Saturday, December 28, 2013

Best of 2013: albums

Despite having a strong start, I think 2013 was a weaker year than 2012. Mostly because I did not give any 10's this year, only four 9,5's. But all in all, I still consider 2013 as a pretty good year with several positive surprises, like the latest albums from Drowning Pool, Black Sabbath, Soilwork and some others that actually made this list. I also consider 2013 as the year where power metal bands conceived some great albums while the thrash metal band lacked some valuable punch in their releases. But enough with the stalling, here are my favourite albums from 2013.

20. Queensrÿche - S/T
If it was not obvious enough, this album is the ultimate statement to which of the two bands is most worthy of calling themselves Queensrÿche. Going back to the roots and hiring Todd La Torre as new vocalist was just the moves that these guys needed to put Geoff Tate in his place once and for all. Let us hope that the court do not fuck shit up.

Listen to: Where Dreams Go To Die, Spore, Don't Look Back

19. Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn
I am not the typical black metal fan, but I certainly enjoyed Summoning and their atmospheric album "Old Mornings Dawn". I shall definitely follow their musical journey in the future.

Listen to: Flammifer, Old Mornings Dawn, The White Tower

18. Avantasia - The Mystery of Time
This album is just another proof of the fantastic song writing skills of Edguy singer Tobias Sammet. An interesting story of a watchmaker and his journey to understand time and all of its mysteries. Surprisingly large amount of double bass in here.

Listen to: The Watchmakers' Dream, Black Orchid, Saviour In The Clockwork

17. Helloween - Straight Out of Hell
With a power that reaches out to space and an attitude that can get away with calling you an asshole, Helloween makes an enormous impact in 2013 with one of their best releases in many years. Just one of many good power metal releases this year.

Listen to: Nabataea, Burning Sun, Asshole

16. Children of Bodom - Halo of Blood
It may not live up to some of the band's greatest hits, but "Halo of Blood" is a huge step forward for the Finnish band after slips like "Are You Dead Yet? and "Blooddrunk". A healthy mix of heaviness and melodies brings together one of the nicer surprises this year.

Listen to: Halo of Blood, Transference, All Twisted

15. Stratovarius - Nemesis
A surprisingly good effort from the well experienced Finnish guys, that shows both their power and their musicality. Who would think that they would make another amazing record even without Mr. Tolkki (and even beat him and his Avalon).

Listen to: Unbreakable, Stand My Ground, Halcyon Days

14. Leprous - Coal
Leprous certainly has a unique progressive sound, and I am not pleased with myself that it took this long for me to find this band. Definitely love the fact that they can both create really heavy shit and more beautiful and atmospheric music.

Listen to: Chronic, The Valley, Contaminate Me

13. White Wizzard - The Devil's Cut
This was a huge surprise since this band cannot for the sake of their lives keep the same line-up through two consecutive albums. "The Devil's Cut" may have a butt ugly cover, but the music is fast, edgy and sweet. And yes, there will be another line-up when the next album comes along (they fired the vocalist in October this year).

Listen to: Strike The Iron, Lightning In My Hands, The Sun Also Rises

12. Keldian - Outbound
Calling themselves a Sci-fi metal band, Keldian keeps their mind in space with their third album "Outbound". It is a epic power metal album with some nice instrumental work and interesting lyrics. It also contains the best song this year.

Listen to: Never Existed, Kepler and 100 000 stars, F.T.L

11. James LaBrie - Impermanent Resonance
A hard hitting melodic record that shows all of the Dream Theater singer's best sides. An album that contains both speedy monsters and beautiful beauties. Would have been better if it was not for the over use of the electronic keyboards.

Listen to: Agony, Undertow, Holding On

10. Ashes of Chaos - Eye
These Italian newcomers really surprised me with their grand and progressive sound, and what is even more impressive is that they have come up with one of the best concepts this year. Cannot wait to see what the future has in store for these guys.

Listen to: Ashes of Chaos, Falling, Mechanical Chaos

9. Lingua Mortis Orchestra - LMO
At first, I was not sure if this orchestra project was the right way to go for Rage, but the album "LMO" proved me wrong. Great symphonic metal with clear intentions from the main band. I also like the concept about the witch burnings.

Listen to: Cleansed By Fire, Scapegoat, Witches' Judge

8. Hammerforce - Access Denied
I do not know if vodka had a big part in the writing of "Access Denied", but the Russians in Hammerforce did certainly create some awesome, futuristic power metal. Not a boring second to be found here.

Listen to: Templates For All, Mass Media, Fugitive

7. Rob Zombie - Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
Despite the long ass names, Rob Zombie has finally created a album that matches his works from the White Zombie era. There is no fillers in sight on this album and the groove is better than saying ging gang gong de do gong de laga raga.

Listen to: Dead City Radio And The New Gods of Supertown, Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga, "Behold, The Pretty Filthy Creatures!"

6. Hell - Curse & Chapter
The debut "Human Remains" reintroduced us to Hell, but it is the follow up album "Curse & Chapter" that states the fact that the band do belong even in the 21st century. Great NWOBHM sound with a slightly modern touch.

Listen to: The Age of Nefarious, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Faith Will Fall

5. Ayreon - The Theory of Everything
This album is not for the weak, "The Theory of Everything" is the ultimate definition of epicness. 4 phases that each reach a time of about 22 minutes ultimately creates an intriguing and amazing journey that only Arjen Lucassen can create. Best concept album from 2013.

Listen to: all 4 phases

4. Holy Grail - Ride The Void
We got a hint of their great potential in the EP "Improper Burial", but that potential was not fully revealed until the release of this, their second album. "Ride The Void" is filled with high speed riffing, amazing melodies, top notch vocals and with a variation that no one else can match, Holy Grail delivered a great knockout blow.

Listen to: Ride The Void, Crosswinds, Rains of Sorrow

3. Alter Bridge - Fortress
The best decision this year may have come from this band. "Fortress" is Alter Bridge's heaviest album yet and all the similarities with Creed are finally gone. The 12 killer hard rock songs that are packed in this album makes "Fortress" a sturdy and impermeable building that the band can look back at with a big smile.

Listen to: Cry of Achilles, Peace Is Broken, Farther Than The Sun

2. Clutch - Earth Rocker
Clutch shifts to the sixth gear with the groovy assault known as "Earth Rocker". A album filled with catchy riffs, groovy drum beats and a Neil Fallon that sings (and laughs) like a complete maniac. This is indeed a m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-magnificent album.

Listen to: Earth Rocker, Unto The Breach, Cyborg Bette

1. Ghost - Infestissumam
With the release of "Infestissumam", Ghost goes from being a big hype to being the real deal. This album shows that "Opus Eponymous" was no fluke, these guys are here at the top to stay. Their doom like 70's rock is both infectious and exciting. With songs like "Year Zero", "Ghuleh/Zombie Queen" and "Monstrance Clock", it is impossible to fail. Without a doubt my favourite album from 2013.

Listen To: Per Aspera Ad Inferi, Ghuleh/Zombie Queen, Year Zero

Other honorable mentions: Carcass - Surgical Steel, Gama Bomb - The Terror Tapes, Soilwork - The Living Infinite, Drowning Pool - Resilience, Haken - The Mountain, Kalmah - The Seventh Swamphony, Persefone - Spiritual Migration

Well, happy new year everyone. Let us hope that 2014 is another great year for the greatest music genre man has ever created.

Stay metal

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