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Sonic Cathedral’s Best Releases of 2012

Sonic Cathedral’s Best Albums of 2012

Another year has come and gone at Sonic Cathedral! Our entire staff agrees that 2012 was one of the busiest years ever in female-fronted rock and metal. Loads of new albums were released by more established bands such as Epica, Lacuna Coil, Therion, The Gathering, In This Moment, and (after months of delays) Delain. (Click here to read our interview with Delain, where SC broke the news about the delays.) Xandria and Whyzdom both made highly anticipated comebacks with their new singers. And, Huntress and Beyond The Bridge grabbed the metal world by its hair with two of the year’s most talked-about debut albums.

What about live shows and touring? Well, Amaranthe made their North American debut at ProgPower USA. Within Temptation celebrated their 15th anniversary with their magnificent Elements show. And, Metal Female Voices Fest put on its best edition yet as part of its 10th anniversary. Much more happened as well, but we can’t look back on 2012 without mentioning the biggest “femme metal” story of the year: Nightwish parted ways with singer Anette Olzon – and replaced her for the rest of their Imaginaerum World Tour with the one and only Floor Jansen.

Yes, 2012 was full of memorable moments, milestones, and music. And now that a new year has begun, it’s time to pay tribute to our staff’s favorite albums of 2012!

Once again, each staff writer has compiled personal lists of their favorite female-fronted (and “female friendly,” in some cases) rock and metal albums from the past year. You’ll find those below, as well as 2012’s Top 5 Bestsellers list from the Sonic Cathedral Store and each staff writer’s predictions for bands that will make major breakthroughs in 2013. So, without further ado, …


John Thornburgh’s Top 10 of 2012

1. Delain – We Are The Others
2. Epica – Requiem For The Indifferent
3. Markize – A Perfect Lie
4. Halestorm – The Strange Case Of…
5. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die (Paradise Edition)
6. In This Moment – Blood
7. Fenrir – Echoes Of The Wolf
8. Elyose – Théogyne
9. Xandria – Neverworld’s End
10. Seven Kingdoms – The Fire Is Mine

T.S. Johnson’s Top 10 of 2012

1. Delain – We Are The Others
2. Kamelot – Silverthorn
3. Leah – Of Earth & Angels
4. Beyond the Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit
5. Siren's Cry – Scattered Horizons
6. Seven Kingdoms – The Fire Is Mine
7. A Sound of Thunder – Out Of The Darkness
8. The Murder of My Sweet – Bye Bye Lullaby
9. Epica – Requiem For The Indifferent
10. Xandria – Neverworld's End


Allyson Kenning’s Top 10 of 2012

1. Xandria – Neverworld’s End
2. Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit
3. Whyzdom – Blind?
4. Tarja – Act I
5. Lyriel – Leverage
6. Enchantya – Dark Rising
7. The Hourglass – Requiem
8. Pursuing The End – Withering
9. Weeping Silence – For The Unsung
10. Asylum Pyre – Fifty Years Later


Justin Boyer’s Top 10 of 2012

1. Epica – Requiem For The Indifferent
2. Delain – We Are The Others
3. In This Moment – Blood
4. Halestorm – The Strange Case Of…
5. End Of September – End Of September
6. Huntress – Spell Eater
7. Schoolcraft – Rushing Through The Sky
8. The Gathering – Disclosure
9. Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Piñata
10. Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline

In This Moment

Max Levites’ Top 10 of 2012

1. In This Moment – Blood
2. Delain – We Are The Others
3. Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Piñata
4. Xandria – Neverworld’s End
5. Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline
6. Kells – Anachromie
7. Eths – III
8. The Agonist – Prisoners
9. Huntress – Spell Eater
10. Halestorm – The Strange Case Of…

Beyond the Bridge

Sara Letourneau’s Top 10 of 2012

1. Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit
2. The Mariana Hollow – Velvet Black Sky
3. Xandria – Neverworld’s End
4. Astral Tears – Hypnotic
5. Lyriel – Leverage
6. Ideal Zero – Ideal Zero
7. Leah – Of Earth & Angels
8. Venturia – Dawn Of A New Era
9. Vajra – Pleroma
10. Akoma – The Other Side

Nostra Morte

Doctor T’s Top 10 of 2012

1. Nostra Morte – Sin Retorno
2. Whyzdom – Blind?
3. Six Magics – Falling Angels
4. Evenoire – Vitriol
5. Elyose – Théogyne
6. Dark Princess – The World I’ve Lost
7. Ashes You Leave – The Cure For Happiness
8. Awaken Solace – In Nightfall’s Embrace
9. Sad Alice Said – Clock Of Eternity
10. Embassy Of Silence – Antler Velvet

End of September

Robin Stryker’s Top 10 of 2012

1. End Of September – End Of September
2. Xandria – Neverworld’s End
3. Seven Kingdoms – The Fire Is Mine
4. In This Moment – Blood
5. Pythia – The Serpent’s Curse
6. Elyose – Théogyne
7. Schoolcraft – Rushing Through The Sky
8. Kobra And The Lotus – Kobra And The Lotus
9. Whyzdom – Blind?
10. Weeping Silence – For The Unsung


Lindsay Schoolcraft’s Top 10 of 2012

1. Leah – Of Earth & Angels
2. The Birthday Massacre – Hide And Seek
3. Eluveitie – Helvetios
4. The Gathering – Closure
5. Xandria – Neverworld’s End
6. Unleash The Archers – Defy The Skies
7. The Agonist – Prisoners
8. Seven Kingdoms – The Fire Is Mine
9. Delain – We Are The Others
10. Amberian Dawn – Circus Black

Diablo Swing Orchestra

Frozen Angel’s Top 5 of 2012

1. Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Piñata
2. Nightwish – Imaginaerum: The Score
3. Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline
4. Halestorm – The Strange Case Of…
5. Diabulus In Musica – The Wanderer


Angi Infernale’s Top 5 of 2012

1. Eluveitie – Helvetios
2. Lyriel – Leverage
3. Xandria – Neverworld's End
4. The Birthday Massacre – Hide And Seek
5. Eklipse – A Night In Strings

2012 Bestsellers at the Sonic Cathedral Store

As you may know, Sonic Cathedral isn’t just a webzine. We have an online store that carries over 1300 different titles in female-fronted music. Here are the five best-selling albums at our store in 2012.

1. Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline 
2. Epica - Requiem for the Indifferent
3. Kells - Anachromie
4. Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora’s Piñata
5. Delain - We Are The Others

Bands To Watch For In 2013

Here are the bands our staff writers think will you should keep your eyes – and ears – open for in 2013.

Max:  Huntress

“Definitely getting my vote for 2012’s best new band is Huntress, who have made quite a buzz on the scene this year and whose debut album Spell Eater has gotten great reviews pretty much across the board (including from me!). They’re definitely the band to watch for in the coming year(s). If they continue to ride their momentum and keep landing opening spots on tours with big bands, they’re going to get very big very quickly.”

Allyson:  Huntress

“Though not exactly my cup of tea, I have to say I’ve been following Huntress on Facebook since before their CD, Spell Eater, was officially released, and I have been so impressed with the amount of hard work this band has done to get itself going. They have practically toured non-stop since early spring, when they participated in 2012’s Paganfest, and then toured around the States and Canada with headliners Dragonforce to boot. Now they are just completing another tour, opening for 3 Inches of Blood. They’ve also been around Europe! They are like the Energizer Bunny of the metal scene – they just keep going and going! And good for them! With a solid album under their belts, along with the legions of fans they’ve gained through their hard work, Huntress is a force to be reckoned with.”

Lindsay:  Draconian

“Draconian should be ready to launch in 2013, and with their new female singer I am seriously itching to see what they do with their new music. Heike Langhans has the voice of a fallen angel and is worth listening to. You can get free downloads of her solo project Lorelei here.”

Robin:  Edge Of Attack

“Edge of Attack, the power metal quintet from the snowy plains of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, was my favorite up-and-coming discovery from 2012. I had the privilege of getting a sneak listen to their unreleased self-titled debut album with vocalist Roxanne Gordey before the band got snapped up by Spread the Metal Records and headed back into the studio to re-record the album, which will be released in mid-February 2013. Hang onto your seats, boys and girls, because these newcomers will blow the doors off the joint!”

Justin:  End Of September

“Before listening to End Of September’s album, I had very low expectations – mostly stemming from the fact that I’ve never heard any of their music. All my negative feelings were dashed once I heard the passionate guitar chords, the emotive lyrics, and the gut-wrenching, dramatic notes of every one of their tracks. While Elin Redin still has some work in terms of her vocal range, her voice is very strong and her belted notes reflect the dramatic tone of the album. I cannot get enough of their first album. It’s one of those albums like Evanescence’s Fallen that shows the clear signs of a band’s sophomore efforts. At the same time, the raw emotions of their music offer the listener a great cathartic release that is the sure sign of high-quality music. Let’s hope that End of September plan to release a new album in either 2013 or 2014. If they continue working to improve themselves as musicians, we might see some great things from them sometime in the near future.”

Sara:  Kandia

“I’d listened to Kandia’s debut album, Inward Beauty Outward Reflection, on ReverbNation a while back and thought this melodic metal band from Portugal was on to something good. Then they released a teaser of their upcoming second album on YouTube this past summer. Wow!! The new material sounds incredible – sharper, heavier, and more urgent. Granted that the band revealed only snippets of songs, not full-length tracks, but that teaser convinced me that Kandia will grab people’s attention next year – and make a lot of new fans in the process.”

John T:  Markize

“I think Markize’s new album, A Perfect Lie, should be the album that sees them take off. It’s more accessible and catchy than their last album, but continues to showcase Alina’s stunning vocals and their playful sonic variations. For fans of Within Temptation and Delain. See more in my recent review.”

Frozen Angel:  Meden Agan

“If you asked me which band became very popular during 2012, I would definitely reply this: Meden Agan. Their second studio album, entitled Erevos Aenaon, was released during late 2011, but 2012 was still definitely their year. Many live shows along with Tarja, Epica, and Septicflesh, and of course their participation in Metal Female Voices Festival kept them busy during 2012. I have said this a million times, and I will repeat it once again: I personally believe that someday the whole world will talk about Meden Agan! Keep your eyes and ears open because I have a strange feeling that they are coming back very soon!”

Doctor T:  Nostra Morte

“I generally focus on new or newer acts around the world. They’re more fun to work with than some of the more established names, and you get a feel for how things are evolving. But, it also means I hear a lot of new material, a lot of new sounds. This year I'm torn between two: Nostra Morte from Mexico, and Sad Alice Said from the Ukraine. Both top quality new material. However, in choosing one, I'll go with the Mexicans. I’ve heard more of their material and know a little more about their plans. And those plans are to continue and expand the solid material presented in Sin Retorno. They’re talking about more quality operatic vocals, and even some surprises that would include some classical interpretations, something they should excel at. It could be a long run with these guys.”

T.S.:  Seduce The Heaven

“Seduce The Heaven possess the potential to be a powerhouse in the female-fronted metal world. And as their debut album takes shape, the world will witness their greatness. I firmly believe that they could be this generation’s Nightwish. Watch for great things coming from the STH camp in 2013.”

Angi:  Zirkonium

“Apart from some previews and recording videos there is not much to be found about this new band yet, but the musical history of its musicians is very promising. Former Elis members Pete Streit, Tom Saxer, Max Näscher, and Chris Gruber cast off the burden their old band name carried and got together with a new singer, Kathrin Schlumpf, to look ahead with this new project. Keeping an ear out for what they come up with to fill this blank page will most certainly be worth it. The band name, which describes a heavy metal that resembles titanium, hints at heavy music – a prospect that makes me look forward to hearing more.”

John W: Magion

"My annual excursion to the Metal Female Voices Festival in Weize Belgium each year is a highlight for me as a fan as well as the owner of Sonic Cathedral. This year was extra special with the ladies of Eve's Apple honoring Sonic Cathedral with an award presentation on stage. Each year I attend I am blessed to be able to discover new bands and music. This year I was fortunate enough to have some very good unreleased material given to me by the keyboardist of this up and coming Dutch symphonic metal act. Given to me is an understatement, I was force fed the material in route to and from the venue all weekend! I am not sure when in 2013 this new material will debut, but if you are a fan of the symphonic sound, you don't want to miss this release. Trust me the Dutch have this genre nailed and that trend will continue with this release."

That concludes our look back on the music of 2012, and our predictions for 2013. We’d love to hear from you about your favorites from last year and which upcoming albums you’re looking forward most to hearing. Just post a message on the Sonic Cathedral Facebook page. Chances are you’ll hear from one of us!

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