Kronzo
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Last Active 12-05-12 7:36 pm
Joined 07-07-07

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 Lists
06.01.14 Hot Albums This Year04.15.14 Eyy Yo 2014 Listens
12.30.13 Alex's 2013 In Music12.29.13 Video Games I've Been Playing this Year
12.26.13 2013: Bottom Of The Barrel08.06.13 2013: A Discussion (Part 1)
07.28.13 Avenged Sevenfold Ranked07.16.13 85 Bad Albums
07.10.13 Dance Gavin Dance Ranked07.06.13 Give Us Another Shot?
06.18.13 Coheed & Cambria Ranked06.13.13 The Best Of 2013 So Far
05.20.13 Recs Recs Recs Recs Recs03.09.13 What Is The Best Sex Position?
01.02.13 2012 Top 3011.02.12 Some Of My Fave Post-hardcore
10.21.12 Favourite 2012 Albums So Far09.28.12 Which Album Should I Review Next?
More »

Alex's 2013 In Music

What I listened to this year, ranked best to worst. didn't listen to 100 I absolutely loved so the rrrrrbottom chunk (90 and down) are albums I'm not huge on.
100Confide
All Is Calm


Confide's fan-funded album All Is Calm is definitely a step up from their 2010 album Recover (which was a pretty generic affair). The band tries a few different things, throw in a couple well-placed electronic parts, but a lot of it just comes off as Sempiternal rip-offs doused in Risecore. You'll be trying hard to remember anything you heard after all of the breakdowns and BMTH posturing. Joel Piper has a few catchy clean spots on the album, but his vocals are way too processed to properly appreciate his efforts. This isn't really worth listening to unless you're a huge fan of this genre.
99Trivium
Vengeance Falls


You can tell that David from Disturbed produced the shit out of Trivium on this album. Lame choruses that aren't even catchy are aplenty. The riffs and technicality peppered across the album save this from being a disaster.
98For Today
Prevailer


A pretty harmless (but stupid) jesus-loving metalcore romp with a bunch of dumb bass drops, breakdowns, and scattered melodic riffs. Nothing really stuck in my head after listening to it but nothing overly offensive happens in its (probably for the best) short length.
97Buckethead
It Smells Like Frogs


A collection of pretty mediocre Buckethead metal riffs. Nothing is offensively bad here, but the album is pretty pointless and there are a ton of other better Buckethead albums that are in a similar vein to this one.
96Bring Me the Horizon
Sempiternal


While this album isn't complete garbage like Suicide Season, or falters on its potential like their last album, it comes off as pretty boring to listen to in its entirety. The experimentation is nice, but they try too hard to be something ground-breaking that they forget that they need actual hooks to draw the listener in, especially for the kind of band that they are.
95Red Seas Fire
Exposition


A bit of a disappointment from a talented band. Red Seas Fire's new EP is basically an extension of what we heard before with their previous self-titled release. While nothing offensively bad happens here, you'll be hard pressed to remember anything interesting that occurred in the first two tracks, which seem like watered down versions of their previous material. "Of Motion" is the highlight of the EP, being a soft song with the clean vocals taking the main stage (it was nice to see the band trying something a little different for once). EP closer "A Life We Used to Know" is also a solid track that stands as the best heavier song here. Exposition is worth hearing if you're a big fan of this band and this scene, but I could think of a lot of more rewarding progressive metal releases to listen to instead.
94A Skylit Drive
Rise


This record is incredibly "meh". Chalked to the brim with average post-hardcore riffs and Jag's glass-shattering voice. Nothing is outright bad (except a couple vocal melodies), but you won't remember a thing after listening to this.
93ASAP Ferg
Trap Lord


It's hard for me to even explain this album, I had the hardest time figuring out if I enjoyed it or not. Ferg has a fun flow and the atmospheres are compelling, but parts of this record are just too fucking stupid and bad to be taken that seriously.
92Meek Mill
Dreamchasers 3


Meek sounds really strong on some of these tracks, and sounds like a high-pitched faggot spewing his bragadocio with weak flow on others. If he was able to make a consistent album of hard flows in vein of his Kendrick diss and trim out all the boring, slow-paced features. Meek would produce one of my favourite hip hop albums of all time most likely.
91Machine Gun Kelly
Black Flag


MGK has never been a downright terrible rapper, and all of his releases have at least a few cuts that I find myself replaying a decent amount. Despite the fact that his rapping is almost always solid this time around, Black Flag doesn't really seem to get anything else right. From all the samey synth driven production to the weak guest spots (French Montana and Wiz), I hold Black Flag in the same regard as his releases in that it is only worth hearing to pick out a few highlight songs like "Breaking News" and "Skate Cans"
90Elitist
Between the Balance


I really wanted to love this EP. After hearing Reshape | Reason, and thoroughly enjoying it since it was chock-full of awesome riffing and metal in general, Elitist's Between the Balance comes off as a bit boring and maybe even tired. The mix muffles the drumming, killing the music's power a little. There is also more of an emphasis on clean vocal sections this time around, they sort of sound like slightly less boring Miss May I clean vocal sections, and slightly less boring isn't really saying much to Elitist's credit. They seem to have dumbed down and slowed down the frantic pace that they had on the Reshape | Reason and Caves (and Earth to a lesser extent), ESPECIALLY during the aforementioned clean sections. Finally, "Echo in the Room" is one of the most boring songs Elitist have released thus far. However, with all that said, Between the Balance is still not at all bad in terms of metalcore, and I find myself going back to "Vice Versa" every now and then, which is the highlight of this EP. But fans of more *progressive* metal will be a bit disappointed by the band's technical regression.
89Big Sean
Hall of Fame


Hall of Fame has the potential to be great, but it is too inconsistent and riddled with Drake-isms (I don't care who came first). Both the production choices and Sean's verses range from awesome to terrible, hopefully his next record is more focused.
88Black Sabbath
13


A decent comeback by Sabbath, it can be a little boring at times. But the the production is excellent and it has a very nostalgic feel to it, the latter half is the selling point of this record.
87Pearl Jam
Lightning Bolt
86Iwrestledabearonce
Late For Nothing


A spazzy hardcore album that is technically impressive, but is inconsistent. The clean vocal sections are baffling, unappealing, and strange.
85Jonny Craig
Find What You Love and Let It Kill You


I really wanted to love this. Jonny's voice sounds as good as it always does, which is a plus. The fact of the matter is that the musical backdrop of Find What You Love And Let It Kill You is mostly sterile synth pads and boring rhythms for Jonny to do his signature vocal runs and melismas over. It seems like he took more than a few pages from Abel's book this time around. Nothing here is offensively bad per se, but you won't feel any need to listen to this more than a couple times.
84Nam Le
Nam Le


The songwriting on this record is good, and it is equal parts heavy and catchy. I feel myself coming back to it every now and then as well, which speaks to its replay value. Unfortunately the performance is a little too sloppy and the production is a little too rough to warrant a higher rating, but this band has the potential to be something great in the future.
83Secrets
Fragile Figures


This is a really nice step forward from their lame debut. The clean vocals are stronger, and the new harsh vocalist is much more commanding than the old one. However, this tends to fall into all the similar traps most Risecore bands fall into, overusing samey song-writing clich?s.
82Drake
Nothing Was the Same


Drake's new album sounds really pretty. And it makes for great background music, but that's all it really is. Listening to this album closely shows you that it's pretty shallow, and Drizzy hasn't really progressed much as a lyricist.
81Funeral For A Friend
Conduit


A solid album that showcases the heavier side of FFAF. The vocals are passionate and performed well, and I found myself nodding my head a lot to the music. Unfortunately, a lot of this album comes off as stripped-down b-sides of Welcome Home Armageddon. The music can be a bit bland at times and the songs seem to run together a bit sometimes. However, this is still worth a listen if you're a big fan of this band.
80Wolves At The Gate
Back to School


Back to School is a well-performed covers EP, containing songs from renowned Post-Hardcore bands like Thrice and Thursday. While Wolves at the Gate infuses their heavier tendencies into this release, it ends up not sounding much different from the originals. This makes the listener question Back to School's purpose, but it becomes clear that this was purely just for fun.
79Northlane
Singularity


A solid metalcore album, but a bit of a disappointment after their debut. When they aren't being technical, they just sound boring. They were stronger as songwriters before, and would love to see that return.
78Pusha T
My Name Is My Name


Pusha T's solo debut is solid, containing enough tracks of decent flow and interesting beats to warrant a few listens. However, this album can be a bit of a bore at times, and he can sound like he's just bastardizing other peoples' flow and production. "Nostalgia" is easily one of the record highlights here. Overall, this is an album I'd definitely recommend to Pusha T fans, but it didn't QUITE win me over.
77August Alsina
Downtown: Life Under the Gun


Alsina's EP Downtown: Life Under the Gun is insanely catchy! It's a shame a lot of it sounds the same, since he's an incredibly talented R&B vocalist. The features on here also drag the quality down a bit. Despite being derivative and unoriginal, this release is still really fun and I highly enjoyed listening to it.
76Reflections
Exi(s)t


Another great performance from a technical standpoint. It's heavy as balls. There is WAY too much chugging though, and none of it is that memorable
75Gorguts
Colored Sands


am I the only one who thinks this album is really badly mixed? The songs plod on and on and it's incredibly unpleasant to listen to for the most part. A great performance from a technical standpoint, but I don't think there is a single part I actually remembered and liked after hearing it (Other than that orchestral cut, which was nice) but it's overall really repetitive.
74Circles
Infinitas


Infinitas is a beautiful, polished record crafted by talented musicians. Unfortunately, it's all fluff to me and all of the incredibly dry and compressed djent chugs run together after awhile, which makes all the songs sound a bit too similar to one another. The clean vocals are the strongest factor in this equation. Circles show a lot of potential here but just fall short of being memorable by a hair.
73Silverstein
This Is How The Wind Shifts
72 Buckethead
Pearson's Square


Pearson's Square is one of the better entries in Buckethead's hit or miss Pikes series. The melancholy and beautiful melodies bring to mind other great Buckethead albums A Real Diamond in the Rough and Shadows Between the Sky. Unfortunately, some of the longer passages plod on, and the album itself isn't really anything new, especially for a dedicated Buckethead fan.
71Earl Sweatshirt
Doris


Earl's flow on Doris is consistent, the features are decent for the most part. Unfortunately, a lot of the material on this album blends together since he tries to pull off the same "aggressive" shock-rap feel on every single track.
70A Wilhelm Scream
Partycrasher


A strong punk album! Unfortunately the technicality has been turned down a bit in favour of a more simple performance. This is a shame because its where AWS really shined on Career Suicide. It's still there in smaller doses, but I would love to see it come back in the future.
69ASAP Rocky
LongLiveA$AP


The production here is excellent, exploring all sorts of different dreamy areas. Rocky's flow is strong sometimes, but he spends a lot of time namedropping and rapping about nothing essentially.
68Born of Osiris
Tomorrow We Die Alive
67Fabolous
The Soul Tape 3
66Buckethead
Buckethead Pikes #13


Pike 13 is another one of Buckethead's softer, more heartfelt outings. The album cover shows him unmasked with his father, who was apparently ill in the hospital around this time. The album shows that Buckethead is still able to create relaxing albums that can tug at your emotions. The minimalistic nature of this album really has the power to draw the listener in. The only issue with this piece is that it lacks many highlights other than Track 6, the longest piece on the record that features percussion. The rest of Pike 13, while still beautiful and performed with conviction, sort of lacks the emotional climaxes and crescendos found in classics like Colma and Electric Tears.
65Kanye West
Yeezus


This is a really tough album to explain, Kanye basically turns away from MBDTF and goes in the opposite direction with (mostly) good results. Kanye's production skills really shine here and his rapping is decent at best and occasionally pretty laughable at worst, definitely worth the listen if you can get past all the braggadocio.
64letlive.
The Blackest Beautiful


Really impressive performances and catchy songwriting coupled with some of the worst production I have ever heard. I hope this album sees a re-release in the near future, it has the potential to be a classic if it wasn't marred by the terrible mix.
63Kendrick Lamar
The New West


This new Kendrick Lamar tape has some weak parts, including a crap verse from Meek. The cover art is REALLY gay, but it has mostly quality tracks that explore different sonic territories not found on GKMC.
62Eminem
The Marshall Mathers LP 2


Is MMLP2 the classic that hardcore fans have been begging for? Not quite. However, we have been graced with a slew of incredibly solid tracks that not a lot of people were expecting from the once washed-up emcee. It's unclear whether he'll even be releasing more material in the coming years. If MMLP2 is Em throwing in the towel, it would be a great note to end on.
61The Black Dahlia Murder
Everblack


The Black Dahlia Murder does another pretty good imitation of their other albums with their 2013 release. While this is the same tried and true style of music that we've heard from the band many times before, the music itself is still of a very high quality despite the similarities. Again, if it ain't broke... don't fix it.
60Wale
The Gifted


Every Wale album has been made up of hit or miss songs, and the Gifted is no different. At least the majority of the songs are strong, and some weaker ones are tacked on which stop it from being the amazing album that Wale has the potential to release, and deserves to release.
59Blessthefall
Hollow Bodies


We've heard all this before, from this band itself and other ones like it. There is absolutely nothing new here, but Blessthefall have matured in the talent department and have delivered a very hard-hitting album that is not unique, but very enjoyable.
58After the Burial
Wolves Within


After the Burial create a much more intense album than In Dreams. It is faster paced and has more of that wankery we all love from Sumerian bands. However, a really shoddy production job stops the album from being truly amazing and nearly ruins it.
57Twista
Back to the Basics


Twista's new EP has some of his strongest flows in years, but bits of it are a little stupid, and the EP ends too quickly for it to make too much of an impression.
56The Color Morale
Know Hope


These guys always had the melodic edge over a lot of their labelmates on Rise Records. The clean vocals have always been top-notch and one of my favourite parts of this group. The band seems to be striving to push boundaries sometimes here and it really shows. Sadly there's a couple too many mediocre cuts to rate this much higher.
55Strawberry Girls
French Ghetto


This is a pretty out-of-left-field experimental/instrumental rock release that includes an ex member of Dance Gavin Dance. Some really interesting stuff going on here with solid guest features, but it just doesn't have the goods to keep my attention 100% of the time.
54Soilwork
The Living Infinite


A sprawling double album that is successful for the most part. The vocal performance is the highlight of the record, being very strong. The instrumentals are at their best when they operate a breakneck pace, but can sound stale sometimes during the more mid-tempo numbers.
53Jay-Z
Magna Carta... Holy Grail


Jay-Z's incredibly hyped up 2013 album more or less delivers what it promised, even though it is sort of carried by everything except the MC himself. This is kind of funny considering the amount of braggadocio in the lyrical content. Save for a handful of shoddy verses, Hov's lyrics and flow are solid at best and terrible at worst. However, the best parts of the package lie in the production, and the excellent guest features from Beyonce, Timberlake, Frank Ocean, and Nas.
52Hands Like Houses
Unimagine


In some ways, Hands Like Houses pick up from where they left off with Ground Dweller. At the same time, they show off some new ideas that keep this new instalment fresh. Some of the softer bits can be a little grating, and it's not as good as the debut as a whole, but it is still that catchy Hands Like Houses we all know and love.
51The Ocean
Pelagial


An impressive album that sounds like a mix of a heavier Mastodon and Isis. The musicianship is excellent, but the album as a whole can be a little boring sometimes.
50Defeater
Letters Home


Defeater's Letters Home is a great continuation of their series of concept albums. It all sounds like typical Defeater, and can be a little boring at times, but I love their sound, and that's all I really need.
49Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2


Part 2 of Timberlake's 20/20 experience is another great addition to his grandiose comeback to the music field. Catchy and epic cuts like "Amnesia" and "Cabaret" make the 2 of 2 worth coming back to for more. Unfortunately, a few duds and plodding, repetitive sections make this the lesser half of Justin's series. Ultimately, the fact that Timberlake can release this much quality material in such a short time is admirable, and I'm excited to hear what comes next.
48Bonobo
The North Borders


A nice continuation of Black Sands that is impressive, but can feel a little tried- and-true at times. It's well-structured and is a perfect record to relax to while working as it isn't to obtrusive.
47Life on Repeat
Blacklisted


Blacklisted is a decidedly heavier affair for Life on Repeat. The riffs are fast-paced and the vocals are quite strong. The choruses here will always have you bobbing your head. While the music has taken a different direction and still maintained it's catchy-factor, Blacklisted can still feel a little bit static, with not much variety from song to song.
46Rings of Saturn
Dingir


This new album is definitely a step-up in terms of songwriting. The music is still way too technical, over-the-top and fun as always. However, this stuff is almost TOO ridiculous for it's own good and can be a pain to listen to unless you're in the right mood and even like technical deathcore.
45Tyler The Creator
Wolf


Wolf is a major improvement from Goblin. This time around, Tyler doesn't blatantly use the conscience-gimmick as an excuse for a lack of any songwriting, but uses it tastefully to compliment the album. Everything from production to flow is similar to Goblin but performed way better.
44Scale the Summit
The Migration


I'm a fan of this band, and if you like the Collective, you'll like this album as well. It is very impressive in terms of technicality, and some of the melodies are very beautiful. I just find the album boring to listen to in its entirety, it can feel like I'm just being played AT by a bunch of talented musicians trying to show off their talent instead of being played TO, and sometimes its not all that catchy.
43Tonight Alive
The Other Side


The band takes a bit more of a serious route with the new release. It is less bombastic andisn't as good as their debut, but the band is still going strong and show that they have that knack for catchy hooks and choruses with an expectedly strong performance from Jenna.
42Tech N9ne
Therapy


A great extension to his 2013 album. The rock influence is executed perfectly and not in a garbage manner like Lil Wayne's Rebirth. Usually Tech EPs are a little weak, but Therapy is probably his strongest one!
41I Am King
Onehundred


This is some pretty typical stuff, we've heard it all before, but this is probably the catchiest and most underrated metalcore performance of the year. Would definitely recommend this to any fan of Periphery (Sotelo is even featured on it)
40Misery Signals
Absent Light


Misery Signals have still got it. Absent Light brings back some of what we loved in their debut and mixes in some of the Mirrors sound. I'm not huge on some of the production choices, but I'm glad to have another no-holds-barred metal onslaught from some of metalcore's finest.
39J. Cole
Born Sinner


J. Cole's Born Sinner is easily his best in my mind. With skilled production and lyrical prowess in songs like "Villuminati", "Rich Niggaz" and "Born Sinner", and an ear for pop hooks (see "Crooked Smile") there is definitely a lot to enjoy here. The sparing use of guest spots is nice too, seeing as lot of mainstream hip-hop releases seem to be flooded with them lately. The only issue is that nothing here really breaks the mold, and sometimes I feel like I'm just listening to some amalgamation of all the other big rappers in the game right now.
38Squid the Whale
Four More


Four More is a very catchy EP that explores a bluesier territories than their debut. Every song on here is pleasant, but it is very short and feels like it's missing something.
37Action Bronson
Blue Chips 2


Blue Chips 2 is a great second installment to the first collaboration with Party Supplies. The samples and upbeat instrumentals compliment Bronson's less serious style really well, making this mixtape a great time to listen to. It can be a bit boring at times, and Bronson mostly does more of the same, but awesome tracks like "Practice" and "Midget Cough" will always give you something to come back to.
36Conditions
Full of War


Conditions step it up a notch in the heavy-department from their debut. Better production and a stronger vocal performance bring us a very impressive Anberlin- influenced album. Some if runs together, but you'll find yourself toe tapping through the whole run time.
35The Weeknd
Kiss Land


Unfortunately, this is nowhere near as good as the original trilogy of mixtapes, but there are still some dreamy cuts to be found here that explore some new territories. Also, the title track is one of Abel's best songs.
34Logic
Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever


This Logic tape continues his trend of being consistent. Most of the songs are great and his flow is strong and lyrical as it always is. However, I find myself laughing at this tape from time to time because he says some pretty homo things occasionally.
33Arsonists Get All The Girls
Listen to the Color


AGATG goes back to their wacky roots, straying from the more serious sound of Motherland. The results are mixed, and the album isn't as good as Motherland. What we get here is a very fun instrumental metal band that isn't meant to be taken that seriously, but meant to be listened to by fans who want to hear a band genuinely having fun making an album, which definitely shows.
32Oh, Sleeper
The Titan


Oh, Sleeper sounds as heavy as ever here. The raw anger possibly surpasses even Children of Fire. An excellent feature from Casey Sabol (who has been missed greatly) and a nice softer cut make for an awesome EP that makes me excited for the full-length!
31Okay!Okay!
Dear California


Dear California is an extremely catchy post-hardcore EP that sports an incredibly soul influenced vocalist. The songs almost never let up the pace, and when they do, the softer parts are placed perfectly. The band is quite talented, and the production is quite raw but fits their style. The only issue I have is that the tracks can be a little repetitive sometimes with their verse-chorus format.
30Anthony Green
Young Legs


Green has been one of the most consistent names in the scene with his abundance of projects. Young Legs expands on the sound of Beautiful Things, and is incredibly pleasant to listen to. It seems to be a tribute to his children. Jazzy cuts like "When You Sang to Me" even bring John Mayer to mind. Green has always been filled to the brim with new tricks, so I don't think he'll be boring us anytime soon.
29CHON
Newborn Sun


An extremely colourful and catchy second release from the SoCal instrumental wizards. This is definitely a softer affair compared to the much heavier debut, but it still brings the heavy and the wank whilst still being pleasant to listen to. A couple interlude tracks and riffs feel a little empty andor half baked which hold this back from being truly amazing. Despite that, this is still definitely worth your time.
28Demigodz
KILLmatic


While we've heard of a lot of this kind of stuff before from these guys, Apathy- fronted hip-hop group Demigodz put out an album that doesn't really have a bad track, and all the MCs are on top of their game.
27Erra
Augment


This is a massive step forward from their debut. The instrumental performance is to be commended, it never lets up in its groove and complexity. The clean vocals are way less gay and over-processed than before, but they can still get on your nerves a little.
26Hopsin
Knock Madness


Knock Madness is incredibly cheesy, which is why people don't take it seriously. Hopsin sounds stronger than ever, effortlessly rapping through these songs. He is strongly influenced by old-school Eminem, which isn't a bad thing because we don't have old-school Eminem anymore. Knock Madness is a fun time if you take it for what it is.
25Childish Gambino
Because the Internet


Gambino essentially throws equal parts Yeezus, Drake, Kendrick, Chance, and his old material into a mixing pot, and [i]Because the Internet[/i] is the result. While it isn't really something unique (although it tries hard to be). Glover has managed to put out a collection of fine flows coupled with one of my favourite production jobs this year in hip-hop.
24Deafheaven
Sunbather


This must be one of the most emotional and bombastic albums I've heard this year. Sunbather is quite the beast of an album with multiple 10+ minute tracks. There is quite a lot of variety here with equal doses black metal, post-rock, and shoegaze. With blasts galore and a good ear for melody, I'd recommend Sunbather to any metal fan looking for something a little fresh.
23TesseracT
Altered State


TesseracT's sophomore album is definitely much more atmospheric than their debut. Altered State is a release that took some time to grow on me and I found myself appreciating it more and more each time I listened to it. It can get a bit samey at certain points but there really isn't a bad song on here.
22Counterparts
The Difference Between Hell and Home


Counterparts bring back a bit of their metalcore sound found on their debut this time around. The results are positive, and they craft a catchy and hard-hitting album that has a perfect blend of hardcore and metalcore, and have managed to find their own sound instead of sounding like everyone else.
21Danny Brown
Old


One of the strangest hip hop albums to break into the mainstream (other than Acid Rap). Brown's strong flow works well with the dreamy production backdrop. "Wonderbread" is one of the strangest hip hop tracks that I love and find hilarious at the same time.
20Polyenso
One Big Particular Loop


Formerly Oceana, Polyenso puts out an album that is a little Radiohead-influenced. The laid back, jazzy, subtle jams and crooning vocals will draw you in immediately. It provides enough substance to devour so it doesn't become too boring.
19Shade Empire
Omega Arcane


An incredibly epic symphonic death metal album that has a long runtime. While the symphonic parts compliment the album perfectly, and don't become overbearing. Some of these tracks could use some trimming as they can get a little monotonous.
18Chance the Rapper
Acid Rap


A very unique release, exploring the possibilities of psychedelic hip-hop. Chance's strange voice is compelling when accompanied by the laid back production. The features from Childish Gambino, Action Bronson, Vic Mensa, and Twista all keep the quality up to par. A lot of rappers have been trying to cop Chance's flow after this release, and it's not hard to see why.
17Arsis
Unwelcome


This new Arsis album is a welcome return to form after Starve For the Devil received mixed reception. It falls somewhere in between We Are the Nightmare and A Celebration of Guilt in terms of sound. It strikes a near-perfect balance between melody and technicality. While sounding a little tried-and-true, Arsis produces another great record for the fans
16August Burns Red
Rescue and Restore


This 2013 August Burns Red album sports improved production and the similar high energy performances that are always expected with this particular metalcore outfit. It employs just the right amount of experimentation that doesn't sound as forced as a few of the moments on Leveler. The only downside with this album is that the songs still occasionally blur together, which seems to be a recurring problem. Aside from that, this album is still worth hearing immediately.
15Stolas
Living Creatures


Stolas is a pretty unique and talented post-hardcore band signed to Blue Swan records. They debut excels on all instrumental fronts, but can be a little weak in the vocal department. Thankfully an abundance of guest spots distracts the listener from this fact. The songs are catchy as ever, and the heavy-soft dynamics are jarring in the best way possible.
14Baths
Obsidian


Baths is the pseudonym for Will Wiesenfield's electronic solo project. Rewinding to 2010, he presented us with his debut piece known as Cerulean. Wiesenfield's debut displayed itself as a carefree record that was as enthusiastic as it was ambitious. The glitchy and stutter-laden feel of Cerulean, combined with its scattered falsetto vocals and overall optimistic feel, was something unique-sounding to me, as someone who is relatively new to this field of sonic exploration. This year, with his sophomore release, Obsidian, his style has taken a drastic turn towards a darker side of electronic music, I'd almost describe it as similar to Burial's 2007 record Untrue, except noticeably more vocal driven. It's arguably even more vocal-driven than Cerulean, which mostly works out for the better than for the worse. This is one of my favourite records from 2013 so far.
13The Speed of Sound in Seawater
First Contact


This is a very pretty-sounding Folk/Indie/Emo/Whatever album. Each song has its own unique feel and none of it blurs together. It definitely seems influenced by This Town Needs Guns and American Football. Ear-grabbing guitar riffs that aren't overbearing and soothing vocals form a consistent album minus a couple mediocre cuts.
12Kayo Dot
Hubardo


This 100+ minute sprawling disc is one of the strangest listens I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. The atmosphere is key to drawing the listener in, and the songwriting has the perfect amount of variation to keep you interested. Hubardo is only held back by an incredibly weak opening track.
11The Dillinger Escape Plan
One Of Us Is The Killer


Sumerian did a great job with not compromising Dillinger's sound on their Sumerian debut. This is definitely something a lot of fans were worrying about. Dillinger sounds as aggressive, mathy, and demented as ever here. Occasionally it feels like we've heard this all before, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
10Tech N9ne
Something Else


Oh man, this album is straight fire. Tech is on the top of his game on nearly every song. All the songs seem like unique entities as well. There are some sweet guest spots from Kendrick Lamar, The Game, Snow Tha Product, Twisted Insane, and many others, and they all feel like they belong there too. With a couple questionable choices like including Wiz Khalifa and some strange skits. I can't really say anything else bad about this album.
9I The Mighty
Satori


After the incredibly well-made EP Karma Never Sleeps, I the Mighty clearly put much effort into their 2013 LP to make sure it delivered to our high expectations of them. Other than a couple duds like "Four Letter Words", this smart 13-track album is incredibly catchy and contains just the right amount of technicality. A definite contender for post-hardcore AOTY
8Coheed and Cambria
The Afterman: Descension


The second half of Coheed's Afterman series takes equal parts of influence from the poppier In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 and No World For Tomorrow, as well as bringing in some of its own sound. It includes great heavier cuts like "Sentry the Defiant" and "Gravity's", and insanely catchy songs like "Dark Side of Me" and "Iron Fist". Coheed has gotten their spark back with this new record.
7Dance Gavin Dance
Acceptance Speech


This is the first Dance Gavin Dance release with Tilian Pearson. He does a decent job, and doesn't outright ruin the album or make it worse. The riffs are still catchy, and Jon Mess gives one of his best performances. They show that they still have some tricks up their sleeve in the latter half. However, a slightly disappointing production job stops this from being a classic.
6Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels


Production-wise, this album basically suceeds in everything Yeezus was trying to accomplishes, and outshines it in nearly every department, including the lyrical side of it. With MCs Killer Mike and El-P providing a variety of top-notch lyrical content and stellar flow, Run The Jewels is one of my favourite 2013 hip-hop albums.
5TTNG
13.0.0.0.0


A beautiful record that expands on the bombastic yet relaxed feel of Animals and also successfully experiments with various electronics. The interlude-esque tracks on this release are also top-notch. Definitely an improvement from the already awesome debut record. 13.0.0.0.0 is a must-get this year.
4Protest the Hero
Volition


2013 marks the release of our heroes' fourth record, Volition. Lamb of God's Chris Adler sits in the drummer's seat for this album and fits in with the rest of the outfit near-flawlessly, and doesn't steal the show by showing off too much. Vocalist Rody Walker's harsh vocals make a welcome return this time around, albeit in small doses. The songwriting here is more dynamic and engaging than Protest the Hero has been in years, bringing elements and sounds from all the previous albums together to craft something truly special.
3Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience


This is easily Timberlake's best release so far. Sporting darker, more atmospheric cuts like "Tunnel Vision" and "Don't Hold the Wall", and tracks on the poppier side like "Suit and Tie" and "That Girl". This is probably one of the most epic "pop" albums I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. I'm definitely glad to have Timberlake back in the world of music.
2Amarionette [US]
Amarionette


Previously, on their 4-track EP, Dangerous Times and My Dangerous Ways, Amarionette showed us that they were a band capable of writing catchy post- hardcore tunes and that they had the potential to become something great, with a singer that did his best (albeit slightly overbearing) Claudio Sanchez impression throughout the release. On their 2013 self-titled album, you can tell Amarionette put a lot of work into this record, with the instrumentation being much more technical and calculated and still retaining their catchy factor. The vocalist finds his own voice, and works better as a unit with the band while still having his stand- out moments. Amarionette is a criminally underrated record that deserves to be heard and loved by more fans of Coheed & Cambria or Dance Gavin Dance.
1A Lot Like Birds
No Place


No Place is an amazing album, filled with songwriting that bends and weaves in peculiar ways, but still presents itself as a coherent body of work. It is instrumentally sound and the production is solid. The lyrics are also very poetic. No Place is a must listen for anyone who wants to hear something that is a little more unique.
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