My favorite metal releases of 2012, ordered as best as I can.
1. Rituals of the Oak - Come Taste the Doom: A phenomenal release from Sydney Australia. Sabine Hamad-Linfoot's vocal work are really what make this traditional doom album such a power house. There is hands down no record released this year that I have listened to more. Altogether addictive.
2. Wolvserpent - Perigaea (demo): A solid follow up to their amazing 2010 album Blood Seed. This demo has only been released by Wolvsperpent online as far as I know, but from what I have heard it is going to be officially released by Relapse in 2013. I'm really excited for these guys, because they certainly deserve the recognition. Wolvserpent creates the most amazingly evil and droning soundscapes. A must listen.
3. Bell Witch - Longing: After their 2011 demo made a massive buzz, this Seattle doom duo immediately got picked up by Profound Lore and got to work making a gut pounding album of funeral paced sludge highlighted by gregorian-esque chanting. A very spritual/occult vibe runs throughout the album.
4. Monarch! - Omens: The album that 2012 forgot about. French doom varying from drone to sludge. The fuzzed out guitars are perfectly juxtaposed with Emilie Bresson's serene singing before diving into some of the scariest female vocal screams since Bloody Panda.
5. Horseback - Half Blood: This album can be divided between two song writing archetype's employed by Horseback's Jenks Miller, On the one hand you have the cyclical blues-based songs with raspy screamed vocals, while other songs are entirely rooted in experimental drones and ambience. Both are great, but I tend to prefer the songs stylistically similar to Horseback's 2009 album The Invisible Mountain.
6. Hell - III: Two song album from Salem Oregon rooted in blacked sludge. A really unique sounding album. The lo-fi production really compliments the music.
7. Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliees...: This is the blackened shoegaze you should be listening to instead of that Alcest album. The more I listen to it the more I like it.
8. Ahab - The Giant: Don't go into this expecting the funeral doom of Call of the Wretched Sea. Ahab's "nautic funeral doom" seems to have evolved to just mean that they like playing slowed down sludge. But you can't fault them for evolving as a band since their songs are still devastatingly heavy.
9. Samothrace - Reverence to Stone: I haven't been giving this album a lot of play this year, I think mainly because I have heard them perform these songs so many times in 2011 and 2012, still this is a great follow up to their 2008 album Life's Trade. It most certainly deserves its place in best albums of 2012.
10. Profetus - ...to Open the Passages in Dusk: Finnish funeral doom that is both sorrowful and beautiful. There is an oppressive despondence to this album. The final song "Burn, Lanters of Eve" is one of my favorite songs of the year.
11. Worm Oroboros - Come the Thaw 12. Royal Talons - s/t EP Also worth listening to: Anhedonist - Netherwards, When Nothing Remains - As All Torn Asunder, Saturnus - Saturn in Ascension, Evoken - Atra Mors, Eagle Twin - The Feather Tipped the Serpent's Scale