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Baroness

Yellow & Green

(Relapse)

5


Baroness
Yellow & Green


Yes, you read it right, Yellow & Green is sitting pretty in PopMatters’ “Best of Metal” list for 2012. Detractors will scream for its exclusion on the basis that this sprawling, expertly conceived and sublimely executed double LP is not strictly metal. Granted, this record does disappear down the hallowed halls of prog/folk/indie rock, but Baroness’s metal origins remain ingrained in its spirit. Whatever your thoughts about this record are, one thing is irrefutable: Yellow & Green is the sound of Baroness attempting to satisfy their own selfish aspirations and successfully achieving them through bold displays of musical bravery that knows no bounds. Dean Brown


 

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Author & Punisher

Ursus Americanus

(Seventh Rule)

4


Author & Punisher
Ursus Americanus


Tristan Shone makes music with sci-fi looking instruments of his own making. One might chalk this up to being merely a really cool science project for grown-ups, but Ursus Americanus proves that Shone isn’t kidding around. His music under the Author & Punisher moniker is terrifying, jarring, and intensely rhythmic; by merging doom, electronic, and industrial into an entirely digital sonic, Shone advances every single one of the genres involved. The Luddite fear that technology and humankind must be oppositional forces is entirely disproved by this album, which, while entirely the result of machines, is a tribute to human ingenuity. Brice Ezell


 

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Panopticon

Kentucky

(Pagan Flame Productions)

3


Panopticon
Kentucky


Although born in Tennessee, multi-instrumentalist Austin Lunn has always had more of an affinity with the mountains and forests of Kentucky, and he taps into the state’s musical and cultural heritage to brilliant effect on Panopticon’s fourth album. Black metal musings on nature coalesce with bluegrass instrumentals and renditions of old coal miner protest songs, as this sprawling record leaves listeners with a much richer appreciation for the region than they expect. Adventurous and soulful, Kentucky can justifiably be called an extreme metal version of the great film Harlan County, U.S.A. Adrien Begrand


 

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Pig Destroyer

Book Burner

(Relapse)

Review [7.Oct.2012]

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Pig Destroyer
Book Burner


Pig Destroyer returned in 2012 with its highly anticipated fifth full-length, Book Burner, a notably leaner, though no less decimating, album than 2007’s grindcore classic Phantom Limb. Five years is a long time to wait for new material, but Book Burner is a masterful return. It’s a broadside of pulverizing, uranium-tipped riffs and blistering percussion wrapped around warped samples and utterly demented lyrics. A true lesson in corporeal and aural intensity, Book Burner is a painstakingly precise bombardment of dissonant violence. While its torrents of death, thrash, and power-violence are combined with stripped-down grinding hooks, the technicality that Pig Destroyer has long been famed for is dispensed in a ferocious and pitiless fashion. Craig Hayes


 

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Dawnbringer

Into the Lair of the Sun God

(Profound Lore)

Review [31.Jul.2012]

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Dawnbringer
Into the Lair of the Sun God


Traditional heavy metal retains a special place in the secretly sentimental heart of almost every appreciator of the genre. Chris Black’s dreamy tenor voice performs such heartfelt singing that it single-handedly evokes a keen sense of heartache that suits the strange yet tragic tale presented by Into the Lair of the Sun God‘s conceptual story. Bold and poignant, the lyrics follow a man’s ambitious quest to slaughter the Sun God, and such fantastical stories need to be utilized as heavy metal album themes more often! The guitar melodies alternate between furious and melancholic to fit the many different stages of the narrative, and, needless to say, it complements the epic tale excellently. Dawnbringer may not be as famous as Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden, but the band sure knows how to spice up traditional heavy metal without it becoming radically indigestible. Dane Prokofiev


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