Best Music of 2012

I bought a lot of music this year.

My collection contains 65 albums from 2012 alone, and that doesn't count the many more than supplemented my collection from years gone by. Pretty much every album I bought this year had something of value on it, and I can't realistically embed 65 albums worth of videos on this page, so this year I'm going to continue with the genre categorization, but only offer videos from select artists (new & notable).

This year, I finished my desire to re-rip everything into lossless, and continue to buy physical media almost exclusively (primarily CD, but also occasional Blu-ray discs, which seem to have replaced DVD-Audio and SACD as the mechanism for delivering 5.1 lossless audio). It's really a shame that there are no good places to buy lossless online at reasonable prices; the content on sites like HDtracks is extremely limited and expensive.

Genre: Hard Rock & Metal

Brendon Small - Galaktikon

Brendon is the multi-instrumentalist brains behind several acclaimed animated TV shows, including Metalocalypse (which birthed his Dethklok project). Galaktikon is a side project grown simply from his desire to do a "high-stakes, intergalactic rock album". As always, he creates new paths, and we follow happily.

Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud

I'd known of Devin Townsend ("Hevy Devy") as the hyperactive singer from Strapping Young Lad, as well as the signer from Steve Vai's short-lived stint at including vocals on his albums. This was the first solo album I'd picked up, and ended up back-filling the whole catalog of his solo work within weeks of acquiring this.

Kiss - Monster

Yes, modern Kiss records have left a lot to be desired, especially their last outing, Sonic Boom. To me, this album sounds like a heavy dose of Revenge, peppered with the old style ala Love Gun or Destroyer.

Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline

Every album from Lacuna Coil tips the scales a little heavier, and with each also comes a more comfortable style. With both a male and female vocalist, they are fairly unique, and the songs on Dark Adrenaline finally feel like they are balanced just as they should be between the two.

Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name

This album, more than any in its career, finds Sonata Arctica in razor sharp focus. Previous albums have been between "okay" and "very good", but this is one of first ones that I'd call truly "great" in quite a while.

Other notable releases:

Accept - Stalingrad
Barren Earth - The Devil's Resolve
Corrosion of Conformity - Corrosion of Conformity
The Cult - Choice of Weapon
Epica - Requiem for the Indifferent
Fear Factory - The Industrialist
Kamelot - Silverthorn
Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Ascending to Infinity
Prong - Carved into Stone
Shadows Fall - Fire from the Sky
Slash - Apocalyptic Love
Soundgarden - King Animal
Steve Vai - The Story of Light
Sybreed - God Is an Automaton
Testament - Dark Roots of Earth
Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth

Genre: Extreme Metal

Allegaeon - Formshifter

It's hard to believe that this band has only two albums, as they are unquestionably the absolute kings of technical melodic death metal. The twin attack of the 8-string guitars is relentlessly accurate. This was (and still is) my most listened-to album of the year.

Before the Dawn - Rise of the Phoenix

I discovered this band this year (via my friend Peter), and it was a stellar find. I picked up an older album as well, but it didn't quite have the staying power than Rise of the Phoenix has with me. I know that when I pick this album on the iPod in the car, it's going to make it through several rotations before being replaced.

Between the Buried & Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence

The album Colors has long been my favorite BTBAM album... until this year. This album, a follow-up to their 40-minute 3-song "EP" last year, has definitely topped the favorite list for me now, at least partly because I'm a sucker for concept albums.

Stealing Axion - Moments

This is the first album for Stealing Axion, encapsulating (in better quality) the 5 song EP from two years ago, plus several new songs. I expect lots more goodness from them in the future.

Woods of Ypress - Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light

Lead vocalist David Gold passed away shortly after the band finished recording this album. Given that he was the primary driving creative force, this will be the last Woods album... but what a gift he left us.

Other notable releases:

The Agonist - Prisoners
Baroness - Yellow & Green
Dethklok - Dethalbum III
Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
Meshuggah - Koloss
Reversion - Obscene
Soulfly - Obscene
Veil of Maya - Eclipse

Genre: Progressive

Coheed & Cambria - The Afterman: Ascension

Coheed & Cambria continue to release albums telling the story of The Amory Wars. The Afterman is a two-part release; Ascension was released in 2012, and Descension will be released in 2013. This is Coheed's best album since 2005's 'From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness', and a worthy addition to the Amory canon.

Katatonia - Dead End Kings

A few albums ago, Katatonia converted from an extreme metal band to a prog metal band. Many of the core followers lament this transition, but I absolutely believe that they are making the best music of their careers right now.

Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion

The progressive rock collaboration between Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson and Opeth's Mikael Ã…kerfeldt couldn't possibly have made me happier. This was a pairing that was decades in the making, and represents the pinnacle of modern prog. Besides, how can you not love a album with three 10-minute songs on it? :)

Other notable releases:

Cynic - The Portal Tapes
The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet
Rush - Clockwork Angels

Genre: Everything Else

David Guetta - Nothing but the Beat (the Electronic Album)

I'm particular with my electronica, but this find (via Matthew) is quite the gem.

deadmau5 - > Album Title Goes Here <

I got hooked by the somewhat atypical hit The Veldt, and then back-filled my collection with the last 4 albums. It's all terrific stuff, but this song is really spectacular.

Garbage - Not Your Kind of People

A change of style and attitude was exactly what Garbage needed, as it produced their best album since their first album 17 years ago.

Swedish House Mafia - Until Now

Sad that I've just made this discovery, since the now 4 year old band has broken up. Thanks a lot, Matthew. :-p

Other notable releases:

Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...
Mumford & Sons - Babel
The Smashing Pumpkins - Oceania
Tenacious D - Rize of the Fenix