It’s the end of 2013 and there have been a slew of amazing albums released this year! And because of this, it was no easy task to create a “Best Of” list. To quote Lonmonster, “Narrowing down a best-of-the-year list is a trite exercise, as is ordering them in some sort of countdown…” I found that I was simply unable to narrow my list down to 10 albums as there were too many that kept vying for a spot. Also, in a move that might scream “lazy” to some, I didn’t rank my choices. The reason for this is that my list is just too diverse. I can’t really rank an electronic album against a metal album, can I?
So, I guess the next step is simply to give you all the chance to read my choices and then let me know which albums stood out for you! Head on down and let the music flow!
The return of the kings of heavy metal was an incredibly surprising success. 13 is an album that is full of memorable chunky riffs and Ozzy’s iconic wails and croons. The band proved their relevance in a modern metal world.
Arriving eight years after the band’s last release, Tomorrow’s Harvest is a beautiful, eerie album that gives fans of the group everything they wanted and more. A sinister undercurrent runs throughout, causing a sense of unease that is absolutely delicious.
The North Borders is one of those intelligent, subtle electronic albums that made me stop and appreciate every note I was hearing. I’m not one to dance but I definitely shimmied around my place without a drop of embarrassment during many of these fantastic songs.
Richly textured and sonically diverse, Sempiternal was a huge step forward for Bring Me The Horizon, demonstrating great maturation. On top of having some damn solid songwriting, the album is just incredibly entertaining.
Rapper/poet Dessa takes subjects that we all deal with, such as heartbreak and loss, and addresses them with lyrics that will haunt you for days. Each song speaks on a deeply personal level.
While many people were sorely disappointed by Nine Inch Nails‘ Hesitation Marks, they were too busy moaning and complaining to recognize that the album they were so desperately seeking was available for them to enjoy. Splinter is an aggressive yet beautiful industrial/electronic opus littered with infectious songs.
If you miss the days of balls to the wall rock ‘n’ roll, then look no further. The debut album from these UK rockers has not a single filler track. Each song comes in, rocks your face right off, and then leaves without overstaying their welcome for even a single second. Easily one of the most fun albums I’ve had the pleasure of hearing this year.
His fifth solo studio album, Das Seelenbrechen is also Ihsahn‘s most diverse and wildly inventive album. It’s a triumph of an album and well worth every second of your time.
The Australian progressive rockers took four years to release their third studio album and it’s obvious that this amount of time was spent carefully considering the next step the band would take. The path from Themata to Sound Awake continues as Asymmetry dives more into the world of “progressive” and complex. It’s a gorgeous, dynamic album.
Dead End Kings was already one of the best albums of 2012, so how could the band improve upon it? Well, the can’t. However, they can approach it from a new perspective and breathe a different kind of life into. That’s precisely what they did with Dethroned And Uncrowned, stripping the original album of its “heaviness” and instead focusing on the ethereal beauty that resides throughout.
When Mr. Disgusting shot me a link to check out this album I wasn’t exactly convinced. Sure, the album artwork was badass but as the saying goes, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Then I hit ‘Play’. What came next was perhaps the greatest listening experience I’d had in a while. I was in a world of pure 80’s inspired horror synth that fully embraced its cheesiness. This album is a must for any horror fan.
Bilateral tied for my Album Of The Year in 2011, so I was beyond excited to hear the band’s follow up. While it lost the playfulness of its predecessor, Coal had a sense of maturity and seriousness that gave it a different air, a sense of gravity. The band still demonstrates their impeccable songwriting skills, even if they don’t seem to smile as much doing so.
The spaced out stoner rock/metal band returned with an album that is a pure testament to “rock”. Packed full of awesome tones and fantastic riffs, Last Patrol is also an album that knows when to take its time, each song building up to a climax that hits with full force.
The return of Irish shoegaze creators My Bloody Valentine was one of the musical highlights of the year, shocking and thrilling many. After all, it had only been 12 years since their last studio album. That time didn’t dull the shine of the band in any way. Rather, M B V proved that the band’s attention to crafting and creating beautiful, intricate music had never left.
Wrongdoers grips the listener by the throat and demands full attention. Each song is bursting with emotion and desperate need, the heaviness of the music a metaphor for how much of an impact each song should have. In my opinion, Norma Jean is one of the most important bands in music today.
This nearly entirely instrumental album is for those who can find beauty in the icy realms and landscapes of black metal. It’s a thrilling album that brought many smiles to my face.
Tesseract once again proved with Altered State that they are not only masters of the progressive metal scene but that they are here to redefine it. They are showing that metal can be full of beauty, amazing vocals, and intricate, complex songwriting that challenges listeners. It’s going to be thrilling to see what they come up with next.