For something a little different rather than the traditional end of year "top X albums" list, we thought we would highlight some of the great individual rock & metal songs of 2012. This is a rock & metal list only, so as much as you might enjoy Gangnam Style or Call Me Maybe, you won't find them in this list. Obviously everyone will have different takes on this, but this is what Team Scribes came up with between us. The only rule was only one song per band. In no particular order, here we go:
20 Of The Best Rock & Metal Songs From 2012
Bury Tomorrow - Lionheart
A certified banger from the Hampshire metalcore five piece off their Nuclear Blast debut The Union of Crowns, Lionheart ticks all the boxes for us at Scribes. Youthful enthusiasm, a memorable chorus, effective use of clean and growled vocals, some great guitar work and beatdowns that are not over used. Four minutes of British metal gold. Not heard it? Watch it below:
Sylosis - Out From Below
Continuing the British theme, Sylosis could well be regarded as Bury Tomorrow's elders in terms of experience in the scene, despite the fact there isn't that much in age between the bands. Sylosis' latest album Monolith (also for Nuclear Blast) once again contains some crackers but for us the opening track Out From Below is the one that deserves to be in this list. At almost seven minutes long, it is a dark, foreboding piece of modern thrash brilliance with six string work of the highest order (as one would expect from Josh Middleton and Alex Bailey). The increased confidence from Josh can be heard in his vocal performance (one of his best to date) and the rest of the musicianship is what you'd expect from Sylosis. Warning: will induce headbanging.
AxeWound - Exorchrist
When AxeWound were announced, a lot of people were skeptical as metal "supergroups" don't always have a particularly good track record. We were pleasantly surprised by the fact that AxeWound were really rather good, both live and with their debut album Vultures. The pick of the bunch is their recent single Exorchrist which sees Liam Cormier and Matt Tuck sharing the vocal duties and it's a vocal marriage that works very well in this instance. The riffs are better than anything that appeared on the last BFMV album and the bridge with it's "Drag Me To Hell" cry will get heads banging aplenty in a live situation. We'd like to see and hear
more AxeWound in 2013.
Gojira - Explosia
Gojira's recent masterpiece L'enfant Sauvage has been praised by all and sundry in the metal community since it's June 2012 release and deservedly so and no track from that album deserves more alcolades than the opening Explosia. Few songs can induce feelings of making the listener want to cause carnage like this one. It's the kind of track that if played at a concert and the band told you to punch your friends as hard as humanly possible, for most people it would be an involuntary reaction to comply. One of the heaviest songs on our list, the complexity of the song is mesmorising whilst staying incredibly listenable. The Dupliantier's and their cohorts should be very proud of this one.
Erik Chandler - Tonight's The Night
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, 2012 saw Bowling For Soup bassist Erik Chandler take his first steps into solo territory. His debut four track E.P was well received by virtually all who heard it, and the pick of the bunch was a song entitled Tonight's The Night. Channelling his indie rock upbringing, Chandler strikes a tone similiar to the likes of REM at their pomp as he sings of finally having the courage to get out of a unsuccessful relationship. Something of a curve ball for this list but fully deserving of it's place, this will make a lot of people look at BFS's rhythm man in a different light entirely.
Anathema - Untouchable Pt 2
Weather Systems has been universally hailed as a masterpiece throughout 2012, so again its not easy to pick just one song. Whilst Internal Landscapes is a heart wrenching epic conclusion to the album, we've opted for Untouchable pt 2, with its twin vocals, with Lee Douglas sounding incredible backed up impressively by Vincent Cavanagh. The instrumentation is subtle and beautiful all at once, and this is one of the best songs of 2012 with a more ambient slant.
Stone Sour - Absolute Zero
House of Gold & Bones Part One is some of Stone Sour's best work to date and the co-lead single Absolute Zero has featured in many end of year lists and polls. Little surprise then that it's in our top 20 because its an absolutely cracking commercial metal song. It makes you want to bang your head and sing along in all the right places and for us that'll do nicely. Great work from Corey n co.
Testament - True American Hate
Another band (and album) where it was difficult to pick just one track for selection, Testament's The Dark Roots Of Earth was heralded as another success for the Californian thrash veterans. By the majority vote, True American Hate just beat out opening song Rise Up. It's what seasoned listeners might expect from a great Testament song, great thrashy, gritty riffs with an amazing solo, pulled together by one of Chuck Billy's most emphatic vocal turns of recent times. A real barn burner of a track (though the same could be said for many tracks from Testament's last two albums), this is essential thrash listening.
Modern Day Escape - Under The Gun
A song that may have passed under the radar of many, Americans Modern Day Escape are a metal band that give off a good time vibe in the vein of bands like Sum 41 or New Found Glory. Under The Gun is a short & sweet two minutes fourty of feel good metal with a US punk pop feel to it. This song would fit snugly on any rock / metal summer party or BBQ playlist. If you haven't heard it (or Modern Day Escape in general), check it out. Big things may come from these guys. Check out the video below:
Young Guns - Brother In Arms
Several songs from Young Guns smash hit second album Bones were under consideration for this list, including the title track but by majority vote the one that made it onto the twenty was Brother In Arms. It's a track that has a very "epic rock song" feel to it and seems destined to be belted out at arenas and stadiums in the future with its lyrical content that can be interpreted in various ways, its one of those songs that will hold different meaning for each listener. At a less serious level its also just a cracking rock song, with a great performance in particular by Gus Wood on the microphone.
Tremonti - New Way Out
It was suspected by many that when Mark Tremonti finally unleashed his long awaited solo album it would be good, but few thought All I Was would be just as good as it turned out to be. For us, the pick of the bunch from that album is New Way Out, a song very much in the Blackbird (by Alter Bridge) vein, showing off the full range of Mark's guitar abilities as well an as impressively strong vocal range which he's been keeping very quiet up until now. One of the hard rock songs of 2012 for sure. Make sure you check it out, as well as the album, if you haven't already.
Epica - Storm The Sorrow
Epica's early 2012 album Requiem For The Indifferent was one of the band's finest works to date, no more so than it's lead single Storm The Sorrow. Simone Simons puts in one of her best vocal performances to date showing off her well known range in style in a song powered primarily by the vocals but underpinned with effective melodies from Isaac Delahaye on guitar and Ariën van Weesenbeek on the keyboard, backed up by a slow gallop on the rhythm side of things. One for those who enjoy their symphonic metal or high quality performances of metal with female singers.
Kamelot - Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife)
In 2012, Kamelot finally announced their new singer in the shape of Seventh Wonder's Tommy Karevik. Rather good he is too. Unfortunately we weren't crazy about the band's debut album with Karevik at the helm (Silverthorn) but that album does contain a belting single in the form of Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife). Featuring guest cameos from longtime Kamelot live collaborator Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) as well as Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist, Sacrimony is Kamelot in full power metal flow. When they're on form like this they are one of the very best bands in their niche of metal, it's just a shame there were not more tracks on the album quite as good as this one. You can enjoy it right now whether you've heard it before or not as the video is right here for your enjoyment:
Halestorm - Love Bites (So Do I)
The song that fully announced Lzzy Hale and co to the world (at least for those who hadn't heard Here's To Us on Glee), Love Bites (So Do I) has "radio hit" literally tattooed all over it. With a superb opening riff among several pieces of memorable guitar work and a chorus that will lodge itself into many a head, Love Bites has ensured that at the start of 2013 an awful lot more people know who Halestorm are than they did at the start of 2012.
Fozzy - Sandpaper
Another band who could have had more than one song pop up on this list, Sin & Bones was arguably Fozzy's finest work to date. Packed with great songs, the albums' lead off single Sandpaper is the one that turned the most heads with Rich Ward's groove-o-meter turned up to eleven, crafting one of the best main riffs of his career to date to underpin a song that's catchy as hell. Avenged Sevenfold's M Shadows even stops by to lend his pipes to proceedings. Listen to this a few times and you'll catch yourself singing it (especially the chorus) at all hours. All together now: A cat scratch, a whiplash, a witch hunt in black, Sandpaper!
Lamb of God - Ghost Walking
Resolution, Lamb of God's most recent album, divided many people with it seemingly being declared either the band's best work, or nowhere near as good as some of their previous efforts. Regardless, Ghost Walking is a fantastic song, with its muted acoustic guitar intro adding a slightly different flavour to a Lamb of God track before launching into familiar territory. The words "You Live Through Hell" in particular being spewed multiple times by Randy Blythe with as much venom as humanly possible seem even more appropriate and with a touch of future sight considering what the Lamb of God singer has been through during 2012. One of the harshest sounding Lamb of God songs yet, Ghost Walking is fully worthy of a place on this list. If you haven't seen and heard it, check out the awesome video for the song:
Black Breath - Feast Of The Damned
If you don't know Black Breath, they're one of the most interesting bands to come along in quite some time. Their flavour of metal is a hardcore sound with elements of thrash and death metal delivered with an old school punk atitude, and nowhere is this more prevalent than on Feast Of The Damned, the relentless opener to their 2012 album Sentenced To Life. There is melody to go with the madness as the song features a groove riff oriented opening before launching an all out assault on the listener. Unlike anything else in our top 20 list, Black Breath are very worthy of your attention.
The Devin Townsend Project - Kingdom
Kingdom sees Devin Townsend take some of his heaviest work in years, chuck it into a blender with a smile and a touch of glam rock and Kingdom is the end result. A song that elicits an almost religious reaction from Devin fans, this is one feel good metal song most people will love whether they're long time fans of Devin's work or new converts to the church of Hevy Devy. If you're not familiar with The Devin Townsend Project this is the best possible way to introduce yourself to them.
While She Sleeps - Our Courage, Our Cancer
To round off our top 20, we've got another offering from one of British metal's fastest rising stars. This could have easily also been This Is The Six or Dead Behind The Eyes to name but two tracks from While She Sleeps' Summer smash hit album This Is The Six but we've plumped for Our Courage, Our Cancer. The song offers a fantastic juxstaposition with its beautiful piano intro giving way to the sonic assault one might expect from While She Sleeps. Even more impressive than the music, which is very good indeed are the lyrics, which are among the most heartfelt of the year. Anyone who's lost someone to illness in 2012 or any other year could identify with the lyrics from this song.
Last but not least...
One last thing. We didn't want to end this list on a sombre note so we decided to break our own rules and include a second track by the wonderful Devin Townsend. If this doesn't put a smile on your face, you're a cold, cold person. Enjoy the video for Lucky Animals right now with a click of your mouse or touch screen device below:
We know everyone will have different favourites (and please let us know what yours are/were in the comments) but this is a nice selection from what we enjoyed in 2012 here at Scribes HQ. We look forward to bringing you lots of good new rock & metal songs in 2013!