The 10 Best Metal Albums of 2013

Categories: 2013, Metal

monstermagnet.jpg
Courtesy of Napalm Records
Inevitably, every "best of" list features some tiny--or not so tiny--bias from its compilers. Journalistic objectivity takes precedence, sure, but when even the definition of "metal" is subject to interpretation, there's no true one-size-fits-all best-of list. But that's often the best part of the entertainment for the reader/armchair critic--the "What the fuck is this deaf mother-effer thinking?!" And then weighing in with their own, much better list.

How to compare/choose between Lita Ford and Ishan? Between the Melvins and Toxic Holocaust? In short, it's impossible. By not including, for instance, Cali hipster metallers Deafheaven on the list, and by including Fates Warning, well, let's just say, "Let the lambasting begin!"

That said, overall, metal in 2013 was remarkably healthy, with progenitors Black Sabbath topping the Billboard chart for the first time in their long career, and many hundreds of worthy heavy music albums fomented in dark depths of metal minds. All art is valid, even if it's made by Monster Magnet in 2013. Let's do this.

See also: The Ten Best Metal Albums of 2012

black-sabbath-13-vertigorecords.jpg
Courtesy of Vertigo/Universal
10. Black Sabbath
13
In the beginning there was Sabbath. And 45 (!) years later, Sabbath perseveres--or reemerges--triumphant with 13, with a darkly ominous vibe redolent of its first three albums. Kudos goes to producer Rick Rubin for putting Sabs into the way-back machine for this first all-new CD with the (almost-) original lineup (minus drummer Bill Ward) since 1978"s Never Say Die. With kudos and horns raised to the Ronnie James Dio-era Sabbath (1979-82), as well as the eternally imperturbable genius of Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, it's still not truly Sabbath without Ozzy at the helm. Archetypes endure for a reason, and 13 and Sabbath are the real deal.

See also: A Track-By-Track Analysis of Black Sabbath's New Album 13

Carcass-Surgical-Steel-cover-art.jpg
Courtesy of Nuclear Blast
9. Carcass
Surgical Steel
Carcass: Are they grindcore? Splatter? Melodic death metal? Yes. And with Surgical Steel, the Liverpudlian trio (yes, they share a home city with the Beatles) release their sixth album since forming in 1985. (A smallish output due to a "hiatus" from 1995 to 2005). From machine-gun-fast blast beats on "Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard" which seemingly features lyrical digs at unnamed brethren ("Artistically moribund / Soulless ghosts of the underground") to the Thin Lizzy-style twin guitars, Carcass are back in decisive (but not moribund!) form. Riffy, classic, blistering metal (unlike 1988's Reek of Putrefaction, most songs are longer than 1:30), Carcass have lost none of smart, gross intensity that made them pioneers.

See also: The 10 Best Metal Albums of 2013 [From our sister paper LA Weekly]



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15 comments
nesio
nesio

Hey guys check out this sick video of the band King 810 and there song "Killem All." Great lyrics and very interesting video behind the lyrics as well. 


http://youtu.be/yJDAgMVzNto

legendtofski1
legendtofski1

No appearance of 'Vexavoid' by Australia's PORTAL?? Seem likes this list was written by a typical, arrogant, hipster, Houlier than Now New York fuckwit. Just because you live in New York City, which actually isn't the greatest city in the world, doesn't mean your shit don't stink. Don't worry, they will come to your city and demolish it worse than a bunch of Al-Quaeda lunatics.

epac666
epac666 topcommenter

Death Angel's "The Dream Calls for Blood" is better than an HM...possibly the best album of their career.

Overall, this list is pretty good. I don't care what anyone says, Ghost are awesome.

5FDP...um, no.

And THANK YOU for not mentioning A7F...yeesh.

epac666
epac666 topcommenter

Death Angel's "The Dream Calls for Blood" is better than an HM...possibly the best album of their career.

Overall, this list is pretty good. 5FDP...um, no.

And THANK YOU for not mentioning A7F...yeesh.

Ghost New York City
Ghost New York City

We agree with your choice for #1! We proudly shared it with our fans in NYC and around the world. Thank you! \m/

Nicholas McMaster
Nicholas McMaster

"pop-metal" "shtick-laden flash in the pan" which focuses on looks and lyrics at #1. Great job.

MetalVic
MetalVic

Oh, and Newsted? You put that in there as a joke, right?

MetalVic
MetalVic

Since you've invited the lambasting, I'll chime in, but I'll also try to be fair. This list is *far* from the one I would create, but I won't bore anyone with the whole thing. Frankly I can see how you could justify most of these entries, despite me not liking quite a few of them. So I'll just point out what I think are the two most egregious errors. One of your honorable mentions was Ihsahn (albeit misspelled). The sheer diversity within Das Seelenbrechen, while still fitting into the metal confines, merits its inclusion.

Not mentioned anywhere, the best album for fans who didn't get an Opeth album this year: The Ocean's Pelagial. Epic in every sense of the word. Maybe you left it off because it's on nearly every other Top Metal 2013 list, and you wanted to be different; maybe you didn't give it a 2nd or 3rd listen to truly appreciate its depth. Whatever the case, it's a glaring omission. As an aside, you cite Watain twice in your mentions section. Subconscious telling you they should be in there? Just an observation; they didn't do it for me this year.

What should be replaced? Easy. Numbers 1 and 10. I like Ghost, but Coastal_Eddie summed it up perfectly (well, except for the Sister bit--I hated that). Ghost's debut was a standout, and it was different. I'll chalk up their latest to a sophomore slump. As for 13, it was certainly the best album from a Sabbath cover band. Why listen to this, when every song on it has a counterpart that's been done better on an earlier Sabbath album? I guess if you're going to steal songs, you might as well steal from yourself, but I don't have any reason to listen to what amounts to a remixed greatest hits album.

Coastal_Eddie
Coastal_Eddie

In Solitude's "Sister", was a better version of Ghost this year. Infestissumam was infuriatingly mediocre.

Ronjeremyisgod
Ronjeremyisgod

how the fuck did that shitty ghost BC band even make it to #1 its just for those suicidal kids and fat goth girls on antidepressants that are into that shit. Dark Tranquility new record was good, Five Finger Death Punch , lots of other bands I can mention but without going into obscure stuff. But hey at least the garbage "Style" of djent or that awful dream theater record that came out.

Ghost New York City
Ghost New York City

We have to agree with your choice for #1, and we thank you for the support! \m/

Marcelo Prates
Marcelo Prates

No "Volition" from Protest the Hero in the list? This is by far one of the best albums of the year. Missing in the top 10 and not even a place in the mentions... weird !

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