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Year-End Lists

SPIN’s 20 Best Metal Albums of 2012

Metal in 2012 saved its most potent anger for gnashing and clawing at its own boundaries. Witchy bands (Royal Thunder, Christian Mistress) stirred up a strange brew of blues-rock and Tina Turner; sludge-metal totems (Baroness, Torche) ventured deeper into the pastoral, yellow, and green fields of alternative rock; hardcore bruisers un-straightened their edges (Converge, Enabler) to toy with obtuse angles; doom-metal bands (Pallbearer, Bell Witch) turned into unlikely hook machines; and don’t even get us started on the Swedish Afro-psych enigmas Goat covering Boubacar Traoré. Though no shortage of pigs were destroyed and cattle were decapitated, these are the 20 wild records that best represent one of the genre’s most chaotic, challenging years to date. CHRISTOPHER R. WEINGARTEN