Thumbs up: +21
Created by: musclassia | 05.01.2013



1. Persefone - Spiritual Migration
2013 [9.2] - Core was very good but a bit long-winded, but Shin-Ken, with its more focused songs and Eastern influences, was an absolute beauty. When I saw the new album would continue with more manageable song lengths, I was very excited. And whilst on first listen I felt this one didn't quite reach the heights of its predecessor, it's now grown on me and I consider it every bit as excellent as Shin-Ken. Spiritual Migrations contains many of the things that makes this band so great - delightfully dainty piano sections mixed in with appropriate mood-setting band instrumentation, lovely moving clean vocals (along with good but non-exceptional growls and screams), wonderful guitar solos, mixed in with solid more extreme sections, all wrapped up with outstanding songwriting. The sequence of The Majestic Of Gaia-Consciousness-Inner Fullness is quite simply breathtaking. Possibly not for everyone, but is one of those bands (like Sylosis, Opeth, Mastodon, Isis, and so on) that sits so perfectly on the knife-edge whereby the music carries enough extremity to energise you, but not too much to sacrifice the beauty of melody. Stellar.
2. Amorphis - Circle
2013 [9.0] - Amorphis is one of my favourite bands, and despite my liking of the Pasi-era stuff (especially Elegy), that fact is really due to the majestic music they have made with Tomi Joutsen. Eclipse was very promising, and that promise was realised with Silent Waters. Whilst I love their last 3 albums, The Beginning Of Times did give the impression that one more album like this and they might begin wearing a bit thin, which would have been a big disappointment. What they've done here is completely avoid that, thanks to a typically strong release. I'm struggling to define what it is about this release that makes it sufficiently different to their past albums to avoid sounding stale; I guess it's not quite so straightforward song-wise as their last few albums, and I guess it's slightly darker and heavier, but not dramatically so. It just has a unique feel that allows great songs like Narrow Path, Into The Abyss and Enchanted By The Moon to truly shine, and even weaker songs like Hopeless Days (for my money, possibly the least interesting song Tomi-era Amorphis has released) don't drag it down. If you like their recent albums, I would be very surprised if you were disappointed by this. It's just as good as their recent work, but different enough to stand as its own entity, and we can now breathe a sigh of relief over the future of this fantastic band.
3. Nero Di Marte - Nero Di Marte
2013 [8.9] - Truly engrossing, wonderfully sprawling progressive death metal epic with definite post-metal leanings. When it goes extreme, it doesn't hold back with the chromatic riffing, blasts etc., but when it expands the sound to other territories, whether post-y, doomy, or whatever else, it does it equally well and uncompromisingly. Very powerful and gripping album which promises a lot from the band in the future.
4. Riverside - Shrine Of New Generation Slaves
2013 [8.9] - The first highlight of the year. Riverside may have gone a bit further towards the 'classic prog rock' sound, most notably with that keyboard sound, but it's less of a shift that, for example, Opeth made, and it's still recognizable as the same great band that made Out of Myself. Perhaps less consistent than that release, and possibly without a standout of the same quality as Left Out or Dance With The Shadow off previous records, but songs like The Depth Of Self-Delusion and album climax Escalator Shrine still have that unique Riverside atmosphere feel, and the record is still a strong addition to this band's extremely impressive discography.
5. The Ocean - Pelagial
2013 [8.8] - I heard the instrumental version before the vocals version, and whilst the vocals do not necessarily add a great deal to an excellent instrumental base, neither do they detract. This is possibly the band's best effort, and a thoroughly moving release. It does occasionally make its influences a bit blatant, especially the obviously Mastodon-copied sections in some parts, but overall it's its own work, and varied and magnificently done it is. There are parts which scream post-rock, some with a far more metal edge, whether post-y or whether more direct songwriting of different styles, other bits that are strongly piano-driven, but all in all it's a truly wonderful release and exactly the kind of thing this band has occasionally promised at but not previously delivered.
6. Enshine - Origin
2013 [8.7] - Some really mesmerizing atmospheric melodic gothic/death/doom, or whatever the hell it would be classed as. The guitar melodies are lovely, the instrumentation makes a great atmosphere, the vocals are more than good enough to stand up to the rest of it, and it all works as a really fine package. Thumbs up.
7. Amiensus - Restoration
2012 [8.6] - This was initially listed as released on the last day of 2012, but has now been bumped forward to 1 Jan 2013, presumably to allow it to be in contention for next year's awards, which it really darn well should be, because it's REALLY GOOD. A fantastic release, made up of a heap of different elements: BM shrieks and blastbeats, softer acoustic parts, dreamy atmospheric cleans, lovely keys, great solos, and so on. Add to that an excellent production job, and there's not much to say except - check it out, it's brilliant.
8. Mechina - Empyrean
2013 [8.6] - I must say, industrial death metal is a terrible genre tag to try and sell music to me with, considering my disdain for Fear Factory. Overcoming my prejudices, I gave this a listen, and am very happy that I did so. With an engaging mix of crunchy riffs, interesting electronic sounds, symphonics, powerful growls and really engaging clean vocals, it all comes together in this really neat cosmos of sound, which I give a big thumbs up to.
9. Intronaut - Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)
2013 [8.6] - See, post-metal isn't a dead genre yet, ey? This album does share some features of the genre, such as extended atmospheric instrumental sections, 'tribal' drumming parts, unconventional song structures, but Isis or Neurosis this ain't. It has a certain 'je ne sais quoi' to it that makes it stand out, and it also has jazzy tendencies and an ability to refrain from the usual vocal roars and has more stoner-ish lucid vocals. But what really makes it stand out is the beautiful, moving soul this album has, which is present on most songs and arguably most notably demonstrated on the soft, semi-interlude song 'Blood From A Stone'. All around, a really moving and distinct album which is easily worth a listen.
10. Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
2013 [8.5] - I missed Aealo, so my last encounter with this band was 2007's excellent Theogonia. This album has diminished black leanings compared to that album; a majority of the album is more mid- than rapid-paced, and blastbeats are kept to a low level, and I can't say I'm complaining. The album has a healthy sense of melody, and also uses folk instruments, chanting and other elements that they dabbled with on Theogonia, but from memory not to the degree observed here. The consistency this band manages to achieve quality-wise across the different types of songs they have on the album is a testament to their ability; for an example check out the very different yet equally stellar tracks 8 and 9. A pretty excellent release.
11. Omnium Gatherum - Beyond
2013 [8.5] - New World Shadows was one of the highlights of 2011, and it appears that these melodeathers have built on the foundations of the success that album brought. It is more of a continuation of that album, although it has a sound which is sufficiently distinct from that album to identify it as its own standalone release - it has a rather less 'sombre' feel, and at times feels rather upbeat, particularly in album highlights The Unknowing and colossal closer White Palace. It has sufficient inter-album variety to stay fresh, from blasting regions (but suitably sugar-coated to take any edge off them, perhaps the most noticeable negatives), to parts of acoustics mixed with beautiful solos. Along with the expansive pinnacle of the album Nightcrawlers, these different features help to avoid this album reaching any point where it feels stale, which is a relief because music this good doesn't deserve such a fate. Not quite at NWS levels, but a very solid release.
12. Tribulation - The Formulas Of Death
2013 [8.4] - Given the source of the recommendation of this album on this website, and my previous indifference towards music recommended from this source, I was somewhat wary about giving this a try, but hop diggidy shit, this is really something worth listening to. An amalgamation of extreme music with a knack for straying out of the extreme comfort zone into more melodic, clean passages. The real meat of the music is performed perfectly well, and will keep you entirely engaged, but it's the wandering that the music does into other territories that really takes it to another level; whether with clean, psychedelic solos, slow, creeping single-strings, or monolithic chords, this really does have something special about it. Fully recommended.
13. Long Distance Calling - The Flood Inside
2013 [8.4] - Whilst this highly promising post- band has the risk of repeating itself now it's onto its fourth release, it successfully avoids the pitfalls by still maintaining both sufficient variety, and sufficient consistency of quality in that variety, to remain a force to be reckoned with in this big post- game. The addition of a permanent vocalist is an obvious change, but he isn't a wildly prominent member of the band and only features on certain tracks. It's more their ability to keep the songs sounding similar and yet distinct that keeps them worthwhile, from achingly beautiful melodic stuff, to churning crunchers, to music in between; the use of regular samples definitely gives the music another edge to boot. And also, they produce a career high water mark with the quite sensational Waves, which brings back Holy Tears-era Isis thoughts, which is extremely high praise. Top stuff all round.
14. In Vain - Ænigma
2013 [8.4] - This is down as progressive death metal on here, but I would've thought it'd be categorized as melodic black metal - it definitely brings Borknagar at times, through both the high-pitched clean vocals, and a lot of the instrumentation. This is what this more upbeat type of meloblack should sound like (this isn't in Dissection territory), and is one of the best releases I've heard in the genre in a while - it has all you'd want from such a list; varying and well-performed vocals, great tremolo riffs, neat symphonic lacings, interesting and well-structured songs. This is a really solid release.
15. Nocte Obducta - Umbriel (Das Schweigen Zwischen Den Sternen)
2013 [8.3] - A remarkably impressive avant-garde black metal release, covering a large range of territory in an entirely cohesive and enthralling manner. There are BM moments, but they're rather subdued compared to some bands and never become truly extreme. They exist solely as part of the grand picture of this album, which also includes chilled out moments, electronic passages, and more, as well as an even spread of softer and harsher vocals. Everything is done well and comes together very well, especially on the masterpiece tracks Dinner Auf Uranos and Leere, a brooding epic of a track.
16. Kingcrow - In Crescendo
2013 [8.3] - Some top-notch melodic prog metal. From the same general musical school of thought as Dream Theater, although with an obviously different sound. They have a strong reliance on riffs, and whilst they have a capacity for soloing, it's never done to excess. It has most of what you would expect of this kind of music, but it's done in that kind of fashion that keeps it vital despite not being particularly original. The excellent vocalist clearly helps, but so does solid songwriting skills, and a desire to emotionally engage with the music. Truly great stuff.
17. Cult Of Luna - Vertikal
2013 [8.3] - Along with my personal favourite Isis, CoL are one of the leaders of the polarizing post-metal genre, one I become an ever-increasing fan of. Whilst Isis often had a rather mellow touch to their work, CoL were slightly more cold in their work whilst still remaining similar characteristics, and this remains the case here. This contains most of the features one would expect of a good post-metal album, harsh punishing moments, more engrossing, developing segments, and unconventional song structures. Whilst many bands can do this, only the best manage to perform it with the conviction and quality to bring across the desired impact, and CoL is one of them. Personal highlights are I: The Weapon, the very Isis-like In Awe Of, and the absolutely enormous Vicarious Redemption.
18. The Flight Of Sleipnir - Saga
2013 [8.2] - Starts of somewhat bland before the second track comes in and changes all that. The band exists with a core of folk and black metal, with other elements such as stoner sprinkled on. Whilst the more blackened parts are good, the band shines more on tracks like Reaffirmation, Reverence and Judgement where they give their softer, more melancholy side a chance to express itself in a lovely manner, producing some excellent music. A somewhat mixed but ultimately rewarding album.
19. Kongh - Sole Creation
2013 [8.2] - An intensely savage album camped firmly between murky sludge and crushing doom metal. At its most fierce, such as on Portals, and towards the end of the misleadingly-titled Tamed Brute, it produces some truly bludgeoning riffs and violent vocal roars, producing an intensity most death metal bands could only dream of. At the times where it's more melancholy, such as the brooding final track, Skymming, it's camped more in the doom territory, with vocals that bring to mind Zakk Wylde and Ozzy, and guitar work that is more morose than brutal, without being particularly light-hearted. The variation between the two sounds avoids it becoming repetitive, and the album has a production which is professional without taking the edge off the music. For those looking for dirty, crushing music, definitely one for you.
20. Eibon - II
2013 [8.2] - I'm not sure for certain, but I'm guessing this would be classed as blackened doom; clearly it has the song lengths and stylings of doom along with occasional tremolo picking and the evil atmosphere that black metal can provide. Whatever it's classed as, it truly is a crushingly heavy slab of atmospheric metal guaranteed not to leave you indifferent, either in a positive or negative way. Whilst there were moments of it which didn't quite do it for me, the overall intensity of it was just undeniably impressive and won me over.
21. Anciients - Heart Of Oak
2013 [8.2] - A very solid progressive metal album which covers a solid amount of territory, ranging from blues-y rock passages to meloblack bits, but does it all in an entirely cohesive and smooth manner that it doesn't sound at all disjointed or fragmented. The songs are perhaps not as spellbinding as some prog bands, and lack enough hooks to truly grip your attention, but there's enough good stuff going on here to keep you fully entertained.
22. Thrawsunblat - Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings
2013 [8.2] - Some really solid folk-infused meloblack, with good clean and harsh vocals, a lovely melancholy atmosphere, serviceable riffs, and some really good soloing. The songs mix it up just enough to avoid going stale, but don't deviate too far from the core sound. The obvious highlights are the title track and View of a Million Trees, but the whole album is consistently good, and worth a listen if this is your thing.
23. Bend The Sky - Observatory
2013 [8.1] - This band's debut was one of the best last year, a year full of promising introductions. The mix of slightly djent-y prog metal with prominent 'epic' keyboard symphonics produced a quite majestic sound, one that utilised the strengths of djent's percussive and powerful nature without getting caught up in the aimless songwriting or vocal histrionics (this band is purely instrumental). This EP continues where the last album left off, and whilst the fact it's an EP does stop it truly shining, it does suggest that this band will continue to improve - on the whole, very promising.
24. October Falls - The Plague Of A Coming Age
2013 [8.1] - A nice fusion of well-produced semi-atmospheric black metal with prominent guitar leads, folk-y elements and a somewhat gothic/doomy atmosphere, produces a nice bit of melancholy-yet-sinister atmospheric metal. They haven't reinvented the wheel here, but they have used different elements to make a really solid release which should appeal to fans of sincere sorrowful, but not overly extreme, metal.
25. Evoke Thy Lords - Drunken Tales
2013 [8.1] - Really neat doom with psychedelic elements. The extreme vocals are mixed with some nice female cleans drifting in and out, and the album's wildcard, the slightly proggy/jazzy flute, turns out to be a real bonus rather than a pointless gimmick. Really sound album.
26. Caladan Brood - Echoes Of Battle
2013 [8.0] - I saw this being referred to as Summoning worship; whilst I can see this similarity, this is definitely more interesting than anything I've heard from Summoning. Not as plodding as that, this maintains a decent pace, chugging along with keys and folk melodies layered on top, giving this the epic feeling the other band tries and (IMO) fails to achieve. A really nice listen.
27. Officium Triste - Mors Viri
2013 [8.0] - A melodic extreme doom album, however it's classified. Can't say I know the genre all that well, but the closest comparator that I've listened to to any particular degree is Saturnus. The music is slow, made up predominantly of down-tempo guitar riffs with sorrowful guitar leads on top, as well as other elements, including ambient keyboards and other minor elements. The vocals mix between churning growls and moving cleans, both of which are performed well. Not a genre I'm greatly passionate about, but the music is clearly well-done and moving.
28. Eternal Tears Of Sorrow - Saivon Lapsi
2013 [8.0] - My second taste of EToS after A Virgin and A Whore, an album I highly enjoy. This one is similarly good; very solid extreme power with all the elements such an album needs - great vocals, both coarse and clean, cool keys and guitars, and reasonable musical variety. I mean, it's not a particularly original EPM release, but it's better than anything Children of Bodom have done recently, and it's definitely better than Time I, regardless of how many hundreds of keys/strings tracks that one has.
29. Big Big Train - English Electric (Part Two)
2013 [8.0] - Like Part One from last year, a really solid effort at chilled out 70s-influenced prog rock. Doesn't break any major ground, but it is really solid and thoroughly enjoyable throughout, and stands up well alongside other prog rockers this year, including D'Virgillo's old band Spock's Beard. Neat release.
30. Terra Tenebrosa - The Purging
2013 [8.0] - A difficult but ultimating rewarding album to get into - it approaches excessive dissonance and drone at times, neither of which appeal to me, but manage to keep it just, I don't know, 'musical' enough to still keep me on board. An esoteric release best summed up by the somewhat ugly The Nucleus Turbine, and peaking with the title track, definitely worthwhile listening for fans of more 'out-there' stuff.
31. Fallujah - Nomadic
2013 [8.0] - A really rather peculiar but ultimately promising release for this band to return to the fold with. Their last album, which I highly enjoyed, was basically a modern tech-death album with good extreme riffs and blistering solos, which worked very nicely, but didn't (as far as I recall) have all that much variety. That kind of accusation cannot be held against this album; which is bookended by two sprawling progressive death albums and has a six-minute mellow, almost ambient, middle track. The 'proper' songs contain powerful modern death riffs, hooky solos and guitar melodies, and an enjoyable propensity to reign it in and chill out at times, which gives enough variety to the music to allow the best parts to shine. If their next full-length can live up to this, we might have a cracking album to look forward to.
32. Chosen - Resolution
2013 [7.9] - This whole record passed me by and after reaching the end I still wasn't quite sure what I was listening to, just that I liked it. Don't take from that that it's a genre-breaking avant-garde eclectic-fest, it's just it's not that easy to pigeon-hole into any specific genre. It shifts around quite a bit, with groovy but technical riffs, mostly barked/growled vocals with occasional cleans, regular mix-ups in the music. It's just enjoyable proggy techy-deathy modern metal, which is worth at least a cursory listen.
33. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber - Regarde Les Hommes Tomber
2013 [7.9] - A solid post-black effort from zes Frenchies. It definitely fits the tag more than Redwood Hill (see below); it has the atmosphere, grooves and riffs of post-metal but also clearly revels in black elements, with riffs and other song segments influenced by the genre. The album is quite short, and does occasionally achieve a slightly repetitive feel despite this, but overall the music is a perfectly decent listen and a promising debut, like several others this year.
34. Disperse - Living Mirrors
2013 [7.9] - A really interesting and enjoyable mix of modern prog, djent and ambient leanings, in an altogether well-rounded package that, like Bend The Sky, shows that when djent is used properly, it can be used to make some really fine music. Admittedly the album quite often suffers from the age-old djent problem of 'emotional'-sounding whiny vocals lacking real vocal hooks, but the impact it has on the overall package is mercifully minor, and the rest of the music manages to compensate.
35. Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn
2013 [7.9] - I'd always had a bit of a problem with Summoning - their style of atmos-black, with fuzzy underlying guitar, mid-paced 'echo-ey' songs with folky instruments layered on top, always sounded good for a bit, but got old after a while. This album, their first in a while, has a very similar style, yet despite this manages to be somewhat more consistently enjoyable than I've found their previous efforts. It won't convert me into a fan, but I appreciate how they seem to have upped their game on this. It stills gets a bit tedious after a whole album, but less than I've found previous efforts to be.
36. Imperium Dekadenz - Meadows Of Nostalgia
2013 [7.9] - A mid-tempo black metal album, the kind arguably closest to those latter-era Immortal tracks which slow it down; that kind of half-melodic, almost wave-like riffs that don't aim to be 'atmospheric' but have a moving feel nevertheless. It's very well-performed and quite moving; however, in the end, its weakness is that it suffers the same problem all too many albums do these days - it's simply been done many times before, and in a genre that relies more on the general sound than specific memorable hooks, it does prevent it truly shining, no matter how good the music is. Regardless, the closing track is truly enthralling and a fine example of how to properly do this type of music.
37. Redwood Hill - Descender
2013 [7.9] - The 'post-black' label that's been given to this seems something of a misnomer; aside from a definite hint of BM in the closing track, the rest of the album is just a fairly typical post-metal album, with all the perks and pitfalls that brings. If you're tired of this genre, I doubt this album will make any impact on you; however, for those out there who reap as much enjoyment from the whole post-metal show as I have come to will find this album plenty good enough to satisfy. After a forgettable opening track, the middle four demonstrate everything that's so good about this genre right up to the max. The bleh opening and general lack of originality hinder this album somewhat, but overall, a very neat release.
38. Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
2013 [7.9] - Porcupine Tree are another one of those bands that I quite enjoy without being truly excited by, and this is another case of that. There's some solid material on there, without it being truly moving. It's predominantly a mix of 70s prog in the style of Yes in particular, along with soft, mellow parts, especially on the closing title track. A nice, pleasant, yet ultimately forgettable release.
39. Immolation - Kingdom Of Conspiracy
2013 [7.9] - As far as modern death metal goes, I'm more a fan of the Demigod-era Behemoth style (successfully mimicked by Hate amongst others) than the style found on this album. Nevertheless, there are some crunching DM songs on here, with riffs a-plenty and some very solid lead guitaring making this a very good example of 2013 American death metal.
40. The Meads Of Asphodel - Sonderkommando
2013 [7.9] - Incredibly unique (well, compared to other bands - haven't heard their previous stuff to comment) black metal album with a range of elements. The first couple of songs were alright but not all that interesting - fairly weak production with okay but not all that interesting riffs, but then on track 4, the first sign of the album's variety came through with the enjoyable BM mix with cleans. Beyond there, several other tracks displayed a range of intriguing elements during their runtime, including the standout mix of prog rock keyboards on top a driving black metal base in Part 2 of Children of the Sunwheel Banner, and the Blue Danube leading into a subdued-yet-tense intro of Hourglass of Ash before a full-out black metal assault. All in all, not something I hugely enjoy, but I can appreciate the scope of this release, a very impressive album.
41. Pensées Nocturnes - Nom D'une Pipe!
2013 [7.9] - Out of this year's French avant-garde black metal releases, this one is slightly more accessible and enjoyable than Way To End, so scores slightly higher. The music does have extreme leanings at times, especially with the quite gruesome shriek/growl vocals, but has a greater amount of non-metal regions, either French gypsy kinda stuff, or semi-classical segments such as that opening La Chimere. It is arguably in this song where the best combination of metal and non-metal lies, something which this band has shown itself on previous releases to be very adept at doing. Weird but fascinating.
42. Hate - Solarflesh: A Gospel Of Radiant Divinity
2013 [7.9] - Somebody should probably tell these guys that this album has already been made, but by Behemoth in 2004 and called Demigod. Admittedly, that is a slight stretch, but these guys play a style so similar to that popularized by death metal-era Behemoth that it's really difficult for them to shine, no matter how well it's done, which in this case, is really rather good. I really enjoyed this album; but the sheer extent of their unoriginality cripples the band's chances of truly succeeding.
43. Maudlin - A Sign Of Time
2013 [7.8] - A stoner/sludge (not quite sure which) metal album (with post- and psychedelic elements) which sounds firmly from the Southern States; a surprise, therefore, that it comes from a Belgian group. The troupe produces some pretty solid music with good vocals, moving grooves and gripping hazy atmospheres. Not quite a revolutionary piece of work, but definitely a commendable effort.
44. Worldengine - Dark Matters
2013 [7.8] - Quite chilled-out yet dark proggy atmos-rock somewhere in the region of Pure Reason Revolution, although this isn't quite up there with something like The Dark Third. The music is interesting and well-written, although it doesn't grab you all that much except on certain occasions (12th is one such highlight). The vocals are a mix of male and female, and the male is consistently competent but unexcelling. The female is a bit more variable quality-wise; on some tracks she comes off a bit weak and arguably off-key, but on her stronger tracks she really lifts up the music. All in all, an unexceptional but perfectly competent moody prog rock release.
45. Lascaille's Shroud - Interval 01: Parallel Infinities - The Inner Universe
2013 [7.8] - A very chaotic album taking elements so far-spreading it's not really worth explaining - just know that the extreme progressive metal tag tells only some of the story. Whilst this is all admirable, there is perhaps a lack of cohesiveness merging all these interesting ideas together. Regardless, the album contains a solid quantity of great musical sections in its runtime, certainly enough to entertain in spite of its slightly fractured feel.
46. Kvelertak - Meir
2013 [7.8] - The blackened punk/ black n' rollers return with their sophomore album. I've listened to the debut but nowhere near enough to properly judge it; however, I'm sure I don't remember it being quite as fun as this album is, especially Nekrokosmos, which is a really neat track, or Undertro and Tordenbrak, with their hard rock outro. Whilst I'm not fully excited by this style of music, it's commendable and these guys perform it really well, so kudos to them.
47. Way To End - Various Shades Of Black
2013 [7.8] - One of those impressive avant-garde black metal releases that manages to live up to the extremity and esoteric nature that such a tag offers without becoming overly atonal and dissonant or incoherent, which is something to be admired. The music does mix up the more venomous parts plenty with more chilled out, or more melodically inclined, or even more just weird-as-heck parts (sounding like french gypsy folk a couple of times), which keeps it fresh and stops the extreme side becoming fatiguing. Highlights are probably the two closing tracks, which between them pretty much show off all the facets of the music on the album. Not fully enjoyable, as such strange and nasty music struggles to be for me, but is still an admirable effort.
48. Lychgate - Lychgate
2013 [7.8] - A debut black metal album which isn't all that easy to classify. It's not atmos- or post-, it's not standard old-school style, it's not overly avant-garde or dissonant, it's just kinda creepy, mixing it up between slower, murkier bit and more uptempo passages. The end product is a rather interesting listen, but not necessarily one that leaves a lasting mark on the listener. Possibly the best advert for this album is the track 'Dust From A Gun Barrel' - I would recommend using that to determine whether the whole album's worth a listen.
49. DGM - Momentum
2013 [7.7] - Some very solid melodic prog metal, which exists somewhere in the same ballpark as Pagan's Mind with it's power inclinations. There is good keyboard use, quality guitar playing and soloing, and a very competent vocalist holding it all together, combined with decent songwriting skills. The songs admittedly aren't as memorable as they could be, but they make a good impression whilst playing and include a reasonable amount of nice vocal hooks. Not a leader in the genre, but a worthy member of the large and proud crowd.
50. Orbeth - 13th Orb
2013 [7.7] - Guitar-driven 'progressive' metal, but more than just another Yngwie Malmsteem act - they do have a good enough focus on songwriting to be more than just a soloing act; plus, they do have plenty of riffs, as well as keyboards contributing, even if the guitars are the dominant force. Not a great description really, but can't really think of bands to compare it to, or truly distinctive factors of the music. Nothing overly memorable, but well-written and with its own sound, so an altogether decent effort. Plus, the vocals might not be to everyone's taste, but there is also a purely instrumental version of the album available to those who desire it.
51. Subterranean Masquerade - Home
2013 [7.7] - A solitary 12 minutes of music on the EP, but it's very solid music that has brought this band to my attention; I will doubtless look further into the catalogue. The music contained on this album is prog, at times somewhat vaguely aligned to Orphaned Land's later music - it has a certain oriental folk vibe, due to the male chanting and use of violin. If you can track it down, it's definitely worth giving a listen; I mean, it's not going to take up much of your time, is it?
52. Æther Realm - One Chosen By The Gods
2013 [7.7] - A pretty split quality album. The first four songs are just very competent yet unremarkable extreme power/folk metal, with quick melodic riffs, blastbeats, extreme vocals and folky melodies, but all pretty by the numbers. Upon reaching the title track, the album gains some kind of inspiration that takes it to a different level. The twisting guitar lines on said title track were the first thing on the album to properly grab my attention; then, the folkier Ravensong had the catchiness the album needed, and then the following 3 tracks brought the moving 'epic' feel that this music needs. So by no means perfect, but some highly promising tracks in the second half promise much from the band.
53. Aeon Zen - Enigma
2013 [7.7] - Some pleasant, well-performed, yet ultimately unexceptional melodic progressive metal. The album actually manages a reasonable amount of variety during its runtime, from softer keys-driven songs, to quasi-extreme moments, to Devin Townsend-esque songs (Warning). There are some really nice moments scattered throughout the album, but in general it does admittedly lack that special something to lift it above more than just 'quite good'.
54. Hypocrisy - End Of Disclosure
2013 [7.7] - This album took a pleasant turn halfway through. During the first few songs, the album gave off a strong impression of 'been there, done that' generic Gothenburg style 'mainstream' melodeath, and not especially well-done melodeath at that. Then, all of a sudden, the album took a surprising turn towards a darker, more extreme sound, and it suddenly really came into it's own. Something like 'When Death Calls', whilst still retaining melodic elements, is more extreme than most albums of this style manage to be, and that added bite took the album to a different level than it was at during the first few songs. It's not a great album by any means, but that willingness to take a heavier approach with this music paid off, when they got round to finally doing it.
55. Hacride - Back To Where You've Never Been
2013 [7.7] - Not an easily definable style; there's elements of metalcore, groovy extreme metal, and slight proggy elements. They're in the same universe as Gojira, albeit more melodic and direct. Overall, the music is enjoyable and engaging enough to keep you interested throughout, and offers up enough groove to keep you headbobbing along all the way. On the filp side, the vocals are quite grating, which does work against the album, but not enough to sufficiently to dampen the rest of what the album offers all that much.
56. Soilwork - The Living Infinite
2013 [7.7] - The two previous albums I heard from this band were The Chainheart Machine (decent) and Stabbing The Drama (tedious and empty), the latter of which put me off this band pretty much for life. After seeing the impressive response to this album I thought I'd check it out to see if anything had changed; boy it has. This is what this kind of 'mainstream melodeath' should sound like - stupidly catchy, great guitar melodies and riffs, neat vocal hooks, generally everything that In Flames has been failing to do (or at least consistently) since Clayman. Whilst the huge length is unnecessary, the content within those minutes is consistently good, and each individual song is worthwhile. It's not brilliant, but it didn't need to be - it hits enough right notes to restore a level of interest in the band in me, and likely many others as well.
57. Helloween - Straight Out Of Hell
2013 [7.7] - Helloween were never a band I had a strong infatuation with, but I have always derived a level of enjoyment out of their music, both the early Keepers albums (I consider 'Halloween' the best metal song, if not my favourite), and their more recent stuff with Deris. This album continues with the same recent sound of the band, but at the same time has sufficient stylistic variation to avoid sounding like a repeat effort, something which seems to characterise this band. Whilst the material rarely reaches greatness, there is sufficient variety between the likes of Straight out of Hell, Burning Sun and Years, along with some of the more bizarre tracks like Live Now!, Wanna Be God and Asshole to keep you perfectly entertained. Oh, and Nabataea is absolutely frikking killer.
58. Ghost B.C. - Infestissumam
2013 [7.6] - The debut release of this band was decent but pretty paper-thin occult rock, which was an okay listen whilst it was on but ultimately forgettable afterwards, at least in my opinion. I must say, I think this album is a definite step up, even if some might contest that they've lost some of their retro appeal with the shift towards a fuller, more exploratory approach. It's still fairly light and sounds reasonably similar to before, but it has a more mellow feel to the fairly empty atmosphere the previous one had. It also includes more guitar variation, with multiple solos and an increased incidence of guitar leads making the songs a bit less narrow in their sound. Whether this sound is what the people who loved the debut are looking for I don't know, but personally I consider this a step in a more interesting and worthwhile direction.
59. Blood Red Throne - Blood Red Throne
2013 [7.6] - Pretty much a case of music well done, but done to death. Death metal isn't the most flexible of genres, and even over its brief runtime, this album does rather blend together. Nevertheless, it's a solid slab of death metal which I enjoy and enthusiasts should firmly dig.
60. Dissona - Ten Masks
2013 [7.6] - An album which took 4 years to go from recorded to released. To be honest, it's one of those progressive albums which, whilst you're listening to it, you're aware of enjoying multiple parts of it, but as a whole it fails to really grab your attention. Decent but not too much more than that.
61. Clutch - Earth Rocker
2013 [7.6] - Just some straight-up hard rock; the reason why I'm fine with it on this album and less so with the straight-forward song approach of Pretty Maids (see below) is that this music has an important component that album lacks - Groove! That mystical element that can carry music by managing to involve the listener. The songs here aren't great by any means, but they're fun to listen to and have just enough variation to avoid becoming overly sterile.
62. Gloryhammer - Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife
2013 [7.6] - What comes to mind with these guys is 'Scottish Rhapsody of Fire'. They have the OTT synth-ridden themed power metal that sounds very similar to the (in)famous italians. They do it well, arguably better than either of the Rhapsody's have managed recently, but it's not quite reaching to any higher echelons. Still, better than some of the other power metal releases this year, so well done them.
63. Apocynthion - Sidereus Nuncius
2013 [7.6] - An album with a mix of post/gaze in the style of perhaps Falloch, and more blackened stuff. It's a perfectly reasonable album which does its job well, but it doesn't quite match RLHT for the best post-black of the year, and amongst some of the other post- greats it's not quite a standout. The songs are nice but do have a tendency to outstay their welcome, as they haven't got quite the songwriting skills that some of the genre leaders possess. Nevertheless, a worthy effort.
64. Finntroll - Blodsvept
2013 [7.6] - Does what it needs to, no more, no less, and with no more variety than one would expect from an elder statesman of the Scandinavian folk metal scene. Extreme vocals with catchy guitar melodies, functional riffs, and folk instruments laced in. The music itself is perfectly fine and listenable, and a more down-tempo and harsher track like Skovlarens Dod is interesting and breaks up the repetitive feel of the album, but in the end, unless this is your first intro to the genre, you'll have heard it done before, and done better.
65. Wolfchant - Embraced By Fire
2013 [7.6] - Extreme folk in the style of Ensiferum of old, although a more rounded sound than those albums had. On the downside, it also lacks some of the dynamite quality those albums also had, as well as the originality and great songs. This is all well-done, catchy, energetic and whatever else you'd want from the genre, with some richer, folk-ier songs like the closer Winter's Triumph as well, but when it's all over, it won't particularly stick with you or go down as anything more than an alright extreme folk metal album.
66. Vallendusk - Black Clouds Gathering
2013 [7.6] - For a change, some upbeat black metal. It has all the elements you'd expect - shrieky vocals, blasting drums, tremolo riffs, and yet it has this optimistic feel; it's kind of like a mix of the music of atmos-black bands with the tone of something like Alcest. It's good, but it does begin to grate a tad over the length of the album to the extent that it loses some of its charm, which is a characteristic it definitely possesses. If you like black metal and are looking for an intriguing twist on the old formula, definitely worth a check-out, but you perhaps get the feeling that there's someone out there that could take this interesting idea and release something even better.
67. Thyrfing - De Ödeslösa
2013 [7.6] - Some competent and mildly interesting viking/folk/black metal, which manages to be regularly catchy and moderately moving. However, the music just isn't all that exciting, or innovative, or varied, to allow it to truly shine, limiting it to mild appeal. However, despite all this, the album does have one plus point in the beautiful piano-led outro to album highlight Veners Forfall, which lifts the album up a couple of notches.
68. Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep
2013 [7.6] - A far more approachable and user-friendly sound than their earlier stuff, even the fairly simple The Kindness Of Strangers. The sound is nice a sheen-y, the prog elements sit more in the background, and the music as an enjoyably song-orientated approach, producing accessible, enjoyable prog/hard rock. This sound is really quite enjoyable, more so personally than most of what I heard of their earlier stuff, and in general, it's a very competent release from the band.
69. Stratovarius - Nemesis
2013 [7.5] - Strat haven't always been the easiest band to like, with their variable output and drama; personally, whilst I've enjoyed individual songs, their style doesn't just do it enough for me to enjoy listening to full albums, mostly due to Kotipelto's difficult-to-love voice. However, they have done some solid music recently, and this builds on it. This album's greatest strength is its willingness to experiment - the album avoids repetition through the use of more straight-forward PM/Hard-rock tracks, mixed with more experimental numbers like Halcyon Days and the more expansive nature of Out of the Fog. The albums lacks anything like the epic title track from Elysium, but in terms of general song consistency, with the likes of Unbreakable, Dragons and the aforementioned tracks, it probably beats anything they've done since Infinite.
70. Moth - Endlessly In Motion
2013 [7.5] - The first band which popped into mind when I heard this album was Gojira, which to be honest is a fairly useful starting point for describing the band; however it doesn't do justice to the album in any way to not describe the things that set them apart. Whilst the vocals are similar to Duplantier and the bands share similar inclinations towards groove, the guitar leads, when they appear, are more prominent on this album. Also, the keys layered over some of the pounding riffs add a new layer. However, the band probably sounds most cohesive when they mix the groovy/deathy inclinations with some more ambient experimentations, such as towards the end of personal album highlight 'Drifting'. The album is consistently decent, but there is room for improvement, especially with the vocals, which sound a tad painful and jarring at times and lack the invisible factor that makes the aforementioned Frenchman's vocals so good in Gojira, but also some of the riffs could be more interesting. Nevertheless, a good start and promising for things to come.
71. Fractal Gates - Beyond The Self
2013 [7.4] - Mildly interesting and functionally competent melodic death metal, with proggy leanings that pull it away from the standard Gothenburg sound. Both growls and cleans are good but not exceptional, and guitar parts do their job without particularly standing out as memorable. Tracks such as On Your Own grab attention, but overall, it's nothing more than a decent MDM album.
72. State Urge - White Rock Experience
2013 [7.4] - Pleasant chilled prog rock from Poland. There's some decent songs in there, and some less-so-good ones (Long For You is a pretty nauseating alt radio rock kinda thing in the vein of later Anathema, but nowhere near as good as that band's recent output), and overall it's a worthwhile listen, but not something that will stay long in the memory.
73. Light Bearer - Silver Tongue
2013 [7.4] - Some more good post/sludge-metal. This is closer to the Cult of Luna style than Isis, less mellow, harsher, and more emphasis on the extreme rather than the softer; nevertheless, it still utilises both amply in its huge running time. It definitely has its own sound, distinct from other Post- bands, whilst still treading similar territory. However, the music is interesting but not stellar, which when combined with the enormous length, means the music loses some of its lustre. Enjoyable whilst listening, but unlikely to stay with you after it's over; nevertheless, worth checking out if you're a post- fan like me.
74. Evile - Skull
2013 [7.3] - As far as the retro-thrash bands go, Evile were never the most original, but I was quite a big fan earlier on in their career, especially with Infected Nations. My interest in thrash, and as such the band, has rather dwindled in the past year or so. The relative lack of advancement made on this compared to the previous two albums is therefore more damaging that it would've otherwise been. The album is still decent thrash (although it is rather mid-paced), but the re-hash feel creeps in more and stops this becoming anything great. The saving grace of the album is the thrash-'ballad' Tomb, which is the clear standout track and shows how versatile they can be. Still talented at writing hooky thrash riffs, but at this stage, that no longer impresses enough.
75. Killswitch Engage - Disarm The Descent
2013 [7.3] - Being a Howard-era fan of this band, and being largely indifferent towards the earlier stuff (a few songs aside), I was somewhat apprehensive about how this 'reunion' album, as it were, would sound like. The answer is something of a mix between 'As Daylight Dies' and the side-project Times Of Grace. It has the accessible melodic tendencies of their more recent albums, with some of the songwriting tendencies of the side-project (not really sure how to explain this better). Overall, it's decent, but it's caught in no man's land between lacking the bite of their earlier stuff (to those that it appeals to) and not really having the all-out catchiness of songs like This Is Absolution and Rose Of Sharyn, except in a couple of songs (The Call is really sugar-coated gold), and as a result, it's just another melodic metalcore album in a sea, which considering how these guys are genre-leaders, is a slight disappointment. Still, it does beat most of the crowd, and if you're into this stuff, it's unlikely to disappoint - the tone of this review is far more negative than my overall opinions of the album.
76. Inter Arma - Sky Burial
2013 [7.3] - Stumbled across this debut album by accident, I was intrigued by the genre description: "Merging doom, psychedelic sludge, grind, black metal and mighty mighty riffs to create a sound wholly their own". Whilst all those elements do appear, the core sound of the album is predominantly murky, gloomy doom/sludge, with drone-like elements. The music does lighten up at times, but the lead sound of the album is rather cold and alienating. It's a remarkable album, and I'd like to enjoy it more than I do, but it is somewhat out of my music tastes; however I would recommend to anyone who likes drone-y, sludgy cold atmospheric murkfests to give it a listen.
77. Coheed And Cambria - The Afterman: Descension
2013 [7.2] - Whilst I'm a massive fan of the Good Apollo albums, and also Keeping Secrets..., this band's output has since been rather unspectacular. This album is arguably more consistent than Ascension, but lacks a killer track like Domino The Destitute. A reasonable listen, but has the same issue of the two previous albums of just lacking the spark that the 3 albums than preceded them had. Another minor disappointment.
78. Octopus - Into The Void Of Fear
2013 [7.2] - Well-performed, technically impressive, notably heavy instrumental metal (well, mostly - a few growls arise on track 7), but pretty emotionless and lacking in feel to compensate, so ultimately comes across as an alienating tech-fest which fails to leave a real mark after it's over.
79. The Dillinger Escape Plan - One Of Us Is The Killer
2013 [7.2] - I'd never really liked TDEP's studio stuff (bar Widower, which I adore, but which is admittedly rather distinct from their usual work), but after an awesome live gig I went to, I've always had something of a soft spot for them, so I decided to try this out. It's actually most of the time somewhat more accessible than the 'wall-of-aggression' sound they've had on previous albums. It's not like the band never included more mellow parts, it's just the proportion is arguably higher here, and the 'core' parts are less clashing as they used to be, making this an easier and more rewarding listen. It's still by no means easy listening, and I'm still not really a fan of it, but I garner more enjoyment from this than their previous works (bar, of course, Widower).
80. Amaranthe - The Nexus
2013 [7.2] - This year's Blood Stain Child release potentially; mixing quasi-extreme power with poppy female vocals and electronic elements, and whilst it lacks that magic Epsilon has which makes it such dynamite, this is still a reasonably catchy and fun release. I guess this release is closer to metal, which means it does lack the uber-sugary feel that appealed so much about Epsilon, which means it occasionally gets a bit caught - catchy vocal hooks and interesting synths alongside somewhat unremarkable metal ties, and it's no surprise that the album works best when it plays up its poppier inclinations, eg on Afterlife, Razorblade, and the title track. At it's weakest it can sound something like modern In Flames (Mechanical Illusion), but to be honest even when it does, it's still a bit more engaging than most of what that band achieves. A fun release which sometimes achieves that perfect electropop/metal mesh that the oft-mentioned album in this review manages, but other times gets too caught in its metal inclinations to truly shine.
81. Abyssal - Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius
2013 [7.2] - A swirling cacophany of extremity, dissonance and insanity. Whilst it's not necessarily an enjoyable experience, and I am by no means a fan of dissonant music, there are some interesting song structures, riffs and growls, as well as a visceral level of crushing force that has a definite appeal. Would not be a regular, or even occasional listen, but it has a definite level of quality to it to be admired, and would most likely appeal greatly to those with a more esoteric music taste.
82. Suicidal Tendencies - 13
2013 [7.2] - My only encouncter with this band previously was the outstanding How Will I Laugh Tomorrow..., but thought I'd get them a go. All in all, it's decent, but pretty unremarkable. Still, it could've been worse, and given a certain other veteran band is released a similarly-titled album it might not be the unluckiest 13 of the year.
83. How To Destroy Angels - Welcome Oblivion
2013 [7.1] - A chilled-out release from Trent Reznor of NIN fame. It's predominantly electronic-based, with throbbing beats with subtle overlacings of melody, but does occasionally vary, whipping out the acoustic guitar or whatever else. The vocals are performed by Reznor's wife, and whilst she's not outstanding, she does what she needs to do in giving the music some warmth and direction. It's nothing special, and I doubt it will go down as an electro-ambient classic, but again I know very little about the genre so it's not my place to judge. From my standpoint, it's a nice listen but doesn't make any impact that would carry it with me beyond its runtime.
84. Pretty Maids - Motherland
2013 [7.0] - A 'what-it-says-on-the-tin' album; just a collection of solid but ultimately forgettable hard rock/heavy metal/power metal tracks with a distinctly European feel. If this is what does it for you, you'll be satisfied. If just a collection of standard metal songs doesn't cut the mustard for you any more, then you might want to look elsewhere.
85. Saille - Ritu
2013 [7.0] - It's a perfectly decent but pretty unmemorable symphonic black metal release, demonstrating all the features one might expect from the genre, kind of a slightly watered-down version of old Cradle of Filth/Dimmu Borgir. It will entertain you during its runtime, especially if you're a fan of this sound (I am) but just doesn't offer enough new to stay with you beyond the end of the album.
86. Skid Row - United World Rebellion - Chapter One
2013 [7.0] - I love the first two albums of this band, and a lot of that was down to the incredible voice of Sebastian Bach, so I've felt no inclination to check out their recent stuff. Given that this was a shorter release, however, I thought I'd give it a listen, and was surprisingly pleased with what I heard. It's straight-up ballsy hard rock in the same general style of Slave To The Grind, and whilst none of the songs here are as impressive as the great songs that album contained, they certainly aren't shamed by this band's previous work. The vocalist is pretty similar stylistically to Bach, and although definitely not at the same quality level to his predecessor, he still does a decent job. Not a great release by any rate, but contains some reasonably solid tracks that match up favourably to the last Bach release (the forgettable Subhuman Race), as well as the recent output of fellow 80s hard/glam rockers Motley Crue and the like.
87. Avantasia - The Mystery Of Time
2013 [7.0] - I must confess that I've only listened to the Metal Operas once each, and neither did all that much for me. I preferred the Scarecrow stuff, just because it had some properly catchy tracks like Another Angel Down, Devil In The Belfrey, Scales Of Justice etc. which really pumped me up, even if the general quality of the tracks was rather middling. This album I guess is somewhere in the middle; it's less hard rock and uber-upbeat as some of the Scarecrow stuff, but it's definitely not an old-school melodic speed metal kind of thing. There's solid tracks, like Savior in the Clockwork, with a chorus that brings Devil... to mind, but then there's also other tracks which are just alright listens, and then one or two stinkers like Sleepwalking and the tedious closer The Great Mystery.. Decent, but nothing great.
88. Timo Tolkki's Avalon - The Land Of New Hope
2013 [6.9] - A perfectly functional but ultimately forgettable attempt at a multi-vocalist power metal 'opera' project. To be honest, the only band from one of these 'opera' projects that really pulled me in was Ayreon - Avantasia were good in spots, whilst Aina was fairly forgettable. In the end, this is just another release which will come and go without leaving any real mark.
89. Todtgelichter - Apnoe
2013 [6.9] - This band's 2010 release got a lot of people raving about it, but this anticipated follow-up hasn't met such acclaim. And after listening side-by-side, there is a noticeable decline in certain aspects of the music. The musical tone has shifted somewhat; the black metal tag seems less appropriate now as, whilst elements of that sound still remains, they are only briefly noticeable. There are many notable sections in the music that sound like gothic metal, and some even like semi-mainstream alt rock; the music in general is softer and less menacing than the previous album. The increased prominence of clean vocals kind of highlights the limitations of the vocalists in the band. There are definitely strong moments, at the beginning (Embers), middle (parts of Beyond Silence) and the end (Torm, especially the outro minutes), but nothing to compare to the power of something like Cafe of Lost Dreams or scope of Oblivion from Angst, so the muted reaction is justified.
90. Lacrimas Profundere - Antiadore
2013 [6.9] - Perfectly competent but ultimately forgettable 'gothic' rock/metal in the same kinda style as HIM. How unremarkable; I can only hope it'll drop off the 2013 leaderboard on here quickly to make space for better albums for people to discover.
91. Eschatos - Hierophanies
2013 [6.9] - A somewhat limited prog/avant-garde BM release with significant room for improvement in the songwriting department; however, the album is not all that bad and does have several moments in which the band's potential does shine through.
92. Fen - Dustwalker
2013 [6.8] - A band making a gradual shift along the atmos-black/shoegaze/post-rock spectrum towards the softer end, with mixed results. They struggle to make either the most extreme BM parts or the softest parts interesting, especially with the rather lacking cleans, and they also struggle to properly integrate the two sides together at times. However, when they're in more mixed territory, as they existed more commonly on Epoch and their best, the Malediction Fields, they show themselves to be a perfectly solid band. Decent, and Hands of Dust is a good advert for the album, but not special.
93. Dark Tranquillity - Construct
2013 [6.7] - A pretty major disappointment, given how much I like this band, and pretty much all their albums (excluding Skydancer). We Are The Void was a big step down from the likes of Character and Fiction, but this is an equally big fall from that album. It's just so DULL. There's good moments scattered throughout the album, and the songs themselves aren't particularly bad, it's just they're so damn unmemorable that the album just kinda flies by in a mesh of chuggy riffs, shrieks that used to excite but now inspire indifferences, and occasional decent melodies to remind us it's a melodeath album. Promise for the future in following this style comes in the clear standout track and final song None Becoming, which mixes the electro beats and keyboards and grandiose feel really well. However, all in all, a major dissapointment, and I can only hope they'll recover some time soon; it'd be too sad to see such a consistently great band as this finally lose it.
94. Shining (NOR) - One One One
2013 [6.5] - Whilst Blackjazz was not quite my cup of tea, the sheer insanity of it did have a perverse appeal that allowed me to enjoy it. What Shining have done on this one is toned things down a bit; whilst increased accessibility might sound a good idea, it was only the complete insanity of their music that gave it such appeal. Now, all we have a tedious songs that vaguely sound like poor copies of Ministry songs, mixed in with some annoying extreme sax. Not great.
95. Vuyvr - Eiskalt
2013 [6.4] - To be honest, there's only so much raw black metal you can take in one lifetime before you're sick of it. This album does mix it up a little bit, but nowhere near as much as the rather enticing bandcamp description hinted at. The last 3 tracks have moments in them that show promise of more, but even they have the same old same old tremolo-n'-blasts going on for most of it, apart from the final track Wyvern, which is firmly mid-paced chugging and actually has some decent stuff going on throughout. Unless you're a second wave BM die-hard, pass.
96. Portal - Vexovoid
2013 [6.3] - I thought Abyssal might've been a breakthrough regarding dissonant chaotic music for me, but it seems not. I see that fans of such music are raving about this band and album, but to be honest I find it difficult to see what quantifies good music in this field - from the looks of it, as long as it's extreme and has no discernable melody (although I'm sure they'd counter this in some way), it gets rabid thumbs-up. There are moments on this album I quite like, mainly when it lets up with the whole 'nearghbluhhuluhgrrrrtchtchtch' stuff and concentrates a bit more on creepy atmosphere, but most of it sails quite noticeably over my head. It bewilders me the following this esoteric style has amongst the regulars on here; I doubt I'll ever see what they find so great, or if I do, I doubt if it'll truly appeal to me. Eh.
97. Megadeth - Super Collider
2013 [6.2] - You know what? I completely understand the waves of criticism crashing against this album, but I don't actually mind it. The fact that MD could go from Endgame to this in two albums is pretty depressing, but I actually kinda enjoy it; arguably more than I did Thirteen. It's more just a hard rock/heavy metal album, with thrash all-but-vanished now, but some of the new tracks are vaguely catchy, and I can listen to it and occasionally catch myself bobbing along. Not quite their worst, a million miles off their best, in the end it's another nail in their coffin but I wouldn't be shocked if I caught myself giving it a listen at a later date.
98. Katalepsy - Autopsychosis
2013 [6.0] - Whilst brutal death metal is not exactly a genre I regularly listen to, the surprise of how much I enjoyed Aborted's album last year coaxed me into trying out this year's well-praised BDM album, Autopsychosis. Needless to say, lightning did not strike twice; this cacophany of endless extremity, tuneless technicality, and minimal variation is just tedious and leaves me feeling empty; lacking either interesting riffs or enjoyable technical soloing like Necrophagist offers, in the end it's just all bark no bite.
99. Darkthrone - The Underground Resistance
2013 [5.5] - The only DT song I can really remember is Transilvanian Hunger, purely for that addictive riff, but in all honesty, their brand of uber-lo-fi BM didn't really do much for me. I was aware of their shift towards 'crust punk' (whatever that means) but this is my first interaction with their later stuff. It will probably be my last. Okay riffs with occasional bright spots, mediocre vocals with terrible cleans, and a lovely poor-quality production to embrace sloppiness. Mild fun, but completely unnecessary.
100. Bullet For My Valentine - Temper Temper
2013 [5.2]...
101. Rotten Sound - Species At War
2013 [4.8]...
102. Otep - Hydra
2013 [3.0]...



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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tea[m]ster - 16.02.2013 at 00:46  
You have a few that are on my list as well. Keep 'em coming...
musclassia - 16.02.2013 at 01:46  
Written by tea[m]ster on 16.02.2013 at 00:46

You have a few that are on my list as well. Keep 'em coming...


I've been going pretty slowly with releases this year; doesn't help there's still stuff from the last 2 years I still haven't got round to listening to yet, plus countless older ones. But it's been a promising year so far
!J.O.O.E.! - 21.03.2013 at 17:41  
Quote:
Given the source of the recommendation of this album on this website, and my previous indifference towards music recommended from this source


I'l try not to take that personally
Marcel Hubregtse - 21.03.2013 at 18:02  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 21.03.2013 at 17:41

Quote:
Given the source of the recommendation of this album on this website, and my previous indifference towards music recommended from this source


I'l try not to take that personally


I think you also recommended the listmaker his tope three
!J.O.O.E.! - 21.03.2013 at 18:06  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.03.2013 at 18:02

I think you also recommended the listmaker his tope three

I most certainly did not haha. I haven't actually listened to the new Rotting Christ yet.
Alex Fenger - 21.03.2013 at 18:07  
Nice list. I disagree with everything except for Otep's latest, but each review is pretty well written.
Marcel Hubregtse - 21.03.2013 at 18:11  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 21.03.2013 at 18:06

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.03.2013 at 18:02

I think you also recommended the listmaker his tope three

I most certainly did not haha. I haven't actually listened to the new Rotting Christ yet.

I am sure you would recommend number three (generic watered down sugary toothless melodeath) to anyone around

to stay clear off, that is
!J.O.O.E.! - 21.03.2013 at 18:14  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.03.2013 at 18:11

I am sure you would recommend number three (generic watered down sugary toothless melodeath) to anyone around

to stay clear off, that is

Indeed, though it seems as though it would be a losing battle as that very type of music seems to be the most loved by people on this site
Mr. Doctor - 21.03.2013 at 18:56  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 21.03.2013 at 17:41
Quote:
Given the source of the recommendation of this album on this website, and my previous indifference towards music recommended from this source

I'l try not to take that personally

They just don't appreciate you like I do, babe.
Cynic Metalhead - 21.03.2013 at 21:22  
You spun BFMV? BIG wooow!

and when the hell A7X s became "sugary metalcore"? They are straight up alternative metal who delivered back-to-back boring albums.
musclassia - 21.03.2013 at 22:27  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 21.03.2013 at 17:41

Quote:
Given the source of the recommendation of this album on this website, and my previous indifference towards music recommended from this source


I'l try not to take that personally


Apologies for any offence given ha, wasn't expecting you to read it nothing personally against you of course, we just have different tastes and you should take it as a compliment that I still check out some of the stuff you recommend, and I even enjoy some of it (number 4 obviously, but also taking a quick look at your staff picks and music I've discovered through them, Moth was alright, same for Reverence, Forefather, and hell even Igorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, who I didn't dislike anywhere as much as I thought I might, and even dare I say liked a reasonable amount). However I won't deny that I'd rather snore my way through that Otep album again (or, well, attempt to) than listen to another second of that De Magia Veterum album you rec'd again ;P now off to listen to 'generic watered down sugary toothless melodeath'
musclassia - 21.03.2013 at 22:33  
Written by Alex Fenger on 21.03.2013 at 18:07

Nice list. I disagree with everything except for Otep's latest, but each review pretty well written.


I'm well aware from browsing through the boards that a group of regular posters (most of whom I believe have posted here all of a sudden) have very different tastes from what I'm most accustomed to, but I appreciate the appreciation to be honest I'm starting to repeat myself in the mini-reviews recently, especially since I've been powering through a load of albums from last year, almost all of which have been 'good-but-not-great'; there's only so many ways you can word that ha
!J.O.O.E.! - 21.03.2013 at 22:45  
Written by musclassia on 21.03.2013 at 22:27


Apologies for any offence given ha, wasn't expecting you to read it nothing personally against you of course, we just have different tastes and you should take it as a compliment that I still check out some of the stuff you recommend, and I even enjoy some of it (number 4 obviously, but also taking a quick look at your staff picks and music I've discovered through them, Moth was alright, same for Reverence, Forefather, and hell even Igorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, who I didn't dislike anywhere as much as I thought I might, and even dare I say liked a reasonable amount). However I won't deny that I'd rather snore my way through that Otep album again (or, well, attempt to) than listen to another second of that De Magia Veterum album you rec'd again ;P now off to listen to 'generic watered down sugary toothless melodeath'

Nah I'm not offended. I don't expect many people to like what I like. Even if the odd album makes it over to the other side of the taste spectrum it's all worth it
Dark†SymphonY - 25.03.2013 at 21:20  
A big to Empyrean, that album impressed me alot and also the comparison with Amaranthe and Blood Stain Child, both in sound and 'catchiness'. Not surprised with Otep being last, terribly bad album.
musclassia - 25.03.2013 at 21:35  
Written by Dark†SymphonY on 25.03.2013 at 21:20

A big to Empyrean, that album impressed me alot and also the comparison with Amaranthe and Blood Stain Child, both in sound and 'catchiness'. Not surprised with Otep being last, terribly bad album.


There's been a few albums this year that I listened to just in case I liked it with little expectation, and ended up being impressed by, like EToS, Caladan Brood, Tribulation... but Mechina was a revelation, thorougly enjoyed it. And yeah, I found Amaranthe's album was a decent but less good version of Epsilon, although Epsilon was a complete revelation for me and I love it so possibly my high opinion of that album blunted my opinion of Amaranthe somewhat. And about Otep, sums it up really
Diverge - 04.05.2013 at 18:31  
Awesome list! We share a lot of favourites, and I like your descriptions of each album. Honestly, it's a list I'm going to try and emulate. Thanks for sharing.

Your description of Persefone is gorgeous. That's exactly what is so engrossing about their music.
Mattybu - 04.09.2013 at 22:22  
I like this list overall and you clearly put some time into it, however I would ask for your address so I can go to your house and break your knees with a baseball bat for referring to Ghost's debut in the manner you did...
mz - 31.12.2013 at 01:20  
Lots of albums here I haven't checked and I disagree with ut your rate for portal and abyssal but this list is excellent because of its mini-reviews. I am personally very lazy when it comes to adding description to my lists (which are much shorter than this one).

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