Why the appearance of lists under single entries? Kind of unfair to both the bands mentioned and the principle of a top ten, is it not? Nevertheless, in spite of my unashamed zurui-ness here is the list of A-kyu tech-death for 2012.
2012 will prove to be an excellent vintage for tech death. Great bands released amazing albums and continued to push metal in astounding new directions playing with timing and rhythm without engaging the djent manifesto and incorporating sophisticated, yet tempered, never-overly baroque approaches to melody and harmony. Decompressing after these albums takes time. Indeed, enjoying them takes considerable effort since they are so dense with ideas. But do not let difficulty turn you away.
Spawn of Possession bring it with Incurso. You know when people talk about Iron Maiden and duelling guitars? This is a whole album of that, set to death. From the lead lines to the bread and butter riffs, every single thing is analysed, harmonised and off the wall yet there is a forward moving coherence that keeps you anchored throughout the musical adventure.
Gorod's A Perfect Abosolution is in someway more straight ahead heavy in the Suffocation style brutal stakes but where Spawn of Possession bring highly complex rhythmical arrangements, Gorod allow more breathing room and dare to swing and groove. This is not Pantera "power groove" (though long time readers know I have no problem with that) in fact it is at points reminiscent of Atheist with a bossa feel. The soloing here also tends to be more classically metal-oriented making it and easier access point to the thech death novice.
Inhereted Repression by Tasmania's Psycroptic sounds like every other Psycroptic record: tight-ass guitars with tight-ass drums and every 16th and 32nd note used within a millisecond of its life. The difference this time around is that the band must have been drinking at the same bar as Meshuggah. Do not be fooled, there is nary a moment of djent here, just twin ten ton balls of swinging groovy steel. This is the Psycroptic album that grooves.
Though I am not sure they belong here, they are tech enough for me. Arkaik released Metamorphignition, a tech album which to my mind focuses on the "heavy" rather than the technical. This is a perfect distillation of classic death metal brutality updated to the twentieth century. It is smart and dumb at the same time, the band have a knack for being able to push into very heavy terrain. Technicality tends to be used as a punctuating device.
Autotheism, third album by post-Necrophagist inspired youngster(s) The Faceless is The Faceless gone 70s prog. Less rhythmically and harmonically extreme yet more conscious of song structure, melody and concept. Perhaps not what people were expecting, at times reminiscent of Devin Townsend, Mike Patton and Opeth.
Sophicide's Perdition of the Sublime dared to argue that we no longer need a Necrophagist album in the twentieth century. He might be right!