We are a little over halfway through 2012 so here is a Top 10 list so far. This was not too difficult to do because I have not been buying a lot of new music this year.
10. PILGRIM: MISERY WIZARD
This is one I have not had a chance to put up a full review on yet. I just got it a couple of weeks ago. Pilgrim is a doom metal band with an emphasis on the doom. Most of the tracks are incredibly slow but undeniably heavy. There is not a lot of variation in the tracks, other than the rollicking final track, but once in awhile that's good. Look for a full review very soon.
9. EXUMER: FIRE AND DAMNATION
Another album with a full review soon to come. Exumer is a longtime German thrash metal band who has recently reunited. The band previously put out a couple of albums in the mid 1980's and this is their first album since. I am not familiar with their earlier material but if it sounds anything like this, I will definitely be checking it out.
8. 16: DEEP CUTS FROM DARK CLOUDS
16 is a fairly brutal band in the sludge metal genre and is another group that it took me quite awhile to finally check out. This is an incredibly infectious album although it does tend to drag a little at times. 16 is not as violently aggressive as Eyehategod but they are similar to Acid Bath. 16 shows us what real sludge metal sounds like.
7. OVERKILL: THE ELECTRIC AGE
One of the most consistent thrash metal bands in the history of metal, Overkill has never put out a bad album and this one is certainly no exception. Overkill continues to put out fantastic album after fantastic album. While this is something of a step down from their last release, it is still a phenomenal album. Overkill deserves a lot more notoriety than they get.
6. 3 INCHES OF BLOOD: LONG LIVE HEAVY METAL
Once a very promising band, 3IOB took a big step backward when one of their vocalists left and threw the band's sound in disarray. But this album finds the band realizing their sound once more and gleefully enjoying their take on classic metal. This is an excellent return to form for the band.
5. KREATOR: PHANTOM ANTICHRIST
The most recent album from this list, I picked this one up in the final week of June so it just barely made the cut for consideration here. Since pulling out of their tailspin in the early 2000's Kreator has put out a number of great brutal thrash metal albums. Kreator is still going very strong after all this time.
4. ASPHYX: DEATHHAMMER
Martin Van Drunen is one of my favorite extreme metal vocalists and this is just another reason why. Asphyx was one of the more compelling early death metal bands, particularly with their infusion of doom metal elements. Aspyhx has not been back together long but they have put out some amazing work in the time they have.
I cannot believe it took me so long to discover Aura Noir. Blackened thrash metal is one of my favorite genres and Aura Noir is considered one of the better bands in the genre, and for good reason. Their music is raw and infectious and recalls early Venom and Sodom.
2. GOATWHORE: BLOOD FOR THE MASTER
Goatwhore has been one of my favorite bands for a long time now and they just keep getting better. Each album is an improvement on the one before it and this one is no exception. Their sound is more streamlined but that does not mean it is any less intense. This is a neckbreaker from start to finish.
1. CHRISTIAN MISTRESS: POSSESSION
The top metal album of the year so far has come from a somewhat unexpected place. This is only the band's second album so far but the band has a very bright future. They play a brand of NWOBHM-influenced retro metal. Their songwriting skills are top-notch and the vocals are incredible. A terrific album from start to finish.