[BEST & WORST '13] Jonny’s Top Albums Of 2013

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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!

Mr. Disgusting (Best/Indie) | Evan Dickson (Best) | The Wolfman (Festival Favorites) | Patrick Cooper (Best)
Lonmonster (Best/Worst) | Lauren Taylor (Best/Worst) | Ryan Daley (Best Novels)
Best Posters | Best Performances | Best Trailers | Best Albums

JONNY’S TOP ALBUMS OF 2013

NOTE: LIST IS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

BLACK SABBATH – 13

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.

BOARDS OF CANADA – TOMORROW’S HARVEST

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.

BONOBO – THE NORTH BORDERS

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.

BRING ME THE HORIZON – SEMPITERNAL

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.

DESSA – PARTS OF SPEECH

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.

GARY NUMAN – SPLINTER (SONGS FROM A BROKEN MIND)

While many people were sorely disappointed by Nine Inch NailsHesitation 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.

HEAVEN’S BASEMENT – FILTHY EMPIRE

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.

IHSAHN – DAS SEELENBRECHEN

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.

KARNIVOOL – ASYMMETRY

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.

KATATONIA – DETHRONED AND UNCROWNED

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.

LAZERHAWK – SKULL AND SHARK

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.

LEPROUS – COAL

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.

MONSTER MAGNET – LAST PATROL

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.

MY BLOODY VALENTINE – M B V

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.

NORMA JEAN – WRONGDOERS

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.

RUSSIAN CIRCLES – MEMORIAL

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 – ALTERED STATE

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.


  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    no Howl, Rob Zombie, DevilDriver, Rivers of Nihil, The Black Dahlia Murder, Soulfly, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Erimha, or Butcher Babies?

    • Skull-And-Crossbones

      i forgot about A Pale Horse Named Death too. great band.

  • viking1983

    did you not here hell, onslaught and carcass’s new albums this year?

  • stabberjosh1996

    You’re a goddamned idiot. The vast majority of the community of the NIN forums (Echoing the Sound, NIN.com, and the NIN Reddit) were highly praising Hesitation Marks. It was mainly people like you and Mr. Disgusting, wishing Trent Reznor had rehashed the same album, that were complaining about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the new Gary Numan album, but what kind of music critic are you? You’re giving praise to garbage like My Bloody Valentine while completely ignoring things like the new Queens of the Stone Age, Death Grips, or even the new Eminem?

    Ugh, this site gets worse every day.

    • SPEEDRAZOR

      “What the hell is this? I came here because I wanted to read a list of MY favorites, not yours! This site is the WORST!”

      • hawkward

        Speedrazor, you’re my hero

    • cemeterylake

      You call My Bloody Valentine garbage, but praise the new Eminem album? That invalidates your whole comment. And Death Grips are awful. Queens of the Stone Age kick ass though. Plus, his style of music critique is something I actually really like because he doesn’t bog you down in superfluous bullshit. He just tells you what he liked and thought of each album and that’s his own opinion. Stop being so negative, this site rocks.

  • RubenVeritas

    This site has become so sad

  • DBZEROGRAVITY

    wow stabberjosh, bitch much? if you don’t like the site then please by all means fuck off… aside from monster magnet and sabbath I didn’t find any of the listed albums very great. but I also don’t care because not everyone has the same musical tastes

  • Patrick-Cooper

    I don’t think you’re an idiot, Johnny. And I will be checking out Lazerhawk, thanks!

    • JonathanBarkan

      Haha, thanks! And I hope you enjoy Lazerhawk! I had a blast with that album!

  • Sarcastos

    Sir, thank you for the Boards of Canada recommendation. I (Being Canadian) listened to them hoping for a Canadian metal experience like that of other snow laden countries. But, Was surprised and hooked on the soundtrack like quality of the music.
    Thank you sir, mainly for not ruining the surprise i just did.

    • JonathanBarkan

      Just saw this! Really thrilled you enjoyed it!

  • Patrick

    +1 for Dessa and Doomtree getting some well deserved recognition. Altered States, Wrongdoers, and Memorial are all definitely on my list as well.

    • JonathanBarkan

      More people need to know about Dessa. Her music and lyrics are simply fantastic.