My Favorite Music of 2012


I hope your New Year has gotten off to a promising start. The end of 2012 was a busy time for me, between various writing projects, the holidays, and other things. However, I made sure to consider which albums from 2012 I considered as some of my favorites.

I always make two lists: a personal one that combines all of the music genres I listen to, and one for Sonic Cathedral that focuses exclusive on female-fronted rock and metal. Now that the Sonic Cathedral Best of 2012 article is online, it’s time for me to share my picks for both lists! And – ready for a shocker? – for the first time in a couple years, my #1 picks for both lists are different albums. Then again, that just goes to show how incredible some of 2012’s albums were.

So, here are the lists!

My Personal Top 10 Albums of 2012

Anathema Weather Systems cover2

1. Anathema – Weather Systems

2. Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit

3. The Mariana Hollow – Velvet Black Sky

4. Xandria – Neverworld’s End

5. Astral Tears – Hypnotic

6. Lyriel – Leverage

7. Kamelot – Silverthorn

8. Ideal Zero – Ideal Zero EP

9. Atoma – Skylight

10. Arjen Lucassen – Lost In The New Real

My Sonic Cathedral Top 10 of 2012
(click here to read the full article by the SC staff)

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1. Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit

2. The Mariana Hollow – Velvet Black Sky

3. Xandria – Neverworld’s End

4. Astral Tears – Hypnotic

5. Lyriel – Leverage

6. Ideal Zero – Ideal Zero EP

7. Leah – Of Earth & Angels

8. Venturia – Dawn Of A New Era

9. Vajra – Pleroma

10. Akoma – The Other Side EP

Two More Reviews at Sonic Cathedral

Two more reviews I wrote have been posted at Sonic Cathedral recently! They cover the debut albums by two bands from neighboring countries in Western Europe, and my opinions on both CDs are vastly different.

First up is my review on Antalgia’s Perception of Reality. It’s difficult for me to comfortably compare this Spanish symphonic progressive metal band to more well-known female-fronted bands. Maybe a cross between Epica, Diabulus In Musica, Evergrey, and Seventh Wonder would be appropriate…? Anyway, it was also difficult  for me to decide how to grade Perception of Reality. I enjoyed the dynamic instrumentation, which features a wide range of guitar techniques and keyboard sounds that altogether create evocative and mature soundscapes. Despite this, a number of songwriting and production miscues made me want to shake my head in bewilderment.

Click here to read my review of Antalgia’s Perception of Reality.

I had a much easier time writing about Astral Tears’ Hypnotic. It took me only three sittings of maybe 2 hours apiece to write the article. That’s quick for me! But I know the writing came easily because I’d been listening to this fantastic album almost non-stop for the past couple weeks. This melodic metal quartet from France combines gritty, powerful alternative metal with progressive traces, Middle Eastern influences, and entrancing vocals that bring to mind Lacuna Coil’s Unleashed Memories / Comalies era. Turkish-born singer Beyza has mastered the famous Arabian vocal technique, and this gives an authentic touch to the more straightforward metal anthems and sounds right at home with the more ethnic-flavored tracks.

Click here to read my review of Astral Tears’ Hypnotic.

Poetry-related news will come later this month! Until then, hope you’re all well – and Happy 4th of July to all of my fellow Americans!

~ Sara