2013 was an odd year for me. While there were countless amounts of outstanding releases, I found myself extremely burned out with heavy metal overload. That’s not to say I even for a moment slowed down on my heavy metal listening in the slightest, but found myself with lots of difficulty getting into something new unless it was something extra special. Something beyond just a solid death metal/black metal/post metal/doom metal/etc metal album. It had to be absolutely extraordinary to pull me away from my current need of delving back into the thousands of albums already in my collection.
However, within my current disregard throughout the year for actively seeking out the new or checking out new albums from established artists I’m already a fan of I still did find a good amount of time to embrace the new. There were many great releases this year and I gave a listen a lot of them. On the contrary, many albums you would think would objectively be on my list you may not find here (honorable mention post coming in the very near future), as naturally, a top ten list is very subjective and the following albums are the records that really shone through despite my bout of new music burnout and got lot of playtime in between obsessive bouts of the classics. In fact, every record here I would consider a modern classic and recommend taking some time to check it out. So, without further ado, here’s my favorite releases of 2013.
#10 Soilwork – The Living Infinite Review
Soilwork is back, better and more inspired than ever before. With their speedy guitars, brutal drums and blasting choruses this double album is an uplifting and energizing and most of all a VERY FUN listening experience. Listen here.
Straightforward, heartfelt post-hardcore. The songs are very powerful, much thanks to the strong, captivating melodies and the vocalist with his charismatic attitude and emotional voice. Listening to this album gives me energy and strength and it’s perfect for a good, loud, headbanging sing-along. Listen here.
I know this is not the most accessible album. But once I took the time to understand it, it was very rewarding. I love the dark, murky atmosphere and the underlying, unsettling mood. The eeriness of the bass lines and the unconventional, complex drumming. I’m a big fan of their previous albums too, but this one gave me even more of a challenge and really hit the spot for me. Listen here.
I loved their previous album and was very happy to find that ‘Possession’ is just as good and many times even better. The songs are unexpected and unique in their nature, the songwriting is creative and organic and the singer is definitely an important piece in this; he performs a wide range of styles with confidence and power. Listen here.
#6 White Moth Black Butterfly – One Thousand Wings Review
Yay, I get to include my favourite singer on another best of the year-list, third year in a row now! Even though it’s far from metal, this album is very special to me in many ways. It’s dark, personal, honest and incredibly beautiful and not only because of the outstanding vocals. The lyrics are thought-provoking and ‘Ties Of Grace’ might be the best song ever created. Listen here.
#5 The Ocean – Pelagial Review
This is not a band that has interested me much before. But the effort of a concept album with meaningful, philosophical lyrics where every song is named after the different layers of the ocean, the much more proggy sound made me want to check it out. The massive, constantly changing and flowing sound grew on me, slowly. Very slowly. Until the whole album finally ended up in my top 5 of the year. Listen here.
There are many bands that were new to me this year on my list, Earthtone9 is one of them. It didn’t take long for me to start to love their progressive, almost sludgy feeling, the effortlessly executed melodic hooks and the huge attitude. They have an intelligent, bass-y sound and together with the confident, edgy singing they have given me many unforgettable tunes this year. Listen here.
#3 Altar Of Plagues – Teethed Glory And Injury Review
Thrilling. Challenging. Intense. And extremely rewarding. This is an album packed with depth, darkness and tortured pain executed in the most beautiful way. Primitive and intimate music with a forceful and disturbing atmosphere. ‘Teethed Glory and Injury’ is very addictive and has been my number one choice all year when it comes to really dark, heavy music. Listen here.
#2 TesseracT – Altered State Review
‘Altered State’ is my most played album this year and I love it to bits, both the instrumental version and the original one. This is TesseracT forging their own unique path; this is a confirmation of their remarkable talent when it comes to creating strong, layered musical structures combined with an intense, emotional atmosphere. These songs are magical. Listen here.
#1 Caligula’s Horse – The Tide, The Thief & River’s End Review
To place higher than TesseracT on my list, that’s quite the achievement! Caligula’s Horse managed to craft and put together a collection of songs that meets all my requirements for The Perfect Album. I have never heard songs that feel so honest and alive, amazing guitar solos with so much emotion and incredible vocals with equal amounts of mighty power and fragile beauty. I have never before owned an album that touched me so deeply. This was my big mindblowing surprise of the year. Listen here.
“It’s like the sound of a caveman running around a spaceship”. Fun, fun, fun. Listen here.
19. Moth – Endlessly In Motion Review
An early release of proggy death with some of the best lyrics I’ve seen this year. It hasn’t left my playlist since it came out in January. Listen here.
It might make hardcore DT-fans go “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”, but I think this is the band’s best effort since.. since ever. These songs make me melt like butter in sunshine. Listen here.
Intense, emotional, technical, groovy. With great lyrics and huge riffs, Hacride was one of the best new discoveries this year. Listen here.
This album provides a very special, epic journey through distant industrial constellations and symphonic galaxies. The Fear Factory-like singing is amazing and the female vocals are a wonderful addition to the symphonic orchestration and the relentless double bass drums. This could be a soundtrack to an epic movie. Listen here.
This is a late release, that made it on my list at the very last minute. It would most likely been placed higher if I could have given it the time it deserves. Just like the fantastic album cover, the album is filled with uplifting, unexpected twists and turns that will make you go “ah!” and “oh!”. No other music this year has cheered me up like ‘Bilo 3.0‘; impressive performances by very talented young musicians. Listen here.
‘Flesh Is Heir’ is as grim, cold and evil as it can be, but at the same time it’s melodic and relaxing. Dense atmosphere, disgusting and ugly…and so, so lovely. Listen here.
Although painfully short, it’s impossible to not like this album. Honest, fun and at times weird, but always passionate and absolutely captivating! Listen here.
12. Crimson Dawn – In Strange Aeons… Review
Crimson Dawn is a band that has managed to create a refreshing, modern epic doom sound in both their songwriting and the production. There is clearly lots of soul and thought put into every detail on the album and I hope more people will discover this über-tasty Italian delicacy. Listen here.
A very impressive debut album filled with bleak, beautiful, explosive music. It’s gigantic and earthy. They balance the extreme feelings perfectly and gracefully. Goosebumps! Listen here.
Simple enough, here are my picks for my favorite music videos of 2013. Enjoy and share your picks! Peace Love and Metal!!!
#5: Intronaut – Harmonomicon
Trippy and great camera shots. Simply beautiful cinematography. Great song as well.
#4: Revocation – Fracked
Beyond how kick ass the song is I really enjoyed the collage of anti-fracking images, video clips, and animations which really worked well for creating an anti-establishment metal video. Good on Revocation for bringing this travesty being done to our planet for oil to a wider audience.
#3: Maximum the Hormone – え・い・り・あ・ん (A.L.I.E.N.)
This video perfectly captures the sheer insanity of Maximum the Hormone. I love how they start with the standard ‘band in a basement’ cliché’ and then turn it on its head. I’m especially fond of the cool effects when the ‘funk’ part kicks in. If you’ve never experienced MtH before, be prepared for a faceful of WTF.
#2: Haken – Cockroach King
I f’n love The Muppets. So, when I caught wind of a video for a prog metal band heavily inspired by Jim Henson’s legacy I was quick to check it out. Little did I know just how perfect the Muppets by way of Bohemian Rhapsody would make for such a perfect music video that fits the song better than a pair of tailored Levis. Favorite scene, when the Muppet spits out the insects, made me lol so hard.
#1: Toxic Holocaust – Acid Fuzz
Perfection. This is possibly the most metal music video ever. The video for Acid Fuzz should be the blueprint on how to make metal videos. Colors, animation, metal, decapitation, sharks ripping people in two, drugs, hallucinations, explosions, boobs, skulls, demonic conjuring, and the list goes on and on. Just watch this masterpiece of a video.
If you haven’t checked out epic doom metal band Crimson Dawn yet you totally should as they are a damn fine and original band bringing fresh ideas to the doom metal table (linky link). And as well as being outstanding musicians and songwriters they are also some upstanding gentlemen with great taste in a wide variety of music. They were cool enough to share their picks for their favorite albums of 2013 with us and with a gander at their lists you are bound to find some records to look into. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!
I have barely read any books or played any games and I have watched maybe one full movie this year, due to spending almost all my time on starting up my own business, so I couldn’t create a top-entertainment list like my colleagues. However, I have spent pretty much all my free time listening to, experiencing and gathering knowledge about music in different ways. So here are my musical highlights of 2013, in no particular order:
2013 has been one hell of a great year for gamers. New consoles (which I probably won’t buy for quite some time, long live the PC master race!), the continued rise of independent games, and a ton of AAA publishers releasing quality titles that broke ground in what can and should be done in big budget games. Seriously, right now is such a great time to be a gamer. Of all the great games I played this year, the following ten stood above the rest not only in quality, but also in creativity, refinement of their respective genres, or just were flat-out fun. A couple of entries on this list were games released during 2012, but since I wasn’t able to get into them until 2013 I’m qualifying them for my list. So, enjoy reading and let me know what were some of your favorite games that you played this year.