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2013: A Discussion (Part 1)

some thoughts on a few albums I've heard this year, I got a lot of the stuff I was meh and rrrrlukewarm on out of the way on this one. Let me know what new albums you'd like to read rrabout rrin the next post, preferably stuff similar to what I've enjoyed on here, but I'd consider rranything.
1Amarionette [US]

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.
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.

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.

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
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
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
records from 2013 so far.
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 the new vocalist AND the change of pace 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.
6I The Mighty

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.
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.

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. is a must-get this year.
9August Burns Red
Rescue And Restore

This 2013 August Burns Red album sports improved production and the similar high
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.
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 mediocre 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.
11French Montana
Excuse My French

The first five songs on this are absolute garbage, and all of the memorable moments
that were of some quality on this LP were due to guest appearances, of which
there is also way too many. There are so many posse cuts on this album that it
might as well be called a compilation album, since that is what it really is. Cuts like
"Gifted" and "Fuck What Happens Tonight" are actually half-decent, but the rest of
the album is just boring or plain awful.
12Strawberry 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.

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.
14Lil Wayne
I Am Not A Human Being II

Lil Wayne, while I don't think he's out to be taken as seriously as other mainstream
hip hoppers in his league, has put out some truly insipid music as of late such as
the "rock" album Rebirth or that dreadful mixtape Hottest Nigga Under the Sun.
However, with decent albums like Carter 2 under his belt, I always seem to be going
back to check in on him every once in awhile, listening to a recent mixtape or LP
from his prolific discography. I Am Not A Human Being II shows Lil Wayne at his
sloppiest, which is saying a lot. After hearing a 5+ minute ballad about his dick, the
rest of the album is the typical trash "rap" probably done better on his thousand
mixtapes. A definite contender for worst mainstream hip-hop record this year.
15Justin 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.
16Funeral For a Friend

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.
17Action Bronson
SAAAB Stories

Action Bronson being Action Bronson. A major difference here is the production of
Harry Fraud, providing a more relaxed backdrop most of the time compared to the
music on Blue Chips or Dr. Lecter. Action is his usual carefree self, cracking sexual
jokes and making food references. Most of this EP is quality and worth hearing. A
few missteps, such as the cringe-worthy hook in "No Time" and a lame Wiz Khalifa
feature hold this back from being up there with the amazing hip-hop releases this
year. Definitely still worth any Bronson fan's time as this is incredibly solid.
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.
19Red Seas Fire

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.
20Machine 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".
21The Used
The Ocean Of The Sky

There are a lot of interesting ideas to be found on this new EP, like the really
strange noise and spoken word parts in the title track. The first two songs sound
like they'd fit right at home on an earlier Used record as well. Unfortunately, Bert's
voice just seems pretty shot with it sounding a little flat at times. They are
showing potential to create something really great with their next album if they can
develop these ideas a little more.
22The Black Dahlia Murder

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. If it ain't broke... don't fix it.
23For Today

A pretty harmless jesus-loving metalcore romp with a bunch of bass drops 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.
24Sleeping With Sirens

When listening to Feel, all you'll 'feel' is copious amounts of 'meh' and
disappointment due to expecting something equally good or better after their first
two decent albums. There are a couple bad songs on here but most of it is just
boring, which is one of the worst crimes a band like this can commit since it is clear
that they are trying to move into poppier territories.
Rich Gang: All Stars

On a positive note, there's a handful of quality verses/songs on here. Busta
Rhymes, Mystikal, and Ace Hood all do a decent job on the release compared to the
rest of the cast. Birdman himself isn't even that bad, even though he doesn't really
do much. With incredibly samey beats, and overwhelmingly bad features in
abundance from Lil Wayne, Future, French Montana, Gudda, and the laughable DJ
Khaled interludes. Rich Gang: All Stars really doesn't deserve a much higher rating
than what I'm giving it.
27The Quiet Chapter of the Deadly Walls
Paradigm of Consensus

Beyond the stupid artist name and album title, this is just some trolly guy messing
around with a cheap keyboard. This is the first 2013 album I've heard that I've
given a 1, if that means anything. Hooray for objectivity!!!!!
28Waka Flocka Flame
DuFlocka Rant Halftime Show

Any fun and catchy moments that this mixtape contains is marred constantly by
repetitive production and inconsistent guestspots, I want to rate it higher due to
the sheer enthusiasm and energy, but the quality of the music won't allow it.
29Falling In Reverse
Fashionably Late

"I've been in rap since I've been shittin in Pampers" would probably be enough to
this rating. But I'll go into more detail, most of the rap here is garbage, some of the
songs seem to just wildly fly around random genres on the fly, probably at Ronnie's
The cheesy ballad "Keep Holding On" (Which manages to include a breakdown),
slapped together
country song "Drifter" and "Bad Girls Club" (I can't even explain this one, hear it for
yourself) are probably three of the worst songs I've heard all year. A few shining
like the guilty fun I had listening to the opener "Champion", the pure hilarity of the
record, and some of the lead work (most notably "Born to Lead") gives FIR's
release a couple points, but not enough to recommend this to anyone.
30Within the Ruins

This is a pretty fun technical metalcore (deathcore?) romp. The guitar playing is
great and the drumming keeps the urgent exciting mood going most of the time. I'd
perhaps recommend Elite to fans of Veil of Maya. However, the vocals can get a
little monotone and the songs can get a bit samey if you listen to this all the way
31J. 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.
32Tech 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.
4/5 (might go higher)
33Run 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.
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.
35Puig Destroyer
Puig Destroyer

As hiliarious as the premise of this EP is, I can't really get into the actual music
enough to rate this much higher.

For starters, I really don?t know why I decided to review this album. Browsing the
internet, I saw that this collection of compositions was being critically panned all
over the place. After I acquired the album in a completely legal fashion without the
use of The Pirate Bay, I began to listen to this album and realized I should have
just trusted the reception I previously witnessed. After a pleasant and acceptable
intro, #willpower mainly deteriorates into a lame collection of hit-single attempts
and poor song composition that unfortunately overshadows any of the talent found
on the record.
37Rings of Saturn

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.
38The Color Morale
Know Hope

These guys always had the melodic edge over 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
39Kanye West

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.
40Etienne Sin
The Paradox Divide

This is ALMOST as laughable as his debut album except everything is marginally less
shitty. Perhaps his 9th album will be a 3.
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