L.'s Top 10 LPs of 2012
I've heard a mix of grumblings and praise about 2012 from various music sources, but you'll hear nothing but praise from all of us here at Lost Tribe. Not only did a bunch of new or quasi-new bands put out stellar releases, but a whole gaggle of veterans returned to remind us all why we hold them in such high regard in the first place. In fact, 2012 (and this site/podcast) helped remind me why I love music so much in the first place. So without further adieu, here is my list of the 10 best LP's of the year....in my opinion....in no particular order.
Burning Love – Rotten Thing to Say
The fact that this group isn't headlining any/all hardcore festivals and tours by now is mind-boggling to me. Their mix of hardcore, punk, and rock is both refreshing and reminiscent of the band members' past works. While I've loved everything they've put out thus far, I was especially impressed with their sophomore LP. It's got a flow and coherence to it that not many hardcore albums have these days, and “Karla”, “Pig City I”, and “Hateful Comforts” are immediate classics in my books.
Pick Your Side – This is How Democracy Works
Speaking of southern Ontario hardcore veterans forming new bands, Haymaker's Jeff Beckman teamed up with Fuck the Facts' Johnny Ibay to put together this hardcore/metal Frankenstein that have helped to satisfy my unending Haymaker-craving. Fortunately, this isn't just a mindless rehashing of what these musicians have done in the past, and is, instead, an interesting mix of genres that are held together with an unceasing barrage of hate and aggression. In other words, it's fucking amazing.
Black Breath – Sentenced to Life
How many people got re-excited about metal by this release? After listening, and then re-listening to this album I started digging through old Slayer, Black Sabbath, etc. albums to relive my headbanging days of old, and I was just as happy listening to Black Breath as I was hearing the classics. Black Breath doesn't try to do anything too fancy...no cross-over, no overtures, no symphonic back-ups, just blistering riffs and galloping beats. This album made me headbang and thrash more than anything else put out this year.
Homewrecker – Worms and Dirt
Was anyone not blown away by these guys? As I said in my review, I had slept on this band's 7”'s, so I had no expectations when I first put it on, but I was beyond pleasantly surprised. What caught my attention was the fact that “Wreck”/”Worms and Dirt” is the best intro-into-first-song combo of the year, and the audio clip used in “Wreck” might be my favourite mix of sample/music that I've ever heard....and I played in hardcore bands in the 90s/early-2000s! Oh ya, the rest of the album kicks ass too!
Mindset – Leave No Doubt
Do you love youth crew hardcore? No, neither do I. Then why is this album on the list? Because it's good...really good. The first time I put this album on I listened to it all the way through 3 times in a row. I can't fully explain why this album is so far superior to all other youth crew releases of the last few years, but it is, and if you haven't heard it yet you are most definitely fucking up.
Column of Heaven – Mission From God
Canada doesn't often make a mark on the metal world like this these days, but Column of Heaven proves that you shouldn't count the Canucks out yet. Continuing The Endless Blockades' tradition of putting out uncompromising but well-thought-out metal, Column of Heaven should be on every metalhead's radar if they aren't already.
Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
I think people might've expected Brian Fallon and Co. to settle down or peter out now that they've garnered significant mainstream success, but this album easily puts any naysayers in their place. The song writing is sharper, the hooks are catchier, and the rawness/rough edges that everyone loves about Fallon's lyrics are still abundantly present. My one complaint is that “Blue Dahlia” is the best song is on the album and it's not technically on the album (although it is on the Deluxe Edition)...so if you haven't picked up those extra tracks I suggest you do as soon as possible.
Rise and Fall – Faith
Because this album came out so early in the year I fear that many reviewers will inadvertently leave these Belgians off their list. Well, if that was the case, then shame on them! Rise and Fall easily please even the most ardent d-beat, hardcore, or metal fans with expertly written songs and crushing riffs. This band is able to effortlessly pull off the difficult mix of creating unrelenting music that never seems to get boring or stale. Most bands either hammer home the one thing they are good at until the sound of it makes you want to puke, or they try and get so experimental that you forget that you are listening to an actual song, but Rise and Fall always keeps the right balance of consistent and interesting.
Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
What should I say about Pig Destroyer that I haven't already said in my review, or that their unparallelled career full of metallic greatness doesn't already say? Everyone expected the best from this band, and unsurprisingly they delivered in spades. They moved away from the experimental elements of Phantom Limb while keeping all the intensity and excitement that their fans have come to expect. Listen to Book Burner and revel in its consistent glory...or listen to it as a metal musician and realize that you probably won't ever be as good as this band is on its worst day.
Propagandhi – Failed States
Now, since I didn't make this a numbered list, so I don't know if I am able to have a number one album, but if I were to say that there was an album of the year then this would undoubtedly be it. The melodies are haunting, the riffs are crushing, the technicality is mind-boggling, and the lyrics are everything that “punk” should be. I'll keep this written handjob short, but I am truly glad that this band exists and that they keep putting out such face-ripping classics.