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2013 List (continued)

Because I can't stop listening to music, but neither can I sacrifice my lovely descriptions, so same fare as before, but deleted descriptions for those covered in the first list.

Created by: musclassia | 09.06.2013

1. Protest The Hero - Volition
2013 [9.2] - On first listen, I wasn't sure where this sat as far as PTH's releases go - I preferred Scurrilous but didn't know whether it was above or below Kezia. After a few listens, I'd still probably just about have Scurrilous ahead, but this a truly fine release. The guitar playing is as always incredible, the songs are as well-written as on the predecessor, although the lyrics aren't quite as up-front and incredibly written, and the emotional climaxes of the songs are all stellar - absolutely love Drumhead Trial, and even songs which seem a cut below have something in store (Mist went from decent to WOW in the last couple of minutes). REALLY fine release, and arguably AOTY.
2. Persefone - Spiritual Migration
2013 [9.2]
3. Amorphis - Circle
2013 [9.1]
4. Nero Di Marte - Nero Di Marte
2013 [9.0]
5. Monolithe - Monolithe IV
2013 [9.0] - Very different to my other experience of the band, the enjoyable but less forceful Interlude Second, this is an overwhelming piece of work. A single hour-long extreme doom fest, the sound is colossal, and the changes are gradual and subtle, but each one hits the mark, whether a new riff or motif, the change or addition to the (sometimes multiple) lead guitar lines, or (towards the end) the introduction of choral vocals. The album is truly enthralling and one of the year's highlights; maybe I should check out more of their stuff.
6. Riverside - Shrine Of New Generation Slaves
2013 [8.9]
7. New Keepers Of The Water Towers - The Cosmic Child
2013 [8.9] - Absolutely enthralling mix of stoner metal and prog rock, coming together to produce a splendidly atmospheric and moving piece of work, which covers all the necessary bases with complete authority. The heavier riff-ier parts are far more engaging than the Sword-like stuff that can often come with stoner (Church Of Misery take note), and whenever they tone it down, they do it perfectly; whether just a little bit to allow guitar leads to shine, or toning it down more to be a beautiful atmospheric section, or even dialing it down to the delightful acoustic outro title track. It brings a bit of Crack The Skye to mind, and when I say it's very much comparable in quality to that album, you'll get a picture of just how good this album is.
8. Progenie Terrestre Pura - U​.​M​.​A.
2013 [8.8] - I first heard about this due to the 'sci-fi theme' buzz. To be honest, I haven't looked at the lyrics (probably never will), but I can only judge on the music, which is astonishingly well-made electronic-infused atmospheric black metal. The central track is 7 minutes of brooding sound effects, and the song is bookended by 4 colossal tracks, which are astonishingly well-written. The core BM base is chilling, heavy, aggressive, or mellow when it needs to be, and the sound effects just add another flavor to it. Highly recommended.
9. Weedpecker - Weedpecker
2013 [8.8] - A truly outstanding stoner rock/metal release. From the great midtempo stoner riff grooves, to the breathtaking leads and other elements layered on top, these guys have a fantastic knowledge of how to build songs (the first 2-1/2 minutes of Weedfields as one example). The best tracks would be emphatic opener Berenjena Pipe and the outrageous Sativa Landscapes, but the whole album is pretty special.
10. Enshine - Origin
2013 [8.7]
11. The Ocean - Pelagial
2013 [8.7]
12. Tribulation - The Formulas Of Death
2013 [8.6]
13. Amiensus - Restoration
2012 [8.6]
14. Mechina - Empyrean
2013 [8.6]
15. Intronaut - Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)
2013 [8.6]
16. Omnium Gatherum - Beyond
2013 [8.5]
17. Gorguts - Colored Sands
2013 [8.4] - Remarkable comeback album from a band whose previous work (or what I've experienced of it, i.e. Obscura) did little for me. This is mercifully far less impenetrable than that album; whilst it has a dissonant DM sound, it's towards the more accessible end of the spectrum than the likes of Abyssal and especially Portal, allowing the destructive force of it to come through. I found myself enjoying the pulsating extremity of it in a way few death albums achieve. And then there is the more melodic side, which is not dominant but still strongly present and excellently done; the album standout track An Ocean Of Wisdom demonstrates the capabilities of this band when it comes to both the more extreme and more variable. Oh, and the powerful strings section track The Battle Of Chamdo acts as a demonstration to other bands of how to do non-metal instrumental tracks that act as a break from the metal whilst still sounding entirely relevant thematically and holding up as a track by itself. Really neat release.
18. Pomegranate Tiger - Entities
2013 [8.4] - A long but very well-judged instrumental metal album with technical talent mixed with strong songwriting skills and a healthy level of variety to prevent a feeling of repetition. The subtler moments prevent the more guitar-fest sections from becoming overwhelming and add some nice spice to a very well-done piece of work, one of the best instrumental albums this year.
19. Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
2013 [8.4]
20. Witherscape - The Inheritance
2013 [8.4] - Another Swano album, another great record. Probably the best comparison for this album is his previous album, Moontower. However this one lacks the same prog rock feel that album possesses (mainly due to the keyboards and Rush stylings), with a darker tone more present. The album varies a reasonable amount, which doesn't always work out (the calm moments of The Wedlock Observation are quite tedious), but on tracks like To The Calling Of Blood And Dreams, and The Math Of The Myth, there are plenty of moments to remind you why this man has such a reputation in the world of metal.
21. Orphaned Land - All Is One
2013 [8.4] - Not quite as good as Mabool or ORwarriOR, but a very strong return from these guys. The extreme elements are gone, and so are most of the prog elements - the album makes the oriental elements a far stronger focus than the last two albums, but thankfully they're good enough that the band can stand alone on them without suffering. I'm a fan of the lead vocalist, which definitely helps the album, and so do the great guitar leads and vocal harmonies. A really solid album from a top-notch band.
22. Long Distance Calling - The Flood Inside
2013 [8.4]
23. In Vain - Ænigma
2013 [8.4]
24. Shade Empire - Omega Arcane
2013 [8.3] - When I saw the 'symphonic black metal' tag, I was expecting something along the lines of last year's Saturnian album. Thankfully, this one offers a bit more than that. The extended song lengths give the tracks a chance to develop and evolve from faster blast-n'-keys parts to more mellowed or atmospheric parts, and the shifting styles stop the album from growing stale. Not amazing, but perfectly enjoyable and superior to last year's big symph black release.
25. Consciousness Removal Project - Tacit
2013 [8.3] - Another post- album, and another success in this field. An album that is happy to use ambience such as keys and electronics alongside standard instrumentations, to produce impressively-structured, eerie-yet-calm atmospheric tracks which stand above most efforts in the field. The album is willing to get heavier, but spends a lot of time in more restrained terriotry, to great effect, particularly on the tortuously restrained final piece. Really fine piece of work.
26. Vulture Industries - The Tower
2013 [8.3] - Some really fun avant-garde metal. That term may bring uneXpect insanity to mind, but this is not at all chaotic, feeling entirely natural in the liberty of its genre in a similar way to Diablo Swing Orchestra. They don't follow conventions but still are easily relate-able, which helps their enthusiastic approach and imagination shine through. The album isn't completely on the mark, with a few moments that miss the target, but more often than not, they're on the ball and producing some really nice sounds. Fine work.
27. Exivious - Liminal
2013 [8.3] - One of the better instrumental metal albums I've heard in a while. Often these things can get tedious, but the sheer variety and aversion to technical wankery on this album keeps it fresh and engaging. Occasional tracks get dragged down by being too much about technique and not enough about melody and soul (tracks 1 and 7 come to mind, plus the sax uber-solo towards the end of track 4, despite the lovely rhythm accompaniment), but others like the soft ambient Movement, the chilled lounge-jazz-ish Triguna, the uplifting closer Immanent, and the delightful album highlight Alphaform lift this above the competition.
28. Haken - The Mountain
2013 [8.3] - Progressive rock/metal is clearly the best sub-genre, and Haken are one of the rising names in this scene. I really enjoyed their first album, even with the imperfect vocals, and rather liked Visions too, even if it didn't quite match Aquarius. Where does this third album sit? Possibly a bit lower than Visions, but still certainly in the same ballpark, which is a good sign. They do vary the music well enough, with softer tracks (As Death Embraces) and more metallic songs (In Memoriam) both sitting together well and both accomplished. They also go flat-out oddball with the very left-field Cockroach King, which is rather offputting but has its own unique appeal. However, the best songs are definitely the multi-faceted proggy longer ones, Falling Back To Earth, Somebody, and arguably the highlight, Pareidolia. Haken haven't quite set the world ablaze yet with their music, falling a bit short of being truly special, but this is a perfectly fine album which cements them as a solid act.
29. Subrosa - More Constant Than The Gods
2013 [8.3] - A really impressive follow-up to this band's already-promising 2011 debut. Their mix of droning sludge with ethereal female vocals, violin and occasional woodwind accompaniment, and the odd piano offshoot, keeps this sounding fresh, and the core sound is very heavy and engaging without sounding like a Kongh-esque stomp; it's more subtle than that. Really well-made, eerie album.
30. Cult Of Luna - Vertikal
2013 [8.3]
31. Keldian - Outbound
2013 [8.3] - Shows off the best of power metal - hooky but not shallow, anthemic but not cheesy, fast but varied, and with a nice keyboard sheen that doesn't either crawl into the background or overpower the rest of the band. Really nice album and the standout power metal release of 2013.
32. Nocte Obducta - Umbriel (Das Schweigen Zwischen Den Sternen)
2013 [8.3]
33. Black Fast - Starving Out The Light
2013 [8.3] - One of the better thrash albums in a year in which what little I heard of the genre was rather disappointing. With a sound like Vektor, as in hyperexcitable and kinda shrieky vocals, but without the excessive proggy technicality and with a more cut-to-the-chase straightforward approach to riffs and solos, this really caught my attention, and it also managed to avoid sounding like another 80s ripoff. The sound is pretty close in fact to later Death. With that rounded off with a good shortish running length, a rather neat album.
34. Thy Light - No Morrow Shall Dawn
2013 [8.2] - Very nice depressive black metal album, with a very sorrowful feel. Played mostly at a mid-pace with chugging raw BM chords alongside acoustic, piano&keys and other instrumental elements, it lands in sounds somewhere between a darker Alcest and something resembling V: Halmstad by Shining. If this kinda thing is your vice, and I must say I'm a fan of atmos-black which retains melody whilst still being dark and harsh like this, then you should really check out this one.
35. Kongh - Sole Creation
2013 [8.2]
36. Kingcrow - In Crescendo
2013 [8.2]
37. Scale The Summit - The Migration
2013 [8.2] - A really strong modern instrumental prog metal album, with a very pleasant upbeat mood. The album has a good mix of cheery riffs, interesting guitar licks, exciting solos, and occasional ambient moments. The guitars clearly rule the album, although the bass does get to shine too if you pay attention. All the songs have their moments, but the clear standout is the astonishing Narrow Salient, which starts with mid-paced riffing, only to evolve into a maelstrom of moving guitar leads. All in all, excellent effort.
38. The Flight Of Sleipnir - Saga
2013 [8.2]
39. Alice In Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
2013 [8.2] - The album was thankfully not a disappointment, and possibly even better than expected. Yes this band is now very different from the colossus that made Dirt, one of the best albums I've ever heard, but considering the massive loss that Layne Staley was, it's a relief that the band can still pump out really solid music. I'm not sure whether this is better or worse than Black Gives Way To Blue, but there's enough good material (although admittedly a few songs do overrun) to ensure this second DuVall album isn't a letdown.
40. Windhand - Soma
2013 [8.2] - I appear to be becoming more of a stoner fan with every 2013 album I hear. First New Keepers..., then Weedpecker, and now this, a really monolithic stoner doom album, reaching 75 minutes including a grinding last 10 minutes closing out the album. The sludgy, heavy sound, with the slightly 'out-there' (don't know how to describe it) vocals that often come with stoner rock/metal, with something of an atmos-black feel on top, particularly in the moments that tremolo gets whipped out. It took me a while to decide this was worth checking out; turned out to be a good call on my part.
41. Eibon - II
2013 [8.2]
42. Fleshgod Apocalypse - Labyrinth
2013 [8.1] - The follow-up to 2011's impressive Agony, this album is less of an evolution than that one was from Mafia and Oracles. It could be labelled 'different album, same stuff' by some people, but I don't agree; it's more just a refinement of what has come before. The guitars are less overwhelmed by the orchestrations, the guttural and clean vocals are more intertwined than before, and everything feels a bit more balanced. There's still a predominance towards full-speed blastfests that prevents most of the songs really obtaining their own unique identity, but tracks like Minotaur stand out, and the usual piano interludes do their job of breaking up proceedings. Very solid effort from an impressive band.
43. Hell - Curse And Chapter
2013 [8.2] - My previous bemoanings about straight heavy metal don't take bands like this into account. With a sound that's truly heavy, which lets the ripping riffs and solos and powerful high-pitched shrieky vocals shine, these guys know how to right heavy songs that kick ass. They're also not afraid of expanding their songs, producing the two choice cuts in Darkhangel and the ambitious 'epic'-sounding closer A Vespertine Legacy. Very nice.
44. Extol - Extol
2013 [8.1] - An incredibly varied album which deserves a lot of respect, even if it's more a case of admiration than pure love. This is a brand of extreme prog metal where the extremity is in the variety in types of hards and softs between songs. For example, the song Wastelands, with its almost tech-death-esque (in the style of Atheist) harsh verses and Tyr-like viking choruses, is rather different to the melodeath/harsh viking mix of the extreme parts of A Gift Beyond Human Reach, which has almost dreamy soft parts. On top of this, they also have fine musicianship; for example, the melodic shred solo on Ministers is very lovely and punctuates one of the more aggressive and abrasive songs on the album.This is all very impressive - one complaint however might be that the variety leads to a slight lack of core engagement. However, for those looking for well-performed varied music with interesting songs throughout, this is certainly worth a look.
45. Caligula's Horse - The Tide, The Thief & River's End
2013 [8.1] - Very nice well-made melodic progressive metal album taking nods from the likes of Karnivool, Haken and more to make a fairly well-varied and rather well-written piece of work.
46. Lesbian - Forestelevision
2013 [8.1] - This interestingly named band covers a lot of different territory during this single-song album, including dirgy aggressive doom, more psychedelic sections, upbeat stoner parts, before ending with a very Mercyful Fate-esque falsetto-n'-romp outro. Really rather impressive.
47. Anciients - Heart Of Oak
2013 [8.1]
48. Obscure Sphinx - Void Mother
2013 [8.1] - A very heavy yet nuanced sludgy/doomy/post-y metal album that does not hold back on its heavy riffing, but also is happy to use lighter moments when the mood suits, for solid effect. Not necessarily up there with my favourite post- albums of the year such as the latest from Long Distance Calling, Consciousness Removal Project and Cult Of Luna, it is admittedly often harsher than those albums when heavy, taking it slightly away from the perfect 'Isis' sound of my dreams. Nevertheless, it's not trying to be that sound, and for what it is, it's a very nice piece of work with some great vocals and a super final track.
49. Arsis - Unwelcome
2013 [8.1] - Prior to this album, I checked out Arsis' celebrated debut, A Celebration Of Guilt, which is a very worthwhile tech/melodeath release. Having skipped the unmentioned middle albums, I gave this a go, and was pleasantly surprised. What I found was an extreme melodeath album with an ability to death it up, but also plenty of more melodic riffs and some fine lead guitar work. It's pretty much what The Black Dahlia Murder would like to sound like - job very well done.
50. Ayreon - The Theory Of Everything
2013 [8.1] - One of this group's stronger efforts. The needless breaking down of tracks is rather irritating, but for the most part it's a good old prog romp, which is rather more up-front with it's emotional force and melodic nature than most of their albums, which works quite nicely. Not as good as The Dream Sequencer (my personal favourite of theirs), but compares favourably to 01011001 and The Human Equation in my book.
51. Omb - SwineSong
2013 [8.1] - The kind of eclectic avantgarde/prog metal album that feels fluid despite its variation, and feels far less forced than the likes of UneXpect or Akphaezya. There's a mix of fast extreme, more standard-tempo stuff with extreme vocals, and calmer stuff, and healthy use of violin throughout, as well as keys. The album has a keen sense of melody that also helps its cause. All in all, it sounds something approaching a more extreme Diablo Swing Orchestra, with harshness and eclecticness with plenty of melody all gelled together well, rather than the random insanity of the other mentioned bands. Very good.
52. Thrawsunblat - Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings
2013 [8.1]
53. Bend The Sky - Observatory
2013 [8.1]
54. Deeds of Flesh - Portals To Canaan
2013 [8.1] - Very solid brutal/tech-death romp in a style similar to, say, Gorod, with very groovy death riffs and high extremity mixed in with solid solo guitar work and more melodic breaks. If you dig this kinda thing, definitely check this one out.
55. Rosetta - The Anaesthete
2013 [8.1] - Out of the more established post-metal names, I hadn't really encountered Rosetta before, but I was pleasantly surprised by this release. It clearly has its feet in the post/sludge sound, but certainly isn't limited - the second track has a definite Mars Volta-esque prog vibe, and moments on other tracks have a similar jingly technical sound, whilst the body of track 4 is menacing and brooding in a way many black/death bands would be delighted to achieve. It doesn't always hit the spot, but it stays engaging throughout and delivers its fair share of high points.
56. Karnivool - Asymmetry
2013 [8.1] - A band with a growing reputation. This takes what they achieved on their previous albums and adds a little bit of crazy and eclecticism; certain tracks (The Refusal comes to mind) definitely have a bit of the old Mars volta wackiness, and some hardcore moments. Whether this weirdness is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder (I personally prefer Sound Awake), but it's still a very good release that helps keep up the band's momentum.
57. October Falls - The Plague Of A Coming Age
2013 [8.1]
58. Evoke Thy Lords - Drunken Tales
2013 [8.1]
59. Oranssi Pazuzu - Valonielu
2013 [8.0] - I remember distinctly not enjoying this band's last album, Kosmonument, but heard an interesting snippet of this album and decided to give it a go. I enjoyed it enough that I actually went back to briefly check Kosmonument to see if I was wrong about that album (I'd probably be slightly more appreciative of it now, but it's still not to my tastes), but the two albums are clearly rather different. This one is far less psychedelic and atmospheric, and far more black and metal (although track 4 harks back to the previous album), which I suppose might ruin some of its appeal to fans of their earlier stuff, but aligns it far more to my musical interests. It's not amazing, but tracks 2 and 5 are very neat tracks and the longer ones have a fair amount to offer too.
60. Oceans Of Slumber - Aetherial
2013 [8.0] - Has the usual stuff you'd expect from an extreme prog album; harsh vocals mixed with clean ones (both done competently on this), impressive guitar playing and general instrumental performance, multiple chop-changes in style (all done well enough), leading to a perfectly enjoyable release. Possibly the album is 'un-unique' in its 'different-ness', for lack of better words, but for people who enjoy this genre done well, this can go alongside Extol and Lascaille's Shroud as well-done efforts in the style this year (if a bit behind, say, Persefone; however they're all doing different styles so comparisons aren't entirely fair).
61. Wine From Tears - Glad To Be Dead
2013 [8.0] - Some solid melodic death/doom with slight gothic elements. The riffs are solid, the vocals forceful, and the general feel of the album very nice. Some female vocals occasionally pop up, but not the typical gothic 'beauty' ones; these ones are more powerful and rather well done. All in all, a perfectly diggable release right up the street of anyone into extreme melodic metal.
62. Inquisition - Obscure Verses For The Multiverse
2013 [8.0] - Oh hi Immortal! Well, that's pushing it, but with the same guitar sound and Abbath croaks, if I didn't know what I was listening to I'd definitely guess the best Norwegians. Still, there's some neat stuff on here, this being my first intro to the band. The first track was wildly underwhelming, but after that I got very much into it. The riffs, with their ice-cold tone, were on the whole very neat, well-served by the production, the more contemplative moments worked really well, and even with my usual disdain for BM blastbeats, I did find myself air-drumming along a couple of times *shrug*. My favourites would probably be track 2, just for completely changing my opinion on the album after the opener, and Inversion Of Ethereal White Stars, with it's very striking lead guitar melody about halfway through that came out of nowhere. I don't know if this would class as old-school BM (don't even know if the era of Immortal this resembles does), but it's certainly a good representation of whatever style it is.
63. Caladan Brood - Echoes Of Battle
2013 [8.0]
64. Officium Triste - Mors Viri
2013 [8.0]
65. Eternal Tears Of Sorrow - Saivon Lapsi
2013 [8.0]
66. Big Big Train - English Electric (Part Two)
2013 [8.0]
67. Terra Tenebrosa - The Purging
2013 [8.0]
68. Altar Of Plagues - Teethed Glory & Injury
2013 [8.0] - A very varied black metal release. Starting off with unsettling noise, it then goes on a journey including atmospheric black metal, more extreme moments, some rather esoteric stuff, and ventures into post-metal territory, before ending off with a rather euphoric send-off which resembles the feel, if not the style, of blackgaze.
69. Fallujah - Nomadic
2013 [8.0]
70. Trivium - Vengeance Falls
2013 [7.9] - I was initially rather lukewarm towards the album, but it has definitely grown on me. It probably doesn't help that the first track is arguably the weakest on the album, but in general, the songs are all a very solid continuation of the stylistic change they've made from Shogun to In Waves. Less progressive, more standard songs with hooky riffs and choruses. To be honest, I still feel that one more album of this move could end up being rather tedious, and would much rather have a bit of the progginess of Shogun or pure hooko-mania of Ascendancy returning on the next effort, but this is a whole lot more enjoyable than I initially appreciated. And Incineration: The Broken World is still truly empthatic. Dat chorus, man.
71. Chosen - Resolution
2013 [7.9]
72. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber - Regarde Les Hommes Tomber
2013 [7.9]
73. The Ruins Of Beverast - Blood Vaults (The Blazing Gospel Of Heinrich Kramer)
2013 [7.9] - Impressively forceful and crushing blackened doom album, which keeps a very stable feel throughout it's near-80 minute runtime, but manages to avoid dreary repetition with healthy mixing of black metal sections, very doomy parts, and other bits that utilise both in similar levels. The vocals are absolutely filthy, both the outrageous growls and violent shrieks, and all in all this is worthwhile listening for anyone who wants a bit of brutality in their doom.
74. Mouth Of The Architect - Dawning
2013 [7.9] - The first one and a bit songs on this album are a real turn-off; very standard atmos-sludge without any real hooks. However, just as your opinion of the album is souring, It Swarms turns into a rather remarkable track laced with lovely lead guitar lines. From then on, the album contains a quartet of varied yet solid tracks, from more intense stuff to grandiose songs like the closing The Other Son. To find faults, I would point towards the tinny production and the iffy vocals, both clean and extreme, but overall it's a reasonable post- effort, if not the best from this year.
75. Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
2013 [7.9]
76. Carcass - Surgical Steel
2013 [7.9] - Newsflash: This isn't another Heartwork or Necroticism. What it is is a rather enjoyable and remarkably impressive comeback album after however many years. It's in the same breed as Heartwork, aggressive, fast, melodic death metal, and it's (in my opinion at least), a much better album than Swansong. The songs perhaps aren't as catchy or varied as those on Heartwork, and none live up to tracks like the title track on the aforementioned album, but songs like the blistering Thrasher's Abattoir, with it's face-melting solo, the impressive Granulating Dark Satanic Mills, and grandiose album highlight Mouth of Execution, give the album that little bit of necessary pizzazz to make it a good rounded package. Impressive comeback, well done Carcass.
77. Subsignal - Paraìso
2013 [7.9] - This doesn't quite live up to Touchstones, which, whilst not always hitting the mark, always carried a very heartwarming feel to it. This does the same, but lacks a bit of the fullness of that album, except on standouts like Swimming Home. Nevertheless, one of the more touching albums of the year, despite its shortcomings.
78. Cult Of Luna - Vertikal II
2013 [7.9] - A second release from these guys this year, it starts off with the not overly impressive O R O, a minimal, trudging affair, but improves with Light Chaser and Shun The MAsk, both of which have some really good moments, before finishing with an amazing remix of Vicarious Redemption. It's very nice.
79. Dream Theater - Dream Theater
2013 [7.9] - This band's best days are a long time ago, and they spent the 00s following a different path, going heavier and releasing some very enjoyable but not quite as memorable prog metal. As the years went on however, a slight scent of stagnancy built up, culminating in 2011's entirely 'okay' and rather disappointing Dramatic Turn Of Events. Thankfully, the group has decided to shift things up, with pleasing results. The songs are (The Enemy Inside aside) less heavy and more focused on melody, vocals and such. It's not really ballad territory (apart from perhaps Along For The Ride), which we know all to well is really not their strong suit, but it's a bit closer to the tone they had on their earlier records perhaps. Not least the Rush influences are more apparent than they've been in 25 years, especially on The Looking Glass, and as well as reminding us all how good Rush are, does give the album a nice different flavor that works in its favor. The bulk of the album is solid, if not truly special, but it's brought together quite nicely by the 20-minute Illumination Theory. We all know this band is very good when they go from long to LONG (Octavarium, Count of Tuscany, In The Presence Of Enemies), and this keeps up the tradition quite nicely, with a very moving multi-faceted epic. All in all, nothing to rival their great 90s work, but a nice facelift to keep one of the biggest names in metal from falling into redundancy (or is that infinity?)
80. Necrophobic - Womb Of Lilithu
2013 [7.9] - This band produces some very enjoyable blackened death metal consistently (although how consistently they'll stay with their lead singer gone). However, this album is very long and does lack some variety, so even with its generally strong sound and individual highlights (Splendour, Marchosias, and so on), it does fall a bit below Death To All, and is definitely behind the incredibly hooky and hard-hitting masterpiece that is Hrimthursum. Would likely satisfy any fans and interest new listeners, but lacks enough spark to equal its predecessors.
81. Sombres Forêts - La Mort Du Soleil
2013 [7.9] - A reasonably impressive atmospheric black album, which stays towards the slower end of the spectrum. There's moments in the earlier part of the album which bring to mind, say, Ecailles De Lune, to give you a vague marker, but less 'gaze-y' than that album. However, later on the piano really begins to dominate the soundtrack, like a good version of Wilds Forlorn. Mixed in with hazy guitars and grizzly vocals, it makes a rather haunting sound that is pretty well done. It doesn't reach the highest levels of the genre, but is a worthy release nonetheless.
82. Disperse - Living Mirrors
2013 [7.9]
83. Blindead - Absence
2013 [7.9] - A pretty solid mellow-yet-heavy album, which spends a lot of its time in the same kind of heaviness territory as later Katatonia, with softer guitars and other sounds, but which occasionally forays into forceful guitar crunches to spice things up and avoid the atmosphere getting too drab. The songs are on the whole pretty good, but can feel a tad same-y without an amazing sound to compensate for it. The album does end with the best song on the album, which shows off everything they can do in a powerful, emotional grandstand finale of a track, but nevertheless, the album is good and enjoyable to listen to, but ultimately falls just short of really shining.
84. Kalmah - Seventh Swamphony
2013 [7.9] - I've heard Kalmah's debut, but too long ago and not often enough to remember. This is my next introduction, and I must say I do enjoy it. It's something like early-era Children of Bodom but with more meat and metal to go with it, making a powerful EPM album with enough hooks to satisfy as well. Strong effort.
85. Fates Warning - Darkness In A Different Light
2013 [7.9] - Very decent dark progressive rock/metal release from a band which, whilst clearly different from their No Exit/Awaken The Guardian days, are still clearly capable of writing quality prog (I honestly prefer this stuff to their 80s material). For those who (like me) haven't heard their more recent music, this has a sound somewhat comparable to Evergrey, particularly the vocals, but the rest of the music too. The songs can vary from softer piano-led tracks, to guitar-driven metal tracks, and culminating with a top-notch prog epic in 'And Yet It Moves' which even brought Between The Buried And Me to mind. Like Dream Theater, a prog veteran still capable of competing with the imitators.
86. Imperium Dekadenz - Meadows Of Nostalgia
2013 [7.9]
87. Redwood Hill - Descender
2013 [7.9]
88. Bölzer - Aura
2013 [7.9] - Pretty diggable OSDM-influenced extreme metal with hints of dissonance and winding songs, but the riffy meat of the music packs enough punch to get you moving. Definitely more exciting than a lot of OSDM revival acts/revived OSDM acts.
89. Avatarium - Avatarium
2013 [7.9] - Some pretty decent doom metal. Despite the connections to Candlemass, this is more uptempo and energetic than (what I've heard of) their music, with some cool heavy riffing and nice solo work. The female singer is good as well, filling out the songs quite nicely. There's some rather interesting songs here, especially Bird Of Prey, and this is definitely one of the better doom albums from the year; however it doesn't quite have that special spark to reach true greatness.
90. Hammerforce - Access Denied
2013 [7.9] - Synth-laced but frenetic power metal with solid guitar and keys work during both the meat of the songs and the solos, okay vocals which stay mostly mid-pitched with the occasional falsetto shriek, and good songwriting. Better PM release than the big boys managed this year, good effort.
91. Agnes Vein - Soulship
2013 [7.9] - A perfectly solid doom/sludge release in the realm of Ortega and Whales & Aurora, if perhaps not quite as accomplished as those two. The colossal opening track suggests it's going to be a long, epic album, but it's perhaps deceiving as the other tracks mix it up between short- and mid/long-length. All in all, it has the low, heavy, slow-ish tempo, roary elements that you'd expect from the genre, and put together into an accomplished package. Decent.
92. Hate - Solarflesh: A Gospel Of Radiant Divinity
2013 [7.9]
93. Black Sabbath - 13
2013 [7.8] - Well, this had the potential to be a disaster; their first album together in 35 years or something, with Ozzy's voice on the wane, the lack of Bill Ward, and Iommi dealing with cancer, this could've bombed. Mercifully, whilst not being great, the album is certainly a perfectly solid release with a collection of interesting and varied songs, from sludgy doomers like the opening two tracks, more upbeat ones like Loner, Planet Caravan-esque psychedelia like Zeitgeist, and the multi-faceted epic Dear Father. Whilst most people may have been expecting a depressing turd, this certainly holds its own, and it makes me very happy to be able to say that.
94. Duobetic Homunkulus - Ani Já Ani Ty Robit Něbudzeme, šedněme Do Koča, Vozit še Budzeme
2013 [7.8] - A nice little slab of technical chaos. Entirely incoherent to all but the most unusual of ears, but very fun and perfectly enjoyable. !T.O.O.H.! for happy people perhaps.
95. Palms - Palms
2013 [7.8] - A collabaration of ex-Isis members and Chino Moreno from Deftones. This first album is rather promising - particularly on the music side (given Isis's otherworldy brilliance was there ever any doubt), which sounds like a compilation of all the best bits of God Is An Astronaut put together. However, I must admit the vocals do bring things down a bit, and whilst there's very good moments in each song, they're not as consistent as you'd hope, as some of the musical changes are for the worse than better during songs. Good, but I would expect better on their next one.
96. Immolation - Kingdom Of Conspiracy
2013 [7.8]
97. The Meads Of Asphodel - Sonderkommando
2013 [7.8]
98. Ulcerate - Vermis
2013 [7.8] - A dissonant apocalypse of an album, and one that is far more enjoyable than the Portals of this world. The album maintains a common aura throughout of sinister foreboding before chaotic assaults, but does so in a far more atmospheric way than some other such albums, and the rabid sections are easily more listenable and engaging than some other similar albums are. However, the esoteric nature of such uncompromisingly ugly music does set up a barrier that hinders emotional engagement, which holds it further down my rankings than many others would have it. Still, commendable.
99. Pensées Nocturnes - Nom D'une Pipe!
2013 [7.8]
100. Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn
2013 [7.8]
101. Leprous - Coal
2013 [7.8] - These guys were always unusual, but the strange factor has rocketed up on this album. Perhaps it's not for the better, as whilst there are strong songs on this album, it's not competing with Tall Poppy Syndrome for their best, and is arguably inferior to Bilateral too. The vocals are as good as ever, but some of the song structures leave something to be desired. Still, it's solid.
102. Motörhead - Aftershock
2013 [7.8] - These guys keep on doing what they do best, which for many people is sound the same for the past 30 years. However, the quality of that sound does fluctuate, and the output from the band has arguably been on a downer since 2004's impressive Inferno. Having just heard the (out-of-sequence) stream, this one may convince some people that there's still some life in the old dog yet. The sound remains the same, but they are willing to mix things slightly, between the more downer mid-paced Lost Woman Blues, which contains some really nice solo-ing (the guitar work in general on the album is very strong, kudos Phil Campbell), the very speedy End Of Time, and the band showing their ability to add in subtle layers for effect with the saloon-style keys on Crying Shame. Really quite good, fair play Lemmy et al.
103. Hacride - Back To Where You've Never Been
2013 [7.8]
104. Sannhet - Known Flood
2013 [7.8] - Neither the offputtingly annoying opening blasting drums, neither the closing electronic sounds give a real representation of the impressively cohesive mesh of post- and almost industrial black metal found on the album. The music on display is interesting, but not necessarily enjoyable, with a somewhat esoteric feel to it. Nevertheless, songs like Endless Walls, Slow Ruin and Still Breathing demonstrate their ability to bring two genres together and not compromise either, which is something to be admired.
105. Kauan - Pirut
2013 [7.8] - Not as picturesque as their more accomplished previous efforts, with the general guitar/violin mix not gripping in the same way, but still pleasant enough, and there are definite moments (especially in tracks like III and V when the keys become more prominent), which remind you what was so good about them. So decent, but they've done better, and recently.
106. Shineback - Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed
2013 [7.8] - A rather unique prog/pop/electronica fusion album offering a little to many people but perhaps a lot to only a few. The songs vary a fair amount, but all have a quirky, yet not inacessible feel to them. Arguably the strongest track is Passenger, although the electronic/folk melody of Crush Culture is memorable, and the most straight-prog song on the album, the title track, is a good effort. Varied and possibly alienating, but admirable nonetheless.
107. Maudlin - A Sign Of Time
2013 [7.8]
108. Lascaille's Shroud - Interval 01: Parallel Infinities - The Inner Universe
2013 [7.8]
109. Lingua Mortis Orchestra - LMO
2013 [7.8] - Pretty solid mix of orchestra with metal. Both parts feel like they're contributing equally and don't sound gimmick-y either way, and the songs are pretty well-varied in style and heaviness. The mix of male metal vocals with clean females works well too. Not wildly impactful but certainly good enough for a listen if you like symphonic metal.
110. Watain - The Wild Hunt
2013 [7.8] - These guy's previous 2 efforts were both very solid black metal releases, with Lawless Darkness having some really ambitious parts to it. There's more evidence of musical ambition on here, but perhaps it doesn't work out so well. The first 5 tracks are all very solid standard Watain black metal songs that would fit in perfectly on the previous albums. Then, however, are 3 songs which bring a real Jekyll and Hyde feel to proceedings. First, the slow, ponderous and not especially fulfilling softer 'epic' They Rode On kills a lot of the pace, and then it's followed up by the needlessly raw sounds of Sleepless Evil, before again a slow, attemptingly creepy song in the title track changes things up, for better or worse. The album standout Outlaw then returns things to a more enjoyable level, but it's up for debate whether Watain's experimentation worked out here, and certainly it was less successful than in the colossal tracks like Waters of Ain on the previous album. Still, a reasonable album nevertheless.
111. Worldengine - Dark Matters
2013 [7.8]
112. Kvelertak - Meir
2013 [7.8]
113. Cult Of Fire - मृत्यु का तापसी अनुê
2013 [7.8] - Interesting mix of intense meloblack with oriental influences. It does sometimes get a bit monotonous with its extensive sections of blasting drums accompanying razor-sharp riffs, but the times it turns down the extremity by an 'nth' to become a bit 'groovier' perhaps, it does get more enjoyable. The lighter sections are also interesting, and the oriental influences are introduced more seamlessly than done by other extreme acts like Absu and Nile, adding more to the music. Nice but ultimately a bit limited.
114. Way To End - Various Shades Of Black
2013 [7.8]
115. Lychgate - Lychgate
2013 [7.8]
116. Killswitch Engage - Disarm The Descent
2013 [7.7]
117. Russian Circles - Memorial
2013 [7.7] - Another band in the post-metal scene. No surprises that I enjoy their music, but I must admit it's not quite up there with the Cult of Lunas and Long Distance Callings of the world. It's good, especially the final three tracks, but for significant parts, it does feel a bit by the numbers.
118. Born Of Osiris - Tomorrow We Die ∆live
2013 [7.7] - Interesting follow-up to The Discovery, an album which I liked but admittedly can't remember all that well. I'm slightly more attuned to A Higher Place, and some of the guitar work on this album does bring that effort to mind. It's by no means essential this thing, but the mix of nice 'epic' deathcore lead guitar melodies and somewhat rather upbeat synths/keys make this a rather accessible and enjoyable album, if not perhaps as developed as the previous album.
119. Dreadnought - Lifewoven
2013 [7.7] - A rather interesting mix of old-school prog and black metal, with other elements interlaced. There are long track times, mixes between harsh vocals and ethereal female ones, black metal riffing alternating with chilled out segments, and 70s-style flute-driven prog, and more. Whilst it's all very intriguing, the music isn't quite good enough to live up to potential expectations. There are strong moments, most notably the BM-and-piano-driven final couple minutes to the album, but a fair few segments fall a bit flat, in particular the prog-driven Immolate. Nevertheless, a nice original and promising piece of work.
120. Children Of Bodom - Halo Of Blood
2013 [7.7] - COB have long since fallen from the greats of Something Wild and Hatebreeder, but this is the closest they've been in a while. It's not as neoclassical as those albums, but it's far more fast-paced and extreme power than their recent albums. The songs lack a bit of memorability, but there's plenty of solid riffs, solos, and key accompaniments going on, and songs like Damage Beyond Repair beat anything they've done since Follow The Reaper. Not outstanding, but a big step up from the last few efforts.
121. Volto! - Incitare
2013 [7.7] - Cool and well-performed but ultimately forgettable instrumental prog rock.
122. Subterranean Masquerade - Home
2013 [7.7]
123. God Is An Astronaut - Origins
2013 [7.7] - Another release by this band which follows the broadly similar template of consistently enjoyable but mostly un-noteworthy calm, atmospheric songs mixed in with some more interesting highlights. Arguably their least notable album yet, but still worth a listen - and it does include some new factors such as occasional vocals, and some genuine heaviness on Calistoga.
124. The Black Dahlia Murder - Everblack
2013 [7.7] - TBDM are something of a small doses band, their particular brand of extreme metal being fun at first but wearing out quickly. This however, is arguably their strongest effort, or at least since Nocturnal, with a good mix of catchy riffs and interesting breaks from the extremity mixed in with the more intense parts. It does begin to wear a bit tiresome at points, but the songs are consistently decent and there are few without any peak moments.
125. Æther Realm - One Chosen By The Gods
2013 [7.7]
126. Ade - Spartacus
2013 [7.7] - Perfectly enjoyable and well-played death metal with solid riffs, guitar leads, and growls (plus a few additional themed musical elements related to the title). To be honest, though, that's been said about many albums - even by me, with my limited DM listening. I got kicks out of it, but in the end it's just one of a million barely distinguishable albums, and a few oriental sounds aren't really enough to help it stand out.
127. Hypocrisy - End Of Disclosure
2013 [7.7]
128. Soilwork - The Living Infinite
2013 [7.7]
129. Helloween - Straight Out Of Hell
2013 [7.7]
130. Equilibrium - Waldschrein
2013 [7.7] - Sagas is in my opinion the pinnacle of the whole European folk metal thing, excluding perhaps some of the more epic bands, but I missed their following album so this is my next encounter with Equilibrium. What can I say? The music's decent enough of course, especially the fine new song and its arguably finer acoustic version, but the EP is too brief to truly sink your teeth into. The real highlight is Zwergenhammer, but whilst all the material is good, it's nothing more really than a stop-gap before hopefully a full-length to rival their previous best.
131. Aeon Zen - Enigma
2013 [7.6]
132. Insomnium - Ephemeral
2013 [7.6] - The first single from their upcoming album, along with 3 additional pieces, which are pleasant but ultimately lightweight semi-folky instrumental pieces. The title track itself is a fine example of up-tempo, upbeat-feeling Finnish melodic death metal, and compares very well alongside their previous work. Has a touch of Omnium Gatherum, one might say, which is unsurprising given the new guitarist is also in that band. Promising for the new album.
133. Sepultura - The Mediator Between The Head And Hands Must Be The Heart
2013 [7.6] - This extravagantly titled album came as a major surprise as, whilst I enjoy the classic 'BAC' Cavalera-Sepultura albums, the only Derrick Green-fronted album I heard, A-lex, did nothing for me. However, between the solid and interesting riffs found regularly through the album, and the very engrossing mix of classic metal and tribal drumming, cause this to be actually quite an enjoyable album, although there is still a reasonable portion of monotonous, tedious music that holds it somewhat back.
134. Turisas - Turisas2013
2013 [7.6] - Surprised at the strongly negative reaction this album's received. I mean by no stretch of the imagination is it a genre 'classic' like the Varangian Way, and it's nothing like the style of Battle Metal, but it's not all that dissimilar to Stand Up And Fight, an album I liked perfectly well and so did most people from what I can tell. This isn't as good as SUAF, but it's still got a collection of decent songs which do contain some folk elements still, including tracks harking back to good ol' Jarisleif. The guitars are pretty weak in the mix, particular on I think Into The Free, although I'm not sure, but I found myself reasonably impressed with Nygard's vocals, at least enough to balance out the negatives. So, it's not great, but it's perfectly alright with a reasonable number of good moments, and nowhere near as bad as some would suggest.
135. Atlantean Kodex - The White Goddess
2013 [7.6] - Decent epic heavy metal, with solid riffs, decent soaring vocals and good solo work. However, one has to question whether the songs all need to approach/exceed 10 minutes, and there's something about the vocals I can't quite pinpoint that slightly irks me. They're very european power metal, which may not be the best thing for me, considering that, the likes of Jorn Lande and Hansi Kursch aside, those guys can sometimes irritate me. Still, it's a good album, and when it's on, e.g. the heavy part in the middle of the closing track with lead guitar lines on top, it's really quite good.
136. Ovid's Withering - Scryers Of The Ibis
2013 [7.6] - Relatively neat deathcore/djent/symphonic black metal mash-up with everything you'd expect from a deathcore album, but spiced up with other elements. However, it never reaches truly great levels, and the album is remarkably long considering the rather repetitive sound of the music.
137. Queensrÿche - Queensrÿche
2013 [7.6] - Everyone knows the dealio with the two band chaos of this name, so I'll just discuss the album, which is a very short (36 minutes!) intro to one new side of the Queensryche coin. The music is decent enough - fairly straightforward songs, mostly mid-tempo centered around choruses to show off Todd De La Torre's singing, which is rather good (although it sounds very strange on tracks like Redemption). It's nice enough to listen to but doesn't have a huge amount of depth to delve into, and whilst the songs are good enough for what they are, they don't necessarily excite that much.
138. DGM - Momentum
2013 [7.6]
139. Orbeth - 13th Orb
2013 [7.6]
140. Ghost B.C. - Infestissumam
2013 [7.6]
141. Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks
2013 [7.6] - A far lighter beast in tone than my other encounter with this artist (The Downward Spiral) but it works pretty well, especially on the more catchy, poppier tracks like Everything and In Two. There's something about their sound that I always find slightly lacking (except on Closer on TDS), but this is nice music with interesting dance-like beats and some neat instrumentation at times.
142. Amon Amarth - Deceiver Of The Gods
2013 [7.6] - The band widely accused of repeating itself with each new album does try and mix it up slightly, with clean vocals on Hel, and certain segments that break from the traditional sound. The album is clearly less by-the-numbers than Surtur Rising, but it's still not wildly new, and neither does it contain, aside from highlight As Loke Falls, many particularly standout songs. Still, it's decent.
143. Blood Red Throne - Blood Red Throne
2013 [7.6]
144. Dissona - Ten Masks
2013 [7.6]
145. Tides From Nebula - Eternal Movement
2013 [7.6] - A reasonably good instrumental post-rock effort; has a bit of the tremolo of Explosions..., a bit of the emotion of God Is An Astronaut, somewhat varying styles, with a similar overarching feel of pleasant calm melodies. However, next to a band like GIAA, it does lack some of the emotional pull that they're capable of.
146. Clutch - Earth Rocker
2013 [7.6]
147. Mord'A'Stigmata - Ansia
2013 [7.6] - Some quite murky atmospheric black metal which at times produces, particularly on track 4, a really creepy atmosphere. However, at other times, it just becomes another BM assault like millions before that fails to hold my interest across its runtime. Good flashes but ultimately competent-yet-forgettable atmos BM.
148. Gloryhammer - Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife
2013 [7.6]
149. Apocynthion - Sidereus Nuncius
2013 [7.5]
150. Finntroll - Blodsvept
2013 [7.5]
151. Wolfchant - Embraced By Fire
2013 [7.5]
152. Vallendusk - Black Clouds Gathering
2013 [7.5]
153. Thyrfing - De Ödeslösa
2013 [7.5]
154. Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep
2013 [7.5]
155. Stratovarius - Nemesis
2013 [7.5]
156. Moth - Endlessly In Motion
2013 [7.5]
157. Satan - Life Sentence
2013 [7.4] - Perfectly competent performers of a stale genre; heavy metal to me has offered all it can, but the riffs and solo work on here acts as a good presentation of those offerings, and the vocals are okay if not all that interesting.
158. Sedulus - The Beta EP
2013 [7.4] - These guy's last EP was a really neat surprise, a stoner release with a definite post-metal vibe which worked really well. This one is pretty much straight stoner, and the loss of that added spice hurts it rather. It's still decent, but it doesn't have much to make it really shine, and the second track is quite a damp squib compared to the superior first track. Alright, but a step down from their previous effort.
159. Fractal Gates - Beyond The Self
2013 [7.4]
160. Amaranthe - The Nexus
2013 [7.3]
161. Light Bearer - Silver Tongue
2013 [7.3]
162. Deafheaven - Sunbather
2013 [7.3] - I remember being distinctly unimpressed with their first album, but the widespread response throughout (and even outside) the metal community to this album drove me to give the band a second chance. The album is clearly superior to the debut, with more interesting blackgaze sequences, more natural transitions between soft and extreme parts, and even some genuinely enjoyable tracks, such as the harsh-euphoric closer and the neat guitar leads on standout track Vertigo. However, I do still find the sound on the album needlessly muddy and detracting away from the music, and several parts just lose my interest. Unlike the previous album, I can see the appeal of this one, but it's not one of my picks for the year.
163. Evile - Skull
2013 [7.3]
164. The Vision Bleak - Witching Hour
2013 [7.2] - Gothic metal has never been the most interesting of genres, and this doesn't break the mould. It does have its moments - some of the more upbeat tracks are fun enough, and there's actually some compelling sections in The Call Of The Banshee and The Valkyrie, but in general, the vocals are pretty unremarkable and the guitar riffs vary from decent to wildly forgettable. Also, the last two tracks are utterly worthless boring 'orchestral' pieces. Nevertheless, mildly entertaining and if you like this kinda thing you'll probably derive some enjoyment from this record.
165. Inter Arma - Sky Burial
2013 [7.2]
166. Coheed And Cambria - The Afterman: Descension
2013 [7.2]
167. Abyssal - Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius
2013 [7.2]
168. Mörkö - Itsensänimeävä
2013 [7.1] - An unusual but not impenetrable avant-garde/psychedelic black metal release. The album has it's fair share of dissonance alongside BM tremolo, shrieks and occasional blast-beat drums. It also mixes things up sometimes, with disconcerting spoken vocals, clean-tone segments, and the very subdued second half to album centrepiece Kosmoken huhmareessa providing a contrast to the extreme chaos of e.g. the final track. Not a particularly captivating, but mildly interesting release.
169. The Dillinger Escape Plan - One Of Us Is The Killer
2013 [7.1]
170. Trouble - The Distortion Field
2013 [7.1] - Reasonably decent, somewhat upbeat, old-school-ish riff-driven doom metal.
171. Avenged Sevenfold - Hail To The King
2013 [7.1] - Waking the Fallen and City Of Evil are amongst my favourite albums of all time, although that statement is more based on history than my current listening habits, as like many of my gateway bands I rarely give Avenged a listen. Nevertheless I still consider myself a fan of the band, and I still enjoy(ed) both the 2007 self-titled and 2010's Nightmare, even if each was progressively weaker than the last. This album firmly follows that trend, and starts off worryingly, with a mix of forgettable tunes and competent rip-offs of Black Album songs and Guns N' Roses. However, the final 4 songs are actually rather good, even if they don't really stand up to their previous greats in terms of quality or memorability. An alright album, but their weakest since their debut and not a good sign for the future of this band.
172. Zemial - Nykta
2013 [7.1] - Some decent ideas and reasonably sound musical moments in this album, which on the whole is perfectly reasonable, but the music is ultimately limited and hindered by the production job. Okay but not really worth seeking out compared to some of the other music this year.
173. State Urge - White Rock Experience
2013 [7.1]
174. Trials - In The Shadow Of Swords
2013 [7.1] - This got mentioned as one of the top thrash albums of this year. First point of contention: it really doesn't feel like a thrash album. Yeah it's uptempo, but, in particular some of the earlier songs, with the whole screamo/clean vocals n' all going on, it definitely has a strong metalcore vibe, whilst on other tracks it sounds closer to melodic death metal. There's some thrash influences but definitely not strongly linked to the style, but hey everything I've said so far could be used to describe my favourite band Sylosis. Why this is different is simply the fact that second point of contention is that it's really not all the great. The vocals are passable, the riffs reasonable and the soloing solid enough, but nothing really stands out and it just comes across as another decent metal album, whatever you want to class it as.
175. Octopus - Into The Void Of Fear
2013 [7.1]
176. Church Of Misery - Thy Kingdom Scum
2013 [7.0] - Competent but standard and forgettable stoner metal.
177. Suicidal Tendencies - 13
2013 [7.0]
178. How To Destroy Angels - Welcome Oblivion
2013 [7.0]
179. James Labrie - Impermanent Resonance
2013 [7.0] - Pleasant but ultimately forgettable poppy metal.
180. Pretty Maids - Motherland
2013 [6.9]
181. In The Company Of Serpents - Of The Flock
2013 [6.9] - The music on this album is pretty standard and unremarkable sludge, hampered by a production that screams 'bottom of a well' at times. To be fair, it does pick up later on; there's some nice guitar work on the title track, and the neat acoustic opening to the final track leads into arguably the strongest song. Decent but forgettable and crippled by a rubbish sound.
182. Saille - Ritu
2013 [6.9]
183. Skid Row - United World Rebellion - Chapter One
2013 [6.9]
184. Avantasia - The Mystery Of Time
2013 [6.9]
185. Timo Tolkki's Avalon - The Land Of New Hope
2013 [6.7]
186. Fen - Dustwalker
2013 [6.7]
187. Todtgelichter - Apnoe
2013 [6.7]
188. Lacrimas Profundere - Antiadore
2013 [6.7]
189. Eschatos - Hierophanies
2013 [6.6]
190. Dark Tranquillity - Construct
2013 [6.6]
191. Power Trip - Manifest Decimation
2013 [6.6] - Ohai Exodus/Slayer/other Bay Area thrash band! Just as I moaned at one heralded thrash album (Trials' latest) for not being thrash or good enough, I'm gonna moan at this one for being too thrash and not original (or good) enough. The riffs sound fine unless you're aware that they've been made for over 30 years now, and often as good or better. I give this music a lot of leeway due to the fact that I just enjoy the sound, but listening to this, the mediocrity of it is kinda clear. Plus the semi-growl vocals are pretty tedious. It tries to mix it up with the mid-paced Crossbreaker, but that's nothing special either. Just another breakneck but unoriginal quasi-extreme thrash album.
192. Shining (NOR) - One One One
2013 [6.5]
193. The Gathering - Afterwords
2013 [6.4] - Okay enough background music, but pretty forgettable otherwise; lacks the great moments of Disclosure and the weakest stuff is weaker than that album's dips. Meh.
194. Vuyvr - Eiskalt
2013 [6.4]
195. Portal - Vexovoid
2013 [6.3]
196. Megadeth - Super Collider
2013 [6.2]
197. Katalepsy - Autopsychosis
2013 [6.0]
198. Darkthrone - The Underground Resistance
2013 [5.5]
199. Bullet For My Valentine - Temper Temper
2013 [5.2]
200. Rotten Sound - Species At War
2013 [4.8]
201. 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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