I love it when people start talking about their albums of the year lists. My album of the year will always be King Crimson’s ‘Red’, but more of that another time.
2013 has been an incredible year for metal, and these are my picks. I’m sorry there’s no great analysis here, just a list and what I like about each record. I have also shared a Spotify playlist which you’ll find at the end.
20. Cathedral – The Last Spire (Rise Above)
A great band sign off with a great record. They’ll be sadly missed.
19. Twilight Of The Gods – Fire On The Mountain (Season of Mist)
A delightful cross between Primordial and Manowar. I call them Manowardial. Superb record.
18. Amon Amarth – Deceiver Of The Gods (Metal Blade)
Every time I’ve heard this record this year, I’ve said ‘bloody hell this is good, who is it?’
17. Voices – From The Human Forest Create A Fugue Of Imaginary Rain (Candlelight)
An almost poetic title conceals some utterly perverted black metal.
16. Cnoc An Tursa – The Giants Of Auld (Candlelight)
Love this glorious piece of post-metal from the grim northern wastelands of Scotland. Such desolate beauty.
15. Jex Thoth – Blood Moon Rise (I Hate)
A fabulously dark, almost terrifying record.
14. In Solitude – Sister (Metal Blade)
The band went almost post-punk, a direction almost adjacent to their debut.
13. Rotting Christ – Kata Ton Daimona Eautou (Season of Mist)
Rotting Christ get better and better with each record, and are one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. This record is so well-written and performed, it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
12. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Mind Control (Rise Above)
It’s refreshing to see such twisted psychedelia made in this day and age.
11. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Labyrinth (Nuclear Blast)
One of the craziest yet ingeniously composed records I’ve heard in my life.
10. Acolyte – Alta (Mordgrimm)
Although it was released this year, I’ve been listening to Alta for much of the last 3 as the band seemed to take an age to release it.
9. Blodsgard – Monument (The Oath)
I’ve followed Blodsgard for around 3-4 years now, their early demos were well constructed and recorded, this is as cold and icy a piece of black metal as you will hear this year.
8. Falkenbach – Asa (Prophecy)
This record is unfeasibly catchy, it could easily form the score for a musical.
7. Wardruna – Yggdrasil (Indie)
A high point this year was seeing Yggrasil performed in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, an astonishing piece of work.
6. Year Of No Light – Tocsin (Debemur Morti)
An utterly masterful suite of post-metal, much imitated and so rarely equaled.
5. Carcass – Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)
This is a proper Carcass record, no messing about: Bill Steer is an incredibly talented guitarist and Jeff Walker’s vocals are just as acerbic as they’ve ever been. Bloody brilliant.
4. Deafheaven – Sunbather (Deathwish)
Unjustly labelled as ‘hipster’ metal, it’s black metal without being evil. That said, it is compositionally adventurous, incredibly well performed and emotionally crushing.
3. Beastmilk – Climax (Svart)
Another artist goes from metal to post-punk (via Hexvessell’s dark folk) and what a brilliantly catchy record this is, unsurprisingly has now been picked up by the NME and The Grauniad.
2. Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen (Candlelight)
I truly believe this to be Ihsahn’s solo album of his career. It’s dark, brooding, emotionally devastating and incredibly adventurous. Music like this is not written, it is composed.
1. Purson – The Circle And The Blue Door (Rise Above)
I first heard this record in January, I’m not tired of it now and I probably never will. A brilliant piece of work that demonstrates a musical maturity well in advance of the band’s years.
Here’s a Spotify playlist (sorry there’s no Cathedral).