I am sure, this will eventually get posted here but this is a really good list: http://www.metal-fi.com/alexs-top-10-metal-albums-2013/
ALEX’S TOP 10 METAL ALBUMS OF 2013
POSTED BY ALEX ON DEC 20, 2013 IN RANTS | 0 COMMENTS
If last year was the year of the doom, then this year was without a doubt, the year of the comeback. With bands like Carcass, Gorguts, and Summoning all releasing new material after taking an absurdly long hiatus, 2013 proved to be a year that not only reaffirmed our reverence for these bands, but also reestablished our general notion of the elite.
And with respect to production, we saw great strides being made by several artists who not only released great music, but great sounding music as well, including Woe, Monolithe,Argus, Witherscape, and Torture Division to name but a few.
However, this year was also chock full of disappointment too, with several bands failing to live up to the high expectations put upon them in both the music and production departments. Watain’s Century Media debut, The Wild Hunt, was for all intents and purposes a complete disaster. Megadeth released another Risk. Revocation’s self-titled album was mediocre at best (Dave is a kind, gentle soul). Moreover, SuidAkrA, Immolation, and of course Fleshgod Apocalypse decided to release some of their best work to date only to have it ruined in the studio.
Please, a moment of silence.
In any event, as I stated last year, here are my top 10 albums of the year in no particular order except the last one which I reserve as my album of the year.
Gorguts – Colored Sands
This one is obvious. I predict years from now, Colored Sands will go down as a modern day classic. It really is that good. But honestly, it should come to you as no surprise since Luc Lemay assembled some of the most talented musicians in metal today to contribute to this incredible release. And the result is truly nothing short of spectacular. What’s somewhat poetic about Colored Sands is that it took another Gorguts record to out do well, Gorguts. So many artists have tried to improve upon the dissonant formula of their 1993 seminal classic,Erosion of Sanity, with only varied success. But after a twelve year sabbatical, Lemay and Co. raise the bar once again and show why Gorguts is now, or perhaps always have been, a bonified institution. And lest not forget Marston’s incredible production work which encourages you to play this record at the highest of volumes – truly, a masterpiece from end-to-end.
Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury
When Chris Bruni of Profound Lore stated that this record was bar none the greatest piece of extreme metal he has ever had a pleasure to distribute, I chalked it up to the usual label hype that coincides with all of his releases. But honestly, the man was spot on. Altar of Plagues’ final record is mind boggling. James Kelly somehow took his new found passion for industrial/electronica and fused it with black metal perfectly. Yet, many critics have also lambasted Teethed Glory and Injury as a pompous, self-indulgent exercise that is more “hipster” than black. Totally agree. But it is also dark, brooding, sinister, and at times, beautiful. This is no doubt a challenging listen, and many of you will walk away confused and even to some extent, dismayed. But that’s exactly why its so brilliant, since it is able to invoke such a violent and visceral reaction which is exactly what extreme metal is all about.
Cult of Luna – Vertikal
Simply put, their best record to date. Vertikal is a magnificent specimen of post-sludge that solidifies Cult of Luna as a top tier act. I still maintain that “I: The Weapon” is the greatest piece of music they have ever written. Regardless, this record from beginning to end is just gorgeous and an absolute must buy. Though Billy Anderson’s master is a bit uneven, overall it still delivers the goods despite the relatively mediocre levels of compression.
Oathbreaker – Eros|Anteros
Forget Sunbather, this is the number one record on Deathwish Inc. Consider Eros|Anterosthis year’s All You Love You Leave Behind but better. Believe it. A confluence of hardcore, post, and black metal make this album an incredible journey that is just mesmerizing. Tracks like “The Abyss Looks Into Me,” and “Clair Obscur” are 9 minute plus stunners that showcase a level of songwriting maturity not seen on their debut. And despite being compressed to industry “competitive” levels, Brad Boatright’s master sounds solid. Make note, the vinyl has a point or two of more dynamics and is well worth the investment.
Cultes Des Ghoules – Henbane
Despite my affinity for Inquisition’s latest release, this was the best occult black metal record of the year. Hands freak’n down. Poland’s Cultes des Ghoules sophomore record is just pure magic, literally. This is the music goats get sacrificed to as part of some long lost Satanic ritual. Highlights include the opening scorcher “Idylls of the Chosen Damned” and the more subdued, yet eerily hypnotic “Vintage Black Metal.” I’m fairly certain that every time you play this record a kitten dies. Mgla’s mix/master is mediocre, but it does a fairly good job of highlighting Mark of the Devil’s incredible vocal performance. Do not miss.
Tribulation – Formulas of Death
Out of all the incredible death metal records released this year, this is my favorite. And despite its name, Tribulation’s Formulas of Death is nothing but. This is part “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and part Swedish death metal, which as you can imagine creates a very singular listening experience. Everything on this record is pure genius, from its melodic picking to its acid-trip riffing, there is something here for everyone. If there is only one track you plan to listen too, please blast “Rånda.” Amazing.
Caladan Brood – Echoes of Battle
If you asked me which album I prefer, Summoning’s Old Morning Dawn or Caladan Brood’sEchoes of Battle? I would say Echoes every time. I am actually shocked that this record has not made more year end lists. No matter. Despite it’s clear Summoning worship, Caladan Brood’s debut is simply outstanding, and improves upon it’s derivative by incorporating a healthy dose of infectious, blistering leads and majestic vocal hymns. This record is epic in every conceivable way and an absolute must buy for anyone who appreciates fantastic atmospheric folk black metal.
Progenie Terrestre Pura – U.M.A.
Progenie Terrestre Pura’s debut had me sold after the first introductory beeps, boops, and bops. As the cover imagery suggests, U.M.A. is constructed of five epic tracks, most of which hover around the 10 minute mark, each of which is a sumptuous serving of industrial post black metal that really captures the inevitable dystopian future our technocratic culture will eventually bring. Fair warning though, the production of this record is less than ideal, with loads of issues mainly in the vocal and drums department. I can only hope Eon and Nex consider re-releasing it on vinyl based off a newer, more dynamic master. They will have at least one guaranteed sale.
Vulture Industries – The Tower
Man, this album came out of nowhere. I wanted to formerly review it, but just didn’t have the time. Vulture Industries is a Norwegian avant-garde metal band that really hasn’t gotten the exposure they so richly deserve. Believe it or not, this is their third full length and by golly, it’s a monster. And don’t let the avant-garde moniker dissuade you either. The Tower is an extremely accessible record that really welcomes you to bathe in full glory of Vulture Industries’ unique sound. Highlights are abound, but you must, must listen to the title track and “The Hound,” both of which go through the full gamut of their song writing prowess. This is easily this year’s best avant-garde, off the beaten path release.
Gris – À l’âme enflammée, l’äme constellée…
Album of the year. No question. It’s been six years since the duo of Neptune and Icare have graced us with any new material and boy was it worth the wait! À l’âme enflammée, l’äme constellée… is a sublime double CD release that combines Eastern world music with black metal all in an extremely elegant package. Furthermore, unlike their debut, this record’s production is simply fantastic, with a solid sense of dynamics across the board that really helps articulate Gris’ spiritual aural vision. If you consider yourself a black metal aficionado, then you owe it to yourself to seek this record out now. Buy it, it’s a no brainer.