Jul 092013

We’re just past the halfway point of 2013, and it seems like a good time to take stock of what the year has delivered so far. As I’ve said before, I’m terrible at making “best of” lists. I overthink it, I agonize over it, I have great difficulty comparing metal across different genres. I have great difficulty choosing among albums I like even within a specific genre. When I contemplate making a “best of the year” list, my brain tends to just lock up like an engine that’s had a hole punched in the oil pan. So I’m not providing a list of my own — and I haven’t told my fellow writers that I’m doing this post, so I don’t have anything from them to share either.

No, the main point of this post is to solicit your choices. That’s more fun anyway. I mean, it’s clear that NCS readers have superb taste, because you’re reading NCS; I rest my case. It’s also clear from the comments we get that the readers at this site have diverse interests in metal and, with a few exceptions (those being the people who disagree with me), are highly intelligent. So I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with. That’s one of the best reasons to read lists of the year’s best metal — to make new discoveries — in addition to seeing confirmation of the wisdom of your own opinions.

So, in the comments to this post, please leave your lists of the best 2013 metal albums and EPs you’ve heard so far this year. Explanations or descriptions are welcome, but don’t feel you have to make time for that; a simple list is fine, too. A couple more things before you start pecking away on your keyboards or touchpads:

I thought about asking you for a Top 5 list or a Top 10 list, but decided there’s no reason to put an arbitrary limit on this. You might have a Top 3 or a Top 17 — it’s up to you. And to be clear, when I say “Best of 2013”, what I’m really after is not necessarily a critical judgment (though we’re happy to get those), but the 2013 releases that have become your favorites — the ones you’ve been enjoying the most.

And that’s it. Thanks in advance to all who choose to participate in this process.

(And to our other writers who I’m surprising with this post, your lists are welcome, too.)


  178 Responses to “THE BEST OF 2013 SO FAR: A READER’S POLL”

  1. I’m behind on a few releases that I’m sure I’ll like, but that hasn’t stopped me from having ten so far this year that I’ve particularly enjoyed, in no particular order, though Jess and the Ancient Ones have my favorite song this year so far (Astral Sabbat) –

    Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult – Necrovision (black)
    Cultes des Ghoules – Henbane (black)
    Goat Torment – Dominande Tenebrae (black)
    Howling – A Beast Conceived (death)
    Kingdom – Morbid Priest of Supreme Blasphemy (death)
    Slaughterday – Cosmic Horror (death- demo)
    Trenchrot – Dragged down to Hell (death – demo)
    Jess and the Ancient Ones – Astral Sabbat (psychedelic – ep)
    Blood Ceremony – The Eldritch Dark (occult/psychedelic)
    Vestal Claret – Bloodbath (trad/doom)

  2. Merzbow and Nordvagr – Partikel 3
    Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
    Cloud Rat – Moksha
    Blister Unit – Christ Ape
    Napalm Death – Utilitarian
    Gets Worse – Year of the Bastard

  3. Here’s my list of the best albums of 2013 so far:

    Abyssal – Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. Dark and evil blackened death metal. They take the foundation they built in Denouement and improve upon it by a large margin.
    Amiensus – Restoration. Awesome Emperor worship featuring powerful melodic guitars and stunning clean vocals. There’s even a guest appearance by Ken Sorceron of Abigail Williams. I know this was released on New Years Eve of 2012, but I’m still considering it a 2013 release.
    Situs Magus – Le Grand Oeuvre. French black metal with funeral doom trappings that offers up powerful riffs and an epic atmosphere.
    Delete The Mass – Μάζα. Insane Nasum worship from Greece that offers up simple and furious guitars but also possesses intelligent songwriting.
    Aylwin & Stellar Descent – Farallon. A split album featuring two bands that play amazing raw atmospheric black metal. I know this sounds like a stretch, but this is seriously one of the best split albums ever made.
    Sadhaka – Terma. Cascadian black metal that features riffs both morose and triumphant, as well as low droning clean vocals.
    Vallendusk – Black Clouds Gathering. Awesome atmospheric black metal from Indonesia that features amazing guitar work that is warm, grand, melodic, and sometimes quite catchy.

  4. oops – missed the bit where you said they had to be metal releases. Ah well.

  5. It has been a terrific 2013 so far.

    Persefone – Spiritual Migration (current front-runner)
    Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer
    Deafheaven – Sunbather
    Nero di Marte – Nero di Marte
    Byzantine – Byzantine
    Returning We Hear the Larks – Far-Stepper/Of Wide Sea (seriously, check this record out. It’s free!)
    The Ocean – Pelagial (although I don’t think it’s, like, the greatest thing in the history of the world ever. I prefer both -Centrics and Precambrian to this record.)

  6. Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury
    Benea Reach – Possession
    Sleepers Awake – Transcision
    Quest of AIdance – Misanthropic Propagandha
    TesseracT – Altered State
    Hacride – Back To Where You’ve Never Been
    Woe – Withdrawal
    Nero Di Marte – Nero Di Marte
    Persefone – Spiritual Migration

  7. Abbey ov Thelema – Liber DCLXVI
    Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury
    Anciients – Heart of Oak
    Azure Emote – The Gravity of Impermanence
    Ghost – Infestissumam
    Helcaraxe – Children of Ygg
    Inter Arma – Sky Burial
    Kvelertak – Meir
    Man’s Gin – Rebellion Hymns
    The Ocean – Pelagial (instrumental)
    Pensees Nocturnes – Nom d’une Pipe!
    Vhol – Vhol
    Wormed – Exodromos
    It’s too early in the morning for descriptions. I’m not on trial here!
    Still anticipating: Carcass, Gorguts, Ihsahn, Witherscape, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and I’m curious about the four albums from Agoraphobic Nosebleed that are due sometime.

  8. Vreid – Welcome Farewell
    Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance, but this might be a little early to judge because I just got it this week. I imagine that the new Extol could be on my Best of 2013 list too, but I also just got that one too.

  9. I love these lists. They always make me aware of a wider range of good bands. I am listening to Vallendusk on bandcamp right now, and like what I hear. Thanks BreadGod. If I remember right, it was your 2012 list that introduced me to Mgła.

  10. Been thinking about this for the past couple weeks. A couple definite favorites so far:

    Inter Arma
    Altar of Plagues

    • I’ve never been able to get into Vreid despite my great love for Windir, but I like Thrawsunblat more than anything Woods of Ypres released.

    • Thrawsunblat is high on my list of albums to check out — should have done it before now after posting about them when the first single came out.

  11. The Ocean – Pelagial. I think 80% of the few comments I have on this site have to do with me extolling the greatness of this disc. It’s the greatest thing in the history of the world ever, except for Opeth’s Still Life and Blackwater Park.

    The rest (despite the fact that I’m well behind on other releases I want to include):
    Kvelertak – Meir
    Anciients – Heart Of Oak
    Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer
    Cult of Luna – Vertikal
    Shining – One One One
    Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack
    Clutch – Earth Rocker
    Inter Arma – Sky Burial
    The Bronx – IV
    Bad Religion – True North

  12. Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (and refused to bow down to “Metal only” restrictions)
    Rotting Christ – Kata Ton Diamonia Eatoy
    Fen – Dustwalker
    Riverside – Shrine of New Generation Slaves
    Cultes Des Ghoules – Henbane
    Persefone – Spiritual Migration
    Summoning – Old Mornings Dawn
    Leprous – Coal
    Enforcer – Death By Fire
    Satan – Life Sentence
    Locrian – Return to Annihilation
    Orphaned Land – All Is One
    Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury
    Blood Ceremony – The Eldritch Dark
    Stratovarius – Nemesis

    Just off the top of my head

  13. I don’t have a lot to add here, as most of my favorites have already been mentioned. Anciients, Howling, Tribulation, Extol, Hacride – all of have been great. Here’s a few I’m shocked haven’t been mentioned thus far:

    Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam; A rare album that lives up to its title. Quite possibly the best album they’ve released since the early 90s.

    Skeletal Spectre – Voodoo Dawn; Yep I’m including a double dose of Vanessa Nocera. One of the pinnacles of OSDM revivalism.

    Voivod – Target Earth; I know, not typical NCS fare, but it’s an amazing return to form and full og great riffs.

    Byzantine – S/T; This is looking like the year everyone releases a reunion record (see Voivod, too), but Byzantine has set the bar incredibly high for just how much growth is possible without even being together as a band.

    Albums of the Year thus far: Byzantine and Extol.

    Albums I’m looking forward to: Witherscape, Carcass, Shade Empire, The Safety Fire, Formless, Shattered Skies and Lorelei.

  14. Some stuff I’ve really enjoyed so far this year:

    Agrimonia – Rites of Separation
    Infera Bruo – Desolate Unknown
    Aosoth – IV: Arrow in the Heart
    Ghost BC – Infestissumam
    Stilla – Till Stilla Falla
    Entropia – Vesper
    October Falls – Plague of a Coming Age

  15. Interestingly there’s an album on a few lists here that’s going to crop up in a Synn Report later this week…

  16. 1. The Ocean – Pelagial
    2. Clutch – Earth Rocker

    (the rest are in no particular order)

    3. Anciients – Heart of Oak
    4. Ohio Sky – This House Is Old and Filled With Ghosts
    5. Svart Crown – Profane
    6. Leprous – Coal
    7. Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
    8. DEP – Whatever the hell their new one’s called
    9. Ehhh… I dunno, the live HOF albums, maybe? Aside from Clutch & The Ocean, it’s been a bit of a slow year so far, really. Those are the only two that have really blown my doors off and that I haven’t gotten bored with.

    • Lots to look forward to, though – Carcass, Protest the Hero, Casualties of Cool, Butch Walker & the Black Widows, Revocation, Scale the Summit, Ihsahn, probably some other thing I’m forgetting that’s really obvious but that I’m still forgetting.

  17. I haven’t even thought about what order I might put these in later, and some of them I really need to listen to more, but here are the albums that have really stood out for me so far:

    Tribulation- The Formulas of Death
    Vorum- Poisoned Void
    Voices- From the Human Forest……..
    Ghost- Infestissumam
    Thrawsunblat- Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings
    Crest of Darkness- In the Presence of Death
    Acrimonious- Sunyata
    Paradox- Tales of the Weird
    The Beyond- Frostbitepanzerfuck
    Caladan Brood- Echoes of Battle
    Thou Art Lord- The Regal Pulse of Lucifer
    Vhol- Vhol
    Lesbian- Forestelevision

    I’ll cut myself off there. I’m not sure what it is but it seems like there’s been an oddly high number of releases that I’ve really enjoyed this year.

    • I left Sunyata off my list because I thought it was a 2012 release, but I guess it came out this year in the US. I love that album.

    • That Voices album is really fucking great. I need to listen to it more, but I think it could have gone on my list.

  18. Amon Amarth – Deciever of the Gods: Best one since With Odin on our Side?
    Arsis – Unwelcome: They stepped up everything a few notches
    The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack: Awesome as usual
    Satan – Life Sentence: Good old school metal
    Seeds of Perdition – From Within: Great first EP from a local melodic death metal band, check it out on Bandcamp!

    • At first glance I thought it read Axis of Perdition and my heart jumped at the thought of a new one. Sorry this comment has little to do with your post. Just wanted to throw the name out there, I guess.

  19. Agrimonia – Rites of Separation
    Vhol – Vhol
    Progenie Terrestre Pura – U.M.A.
    Skagos – Anarchic
    Nails – Abandon All Life
    Caladan Brood – Echoes of Battle
    Saor – Root

    • Cool to see Progenie Terrestre Pura on here (I like the other choices too), and I see it showed up on another list below. I really love that album and feel like a douchebag for not having reviewed it yet. Word needs to be spread.

      • That one came out of left field for me as a suggestion from a friend. Had he not suggested it I probably never would have found it. Definitely deserves some credit.

        • It’s been one I’ve been hoping to get round to for a while, but I’m still working through a backlog!

        • I waited and looked for it only because I had reviewed their two-song promo back in 2011, and it blew me away. They’re pretty far under the radar, though they shouldn’t be.

  20. THE OCEAN – “Pelagial”

    ARSIS – “Unwelcome”

    BLACK DAHLIA MURDER – “Everblack”

    THE MONOLITH DEATHCULT – “Tetragrammaton”

    GHOST – “Infestissuman”

    ROTTEN SOUND – “Species at War”

    DEAFHEAVEN – “Sunbather”

    ALTAR OF PLAGUES – “Teethed Glory and Injury”

    SUMMONING – “Old Mornings Dawn”

    VREID – “Welcome Farewell”

    SUFFOCATION – “Pinnacle of Bedlam”

  21. I can’t hope to win Old Man Windbreaker’s most kvltest list award this time around. Quite a few albums i like. But i am doing up a post on Metalspree for the same. I might as well share it here tomorrow. 🙂

  22. The Monolith-Deathcult-Tetragrammaton
    In Vain-Aenigma
    Persefone-Spiritual Migration
    Dark Tranquillity-Construct

    …in no particular order, of course.

  23. Hell no i am not waiting that long!!!! And i am very much with Islander here. Compiling a list is the next hardest thing to sorting tracks on to your music player with limited disk space. Well here goes in no particular order. Sorry for the length, i am indecision junkie.
    Kongh – Soul Creation
    Krypts – Unending Degradation
    Illuminati – The Core
    Lantern – Below
    Cerekloth – In the Midst of Life We are in Death
    Katalepsy – autopsychois
    The Flight of Sleipnir – Saga
    Vuyvr – Eiskalt
    Crown – Psychurgy
    Regarde les hommes tomber -regarde les hommes tomber
    Krownn – Hyborian Age
    Light Bearer – Silver Tongue
    No Omega – Shame
    The Phantom Carriage – Falls
    Omnium Gatherum – Beyond
    Cortez – Phoebus
    Soliloquium – The Concept of Escape
    Man the Machete – Idiokrati
    Deafheaven – Sunbather
    Rorcal – Világvége
    Asg – Blood Drive
    Caladan Brood – Echoes of Battle
    Scale the Summit – The Migration
    Vex – Memorious
    Man the Machetes – Idiokrati
    Supuration – Cube 3
    Redwood Hill – Descender
    Seven Sisters of Sleep – Descender
    Thranenkind – The Elk
    Beastwars – Blood Becomes Fire
    Shade Empire – Omega Arcane
    Universe217 – Never
    Vallendusk – Black Clouds Gathering
    The Fall of Every Season – Amends

  24. Deafheaven – Sunbather
    The Ocean – Pelagial
    Means End – The Didact
    Spock’s Beard – Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep
    Rings Of Saturn – Dingir
    Pomegranate Tiger – Entities
    Chon – Newborn Sun
    Acrania – The Beginning Of The End
    Abyssal – Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius
    Decades Of Despair – Alive
    Scale The Summit – The Migration
    Author And Punisher – Women And Children
    Vomitous – Empires Of Great Enslavement
    Arsis – Unwelcome
    Satan – Life Sentence
    Anciients – Heart Of Oak
    Wormed – Exodromos
    Dark Sermon – In Tongues
    Thrawsunblat – Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings
    Soilwork – The Living Infinite
    Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
    Omnium Gatherum – Beyond
    Mors Principium Est – And Death Said Live

    It’s been a good year.

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