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David E. Gehlke Best-of 2012

By: David E. Gehlke

(How about adding "Sulfur" to the setlist, gents?)

One day we're going to devote an article or series to the various playlists of the staff. It would be interesting to see the variety of artists we like to rock out to on our iPods or computers, along with the songs that get spun the most. For yours truly, Katatonia's "Dissolving Bonds" is the most-played song on his iPod, followed by Rapture's "Raintracks," then another Katatonia joint, "O How I Enjoy the Light," which is preferred slow-dance music at the Gehlke/Danicic household. Sometimes there aren't enough times one can hit the repeat button, so it becomes old-hat after a while, hence the high number of plays.

The list you're about to read below is all over the place, stocked with newcomers (Arctic Plateau, Posthum, etc.), along with old standbys (Les Discrets, Katatonia). Too bad The Devil's Blood The Thousandfold Epicenter didn't receive a domestic release in 2012 or "Cruel Lover" would have gotten the nod; same for The Man Eating Tree's Harvest, where any number of tracks could have made the list. Since the year in metal left more questions than answers, that's how we're going to proceed with the below Top 10...

*Click on each song title to listen*

1. Arctic Plateau - "Big Fake Brother" (from The Enemy Inside)
How much do you think Arctic Plateau will charge to play this at someone's wedding?

2. Posthum - "Leave it all to Burn" (from Lights Out)
Are we at the point in black metal where two is greater than four?

3. Winterfylleth - "Aefterield Freon" (from The Threnody of Triumph)
Winterfylleth has four members and a violin player for this one, so could Blistering be wrong yet again?

4. Les Discrets - "Le Mouvement Perpetuel" (from Ariettes Oubliees)
Is Fursy Tessyier well on his way to becoming French metal's top renaissance man?

5. Atoma - "Rainmen" (from Skylight)
How many people are aware of how awesome Slumber's Fallout is?

6. Torche - "Kicking" (from Harmonicraft)
What does a band have to do to get this played at an aerobics class?

7. Katatonia - "Hypnone" (from Dead End Kings)
Is Nystrom's solo at the 2:55 mark better than the one on "Omerta?"

8. Unisonic - "Unisonic" (from Unisonic)
When Michael Kiske and Michael Weikath finally kiss and make up, do you think they'll both agree how bad Chameleon is?

9. Ihsahn - "Something Out There" (from Ermeta)
Would the Ihsahn of 1992 turn his nose up at saxophones, and if so, could someone go back in time to tell him to CUT IT OUT?

10. Bullet - "Rolling Home" (from Full Pull)
An UDO/Brian Johnson/Chris Boltendahl love-child, perhaps?

Biggest surprise of 2012: Corrosion of Conformity. After crawling to the finish line for 2005's In the Arms of God, COC's status in the scene took an additional hit when de facto band leader Pepper Keenan left to focus on Down. But the trio of Dean, Mullin, and Weatherman regrouped for a feisty display of punk metal on their self-titled album. Judging by their superlative live performances, this is only the beginning (again) for one of the forerunners of crossover.

Best newcomer of 2012: Unisonic. Not exactly newcomers in the sense that the parties involved are "new," Unisonic's self-titled debut re-ignited the old flame of Michael Kiske and metal. Kiske, who has had a tenuous relationship with this style of music has seemingly come to embrace his re-entrance into the fray and it shows on Unisonic, where his optimistic and simply breathtaking vocals are the perfect match to Kai Hansen's compact hard rock/metal compositions.

Biggest disappointment of 2012: The Black Sabbath saga. Only in the dramatic, messed-up camp of Sharon and Ozzy could an original, founding member of Black Sabbath (Bill Ward) be left out of the reunion. Any momentum Sabbath gained with the announcement of a new studio album was essentially lost, and the way Ward was treated was simply reprehensible.

Most anticipated album of 2013: Omnium Gatherum. Potential disappointment looms with OG's forthcoming sixth album, only because 2011's New World Shadows set such an impossible bar. Judging by the very-evident excitement all over Vanhala's face during a recent meeting in Pittsburgh, the new platter should see little, if any drop-off.

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