2012 looks to have been shit year for albums. Most of what I listened to from 2012 was My Little Pony fan music, which isn’t usually released in album form. I’m a big fan of the album as a concept, so it’s weird for me to look back on a year and see that little of what I ended up liking was in full album form. Still, I kept up a list of 2012 albums for most of the year, and I’ve done a lot of yearly music round-ups in random places over the years (never on this site before), so I wanna do one.
This will be broken up into stuff I listened to a lot, and stuff I didn’t listen to much—then further broken down by how good it was.
Stuff I listened to a lot
Sigh – In Somniphobia
The only album that I truly loved this year was the new Sigh release. I love this band for their ballistic combinations of heavy metal and every other genre they can think of in order to paint one portrait of insanity after another. 2002’s Imaginary Sonicscape is one of my favorite albums, and In Somniphobia is the closest Sigh has come to matching the technical brilliance and comprehensive blend of genres that they had on that album.
Like all Sigh albums, In Somniphobia isn’t easy to listen to, and it’ll probably be another year or so before I’ve had time to really explore the whole thing in-depth. Like Imaginary Sonicscape, the thing is full of unforgettable moments and long stretches of madness. It’s weirdly put together, with the first two and last two songs seeming to exist somewhat separately from the album’s mid-section, but all of it is awesome.
Mark Lanegan – Blues Funeral
A pretty big departure from Lanegan’s usual folksy blues, this one brings in a big electronic element and has a variety of styles going on. All of it is pretty enjoyable, and while I can’t call it my favorite Mark Lanegan release, I had a lot of fun listening to it while playing Dark Souls. It definitely has an atmosphere that isn’t like any other, even from any of Lanegan’s other projects.
Tarby – E.S.C.A.P.E.
Tarby is a pony musician who did one of my favorite songs, Born Cross-Eyed, which was remastered on this album. It means a lot to me as the first album I bought on Bandcamp, with my first paycheck, and is the first time I put money into a fan work. A lot of the album is original, and a lot of it is pretty good. Some of the songs are unpolished or cheesy, but overall I enjoy the album and its sort of raw feeling of frustration.
Foxy Shazam – The Church of Rock and Roll
I don’t dislike this album, but nothing on it stands out the way their other albums do. The songs that are good aren’t as good as their great songs, and the songs that aren’t so good leave it an altogether boring listen.
The Mars Volta – Noctourniquet
I didn’t have high hopes for this album because I don’t like the Bedlam in Goliath, and I never paid much attention to Octahedron. It’s been quite a while since the last Mars Volta album that I was excited about, and Noctourniquet didn’t light that fire again. There are some okay bits on there, but nothing that kept me listening.
Silversun Pickups – Neck of the Woods
I wrote extensively about this album’s failure a few months ago. I can’t even listen to this one because when I hear it, I can only think about the lost potential of certain songs, and the frustration of others. It’s just a bad, boring album.
Stuff I didn’t listen to much
Agalloch – Faustian Echoes: A 20-minute song by Agalloch, released on their bandcamp. It’s different, but still very Agalloch, which means it’s cool, but takes a lot of time to listen to, and I didn’t give it nearly enough plays.
Alcest – The Soul’s Journey: This is probably Alcest’s best release, although I’ve never been a big fan of the band. It’s good background/chill music. There was a video for one of the songs that was pretty cool, too.
Boris /Joe Volk split: I just found out about this little split yesterday, and it seems really cool. A lot better than all the weird shit they put out last year.
Galneryus – Angel of Salvation: I haven’t even had the chance to listen to this all the way through yet, but the songs I heard were pretty damn awesome. It’s exciting because it has them bringing back elements of their old sound, so it doesn’t sound like another Resurrection retread. Looking forward to cracking this one open.
Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II: The first half was one of my favorite releases of 2011, so I was a bit let down to find that this half wasn’t quite as cool. It hasn’t grabbed me enough to listen to it more, when I’ve got the other album.
Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension: I wasn’t surprised that the stuff I’ve heard from this album didn’t impress me. Year of the Black Rainbow amounted to my least favorite Coheed album, and Afterman seems to follow in its footsteps, while being even less cohesive as an album, and lacking the old Coheed charm. I still want to give it more of a chance though, because I do love the band.
Circa Survive – Violent Waves: The only album I like by Circa Survive is Blue Sky Noise, and this album intends to keep it that way. It’s a boring slog, unmemorable from start to finish.
Ensiferum – Unsung Heroes: Sad to say, it would’ve been weirder if this album had been good. After their phenomenal first album, and their great second album, Ensiferum fell apart after their singer left to form Wintersun, and their last three albums have all sucked.
And that about does it. Kind of a sad year, since even the stuff I marked as great, I didn’t listen to nearly as much as the great stuff of last year. If anything by So Great And Powerful was an album, it would have crushed this list into smithereens. Oh well.
If you know any great albums I missed this year, let me know.