5. Tech N9ne – All 6’s and 7’s
To not include this awesome release by Tech N9ne on this list would be blasphemy. His flawless flow on “Technicians,” the classic T9 sound achieved on “Am I A Psycho” with B.O.B., and the EPIC whirlwind that can only be “Worldwide Choppers” (Do yourself a favor and listen to Busta Rhymes‘ line… Oh my god). 24 tracks long, this man put out two to three complete releases every single year and EVERY ONE is top quality rap/hip-hop, not diluted or lacking in any way whatsoever. Give it a listen.
Standout tracks: “Worldwide Choppers,” “Am I A Psycho,” “Pornographic”
4. Recognize – Revenge
Although it has saddened me that they just broke up very recently, I am sure that this will become one of those cult-followed buried gems in the music scene, like Agraceful or Hermione (the band that resulted in Chelsea Grin). With enough “Bleh’s!!” to make Stray From The Path blush, precisely executed instruments, and enough winks at staple hardcore elements without sounding bland, they have made a true name for themselves that will only continue to pick up steam over the coming years.
Standout tracks: “On To The Next One,” “Booger Cookies,” “Golden Eye”
3. Fei Comodo – The Life They Lead EP
Definitely the sore thumb of this list, Fei Comodo have surprised me with this one. Although I liked their older screaming material, I wasn’t really too much of a fan. Now they do strictly singing and I only wonder “why the hell haven’t they done this sooner?” Energetic to ambient, the music provides all you could want from a post-hardcore band. Definitely won’t disappoint (as long as you keep your views open).
Standout track: “Rival Tides”
2. The Rotted – Ad Nauseum
I was never a fan of Gorerotted (the band’s previous name), but I became interested when I heard the awesome Anarchogram EP last year. They have left their past in the dust and embraced a brutal death punk/grindcore sound few bands still do these days. It’s got the perfect blend of old school, true-to-the-roots grind and punk with some new school death metal influences providing a real must-have treat for metalheads everywhere.
Standout tracks: “Surrounded By Skulls,” “Non Serviam,” “Motorbastards”
1. We Are The Ocean – Go Now And Live
With energetic rock/metal that’s a bit Soundgarden mixed with Alexisonfire and relatabale lyrics, We Are The Ocean easily beat out the competition. Released back in March, this is an album that I’ve listened to almost every single day since. Liam Cromby’s absolutely beautiful singing voice and Dan Brown’s harsh vocals aren’t the only selling point of this band, however. They also went for a more straightforward rock sound as compared to Cutting Our Teeth, maturing past anything they’ve ever done.
Standout tracks: “What It Feels Like,” “Now And Then,” “Trouble Is Temporary Time Is Tonic”
Biggest Surprise – We Are The Ocean. Unknown prior to hearing a song while browsing through a friend’s iPod. Went home, downloaded it, listened to it thoroughly, bought it immediately.
Biggest Disappointment – Metallica & Lou Reed. St. Anger was garbage to me. I heard the awesome Death Magnetic and it re-instilled my faith in Metallica making good music, but this album completely killed that for me. I will never have any hope towards their future releases ever again. Read my 0/10 review of this Here.
Best Live Show – Devin Townsend & The Ocean. You can read my in-depth show review about this experience Here.
Most Anticipated 2012 – There are too many to list, but here are some noteworthy ones that have all announced to be working on/finished with new albums: Black Sabbath, Tool, Gojira, Lamb Of God, Periphery, Secret Band, Coheed & Cambria, Jonny Craig, Saosin, American Me, Devin Townsend, The Ocean.