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A Year In Metal - 2023: Highlights Through The Eyes Of The MS Staff, Elites, And Official Contributors

Written by: ScreamingSteelUS
Published: 23.01.2024

As always, we precede ourselves by tooting our own horns and showing off what cool stuff we listened to last year. Right now we're all hard at work randomly generating the nominees for the 2023 Metal Storm Awards, but if you want some more personalized recommendations, you can take a gander at all of our favorite junk right here in our annual staff-centered roundup.



Favorite Album: Moonreich - Amer
Best Home-Country Album: The Canyon Observer - Figura
Most-Played Song: Be'lakor - "Sun's Delusion"
Most Promising Band: Dreadwitch, Summer Haze '99
Best Concert: Cult Of Luna (Ljubljana), Vektor (Ljubljana); both in their own special way.
Metal Moment of 2023: Attending Metaldays festival at the new location (first time since the inception of ex Metal Camp in 2004) for a day with my whole family. The kids loved it.
And 2024?: As usual, to attend all sorts of concerts with some new bands seeing live. To name a few planned that I’m excited for: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, (the usual) Emperor, Brujeria, Body Count, High On Fire.


Favorite Album: Perhaps surprisingly the album I enjoyed the most was the one I missed three years ago: Lamašhtu Tro. But from the ones released during the year it'll be The Ocean Holocene and Monika Roscher Bigband Witchy Activities and the Maple Death. Shout outs also go to Baroness, Vulture Industries, Grails, and even, surprisingly, to Katatonia. I liked that album.
Most Played Song: Not the most played but rather ones really sticking out: "Unconformities" by The Ocean, "Farmer in the City" by Øxn, and recently "The Return of Daedalus" by Glass Hammer.
Most Promising Band: I usually skip this line but this time Øxn made a good impression on me.
Best Concert: Seeing Messa in Helsinki: way too short but oh wow how good. Never thought I'd ever see Grails live let alone for the second time; they were fantastic once again. Monster Magnet were also at the top of their game. Finally, not sure I'd label it as a best concert but Swans were definitely an Experience to behold: earplugs were vital for survival.
Metal Moment Of 2023: Delivered photos I shot of Kvohst from Hexvessel over 10 years ago when he was still in Dødheimsgard. Always nice to see those genuine reactions.
And 2024?: Some great discovery is bound to come my way sooner or later. And good gigs can't hurt. Some faith in humanity and world peace are probably a tall order.


Favorite Album: Bees Made Honey In The Vein Tree - Aion
Best Home-Country Album: Sermon - Of Golden Verse and Meridian Sun - The Curse
Most-Played Song: From 2023 releases, perhaps Ne Obliviscaris - "Misericorde II - Anatomy Of Quiescence"
Most Promising Band: Meridian Sun and Melancholia released the year's best debut full-lengths.
Best Concert: ArcTanGent was once again amazing, with standout sets from Pothamus, Elder and LLNN. Outside of ATG, Cult Of Luna at Beyond The Redshift and Elder at Electric Ballroom were both immense shows.
Biggest Disappointment: Has to be Sylosis sliding into mediocrity.
Metal Moment of 2023: Opening for Conjurer with Vulgaris, or releasing the first song from my Chullachaqui project.
And 2024?: The sophomore Vulgaris album is close to being mixed; getting that released and hopefully touring it should be a big moment for the band.


Favorite Album: Tailgunner - Guns For Hire
Best Home-Country Album: Haradrim - Death Of Idols
Most Played Songs: Tailgunner - "New Horizons" and "Crashdive", Årabrot - "We Want Blood", Diamante - "1987", Wegferend - "Holy Ghost", Hyldr - "Your Frozen Chest", Mutoid Man - "Call Of The Void"
Most Promising Bands: Tailgunner released my AOTY and the best heavy metal album in a looong time. It will be interesting to see how they follow up such an amazing album. Haradrim hopefully has a very bright future ahead of them. Executus was a breath of fresh air with their blackened speedy thrash. Nospūn coming out of nowhere and delivering the best prog album of the year and finally Hyldr who made a gothic album that's exceptionally good.
Best Concert: Kreator at House Of Metal in my hometown of Umeå was a blast. After 40 years they still got it.
Biggest Disappointment: W.A.S.P. went on a 40th Anniversary Tour and the concert was on the exact same stage as Kreator. I was excited to finally get to see and hear Blackie Lawless in person. Sadly about 90% was playback and Blackie only actually sung on a couple of the slower songs from The Crimson Idol. With the ticket being almost €50 it felt like a rip off.
Metal Moment Of 2023: Getting promoted to staff after being a member since 2010 was and is such a huge honour! And hopefully I'm doing a good enough job so far.
And 2024?: I'm hoping that Metal Storm will continue to be the amazing place it is, where we all can talk about and share our love for metal and where the respect is mutual regardless of any differences we might have about bands and albums. And I will keep finding those hidden gems to share with the rest of you all.


Favorite Album: Pa Vesh En - Martyrs
Best Home-Country Album: Kypck - Преступления Против Человечества (I'm half-Finnish and can't think of a Swedish one, deal with it)
Most Played Song: Kypck - "Я Теперь Ненавижу Свет”, Senshi - "Evil In Dem Eyes", Käärijä - "Cha Cha Cha"
Most Promising Band: I'd love to hear more music from Prognan, Senshi, Kostnatění, Vuosisata, and Kouta.
Best Concert: Apart for some creepy "forest jazz" free gig at the local library, I only attended Katatonia, with my dad, so that was fun.
Biggest Disappointment: Read above. Not the concert, that was great, but Katatonia's new album was disappointing in many ways. I should note, however, that the new songs sounded much better live.
Metal Moment Of 2023: Deciding to go sober (and staying sober). Also, having created some actual music with an artist I befriended through my work here on Metal Storm. Wish me luck, on both accounts.
And 2024?: I'm just going to keep on keeping on, hopefully keep on keeping on a bit more than I've kept on the past year. I also hope for an end to war, a better world economy, and that AI won't be our Armageddon. Hail Satan, and all the others.


Favorite Album: Heavy Load - Riders Of The Ancient Storm. Full list of favourites here.
Best Home-Country Album: Horizon's End - The Great Destroyer, with The Magus - Βυσσοδομώντας coming very close second.
Most Played Song: By Fire And Sword - “Leave A Little Room”.
Most Promising Band: Wings Of Steel & Fleshvessel.
Best Concert: Helloween - Live at Release Festival in Athens.
Biggest Disappointment: Lucifer's Fall, Cromlech, and Urfaust disbanding.
Metal Moment Of 2023: Surviving the Kreator pit without a long-lasting injury.
And 2024?: New Mgła, hopefully; they usually appear out of nowhere and without warning to obliterate all other black metal bands. New Chapel Of Disease. And new Judas Priest, of course. Outside of music, I hope we stop hurting and killing each other, abusing animals, and destroying our beautiful planet.


Favorite Album: The Canyon Observer - Figura
Best Home-Country Album: E-an-na - Alveolar
Most Played Song: E-an-na - "Fagure Negru", Sufjan Stevens - "Will Anybody Ever Love Me?", Lankum - "Go Dig My Grave", Paramore - "This Is Why"
Most Promising Band: Meridian Sun and Fleshvessel
Best Concert: In no particular order: Iggy Pop, Perturbator, Triptykon, Porcupine Tree, Sunn O))), Björk, Gojira, Brutus (BEL), and I could go on forever.
Biggest Disappointment: Sprain announcing their breakup right after releasing one of the best experimental rock albums of the past couple of years; falling out of love with Esoctrilihum.
Metal Moment Of 2023: My four interview series; being a photographer at the biggest metal festival I've been to.
And 2024?: Nothing particularly different from 2024, but I hope to invest in better photography equipment.


Favorite Album: Gridlink - Coronet Juniper
Best Home-Country Album: GridlinkCoronet Juniper
Most-Played Song: Yoasobi – “Idol”; Nanowar Of Steel – “Disco Metal”; Baxaxaxa – “De Vermis Mysteriis”; Peter Gabriel - "i/o"; Green Lung – “The Forest Church”
Most Promising Band: I was substantially impressed by Kostnatění, Nospūn, and Fleshvessel, among others.
Best Concert: Mega Galactic Atomic Supermen Helloween Forever Lineup
Biggest Disappointment: Alice Cooper’s Road worsened a downward trend that has been disappointing in the long term, but Virgin Steele’s The Passion Of Dionysus was so clearly salvageable and potentially great that it probably inflicts more immediate damage. Other than that, perhaps Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs not being as memorable as their name.
Metal Moment of 2023: Standing on Hadrian's Wall.
And 2024?: Standing on various other walls.


Favorite Album: Malaise Shire - Reunion
Best Home-Country Album: Downfall Of Gaia - Silhouettes Of Disgust
Most-Played Song: Summer Haze '99 - “Voy Con Libertad”
Most Promising Band: Avgrunder, Malaise Shire and Summer Haze '99
Best Concert: Not too much to choose from, but I enjoyed Insomnium (joining up with In Mourning and Kvaen in Cologne) way more than I thought I would.
Biggest Disappointment: When it comes to new releases by my favourite bands, I've learned over time to lower my expectations to such an extent that hardly anything can really disappoint me anymore. However, it was quite a bummer when months of anticipation for a concert with Igorrr as headliner finally turned into the bitter realisation that it would take place without Igorrr at all.
Metal Moment of 2023: Having dinner together with RaduP, Schimodie and corrupt at my place sometime in April was my absolute highlight of 2023.
And 2024?: I'm hoping for a year with more death and doom metal, but less death and doom through pointless wars.


Favorite Album: Sadus - The Shadow Inside.
Best Home-Country Album: Winterhorde - Neptunian.
Most Played Song: Cavalera - "Show Me The Wrath"; Overkill - "Twist Of The Wick"; Enforced - "Avarice".
Most Promising Band: Wings Of Steel.
Biggest Disappointment: To see all the ignorance and hypocrisy around the globe.
Metal Moment Of 2023: Realizing that music can still be escapism and a temporary cure with all the grief around me.
And 2024?: I wish nothing but the return of the Israeli hostages home, and the extinction of any single terrorist still alive. Because as Slayer said once - Hell Awaaiiiiiits!


Auntie Sahar

Favorite Album: Many good ones, but I keep coming back to that Boris / Uniform collab in particular. What a great match up.
Best Home-Country Album: Does that Khanate comeback album count now that SOMA lives in Paris? Well, if so, then yes... To Be Cruel, it is.
Most Played Song: Probably "Cataracta's Lament," from the debut of my fellow Portlanders in Lepra. Vampiric darkwave bass black metal is YUM.
Most Promising Band: Venomous Echoes, whose debut was something we definitely didn't see coming. Bull Of Apis Bull Of Bronze also seriously upped the ante on their sophomore record. Keep an eye on both!
Best Concert: Body Void coming through and destroying my local Geno's Rock Club in Portland!
Biggest Disappointment: Wasn't too displeased with any releases this year. Either I'm just easily satisfied, or simply didn't comb through enough releases to spot any noticeable turds.
Metal Moment Of 2023: Making the informed decision to step out of the closet and into the light as a Trans woman!
And 2024?: Further transitioning with HRT treatment, exploring more of Maine's forests and lighthouses, and hopefully some ventures out of state to a few shows in Boston!

Official Contributors


Favorite Album: Blackbraid - Blackbraid II.
Best Home-Country Album: Hellripper - Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags.
Most Played Song: "The Wolf That Guides The Hunters Hand"; Blackbraid, "Irreversible"; Deitus, "The Cursed Carrion Crown"; Hellripper, "Sullen"; Austere.
Most Promising Band: There's a lot of promising acts this year but Cursebinder, Moonlight Sorcery and Nospūn show a lot of promise for me personally.
Best Concert: No concerts attended this year.
Biggest Disappointment: Although a lot of new bands have been showing great promise there's many well established bands failing, with one genre in particular falling behind in quality this year, and that for me is death metal, with Autopsy, Cannibal Corpse, and Suffocation all releasing pretty average material.
Metal Moment Of 2023: I've been tremendously happy with my contribution to MS this year, managed to discover many more great band's, and completed a higher number of reviews than I ever thought I would.
And 2024?: For me 2023 has been a pretty stellar year for metal, with the meloblack sub-genre in particular leading the way, I'm just hoping 2024 continues in the same manner. I also hope to contribute to MS as much as I have this year, it's been very productive for me.


Favorite Album: Warcrab - The Howling Silence
Best Home-Country Album: Sulphur Aeon - Seven Crowns and Seven Seals
Most Played Song: Necrovation - "Starving Grave"
Most Promising Band: Lots of promising projects this year! I was greatly impressed by the debut albums of Belarusian black metal band Ciemra, Icelandic atmospheric band Altari, and the Greek prog/tech thrashers Venus. Dryad’s haunting and unhinged debut has been a guilty pleasure for me throughout the year. And I also can't wait to see what Vitriolic Sage cook up next!
Best Concert: N/A
Biggest Disappointment: Lucifer's Fall and Kypck announcing the end of their respective projects.
Metal Moment Of 2023: Finally getting my Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. How is that metal related? Well, I wouldn't have survived these past four years of university without the emotional (and spiritual!) healing I get from headbanging to heavy tunes and spending time on Metal Storm. So, I'd like to thank the whole Metal Storm community. In a way, without you all, I couldn't have done it.
And 2024?: My goal from last year was to write more reviews. And I soundly met that goal, writing 57 reviews in these last 12 months. For 2024, I hope to exceed that. Here's to a prolific future in the metal world!

omne metallum

Favorite Album: Fires In The Distance Air Not Meant For Us
Best Home-Country Album: Urne A Feast Of Sorrow
Most Played Song: "The Wrong Time" Obituary, "Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags" Hellripper, "King Of Weed Bongzilla
Most Promising Band: Fires In The Distance showed that their spectacular debut was not a flash in the pan, managing to keep the high quality up with their sophomore effort. Hopefully they can go three for three whenever the follow up release comes out!
Best Concert: offt, 2023 has spoilt me after some fallow years!
Suffocation @ Incineration Festival.
Deadguy & Nordic Giants @ Damnation Festival.
Biggest Disappointment: Helmet releasing their first album in seven years and it was not worth the wait at all. Unfortunately ranks amongst one of the worst albums I heard last year.
2023 marking the final Tech-Fest, while I had only been to twice, the set up and vibe (along with the bands) was ideal and shall definitely be missed.
Metal Moment Of 2023: Getting to meet John Tardy before watching Obituary in a small club in Oxford was something I would never have expected. Ditto with meeting and chatting with Schmier before seeing Destruction
And 2024?: Hopefully the quality of gigs keeps up! Several high quality shows were had in 2023 that drew a close to the lingering effects of the pandemic on live events (at least where I am based). Several artists such as Bruce Dickinson have new music in the pipeline which is an unexpected and welcome surprise and should make 2024 another great year.

Personally? With changing personal circumstances I will likely have less time to dedicate to Metal Storm, however, while I will not come close to my 2020 efforts (do I get an award for most reviews in a year?); I hope to find time to contribute!


Favorite Album: Hmunga - Crimson
Best Home-Country Album: Caus N Effect - Validation Of Suffering closely folowed by Violent Sin - Serpent’s Call
Most Played Song: Elvenking - "Rapture", Elvenking - "Incantations", Klone - "Elusive", Slow Fall - "Reflections In The House Of Shadows"
Most Promising Band: Wardaemon
Best Concert: Difficult one, Rammstein was fun to see for a first time, but I think I would either go with Bad Omens or Iron Maiden. The latter one was pretty special thanks to its setlist.
Biggest Disappointment: Heavenwood not releasing The Tarot Of The Bohemians: Part 2. I'm waiting for that album for 7 years now dammit!
And 2024?: Hopefully some nice new albums to listen to and some great concerts to attend as well.

Written on 23.01.2024 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 6   Visited by: 96 users
25.01.2024 - 12:33

"Leave a Little Room" is so cool, one of my favorite songs of the year as well. The whole album's great, my most played song from that is "The Flood" though, lovely to sing along to.
25.01.2024 - 16:21

Written by Jaro on 25.01.2024 at 12:33

"Leave a Little Room" is so cool, one of my favorite songs of the year as well. The whole album's great, my most played song from that is "The Flood" though, lovely to sing along to.

"The Flood" is my second favourite from the album
26.01.2024 - 03:47
The Ancient One
Not a lot of metal in ht year for me, but was able to meet up with a bunch of Metal Stormers for beers - Milena, Ivor, Mister Doctor Roddy, Radu, Big Radu, Nefarios - adding them to the list folks I've met previous - Forged Soul, Marcel, Mister Doctor Roddy (in Chile the first go), D.T., Corrupt & StarV.

Missed out on musclassia as the sched was too tight and Nikarg as he fled Greece at news of my arrival.

Every time it's been fun to hoist a few (or more than a few) and hang out with people I've worked with for years and years.
get the fuck off my lawn.

Beer Bug Virus Spotify Playlist crafted by Nikarg and I. Feel free to tune in and add some pertinent metal tunes!
29.01.2024 - 09:52
Cynic Metalhead
Paisa Vich Nasha
Great compilation I tend to find every year from staff. I wasn't active in last half of the year due to my schedule.

This will certainly take me to check out the exciting releases.

Also, we are just few days away from another kickass edition of MSA.

Look forward to that as well.
08.02.2024 - 08:09
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Year has passed and best thing what happened was Rugby Union world cup in France best so far. I am older seems i care less and less about youth problems and be perfect, seems I dont care anymore. I have heard many albums, I have missed many, but now I dont care as I did years ago. Good thinks that MS keeps rolling on and has some changes and all goes forward and seems engine has been clean.
I still will listen metal till I die. Best and worst albums check my list and let downs, hmmm to many to even care
2024 hmmmmm listen metal and I dont know.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''
I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
09.02.2024 - 13:59
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
And 2024?: I agree whit a yaniv statement.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''
I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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