|Top 50 Of 2013|
It's that time of year again! As we close out 2013, it's time to look back on rall the releases, and rrpoint out the best efforts. Here are my personal rfavorites.
|50||Bring Me The Horizon|
Exhibiting much progress and maturity, this British five piece discovers subtlety and
balance, even if they are held back by old habits.
|49||The Dillinger Escape Plan|
One Of Us Is The Killer
I've never been much of a fan of these guys, but this album shows an accessibility
within the chaos that I hadn't noticed before, and I actually enjoyed it.
The Devil Went Down To The Holy Land
Although too long at 14 tracks, these Israelis bring on the Pantera-like aggression
and grooves, with infectious results.
Although the Behemoth influence is unmistakable, these Poles deliver some solid
and enjoyable blackened death tunes. (RIP Mortifer)
|46||Sacred Mother Tongue|
Out of the Darkness
Bringing some solid thrash-influenced metalcore with all-around great
performances, this album is fun and listenable.
Though not as powerful or effective as "Travels" or "Empty Days And Sleepless
Nights", Defeater still proves to rise above he mob of mediocre hardcore with this
Lacking the atmosphere of "Outre" or the sting of "Swarth", Portal still manages to
create a dense and challenging album to great and disturbing results.
|43||Hands Like Houses|
Far more reflective and sugary than "Ground Dweller", this little gem is tasty and
fun to listen to, and shows great songwriting.
The Plague Of A Coming Age
Not as focused as "A Collapse Of Faith", but reflects the same effectively ethereal
and transcendental black metal principles that October Falls stands for.
|41|| ||Paysage d'Hiver|
Wintherr is still in the business of creating cold and ambient black metal, to chilling
Former Light This City members have had a good catalogue of energetic metallic-
tinged pop/punk tunes, and "Internal Eyes" is simply another great release in their
|39||The Black Heart Rebellion|
Their ambience is not unlike fellow Belgian countrymen Amenra, but these guys
break the rules of so many genres (folk, post-hardcore, dark ambience), while still
maintaining a mystical and engaging listen.
|38||A Day To Remember|
Exhibiting a maturity and energy that trump the attempts of "What Separates
Me From You" (an album that took itself far too seriously), ADTR provides a
worthwhile and accessible release after tons of hype and delays.
Far more reflective and brooding than most of their other releases, this post-metal
juggernaut creates a surprisingly secretive and taunting album.
|36||The Ongoing Concept|
This Solid State summer release reflects its season: energetic, fun, and crazy.
Creating a complex and dark sound, these New Zealanders create a dense and
atmospheric but crushing and monolithic balance between death metal fury and
ambient post-rock dynamics.
Blood Becomes Fire
Bleak, dissonant, gritty, and engaging sludge metal at its finest. Beastwars portrays
a land void of life with their muddy and bloody sound.
|33||Hiss From The Moat|
Blackened death metal at heart, while experimenting in -core aspects, this group
puts forward a dense and impenetrable, yet monolithic and mysterious,
Heart Of Oak
Full of infectious grooves and Opeth-esque duality, this album is surprisingly
engaging and refreshingly progressive.
The Ocean creates the atmosphere they aim for, liquid and dynamic, to great
results, but it does not top "Precambrian" (of course, how can you top that?).
"Controller"s more melodic successor is complex and punishing, and ultimately
shows what Misery Signals does best: make great metalcore.
Striking a great balance between blackened death metal and deathcore,
newcomers Dark Sermon surprised me with the subtlety and sinister atmosphere of
|28||Mors Principium Est|
...And Death Said Live
Finally able to strike a good balance between melodic death and experimental
tendencies, this is easily MPE best effort since "The Unborn".
Last Poem/First Light
Far more focused and honed than "To Clasp A Fallen Wish With Broken Fingers",
the classical/black metal/post-hardcore/shoegaze/post-rock (and other subgenres
that may apply) band has made a dynamic but furious record.
|26||The Fall Of Every Season|
This one-man doom project continues where "From Below" left off, combining
melancholy atmosphere with dense brutal riffing to refreshing results.
|25||The World Is A Beautiful Place...|
Whenever, If Ever
Nostalgic, warm, and summery, The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer
Afraid To Die shows their best emo/indie rock/post-rock colors here.
Combining fuzzy noise rock tendencies with a classic post-punk vibe, Beastmilk
paints a bleak yet accessible picture of the apocalypse.
|23||Bleed From Within|
Perhaps it's because this was the only CD I was able to listen to this summer when
my music player died, but these Scots have a special place in my heart. Sporting a
riff-oriented deathcore sound, BFW have an energy and technicality that the
majority of their peers lack. This album is no exception.
|22||Black Boned Angel|
A fitting farewell to this New Zealand drone duo, painting dark drones with
somehow the hope for something more.
Where "Heliogabalus" was dense, slow, churning, sludgy goodness, "Vilagvege"
takes a furious, fiery, and brutal approach, while still maintaining the sludgy core
that defines Rorcal, creating a violent and hopeless soundscape. I think reviewer
Ryan Kroner said it best in reviewing this beast: "[Vilagvege is] the soundtrack to a
world razed and set aflame."
This is my first experience with Carcass, and oh man, was it a sweet experience.
Their melodic approach combined with straight forward death metal attitude, with
just hints of death 'n roll, is effective, powerful, and chill-inducing.
Ambient, sludgy, and well-written are fitting descriptors of "Vesper". Contrasting
refreshing and crisp melodic ambience with crushing sludge instrumentals, all done
through the black metal filter, is a fine combination.
|18||Heaven Shall Burn|
More experimental than their past albums, these well-known vegan Germans
succeed in creating a striking balance between melody and death metal filtered
Wolvserpent is drone at heart, but this album encompasses so much more: post-
rock, symphonic elements, funeral doom, and black metal all have a part to play in
the immense and swirling sound that this group exhibits.
Great harsh vocal performance bolstered by flawless instrumentation makes this
album a standout in the current metalcore scene. The only downside is the
excessive presence of Jesse Cash in both (alright) clean vocals and technical leads.
|15||Altar Of Plagues|
Teethed Glory And Injury
I'm sorry I doubted you, you glorious Irish bastards.
As one whose only experience in progressive rock is Porcupine Tree, Haken put
forward an immensely transcendental and impressively technical release, robbing
and putting my heart into their melodies, harmonies, and complexity.
|13||The Generals (SWE)|
Blood For Blood
Death 'n roll done right, with much more instilled breathtaking energy and
cohesion, built upon from "Stand Up Straight." Great fun and incredibly infectious.
Combining the (relative) elegance and experimentation of "Morte(s) Nee(s)" and
the glorious filth of "Misanthrope(s)", Celeste creates an incredible concept album
and arguably the pinnacle of their discography.
|11||August Burns Red|
Rescue and Restore
A far more successful experimental venture than "Leveler", ABR successfully
combines practical experimentation, the melodic approach of "Constellations", and
hearkens back to their roots in "Thrill Seeker", to incredible results.
L Etre et La Nausee
I was not really a fan of this French group's release "Slow Transcending Agony",
but this one got me hooked. The density, the atmosphere, the vulnerability of this
release is striking, and somehow a funeral doom group manages to create an
engaging listen for a whole hour and twenty minutes.
Industrial death metal is usually a hit or miss, but combine it with symphonic
elements, rich instrumentation, several vocal spotlights, and a spacey atmosphere,
and you got Mechina. Where I believe it wasn't as complete or as cohesive on
"Conqueror", the massive melting pot of "Empyrean" all comes together in a rich
and powerful performance, exacting the ambience it sets out to accomplish. Space
They succeeded in "The Tunnels" to whet the appetites of their anxious listeners,
and these mysterious Swedes' full length serves to satisfy. Taking a more black
metal approach while still maintaining the dense sludge and dark ambience
tendencies, "The Purging" is satisfyingly disturbing and powerfully engaging.
Striking a more noticeable dichotomy between hardcore fury and atmospheric
meanderings, these Belgians have immersed themselves in the darkness, tearing
apart eardrums one moment then taunting listeners with the calm before the storm.
|6||Steak Number Eight|
Successfully combining artistic post-metal with accessible hard rock with elements
of groove metal and post-rock, "The Hutch" breaks the mold that many of their
peers steer clear of. I hadn't heard of these guys until recently, and this release is
an incredible find.
|5||My Heart To Fear|
I've kept my eye on this group for a while, and it gives me great joy to see their
continual progress as a group, evident on "Algorithm". Although it is metalcore,
their technicality is amazing, the passion is immense, and the songwriting skill is
great. The chemistry of the members is fresh and exciting, and the result is greater
than the sum of its parts
|4||There Will Be Fireworks|
The Dark, Dark Bright
Applying a crisp indie rock, even post-hardcore, vibe to dynamic post-rock, these
Scots created a honed effort. Gone is the rough production of their 2009 release,
and all instruments, vocal and otherwise, work cohesively to create amazing
climaxes and their greatest buildups. The Scottish accent doesn't hurt, either.
Mysterious, dense, furious. These American black metal newcomers create
atmosphere while crushing skulls and burning stereotypes. Verging on post-metal
oftentimes, this release reflects interest in the esoteric while being firmly rooted in
the genre that spawned it. A great first release.
Emphasizing atmosphere over flashiness, this melodic death metal group has
released the album of their careers. The use of melody contrasted with brutality,
primacy with ethereality, and beauty with harshness sews a tapestry of
transcendence, one that is powerful as well as delicate.
Perhaps I'm just jumping on the bandwagon, but Californian black metal duo
Deafheaven can't be ignored this year. The priority of their sophomore effort is
balance, which is achieved spectacularly. Each melody, each blastbeat, each
atmosphere, has purpose, and in that purpose is a journey of discovery and
abandonment, love and hate. This release is immensely beautiful but also sharp
and edged with blackened sound. The result is shouted and whispered, and
impossible to ignore.