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Albums of interest: 2013

These are the albums I've enjoyed so far this year to which I've given an approximate rating and organised in a rough order of preference. As the year progresses I'll add some descriptions to them as well. EP's are also included.

Recent additions: Armory, Russian Circles, Ulver, Tad Morose, SubRosa, Almah, Blood Bright Star, Autumnblaze, Ayreon, Chthonic, Darkestrah, God Is An Astronaut, Képzelt Város, Lodz, Månegarm, Obscure Sphinx, Caligula's Horse, Sky Architect, Keldian, Monster Magnet

Created by: R'Vannith | 23.05.2013

1. Vulture Industries - The Tower
(9) Avantgarde/Progressive: This peculiar enterprise specialises in an approachable avantgarde metal made specifically for your inner eccentric. Indulge in instrumentally unique and vocally engaging curiosities.
2. The Moth Gatherer - A Bright Celestial Light
(9) Post/Sludge: A debut designed to stagger with powerful melodies which defy genre classification. The great mix of sludge, post and avantgarde metal absolutely blew me away and makes for a streamlined listen; everything flows effectively and the experimentation with contrasting cacophonous and tranquil sounds makes it a must hear.
3. Walrus - Walrus
[EP] (9) Progressive/Kraut Rock: With the cover looking like something Blue Oyster Cult would use I was naturally drawn into this one. I've since been frozen solid by this Swedish twist on the German prog rock sound. Icy fresh psychadelia.
4. Clutch - Earth Rocker
(9) Hard Rock: It's not often that an album so completely blasts it's way through all my reservations. This is so thoroughly addictive and a well captured energy is at Clutch's disposal in a very consistent set of hard rock greats.
5. Oranssi Pazuzu - Valonielu
(9) Psychedelic Black/Avantgarde: Third times the charm and Oranssi Pazuzu have found themselves a core solidarity removed from their black metal origins. Without this dependency the album is less of a collation of bizarro black and more of a rhythmically focused and avantgarde rock driven voyage into space.
6. Leprous - Coal
(9) Progressive/Avantgarde: Rhythmically playful and energized this is no rough cut piece of coal, it's refined and polished and represents a new venture for a very creative band.
7. Fughu - Human: The Facts
(9) Progressive Rock/Metal: You know you have an interesting album when a guest performance from vocalist Damien Wilson doesn't become the album's most notable feature. This distinctive set of songs features an incredibly varied performance from Santiago Bürgi with his accented rendition of Fish-like lyrical turns and Patton-like eclecticism with an operatic strength. Appropriately the music is thick with a synthy prog atmosphere on a symphonic stage. It works on an excellently blurred line between progressive metal and progressive rock.
8. Kongh - Sole Creation
(9) Sludge/Doom: Under a heavy moon emanating a progressive lunar light a heavy and doomed sludge awakes to make it's presence felt. With a beating. Prepare to be savaged.
9. Haken - The Mountain
(8.5) Progressive:
10. Kingcrow - In Crescendo
(8.5) Progressive: Much like the lyre bird Kingcrow are adept at mimicry of distinctive sounds. Pain Of Salvation remains a major influence in their sound but less so in terms of compositional style for this album. An alluring collection of some of the easiest listening available from progressive metal, thanks to an unparalleled aptitude for songwriting.
11. The Ocean - Pelagial
(8.5) Post/Sludge: You can literally feel the pressures change within this incredibly focused record as you sink deeper and deeper into its depths.
12. In Solitude - Sister
(8.5) Heavy: Don't get too carried away with the sudden change in style as this is the same band in a new gothic guise. Firmly rooted in heavy metal traditions Sister channels a dark heritage from the genre's most sinister crevices.
13. Progenie Terrestre Pura - U​.​M​.​A.
(8.5) Progressive Black: Each song is it's own rendition of the same world, a world far distant and removed from our own by time and space. A tricky one to categorise as it is a dazzling array of a progressive atmospheric black and industrialized effects which slowly evolve from a primordial ambience. It's certainly progressive in the sense that it extends black metal into unfrequented atmospheric centres by way of a style of songwriting compliant with the atmospheric black genre but with so much more built in to render such a style anew.
14. Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
(8.5) Progressive Rock: An album organised neatly into six tales which alternate from longer and thoroughly progressive tracks (1,3,5) to those captivating easy listeners (2,4,6). All of it oozes charm and character in a more accomplished way than Wilson's previous solo efforts.
15. New Keepers Of The Water Towers - The Cosmic Child
(8.5) Stoner/Progressive: Taking a progressive approach to stoner metal this band creates lengthy and compelling songs with purposeful rhythm and the guitar works in melodies which easily keep me revisiting.
16. Castevet - Obsian
(8.5) Progressive Blackened Post-Hardcore:
17. Enshine - Origin
(8.5) Atmospheric/Melodic Doom: The promise of something along the lines of Slumber had me in high anticipation of this record. I find it closer to the sound of Atoma than Slumber as it is quite light on the doom aspect, bearing a gothic tinge, and is largely another atmospherically focused effort. Its melodies are constructed in metal rather than Atoma's post-rock association.
18. In Vain - Ænigma
(8.5) Progressive Melodic Death: Enigmatically creative as it capably combines a melodic black and death in a progressive and original fashion.
19. Cult Of Luna - Vertikal
(8.5) Atmospheric Sludge/Post: Sometimes I find that "atmospheric sludge" is a bit of misconception so I consider its usage somewhat sceptically as it largely used synonymously with any kind of post-metal with strong sludge elements. That is not the case here, as this is both a sludge and a particularly atmospheric recording from one of post-metal's finest.
20. Obscure Sphinx - Void Mother
(8.5) Post/Sludge
21. Ihsahn - Das Seelenbrechen
(8.5) Avantgarde
22. Satan - Life Sentence
(8.5) Heavy: Evidently reclaiming an old sound is a simple process with the aid of decades of experience. This particular sound hasn't been revisited for some time yet there is just as much quality heavy metal here as in their debut from '83.
23. Armory - Empyrean Realms
(8.5) Power
24. The Vision Bleak - Witching Hour
(8.5) Heavy/Gothic
25. Procession - To Reap Heavens Apart
(8.5) Doom: Doom metal tried and true. The Procession may move in a traditional and expected direction but they do so with obvious conviction and a uniquely charismatic vocalist.
26. Terra Tenebrosa - The Purging
(8.5) Avantgarde: Having left behind the confines of the tunnels which were sure to ostracize the claustrophobic in you the open plains of this new record are challenging to traverse yet something to behold.
27. Obsidian Tongue - A Nest Of Ravens In The Throat Of Time
(8.5) Melodic Black: Absolutely stunning melodies of a long sweeping black metal with varied pacing. Things get hectic then slow down for an atmospheric approach. Rarely does it fail to grip and when things seem to slip it works in some psychedelic or folky touches to consistently diversify their sound.
28. Scale The Summit - The Migration
(8.5) Instrumental/Progressive: It can be difficult working in a progressive habitat without a guiding voice. This band proves once again that they don't fall short of crafting truly natural and memorable songs. Vibrant and fascinating.
29. Witherscape - The Inheritance
(8.5) Progressive Death: As you would expect Swano makes his mark on progressive metal with another extension of his death metal fed style, moving things under a gothic shade.
30. Nocte Obducta - Umbriel (Das Schweigen Zwischen Den Sternen)
(8.5) Avantgarde Black: Surprisingly soothing as it fixates on unusual atmospheres within most tracks. You get more the obvious instances where it retains the cold recesses of black metal but for the most part it is one really absorbing listen. Can feel a little stretched at points.
31. Amorphis - Circle
(8.5) Melodic/Heavy: The clear focus on this album makes repeated visits rewarding. There is less here to uncover than on previous albums, owing in part to the shorter playing time as well as the less inclusive approach to songwriting yet the stunning conviction speaks for itself. Well balanced.
32. Argus - Beyond The Martyrs
(8.5) Heavy/Doom
33. Beastwars - Blood Becomes Fire
(8.5) Sludge/Stoner
34. Tribulation - The Formulas Of Death
(8.5) Death/Black: You know that label "Death 'n' Roll"? I'd apply it to the general melodic style of this only it doesn't just borrow its elements from a good old fashioned bout of rock 'n' roll but works in an abundance of psychedelic components. Some of these are applied to a diverse mix of death and black metal driven tracks. It's "Psychedelic 'n' Black 'n' Death 'n' Roll 'n' stuff"
35. Blindead - Absence
(8.5) Alternative
36. Ayreon - The Theory Of Everything
(8.5) Progressive
37. Caligula's Horse - The Tide, The Thief & River's End
(8.5) Progressive/Alternative
38. Fughu - Human: Tales
(8.5) Progressive Rock/Metal: Of the two albums this one is the more cohesive and substantial yet less varied. More time is put into each track to acclimatise listeners and the album as a whole is not quite as vocally centred as Human: The Facts.
39. October Tide - Tunnel Of No Light
(8.5) Melodic Death/Doom: Conjuring images of hallowed halls and light devoid passages this is another excellent offering from this Katatonian rebirth.
40. The Flaming Lips - The Terror
(8.5) Electronic/Psychedelic: Somehow this album radiates a cold feeling yet, at the same time, it sounds so warm and affectionate. What does that mean? I dunno, listen for yourself.
41. Riverside - Shrine Of New Generation Slaves
(8.5) Progressive Rock/Metal: Having undertaken a refurbishment of their sound this band demonstrate once again how to make a richly atmospheric progressive rock relevant to modern metal.
42. Rosetta - The Anaesthete
(8.5) Post/Sludge
43. Russian Circles - Memorial
(8) Post
44. Extol - Extol
(8) Progressive
45. Ulver - Messe I.X-VI.X
(8) Ambient
46. Sky Architect - A Billion Years Of Solitude
(8) Heavy Prog
47. Darkestrah - Manas
(8) Pagan Black
48. Dreadnought - Lifewoven
(8) Progressive/Post Rock
49. Lunarsea - Hundred Light Years
(8) Melodic Death
50. The Black Heart Rebellion - Har Nevo
(8) Post
51. Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark
(8) Heavy/Psychedelic Rock
52. Stratovarius - Nemesis
(8) Power
53. Hammerforce - Access Denied
(8) Progressive Power
54. The Prophecy - Salvation
(8) Death/Doom
55. Arsaidh - Roots
(8) Celtic Folk/Atmospheric Black
56. Kylesa - Ultraviolet
(8) Psychedelic Sludge
57. Tad Morose - Revenant
(8) US Power
58. Fright Pig - Out Of The Barnyard
(8) Progressive
59. Evoke Thy Lords - Drunken Tales
(8) Stoner Doom
60. Angizia - Des Winters Finsterer Gesell
(8) Gothic/Avantgarde: This album has a very chilly gothic atmosphere embedded in avantgarde structure. Metal elements are sparse with the use of instrumentation such as the cello or accordion fulfilling as much of a role. Many tracks have great rythymn with the piano and vocals in particular being emphasised within the mix, forming an intimate if unsettling presence which follows you throughout the album to it's bitter trudging end.
61. DGM - Momentum
(8) Progressive/Power
62. Thyrfing - De Ödeslösa
(8) Viking/Black
63. Képzelt Város - Anatolij
(8) Post Rock
64. Age Of Taurus - Desperate Souls of Tortured Times
(8) Doom
65. SubRosa - More Constant Than The Gods
(8) Psychedelic Sludge
66. Intronaut - Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)
(8) Progressive
67. Omb - Swinesong
(8) Avantgarde
68. Orphaned Land - All Is One
(8) Progressive Folk
69. Monster Magnet - Last Patrol
(8) Stoner
70. Almah - Unfold
(8) Heavy/Power
71. Hateform - Sanctuary In Abyss
(8) Melodic Death/Thrash
72. Blood Bright Star - Solar Infinite
(8) Psychedelic/Drone: A Horseback derivative if I've ever heard one, but a good one. Subjugating in its repetition in the best way possible and broken up by warped spoken interludes.
73. Keldian - Outbound
(8) Power
74. Clagg - Gather Your Beasts
(8) Sludge
75. Omnium Gatherum - Beyond
(8) Melodic Death
76. Warlord - The Holy Empire
(8) Heavy
77. Ghost B.C. - Infestissumam
(8) Heavy
78. Medda - Oceanus
(8) Instrumental/Melodic/Progressive
79. Grayceon - Pearl And The End of Days
[EP] (8) Progressive
80. Aosoth - IV: An Arrow In Heart
(8) Black: Other than the artwork there is something about this wall of black metal that makes me pay attention. Black metal of the more traditional sort is rarely something that I feel like listening to in preference to other genres. Yet in this case there is something of a melodic structure which reaches through at times. It occurs often enough to pull things together for me in this album with a thick and almost deathlike aesthetic. Pure evil.
81. Stonehenge - Bunch Of Bisons
(8) Heavy Psychedelic Rock: The sound of Potsdam's Stonehenge is psychedelic/stoner rock with a prog flavour. I love this mostly instrumental album for its healthy appetite for memorable riffs and organ key fixation. Fairly longwinded but I don't mind.
82. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber - Regarde Les Hommes Tomber
(8) Sludge/Black
83. Crown - Psychurgy
(8) Sludge/Post
84. Serenity - War Of Ages
(8) Symphonic Power
85. The Ox - Obsidian
(7.5) Progressive Death
86. Evile - Skull
(7.5) Thrash
87. Combat Astronomy - Kundalini Apocalypse
(7.5) Djent/Industrial
88. The Cosmic Dead - Orbiting Salvation
(7.5) Ambient/Drone
89. Long Distance Calling - The Flood Inside
(7.5) Post Rock
90. Attacker - Giants Of Canaan
(7.5) US Power
91. Dead Shape Figure - Opus Victoria
(7.5) Thrash/Melodic
92. Lalu - Atomic Ark
(7.5) Progressive
93. Månegarm - Legions Of The North
(7.5) Viking/Black
94. The Flight Of Sleipnir - Saga
(7.5) Folk/Stoner/Doom
95. Anciients - Heart Of Oak
(7.5) Stoner/Progressive
96. Acolyte - Alta
(7.5) Progressive Black: Acolyte are devotees of a straightforward melodic black metal with progressive persuasions. Despite effective riffing, Alta operates along a single dimensional and would be tiresome if not for the cogency of its melodies.
97. Mourning Beloveth - Formless
(7.5) Death/Doom
98. Amplifier - Echo Street
(7.5) Progressive Rock
99. Týr - Valkyrja
(7.5) Melodic
100. Trials - In The Shadow Of Swords
(7.5) Thrash
101. October Falls - The Plague Of A Coming Age
(7.5) Folk/Black
102. Consciousness Removal Project - Tacit
(7.5) Post
103. Nightfall - Cassiopeia
(7.5) Melodic Death
104. Avantasia - The Mystery Of Time
(7.5) Heavy/Symphonic Power: A bit more of a rock opera feel this time around brought to the table (or clockface) by the excellent yet less diverse vocal lineup and memorable guitar work. Something comparatively different to previous records with an operatic tendency closer to the original two part Metal Opera. A nice change.
105. Athelstan - The Ride
(7.5) Pagan/Folk
106. Void Of Sleep - Tales Between Reality And Madness
(7.5) Stoner
107. Helloween - Straight Out Of Hell
(7.5) Power
108. Persefone - Spiritual Migration
(7.5) Progressive
109. Autumnblaze - Every Sun Is Fragile
(7.5) Gothic
110. Feared - Furor Incarnatus
(7.5) Progressive/Melodic Death
111. Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn
(7.5) Atmospheric Black
112. Fjoergyn - Monument Ende
(7.5) Symphonic Black
113. Entropia - Vesper
(7.5) Post/Blackgaze: One of those albums which takes up the shoegazing thing in a post metal context. It is by no means light and airy in sound as the post metal elements grant it a core solidarity and the interplay with atmospheric black passages gives it much substance. The elements which bring about the reference to shoegaze are tastefully used and not overtly shoved in front of you.
114. Hacride - Back To Where You've Never Been
(7.5) Progressive
115. Officium Triste - Mors Viri
(7.5) Death/Doom
116. Abstract Spirit - Theomorphic Defectiveness
(7.5) Funeral Doom
117. Kvelertak - Meir
(7.5) Punk/Black
118. Pelican - Forever Becoming
(7.5) Instrumental/Post
119. Adora Vivos - Toward The Empyrean
(7.5) [EP] Gothic Doom: A promising EP which features three sets of lungs, each of the guitarists and bassist lending some vocal work. Collectively their voice is quite strong, and the instrumentation isn't too far behind. They refer to their sound as "progressive doom" but I prefer to think of it as diverse mix of doom styles with a penchant for melody.
120. Funeral Speech - Experimental World
(7.5) Progressive Death
121. The Albion Codex - Summon The Ancients
(7.5) Progressive/Doom
122. God Is An Astronaut - Origins
(7.5) Post Rock
123. Cold Insight - Further Nowhere
(7.5) Instrumental/Melodic Doom
124. Sons Of Aeon - Sons Of Aeon
(7.5) Melodic Death
125. Steak Number Eight - The Hutch
(7.5) Post/Sludge
126. Shade Empire - Omega Arcane
(7.5) Symphonic Black
127. Funeral Circle - Funeral Circle
(7.5) Epic Doom
128. Hypocrisy - End Of Disclosure
(7.5) Melodic Death
129. Universe217 - Never
(7.5) Experimental Doom
130. Olde Growth - Owl
(7.5) [EP] Stoner/Sludge/Doom
131. Eschatos - Hierophanies
(7.5) Progressive Black
132. Dormant Ordeal - It Rains, It Pours
(7.5) Death
133. Sadgiqacea - False Prism
(7.5) Psychedelic Sludge
134. Tomahawk - Oddfellows
(7) Alternative
135. Amon Amarth - Deceiver Of The Gods
(7) Melodic Death
136. Enforcer - Death By Fire
(7) Heavy
137. Abysmal Grief - Feretri
(7) Gothic Doom
138. Gloryhammer - Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife
(7) Power
139. Chthonic - Bú-Tik
(7) Melodic Death
140. Sacred Steel - The Bloodshed Summoning
(7) US Power
141. Dyscordia - Twin Symbiosis
(7) Melodic/Progressive
142. Starving Daughters - We Were Eggs
(7) Psychedelic Rock
143. Semantic Saturation - Solipsistic
144. Volbeat - Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies
(7) Heavy
145. Moth - Endlessly In Motion
(7) Progressive Death
146. Pomegranate Tiger - Entities
(7) Instrumental/Progressive
147. Jex Thoth - Blood Moon Rise
(7) Psychedelic Rock/Doom
148. Dunbarrow - The Crows Ain't Far Behind
(7) [EP] Blues Rock/Heavy
149. Magic Circle - Magic Circle
(7) Doom/NWOBHM
150. Havok - Unnatural Selection
(7) Thrash
151. Caladan Brood - Echoes Of Battle
(7) Atmospheric/Epic Black
152. Necrowretch - Putrid Death Sorcery
(7) Death
153. Dreamtale - World Changed Forever
(7) Power
154. Light Bearer - Silver Tongue
(7) Post
155. Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep
(7) Progressive Rock
156. Sodom - Epitome Of Torture
(7) Thrash
157. Deus Ex - Corrosive Genesis
(7) Industrial: One guy from the US playing some industrial metal which is melded with black and thrash at various points. He knows how to work in the atmospheric effects very well.
158. Wolfchant - Embraced By Fire
(7) Melodic Death/Folk
159. Eldkraft - Shaman
(7) Pagan/Folk
160. Red Rebel Patriots - Dominion
(7) [EP] Progressive/Technical
161. Æther Realm - One Chosen By The Gods
(7) Melodic Death/Folk
162. Cosmoskelet - Retreat
(7) [EP] Alternative/Progressive
163. Agrypnie - Aetas Cineris
(7) Melodic Black
164. Amber - Lovesaken
(7) Post
165. Essence - Last Night Of Solace
(7) Thrash
166. Lodz - Something In Us Died
(7) Post/Hardcore
167. Usnea - Usnea
(7) Doom/Sludge
168. The Fall Of Every Season - Amends
(7) Doom
169. Andy Winter - Incomprehensible
(7) Avantgarde: The thing about this album is that the instrumentation is not of the captivating sort and seems like it's there merely to serve as somewhere to frame the broad range of vocal talent. Not to mention the lack of flow between tracks, though each are identifiable as each presents a new voice. I had hoped for more from Andy.
170. The Amenta - Flesh Is Heir
(7) Industrial Death

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by R'Vannith ]

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Comments: 37   Visited by: 219 users
11.01.2014 - 04:43

Written by R'Vannith on 11.01.2014 at 04:30

Written by Diverge on 11.01.2014 at 00:29

Dude, you have to check out Eloa Vadaath's 2013 album, entitled Dead End Proclama. It just heard it a few days ago and it has consistently been blowing me away. I would honestly say it's a combination of Ten Masks-era Dissona and Ne Obliviscaris, with maybe a little bit of Rishloo and Omb in the mix. I think it was a pretty weak year for prog metal, but this album came out of nowhere and slayed. In fact, it's the only prog album that I think warrants a 9+ grade this year.

Edit: By the way, Nami is pretty sweet. It's really growing on me-- Gojira-like metal was few and far between this year and so that was refreshing.

Speaking of which, you might like to check out Sky Architect, some good heavy prog there, nearly manages a metal sound, at times. Big Big Train is something I've been meaning to check out, and it's been weighing heavily on my mind (pun intended) If I remember rightly from a cursory listen to their sound it was very much like Genesis, though not so much their early period, if I recall.

I agree with your sentiments on was a very weak year for prog for me. I think it was a strong sludge/post-metal/death metal year. I'm optimistic 2014 might be a little bit better; I have a love affair with Headspace's debut and Dissona's debut, so I'm highly anticipating those albums. Maybe To-Mera might release a new album as well...who knows? To be honest, though, I've been finding my tastes shifting to sludge and post more and more nowadays; I find those genres pretty consistent year to year (at least as far as I can remember as a metal fan).

I actually heard Sky Architect very recently and I've given it a listen. I do remember thinking positively about the record, even if it was very light and sometimes dragged on a bit too long. I would rank it about the same as you do on the list, actually.
11.01.2014 - 04:52
Written by Diverge on 11.01.2014 at 04:43

To be honest, though, I've been finding my tastes shifting to sludge and post more and more nowadays

This is something I can very much relate to, those two genres seem more and more interesting to me by the day.

And Sky Architect do the "long prog" deliberately I think, that start with a massive 18 minute track, they've got no remorse for those after quick fix prog, it seems.
11.01.2014 - 16:53

The Moth Gatherer - A Bright Celestial Light is very good. Nice find
Giving my ears a rest from music.
12.01.2014 - 03:16
Written by mz on 11.01.2014 at 16:53

The Moth Gatherer - A Bright Celestial Light is very good. Nice find

Glad to see you found it nice as well, the melodies of this one are unequalled in terms of their power. No album I've heard this year hits as hard as that one did, for me at least. As far as debuts go, it shows immense potential I think.
12.01.2014 - 11:19

Written by R'Vannith on 12.01.2014 at 03:16

Glad to see you found it nice as well, the melodies of this one are unequalled in terms of their power. No album I've heard this year hits as hard as that one did, for me at least. As far as debuts go, it shows immense potential I think.

Definitely agreed. You are a staff and I think must make some fuss about if
Giving my ears a rest from music.
12.01.2014 - 13:20
Written by mz on 12.01.2014 at 11:19

Definitely agreed. You are a staff and I think must make some fuss about if

Some fuss you say? Now that I can do, I'm on it.
12.01.2014 - 13:29

Written by R'Vannith on 12.01.2014 at 13:20

Some fuss you say? Now that I can do, I'm on it.

Giving my ears a rest from music.

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