueen", beating"Occupational Hazard", and standing on top with "Scattered, Smothered & Covered". Having been labeled as a noise rock band, the overall aesthetics to Unsane's sound and imagery have always been metal, so, although noise metal doesn't exist, you can have them as its best example.

16 - Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds

Sludge metal of the year.

Steve MacLean / Chris Cutler ‎- The Year Of The Dragon

RIO in 2012? Yes, RIO in 2012.

Evan Parker / Georg Gräwe - Dortmund Variations

Gräwe's necromantic piano work on Frisque Concordance's "Spellings" made it practically impossible for me not to check out his latest collaborative work with Evan Parker.

Bong - Mana-Yood-Sushai

Bong's most terrestrial effort to date is also the most cosmogonical piece of music I've ever listened to. Partly based on Lord Dunsany's "The Gods Of Pegāna", it transcends Om's religious roots, as well as any Greek or Norse mythology-themed work.

Merzbow - Uzu Me Ku

Gerhard Von Graevenitz manifested in the sonic realm.

Dirty Three - Toward The Low Sun

How can you possibly have a Dirty Three album released in a year and not have it in the top-albums list?

Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch - Concerning The Entrance Into Eternity

Esoteric acid folk and drone.

Saint Vitus - Lillie F-65

Goddamn it. 33 minutes after 17 fucking years? What the hell, the junkie needs junk.

Cosa Brava ‎- The Letter


Hawkwind - Onward

Finest thing they've put out since 85's "The Chronicle Of The Black Sword".

Phobia - Remnants Of Filth

Phobia are neither into the experimental sound that Brutal Truth are always trying to grasp, nor the death metal that Napalm Death fuse into their sound. Phobia is about one-hundred percent grind, right into your face.

Kanada 70 / Pacha / Hangedup & Tony Conrad - Musique Fragile Volume 02

Is there anyway to fuck the Holy Ghost?

haarp - Husks

"The Filth" saw haarp digging the grave of everything groove-related about metal, and so "Husks" was not only a continuation of that, it was the band's attempt to observe the ultimate darkness -- the desolate sonic realm that is usually overlooked by the sludge metallers. The record renders the same landscape funeral/death doom acts like Disembowelment and Thergothon try to depict, only thru a swamp.

Han Bennink / Uri Caine ‎- Sonic Boom

Comics and drama do not go well together. Tragicomedy, that's something else. And don't even think of comparing Nolan with Beckett, unless you want to prove yourself as the stupidest person on earth.

Lord Mantis - Pervertor

While their name continuously reminds me of Zorak and the lone locust of the apocalypse, locust/mantis argument with Space Ghost, what in fact drew my attention towards Lord Mantis was neither Zorak nor the band members' previous bands -- it was Justin Bartlett's fascinating artwork.

Black Bombaim - Titans

"Saturdays And Space Travels". That was great, wasn't it?

Eagle Twin - The Feather Tipped The Serpent's Scale

Who cannot remember Eagle Twin's terrific record "The Unkindness of Crows"? Really, I mean a record full of 15, 17, and 19 minute pieces of drone doom poetry doesn't just drop every single year.

John Zorn ‎- Rimbaud

Rimbaud and Zorn. No further comments needed.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

Less politics, less drama.

They Yearn For What They Fear - Eat.Work.Sleep.Die

The reason why I didn't put "The Infernal Plains" in previous year's list is still unclear to me.

Conrad Schnitzler - Endtime

While I've always felt allergic to posthumous releases in the spectrum of rock music, the Schnitzler record challenged my view, re-appearing in many of my playlists from the past year.

Karnarium - Otapamo Prałaja

Esoteric, orchestral death metal.

Buck Satan And The 666 Shooters - Bikers Welcome Ladies Drink Free

Read the review.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill

Two Neil Young/Crazy Horse records in one year? YES! One of them running over 1 hour and 20 minutes? YES! One of them an acid rock record akin to the "Dead Man" soundtrack and 2010's "Le Noise" with the addition of drums? YES! Three giant tracks; one running over 27 minutes, and the other two over 16 minutes? HELL YES!

Jim O'Rourke - Old News #7

Wait a moment...

Melvins - Freak Puke

There comes Trevor Dunn, making the Melvins sound twice as spooky as they've ever been (that is with"Pigs Of The Roman Empire" in mind).

Horn Of The Rhino - Grengus

Better than the new HOF? Correct.

Incantation - Vanquish In Vengeance

Meshuggah - Koloss

Never this concrete since "Destroy Erase Improve".

Pilgrim - Misery Wizard

Dragged Into Sunlight - Widowmaker

The band behind "Hatred For Mankind" sound as though they've met Christ midway in the air upon his return to earth, while on their way to purgatory.

Stephen O'Malley & Steve Noble ‎- St. Francis Duo

Noble & O'Malley? You must be joking.

Pigs - You Ruin Everything

Don't you?

Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas

To break into your afternoon and steal your soul for a moment.

Floratone - Floratone II

Never mind its ugly cover, "Floratone II" is an album of beauties.

West End Motel - Only Time Can Tell

Featuring the ol Blood Vessels tune, 'Bite', among its tracklist, WEM's "Only Time Can Tell" made it quite clear that Brent has no intention of continuing with BV, and that he will most probably merge it with West End Motel. The record itself, despite being extremely short, was an impressive one.

Swarm Of Arrows - The Great Seekers Of Lesser Life

Swarm Of Arrows' selftitled EP had sounded great enough that when the band contacted me about their debut full-length "The Great Seekers Of Lesser Life", I stopped right in the middle of "Lawless" (which was by far Nick Cave's worst attempt at entering the domain of cinema. Although the idea wasn't his originally) to check it out. A clever mix of sludge, doom, and post-hardcore; their music lurks somewhere between Sweet Cobra, early Baroness, and Trouble.

Hooded Menace - Effigies Of Evil

"[Do you] know that I could hear every sound she made? That I heard her breathing in her casket? Heard her first gasps as she awoke? Her first scream of terror? Did you know that I could hear the scratching of her fingernails...on the casket lid? [You are mad!]"

Tygers Of Pan Tang - Ambush

As a huge fan of 80's NWOBHM, I had definite sex with Tygers Of Pan Tang's new record, "Ambush", also Tank's "War Nation"; however, the Tank record was more a leather metal, Saxon/Dio sort of record than the punk metal Tank that we all know from "Filth Hounds Of Hades" or "Power Of The Hunter". And sorry, I don't believe in guilty pleasures.

Goatwhore - Blood For The Master

Goatwhore's fifth full-length to date is also their finest. They've finally mastered a sound that is as death metal as it is black metal, something that they've been seeking since the release of "The Eclipse Of Ages Into Black", back in 2000.

Sons Of Otis - Seismic

As high and heavy as the mountains.

Eddie Prévost / Giancarlo Schiaffini / John Tilbury ‎- PST: Live In Rome

45 minutes of non-stop improvisation.

Asphyx - Deathhammer

Eventhough I thoroughly dig the Ron van der Pol era Asphyx, and consider the selftitled album to be one of the best death doom releases, ever; Martin van Drunen is the fucking man. He's one of the very few vocalists in death metal who can fuse intense emotions into his growls instead of just preserving a cookie monster of his own. That said, "Deathhammer" is one ruthless son of a bitch. And that means a number of things: One -- the guitars scourge and slay, and not a single attempt has been made to polish their sound during the mix. Two -- the sound of snares and cymbals make your ears bleed and Three -- the maddening growls make you cry out so loud your neighbors would think you've jumped off the roof to commit suicide.

Sardonis - II

Imagine Matt Pike not open his mouth during a High On Fire gig. I know it's fucking hard, but that's what Sardonis sound like.

Nate Hall - A Great River


Soundgarden - King Animal

"King Animal" is the definition of a comeback.

Trippy Wicked & The Cosmic Children Of The Knight - Going Home

This is rock n' roll.

D.O.A. - We Come In Peace

14 tracks that top anything D.O.A. have recorded since the Jello Biafra collaboration "Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors".

Jon Mueller & James Plotkin ‎- Terminal Velocity

Only one remains.

Grave - Endless Procession Of Souls

Barely has anything to do with early 90's Grave, including "Soulless", as the title suggests.