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01.07.14 201301.03.13 2012
12.18.11 2011

2013

Favorites from 2013. It definitely was a great year for music.
25Scale The Summit
The Migration


Scale the Summit never fail to impress. The Migration is an excellent release that shows Scale the Summit utilize what they do best-- make beautiful, progressive metal music, and incorporates a lot of the atmosphere and tone from "Red Forest" into the album, which works quite well. Favorite song: Atlas Novus
24Lorde
Pure Heroine


The album that has everyone talking. The teenage pop sensation is adorable in terms of music and looks, and the album is incredibly infectious. Favorite song: (of course) Royals
23Laura Stevenson
Wheel


As I've warmed to female vocals over the past year or two, I've started to really enjoy stuff like this. Wheel is a beautiful folk release, and the songs are really well crafted. Laura really pours her emotions into the songs, and as a result the album is significantly beautiful. Favorite song: Journey to the Center of the Earth
22Locktender
Kafka


This album hasn't gotten a lot of reception, but I feel it is one of the better releases this year. Strong post-metal atmospheres that are dark and brooding whilst interspersed with beautiful moments. Overall, a great release. Favorite song: Aphorism #17
21The Circle Ends Here
The Division Ahead


The Circle Ends Here are relatively unknown, and it's a shame. They sound like Amia Venera Landscape in a way, and their newest album is a fantastic release in that vein. The songs are written very well and the album feels both dramatic and intense. A great release. Favorite song: Monument
20Vali
Skogslandskap


Vali is an instrumental master. Whilst listening to Skogslandskap, I felt as if I was being immersed in a lush, yet deep, dark, and mysterious forest. The neo-folk atmosphere is fantastic, and Vali's guitar skill is quite impressive. Certainly one to check out. Favorite song: Nordavindens Klagesang
19Cloudkicker
Subsume


Subsume takes everything released by Cloudkicker since Beacons and melds it all into one, surprisingly cohesive and powerful album. The merging of the different styles from Let Yourself Be Huge, Fade, and Beacons works to create an intense and dynamic work. Easily my favorite Cloudkicker release since Beacons. Favorite song: A Weather Front Was Stalled Out in the Pacific -- Like a Lonely Person, Lost in Thought, Oblivious of Time
18Coheed and Cambria
The Afterman: Descension


A satisfying part two to Coheed's Afterman story. The songs, once again, are in a similar vein to GAI, and the pop structures and catchy melodies help the album stay in your head days after you've last heard them. Awesome album. Favorite song: Away We Go
17Steven Wilson
The Raven That Refused to Sing


Steven Wilson really needs to get Porcupine Tree back into full gear, but until then, his solo work will have to do. Thankfully TRTRTS is Wilson's best solo work to date. The progressive element shines here, and Wilson's penchant for melody and dynamics is heightened on songs like "Drive Home" and "The Watchmaker." Wilson delivers an astonishing and heart-wrenching performance on the album's title track as well. Overall, a great, great release. Favorite song: The Raven That Refused to Sing
16Volcano Choir
Repave


Justin Vernon proves to us all that Bon Iver isn't the only outlet he can succeed in. Volcano Choir's newest release is a lush album with similar flairs to Bon Iver, Bon Iver, but with all new twists. Overall, the album is a definite success, and hopefully Vernon continues to showcase his creativity in various outlets, as he has proven here he can craft excellent work without the looming Bon Iver title. Favorite song: Alaskans
15Touche Amore
Is Survived By


Touche Amore have always been a band I've enjoyed, and it wasn't until this album that they really began to hit me. Is Survived By is entirely an emotional affair that utilizes lush guitar playing with passionate, screamed vocals. A fantastic post- hardcore release and Touche Amore's best overall. Favorite song: To Write Content
14Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City


A fantastic alternative rock/indie-pop album that showcases Vampire Weekend at their strongest, creating music that is upbeat and quirky. A really sweet album. Favorite song: Worship You
13The Reign Of Kindo
Play With Fire


Another excellent release from the finest progressive pop band out there. The jazz styling of their work helps the band create incredibly catchy, smooth, and unique music. Definitely the band's best work yet. Favorite song: Sing When No One's Around
12Gorguts
Colored Sands


Colored Sands is heavy, hard-hitting, and ballsy. Gorguts craft an atmosphere of plague and darkness, which is both fantastic and also somewhat unsettling. Despite this, the album flows along tirelessly with a torrential downpour of riffs and growls, making for a fantastic listen. Favorite song: Colored Sands
11Biffy Clyro
Opposites


Biffy's newest double album is an album that shows Biffy at their strongest, easily. The songs range from upbeat, fun, quirky, depressing, intense, tragic, and beautiful. Biffy show so many sides of themselves on this release and it helps the album stay balanced and cohesive despite its length. As a whole, Opposites is a fantastic release, and Biffy's strongest yet. Favorite song: Accident Without Emergency
10The Ocean
Pelagial


The Ocean's Precambrian was a fantastic album. While listening to it, it was as if the listener themselves were being submerged into the murky depths, with no hope of escape. Their following albums lost this sound, and as a result were a bit of a disappointment when the band had so much going for them before. Pelagial brings the band back to a state of excellence-- the music focuses on the atmospheres and soundscapes created by the various instrumentation and the incorporation of vocals at the perfect moments. The album is, once again, a journey into the depths of the ocean, and this time the album provides hope for rising again. Overall a melodic, beautiful journey. Favorite song: Bathyalpelagic II: The Wish in Dreams
9Typhoon
White Lighter


I'd never listened to Typhoon before this, but this album was gold. The songs are quirky and interesting, and some of the melodies are just fantastic. The vocalist has an excellent voice that compliments the music well and overall the album is just well-crafted. Favorite song: Artificial Light
8Foxing
The Albatross


Another release that caught me off guard, Foxing's The Albatross is a beautifully crafted album that is both a testament to the amount of feelings you can create through simple guitar chords and the ability of a band to produce something that others can relate to. Favorite song: Rory
7There Will Be Fireworks
The Dark, Dark Bright


Well, this album came out of nowhere. Combining post-rocky goodness with tinges of indie, post-hardcore and a soundscape similar to that of American Football, The Dark, Dark Bright is an incredibly intense release that focuses on heavily emotive lyrics alongside gorgeous music. The album is simply beautiful. The vocalist gives an impassioned performance, and overall the album shines bright. Favorite song: Rivers
6Alter Bridge
Fortress


In a year where all of my old, favorite bands from my younger years produced either disappointing or abysmal albums (Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, Dream Theater, etc.) Alter Bridge decided that they would release easily their best album yet. The album is melodic, heavy, and progressive in a sense. With two of their longest songs to date on the album, Fortress shows Alter Bridge on top of their game, creating songs that play to their strengths. This is no Creed clone, boys. Fortress is a game changer in the world of hard rock, and stands as one of the year's best. Favorite song: Calm the Fire
5Deafheaven
Sunbather


SUN BAT HER. The album that has been praised on so many levels and also unashamedly bashed to the ends of the earth. Black metal purists don't like how it incorporates black metal into the overall post-rock/shoegaze style, and post- rock/shoegaze fans aren't as into the black metal. But the people that enjoy the blending, like me, easily fall in love with the soundscape presented here. Through moving melodies, powerful screams, and sampling that sounds like it belongs on a Godspeed record, Sunbather creates an atmosphere of hope and brightness despite its association with black metal. Deafheaven's previous album was excellent as well, but Sunbather is a step up, and hopefully a step forward to where Deafheaven will continue to shine. Favorite song: Dream House
4August Burns Red
Rescue and Restore


I've been a fan of ABR for a really long time, and Constellations was always one of my favorite metalcore releases. I knew the potential these guys had-- they stood out in the metalcore crowd, and they incorporated various experimentation into the genre that allowed them to craft heavy, yet melodic and powerful songs. Leveler was a slight step back for them, and I feared that with an album being released so soon after Leveler and Sleddin' Hill (which actually ruled, but 'twas a Christmas album) that their sound would stagnate. Boy, did they surprise me. Rescue and Restore is easily their best release. The emotional lyrics, the heartfelt vocal performance, the experimentation-- everything is fine tuned and carried out in a way that speaks volumes. With Rescue and Restore, ABR have sealed themselves a spot very near the top of the metalcore genre. Favorite song: Spirit Breaker
3The National
Trouble Will Find Me


I got into The National early in 2013-- the year that I fell in love with the band. I spent more time listening to albums by The National then I did any other band. I could connect with The National on so many emotional levels, and being a baritone vocalist myself, Berninger's voice resonated with me. They eventually worked their way to being one of my favorite bands of all-time, and Trouble Will Find Me is another excellent release that shows why. They blend emotional resonance with laid back guitar work, fantastic drumming, and an overall unique sound. While they may not sound exactly like the band from Alligator, The National's sound has evolved in a way that allowed them to flourish and become one of the best indie rock bands out there. Favorite song: Pink Rabbits
2Protest The Hero
Volition


The fan-funded Volition was incredibly well-received by critics and fans alike, and it is quite easy to understand why. The songs are melodic, catchy, and full of amazing guitar lines, packed with Rody's intense and powerful vocals, with a backbone provided by fantastic drumming. The album is like a blending of the high points from Fortress and Scurrilous and overall the incorporation of different elements that make the songs feel individual and unique is certainly a plus. A fantastic album. Favorite song: Clarity
1Haken
The Mountain


Haken have always been one of my favorite progressive bands since I first discovered them a few years ago. I really liked Aquarius, and Visions was absolutely outstanding. However, from the second I heard the clips from "The Mountain", I knew this would easily become my favorite Haken release. The songs are melodic, beautiful, and the vocals float atop the music with majesty, bringing everything together in a wonderfully cohesive way. Every song sounds like a journey-- a metaphorical, perhaps intrinsic journey; each song on the album is a step upon the path, detailing various phases in life and the emotions felt whilst living. This was the only album that has ever inspired me to review an album, too, so there's that. Favorite song: Because It's There
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