Gay Kiss, Fault (Anxiety Machine Records)
It's probably really tacky to include a record that hasn't been released on a best-of list, but Fault by Gay Kiss is already exceptional in so many other ways.
Weird without being "mysterious guy hardcore", ignorant without being jock, emotional without being emo, this is one of the best hardcore releases of the year, local or otherwise. Listen now, and buy it for yourself or an interested friend when it drops on Friday, December 21.
Lusitania, Third Cassette (Holy Page Records)
This tape by Lusitania comes off like a mix of Transilvanian Hunger era Darkthrone and Deathcrush era Mayhem except even more low budget and with a lot more punk influences (and a lot less corpse paint). I like how it sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom but has more atmosphere than most big budget metal productions. It's black metal at its humble, but very ominous and presumably gnarled roots.
Rituals, S/T (Alerta Antifascista Records)
Rituals' self-titled album is probably the most mellow record on this list, being a 5-song LP that is 44 minutes long.
Absolutely heavy sludge metal punctuated by moody, almost post-rock interludes. Good luck having ears as well as a neck to headbang with after listening to "Takotsubo Cardiomyopoathy".