The 411 Music Top Five 12.18.12: Top 5 New Acts of 2012
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 12.18.2012
From Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean to Lana Del Rey, Earthen Grave and more, the 411 staff ranks the top 5 new musical acts of 2012!
THE TOP 5 NEW ARTISTS OF 2012
Honorable Mentions: These are three bands that I discovered this year and really enjoyed, but since I wasn't sure if they'd quality for "New Artist", I decided to give them the HM.
Black Breath - Really good mix of death, thrash, and punk speed. Their album, 'Sentenced to Life' was a killer album with lots of aggression.
Wodensthrone - They've been around for about 6 years, but their second album came out this year, and it was massive. A sprawling mixture of black metal and folk music that will not leave anyone disappointed.
Alunah - This pretty awesome stoner/doom band out of England have been around for about 5 years. Their second album dropped earlier in the year, and they have a pretty heavy sound, some good riffs,and they're female fronted, and it's not a gimmick, because this girl rocks. (Some bands have it as a gimmick, like that shit band, Butcher Babies, that are touring with Marilyn Manson soon, all tit, little talent).
5. Rage Nucléaire
This is a one of the bands that have someone that is well known in the metal community in the band. This band is the new one for former Cryptopsy vocalist, Lord Worm. They have released their first album, "Unrelenting Fucking Hatred" not too long ago. The band has a good black metal feel to them, it's a bit run of the mill, to be honest. But that doesn't make it bad, it has everything that makes a good black metal album, production included (or lack there of). What lands them on this list is how good of a job Lord Worm does with the vocals, he was made for a band like this. Just don't hope to understand any words on the first listen (it's black metal, when does that ever happen?).
4. Corrosive Carcass
This band has only had one demo before their first album, so I say they qualify. This band is one that I found on one of the slow metal weeks in my column. They're 100% Swedish Death Metal, and I love Swedish Death Metal. They go fast, heavy, with a lot of really good rhythmm changes inside the songs. They have a surprisingly clean guitar tone at some times, as well. If you like bands like Dismember, you should check them out, they're a damn good headbanging time.
3. Earthen Grave
This band is a pretty damn awesome mish-mash of random things. Imagine a band that has a base of doom metal, then throw in some thrash. Then you go get a vocalist that can do a damn good Chris Cornell impersonation, then throw in a violin, and BAM!, here is this band. Their self-titled album is pretty damn awesome. It has a lot of variance in it, which is not surprising, considering all the random things that this band brings. I can't wait to hear more from them.
2. God Seed
This is another of the bands that already have notable people in it. After trying to stage a coup within Gorgoroth, King Ov Hell and Gaahl were booted from that band, and here they are, in God Seed. This album has a similar feel to Gorgoroth, but they do a damn good job of putting out a sound that is truly their own. There are many element that they have that are unconvential for black metal. Of course, the dense atmosphere that comes with much of black metal still remains, but beyond some of those common black metal themes, you will find a very interesting listen and a great new band to look forwards to more releases from.
1. Grand Supreme Blood Court
This next band is another one that is a super group by all means. They have 3 out of the 4 members of the current line-up of Ashpyx. The old guitarist from Asphyx and the bassist from Hail of Bullets. This band is Grade A+ death metal, they do it so damn well. The only thing I can take away from them is the fact that this sounds like an Ashpyx album. Not that I'm complaining too much, their new album, 'Bow Down Before the Blood Court', is heavier than a ten ton hammer to the face. Go check them NOW!
Note: The point of this list is not specifically acts that began their music career in 2012. What we're looking for is similar to the "Best New Artist" award criteria at the Grammys, aka "a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist." So basically, people who broke out and became publicly known during 2012 via an album release.
Honorable Mention: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons
5. Lana del Rey
You could argue this one, I suppose...and that's part of why she's at #5 instead of higher. Yes, Lana Del Rey got a bit of publicity before 2012 bowed thanks to getting a Q award for "Next Big Thing" in October 2011. And of course she was known as Lizzy Grant before that, though I don't think anyone would argue that she was publicly known. It was 2012 that she really burst onto the music scene and became one of the most controversial new artists of the frist half of the year. You can argue about her credibility all you want, but she helped push the rising wave of more sophisticated pop music on the charts and I give her a ton of credit for that. Whether she'll be more than a one-album wonder is something we'll have to see though.
4. Alabama Shakes
I don't quite have the love for Alabama Shakes that some people do, but you can't deny that they're one of the biggest new acts to hit the music scene in 2012. In my eyes they are a very decent band that released a good record, and there's nothing wrong with that especially when you consider that it is their first record. I'm giving them a bit of leeway because of my unabashed love for Southern rock. Boys & Girls is definitely enough to make me look forward to what they're going to bring in the future.
You either loved or hated this band in 2012; there was no middle ground. Obviously you can see where I stand. fun. was everywhere this year as they had an everpresent early hit in "We Are Young" and then followed that up with the superior "Some Nights." This is far from the only time you'll be seeing them on a top X list in the next few weeks around the internet, I can promise you.
2. Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean had a bit of buzz going for him in 2011 thanks to his presence in the controversial Odd Future and his association with Kanye West and Jay-Z. 2012 was the year that he finally broke out and became his own artist. With Channel ORANGE in the books Ocean was unstoppable and his music was everywhere...and in a rarity, it wasn't one of those kinds of "everywhere" where you just want to turn off the radio because you're sick of the song. No one could hold a candle to what Ocean did this year in terms of R&B, whether we're talking established acts or new ones.
1. Kendrick Lamar
Rap fans, go out and get good kid, m.A.A.d city. I'm serious. If you enjoy rap music then either you already have it or you need to get it. It was one of those hip-hop albums this year that took me by complete surprise in the best possible way. In a year when rap was quickly becoming stale and monotonous in its content, Lamar was one of two or three artists who was doing their own thing and not just putting out more bling-oriented hip-hop. The end result was one of my favorite rap LP's of the year and it made Lamar the best new artist of 2012.
The Final Word
As always, the last thoughts come from you, the reader. We're merely unpaid monkeys with typewriters and Wikipedia. Here's what you need to do: List your Top Five for this week's topic on the comment section using the following format:
5. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
4. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
3. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
2. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
1. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it