The year 2012 brought an array of exciting moments in heavy metal, from album releases by veteran acts like Napalm Death and younger bands like Goatwhore, to some of the biggest ever heavy metal festivals, to a few of my personal favorite interviews with metal legends.
Enjoy -- and happy metal fucking New Year.
-Top Five 2012 Heavy Releases In Phoenix - Top 10 Phoenix Albums of 2012 - Top 10 Reissues and Compilations of 2012 - Jason Woodbury's 10 Best Things I Heard in 2012 - Top 20 Phoenix Concerts of 2012 - Top 12 Biggest Musical Letdowns of 2012Rock on the Range
Thousands of shirtless-and-tattooed music fans traveled from all over the world in May to get to Columbus, Ohio's Crew Stadium to pray at the altar of rock for the sixth annual Rock on the Range festival. I myself made the trek with some fellow rocker chicks to catch the 44-band extravaganza, featuring everyone from Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie to Halestorm and Megadeth. In 2013, the festival promises to up the ante even more, adding on one more day to the original two. The lineup has yet to be announced, but rest assured it will be one of the best festivals of the year.Up on the Sun Interviews John 5
I had the opportunity to interview dozens of phenomenal musicians this past year. It would be difficult to pick favorite -- Slipknot/Stone Sour's Corey Taylor, Anthrax's Scott Ian, Slayer's Tom Araya, Korn's Munky-- but one that stands out as being the most metal would have to be John 5 from Rob Zombie.
He's been working his ass off for years alongside pyrotechnics-heavy acts (think Marilyn Manson, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Slash), but has been a part of Rob Zombie's outfit since 2005. On top of everything, his solo records truly attest to his talent. He dabbles in some of meanest country licks you've ever heard, Flamenco finger picking, and blinding electric distortion, but combines all of these styles for a heart racing assault on the senses. My personal favorite tracks include "Welcome to Violence," "Noche Ecosador," and "Killafornia." Oh yeah, and a killer cover of Michael Jackson's "Beat It." Plus, he still is dedicated to the entertainment of heavy metal, as he discusses in our interview here.Anthrax's "Got The Time" on Mars
This track was the first heavy metal song played on the planet Mars, one of several songs on NASA's wake-up playlist for the Mars Rover, Curiosity, that touched down on the Red Planet August 5.
After nearly a decade, Rammstein returned to the U.S. for a full-on tour. Yes, they had a nine-day trek in spring 2011, and in 2010 had two sold out shows including one at Madison Square Garden. But this tour demonstrated the stateside demand for their pyrotechnic-laden performances that are so beloved in Europe. When the band came through Phoenix on May 18, the violent action of the show -- all machete microphones, blood-spattered musicians, and elaborate stage setup (reportedly carted around by more than 30 trucks) -- translated well to metal fans all over the Valley.
The First Ever Southwest Terror Fest
The first ever Southwest Terror Fest launched this year in Tucson, and finally gave extensive props to the desert metal scene. Thirty-two metal bands. Two days. $15-- total. And it was all only a two-hour drive away. There are already talks about the lineup for next year, so keep an eye out, as it's a must-attend gathering for anybody in the Southwestern quadrant of the metal world. Info: Southwest Terror Fest
The insanely heavy and critically acclaimed Koloss by Swedish extreme metal giants Meshuggah was release. It's not for the faint of heart, and was personally one of my top favorite metal albums of the year.
First Pantera Release in 20 Years
I've made no secret about my love for Pantera. Earlier this year in honor of the 20th anniversary of Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power, the only unreleased Pantera song in existence "Piss" was unveiled. This song not only provoked my own homemade vulgar display of power for the kick-off of this column, Metal Mondays, but it also inspired a venture to former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul's BYOB strip club in Dallas, The Clubhouse, which then led to this whiskey-soaked adventure that was had between two lovely strippers representing all that is good in the world.
Marilyn Manson's Born Villain
I've never been the biggest Marilyn Manson fan. But this album, the follow up to 2009's The High End of Low, marks a different musical direction for Manson, while at the same time putting off his eerie poetic vibe that Manson fans love. It was not only a great comeback for him, but it brought sex lives everywhere to an entirely new level.
Wes Borland Shows the New Times Some Love
Wes Borland has had a hand in so many different metal and rock projects, it can be hard to even put a finger on what genre he should be categorized under. That's why I decided a long time ago to not put him in a category at all. His band Black Light Burns released a new album this year, The Moment You Realized You're Going To Fall, and it's an ambush of melodic metal and whimsical bridges, among many other influences. At his show at the Rocky Point Cantina on September 27, he showed some love to the New Times by quoting an article/interview we had earlier that week. Let's just say it was about his new music video at the time that anyone "shouldn't be caught watching at work." The eight-minute "How To Look Naked" should be watched just about anywhere else though; check it out here
Grammy Museum's "History of Heavy Metal" Exhibit
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The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE, in cooperation with Revolver Magazine, debuted Golden Gods: The History of Heavy Metal on April 11, 2012, to coincide with the annual Revolver Golden Gods Award Show.
It teaches the history of metal, the bands that made the genre famous, and also offers a look at the controversy that has surrounded the genre for almost 50 years. It's still running through February of 2013, with everything from the original art for Dio's 1983 album Holy Diver, Ozzy Osbourne's cape from his appearance at the 1974 California Jam and Eddie, Eddie, Iron Maiden's stage mascot, who greets visitors coming to the second floor from the third. The exhibit also houses a variety of interactive exhibits, meant to teach visitors about metal including a vocal "scream" booth, double- kick drum interactive, and tutorials on metal riffs.