10. Josh Baze – Hi-Heels & Low-Lifes
8. Outline In Color – A Jury Of Wolves
5. The Devil Wears Prada – Dead & Alive
In years past, my top five typically consisted of four heavy/metalcore/hardcore albums (DWP is usually one of those five, fyi) and one that, well, isn’t. This year is just the opposite, with only one of the above mentioned genres making a top five appearance, and it comes in the form of a live record – weird. The Devil Wears Prada released this live CD/DVD earlier this year and I could not have been more impressed. Obviously, I am a huge fan of the band (four full lengths and an EP which have all appeared in my top five, the years they were released), so expectations were high. However, I did not expect that it would be my highest rated Metalcore album of the year. Chalk it up to consistency, as my brother would say.
Not many staffers enjoy I See Stars. I know this. While I really did not care for last year’s release of End of the World Party (awful name, by the way), I was not thrilled that they would be releasing another album so soon after – never mind. From start to finish, the album is outstanding. Perhaps they may be a little cheesy with what they bring to the table, but damnit, I’m sold. The final three tracks in particular are phenomenal (with a guest appearance from the now “superstar” force that is Cassadee Pope, thanks the NBC’s The Voice). Overall, it is by far the band’s best record to date and although this decision may not be the most popular, the play count on my iTunes would beg to differ.
There were really three albums this year that impacted me in a serious way. The first to appear on my countdown is Coheed’s latest. While it is only the first half of a set (second to release in early, 2013 – assuming we make it), the collection of songs is enough to make a lasting impression. Many will argue that this is the band’s most notable album; I still hesitate to agree. While it is without a doubt an accomplished piece of art, Coheed’s discography is far too imaginative and brilliant to discount the past so fast. All I can say is, my excitement and anticipation is beyond high for the second half of The Afterman.
This one may leave some scratching their head. If you can remember at my mid-year review, OM&M showed up #1 on my list – unfortunately for them, one other album simply “did it” for me. Don’t take it as a negative by any means, though. My Head is an Animal will forever go down as one of my top albums of all-time. When their EP released around Christmas of 2011, I was immediately attentive and prepared for the next big indie/folk act from overseas. And boy was I ever right! Obviously, the band’s fame and following has since been on the rise to nth degree and I love the fact that I once again managed to predict the future. Honestly though, the release of the full-length and their dominant live performance truly deserve every bit of credit and recognition they receive.
I tossed and turned over this decision for a few days. Both albums were recognized at the mid-year review, but at some point the two records (My Head is an Animal and Shallow Bed) flip-flopped. Dry the River truly did burst onto the scene and impress me beyond words. Two similar acts (indie/folk from overseas) completely overtook my top albums list of 2012 – something that has never, ever happened (for me, at least). Vocalist Peter Liddle is quite possibly one of the most incredibly talented frontmen I have ever had the privilege to listen to. From the onset of the album, it was clear something special was taking place and it continues to take place each and every time it spins. The only album I rated a 9.5 this year, it almost certainly deserved a 10-spot – maybe next time I will be a bit more generous.
Now Now – Threads
Best New Artist: Dry the River
Best Track of the Year: “Electric Forest” (Featuring Cassadee Pope) – I See Stars