2012 Crystal Ball

The Grind That Annoys’ End of Year Report earlier this month was a roaring success so thank you all for that, and now once again we look upon our crystal ball for the forthcoming year for what albums there is to look forward to.
Alcest will release their third full-length album Les Voyages de L’Âme on January 6th. With one song already released, ‘Autre Temps’, it’s looking like Neige is taking Alcest further away from his black metal past and going all out on the shoegazing/post rock vibe. ‘Autre Temps’ and live footage of ‘Summer’s Glory’ have shown so far that this could very well be a smart decision.
Sludge masters Thou will also put out a new full length next year called Heathen. The band always keep busy releasing several EPs and splits every year so there’s no fear of a drought ever from them. Meanwhile, Swedish crust veterans Wolfbrigade recently signed a new deal with Southern Lord for their new record, Damned. Finnish death doom band Swallow The Sun are still working away on their new album Emerald Forest and The Black Bird.
Scottish crust band Absolutist will release their debut LP Ave next month, through Dublin label Suburban Mayhem. The band showed reasonable potential in their demo but this album is going to destroy it entirely. It’s like night and day between the two. Scheduled for release in February, this is already looking like a highlight for 2012.
A number of months ago Sweden’s In The Hearts of Emperors released their split LP with Downfall of Gaia. They’re a really impressive post metal band, heavy in dark atmosphere and sporadic vocals to complement the mostly instrumental output. 2012 is sure to see a new release in some form from this band, and it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for. Downfall of Gaia’s side is also hugely impressive affair, making for a massive step-up from their 2010 LP, Epos
 Denmark’s Hexis are a band that I’ve kept a keen eye for a while now. They released their storming demo this year and followed it up with a split 12” and most recently a new 7”. I’m very excited to see what the band is going to do next.
Anathema have roughly slated an April release for their as yet untitled follow-up to 2010 album of the year We’re Here Because We’re Here. Needless to say, hopes are staggeringly high for this one. Neurosis will also release the long, long awaited follow-up to Given To The Rising (2007). And Pelican will release a new EP at some stage early in the new year, via Southern Lord.
In Ireland, several bands have releases in the pipeline, including Twisted Mass and Sickener. Putrefaction will also finally release their first LP and Drainland have split 7”s with Enabler and Crows landing soon and are working on album number two. If you saw the Top 10 Irish Releases of the Year, you’ll know that I rated Refraction’s self-titled as #1, they’ve been on a hiatus since April so hopefully they’ll re-emerge from the depths at some point in 2012, the sooner the better.
I really could go on and on about the records I’m looking forward to, but I won’t, there are literally dozens. But I’ll finish by saying the highest expectations I have are for Anathema and Neurosis, two bands that can’t do any wrong in my book.

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