For all the hullabaloo about the world coming to a fiery end, 2012 was a pretty mellow year for me.
Most of the albums you'll find below fall somewhere in the indie/alternative spectrum, for which I offer no apology to the metal-hungry masses. That's not to say that I didn't spend a lot of time with Meshuggah's monster of a new album, Koloss, not to mention the new EP from Revocation and Municipal Waste's Fatal Feast. It's just that I, like Baroness on their excellent Yellow & Green, needed a bit of breathing room in my music.
I'm not entirely sure how many albums I really listened to this year (Spotify tells me my "2012" playlist would take over a week to listen to), but these 10 records are the ones that I came back to and took the time to get to know. It takes more than a few spins to start picking out the structural intricacies of El Ten Eleven's music, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor's latest — which features two 20-minute tracks — is hardly an album you can just put on while making dinner.
I won't go off and use this space to bash modern culture, but it's hard not to recognize how easy it would be for the majority of bands to spend their time crafting albums that were as easy to digest as a Buzz Feed list. It's truly something special when you come across an album that makes you work at it, and makes the work worthwhile.
With all that said, you'll find my picks for my favorite records of 2012 below. If you've gotten into some of the same records, want to disagree or just share your own favorites, sound off in the comments section below and I'll try to respond.
Josh Hart is the producer of GuitarWorld.com.