Pig Destroyer delivered their first album in five years with their return-to-form release, Book Burner, while L.A.'s Terrorizer brought back their old school death-grind with Hordes of Zombies, following a six-year hiatus. Hivesmasher unleashed possibly the angriest record of the year with their sophomore album, Gutter Choir, and Cali death-grind outfit Cattle Decapitation continued their anti-human sentiments through disturbing imagery with Monolith of Inhumanity. Pioneering acts Napalm Death (pictured above) and Phobia both added to their extensive catalogues: as one of grindcore's most revered bands since the late '80s, Brits Napalm Death have been the hub of grind tradition throughout their 14-album career, while California's Phobia consistently churn out classic, socio-political, crusty grindcore.
The influence of grind was also felt across metal fusion genres; Gaza's No Absolutes in Human Suffering incorporates grindcore's abrasive tones and scathing aggression within their diverse hardcore sound, while Anaal Nathrakh's Vanitas further envelops cacophonous grind into their dark, caustic black metal. Witness the return of Nasum, several years after the legendary Swedish act called it quits following the tragic death of their vocalist; to celebrate what would have been their 20th anniversary, they toured as a final, official goodbye, and picked up right where they left off. The momentous occasion was the pièce de résistance for a year that saw grindcore speedily reach ever greater heights.
Best grindcore of 2012:
Pig Destroyer Book Burner (Relapse)
Hivesmasher Gutter Choir (Black Market Activities)
Cattle Decapitation Monolith of Inhumanity (Metal Blade)
Napalm Death Utilitarian (Century Media)
Phobia Remnants of Filth (Willowtip)