Our end of year lists were so diverse that there wasn’t really any way of actually calculating a score to choose just one album. Instead, as a joint choice, we’ve listed our top tens, as well as a short article on our favorite releases. Although each of our opinions may differ, we’re all into the alternative scene. Whether technical metal, pure brutality, electronic music, djent, or even post-hardcore, there’s something for everyone on these lists, and we hope you enjoy reading about them.
Benjie Quezada - Writer
10: Soilwork – The Living Infinite
9: Genocide of Prescription – Genesis
8: Reflections – Exi(s)t
7: Fleshgod Apocalypse – Labyrinthe
6: Caligula’s Horse – The Tide, The Thief & River’s End
5: Shadow of the Colossus – Endgame
4: Coprocephalic – Gluttonous Chunks
3: Rings of Saturn – Dingir
2: Out of Yesteryear – Mass
1: Protest the Hero – Volition
Back when I was in 6th grade, I hadn’t really discovered what music I was into yet. That was all until I heard ‘Heretics and Killers‘ off of Protest the Hero‘s album ‘Kezia‘ on Tap Tap Revenge. The beauty and technicality were mind blowing to my 12 year old self. I didn’t really know then what metal was exactly, but sweet mother of fuck did I love it. Shortly thereafter, I discovered ‘Fortress‘, and my mind was blown like a hydrogen bomb. Ever since then I have been a massive fanboy, then with the release of ‘Volition‘, I almost cried from how happy I was. Protest the Hero‘s incredible songwriting is near unrivalled on this masterpiece of an album. There are some albums from your favourite bands that are great just because it’s from your favourite band. Then there are some albums that are great regardless. Then, at the top of the food chain, are the albums that are mindblowing-ly great. ‘Volition‘ is one of those top-of-the-food-chain albums and is up there among some of my favourite albums ever released.”
James O’Hagan – Writer
10: Counterparts – The Difference Between Hell and Home
9: Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam
8: The Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer
7: Carcass – Surgical Steel
6: Revocation – Self Titled
5: Dance Gavin Dance – Acceptance Speech
4: Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods
3: Deafheaven – Sunbather
2: Protest the Hero – Volition
1: TesseracT – Altered State
This year in metal offered an eclectic mix that presented a sound for every metal fan’s ear: the never-ending slams of Suffocation brought solace to our ears; the shoegaze-soaked, black-metal-inspired post-rock of Deafheaven ate at our souls; and even less-accepted bands such as Dance Gavin Dance surprised listeners with their best releases to date. With that being said, there was one LP that I feel simply pulverized all of the competition: TesseracT’s “Altered State.”
The band cemented their metal sound with their course, groove-filled, debut full-length, “One.” After many lineup changes and a new defining sound, the band settled down and produced the quintessential metal album of 2013. From the opening vocal lines of “Of Matter – Proxy,” I was instantly hooked. The bouncy guitar grooves, off-timed drum fills, and soft, heart-filled vocals are executed with a masterful combination of technicality and finesse throughout each musical arrangement. The album is broken down into four arrangements over ten tracks, beginning with Of Matter, continuing on to Of Mind, then Of Reality, and ending with Of Energy.
The reason I chose this album as my album of the year is because it satisfies everything that I’ve ever wanted out of a metal release. You embark on a journey that carries you throughout the album’s duration before you can even comprehend the magisterial musical talent that is displayed on the album. “Of Matter – Resist’s” emotionally vigorous crescendo leads into the anthemic “Of Mind – Nocturne,” which sets the stage musically for the rest of the album. The track shows off vocalist Ashe O’Hara’s range while mind-boggling polyrhythmic guitars and drums force you to listen to every single note played. It’s impossible to be bored with what is going on. Every track is so well arranged.
This album simply brings about a metal atmosphere that is a rich nuance that only TesseracT has been able to achieve. Although the album is highly “djent” driven a la bands such as Periphery or Meshuggah, it is done so with complete care. The band does not fall victim to repetitive riffs or drowning guitar tone. The melodies created make each musical element shine even brighter than they would on their own. Add in the fact that the band got Chris Barretto (Ever Forthright, Periphery) to lend his saxophone skills to the tracks “Of Reality – Calabi-Yau” and “Of Energy – Embers” and you have a band that is creating music even more complex in its jazz roots and more proficient in its metal musicianship than bands such as Trioscapes and The Dillinger Escape Plan. I really cannot say enough about how important this album is to the world of metal. It is my no-brainer choice for the number one metal album of the year, bar none.
Joe Raposa – Writer
10: The Dillinger Escape Plan – One of us is the Killer
9:. Battlecross – War of Will
8: The Ocean – Pelegial
7: Protest the Hero- Volition
6: Revocation – Revocation
5: Deicide – In the Minds of Evil
4: Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed
3: The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack
2: Conducting from the Grave – Self-Titled
1: After the Burial – Wolves Within
I could probably talk forever about how much I loved this album. In fact, I did just that in my official review. After the Burial have cemented themselves as major players in the modern day metal category. Their future is looking brighter than ever after a year that saw them hit the road with the likes of Devildriver and Trivium. In a year of masterful standout albums, this one stands above all the rest.
Matt Eyles – Editor / Admin / Writer
10: I’ll Be An Empire – Aquarius
9: Coprocephalic – Gluttonous Chunks
8: Science Of Sleep – Exhaust
7: Within The Ruins – Elite
6: Violence From Within – Idiocracy
5: Ade – Spartacus
4: Meridian – Paradigm
3: Devourment – Conceived In Sewage
2: Rogue Empire – Overlord
1: TRC – Nation
TRC are an east London UK hip hop/hardcore band that have released 2 EP’s and 4 full-lengths, and have made a massive name for themselves because of their unique blend of aggressive, grating vocals and hard hitting, thick riffs mixed with UK hip hop and rap. Their latest release, ‘Nation‘, is a true demonstration of how far they’ve come as a unit and how creative they can get.
Nation‘s lyrical content focuses mainly on TRC‘s progression and history, as well as the lives and emotions of the two vocalists. Straight from the first 30 seconds, listeners are introduced to their signature, punishing melodic hardcore riffs and well-structured, East London-accented rap from Chris Robson. The other vocalist, Anthony Carroll provides the raw screams to accompany Chris, but he doesn’t appear as much as Chris on this release, unlike previous albums. After the first track, you know TRC go hard as fuck.
10,000 Hours is by far the best track on the album, with the catchiest hardcore chorus I have ever hard, solid chugs that you can’t resist bobbing your head to, and a breakdown with guitar tone so sexy you might just fall in love. Much of the tracks of this album will be stuck in your head for days, such as Gold Medal Music – which is more hip hop/rap orientated with minimal instrumentation, and We Bring War.
TRC certainly do bring all out war, taking no punches and spitting back at everyone that hates. This album is not just a brilliant representation of TRC‘s talent and unique sound, but it’s also a massive fuck you to their doubters.
Max Barter - Manager / Admin
10: The Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer
9: Acranius – When Mutilation Becomes Homicidal
8: Malevolence – Reign of Violence
7: The Last Ten Seconds of Life – InVivo[ExVivo]
6: The Safety Fire – Mouth of Swords
5: Sworn In – The Death Card
4: The Devil Wears Prada – 8:18
3: Letlive – The Blackest Beautiful
2: Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal
1: Attila – About That Life
As preposterous as it may sound to label Attila as my top album of 2013, for me it’s true. Whatever your opinion on this band, whether ‘Rage‘ was the album to expand your deathcore collection which truly took to your liking, maybe ‘Outlawed‘ displayed some form of mainstream components that didn’t quite match your tastes, well ‘About That Life‘ elevates the bizarre and craziness that Attila develop best. Fusing elements of nu-metal and deathcore creating one of the most unique bands in the scene right now. For me this album was just fun, and that’s what you want from music – entertainment, well here it is! If you desire cheek-in-tongue lyrical contents, breakdowns, a chaotic vocal variety, then Attila are the band for you. However like most opinions on them, this album has the same love / hate relationship as marmite. Fortunately for me, I love both Attila, and marmite.
Nik Velleca - Co-Owner
10: Gorguts – Colored Sands
9: Coprocephalic – Gluttonous Chunks
8: Hierophant – Great mother: Holy Monster
7: Idols – Choose Hate
6: The Phantom Carriage – Falls
5: Deafheaven – Sunbather
4: Genocide Of Prescription – Genesis
3: Villains – 10 Code
2: Arsonists Get All The Girls – Listen To The Color
1: Tomb Of Doom – Bone Thieves
I don’t know how to say this without it sounding like an over-exaggeration—Tomb Of Doom’s “Bone Thieves” is probably the best deathcore album ever made. Ever.
No, it’s not a beautifully complex cacophony of intricate guitar work and vocals, but what it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in brutality. Actually, it takes an amount of smarts to craft a deathcore album as self-aware, and accurate as Bone Thieves.
Not everyone will like this album. Most people probably won’t agree with me giving it the number 1 spot amongst giants like Gorguts and Ulcerate, but Bone Thieves was able to deliver something just as moving and just as smart, albeit in a different package.
The production quality is fucking amazing (which I think is why I like it so much). The vocals are fun and brutal (Every time Benny drops an “OH!” I laugh. It’s great) and the drums are mean and hardcore-y. Guitars do their job perfectly. Bone Thieves really is just a well-crafted deathcore album. It’s deathcore at it’s roots. There are no cleans, no bullshit solos, no sprawling interludes, nothing that isn’t in-your-face brutality.
I give bone thieves my AOTY spot because it is unapologetically deathcore.
Ricky Scricca - Writer
10: The Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer
9: Gorguts – Colored Sands
8: Power Trip – Manifest Decimation
7: The Rival Mob – Mob Justice
6: Primitive Man – Scorn
5: Down to Nothing – Life on the James
4: Speak Low if You Speak Love – Everything But What You Need
3: Deafheaven – Sunbather
2: Better Off – (I Think) I’m Leaving
1: Jesu – Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came
Jesu being the side project of Justin Broadrick, the Godflesh mastermind and a co-founder of Napalm Death, one might not expect it do be as prolific as it has been. But, after 17 releases since its 2003 inception, Jesu is still going as strong as ever with arguably its most emotionally compelling release to date.
EIGCLWC is definitely a more cohesive endeavor than a lot of his previous releases, and for some that’s not necessarily a good thing. But for me, this record listens essentially like one extended epic song loaded with compressed, industrial percussion and massive soundscapes engineered by soft melodies, powerful bass, and his melancholic voice.
All in all, this record is arguably one of the most compelling post-metal/post-rock/shoegaze releases in recent memory largely because of Broadrick’s intrepid experimentation with all sorts of different sounds and textures. It sounds absolutely colossal, all the while staying rooted in steady, compressed rhythms which isn’t something you hear very often.
Samuel Worsfold - Writer
10: Born of Osiris – Tomorrow We Die Alive
9: Rings of Saturn – Dingir
8: Children of Bodom – Halo of Blood
7: Fleshgod Apocalypse – Labyrinth
6: Suffocation – The Pinnacle of Bedlam
5: Soilwork – The Living Infinite
4: Chimaira – Crown of Phantoms
3: Carcass – Surgical Steel
2: Six Feet Under – Unborn
1: Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Part 1
My number 1 pick has to be FFDP latest effort from this year. This release was a double album but I found that the first part was a lot more memorable and overall, really grabbed my attention compared to the second half released later this year. FFDP get a lot of hate from the metal community due to their “mainstream success” and “generic” sound (terms that are often thrown around). And honestly after listening to this album, I really don’t see what people are complaining about. The album is such a heavy hitter with its great hooks and memorable vocal lines and is definitely an album to work out too with it’s aggression and motivational structure of songs. Sure, the album doesn’t really bring anything new to the table but hell, it’s one kick ass CD that will beckon you back for more and more.
Todd Hadler - Writer
10: Nails – Abandon All Life
9: Rings of Saturn – Dingir
8: Protest the Hero – Volition
7: Shaded Enmity – Forsaken and Forgotten
6: Scorned Deity – Adventum
5: Shadow of the Colossus – End Game
4: TesseracT – Altered State
3: Ovid’s Withering – Scryers of the Ibis
2nd: Erra – Augment
1: The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack
The kings of melodic death metal have released another fantastic album that expands their already substantial discography. Of course, I am talking about The Black Dahlia Murder. I did not expect for the band to do better than their 2011 release, Ritual, but they did. This album has everything a Black Dahlia Murder fan, or a death metal fan in general, can ask for. There is great guitar riffs, great guitar solos, great instrumentation, great vocals, and great lyrics. The lyrics are absolutely the focal point of the album. Vocalist and lyricist Trevor Strnad is a master at putting lyrics together. He knows how to tell a story with his lyrics and does it so with such finesse and description.
The band mixed it up a little on this album by not just having all of the songs on the album be in melodic death metal style. Some songs like “Into the Everblack,” and “Every Rope A Noose,” are a little bit heavier than songs on previous Black Dahlia Murder albums. The band experimented a little and it paid off in full. For me, Everblack is the clear cut winner for best album of 2013. It was the best album of the year when it came out and it continues to be the best album of the year.
Zack Boyan - Writer
10: Soilwork – The Living Infinite
9: Defeated Sanity – Passages into Deformity
8: Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam
7: Pathology – Lords of Rephaim
6: Amon Amarth – Deciever of the Gods
5: Rings of Saturn – Dingir
4: Nails – Abandon All Life
3: Born of Osiris – Tomorrow We Die Alive
2: Shining – 8 ½ – Feberdrömmar i vaket tillstånd
1: Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal
With every new Bring Me The Horizon album, the band seeks to evolve and write something completely unique. This has upset a lot of fans in the past, but each change in style has been for the better. The moment I heard Bring Me The Horizon’s new album Sempiternal I knew it was going to be my album of the year. Sempiternal is everything that Bring Me The Horizon has been working towards their entire career, and hands-down the best album they’ve ever put out. It might not be a metal album (in my opinion), but it is still a masterpiece.
Aside from a more punk-influenced writing style on Sempiternal, the two main differences between past albums are the addition of keyboardist/backing vocalist Jordan Fish, and Oli’s latest vocal style. Both are huge improvements, especially Oli’s choice to incorporate clean singing into their sound. It is no secret that Oli Sykes has had his fair share of vocal deterioration, and it shows. Thankfully, he chose to adapt instead of trying to do something he can no longer pull off.
Sempiternal is a fantastic album from start to finish (with one notable exception). The euphoric riffs, electronic melodies, emotional shouts and post-rock drumming combine to form a work of art far beyond what most bands will ever achieve. None of the songs stand significantly above others in quality, but if I had to pick my two favourites, they would be “Crooked Young” and the almost seven minute epic “Hospital for Souls”. “Antivist” is the only low point on the album, being a bit cheesy and not in the same tone of the rest of the album. It’s not a bad song, but it doesn’t quite compare to the others in terms of songwriting.
Bring Me The Horizon isn’t the band for everyone, and Sempiternal might not win over any Count Your Blessings – era fans, but it stands as Bring Me The Horizon’s best work so far and as a piece that sits high in my top ten albums of all time.