Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Top 15 Albums of 2013

I'm a bit later on this article than I wanted to be, but January has been a lot more hectic for me than I had anticipated. 2013 was a great year for new music, but a bit of a rough year for disbandments. 2013 saw the ending of numerous bands including Underoath, Bleeding Through, God Forbid, Nachtmystium, Inhale-Exhale, Static-X, Gaza, and a personal favorite of mine The Chariot. Rough list for sure. I am excited to see where former Chariot front man Josh Scogin goes with his new hard rock band '68. I'm sure they'll be some great music there.

But to bring this back to the point, lets celebrate the great music we got this year. If you missed my Top 5 EPs list, feel free to check it out now or after.

15. Hate - Solarflesh

In a similar vein to The Schoenberg Automaton, Hate got hardly any attention last year with their release Solarflesh. It's really sad because these guys are one of the best in blackened death metal, and this album was really strong. at least as strong as Erebos was. If you missed this please go listen to it.

14. The Black Dahlia Murder - Everblack

The Black Dahlia Murder are more than likely the most accessible death metal band out there. Not to discredit their music in the least, it's just that there is something incredibly appealing about them and they make the transition into darker music much easier. Everblack doesn't break any new boundaries in their sound, but there's not a need for them to do so. They've got a clear and established foothold and Everblack only makes that stronger. This album also brought some new favorite songs to the table and is very enjoyable all the way through.

13. Dark Sermon - In Tongues

I had been waiting for this album since Dark Sermon was known as In Reference To A Sinking Ship. Dark Sermon's debut is a phenomenal first step for this young band and with them being signed to eOne last year their future is incredibly bright. Their sound lies somewhere between Black Dahlia Murder, Behemoth, and All Shall Perish. If they continue to grow their sound their future releases will likely be favorites of mine as well.

12. Moth - Endlessly In Motion

Endlessly In Motion is a fantastic listen through and through. Moth's been compared to Gojira by myself and others, and for good reason. They work incredibly well with creating tremendous riffs and use ambiance to it's fullest effect in combination with Ben McKibben's haunted vocals. The band is working on new music for this year which is definitely exciting news.

11. Ovid's Withering - Scryers Of The Ibis

Ovid's Withering came out of nowhere for me. I wasn't sure what to expect when I had heard the term Blackened Deathcore, but Ovid's Withering makes the amalgamation of Black Metal and Deathcore work to great effect. Plus it being over 70 minutes long and entertaining the whole way through says a lot about their writing ability.

10. Disfiguring The Goddess - Deprive/Black Earth Child

Disfiguring The Goddess surprised everyone with a dual album this year, so we got twice the msuic we were expecting, and all of it is heavy as hell. Disfiguring The Goddess is one of the better Brutal Death Metal acts in recent years and shows no signs of stopping. Putting out two albums is great for fans and should keep us satiated until we get more music.

9. The Unconscious Mind - Where Philosophers Fall

The Unconscious Mind's album was sent to me via Eric Burnet vocalist of Derelict. This band contains Derelict guitarist Simon ClĂ©roux and his excellent guitar work shows fantastically in both bands. The Unconscious Mind plays Blackened Death Metal, but it's not exactly the same vein as Behemoth and Hate. Where Philosophers Fall presents incredibly intense Blackened Death Metal with a thick atmosphere. 

8. Beyond Creation - The Aura

Beyond Creation made great waves this year with their release The Aura. This album released to near universal praise, and for good reason. The writing is top notch, the quality is phenomenal, and there really aren't many flaws to be found in their sound.

7. Arbiter - Ironclad/Machinations

Arbiter is a personal favorite of mine, and I was beyond ecstatic for the release of this dual album. Their first album Colossus is a fun album to listen to and for a debut is pretty strong, but this release overshadows their previous for numerous reasons. Their musicianship is better, the writing is tighter, and the album feels more put together and the story arc makes the lyrics enjoyable to read along with.

6. The Schoenberg Automaton - Vela

Much like Hate, this album didn't get near enough attention this year. It's a fantastic listen through and through with tons of great progressive influence heaped all around the album. It's chaotic, frantic, and incredibly well written. The band is working on new material, and I hope they keep it as funky and fun as this album is.

5. Humanity's Last Breath - Self Titled

Humanity's Last Breath got onto my map with their first album Structures Collapse, but it wasn't until the release of their 2012 single that they received my full attention. This album steps their sound up in every way possible, turns the djent up to 11 and knocks you to the floor with intensity. Imagine if Vildjharta had a twin who had a knack for more deathcore type stuff, and you've basically got Humanity's Last Breath.

4. Norma Jean - Wrongdoers

Norma Jean is a titan in metalcore. there's no two ways about that. Ever since their first album they've been about refining their brand of chaotic metalcore, although they don't really get as crazy and out there as The Chariot or Everytime I Die, but Norma Jean can get crazed when they need to. Wrongdoers only furthers that story. This album is basically a more concise and to the point version of Meridional.

3. Revocation - Self Titled

Not much explaining needed here. Revocation continue to prove they are one of the best bands in metal today, and while this album doesn't really push their sound in a new direction, it didn't need to. Revocation's sound is well beyond established and they only continue to tweak and refine the smaller details and make fantastic music you can't help but headbang to.

2. Fleshgod Apocalypse - Labyrinth

Fleshgod Apocalypse both made quite a jump with the release of Agony, including a huge amount of symphonic elements that some Oracles purists wound up hating, but for the most part Agony was well received and made the band stick out among other tech death bands. Oracles, as great as it is does nothing to differentiate the band from the band they basically spawned from Hour Of Penance. Agonyand Labyrinth however are totally different beasts. Labyrinth does tone the symphonic elements down just a touch, but the music is as fast and powerful as ever.

1. Fit For An Autopsy - Hellbound

I expected to like this album, but after tons of listens to The Process Of Human Extermination, I felt there was no way I'd like Hellbound nearly as much. Fit For An Autopsy proved me wrong real quick. This album is incredible. The opening and closing tracks are perfect and make you just want to restart the album almost immediately. The final track 'The Travelers' also contains my favorite verse of lyrics this year, and the lyrics on this album as a whole are quite memorable. I'll definitely be listening to this album for years to come.

I always make lists for myself to keep track of albums I liked so that I can remember the albums that came out early in the year. However when you do that you realize how many great albums came out last year and how hard it is to narrow that list down. There are tons of albums I wish I could include, but these 15 albums stuck out the most to me this year.

2013, you done good.

Best Non Metal Album Of The Year:

Volcano Choir - Repave

Volcano Choir is a side project fronted by Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon. Their first release Unmap is excellent and came out back in 2009, and after Bon Iver blew up I was afraid we may never see another Volcano Choir album, but thankfully that is no the case and we were blessed with some incredibly beautiful music.

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