This year saw one awesome album in the bag in the shape of 'Yellow And Green' and a rather testing time following their coach crash in the UK. They deserve some serious kudos. Here's hoping they get back to what they do best soon.
Best album of 2012 - Earth: 'Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light Pt II'
There's so many albums that this could have been, but Earth's just about sneaks it. Carlson's preoccupation with English Folklore will undoubtedly yield yet more class-A material in the future, but this sets the bar high.
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Best single/EP of 2012 - The Haxan Cloak: 'The Men Parted The Sea To Devour The Water'
Part of the gorgeous Latitudes sessions, this might not fit some people's ideas of what constitutes Metal, but heavy it most certainly is. A stunning journey into a dark and unsettling world.
Best gig of 2012 - Faith No More (Hammersmith Apollo)
OK, so not the Brixton gig, and there were undoubtedly a mass of amazing shows by other bands, but this return for FNM was heartening and not a little nostalgic. Hopefully, this time around it's a proper reboot.
Best promo video of 2012 - Pig Destroyer: 'The Diplomat'
Fancy watching a weird, (almost) Rotoscope version of Kubrick's 2001? There's monkeys brandishing guns. It's a moral statement on the arms trade and a call to revolution (probably). And all soundtracked by the astounding Pig Destroyer. You wanna? Course you do.
Best festival of 2012 – Supernormal
Not an out and out Metal festival, but this weird little gathering at Brazier's Park (the getaway for Marianne Faithful and Jagger a little while ago) was blindingly good fun. If the music wasn't full on enough for you (although it frequently was) then why not go and watch massive 6ft bread men being baked or get freaked out at an AV pop-up event in the woods. Oh and it didn't rain, so no snorkel required.
Underground Band – Undersmile
Oxford's slowest, dirtiest and most impressive band – think Melvins, crossed with and subdued by Codeine. Supported Dylan Carlson recently and have a habit of terrifying local audiences regularly. Their album 'Narwhal' is a beast.