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12.31.12 Lambda's 201210.15.12 2012 Quarterly Report #2
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Lambda's 2012

Every album I heard from 2012, ranked worst to best. I didn't listen to as many records as last year, but I still did a little more than one a week, and most of what I did hear was great, if not better! So, without further ado...

[ 1 / 5 ] - Absolutely awful. I listened to it once, but I can't sit through this train wreck again. Avoid at all costs.
53Behold... The Arctopus

[ 1.5 / 5 ] - Disappointing on almost every level, Behold... The Arctopus' latest is a jumbled mess of atonal randomness.
The 2nd Law

[ 2 / 5 ] - Completely all over the place, which isn't necessarily a bad thing... except that in this case, it is.

[ 2.5 / 5 ] - I found this to be quite generic and a chore to listen to in full. I can't remember a single moment of it, though none of it was awful (I'd remember if it was).
50A Million Dead Birds Laughing

[ 2.5 / 5 ] - A bizarre and isolating listen with an admittedly unique sound; it's just not something I particularly enjoy. Props for the album title, though (Half-Life!)
Dark Roots of Earth

[ 2.5 / 5 ] - Really boring, really generic. I can't figure out why this album is so popular. Sorry guys. With that said, though, none of this was awful.
48Serj Tankian

[ 2.5 / 5 ] - Some good tracks, and some bad tracks; quality-wise, it's a rollercoaster ride. A common theme running throughout, though: the bad lyrics.

[ 2.5 / 5 ] - The more I listened to this, the less I liked it. I found it very boring in parts and it felt, to me at least, a little lazy.
46Paul Gilbert

[ 2.5 / 5 ] - A fun record, but not up to Paul's usual standard- too short, and the lyrics are kinda brainless in spots. I admire him for trying something different, though.
45Phillip Phillips
The World from the Side of the Moon

[ 2.5 / 5 ] - This album has some really great cuts, such as "Man on the Moon," "Home," and "Drive Me," however much of it is dull, generic pop-rock. It is also overlong; the second half in particular really drags.
44Nada Surf
The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy

[ 3 / 5 ] - Pretty average, with some decent moments pushing it just above that threshold. One of the best album titles of the year, though.

[ 3 / 5 ] - Quite Tool-esque, especially the vocals. The drumming is amazing as per Martin Lopez's usual. I couldn't get into this as much as I feel I should have, though, perhaps because it felt a little dry and repetitive at points.
42Abigail Williams

[ 3 / 5 ] - A decent release. Gives off a very Wolves in the Throne Room vibe. It didn't leave a big impression on me, though, like some other black metal releases from the year.
All or Nothing

[ 3 / 5 ] - Good vocals, and fun, though all the songs sound very similar to one another.
Honor Found in Decay

[ 3 / 5 ] - This album just felt like it was... missing something. I may need to listen to it more, but as of right now it fell short of my expectations. I felt the gravitas of albums like "Through Silver in Blood" just wasn't there.
Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II

[ 3 / 5 ] - Not as good as part I, but not bad either.
38Rings of Saturn

[ 3 / 5 ] - Very fast, very furious. The songwriting is definitely an improvement over the little of their first album I heard, though there is still room to get better. Unfortunately, a problem which plagues many albums like this plagues this one too: all the songs sound the same, aside from a few standout moments. Extremely good musicians though.
37Pig Destroyer
Book Burner

[ 3 / 5 ] - A disappointment for me. "Book Burner" wasn't as emotionally engaging as I would have liked. I felt a disconnect there; plus, the samples, which were used perfectly on "Terrifyer," felt thrown in here.
36The Contortionist

[ 3 / 5 ] - Very ambitious, which I love to see in an album, but it just doesn't live up to the standards it sets upon itself.
35Anneke van Giersbergen
Everything is Changing

[ 3 / 5 ] - The first half of this is pretty generic pop-rock, but the second half features some great tracks. 'Stay" and "Circles" are the highlights for me.
34 Between the Buried and Me
The Parallax II: Hypersleep Dialogues

[ 3 / 5 ] - The heavy parts, which are the meat of the album, do nothing for me this time around. The album is also way too long; the interludes are the best things on here.
Advaitic Songs

[ 3 / 5 ] - Great atmosphere and musicianship; however, the vocals are very... disappointing. More could have been done with them.
32Cannibal Corpse

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - A fun death metal release. It really feels as though Cannibal Corpse is embracing their inherent silliness on this album.
31Napalm Death

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - "Everyday Pox" (with sax from John Zorn) and "The Wolf I Feed" are such heavy and great tracks. The rest of the album is pretty good too.
No Absolutes in Human Suffering

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - Another great heavy release.
29Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - A little slow, and drags at points, but it's still a great record. Impeccably performed.
Lingua Franca

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - Kind of atonal, but a very interesting and unique album.
27 August Burns Red
August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin' Hill

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - A fun listen, though I would have liked to see a little more variation in beat/tempo across the album.
Fire Make Thunder

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - Not quite as good as "Blood," but it's still awesome (apart from the dull opening track). Gavin Harrison's drumming is phenomenal as always.
Koi No Yokan

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - Some great tracks ("Rosemary" in particular stands as one of the best songs of the year,) but I don't see the amazingness that everyone else does. A lot of this felt sort of run-of-the-mill to me.
Electric Sea

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - Great soft record from Buckethead. Not as good as "Electric Tears," but still worth hearing.

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - Another rollercoaster ride of an album, though unlike "Harakiri," all the songs on here are, at minimum, pretty good. And they are all interesting.
22 Devin Townsend Project

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - One of the most fun albums of the year. It grew on me a lot since my first listen. Devin and Anneke's vocals are out of this world good.
Time I

[ 3.5 / 5 ] - Another album that grew on me. This takes many listens to appreciate due to the many layers of instruments. It does feel a little short, though.
20Ash Borer
Cold of Ages

[ 4 / 5 ] - Very atmospheric black metal release. I my be overrating this one a bit, but it's excellent.
Eternal Turn of the Wheel

[ 4 / 5 ] - I really enjoyed this album. I liked the vocal style (and how it differed from traditional black metal wailing). The atmosphere sucked me in, as well.
18Coheed and Cambria
The Afterman: Ascension

[ 4 / 5 ] - Great release. I don't care much for the closer Subtraction," but the rest is really good. "Goodnight, Fair Lady" is one of the catchiest songs of the year.
Failed States

[ 4 / 5 ] - Another excellent album from Propagandhi. I love how all the instruments (including the bass) are audible and play interesting parts. A lot more thought went into this than a typical punk album, and it shows.
16Exotic Animal Petting Zoo
Tree of Tongues

[ 4 / 5 ] - For fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Lye By Mistake, and other bands in that vein. Sporadic, enjoyable, and loud (though it does have its quiet moments).
Weather Systems

[ 4 / 5 ] - A gorgeous album, lush with beauteous soundscapes and truly mesmerizing moments.

[ 4 / 5 ] - Not as good as "Axioma Ethica Odini," but a great album regardless. Its only flaw is that it goes on for too long.
Dead End Kings

[ 4 / 5 ] - Excellent release from Katatonia. "Dead Letters" is one of the best songs of the year. I'd say go check out my review for more info, but my review sucked, so go check out one of the other three.
12Every Time I Die
Ex Lives

[ 4 / 5 ] - I really enjoyed this record. Bludgeoning and fast, but all the songs brought different elements to the table. Awesome!
The Shores of Molokai

[ 4 / 5 ] - This is a fantastic album, and Buckethead's best since 'It's Alive.' The riffs on here are jaw-droppingly good, and the electronic drumbeats- when utilized- add a lot of personality to the ordeal. I didn't care for some of the blatant Dubstep-influenced stuff ("Smile Without a Face") and the album felt a little bit short overall, but it's still an excellent slab with a lot of killer moments, great flow, and no filler at all. Highly recommended.
10 Neichec
Smierc w miekkim futerku

[ 4 / 5 ] - Awesome jazz record. I'm glad I discovered it before the end of the year (if barely).
9 Alcest
Les Voyages De L'Ame

[ 4 / 5 ] - What an incredible record. So many great sounds and layers can found here, as well as some of the most gorgeous tracks of the year.
8 Godspeed You! Black Emperor
'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

[ 4.5 / 5 ] - Each second of the album is carefully constructed; every sound, every buzz, every bit of feedback has its place- and the sample use is cerebral throughout. The album doesn't get a perfect score, mainly because the final drone track is a little underwhelming, but this is an excellent album nonetheless and firmly cements GY!BE's place as one of, if not the, greatest post-rock band of all time.
Southern Air

[ 4.5 / 5 ] - One of the best pop-punk albums I've ever heard. Special mention goes to "Ten" as being one of the most emotionally affecting songs of the year.
6Death Grips
The Money Store

[ 4.5 / 5 ] - This grew on me a lot. I still feel like I haven't fully "discovered" everything it has to offer, but even so it is one of the most original and interesting releases of the year.
5Ne Obliviscaris
Portal of I

[ 4.5 / 5 ] - The was #1 on my list for a long while, and with good reason: amazing instrumentation, lengthy without getting boring, unique, ambitious, [insert good quality here], [insert good quality here], etc. Eventually a few records came out which I felt were superior, but considering this is the band's debut, their future looks extremely bright.
All We Love We Leave Behind

[ 4.5 / 5 ] - What I love most about this album is that it doesn't dilly dally. There is no padding, no filler, and everything is just straight to the point. Combine that with some of the best songs of the year ("A Glacial Pace," "Coral Blue," the title track) and you have an amazing album.
3 Diablo Swing Orchestra
Pandora's Pinata

[ 4.5 / 5 ] - Extremely varied, but every song on here is of the same quality level: amazing. It also doesn't drag at all, and despite being all over the place genre-wise, it feels cohesive. The closer "Justice for Saint Mary" is absolutely incredible.
The Seer

[ 5 / 5 ] - It reportedly took thirty years to make, but now it is finally here. A massive, monolithic double disc release spanning nearly two hours, Swans' "The Seer" is anything but an easy listen; songs will repeat the same two note progression for minutes before abruptly turning into avant-garde campfire sing-a-longs or bagpipe solos. Additionally, any form of traditional song structure is pretty much disregarded, with two tracks hovering around twenty minutes and one even topping thirty (!) Indeed, the album feels more like a long trek than anything, and the discordant atmosphere throughout only adds to this sensibility. Some listeners may be turned off by the record's deliberate pace and lengthy repetitious stretches, but these are all part of that aforementioned trek- one that is just as rewarding as it is challenging. "The Seer" is a masterfully crafted, painstakingly detailed album and the best of the year so far. It may have been thirty years in the making, but it was thirty years well spent.

Nope, this is not getting a rating from me. Why? Because... it's my band's album! It came out this year and if you guys could check it out/give it a rating/review/soundoff I'd really appreciate it :) Listen here: Thanks for reading my list, and Happy New Year!
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