I was struggling this week to think of a topic to write about so I was listening to my “Best of 2012” playlist for inspiration. As I’ve pointed out numerous times before, my library is more international that American. My “Best of 2012” playlist only supports that argument. I’d like to use this post to highlight some of my favorite albums of the year and introduce you to some international metal bands at the same time.

Carach AngrenWhere Corpses Sink Forever (Netherlands)

At first look these guys are your stereotypical black metal guys; complete with corpse-paint and satanic lyrics. Wrong. Well, halfway wrong. They do love a good corpse-paint (see: every image of them ever) but, their lyrics are not satanic. Violent, yes, but the album deals with World War II which was, well, violent.  Lyrics are amazingly cheesy and over the top – as the vocalist is literally singing about the battle formations and gun fights. “Where the Corpses Sink Forever” takes the idea of symphonic black metal to a new level by creating the equivalent of an extreme metal musical. Big fan, definitely worth a full listen.

GojiraL’enfant Sauvage (France)

Gojira is easily one of my favorite bands today and L’enfant Sauvage was one of my, if not the, most anticipated albums of 2012. The title of the album means “the wild child,” which is a reference to a famous case of a feral child being discovered in France in 1798. The guys sing in English (which is great for us Yankees), and lyrics focus, in typical Gojira fashion, on the wilderness, nature and our impact on planet earth. While I felt that this new album didn’t live up to the previous albums,  I fully believe that L’Enfant Sauvage cements Gojira’s place as one of the most inventive, unique metal bands of today. I also enjoy the odd looks I get from people when I tell them my favorite band is French!

WintersunTime I (Finland)

It is a blessing that metal fans were able to finally listen to Wintersun’s new album Time I this year. If it weren’t for a ridiculous amount of setbacks  we would have had the album over six years ago! The landscape of metal has changed significantly since their debut album eight years ago and many people complained that this album feels old. While I agree it does fee a bit old I actually think it improves the overall record. Like a blast from the past. Reminds me of Germany’s Blind Guardian.

The FacelessAutotheism (USA)

As of now I’d have to say that this is my number one pick for ‘Best Album of 2012’. I can’t explain what about it makes it so great, but it just has that ‘it’ factor.  Also, noticeably, all of my top records make use of orchestra and piano formations – something that is widely used by metal bands across the globe and something that I’m (obviously) a big fan of.

Is your ‘Best Album of 2012’ list heavy on international bands? I’m interested to know!