The best (and worst) music of 2012: Hank Shteamer's picks
Christian Mistress dropped the heaviest dispatch yet of the overcrowded retro-metal boom
Fri Dec 21 2012
Christian Mistress, Possession
The best albums
Christian Mistress, Possession (Relapse)
A coed crew of Olympia, Washington heshers dropped the heaviest dispatch yet of the overcrowded retro-metal boom, capturing not just the tasty licks, vintage-style tones and occult-steeped imagery of the genre’s old gods, but also—most impressive of all—their world-weary existentialism.
Converge, All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph)
The Massachusetts hardcore stalwarts reached a scary-good new peak, fueled by Kurt Ballou’s demonically inventive fretwork, Jacob Bannon’s bestial throatsmanship and, peeking through the vitriol, a disarming vulnerability.
Pallbearer, Sorrow and Extinction (Profound Lore)
Slo-mo metal has rarely sounded as soulful as it did on the debut LP from Little Rock, Arkansas’s Pallbearer, a band with only four years of history but what sounds like a couple millennia’s worth of god’s-eye wisdom.
fun., Some Nights (Fueled by Ramen)
You’d have to look back to the ’70s heyday of pop-rock melodrama—we’re talking Elton, Queen and Billy Joel—to find a fitting precedent for this absurdly charming LP, which tempers arena-sized bombast with an unmistakably New York–y brand of black comedy.
The closing of Zebulon
When this Wythe Avenue standby shuttered in December, Williamsburg (and maybe NYC) lost its most cosmopolitan music hang, a bustling, dimly lit, no-cover café whose superbly eclectic programming shuffled indie-rock up-and-comers, international free-jazz heavyweights, luminaries from the African diaspora and many a brilliant unclassifiable.