Halfway through 2012 already? Where did the last half year of mankind go? Since the Mayans made it crystal clear that this is the wind down to the big finish, it seems a bit trivial to do a “best of 2012 so far” list, but hey, I’m all about leaving historical records for aliens to unearth someday (I always dreamed of being a primary source). This year has been a good, if not stunning time for metal. By and large, the anticipated albums lived up to expectations and a few even exceeded them. Then there were the surprises from left field that took us off guard with their rich, creamy goodness. Overall, so far, so good. On another note, it goes without saying that along with AMG, I’m happy 2012 has seen this little family friendly interweb spot growing and becoming more and more of a community. With new writers, regular updates and a continued committment to retro-thrash (just kidding), its been a highly productive year at THE AMG University of Metallic Learnings. I for one, am anxious to see what the remainder of 2012 holds for us all (besides the obvious, life-ending extinction event, I mean). See you on the other side!

In no particular order, here it goes:

  • Dawnbringer // Into the Lair of the Sun God – somewhere between Maiden and Cirith Ungol is a great place to be.
  • Bel’akor // Of Breath and Bone – Right there with Omnium Gatherum‘s masterful New World Shadows.
  • Grand Magus // The Hunt – Moving further from doom to traditional metal didn’t hurt one bit.
  • Blood Mortized // The Key to a Black Heart – So far, the final world on old school Swedish death.
  • Hail Spirit Noir // Pneuma – Ghost but way way heavier.
  • Asphyx // Deathhammer – The next to last word on old school Swedish death.
  • Pharaoh // Bury the Light – Super mega stylish guitar work and slick 80’s NWOBHM.
  • Woods of Ypres // Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light – A grim but touching tombstone to a man and a band.
  • Master’s Hammer // Vracejte Konve Na Misto – Avant garde black metal with bird chirps alongside Bathory worship.
  • Sabaton // Carolus Rex – I learned more about Swedish history from this thing than I ever did in school.
  • Kreator // Phantom AntichristCrusty thrash legends return with some of the best thrash of the year.
  • Desaster // The Arts of Destruction – Motorhead meets Darkthrone and everybody wins!
  • Anathema // Weather Systems – Lush, sweeping, emotional and I guess, sort of metal.

Also in no discernible order, my nominations for songs of the year so far:

  • Pharaoh // “The Year of the Blizzard”
  • Anathema //  “The Untouchable Pt. 1”
  • Ereb Altor //  “Disspellation”
  • Steel Assassin //  “Blitzkrieg Demons”
  • Landforge // “Enchantress”
  • Woods of Ypres //  “Traveling Alone”
  • Asphyx // “Deathhammer”
  • Blood Mortized // “The Heretic Possession”
  • Dawnbringer // ” I”
  • Icarus Witch //  “Tragedy”
  • Grand Magus //  “Son of the Last Breath”
  • Sabaton //  “Carolus Rex”
  • Kreator //  “Death to the World”

Partial Spotify playlist here.