2013 was made of metal. With so many great albums, narrowing it down proved extremely difficult. Some bands stayed the same, some reformed, some took wildly different and creative paths, while others surfaced after years under a rock to offer releases that will be coveted for years to come.
15. DARKTHRONE – THE UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE
From black metal to crust punk, music and art must evolve, cross paths, and sometimes, go backwards.
The Underground Resistance sees Darkthrone creating pure, unpolished heavy metal. While it is an about-face in comparison to some of their past work, there is something I love here.
The vocals sound like he is about to die. It’s quite nice, but soon I think he does die and is then howling from the grave with a clean voice. The styles are interesting and switch throughout. The King Diamond pitched screams on Leave No Cross Unturned make a long song seem all too short and sweet.
14. NECRONOMICON – RISE OF THE ELDER ONES
Exactly how many bands are called Necronomicon? The answer is several, but in the end, only one stands out and there can be only one Canadian Necronomicon.
These guys have made quality, cold-hearted music since 1988 and Resurrection shows the three-piece capturing a sound that is so blackened, so amazing, and so cold that it is possibly frozen.
13. DEICIDE – IN THE MINDS OF EVIL
In The Minds of Evil stays true and on target while not getting stuck in a rut. New guitarist Kevin Quirion brings a fresh sound, Glen‘s vocals are pure guttural growls over fluid riffs. Thou Be Gone is a personal favorite, with awesome timing thanks to kickass drumming. Deicide will always be an original pioneer regardless of time and lineup changes. Headbang or get out.
12. DEATH ANGEL – THE DREAM CALLS FOR BLOOD
This is probably one of Death Angel‘s most hostile releases to date. The title track translates remarkably well live. Even if you were slightly confused at their gig you will never forget how great it sounded. All agree– “The Dream Calls for Blood”
11. SIX FEET UNDER – UNBORN
Far superior to last years Undead, and in my opinion one of the best Six Feet Under albums released in a good while. Unborn is menacingly brilliant. It has signature riffing and changes that show diversity and groove. Zombie Blood Curse I really enjoy as it kind of makes you just want to take a bite off and gnaw on it as headbanging ensues.
10. EXHUMED – NECROCRACY
Death and desolation dominate the overtone here. The riffs are heavy and grinding with speaker decimating drum beats. Coins Upon The Eyes is potent and sinister, Dysmorphic is eager to swallow a person with its groove and solos that bring a smile to the face.
I believe this album is Exhumed‘s best yet. It is a beast that will shred the paint off your walls.
9. SKELETONWITCH – SERPENTS UNLEASHED
More Cruel Than Weak may be my favorite Skeletonwitch song ever. So awesome and unforgiving. Serpents Unleashed is like a massive sledge-hammer of thrash to a sweet black metal style. It is fast and brutal and holds nothing back.
8. IMMOLATION – KINGDOM OF CONSPIRACY
Immolation feels raw and intense, they definitely have their own sound and their concept album Kingdom of Conspiracy is no exception. The concept is conspiracies, the reality of them and the cause and effect. The title track has a doomy feel that creeps up on you. As the album plays on it’s as though anything that gets in the way will be wasted by the crushing sound.
7. A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH – LAY MY SOUL TO WASTE
This is doom metal at its finest. I can taste the pain. Shallow Grave is hot and dark like a vengeful guilty pleasure. There is something so incredibly attractive about songs like Devil Came With A Smile and DMSLT, I crave them.
6. HYPOCRISY – END OF DISCLOSURE
End of Disclosure is a painful, paranoid thing that just keeps getting better. Throughout the album Hypocrisy sounds as distinct as ever. They perfectly contrast the slow and the dark and remain rooted in metal.
5. JUNGLE ROT – TERROR REGIME
Dry vocals, fast paced shred, machine gun blasts, and spiraling riffs. No bullshit here. Get directly to the point. It is sick until the very end, and there isn’t anything left to say except for start over.
4- GORGUTS – COLORED SANDS
There’s something compelling about Gorguts. The direction is a riot. The riffs and changes are insane. It’s a technical maze but at the same time catchy with truly great composition. Colored Sands is so good it can sharpen your reaction time or leave you with a ‘thousand yard stare’ if you’re not quick enough.
3. TOXIC HOLOCAUST – CHEMISTRY OF CONSCIOUSNESS
I fell hard for this one. Chemistry Of Consciousness definitely speaks my language. This album has so much attitude it can raise a pit with the riffs alone. The vocals are executed nicely, and the drumming is phenomenal. It builds wicked self-discipline to attempt not thrashing out inappropriately to songs like Salvation Is Waiting and Wargasm.
2. GWAR – BATTLE MAXIMUS
Last year GWAR decided to not just cover “Carry On My Wayward Son” but to fix it. Then in 2013 scum dogs were offered Battle Maximus and all hail Postulus as this is easily one of GWAR‘s greatest. I like to wake up to Bloodbath early in the morning, there is something unusually inspiring and sentimental about it. My neighbor occasionally hollers along, so I think he must agree. The music on this album is tight from beginning to end and the lyrics are more thoughtful and putrid than ever. Flattus would approve.
1. CARCASS – SURGICAL STEEL
This is Carcass. This is everything I want and something I will always love.
Number One is really no surprise. Surgical Steel is a masterpiece. Songs like A Congealed Clot of Blood are incredible. The type of song that creeps up your spine, snarling and all consuming with no restraint.