No, you don’t. Here it is anyway.
Stolen Babies – Naught
2006’s “There Be Squabbles Ahead” is awesome. It’s definitely in the top tier for me. Oddly though I didn’t really follow Stolen Babies’ progress after that, and it turns out for most of the time there wasn’t any. They took a big hiatus, but eventually they found out that people actually wanted to hear more music, and they happened to have a some on the burner; and so Naught came to pass. It’s as good as Squabbles if not better, and slightly darker, meaner, but still jaunty dark cabaret masterpiece. Their headlining show that I caught this year was possibly the greatest concert I’ve ever attended (along with the 15 other people who decided to show up).
Pig Destroyer - Book Burner
“Dangerously angry one minute, rocking and rolling the next!” These guys never disappoint, except for the whole barely ever performing live thing. Book Burner is the best sort of grindcore; honest, raw, and heavy as balls. It’s just great. It is, in a way, a regression though. It sounds quite a bit more like their earlier work, say Prowler in the Yard, as opposed to the slower brutality of Terrifyer and Phantom Limb. This is due to the replacement of their drummer with the guy from Misery Index. It works.
Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
I really don’t like the album cover art, but what does that matter? It’s another column of hellfire from the masters of true metalcore, Converge. They’re a close second to Stolen Babies for best concert experience of my life; these guys just tear it to pieces. All We Love… is not much of a progression, but Axe To Fall is hard to follow in that regard. It’s an extremely solid piece of music with everything I’ve grown to love from them.
Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan
A momentary detour from the metal bits. I’m not sure why I tried this. Maybe just because I kept seeing the cover of Bitte Orca and being intrigued by it. Turns out that one isn’t really my thing, but this right here is just wonderful. It’s got a great sort of angularity in every aspect of the music, and lots of the lyrics pierce my little emo-heart.
Die Antwoord - Ten$ion
Definitely a worthy follow-up to 2010’s $O$, Ten$ion is another tongue-in-cheek masterwork of weirdness and irony that just hugs my hipster self all warm-like. Yo-landi and Ninja’s artistry is a sort that might be dismissed as trash by a lot of people, but underneath the ugly exterior is some positively innovative stuff.
Mares of Thrace - The Pilgrimage
Back to the metals! Mares of Thrace is primarily a female death/sludge metal duo with a huge sound. Their previous album, The Moulting, didn’t really do much for me aside from impress me by the concept of two beautiful ladies playing metal so honestly, but this year they really created something I can enjoy on its own merits. It’s got that angularity that I crave in spades, and it’s just straight-up heavy.
Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
It’s another Gojira album! It can not suck! That’s why it’s here. Like Converge, they didn’t really forge any new ground, just made yet another hugely enjoyable, groovy metal album. I’ve got to catch these dudes live before I get sick of them.
Absvrdist - Illusory
Here we start getting ito somewhat less familiar territory. I found a review of this on MetalSucks, and though of lot of the stuff they’ve been recommending lately is starting to leave my areas of interest, I was intrigued by the “blackened grindcore” description, which isn’t really a thing that happens much aside from with the increasingly stagnant Anaal Nathrakh. This here is mostly just good grindcore with occasional black metal mixed into some of the later tracks, but it’s still really enjoyable. “Come on, doesn’t anybody wanna slam-dance?”
Matt Elliott - The Broken Man
Elliott’s perfected his style here. Misery loves company. I can’t get enough of “Dust Flesh and Bone”
Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
I think I’ve only listened to this three times or so, but I’m still including it here because it’s just so different. I don’t think I’ve heard anything like it before, which is probably because my dabbling with electronic music is sadly limited. This is not typical techno or whatever by any means; it’s a dynamically vibrant, lush, dark experience. Highly recommended.
Some extras that deserve attention but I’m done writing so whatever
Napalm Death - Utilitarian
Beach House - Bloom
Nachtmystium - Silencing Machine
Abigail Williams - Becoming
Scott Walker - Bish Bosch
Gaza - No Absolutes in Human Suffering