It’s the final countdown (do you get the sung stock in your head every time you read that phrase? Yeah, us too. Sorry).
With the first, second, third and fourth parts of the feature already online the only thing left to do is unveil the top best records of 2012. Read on and enjoy...
10. THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM ‘Handwritten’ (Mercury)
It may surprise you to hear it, but not everybody here at Rock Sound is a ravenous, rock-fuelled maniac of whiskey-guzzling proportions. As such, it should probably come as no surprise to see ‘Handwritten’ riding high in the charts as 2012 comes to a close. Showcasing Brian Fallon’s abilities as one of the finest songwriters of a generation, this was yet another wonderful slab of soulful, heartfelt punk rock, wrapped in the warm and whimsical sounds of the American heartland and delivered with a sincerity and passion that few other bands can muster. As always, chaps, we salute you.
09. GALLOWS ‘Gallows’ (Venn)
This – the highest entry from a British band in this year’s countdown – is the record that cements Gallows’ status as one of the world’s finest hardcore bands. It’s an album brimming with powerful, anthemic songs that crunch together rock ‘n’ roll cool with grotty, acerbic punk rock, and it’s proof positive that the introduction of Wade MacNeil reinvigorated them beyond belief. It’s his infectious energy and song writing contribution that helped create one of the year’s best punk records.
08. HOT WATER MUSIC ‘Exister’ (Rise)
"Having the chance to go out on the road with Hot Water Music when I was in Alexisonfire was amazing [because] I've grown up listening to them," says Gallows vocalist Wade MacNeil. "They have shaped the way I look at music and look at the world, and to get to be buddies with those guys is cool. The new album is really good and stands up against any of their past releases. I'm so happy they still continue to make great music and are still around to be a positive influence on new bands coming through."
07. BILLY TALENT ‘Dead Silence’ (Atlantic)
Raising the bar once again, our favourite Canadians return with their biggest and most infectious record to date (and this time it’s got a proper title). From the unstoppable ‘Viking Death March’ to mellower tracks like ‘Stand Up And Run’, this is a hook-a-minute affair with real heart and craft behind it, without a whiff of filler. True originals from the very start, and on ‘Surprise Surprise’ and ‘Man Alive!’ they cut through the crap of popular culture in a manner that’s resolutely punk rock. Somehow, the ‘Talent have pulled it off… And we don’t know how they do it either.
06. MISS MAY I ‘At Heart’ (Rise)
WHY WE LOVE IT: ‘At Heart’ is at once a thoroughly modern metal record and a knowing nod to the horns-and-hair brigade that so loves to live in the past, and the songs contained within show a depth and boldness that bands twice their age struggle to muster. When all is said and done, however, this is the best metal record of the year by a fucking mile and deserves to catapult MMI into immortality… and beyond. Stunning.
BEST BIT: The chorus of ‘Day By Day’. So big it could block out the sun and doom humanity to an icy future.
LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM WHEN: Standing on top of a mountain with an axe.
05. DEFTONES ‘Koi No Yokan’ (Reprise)
When news finally came that Deftones were releasing the follow-up to ’10s astonishing ‘Diamond Eyes’, some of us here at Rock Sound HQ removed our trousers in glee. Fortunately, we had good reason to celebrate, because the band’s seventh studio album did nothing to disappoint. A natural progression from its predecessor, ‘Koi No Yokan’ is everything anyone has ever come to love about the band. Immaculately controlled, deftly executed and loaded with all of the trademark groove and melodic serenity on which they’ve long since built their name, this was a textbook example of Deftones simply being Deftones. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
04. PROPAGANDHI ‘Failed States’ (Epitaph)
They may be aging, but Propagandhi’s brand of political thrash-punk never sounds old. And so ‘Failed States’, the Canadian quartet’s sixth record in a career that’s spanned more than 20 years, finds them sounding as essential and powerful as ever. No other band can write as eloquently and intelligently about the world around them as Propagandhi, all the while propelled by fiercely melodic tunes; bracing, thought-provoking and at points almost harrowing in its indignation, ‘Failed States’ rocks like an absolute bastard.
03. THE GHOST INSIDE ‘Get What You Give’ (Epitaph)
Shine. A. Light. This is what taking over sounds like. Years of touring, struggling and sacrificing all bled into 11 songs that sets a new standard for metallic hardcore in 2012 as The Ghost Inside rise from one of many to one of the few. ‘Get What You Give’ is an immediate album that needs no explanation as it explodes with a passion and power almost impossible to replicate. Want to know what conviction sounds like? Just take a listen. The band are headlining the Rock Sound Impericon Exposure Tour in February 2013, and this is the reason why.
02. CONVERGE ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ (Epitaph)
Take a band that’s made eight albums spanning three decades and you’ll likely see a discography that tells a story of rise and fall. Look at Converge’s back catalogue, though, and you see nothing but a meteoric rise. While many still cite 2001’s ‘Jane Doe’ as their defining work, four albums on Converge are masters still refining their craft. ‘All We Love...’ is as frantic, spasmodic and vital as ever, and strikingly consistent too and suggests that with this much momentum, they could go on forever.
01. THE MENZINGERS ‘On The Impossible Past’ (Epitaph)
Of all the thousands of albums that came into the office this year, none has been played on our stereo as much as The Menzingers’ astonishing third record. A touchingly sad yet beautifully uplifting collection of down-trodden punk rock anthems, it’s a truly captivating collection that we all love; no one here was surprised when, after we surveyed our entire team of writers, it topped the poll. We asked (a very surprised) guitarist / vocalist Tom May what he remembers of creating a masterpiece.
“The spring last year was when we first started to write, when we were holed up in our apartment in between tours. We hung out, drank some beers and started to lay the groundwork, and then eventually it started to really shape itself into an actual record, as opposed to just a collection of songs. We all live in the same house and we all share the same life experiences, so that’s probably where it came from.
“There was almost a giddiness to it, especially when we were recording and hearing it come to fruition. We were like, ‘Oh shit, this is definitely the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I never expected to do something like this!’ It’s not a cocky thing, you just step back and think it’s kind of unbelievable that it happened this way. As any person who writes songs [would agree], you’re writing the songs because it feels good to sing them and it feels good to play them, and it’s naturally the kind of music that you would want hear. I think we can appreciate it in a way that other people will never be able to.
“We’re not virtuoso musicians, so it’s really surprising that you chose us as Album Of The Year. I mean, it’s incredible! I’m going to cut this out and put it on my mum’s refrigerator. It’s fantastic.”