As 2012 came to a close, it’s time for us to look back and reflect on what stood out to us musically. There was a bunch that we all agreed on and a few that prompted us to check out each other’s referrals. We’ve each made our lists of our top favorites of the past year. Here we highlight our founder (and the man who pays the bills here) Henry Chung’s top 20 Albums of 2012!

Blaqk Audio - Bright Black Heaven20. Blaqk Audio – Bright Black Heaven

“After the success of their debut Cex Cells, AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget follows up with another album on their BA side project. So how does this measure up compared to the debut? It’s ok. Not the greatest as I was expecting but just alright. The dark lyricism that we’ve come to love from Havok felt a little watered down here. Also it just felt like a collection of songs as compared to Cex Cells which flowed perfectly throughout the album. Overall, there are still a bunch of really good songs on here that I keep coming back to but I just couldn’t listen to the whole thing in one sitting”

Circa Survive - Violent Waves19. Circa Survive – Violent Waves

“The band’s first completely DIY album also happened to be their best!”

 

 

Deftones-Koi-No-Yokan18. Deftones – Koi No Yokan

This release came out fairly late in the year but has managed to make it to my top 20! There’s not a lot of bands that I listen to back in my early teens that I still enjoy today. There’s an even shorter list of ones still relevant in today’s musical climate. The Deftones manages to be one of the few bands who’s music still sounds refreshing and new album after album.”

GDOB2-30CH-001.cdr17. The Bouncing Souls – Comet

“Similar the Deftones, The Bouncing Souls manages to still stay musically relevant nearly twenty-five years later. One of the things these hopeless romantics are really good at is writing really catchy singalong anthems. While most punk bands are busy writing songs about flipping off “the man”, The Souls are all about heart even while facing the end of the world.”

Now, Now - Threads16. Now, Now – Threads

“I first heard of these guys a year ago when my friends in Slingshot Dakota did a tour with them. It’s surprising how much they’ve grown musically and commercially. Definitely NEED to keep watch of these guys!”

 

Lostprophets - Weapons15.  Lostprophets – Weapons

“Though Weapons didn’t really feel as cohesive as a whole, I did find myself constantly coming back to select songs. To be honest, I felt the songs chosen to be the “singles” on the album were weak compared to the others. Considering all the scandalous reports of their frontman (Ian Watkins) in the news, this could possibly even be their last record.”

Make Do And Mend - Everything You Ever Loved14. Make Do And Mend – Everything You Ever Loved

“MDAM is a band that exists somewhere within the punk scene and yet, also on the outside of it. Some of their old-school fans will hate them for Everything You Ever Loved with their modern post-hardcore sound while new listeners will rejoice it. Also, I had the pleasure of talking to frontman James Carroll over the summer at Warped Tour which gave some perspective on the songs off of EYEL.”

Hot Water Music - Exister13. Hot Water Music – Exister

“I didn’t really listen to HWM at all during their hay-day. But JJ convinced us all to give this a try.We weren’t disappointed.”

 

Troubled Coast - Awake & Empty12. Troubled Coast – Awake and Empty

“I normally receive a ton of music online for reviews. I do give a listen to everything I get but most of them are either generic or forgettable. This one stood out! It reminds me of an angrier Saosin/ Thrice.”

 

Muse - The 2nd Law11. MuseThe 2nd Law

“I liked how the band went WAY out of their comfort zone and experimented with many different sounds/ styles (“Unsustainable” [dub-step], “Madness” [EDM]) as well as over-the-top production (string quartet/ choir) on this Radiohead-meets-Queen pompous rock outing. Unfortunately, the album as a whole was all over the place but there were a lot of really interesting songs on it.”

Miss May I - At Heart10. Miss May IAt Heart

“Still a very young band, I have seen them progressed throughout the last few years between releases. At Heart definitely stood out amongst all of the other metal releases this year and was thus my soundtrack to the summer.”

 

TBM - Hide And Seek9. The Birthday Massacre – Hide And Seek

“Though Hide And Seek was more or less of the same TBM sound, it did have a lot of really catchy songs. I ended up listening to it nonstop for a month and a half.”

 

Silverstein - Short Songs8. SilversteinShort Songs

“This concept album of 11 songs and 11 covers came as a surprise. As the title suggests, all of the songs were short and most were no longer than 90 seconds. There were a lot of original work here that was refreshing and showed off the best of what the band could do.”

Fact - Burundanga7. FACTburundanga

“FACT is one of Japan’s best kept secrets. I was lucky to be able to score a copy of their debut a few years back when I saw them open for Senses Fail. Unfortunately, all other releases are damn near impossible to get without downloading it. burandanga is a fun pop-punk/ post-hardcore album and probably FACT’s most consistent album to date.”

The Gashlight Anthem - Handwritten6. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

“Since their debut, fans/ critics would draw comparison to fellow NJ dweller, Bruce Springstein. It didn’t help matters much that he’d occasionally join them onstage at shows. But with the help of producer, Brenden O’Brien, they finally honed in their own sound!”

Motionless In White - Infamous5. Motionless In White – Infamous

“Following the success of their Fearless Records debut Creatures, MIW spent years touring the world over and writing their sophomore release. The album sounds like Bleeding Through crossed with Marilyn Manson DNA thanks to Tim Skold.”

Linkin Park - Living Things4. Linkin Park – Living Things

“I have been a fan of LP since finding them online back when they were still known as ‘Hybrid Theory.’ Throughout their career, they have managed to keep progressing each album with a different sound. With Living Things, it sounded like they band took all of their past experiences with experimentation and crafted one of their catchiest albums to date. Also I got to photograph them on the Honda Civic Tour. Go me!”

Thrice - Anthology3. Thrice – Anthology

“This live album was recorded throughout their ‘Farewell Tour.’ According to the band, the audio was left as-is and the the resulting material was one best sounding live album I’ve heard in a while. Also, I got to be a part of this project (even though they ended up NOT using any of my photographs.)”

Anberlin - Vital2. AnberlinVital

“It sounded like the band took the best of their previous works & crafted a perfect album!”

 

Pennywise - All Or Nothing1. PennywiseAll Or Nothing

“After the departure of Jim Lindberg, Ignite frontman Zoli Téglás stepped up sat the new vocalist for Pennywise’s 10th studio release. His contribution was actually quite the breadth of fresh air for the band and gave the ‘self-titled’ release a new sense of urgency.”

 

Honorable Mention
As I Lay DyingAwakened
The Amity Affliction – Chasing Ghosts
Before Their EyesRedemption
Stick To Your GunsDiamond
Demon HunterTrue Defiance
Tonight AliveWhat Are You So Scared Of?
Upon This DawningTo Keep Us Safe

Collections / Reissues
Breathe Carolina – Hell Is What You Make It: Reloaded
MillencolinThe Melancholy Collection
SlipknotAntennas To Hell
RammsteinMade In Germany
Haste The DayBest of the Best
The Devil Wears PradaDead Alive
Less Than JakeGreetings & Salutations
Rage Against the MachineXX
Senses FailFollow Your Bliss
UnderoathAnthology
t.A.T.u. – 200 KM/H In the Wrong Lane (10th Anniversary Edition)

This post was written by:

Henry Chung – When Henry’s not busy updating this page and speaking in third person,he’s busy shooting and editing pictures from concerts and designing logos for bands.

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