Here it is! The HEAVY team ploughed through their individual Top 10 releases for 2013. It’s an eclectic mix, hell, we’re an eclectic bunch! We’ve left no stone unturned!
Nick Lord – HEAVY Editor
10: Nails – Abandon All Life A chewy, 17-minute slab of near-perfect power violence dripping in caramel-thick production. Grind never tasted so good. Would’ve placed higher if not for the length.
09: Rotting Christ – Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy A shot out of left field. On their eleventh album, the Greek pioneers have kicked a winning score with their unique take on hook-drenched black metal. ‘In Yumen-Xibalba’ is a contender for feel-good song of the year.
08: Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen At times, Das Seelenbrechen is tense, foreboding and difficult; at others, it is delicate, richly-textured and extravagant. Is this Ihsahn’s masterpiece? Some will say yes. others might find the going a little tough.
07: Alter Bridge – Fortress Mark Tremonti and his ex-Creed brothers have rocketed to the top of the stadium rock pile with a monster of a record mostly notable for Miles Kennedy’s extraordinary-diverse vocal performance. Loaded with commercial rock anthems.
06: Carcass – Surgical Steel In the year of the comeback album, Carcass did what only Atheist had done before them by uniting an army of metal fans with an album that ranks among their best after 17 years in the wilderness. The feel-good story of the year.
05: The Ocean – Pelagial One of progressive metal’s most innovative bands return with a release that marries melodic beauty with technical ferocity, not at all unlike its unpredictable namesake.
04: Kylesa – Ultraviolet (Season of Mist) Could be the most relevant rock band on the planet right now. Converting battle-hardened metalheads everywhere with its grain-fed mince of sludge, stoner, fuzz and intergalactic rock jams. 1. Play Kylesa. 2. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
03: Wormed – Exodromos Absurdly-technical, intergalactic slam death record that crushes a path through all before it like a 4WD mowing down cane toads on an outback highway in the middle of summer. Jaw-dropping performances, and so many ‘ZOMG, did you just hear that?!’ moments. A refreshingly-focused attack amid a sea of bands cashing in on death metal’s touchy-feely dissonance trend.
02: Tesseract – Altered State There isn’t a prog or djent fan alive who now hasn’t heard of Tesseract. Has been a giant-killing year for the proggy, soft-fringed Brits who are eclipsing their compatriots with their blinding brilliance, mostly on the back of Ashe O’Hara’s soaring voice. Oh, the melody. Oh, the feels. Just hook it to my veins.
01: Big Business – Battlefields Forever
It’s an inventive approach to songwriting and tone as fat as a Mack truck that have combined to force Big Business’ fourth record into top spot this year. There are plenty of other bands doing sludge and stoner rock but an exceptional balance of mood and tone sets Battlefields Forever apart from the rest of the sludge slackers, and a slew of nifty songwriting devices keep them there. It’s certainly a grower but nine-minute album closer ‘Lonely Lyle’ is as close to song of the year as I can nominate. .. and then there’s the cover art. Perfection throughout.
Honourable Mentions: Antigama, Gorguts, The Amenta, Arsonists Get All the Girls, Beastmilk, Nero Di Marte, Oblivion, Savages, Swamp, Aristeia. Best Aussie release: Malignant Monster – Yours in Murder Sinfully under-rated WA blackened thrash band fronted by Australia’s most dynamic metal vocalist, Cain Cressal. Wont remain a secret for long now that The Amenta is no more. Biggest Disappointment: Revocation. US thrash titans badly under-deliver on an album that should’ve been their ‘Master of Puppets’. Instead, it’s stale and repetitive.
Olivia Reppas – HEAVY editor-in-chief
Only five albums really spoke to me this year…
05: Clutch – Earth Rocker Yes, it sounds like Clutch, and that’s exactly what I love most; a blend of their signature dirty rock’n’roll, heavy-ass blues and whatever else they throw in the mix. They continue to deliver on the anthems and this hasn’t changed with Earth Rocker; the song or the album.
04. Dyprosis These newcomers unleash some relentless blasts; they’re heavy with some sludgy undertones, and a touch of groove. My favourite local release of 2013.
03. Tracer – El Pistolero No longer is Tracer’s El Pistolero a dirty little secret. All killer, with elements of grunge, stoner and classic rock, this album is 13 tracks of riff-driven, gutsy rock’n’roll.
02. Kadavar – Abra Kadavar Abra Kadavar has been my soundtrack of 2013. Zep-worshiping-retro-rockers deliver this intoxicating ’70s proto-metal album. Get ready to grow a beard, nod your head and spill your beer.
01. Rotting Christ – Kata Ton Daimona Eaftou
Mystical, doom laden with elements of folk and chant, this album unleashes dark and beautiful melodies, which are at the same time crushingly heavy. This one can’t be topped.
Best live shows of 2013: Cancer Bats + Red Fang @ Gagarin, Athens (June), Buffalo + King of The North @ The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (September) Best Aussie Release: Tracer – El Pistolero Best newcomer: Dyprosis
Tennille Secomb – HEAVY assistant editor, regular contributor
10: Portal – Vexovoid Making waves early this year, Vexovoid, with its slow, lurching chaos and ominous death metal sound, is the slightly more accessible release from the Australian quintet.
09: Karnivool – Asymmetry The most mature and highly evolved release these Aussie kings have dished up yet; dynamic and carefully structured yet built upon a wild and infectious energy.
08: Nick Cave – Push the Sky Away The power of this album cuts to the quick; Cave’s rugged crooning had me bewitched all year.
07: Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam Straight-to-the-point technical death metal; Dave Culross returns to the New York outfit for a release with an intensity only capable by the forefathers of BDM.
06: Aosoth – IV: An Arrow In Heart The relatively unknown side project of French act Antaeus string you along for a tormented hour of metal at its blackest.
05: Altars – Paramnesia The first full-length from the Adelaide trio; mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts/ Krallice), Paramnesia is equal parts death metal groove, dissonant black metal and compelling atmosphere.
04: Wormed – Exodromos Quite simply, death metal doesn’t get much more brutal than this; the Spanish quintet demonstrate exceptional composition and staggering overall virulence on their second full-length album in a decade.
03: Stomach Earth – Stomach Earth Slowing it down to tortuous levels, The Red Chord’s Mike McKenzie delivered this funeral doom one-man-masterpiece in June and it’s utterly crushing from start to finish.
02: Ulcerate – Vermis Unable to escape comparison to Gorguts, this release from the Kiwi’s could just as easily have been my number one; a tempest of churning riffs and a different element of aggression in the vocals to Lemay’s makes this album stand alone.
01: Gorguts – Colored Sands
Hands down the most epic death metal adventure in years; as potent lyrically as musically, as pioneering as Obscura, as pestilential as f**k.
Honourable mention: The Schoenberg Automaton Best Aussie release: Karnivool – Asymmetry Best newcomer: Altars Biggest disappointment: missing the Cattle Decapitation gig for work!
Amanda Mason – HEAVY assistant editor, regular contributor
10. Winds of Plague – Resistance An energetic deathcore release from California’s Winds of Plague.
09. Orpheus Omega – Resillusion An impressive second album from Melbourne melodic death metallers, Orpheus Omega.
08. The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack A punishingly brutal display of modern death metal from Michigan’s The Black Dahlia Murder.
07. Sodom – Epitome of Torture A super catchy album from the German thrash legends that’s not particularly thrashy, but still has a nice touch of ‘80s-ness.
06. Chronolyth – Sovereign A powerful debut album from Brisbane’s melodic death metal newcomers.
05. Conducting From the Grave – Conducting From the Grave The fruit of crowd funding dollars, this self-titled album from California’s Conducting From the Grave is a pretty radtastic deathcore release.
04. Sons of Aeon – Sons of Aeon The stunning debut album from the Finnish melodic death metal band.
03. Atrocity – Okkult A brutally dark album with a nice touch of orchestral contrast.
An intense, absolutely stellar album from the little-known Swiss death metal veterans.
Honourable mentions: Immolation; Scar the Surface; The Browning. Best newcomer: Sons of Aeon – Sons of Aeon Biggest disappointment: Ghost – Infestissumam An enjoyable, dark and haunting album, which, unfortunately, disappointed because nine of the ten tracks weren’t as amazing as the pre-album release single, ‘Year Zero’. Best live show of 2013: Black Sabbath, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne.
Nathan Eden – regular contributor
10: Kvelertak – Meir Unique and expertly executed mixture of punk and black metal from Norway.
08: The Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer Strangely accessible melody-infused mathcore madness.
07: Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods Tales of Vikings from Sweden over melodic death metal and early Metallica-worthy thrash riffs.
06: Clutch – Earth Rocker Stripped of the blues, Clutch’s tenth album survives on quality songs and Fallon’s lyrical brilliance.
05: Sepultura – The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be Heart Aggressively urgent lucky number thirteenth album from Brazilian legends.
04: Vista Chino – Peace Arse-shaking Kyuss resurgence sans Josh Homme. He’s not missed at all.
03: The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack Blastbeat-driven ferociousness that is as dark as it is vicious.
02: Carcass – Surgical Steel Eleven deliciously succulent and expertly-cut slabs of reliably prime meat.
01: Stone Sour – The House of Gold & Bones Part 2
Intimate, heavy, artistically intelligent and near perfect conclusion to Part 1.
Anthony Moore – Regular contributor
10: Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork Sixth studio album from Josh Homme’s band of gypsies. Includes Brody Dalle, Nick Oliveri, Dave Grohl, Mark Lanegan, Trent Reznor and unfortunately part way through the recording, the departure of drummer Joey Castillo.
09: Scorpion Child – Self Titled Some of the best head banging 70’s inspired metal hooks you’ll ever hear!
08: Kadavar – Abra Kadavar They get my vote for best head and facial hair combo of 2013 plus their music kicks arse!
07: Tumbleweed – Sounds From The Other Side The return of the Aussie fuzz legends! Still at the top of their game in the studio and on stage!
06: Adalita – All Day Venus Magic Dirt singer / guitarist’s second full length album of pure raw emotion. Such a talented song writer and musician, again she opens up her heart and bares her soul. Stunning.
05: Blues Pills – Devil Man Classic rock and blues vibe delivered with absolute perfection. All extremely talented musicians. Elin’s voice is incredible and Dorian is one of the greatest guitarist I have ever witnessed & he’s only19!! The new Led Zeppelin for me!
04: Captives – Self Titled EP Explosive with attitude, solid hooks and absolutely loads of guts. These guys came out of nowhere for me recently and impressed the hell out of me!
03: Whores – Clean This release is exploding with noise, Boeing size riffs and so much chunk you need dynamite to cut through it. You better buy two copies of this 12″ because you are definitely going to wear one out!
02: BRUCE – Self Titled ’90s fuzz laden head banging pub rock at its best! They are also equal first with The Hives for best matching band uniforms in 2013.
01: High Tension – Death Beat
Brutal, frenzied, emotional, driving and ferocious. This band is beyond powerful. They deserve to be on The Simpsons, you know, so they know they’ve made it.
Honourable mentions: Fister; Earthless; Mother Mars; King Of The North. Best Aussie release: High Tension – Death Beat Best newcomer: High Tension Best live show of 2013: High Tension album launch Biggest disappointment: No one buying me a surprise ticket for Desert Fest.
Fabio Marraccini – Regular contributor
10: Taberah – Necormancer A pleasant surprise, 80s metal with a 70s Raibow twist, what more can we ask for?
09: Red Fang – Whales and Leeches An evolution, more mature and well produced than previous releases, heavy as f**k
08: Black Sabbath – 13 Rick Rubin did miracles with Ozzy’s voice, Geezer and Tony sound as good as ever. Hail the masters of metal !!
07: Carcass – Surgical Steel Reunions are always hard – will it sound the same ? Well this does sound awesome, best death metal album of the year.
06: Deathdealer – War Master Brilliant power / trad metal from ex-Manowar, Cage and Halford members. Title song will get your fists in the air in just a few seconds
05: Dream Theater – Dream Theater Muscular prog metal from the masters. So many remarkable melodies.
04: Running Wild – Resilient Power/pirate metal returning to their best form. Vibrant melodies, catchy riffs, under Jolly Roger we live…
03: Ghost – Infestissumam Not as heavy and doomy as the first one, but still solid, full of 60s and 70s references with their unique satanic touch. ‘Year Zero’ track of the year.
02: Spock’s Beard – Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep Best prog I’ve heard in years. A feast for fans of the 70s stuff by Rush, Kansas and the mighty 7 of british prog rock (Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, ELP, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant)
01: Motörhead – Aftershock
Everything louder than everything else once again, Motörhead gets 10 out of 10 just for being what they are, let alone for yet another brilliant album.
Best Aussie release: Taberah – Necormancer (independent) Best newcomer: Deathdealer Best live show of 2013: Black Sabbath – can’t top that, I’m afraid. Biggest disappointment: Deicide – In the Minds of Evil – They should be doing much more than this.
Will Oakeshott – regular contributor
10: The Devil Wears Prada – 8:18 The darkest and most bleak the band has ever sounded, bordering on gothic metalcore, genius.
09: Deafheaven – Sunbather Black metal mixed with post-rock, very strange combination, all the more brilliant.
08: Evergreen Terrace – Dead Horses Melodic metalcore is a fad that is invading nearly the pop market, well Evergreen pioneered the sound and this record proves that.
07: Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent Jesse Leach is back and this album proves the world missed him.
06: Norma Jean – Wrongdoers A very long but worthwhile wait for these post-metalcore perfectionists.
05: Letlive. – The Blackest Beautiful Blending Glassjaw with a variety of other genres sounds impossible, but ll. showcased how magic they are.
04: Boysetsfire – While A Nation Sleeps Leaders of the post-hardcore movement return politically charged, pissed off and passionate.
03: Misery Signals – Absent Light Progressive metalcore like this changed the genre years ago, a five year break had no detriment on these virtuosos.
02: Defeater – Letters Home There isn’t an emotional hardcore band out there that can top these guys, a remarkable concept record.
01: The Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer
Mathcore pioneers still as intense and unbelieveable as over a decade ago, I cannot sit still to this album.
Best Aussie release: Safe Hands – Montenegro
Similar to noisecore merchants The Chariot (RIP), but somehow more refined. Best newcomer: Palms – Self-titled Best live show of 2013: Deftones with Letlive & Hyro Da Hero Biggest disappointment: AFI – Burials
Big swing, even bigger miss. Looks like their peak was at Sing The Sorrow sadly.
Dave Higgins – HEAVY columnist and presenter of MMM’s Distortion
10: Carcass – Surgical Steel After such an absence, this reaffirmed how bloody good they are.
09: Scar The Surface – From The Shadows To The Fire Outstanding production, great writing, killer tunes, get it india.
08: Amon Amarth – Deceiver Of The Gods Couldn’t stop listening to this; I just f**king love it.
07: Bellusira – Connection As soon as it finished I went back and listened to it again, this is a great album
06: Recoil V.O.R. – Sleep For The Masses Another addictive album, huge riffs, growls and cleans, perfectly balanced, brilliant.
05: Chimaira – Crown of Phantoms Mark Hunter is the only original member left, but this is a ball tearer from start to finish, huge love.
04: Stone Sour – House of Gold & Bones, Part 2 Relentless, ferocious, brutal, fucking awesome.
03: DevilDriver – Winter Kills A return to form, groovy, brutal, frightening, blood pumping brilliance
02: Alter Bridge – Fortress Their heaviest effort yet, this album has it all in spades, still spinning in my car.
01: Taberah – Necromancer
These guys from Tasmania have floored me with this one, old school values, harmonies and wailing solos make this my must have for the year.
Best Aussie release: Taberah Best newcomer: Harlott – Origin Best live show of 2013: Soundwave 2013 Biggest disappointment: I didn’t get to go to Wacken.
Serenity Furjan – HEAVY sales and PR
10: The Nerve – Audiodacity Outstanding tracks: Down There and Witness.
09: King of the North – Sound the Underground Outstanding tracks: Watch it Die and Running out of Reasons
08: Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here Outstanding tracks: Low Ceiling and Scalpel.
07: Tumbleweed – Sounds from the Other Side Outstanding tracks: Queen of Voodoo and Like a Night Owl.
07: Bronson – Blood Brothers Loud, fast, grooving and Australian – say no more!
06: Soilwork – The Living Infinite Loud, fast, grooving and Swedish – say no more!
05: Tarja – Colours In The Dark The album that should finally bring her out of the Nightwish shadow.
04: Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Great band delivering pounding, middle-of-the-road metal, which works for me.
03: Sirenia – Perils of the Deep Blue Morten (finally) returns to form with his best work in almost a decade, Norwegian Gothic Metal never sounded so good.
02: Amorphis – Circle Take some heavy, some metal, some folk, some Finns… blended and slow-cooked to perfection.
01: Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies of the Night
The Gothic/Symphonic Metal release of the year, hands down.
Best Aussie release: Bronson – Blood Brothers (Self Released) Best newcomer: Copia. Thanks, Warped tour! Best live show of 2013: Eluveitie, Melbourne, May 2013. Biggest disappointment: Damo [Musclecar] getting the Offspring interview and doing such a brilliant job. Damn you, Damo!
John Raptis – HEAVY web guru, photographer
10: Monster Magnet – Last Patrol Wow! Welcome return to form and it contains all the elements which make for a kick-ass Monster Magnet record! So good!
09: Kylesa – Ultraviolet Kylesa continue to grow and evolve with each release and Ultraviolet introduces a bit of harder edge to the Savannah troupe’s sound.
08: Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks Years gone by, any release by Mr Reznor would always come close to being my number 1 for the year. Still, a welcome return to one of music’s true genius’. Superb production!
07: Orchid – Mouths Of Madness Seeped in Black Sabbath stylings throughout, they have studied the Sabbath back-catalogue with a fine-tooth comb!
06: Avatarium – Avatarium Fantastic new project by Candlemass mainman Leif Edling featuring the outstanding vocals of Jennie-Ann Smith, they sound like a combo of Candlemass and Dio era Black Sabbath.
03: Satyricon – Satyricon They’ve transcended the Black Metal genre by leaps and bounds and made it completely their own. Groove. Melody and superb song-writing.
04: Rotting Christ – Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy Played and played this one to death. Easily the band’s best produced record – there is just so much going on sonically. Musically, this is Rotting Christ’s finest hour. Such an underrated band!
03: Black Sabbath – 13 Jesus Fuckn Christ – Ozzy, Geezer and Iommi. Come on! Now if only they coulda got Billy Ward to at least swing his way around the kit on the album…
02: Kadavar – Abra Kadavar Epic band who did more than impress on their recent Australian sojourn. Jamming tunes with old school vibes stamped all over this sucker. Damn fine!
01: Ghost – Infestissumam
I wake each and every morning and in ritual I do the sign of the inverted cross in the direction of a huge altar I have built in honour of Papa Emeritus II and all of the nameless ghouls. Ghost has been my fave band of the last 3 – 4 years, of course they cement number 1. All hail Satan!
Honourable Mentions: Church Of Misery – Thy Kingdom Scum, Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, Anciients – Heart Of Oak, Cult Of Luna – Vertikal, David Lynch – The Big Dream, Gary Numan – Splinter, In Solitude – Sister, Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent, Letlive – The Blackest Beautiful, Red Fang – Whales & Leeches, Sarke – Aruagint, Toxic Holocaust – Chemistry Of Consciousness Best Aussie Release: Adalita – All Day Venus. Superb songwriting! An instant classic record! Biggest Thrill: Photographing Black Sabbath. My eyes well with tears just thinking of it! Biggest Disappointment: Being sick only once throughout 2013, and that was when Soundwave was in Melbourne. Missing out on photographing Ghost will haunt me for the rest of my days!
Josh Voce – regular contributor
10: Malcura – Flamenco Metal Rodrigo y Gabriela integrated with Opeth. CD #2 will be highly anticipated.
09: House of Thumbs – Home It’s a shame these lads hung it up so early, this was the dark horse release of 2013, I didn’t realise until flicking through my iPod plays count that this had received over 10 plays, well above average for this listener.
08: Clowns – I’m Not Right The second Australian debut in this list, it’s completely in your face punk and there is no way you can deny that Clowns are on their way up, way way up.
07: The Schoenberg Automaton – Vela When an album has 1:16 of a song (The Worm Engine, the part I’m referring to starts at 3:05) that is so utterly amazing it is worth rewinding several times immediately, it inevitably makes the top ten lists of albums for that year.
06: Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals – Walk Through Exits Only Totally demented, abrasive, relentless, dark and morbid. Anselmo’s first solo outing is no Mark Wahlberg in Rockstar singalong.
05: Impaled – The Dead Still Dead Remain Medical malpractioners return with a deranged re-recorded version of their 2000 gore soaked classic.
04: Black Sabbath – 13 When your metal friends are unsuspecting to the fact that the Sabbath they’re listening to is actually the new Sabbath and are enjoying as if it were from the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath era, you know 13 is a classic.
03: The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack Why break such a winning formula? is what Everblack is getting at, its pure TBDM excellence.
02: Ghost – Infestissumam Horror metal has never been so befitting to a band, this is on multiple lists because it has the ability to cheer you up whilst morbidly freaking out the person next to you.
01: Carcass – Surgical Steel Pioneers of grind and melodic death metal dominate this year with a flawless return to form.
Honourable mentions: Diprosus, The Ophidian Ascension, DevilDriver
Want to compare the HEAVY staff’s lists with those of members of Northlane, Psycroptic, Circles, King Parrot, Twelve Foot Ninja, Thy Art is Murder, Dead Letter Circus, Alarum and Hadal Maw? Click HERE.