1. Enter Shikari- A Flash Flood of Colour.
2012 is probably the year mainstream rock music and dance and electronic beats became an overbearing mess. The two reasons why already this modern idea isn't working are as follows, 1. Every band who haven’t been around for 2 years are trying it and secondly, Enter Shikari have completed it.
A Flash Flood of Colour combines the radio-rock feel that has united a mass of Shikari fans along with a dub and dance beat to astounding heights, along with some of the best lyrics written this year including ‘Yabba-Dabba-Do One’ but what makes this my stand-out album is just how progressive and current this album feels, the recording is astoundingly great and Shikari are a cut above most of the current radio-friendly rock bands who have the world at their feet.
2. Devin Townsend- Epicloud
Devin Townsend is a genius, just a glance at the man makes you think either serial killer or madman. And the fact is that he is a madman, but the way he translates the ideas in his mind into music is inspiring and really puts to shame most artist making a living in the music industry. The Devin Townsend Project just expands the work that Heavy Devy has established. Want metal; there’s Strapping Young Land. Want current Prog/metal/ambient? There’s his solo album. Want a mixture along with the most insane theatrics ever put to MP3 format? There is the DTP.
Epicloud (A fantastic title btw) takes a few listening to get into, but once you’re into it, it’s almost impossible to put down, mixing Devin’s technical music ability along with the range of his vocals and converging that with hooks and choruses. Not as bonkers as Ziltoid… but nothing really is, but a lot more out there than most things you’re gonna hear this year.
3. The Smashing Pumpkins- Oceania
What a return to form, I've had a pretty hectic year and I've found help in Pumpkins ‘Mellon Collie…’ album, but anyone who’s tracked their (their?) Billy Corgan’s plight since ‘Siamese Dream’ will have noticed that Corgan has been searching for a new muse for years. As soon as ‘Zeitgeist’ reclaimed Pumpkins’ place within the world of Alternative Rock it was clear that even a happy Corgan wasn't going to be enough to reclaim their former glories. 2012 saw a mental return, this time Corgan uses himself as the must again, using an influence of spirituality and modernizing their sound of monstrous choruses and vocals you wish you could replicate, a fine return from Corgan.
4. Cancer Bats- Dead Set on Living
This album was inevitably going to be in my top ten, not because Cancer Bats are like my favorite band at the minute, not because they are the best live band on the circuit at the minute or because they are the coolest bunch of guys in music but because with the Cancer Bats you never really know what you’re going to get. Yes there is hardcore parts, and yes there are southern rock influences, but also because this album as ever is full of chest pounding choruses, and anthemic life confirming songs such as the title track itself and more self-reflecting lyrics. Cormeir as ever is on top-form but is outclassed by the single guitar player Scott Middleton who makes it sound like there are three guitarists in the band.
5. Gallows- Self Titled
2011 was shocked with Frank Carter’s departure from Gallows, I don’t think anyone knew how Gallows could keep it together without Frank. Eventually it replacement was named, Canadian Wade McNeil, an obvious massive change from the pure British brutality helmed by Frank’s cockney lyrics. The first time I saw them at Download this year there was an obvious apprehension in the tent, as soon as ‘Misery’ was over Gallows had won the day with their live show, but could the album ever replicate the success that the band have had previously? That remains to be seen, what can be said however is that, despite this being a pure hardcore album, Gallows have opened up and started writing music on a wider range of topics showing that the Kings aren't dead and that they are still one of the most forward thinking bands around.
6.We Are The Ocean- Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow
Here we have a band that have yet to release an album that sounds similar to their previous works, in their 3 studio albums and E.P. WATO, have transformed their sound from Alexisonfire sounding Post-Hardcore to the modern sound of radio rock, it isn’t what I wanted from the band but that’s irrelevant when looking at the quality of this release. The first without ‘rougher vocalist’ Dan Brown, anyone who’s heard the band know which one that is, and despite and really poor performance at Download earlier in the year, WATO have released an album of pure quality and finally seem to be using now remaining vocalist Liam Cromby to their fullest.
7.Billy Talent- Dead Silence
Now not that the Talent boys release bad albums, but BT:3 was definitely their weakest work. With Dead Silence Billy Talent just trample anyone who stands in their way with their finest version of pop-punk, with great hooks, bouncy songs and chorus’ that stick in your head for hours, Dead Silence is an album that you will find yourself singing along to after only a few listens.
8. Every Time I Die- Ex-Lives
What I've heard this album described as is a Every Time I Die album by numbers, 11 tracks that is nothing new but implements the bands place amongst the best bands in metal music. I see it more as a greatest hits album full of tracks you've never heard of, what I mean by that is that, there’s nothing here you haven’t heard before but it’s still a collection of great songs that every ETID fan needs and a great album for those who have never heard the band.
9.Architects- DaybreakerIf there was an award for the ‘Return to Form’ it would have been stolen by Architects, Daybreaker is itself one of the finest straight up metal albums in years. And by that I mean it holds the bar over albums such as Deep Blue, Grave Times and pisses over newer and ‘fresher’ metal bands such as Of Mice and Men and Heart of a Coward. In short a brutal, refreshing and exceptional return to form.
10.Rush- Clockwork Angels
There’s a line this albums from the song ‘Halo Effect’ that goes, ‘What did I care, Fool that I was, Little by little I’ve learned’ that really sums up the before and after process of this album for me, when I first saw it I got it because I was bored and wanted something new to listen to, despite knowing of Rush’s at times exceptional back catalogue, I was not expecting anything from this. ‘The Fool That I Was’: Clockwork Angels is an album of 12 fine progressive anthems with enough similarities in the vocals to keep my punk side happy, whilst with enough musical mastery to keep my progressive side more than satisfied. Rush in 2012 the wizards of the prog world. Wow that’s lazy journalism.
11. All Time Low- Don’t Panic
12. Death By Stereo- Black Sheep of the American Dream
13. KISS- Monster
14. The Menzingers- On The Impossible Past
15. Lamb of God- Resolution
16. Marilyn Manson- Born Villain
17. Slash- Apocalyptic Love
18. The Ghost Inside- Get What You Give.
19. While She Sleep- This is the Six
20. Lower Than Atlantis- Changing Tune