Connor Welsh's Top 10 Releases of 2012

10. Every Hand Betrayed – Kingless

This album truly caught me off guard. I was minding my own business one morning, when I was asked to review this beauty of a release. Lo and behold, my ears were graced with some of the most heavy-yet-melodic deathcore I’ve ever heard. Filled with dynamic song structure, explosive breakdowns and a not-quite-tangible post-rock element to the instrumentation, Kingless is an album which shows that Every Hand Betrayed might have what it takes to become the kings of Deathcore. 

9. Thy Art Is Murder – Hate

Alongside RagnarokInfinite Death was an EP which welcomed me into the deathcore scene–with open arms, I might add. After years of following the act–through the dark days which defined The Adversary–I was rewarded with Hate, a simple namesake of an album which archetypically displays everything the band has become synonymous with. Dissonant, dense and heavy moments are pervasive, with little space for small talk or breathing room. If you like your deathcore heavy as sin and piercing as nails, Hate has your name written all over it.

8. Handguns – Angst

Pop-Punk artists like Mest with corny, sappy lyrics about love and loss are what really attracted me to emotionally-driven music in the first place. And while it’s taken a while to return to my roots, no band provided a better welcome-home mat than Handguns. Angst is a heartfelt, youthful, Summertime rager of an album if I’ve ever heard it. Packed with juvenile lyrics and innocent moments, simply put, Angst will just make you want to fall in love again.

7. Float Face Down – Exitum Veritum

Ragnarok was an EP I couldn’t get enough of as a wee deathcore enthusiast–and after nearly five years of waiting, my since-matured lust for another Float Face Down release was satiated. Jam-packed with all the heaviness and brilliant song structure that Ragnarok had made perfect, Exitum Veritum provides a deeper, more immersive experience that only a full length can provide. With eery breakdowns, diverse yet incredible shredding immense vocal work, Exitum Veritum is just what the doctor ordered–even if it was a couple years past it’s expiration date.

6. The Acacia Strain – Death Is the Only Mortal

After a rough couple of releases, I was skeptical as to put much investment into Death is the Only Mortal. However, it turns out I didn’t even have to put much in. This album took the two cents worth of care I gave it and stored away with compact interest, leaving me with a wealth of atheistic, forlorn heaviness akin to King Midas’ gold. With non-stop dissonant, sludgy heaviness with more matured songwriting and deeper lyrical conceptualization, Death is the Only Mortal is heavy enough to weigh down on the listener, but just light enough to avoid claustrophobia.

5. Demoraliser – A Living Nightmare

It isn’t too often that an album is a true display of an artist speaking their mind–This is one such album. Filled with almost-thrashy riffing that flows and grooves in and out of dense, spine-bending breakdowns, A Living Nightmare is a picture perfect display of a band at the top of their game. Demoraliser are honest, pissed and talented–and this album is the product of each cog of that bitter machine churning in perfect harmony.

4. Infant Annihilator – The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution

Honestly, I would never, in a million years, have thought that Infant Annihilator would end up in any top-whatever list I would write (unless it was for the “top five most generic names of all time.”) However, here they are, with their debut full length The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution only days old and still ringing in many people’s ears. The truth is this: I’ve never heard harsher, more excellently crafted vocals, nor have I heard better, faster, heavier drumming. The breakdowns are sinister, the shredding is intense, and whether or not the name makes you throw up in your mouth a little, this album deserves your attention.

3. Bound By Exile – Defilement

I began making this list with the intention that this band would have easily secured the number one spot–that’s how much I love this EP. Packed with dense, prophetic shredding, bone-shattering drumming and a two-headed vocal assault that just won’t quit, Defilement is a testament to the strength of deathcore as a genre today. Whether it’s the eery harmonies on “You’re Old News Now, Cunt” or the lacerating, crushing heaviness found on “Desecrate,” anyone who has ever bobbed their head to a blast beat or air-chugged to a breakdown has something to love in this EP.

2. Sworn In – Start/End EP

I remember the first time I decided to check out Sworn In. Mistakenly remembering them as “that one pop-punk band that was okay,” I gave Start/End a spin and I have been spinning it almost incessantly since then. Filled with devastating, straight-to-the-face heaviness and lyrics that mean somethingStart/End is an anthem for any fan of heavy music and shows the latest step in a band which is fast on it’s way to reaching the highest point the scene has to offer.

1. Martyr Defiled – In Shadows EP

As far as staying within the lines, no band leaves their comfort zone as fluidly and brilliantly as Martyr Defiled. Originating as a run-of-the-mill, but still impressive, deathcore act, the band have expanded their horizons by drawing upon influences from technical death metal and thrash-laden metalcore alike. The result? The best release 2012 has to offer: In Shadows. While only an EP, In Shadows is so flooded with brilliance that it maintains a feel of a full-length. There isn’t a second on this album that isn’t either heavy or ethereal; gravid or surreal. In a word, this EP is beautiful.

Honorable Mentions

Dysphoria – To The Perfect Form of Human Species

Silence – Dead Presidents

Parkway Drive – Atlas

Make Them Suffer – Neverbloom
The Ghost Inside – Get What You Give

By Connor Welsh ~ Me Gusta Reviews