In my honest opinion, 2012 hasn't been that great a year for music so far, especially compared to last year. Most of the releases I've heard this year have been "pretty alright" to "good", with very few breaking into "great" territory. Here are a few releases that I think reach that level, agree or disagree.
Six Brew Bantha - "S/T": Here's a skull crusher of an album that came from the Great White North, and mercilessly fucked the underground grind scene in the new hole it tore. This fastcore/grind trio really have created a great album, and have made a record that blows all their other recorded material out of the water. Thick, heavy production, killer riffs, grooves, snare drum tones, and vocals, it's a complete package.
False Light - "S/T": So, my new mission in life is to get as many people as I possibly can to listen to this EP and love this band. Coming out of absolutely no where(South Carolina), posting their rough and dirty EP on bandcamp for freedownload, and single handedly rocking my world, all in one fell-swoop. So far, this is the best grindcore/powerviolence EP I've heard all year. I've praised this constantly, and reviewed it in full on CVLT Nation. Listen to it, or be lame.
Water Torture - "Shellfire!": I should really have to go into this that much, my review from a few days ago should tell you all I need to know about this. For those too lazy to check it out, Water Torture's new 7" EP is just all around excellent, probably outshining their beloved debut EP. It's a devestatingly brutal bass, drum, and noise assault that I just absolutely love. Most promising Buffalo band going right now.
Death Grips - "The Money Store": I was pretty worried about this release, worried that I had unfairly high expectations. My favorite album of last year was their debut, "Exmilitary", after all. While I'm still not sure if I like this more than "Exmilitary", Death Grips have definitely created an excellent album, and one of my favorites of this year. There sound has definitely progressed, adding a little more variety vocally, and production wise, but still kept their songs interesting and intense at the same time. Very good album.
Antigama - "Stop The Chaos": I'm very pleased with this new EP from Antigama. "Stop The Chaos" proves that the band still has a knack for writing brutal, interesting and unique metal/grindcore. The riffs are killer, and their new drummer Pawel does an excellent job and fits the band wonderfully. Having Lucas shred vocals over their music again is the cherry on top of this awesome EP.
EL-P - "Cancer For Cure": This is the first full-length album from legendary Brooklyn rapper/producer EL-P that I've heard, and it's really damn fine. The production, as I expected, is stellar. Spacy, and hardcore, a good balance of both. El-P's vocal delivery is intense, and his lyrics are both deep, and rich in visuals. Telling stories from the point of view of a soldier at war, and playing a character who won't snitch on his upstairs neighbor, even when murder of her abusive husband is involved. Plus, Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire's verse on "Oh Hail No" is just nasty.
+HIRS+ - everything: Yeah, I can't choose just one release, they all fucking slay! Definitely one of the most consistently good grind bands to come out in the past couple years. A feat made even more impressive when you know how prolific they are. I've talked about this band so much, you should all know how amazing they are by now. Please please please donate to their Kickstarter so they can release their "100 Song LP".