Top 10 Albums Of 2012

Over 13,000 of you voted on your favorite albums of the year. Now the results are in. Who made it to the top spot this year?

Ultimate Guitar

Where other news outlets put together their own top 10 lists, Ultimate Guitar turns to its community who know better than anyone what the best music of the year is.

Two weeks ago we opened a poll to see who had released the best album of 2012. It took over 13,000 votes, so thanks to all of you for taking part.

So what were your top 10 albums of 2012?

10. Soundgarden "King Animal"

Their comeback album earned 8/10 in our album review. It's their first LP since 1996, and we're glad they're back.

Hear "Been Away Too Long":

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9. Green Day "¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tre!"

Green Day took the unprecedented step of releasing three albums as one concept release. UG readers were divided over which one sounded best, but everyone found something to love amid the dozens of new tracks.

See the reviews for each individual release here: "¡Uno!", "¡Dos!", "¡Tre!"

Hear "Oh Love":

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8. Lamb Of God "Resolution"

Singer Randy Blythe has had a crazy year with his manslaughter charge in the Czech Republic, but not until after their storming album release in January. We awarded it a solid 9/10.

Hear "Ghost Walking":

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7. Muse "The 2nd Law"

Early demos featuring dubstep made Muse fans uneasy, and early single streams made them sound more like Queen-wannabes than ever. But in the context of a full album, every track has a place and Muse proved themselves kings of operatic rock for the modern age. See the full review here.

Hear opening track "Supremacy" here:

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6. Deftones "Koi Yo Nokan"

It's always been hard to top their renowned 2000 epic "White Pony", but their latest two albums have demonstrated a band who are back on form. This release in particular was a triumph; cold heavy riffage, blissful ambience, and singer Chino Moreno delivering some of the best performances of his career. It's no surprise that we awarded it 9/10.

Hear "Swerve City":

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5. Rush "Clockwork Angels"

The prog-rock legends are nearing the end of their career, but still have plenty to teach younger acts about rocking hard. As ever, it's a stellar record and they just won our Band Of The Year award. See their 9/10 review here.

Hear the title song "Clockwork Angels":

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4. Jack White "Blunderbuss"

Few modern artists pull off an authentic classic rock n' roll sound like Jack can. His debut solo album was make-or-break for the late White Stripes man - and it looks like he made it. See the review here.

Hear "Freedom At 21":

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3. Slash "Apocalyptic Love"

It might bear his name, but this is no longer just a Slash solo project. He's gelled with his touring band (featuring Myles Kennedy) so well that it's just become a collaboration between high-calibre musicians - and the result is simply a great set of songs. See the review here.

Hear "Bad Rain":

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2. Billy Talent "Dead Silence"

Rebellious, angst and rocking. That's how our reviewer described their new album which earned 9/10. They were helped to second place by a Facebook campaign, but it wasn't quite enough to match the might of the Periphery army!

Hear "Viking Death March":

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1. Periphery "II: This Time It's Personal"

Boom. There's no arguing with democracy: Periphery have released the best album of 2012, and you'll find it hard to turn down their relentless riffage and rock-shattering vocals.

Our reviewer put it best: "Periphery really stepped it up here, and this is simply an album worth having. Mark my words: this band isn't done. By a long shot."

Congratulations Periphery for making the best album of 2012!

Hear "Make Total Destroy":

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Thanks for voting for album of the year. But how would you order the list? Did any of your favorite records miss out? Tell us about them in the comments.

294 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Slash + Myles...I hope it will be a long journey.
    Tremonti album was better...the slash album was the best thing hee's done in years though.
    Dunno, Overall this album migha been stronger, but I reeeeaaally loved the individual moments of the last one.
    anvil is god
    Sorry, but that new album is terribad.
    What's with everyone on UG hating Slash?
    Coz he's lost his shit and couldnt write a good song to save himself. That album is just pop as **** radio rock bullshit. Sippin on Monster energy drinks in his vids, what a sellout!
    He's a sellout, because he stopped making "oh so pure" music for you? Slash has always been unashamed in his career. Make kick-ass rock, and make money out of it. Isn't that what we all secretly hope to do? Let me assure you, if Monster Energy approached YOU with an offer "We'll pay you millions of Dollars, if you have our logo in for one teeny second in your music video with Fergie.", you would jump at it. I don't get the hate he gets. Sure, he's not as technically gifted as some, and sure, a huge amount of people like him, but what the f*** is wrong with that? So he's successful, popular, still able to make records however he damn well pleases, and is raking in money by the truck loads. Anyone who calls him a sellout is just plain green with envy. #Fact.
    That's what nearly 90% of bellends on UG are like. Hate on anyone that is remotely popular, be it Slash, Muse or Coldplay. Yet they are are selling out arenas/stadiums doing their own music how they want.
    Haters gonna hate.
    At least the haters have taste But personally I think High on Fire, Cannibal Corpse and Cattle Decapitation all had better albums this year.
    Taste is a matter of opinion. I personally do not like metal of that style (Cannibal Corpse, etc.), so I am more inclined to say Slash had a better album.
    I'm beginning to realize the UG is full of mainstream hard rock/"light" metal fans, unfortunately. Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals....
    I am a huge Myles Kennedy fan, but unfortunately I couldn't find anything to like about the Slash album. I would def have put Slash after Rush.
    I wish Parallax II: Future Sequence was on the list.
    i cant believe it didnt even make the list, let alone win it. i wouldnt have picked it as the winner personally, but they've been a ug favourite since i joined
    Dead Silence was such a return to form for Billy Talent after the disappointment of III. Amazing stuff!
    I don't know, i didn't think the new album was bad but i don't think its top ten material for the year, some good songs no doubt but as a whole it didn't really appeal to me. I am quite surprised though how the Stone Sour album didn't make it on the list, seems like lots don't like it but if you read the booklet that comes along with it the songs really come to life. Of course its all opinion though
    I still don't think this is a legitimate poll since only 20 nominations were available to vote for - and those were based on the album reviews that got the most views. Way too narrow selection. On the other hand: Glad to see Periphery II made the #1 (Wouldn't expect anything else ), but Resolution, King Animal and Clockwork Angels should have been placed a lot higher.
    It's like, the 46th time that I mention this album around here in a period of 2 weeks, but I just can't get enough of Oceania by The Smashing Pumpkins, sorry. I'd like to see it up there, but I'm not in the mood for complaining right now.
    Two years, two great albums by Sylosis (though they still need to learn to make them slightly shorter).
    I like long songs. They're like an epic novel that takes you through a powerful landscape of awesomeness. On the other hand, Coheed and Cambria didn't even make it in the top ten...while green day and jack white did. I'm thinking of finding the UG admins and prank-calling them until they go mad.
    I love long songs, but Sylosis' albums are a tad too long. The length of songs isn't a problem, but the number of songs can be.
    No Koloss, or L'Enfant Sauvage? I know it's a popular opinion poll, but Resolution and Uno/Dos/Tres don't stand up to Meshuggah's and Gojira's releases. Also, Periphery in front of Rush makes me sad. I haven't listened to Billy Talent's album, but I was never a fan of them. (I enjoy Green Day, Periphery and Lamb of God, but... there were a lot of better albums released this year.)
    Here are a few issues I think a lot of people have with Periphery: 1) Many people automatically have the "you guys are Meshuggah ripoffs" mantra playing in their mind before they even give them a chance. If these people were a little more objective about listening to Periphery, they would realize that, actually, Periphery really, really doesn't sound that comparable to Meshuggah. At all. 2) Other people just can't get into all the crazy shit going on in their music. It's the classic "all technique, no passion or soul" argument. Being that Misha writes most of the songs, most of their music is guitar influenced. Some people are searching for simple, catchy hooks and conventional song arrangements. It's no surprise they'd be disappointed in Periphery considering these expectations. 3) Finally, Periphery is blowing the **** up and it's making all these people mad! Number 3 behind Van Halen and Rush in Guitar World's top 50? A couple years ago these dudes were noodling around in their guitarist's apartment producing their debut album in the box for free! It's just funny to me. Whether you like them or not, you can't deny they must be doing SOMETHING right.
    Personally. I think Periphery are talented. They can play their instruments very well. However I find their music to be quite banal. Their riffs just don't seem to go anywhere for me. The melodies seem quite weak and unremarkable and the rhythms are very wanky. I love odd time signatures and polyrhythms but I don't think Periphery do it right. However the worst thing about Periphery I think are the vocals. They are completely laughable. It sounds like a typical emo/scene kid vocalist. Just awful. But obviously I'm in the minority as they are undoubtedly popular and any comment saying they don't like Periphery is getting downvoted to oblivion so whatevs.
    Haha, well I voted you up there. I am probably biased as well because I have been watching Misha closely from 2007...back when he was putting up SUPER rough mixes of what would eventually become their first album. The improvement of his mixes from then until now is just mind boggling.
    Thanks for being open minded to my comment dude. Thing is I wish I could like Periphery. It annoys me when a band has so much love and I can't get into em. Same with Between the buried and me. Another bunch of extremely good musicians but don't like the muzicz
    Yeah, I did get a little carried away up there too before this comment and didn't even realize it was you haha. I guess the thing with me is it's easy for me to just go on tangents about them, having studied Misha's recording methods so closely. By the way, I completely agree with you about their vocals...just...ouch :/ haha
    While I agree with your opinion completely as a Periphery fan, I think EyesWideOpen doesnt get that Spencer does have a great voice. He sings well, puts his heart out there. His voice is out there and his range is pretty damn good. No, not the best thing ever but I guarentee you he will get better. Look how much he has evolved from now to their debut. Maybe somewhat whiny but whatever. Hes by far from the "typical emo/scene kid vocalist." A "typical emo/scene kid vocalist" doesnt have vocals that soar to that level of power. If anything, We Came As Romans' vocalist is a pretty damn good example of the fit. While he does have a fairly unique voice, its not too powerful and does tend to get whiny at times. I used to be a pretty damn good fan of them until i realized that and how much theyve changed. Most of the post-hardcore genre is filled with these bands. Look at Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce The Veil, and A Skylit Drive. Thats true hardcore? How about The Bled, Converge, or Refused? How much the genre has changed to that is pretty damn scary, but Periphery's vocalist def doesnt fit with the typical emo/scene kid vocalist crew. Take Escape The Fate as well, another good example that fits under that category. Overall, Periphery is just different than any other band. I think the melodies are great btw.
    I'm sure it is hard to do what the vocalist does. I just think he sounds absolutely terrible.
    For me, it's like I can totally see he's got plenty of talent (I mean, there's literally zero pitch or time correction on the vocals on Periphery's second album) I just don't think he's got a vocal range suitable for a metal band of Periphery's technical caliber. He should be singing in a pop punk band or something else. Not a very "metal" voice
    Guitar is good like a lot of metal bands. Drummer is pretty skilled as well. But after that it's just white noise. The thing their doing right is that they play to metal and get rated in guitar based polls. I tried listening to some of the album and it's just not that great. There's no new ideas or clever twists. It's just another metal album.
    Periphery is awful. I'd expect nothing less from UG.
    I just listened to it and wtf, how is that better than Rush
    J Mud
    Periphery has more energy, in my opinion.
    becuase geddy and the gang are sixty. of course they have more energy, but they still cant write music thats even remotely comparable
    They can have as much energy as they want but it just sounds like noise to me
    J Mud
    I understand your opinion. I enjoy the rush (no pun intended) I get from listening to Periphery. I also enjoy Rush, but it isn't as exciting to me.
    I disagree, have you ever seen them live? They play for 2 hours, and run around the stage without missing a note.
    Technically all the members of periphery probably has more skill then the rush members. I can see Periphery playing rush songs simple as that, but i have a heard time thinking that rush would be able to pull of periphery songs. The drum and guitar work is amazing on this album (Matt halpern won over Neil Pert "Drummers world cup" as well) Ofc people may think that less complicated music is more appealing but then you just gotta accept that not everyone thinks so. Listen to Have a blast, its my favorite from the album
    Hemispheres. Enough said
    Hahah, was just thinking the same while reading that comment. I'd like to see him have a go on "La Villa Strangiato".
    I'm sure they'd be able to play it eventually, with enough practice of course
    as a freakin copy though, Rush influenced the guys that influenced those Psudo rockers, more screams but no hook, now songwriting skills = crap
    "I can see Periphery playing rush songs simple as that, but i have a heard time thinking that rush would be able to pull of periphery songs" Im speechless
    Listened to the song and it's hilarious. It's like their trying to say "hai guyz listen to how technical we are and our craaaaazy rhythms! But don't look to deep in or you will realise we don't know how to write a decent song or hook." Are these guys like the new BTBAM of UG, but less talented or something?
    *shrug* Target audiences, man. You're not in it. I'm not big into Periphery, but for what it is, I thought it was a good album. Not way near the #1 spot in my list, but meh.
    This. I think this album has a few standout awesome songs, but track-for-track, it is good, but not overly memorable.
    "like the new BTBAM of UG" ? What is that even supposed to mean? Besides being a metal band how is Periphery comparable to Between the Buried and Me in any way at all?
    Why the hell are these guys #1, yet BTBAM isnt even on the list?
    Because Periphery linked the vote to their FB page. All their fans came and voted. For the record, not a fan of the vocals. The music is decent.
    Get the **** out of here. These guys are talented as ****. A band doesn't need a good hook to be considered good unless it's judged by a legion of closed minded pricks like you. Just because you can't comprehend a rhythm that's not 4/4 or 3/4 doesn't mean Periphery lacks talent. It's okay to not like them, but to say they don't know how to write a song is just flat out maniacal.
    Sorry to be the one to burst your bubble, but the "U JUST CANNOT COMPREHEND" defense is absolutely ridiculous. It's nothing more than a butthurt and dismissive defense. Technicality=/=good songwriting. you can be skilled at an instrument and suck at songwriting. this tends to be true for a lot of technicalwankcore. It's not something super special that's hard to comprehend. Most of the people that hear it get it.
    "technicalwankcore" exists? sheesh man youre really making silly, silly meaningful, nonsensical comments thats spewing up trouble. no need for this.
    I'd expect nothing less from narrow-minded, arrogant trolls like yourself.
    people cant get over the fact that its a diff style of music. they took #1, so what.
    Giving an opinion=/=trolling. I don't think you understand what the word trolling means. Also disliking bands like Periphery and being honest with your opinion doesn't make you narrow minded. For example, I dislike a lot of lulzsotechnicalxDDDD bands and I find music like Harsh Noise enjoyable. "u dun get it" and "ur mind iz jus close" are equally silly defenses.
    Stop already with the pathetic victim complex. Throwing crap at a band only to be followed by "IT'S JUST GIVING AN OPINION" is getting so damn old. Besides, why do you feel so compelled to do so? If you actually take music this seriously, you must have a very tragic life.
    Maybe your taste in music is awful. Or maybe you should just stop acting like your opinion is fact and start saying that you dislike it. It's one thing to say you dislike a band; it's arrogant, however, to make a judgment like "[they're] awful".
    Periphery is awful? Write a song better than ANYTHING they produce from their anus on a bad bowel movement and just maybe your opinons will have any real weight.
    Right, people can't voice their opinions about a band because they can't play an instrument or don't have a band. Wow! That's a completely deep, original and well-founded argument!
    MESHUGGAH put out a new album this year and it was much better than Periphery in my opinion. Also some other metal albums out this year: Converge, BTBAM, Neurosis, TTDTE, A Life Once Lost, Baroness, Lamb of God, High on Fire, Car Bomb, Down, The Sword It was a good year for metal..
    everyone seems to forget Every Time I Die..and theres still others at least in the metalcore genre. throw in Shadows Fall, For Today and Memphis May Fire.
    Soundgarden should be higher. Still can't stop listening to that one
    Shit heap of a list, no point in voting if it's only out of 20 options. High on Fire, Baroness and least one of these should get a mention in my opinion.
    I'd have Baroness, Neurosis, Gojira, Sylosis, Prototype, High On Fire, and Meshuggah in there, but I don't think this list is as bad as everyone else apparently does. (Dark Roots of the Earth was by far my most anticipated release of the year, but it still hasn't grown on me... maybe my expectation were just too high).
    I actually enjoy PII, well deserved ... I'd love seeing The Parallax II on here as well. And Deftones released an epic album!! #2 on my list.
    The lack of Devin Townsend makes me sad,
    Three awesome things about this post: 1) I posted about Epicloud in an earlier comment 2) That post and this one are the only ones mentioning DT 3) If the first three letters of your username are indicative of your first name, that would mean we have the same name. Awesome! Haha
    Also...scrolled all the way down here and not a single user has mentioned the name Devin Townsend; extremely disappointed. I thought Epicloud was breathtaking.
    Really disappointed Coheed didn't grab one of the top 10 spots. Most of the list is pretty good though.
    I think Gojira's L'enfant Sauvage should be here instead of Periphery. And a great Tremonti album...
    Where is BTBAM? Periphery's new album was incredible but to miss them out seems a crime, Parallax 2 was incredible
    Periphery cannot hold a candle to BTBAM in my opinion. But it's no surprise. You don't generally see them in these types of lists
    where the **** is Tenacious D????? Rize of the Fenix was the greatest album of 2012!!!!
    I wish Autotheism by The Faceless would have made it. That album was breathtaking, in my honest opinion.
    This, basically. Plus the omission of Epicloud just makes me sad.
    I like how people are blaming UG for this list, when in fact, this was based on votes made the users themselves. lol
    BTBAM wasn't even on the vote list, yet it was better than most albums on this list, especially Periphery.
    Nero Galon
    I have a feeling UG aren't fans of The Gaslight Anthem... Handwritten wasn't even an option for voting.
    Reading the comments of this article has given me cancer. I really don't understand how so many people are defending Slash, who has been recycling the same music over and over, but bashing a band of talented musicians like Periphery. Way too many people stuck in the dark ages on this site. Whether you like Periphery or not, if you can't see the talent these guys have, then you must have a pretty terrible comprehension of music. They might be pretty mainstream for a "djent"/Post-Meshuggah band, but these guys are insane in their ability to make music in their own unique way. First time you listen it might sound like overly technical rhythms etc but these guys have their own take on what Meshuggah have done. I'm not even a huge fan of them, but I did enjoy their first album without vocals and some of the songs on this new one I do like. These guys don't make catchy hooks that stick in your head to sell albums because they are pushing boundaries on music, so you have to let go of your opinions and try to see where THEY (the musicians) are coming from. They put more effort into detailing and crafting one riff than most bands put into an entire song. But I guess everyone says the same thing about Meshuggah; that they are shit and try to be technical to show off blah blah blah, while all they do is listen to their music passively without paying any actual attention to what the instruments are doing or trying to understand the groove. Meanwhile musicians are bowing down to them saying they are geniuses engineering new possibilities of music /rant
    While it is indeed true that some people may judge Periphery without giving them a careful listen, I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion on what is good and bad in music. We can go on forever and argue on how they are better than X or Y but that's useless. Some people just don't like what's happening there. And I do certainly not think it has something to do with the album being "technical", as I really do not see where it seems so technical to so many people... it's really the average music level in numerous bands these days, and I do not say it's a bad thing. I actually really liked their first album, they had something fresh going on but the second album was FOR ME (!!) a down step from it, and I believe it goes about the same way for a lot of people who didn't agree with this list. As for the meshuggah argument that people tend to bring around, well it doesn't make that much sense. Yes they both play on the rythmic field but that's about all... It's really sad to see so much hate going on in the comments because of this particular band, and I'm referring to both haters and pros... Anypoop, I didn't reply to contradict you in any way because I mostly agree with you, I just felt the need to even some things out
    This list is so bad, it needs to look at itself and tear itself up for being horrible. That's all I'm gonna say.
    Boom. There's no arguing with democracy: Periphery have released the best album of 2012, and you'll find it hard to turn down their relentless riffage and rock-shattering vocals . his vocal shatter ear drums....
    Exactly! Absolute Shit!! Where the hell are Accept, Cradle of Filth, Dragonforce, Gojira, Killing Joke, Kreator, Ministry, Overkill, Paradise Lost, Soulfly and many others excellent albums??? Billy Talent, Green Day, Jack White O_o You must be joking!?
    It's obvious that you haven't even bothered to listen to The Power Within. DragonForce has really stepped up its game this year, with Marc Hudson. They're not the technical wanks that everybody is used to hating on anymore.
    Billy talent new album is amazing, as for green day i dont agree and jack white is ok lol
    Jack White's album was pretty good though. Tbh the new Ministry album actually kinda disappointed me, so personally idk that I would have voted for it
    The album "Oceania" by the Smashing Pumpkins should have made this list! definitely in the top 5
    Deftones and Jack White are the only ones I really enjoyed. Didn't Periphery link the poll on their Facebook too? I'd like to see the poll if all the bands did this. Edit: Deftones and Jack White are the only ones I enjoyed on this list* Smith Street Band, Coheed and Cambria, Kendrick Lamar, Circa Survive, Flume and Japandroids were all up there for albums this year!
    nope, periphery did no such thing. they are just everyones(alot more then you'd expect from these coments sections) not-so-guilty pleasure.