Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 Highlights - Top 10 Releases

As 2012 draws to a close, we're going to have a look back at all the releases we have reviewed and highlight our favourite releases. It has been a great year for the UK extreme metal scene, with some absolutely outstanding releases. UKEM has not had the chance to review every single release, but have tried our hardest to review every release we have been sent (there are a few we've missed, time being an issue!!). The following releases are in no particular order, but are our top 10 favourite releases of 2012 and how we summed each release up!!
Wodensthrone - Curse
"It is fair to say that Wodensthrone have produced one of the greatest UKBM albums for a very long time, the atmosphere created throughout the entire album is absolutely compelling and when the band up the pace the final result is utterly devastating. Not only a highlight to the UKBM scene, this will probably a highlight in the black metal scene worldwide. Fans of the band will not be disappointed by this release at all, it shows a band who have matured since their debut release and have improved vastly, showing a more mature approach to song compositions and structures. If you thought ‘Loss’ was amazing, then ‘Curse’ is going to absolutely pummel you into the ground. If you’re into the band and into black metal, you definitely cannot be without this release"   9 out of 10
Bloodshot Dawn - Bloodshot Dawn
"Anyone that has followed the band’s video diaries on the making of this album will see just how much effort has gone into this album. It’s extremely safe to say the hard work has absolutely paid off; the production is first rate, sharp and packs a real punch. Everything about this album smacks of professionalism (as it is self released) and four musicians who appear to be at the top of their game and are yet another shining example of what the UK underground currently has to offer. Who said our scene lacks quality bands? Because judging by BD’s brand of thrashy death metal, our scene has another band that is setting a very high standard musically and is more than capable of standing tall on the international extreme metal scene. Comes very highly rated"
9 out of 10
Aghast! - Live Dangerously
"Aghast are something very special indeed, their technical proficiency first rate with a good ear for writing catchy, memorable extreme metal. If you haven’t heard this e.p you should really get it on your “to buy” cd list, it’s a remarkable e.p. (the artwork and packaging alone make it money well spent!) It’s just a shame there’s only three tracks because I could sit and listen to them all day, it really is that good. Very highly recommended"
9 out of 10
Flayed Disciple - Death Hammer
"A great blend of genres, all played flawlessly with a production that jumps right out at you, mixed perfectly to let each instrument really complement the other. There’s no faulting ‘Death Hammer’ at all, it reeks of professionalism, is never dull and is a CD you really should have in your collection. Once you have listened to it you feel the need to press play again, such is its appeal. Very Highly recommended"
8.5 out of 10
Eye Of Solitude - Sui Caedere
"Words are hard to describe the chilling atmospheres, the devastating melancholy and depressive sounds being created. It’s another master-class in how funeral doom should be delivered to the listener, and a sound I certainly never tire of. Never have a band impressed me quite so much as E.O.S. Their sound so unique in what is an exceptionally hard musical genre to “get right”, but get right they do. There’s no faulting this release at all. Impressed when I first heard the band, they have not let my expectations down. The album of 2012 so far, it will take something very special from another band to top the quality on show here. In fact I’m pretty safe in saying, I don’t think anyone will. Utterly devastating, punishing and compelling funeral doom/death, you really need to get hold of this release, turn the lights off and bask in the utter melancholy. As highly rated as it gets"
9.5 out of 10
Ancient Ascendant - Into The Dark
"Proving themselves to be one of the better bands in the UK extreme metal underground at the moment, Ancient Ascendant have produced an extremely well written e.p, packed full of intelligent song writing, catchy atmospheres which all smacks of a band who have found their style and are at ease writing songs which will instantly appeal to a lot of extreme metal fans. Limited to 300 copies, it is probably a good idea that you get yourself a copy of this, as they probably wont be available for very long. Highly recommended"
8 out of 10
Primitive Graven Image - Psychadelic Episodes
"This is a pure black metal album, and one of the highest order and all the talk of new ideas and influences was well founded, there are a lot of new ideas on show. Not enough to change the bands sound however, it is still very much PGI and those familiar with the band will not be disappointed at all. Very brave for a black metal band to add the kind of influences the band has, but they have done it and done it very well, the black metal core never spoilt by those ‘other ideas’. They have been incorporated and used extremely effectively and is testament to the bands song writing ability. This is their third full length and by far their best. Don’t be frightened by the words ‘Prog’ or ‘Spacey’ of ‘Clean singing’ because believe me, this album is packed full of absolutely amazing black metal songs, some with new ideas yes, but ideas that enhance the songs and only add to the appeal of the album. UKBM of the highest order and very highly recommended"
9 out of 10
Winterfylleth - The Threnody Of Triumph
"Winterfylleth are definitely getting better with age and this, their third album is by far their greatest piece of work to date. Having crafted a sound that is ‘Winterfylleth’ and ultimately unique, especially to these fare shores, these guys are riding high and at the top of their game with this album. If you’re a UKBM fan and you don’t have it in your collection, then may I suggest you get it as soon as possible because you really are missing out on something very special indeed. Very highly recommended"
9 out of 10
Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas
"It’s fair to say that A.N have found something new in their song writing and seem to have found a new vigour and new enthusiasm for writing crazed and blasting black metal. There’s a real sense of purpose to this latest opus and we see some new elements introduced to the sound, which (for the most) work really well and enhance the torment being created. The cleaner production helps things along nicely as well with all elements clear in the mix. Although the pace has been slowed for a lot of this album, this is as devastating and dangerous and catchy as the band has sounded to date. It’s a truly vicious album that oozes pure quality as sees a band that has not only outdone themselves, but outdone everyone in the genre and produced an album of the highest order. Definitely at the top of their game, this is an album that if you do not own, you are missing out on an absolute masterpiece of punishing black metal. Quoting the band, "Anaal Nathrakh was created for one purpose - to be the soundtrack for armageddon, the audial essence of evil, hatred and violence, the true spirit of necro taken to its musical extremes" arguments here! As highly recommended as it gets, buy or die"
9.5 Out of 10
Old Corpse Road - 'Tis Witching Hour
"This is an album packed full of ideas, influences and atmospheres and to truly get to grips with everything offer more than one listen is a must. O.C.R have produced an absolutely outstanding debut full length album which does draw instant comparisons to Cradle Of Filth and Hecate Enthroned but that also offers the listener so much more, taking you on a musical journey which you will want to travel time and time again. With outstandingly unique, intelligent song writing and being lyrically exceptional, this is an album which is one the UK’s highlights in 2012. It’s been a long time in the making, but the wait was definitely worthwhile. Comes highly recommended"
8 out of 10
Some absolutely storming releases and its been hard picking the top ten as we have had to leave out some other amazing releases, especially from UNFATHOMABLE RUINATION, NORDLAND, ABOMNIUM, EVISCERATE CARNAGE, DE PROFUNDIS, PARTY CANNON and INFERNAL CREATION.
A great year for extreme metal in the UK, here's hoping that 2013 will be even better, there are some great releases on the horizon.
Finally, a huge thanks to everyone that has supported UKEM through its 2 years of existence, the support is hugely appreciated. Onwards and upwards!!

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