Aural Devastation: Top Tracks of 2012

Aural Devastation is a regular column about heavy music. Here are some favorites from 2012, beginning with relatively structured songs and descending into the chaotic.


  1. Baroness – “EULA” from Yellow & Green + ENTIRE RECORD STREAM
    As the last song on the Yellow Album, “EULA” had an interesting job, as it needed to take the listener from the harder sounds of Baroness into the more straight-up progressive rock edge of Green Album. Baroness knocked it out of the park with their attempt, as “EULA” is one of the better songs in their entire catalog. PETER WOODBURN
  2. Black Breath – “Feast of the Damned” from Sentenced to Life
    The opening track off of Black Breath’s mind-mashing 2012 album, Feast of the Damned showed exactly how Black Breath was taking their music — harder, faster, louder. PETER WOODBURN
  3. Burning Love – “Hateful Comforts” from Rotten Thing to Say
    The guitars are fierce, the drums unrelenting, and the vocals snarling. Burning Love put forth a perfect blend off rock and roll and hardcore with this effort. PETER WOODBURN
  4. Converge – “Trespasses” from All We Love We Leave Behind + ENTIRE RECORD STREAM
    This song opens and closes with more noise than anything out there. Its spastic interior showcases the madness that is the Converge flurry trying desperately to explode out. PETER WOODBURN
  5. Downfall of Gaia – “In The Rivers Bleak” from Suffocating the Swarms of Cranes + ENTIRE RECORD STREAM
    Downfall of Gaia released one of the best metal albums of the year, and this is probably the best song off of the album. It’s got some great post-metal, sludge metal, black metal and straight up metal moments that make the eight minutes pass by in two. PETER WOODBURN
  6. Pig Destroyer – “The Diplomat” from Book Burner + ENTIRE RECORD STREAM
    “The Diplomat” is the first song on Book Burner over two minutes long and shows why Scott Hull is the best metal guitarist on the planet. The song is all Pig Destroyer in their never-ending quest to brutalize eardrums world-wide with absolutely punishing riffs. PETER WOODBURN
  7. Propagandhi – “Note to Self” from Failed States
    “Note to Self” contains some nice lyrical play to open the song, but really contains the best moments of Propagandhi’s conversion from punk-rock into punk-thrash. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better final minute in any song this year. PETER WOODBURN
  8. Swans – “Avatar” from The Seer + ENTIRE RECORD STREAM
    Michael Gira is a musical genius. The way he makes “Avatar” grow while chanting, “Your life is in my hands” makes you really feel like it is — and Gira is the last person you want to take control of your destiny. He hardly has control over his own; and that is half the fun of this ride. PETER WOODBURN
  9. Torche – “Walk It Off” from Harmonicraft
    To listen to Torche is to try to figure out what you are listening to. Is it sludge? Is it metal? Is it rock? I say a bit of all three, and they are the best bands blurring that line right now. “Walk It Off” shows Torche at their finest, with crazy guitars and constant drums. PETER WOODBURN



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