1 WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM Two Hunters (Southern Lord)
It plays out like an approaching storm of spite that eventually unleashes a torrent of violent melancholy. Yay!
2 XASTHUR Defective Epitaph (Hydra Head)
Dissonant, lo-fi and utterly terrifying, Epitaph’s spiralling bleakness hints at the future of black metal like few other records.
3 BETWEEN THE BURIED & ME Colors (Victory)
Ridiculously diverse, Colors is a hurricane of aggression crammed inside world music and power ballads. Like Mr. Bungle if they were actually heavy and unpretentious.
4 KATHARSIS VVorldvvithovtend (Ajna Offensive)
Probably wins the scariest-fucking-vocals-of-the-year award for what sound like torture-induced howls overtop searing German black metal.
5 PIG DESTROYER Phantom Limb (Relapse)
American grind kings unsurprisingly up the ante again by stretching their aural blasts into considerably lengthier – but no less brutal – territory.