With the year in music just about over, Metal Insider‘s staff and contributors are taking a look back and naming their top ten albums of 2012. This next list comes courtesy of Metal Insider contributor Chris Colgan. We’re also including a Spotify playlists with a song from each album, if available. We’ll also be sprinkling in other lists from artists over the next few days as well. What are your top ten? Weigh in in the comments section.
WOW! I knew during the year that picking my Top 10 list would be challenging, but I had no idea it would be as tough as it was. For those that keep up with New & Noteworthy, you know that this year was jam-packed with great new albums, including a plethora of highly-anticipated and long-awaited albums, many coming from artists that have kept us waiting for years for their new music. Now that it’s all said and done, though, we have to make the tough choices. So here you have it – these are my picks for the best albums of 2012!
10. Soulfly, Enslaved (Roadrunner)
There were two other thrash albums that could have taken this space, and you’ll see both of them in my Honorable Mentions. However, Soulfly takes the final spot in my Top 10 because of the statement that this album makes. After 15 years of making music under this banner, Max Cavalera has never managed to avoid having Soulfly be compared to Sepultura in some fashion. Enslaved is Max’s rebuttal statement, where he finally comes right out and says through his music that he doesn’t care about such comparisons, because he knows they are going to occur and he doesn’t need to even hear them anymore to know what they say. Additionally, in a metal world that demands consistency from so many artists, Soulfly’s consistency is constantly degraded as being stale and unnecessary, and I cry foul at that. Enslaved is an absolutely titanic album, featuring some of the best material that Max has ever composed. If it had been released by any other band, fans would have been all over it, but because it’s a Soulfly album, Enslaved has not earned nearly as much credit as it deserves. I do not agree with this, which is why I’ve elevated Enslaved to the final spot on my list. This is an album that you need to listen to, understand, and endorse, based solely on its merits. Downplaying an album simply because the artist isn’t who you want them to be does a disservice to everyone, and I think that tendency ought to end now.
9. Wintersun, Time I (Nuclear Blast)
It has been eight years since Wintersun’s self-titled album was released. Fans have waited with varying degrees of patience during that time for the release of Time. Now that the first part is released, was the wait worth it? I say that it was, even though many others are saying it was not. The reason why I say it was worth the wait, and why I also have given Time I a spot in the top 10, is that I see the intent of this album and the underlying message it conveys about the mastermind of Wintersun, Jari Mäenpää. 2004’s Wintersun was all about flash and appeal, using guitar wizardry and impossibly difficult compositions to stun listeners into a state of respect, shock, and awe. Time I has stripped away a great deal of that, even though it paradoxically had even more complex compositions and required a great deal of technical assistance to complete. No longer is Mäenpää trying to grab attention in an effort to escape the shadow of his former band, Ensiferum. Instead, he is taking the time to craft his music in the same way that a symphony is composed, finding a way to make each part serve a purpose and contribute to the whole. For those with short attention spans that are only listening to Wintersun for the next epic guitar solo, this album will likely not interest you, and I say that it’s your loss. But those that can appreciate the tenacity of composing such ambitious music, as well as those that can enjoy the precision craftsmanship involved in bringing folk metal together with melodic death metal, will absolutely love Time I in the same way that I do.