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Friday, December 6, 2013

@SchecterWhore's Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013

There was no way in hell I could’ve thought that any year in recent future would top 2012 in amount of good new music that graced my ears. But boy, was I wrong. 2013 is near its end and it’d be an understatement if I say this has been one of the best years for me in terms of discovering & listening to some great new music. So to top it all off, I present to you my personal Top 10 Metal Albums of the year 2013. (and then some more because 10 is a very small number, compared to the amazing releases that have been this year.) Here we go, in ascending order:

10.) Dream Theater – Dream Theater (Roadrunner Records) :

Dream Theater’s twelfth studio effort & also their self titled album. Second one after the departure of Portnoy. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting this album to be such a grower. But I’m glad I was proved wrong. This album has got its moments right from the very heavy The Enemy Inside, very Rush-esque The Looking Glass to a good ballad like Along for The Ride. Dream Theater knows how to play it safe and they did, and I’m not blaming them for it. It’s good music. And with a good production to the boot, the band sounds great as ever and for once, even LaBrie’s vocals sound above average. You can read the whole album review here.

"This is one of the most invested albums Dream Theater has yet conceived. Prepare to be not only submerged but actually touched by this album. Offered in multiple discs in different varieties, "Dream Theater" is an emotional leviathan that works beautifully in either format.”

9.) Gutslit - Skewered In The Sewer (Ghastly Music) :

The first time I ever heard of Gutslit was a few years back when they released their split with Pulmonary Fibrosis. And it was hard wrapping my mind around the fact that someone was doing such great brutal death metal/grind stuff in this country. After a good number of lineup changes, these guys came out with their first full length this year and let me tell you, if there's ONE Indian metal album you should be checking out this year, it is Skewered In The Sewer. I did a full review of the album few month back, which you can read here.

“Gutslit have been craving their own path in underground extreme metal from quite few years and this is about time they get some credit from where it is due. Skewered In The Sewer is an absolutely crushing album from start to end, and a must have for any purveyor of extreme metal” 

8.) Nails – Abandon All Life (Southern Lord Records) :

This is probably the shortest metal album you’ll hear this year. Clocking a mere 17-minute mark for full album (and this is their longest album till date) the third full-length album from these Californian grindlords is can be summed as ‘pure debauchery’. This album is so intense that if I were to do an honest full review, it’d be in all CAPS. This is how this album makes you feel. So do yourself a favor and listen to these 17 minutes of untainted hell. Don’t forget to pick yourself up from the floor once you are done listening to it, though.

7.) Queensrÿche – Queensrÿche (Century Media) :

Another self titled album and another winner in my list. ‘ryche took the great decision of throwing Geoff Tate out of the band & replacing him with equally talented Todd La Torre. They should’ve taken this step years ago and now the result? They sound as good as their 80’s self. This fervor really shows on the whole record, which is aptly titled ‘Queensrÿche’ so as to mark the rebirth of the real ‘ryche from the ashes. You can read my full review of the album here.

“Old school fans of real ‘ryche will definitely be very happy with what Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton, Parker Lundgren and Todd La Torre have achieved with another self titled record in Queensrÿche’s catalogue.  And this should rightfully end the battle of who should keep recording under Queensrÿche name and continue the ‘ryche legacy.”

6.) Clutch – Earth Rocker (Weathermaker Music) :

Clutch’s 10th studio effort and probably their best till date. For me, at least. The only way one can describe this album is ‘no-bullshit-rock-‘n’-roll’. And that’s goddamn true. This is the kind of album you want to put on your car stereo and just cruise away singing along loudly. Also worth noticing here is Machine’s primal production that makes it sound even more aggressive and makes it grow strong on the listener with each passing listen. So don’t be afraid of Clutch’s limitless horsepower, just hop in, step on the gas and enjoy the ride.

5.) Carcass – Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)

 Every metalhead worth their salt knows perfectly well who Carcass are. And I won’t be wrong if I say that the release of Surgical Steel was one of the highest points of everything metal this year. Carcass are back after seventeen years and how. This album, despite how hyped it was, delivered perfectly well and is a welcome addition in Carcass’ discography. Being a big Heartwork era fan, I was pretty apprehensive of the album myself but all my apprehensions were laid to rest the moment I heard the first riff from the album. This album is a magnificent amalgamation of every record Carcass has put out till date. You can read our whole review here.

“The album has enough brutality to make you go weak in your knees, enough drive to throw you in a mosh and enough Carcass to make you feel that you’re listening to Carcass!”

4.) Ulcerate – Vermis (Relapse Records) :

I’d be lying if I say that Ulcerate aren’t one of my favorite bands of recent times. But I’m certainly not fanboying when I say that Vermis is one hell of a record. I love Ulcerate’s style of atonal death metal. These New Zelanders know how to keep a death metal record heavy, yet insanely fresh at the same time. Often at times, it’s really hard to believe that its just work of three dudes. Vermis is a bleak, vitriolic and cruel album, with a brilliantly dark atmosphere, something which is often missing from death metal these days. You can read our whole review of the album here.

3.) Inquisition - Obscure Verses for the Multiverse (Season of Mist) :

You either love or hate Inquisition. There’s no middle ground. Obscure Verses for the Multiverse is their sixth studio effort and it is as much of ruthless celestial assault in the name of the Dark One as last five. Dagon’s voice, for me, is the strongest element of Inquisition’s sound. It is as important as any other instrument in the album. And again, dissonance and atonality coupled with black metal produces a unique sound, which transports the listener to some other level altogether. You can read our whole review here.

“Inquisition have often been the type who have instead dictated terms to the sea of aficionados of black metal and produced music on their own terms, a formula that has evidently been very successful, cementing them as one of black metal's most unique forces.”

2.) Ghost – Infestissumam (Loma Vista Recordings) :

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny the fact that Ghost are here to stay. I had some really high expectations from the band after being a fan of their debut, Opus Eponymous, which came out about three years back. But on first listen, this album didn’t intrigue me much and I shunned these guys away like a one hit wonder. This is until I decide to give Infestissumam another chance a month later and holy smokes, was I blown away! This album grew on me like a tumor. The very popish riffs, clean vocals and a very early 70’s vibe provided me a full 4 months of background music for my commute everyday. You can read the whole review here.

“In the traditional, truly evil, sound that Ghost is known for, this album doesn't disappoint. There are some truly golden moments of the album, and to the fans of King Diamond & early Venom, this record will speak a lot.” 

1.) Amon Amarth – Deceiver of The Gods (Metal Blade)

“Charge with force! Break their ranks!
No remorse, crush their flanks!
Pulverize their human wall!
We shall destroy!” 

These lyrics off ‘We Shall Destroy” sums up the best release of year 2013 for me. Straight up, in your face metal with loads of good riffs, vicious solos, harmonies, drum attack from the netherworld and the roar of might Johan Hegg. This album sounds nothing short of Gjallarhorns of warning sound along the coastline, as Amon Amarth storm the shore once more with the blood, steel and fire in their eyes, to deliver another huge slab of Swedish Viking-ly death metal. And the lone experiment in the whole album, Hel, which features ex-Candlemass vocalist Messiah Marcolin is downright brilliant and shows that Amon Amarth are not afraid to venture out of their skin. You can read our full review here. 

“Deceiver of the Gods is a concise statement of power, filled with undeniably catchy, crushing melodies that lodge in your brain, only to be unearthed once more when you awaken a few days from now. And if that's not enough, it's wrapped in the most sublimely titled “Hel” featuring Messiah Marcolin on vocals, as Thor Doom combination- insanely concludes the album with Mjolnir in full glorious color.”

Honorable mentions: These are some of the other releases which as as brilliant as the ten mentioned above, but couldn’t make the cut due to my personal taste. In no particular order: 

Gorguts – Colored Sands, Revocation – Revocation, Deeds of Flesh – Portals to Canaan, Death Angel - The Dream Calls For Blood, Voivod – Target Earth, Suffocation - Pinnacle Of Bedlam & Hell - Curse And Chapter

Article By,
Kunal Batra