The 10 Best Bay Area Metal Albums of 2012

Our year-end listmaking continues with a look at the heavier side of things. Featuring venerable greats as well as brand-new bands — and even some freaks in heavy costume — here are our picks for the 10 best local metal albums of 2012:

High on Fire

De Vermis Mysteriis


Convoluted as the premise for High on Fire's sixth album might sound — the twin brother of Jesus dies at the moment of birth and becomes a Quantum Leap-style time traveler — the songs on De Vermis Mysteriis find guitarist Matt Pike and company hitting a new apex of focus and ferocity. From the cannonade drum fill that kicks off brutal opener “Serums of Liao” through the equally frenetic “Bloody Knuckles” and “Fertile Green” (maybe the most violently hectic ode to smoking pot ever laid to tape), the first 15 minutes blast by with a scorching intensity that would do Slayer proud. On slower numbers like the instrumental “Samsara” and “King of Days,” High on Fire has never sounded heavier or more majestic. — Dave Pehling

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