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The Best Of 2013 In Metal

Considering that most of what I listen to is metal this is basically my year end rlist. And fuck! what a year it's been, especially for come back albums and rdeath metal. Here's for 2014 being just as good m/!!!
20Ghost B.C.

I kick off my list with one of 2013's most anticipated releases, Infestissumam, while I'm not sure if it was quite worth all of the hype surrounding it, is a great fun listen.You can't beat amazing anthemic songs like Year Zero, Monstrance Clock, and Zombie Queen. All of these songs were designed for the live environment or a satanic sacrifice depending on how you look at it. Rating: 4
19Hanging Garden
At Every Door

This was the first amazing album I heard this year way back in January and boy did it kick the year off right with its unique brand of catchy doom metal. This album has it all, epic clean sung chorus's, slow burning riffs that build atmosphere, and inhuman doomy guttural vocals. Just listen to the track opener Ten Thousand Cranes to find out what this album has to offer. Rating: 4.1
18Amon Amarth
Deceiver of the Gods

I'm not going to lie, on Deceiver of the Gods, Amon Amarth initially disappointed me a little bit. Nothing stood out to me, and everything seemed already done on a previous Amon Amarth album. After multiple listens I have warmed up to deceiver and even found some of the songs to be quite unique to their discography (check out Hel and Warriors of the North). And I do admit all of the songs are enjoyable and the album does indeed contain no duds. This honestly just proves how good these Vikings are, that their weakest album still manages to find its way on my year end list. Rating: 4.1
Pinnacle of Bedlam

I'm not sure if you could call this album a comeback for these New York Tech Death Legends, but considering that this is Suffocation's first album in 4 years as well as in most peoples eyes their best full length since the mighty Pierce From Within I am going to label it as such. This album rips and destroys everything in its path in its 40 minute run time and all I have to say is..Holy Fuck..The Solos!! Terrence Hobbs outdoes himself on Bedlam with technical yet still memorable solos on the title track , Purgatorial Punishment, and Sullen Days. They also still know how to write that famous Suffocation breakdown, just check Inversion and Rapture of Revocation. Rating: 4.1

Some Depressing doom was really what I was missing this year, thank God I found these guys back in November (before I was getting all depressed without the proper soundtrack). Windhand's Soma is bleak, atmospheric, and most of all...Slow and Heavy. 10+ minute songs slowly move across the landscape while vocalists Dorthia Cottrell wails overtop like some tortured banshee. I have to admit though my personal highlight is the all acoustic Evergreen which is a nice switch from the usual drone and hit me right in the feels more than the other tracks. Also be sure to check out the surprisingly catchy Woodbine. Rating: 4.2
15Thy Art is Murder

Every year I tend to fall in love with one album based mainly on the breakdowns contained within said album. For 2013 I was lucky enough to have Hate in my life. With monstrous breakdowns like the ones you find in The Purest Strain of Hate and closer Doomed From Birth you can't deny the out right destruction this album can cause. Also one of the tricks up these Aussies sleeves is their amazing drummer who can turn even a relatively mundane breakdown into the highlight of the song, just check out Reign Of Darkness. Also the overall death metalis instrumentation on this album is top notch as well. Rating 4.2
Blood Drive

Here we have sludge/stoner rock boys ASG representing my home state North Carolina with a fine addition to my list, Blood Drive. Blood Drive is pushed forward by great guitar playing that can switch from sludge tinged riffs to more laid back atmospheric playing at the drop of a hat, an insanely solid rhythm section, but most of all singer Jason Shi who possesses a unique clean sounding croon which is often not found with most of their sludge brethren. This is what gives ASG that added dimension, just look at how Shi is utilized on the amazing Blues For Bama. He can still unleash the beast if necessary and lets out some crazy screams on Castlestorm. Seriously these guys should be way more popular than they are with how catchy these songs are. Rating: 4.2

This is the first of two EPs to have the privilege to make it on this insanely elite list. And the reason that an EP with no more than 18 minutes of music on it beat out most other albums this year is simple, vision. In just 18 minutes Fallujah map out a whole new vision for death metal, one where beautiful atmosphere is just as important as crushing technicality, guttural vocals, and a wall of sound. This is best shown on the amazingly brutal but also beautiful(brutiful?) closer, Venom Upon the Blade. Also middle track Silent perfectly shows off the ambient influence that made this all possible. Definitely look out for a jaw dropping full length from these guys soon. Rating: 4.2
Abandon All Life

Holy shit!! well now here's a fucked up little album if I've ever heard one. In just about 18 minutes Nails demolishes everything in their path with their brutal and noisy as fuck blend of hardcore, death metal, and Grind. Seriously, you don't want to run into this album in a dark alley. It'll mug you, rape you, and the with the mighty thunder of Suum Ciquie end it all. Also the flow of the album is flawless, with fast paced tracks whisking by at around a minute each building you to the bruiser that are Gods Cold Hands, Wide Open Wound, and the aforementioned closer. Rating: 4.2
Blood Becomes Fire

How can an album be bone crushingly heavy yet also insanely catchy at the same time? New Zealand's Beastwars answers this question perfectly on their sophomore album. They do so by acquiring one of the all round bass tones I've ever heard and by just crafting just our right memorable songs that would feel at home on any rock album. Combining the two produces the epic Blood Becomes Fire complete with insane riffs, gruff vocals, and pounding drums. Holy Shit this album has it all. Rating: 4.3
10Rotting Christ
Kata Ton Demona Eaftou

Rotting Christ continue their satanic reign over my heart on their 11th album Kata..something that I can't pronounce. After listening to it, it's not hard to see why. Kata has all of the Greek influence felt on Aealo but just streamlined with more black and death influence(admittedly it's not as good as that album imo...but that's a hard one to top). This keeps Rotting Christs melodic black metal sound fresh for another whole album cycle. For any bands nearing their tenth album just look at Rotting Christ's career to properly demonstrate how to keep your sound always progressing without treading to far from what made you great. Just check out the opener In Yumen and close 666 to see some of the fine dynamics on display here. Rating: 4.3
9Black Crown Initiate
Song of the Crippled Bull

This is the second of the two EP's on my list and honestly it feels more like a full album than an EP and definitely contians more of a musical a conceptual punch than most full albums do now a days. This EP being from amazing up and comers Black Crown Initiate, their sound I can only describe as being a futuristic version of Opeth. And if you think that sounds awesome..holy fuck you are right! In just a 20 minute run time Song of the Crippled Bull brushes over the concept of a God that begins to taste mortality and then..death. This is beautifully executed in its 4 tracks which should really only be considered one movement, that's how well it flows together. Seriously give these up and comers a much deserved listen. Rating: 4.3
Serpents Unleashed

Finally on their fifth album Skeletonwitch do it. They make the brutal, epic, shredtastic album I knew they could. And holy shit what an album Serpents Unleashed is. At a short run time of 32 minutes I couldn't help but get a flash back the classic Reign in Blood, and this benefits Skeletonwitch greatly who bow out at the perfect time leaving you going after that replay button. This album contains the epic, Burned From Bone, the dark, Unwept, and even the surprisingly catchy, Unendning, Everliving. But most of contains fucking amazing guitar solos, just look at Beneath Dead Leaves or From a Cloudless Sky. I also have to tip my hat to Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou for making this the best produced album of the year. I mean holy shit..a death/thrash/black album with audible bass..who knew? Rating: 4.4

Just like Skeletonwitch delivered the goods literally one pick below, so do Revocation, by finally making an album that breaks into the 4.5 rating. And as always these bostonians do it in style entirely unique and unseen any where else. This style includes a mishmash of every genre you could imagine(for example a banjo makes it in here..a fucking banjo!..Invidious), guitar solos out the ass, and all around memorable song writing unique to modern thrash game. Really if we were naming out modern bands that would be considered classic a couple of decades from now, I'd definitely throw Revocation in that mix. This album also contains some of the best musical moments of 2013: the closing instrumental of Archfiend, the closing destruction of Invidious, and the jammin Spastic. Rating: 4.5
Earth Rocker

This is probably the only release on this list which you can't really consider metal. But what Earth Rocker doesn't have in style it makes up for in attitude, a whole lotta attitude. Clutch bring out more of the hard rock, even some what metal side, of their sound this time around and go a mile a minute with song after incredible song of catchy somewhat abrasive blues rock. Here Neil Fallon truly shines through as the genius he his. Just check the lyrics on The Wolfman Kindly Requests, crucial velocity, Gone Cold, Cyborg Betty, or DC Sound Attack. Holy shit there are alot of hits on this album. In fact every song is memorable, whether it be because of instrumentation or lyrical genius or just down right fun every track sticks with you long after you've listened to Earth Rocker. So I guess I've got one Question...Can ya dig it? Rating: 4.6
5Omnium Gatherum

Omnium Gatherum produce the best guitar album of the year with Beyond, beating out the I thought sure fire win Revocation. This is because on Beyond the guitar is not just the guitar,it sounds like a whole fucking symphony. What really makes this album amazing is that I had no idea they had this album in them. After hearing their last album New World Shadows there would have been no way I'd believe that they could make my top 5. But holy shit they did it, and not only with death metal brutality but also melodic death metal beauty as well. Just look at some these songs like opener instrumental Luoto, amazingly cleanly sung Who Could Say, and extra-beautiful closer White Palace. You can't listen to these songs with out envisioning a beautiful epic landscape complete with epic sunset. Also this album brings the riffs to so don't worry, just check out Formidable, The Sonic Sign, or Living in Me. Rating: 4.6
4In Vain

I actually almost missed out on this album and only picked it up a couple weeks ago on a whim. Boy am I glad I did. This right here is the most epic of epic albums of 2013. With amazing riffs, vocal patterns/dynamics, and guitar solos that take you on epic journeys it's not hard to see why. This is achieved by offering the perfect balance between death and black metal ideals and multiple other genres. For instance on the jaw dropping closer, Floating on the Murmuring Tide a saxophone is heavily used which basically makes the song. Also opener Against the Grain and the epic 8 minute Culmination of the Aenigma utilize string orchestral elements to a great effect. Honestly just the fact that I've only had this album for a few short weeks and it's already shot up to number 4 on this list is a testament to how good it is. Rating: 4.6
Surgical Steel

Now when I said that this was the year of the come back album this was the album I was referring too. And Honesty what other album could it have been. Carcass saw such meteoric rise with Surgical Steel the music had to be as good as the hype suggests, and of course it not only is, but its better! It boggles the mind how Carcass were able to pull this off, I mean just imagine waiting 17 years and then releasing an album that not only sounds as good as your two classic albums but sounds as if it was released right in between them (I am talking about Necroticism and Heartwork of course). From when the Master Butcher's Apron starts all the way to the closing seconds of the Mount of Execution the album is a true masterwork. I also want to take a brief second to mention just how amazing closer Mount of Execution is. It has it all from head bangable riffs to beautiful acoustic interludes. Really this could be said about Surgical Steel as a whole which has everything and then some. Rating: 4.7

This album almost came in the 3rd spot on this list while Carcass would take number 2, then I looked at the total number of plays and this album blew Carcass out of the water which helped these mighty Norwegian partier's take #2. Then I realized that Meir was my most listened to album of the whole year. This was because Kvelertak not only brought back the party that was found on their self titled debut but also brought back a little extra in the form of progressive elements. This helped to give the album a relatively high replay value. While I admit it it's not as good s their debut(which is a 5) it's still the best I could hope for for the Norwegians. They stay true to their original sound while at the same time trading knew ground. Just listen to two closer tracks Tordenbrak and Kvelertak and tell me you don't see these ideas put to fruition. And still this album is still my party/ drinking album of the year...everyone needs one of those. Rating: 4.7
Colored Sands

Here we are....The album of the year for 2013. Be still my beating heart! GORGUTS!! What more can I say about this legendary band that hasn't already been said. Other than in their 2013 album, Colored Sands, they have made a bleak crushing master piece worthy of all the praise it has been getting. There is so much I want to say about this album, it is probably the heaviest album I've heard this year, contains the best dynamics on an album I've heard this year, has the most amazing and intellectual concept behind it on any album I've heard this year, contains the best drum performance of the year(thanks John Longstreth), and on top of it all it pushes envelope of death metal to where it has never gone before. And once gain, on top of that this is their first album in over a decade... How good this is just defies logic, Luc Lemay must be some kind of God. Basically everything I said below about Carcass applies here except raised to the power of two. Now to mention some songs, the title track is my song of the year and features on of the best most crushing grooves I've ever heard...ever! The Battle of Chamdo is Lemay's foray into composing symphony music and to say he nails it with this epic track is an understatement. Finally Absconders is the other masterful highlight being the most progressive song on display here. Every song is perfect though and what they make up can only be described by one word: Masterpiece. Rating: 5
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