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.
If you read my review of the new Orchid album last week you’ll know that A. I really liked it a lot and B. there is a heavy early Black Sabbath influence in their music. I even went as far as to say there exists a strong possibility that the best Black Sabbath record to be released this year may not be by Black Sabbath, but Orchid. It’s really that damn good. And really, at the end of the day, even if the album does have a definite Black Sabbath vibe, every track on the record is golden and good music is good music. So, if you dig some riff driven, fat and groovy heavy metal, do not miss this chance to give a listen to the In the Mouth of Madness stream courtesy of Cvlt Nation (also a really cool site you should pursue while digging on some Orchid) , which I am sure to try to cram down your throat at least a few more times before 2013 is up. Enjoy and share your thoughts on it. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
I may be a bit premature in saying this, but I think that the best Black Sabbath album to be released this year will not come from Black Sabbath, but from the Black Sabbath inspired band Orchid. If I didn’t know any better I would swear that their new album, The Mouths of Madness, was released in the 1970s in between the bevy of other iconic Black Sabbath albums and Ozzy was just trying out a new vocal style. From the riffs, the grooves, song structures, down even to the cover art that definitely has a Master of Reality crossed with Vol. 4 look to it, this album is pure Sabbath. And with such blatant stylistic similarities to the fathers of metal, you would imagine that a band could never reach the heights that Black Sabbath did during their peak. Well, if The Mouths of Madness was a legit Black Sabbath album, it would rank as one of my all time favorites up there with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and the landmark self-titled album. And coming from the huge Black Sabbath fan I am, that’s saying quite a lot.
For those of you not to familiar with Opeth’s earlier work here’s an opportunity to check out their first 3 albums which were released through Candlelight Records in 1995 (Orchid), 1996(Morningrise), and 1998(My Arms, Your Hearse). All three are excellent and required listens for any discerning Opeth fan. There is a nice rawness to this trio that was smoothed out when they upped their production value for the breakthrough record, Still Life. Going back and listening to these records again you can really hear how Mikael’s voice has dramatically improved over the years as well as the bands choice in tones, even though it sounds great on these records. If there is one thing that remains the same is the stellar quality of songwriting, each track on each album is a masterpiece, with Orchid taking top honors for my personal favorite of the 3. So without further ado, enjoy some of Opeth’s early years.