Nov 282013

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates the holiday, and condolences to everyone who feels they have nothing to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving used to be a pivot-point in the year in the U.S. — it marked the end of normal life and the beginning of the Christmas onslaught. Now, however, the onslaught begins before Thanksgiving, though I guess Black Friday will be as black as it ever was. Thanksgiving also sort of begins a countdown to the end of the year, and in the world of metal, we’ll start seeing more and more lists of the year’s best albums.

Back in 2009, when this site was just a few days old, I wrote a post about year-end lists and why people bother with them. The best reason still seems to be this: Reading someone else’s list of the albums they thought were best is a good way to discover music you missed and might like.

We don’t do an “official” NCS year-end “best albums” list. However, we publish the picks of each of both our regular staff writers as well as  guest writers (which we’ll start doing in December), and we also publish the year-end lists that major metal publications and “big platform” web sites are compiling; we started doing that yesterday with DECIBEL magazine’s list of 2013’s Top 40 Albums (and you probably forgot, but we also posted MSN Entertainment’s list of the Top 50 metal albums back in September (?!?)).

But the Thanksgiving Day tradition here at NCS is also to invite our readers to share their lists. If YOU have made your own list of the best metal albums or EPs you heard this year, we want to see it. (details about this invitation are after the jump . . .)

In the Comments to this post, give us your own list of the metal albums you’ve heard in 2013 that you thought were the best. It doesn’t have to be a specific number — doesn’t have to be a “Top 10″ or “Top 20″ list, it could be a Top 2 list or a Top 15, or any other number.

And it doesn’t have to be a cross-genre list, i.e., the best of all metal you’ve heard this year.  It could be the best hardcore albums you heard, or the best death metal, or the best black metal, or the best grind, or the best folk metal, and on and on — pretty much whatever you want to do and feel comfortable doing, as long as it fits your definition of metal.

Don’t be shy, and don’t worry about being judged — if you haven’t figured it out already, it ain’t our style or the style of our commenters to ridicule what someone else thinks is great metal. If you don’t have a list ready yet, no sweat, because you can come back to this post whenever you like and add your list later — or comment on the lists others have posted. I’ll put a link to this post at the top right side of every page so people can find it quickly — look for the link to 2013 NCS READERS’ YEAR-END LISTS. That will make the comments to this post a collection point for “Best of” readers’ lists.

So start thinking and start commenting (please, and thank you).


  1. Caladan Brood- Echoes of Battle
    Encircling Sea- A Forgotten Land
    Underling- Breath Deeply
    Terror- Live by the Code
    Sul Ad Astral/Isle of Skye – The Observant Darkness (split)
    Norma Jean – Wrongdoers
    Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen
    Entropia – Vesper
    Deafheaven – Sunbather
    Counterparts – The Difference Between Hell and Home
    Clouds Collide – Until the Wind Stops Blowing….

    and absolutely nothing by Amiensus/Oak Pantheon cause they’re psrs

    • Well, this is what I was talking about in the post concerning the discovery of music that might have been missed — despite how much metal I’ve listened to this year, I’ve only heard two of the albums on your list. But calling Amiensus and Oak Pantheon psrs? I must respectfully disagree!

    • Agreed with Norma Jean. I had never really given them a chance (I think I have one of their other albums that I found in a clearance section of my local record store for a dollar or two), but Wrongdoers is solid. A cool yin-and-yang mix between short Dillinger-ian mathcore bursts and some more drawn out epics.

      • Meridional is pretty good, its the disc that precedes Wrongdoers. I also have a fondness for O God, The Aftermath and half of Redeemer as well.

        • I think I have O God, The Aftermath. Just a minute … … …. … … yup, that’s the one. One of my better bargain bin pickups, though my two best have to be Reign in Blood and BTBAM’s Colors for $2 each.

          • Haha, I actually don’t own Colors. I have Colors live that came with the DVD, but have never owned the original disc.

            • It’s still my favorite from them. Parallax II was a close contender (especially with the funk-to-surf-rock oddity that was “Bloom”), but Colors still takes the cake.

  2. 2 albums are tied at the top of my list:

    Imperium Dekadenz – Meadows Of Nostalgia
    Necrowretch – Putrid Death Sorcery

  3. In no particular order:

    Imperium Dekadenz – Meadows Of Nostalgia
    Necrowretch – Putrid Death Sorcery
    Procession – To Reap Heavens Apart
    Magic Circle – Magic Circle
    Caladan Brood – Echoes of Battle
    Inquisition – Obscure Verses for The Multiverse
    Fleshgod Apocalypse – Labyrinth
    Csejthe – Reeminiscence
    Regarde Les Hommes Tombre – Regarde Les Hommes Tombre
    Carcass – Surgical Steel

  4. Oh yes!!! This is what i’ve been waiting for!!! Brilliant.

  5. Gorguts – Colored Sands

    Grave Miasma – Odori Sepulcrorum

    Carcass – Surgical Steel

    Mammoth Grinder – Underworlds

    Inter Arma – Sky Burial

    In Solitude – Sister

    Swans – Not Here Not Now

    Hail of Bullets – III: The Rommel Chronicles

    Man’s Gin – Rebellion Hymns

    Run The Jewels – self titled

    Death Grips – Government Plates

    that just scratches the surface of my favorites from all genres, but metal, stuff like metal i.e. Swans and Man’s Gin, rap and whatever the Death Grips are. Not sure these are necessarily the best but they all stood out to me. I listened to a *ton* of new music this year so I’m sure I’m forgetting things. I’ve already seen a bunch of stuff people posted I haven’t listened to and some stuff I meant to listen to and haven’t gotten around to yet (i.e. Inquisition).

    • Mammoth Grinder was absolutely devastating.

    • I finally listened to the new Gorguts maybe a week or two ago. I feel stupid for putting it off that long. I relistened to Inter Arma just a couple of nights ago too – that record is MASSIVE.

    • Run the Jewels was AWESOME. Did you listen to/enjoy R.A.P. Music as well? Best start-to-finish rap album in years, IMHO. Grave Miasma was great too, nailed down the songwriting and atmosphere that made OSDM so good in the first place. Great list!

      • Yeah, I like R.A.P. Music a lot. El-P has been my favorite rap / hip hop artist for a long time so I check out pretty much anything with his name attached to it. It’s always nice finding fellow rap enthusiasts on metal forums.

        I am meaning to check out Ulcerate’s Vermis again. I listened to it once but I thought it was a little too complex for me to figure it out after one listen or assign it to any kind of list like this.

    • Death Grips are awesome!

  6. in no particular order.

    celeste – animale(s)
    deafheaven – sunbather
    darkthrone – the underground resistance
    slugde – born of slime
    kvelertak – meir
    shining (norway) – one one one
    fallujah – nomadic (yes i know its an EP but its so goood)
    carcass – surgical steel
    finntroll – blodsvept
    fen – dustwalker

    there are still a shitload of albums i have not listened to yet but so far these are the bands that i listened to the most as far as metal from 2013.

  7. Not quite in order, but a bit more heavily weighted towards the top:

    Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed
    Carcass – Surgical Steel
    Gorguts – Colored Sands
    Inquisition – Obscure Verses for the Multiverse
    Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods
    Atlantean Kodex – The White Goddess
    Warbringer – IV: Empires Collapse
    Blood Red Throne – Blood Red Throne
    Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light
    Revocation – Revocation

    Honorable mentions (these could move there way into the top 10 once I’ve had a chance to listen to them more):
    Blood Mortized – The Demon, the Angel, the Disease
    Deicide – In the Minds of Evil

  8. My Top 5:
    1. In Vain-Aenigma
    2. Leprous-Coal
    3. Omnium Gatherum-Beyond
    4. Amorphis-Circle
    5. Persefone-Spiritual Migration
    Honorable Mentions: Fleshgod Apocalypse-Labyrinth, Wolfheart-Winterborn, Soilworki-The Living Infinite, Dark Tranquillity-Construct


  10. Not a single mention of Ulcerate’s Vermis. I am disappointed.

    • I keep forgetting to check this album out, their last release was amazing and i read a lot about this one. I’m almost scared thought because of the anticipation it has.

  11. I don’t have a list because I can’t play favorites to save my life, but I have to give some love to Arsis’ “Unwelcome.” Like quite a few people, I wasn’t a huge fan of Starve for the Devil, and Unwelcome felt like a return to form. Plus, the deluxe version came with a sweet redux of Face of my Innocence, and the ever-hysterical cover of Sunglasses at Night.

  12. Tribulation – The Formulas Of Death – hands down, my favorite album of the year. I enjoyed their previous album but was totally unprepared for this epic. A breath of freshly fetid air.

    Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed
    In Vain – Aenigma
    Omnium Gatherum – Beyond
    Ghost – Infestissumam
    Kvelertak – Meir
    Watain – The Wild Hunt
    Vhol- Vhol
    Vattnet Viskar – Sky Swallower
    Denouncement Pyre – Almighty Arcanum

    • Dude, The Formulas Of Death is fucking BADASS. It’s so atmospheric, yet so straightforward. Definitely one of my favorites. What’s your favorite track off it? If I had to pick mine, it would probably be “Wanderer In The Outer Darkness”. Love this album.

  13. I shouldn’t really have a full list since I didn’t buy a ton of new albums this year… But these stuck out to me this year and I hope some people check these out and see why!
    (Artist – Album)
    Full of Hell – Rudiments of Mutilation
    Seven Sisters of Sleep – Opium Morals
    Voivod – Target Earth
    Sacrament ov Impurity – Anguishing in Obscurity
    Biipiigwan – Something for Everyone; Nothing for Anyone
    And some notable releases from local bands in SLC, UT:
    Huldra – Monuments, Monoliths
    The Obliterate Plague – The Wrath of Cthulhu

  14. Procession – To Reap Heavens Apart
    Verminous – The Unholy Communion
    Ataraxie – L’Être et la Nausée
    Neige Éternelle – Neige Éternelle
    Inquisition – Obscure Verses for the Multiverse
    Satan – Life Sentence
    Craven Idol – Towards Eschaton
    Veneror – Percussimus Foedus cum Morte
    Vorum – Poisoned Void
    Violator – Scenarios of Brutality
    Demonic Rage – Venomous Wine from Putrid Bodies
    Djevel – Besatt av Maane og Natt
    Pentagram Chile – The Malefice
    Tribulation – The Formulas of Death
    Denouncement Pyre – Almighty Arcanum

  15. I’m actually quite surprised that there’s no mention of:
    Nightkin – Nox Aeterna
    Freya – Paragon of the Crucible
    Fit for an Autopsy – Hellbound
    *i haven’t purchased these but I listened to them multiple times online and I figured they would at least make a few lists! Same with the new Voivod!!!

    • I have been kinda trying to figure out what deathcore is and what it is all about lately (lulz, I know), and I checked out that Fit For An Autopsy album and I thought it was pretty good actually.

  16. hope everyone is having a nice holiday!

    Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods
    Aosoth – IV: An Arrow in Heart
    Arsis – Unwelcome
    Battlecross – War of Will
    The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack
    Black Fast – Starving Out the Light
    Blood Red Throne – Blood Red Throne
    Carcass – Surgical Steel
    Chimaira – Crown of Phantoms
    Dark Tranquility – Construct
    Deicide – In the Minds of Evil
    Demonical – Darkness Unbound
    Exhumed – Necrocracy
    Facebreaker – Dedicated to the Flesh
    Feared – Vinter
    Generation Kill – We’re All Gonna Die
    Grave – Morbid Ascent
    Hail of Bullets – III: The Rommel Chronicles
    Havok – Unnatural Selection
    Heaven Shall Burn – Veto
    Immolation – Kingdom of Conspiracy
    Inquisition – Obscure Verses for the Multiverse
    Jungle Rot – Terror Regime
    Just Before Dawn – Precis innan gryningen
    Killswitch Engage – Disarm the Descent
    The Modern Age of Slavery – Requiem for Us All
    The Monolith DeathCult – Tetragrammaton
    Necronomicon – Rise of the Elder Ones
    Obliteration – Black Death Horizon
    Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals – Walk Through Exits Only
    Portal – Vexovoid
    Revocation – Revocation
    Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light
    Six Feet Under – Unborn
    Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed
    Soilwork – The Living Infinite
    Strychnia – Reanimated Monstrosity
    Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam
    Svart Crown – Profane
    Unhuman – Unhuman

  17. For anyone who cares

    My top 15 metal releases in no order though are

    The Schoenberg Automaton – Vela
    Oranssi Pazuzu – Valonielu
    Misery Signals – Absent Light
    Wormlust – The Feral Wisdom
    Portal – Vexovoid
    Within The Ruins – Elite
    Antigama – Meteor
    Ævangelist – Omen Ex Simulacra
    Full Of Hell – Rudiments Of Mutilation
    Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury
    Gorguts – Colored Sands / Ulcerate – Vermis (can’t decide which i like more but I like them both equally for similar reasons!)
    Cultes des Ghoules – Henbane
    Grave Miasma – Odori Sepulcrorum
    Psychofagist – Songs of Faint and Distortion
    Altars – Paramnesia

    For other honorable mentions from this year here’s a list i’ve been working on. Anything from the chuggy deathcore you’ve heard this year to the grimmest frostbitten black metal from this year in terms of metal.

  18. Gorguts – Colored Sands
    Nails – Abandon All Life
    Russian Circles – Memorial
    Obliteration – Black Death Horizon
    Iron Lung – White Glove Test
    Immolation – Kingdom of Conspiracy
    Coffins – The Fleshland
    Portal – Vexovoid
    Sacriphyx – The Western Front
    Church of Misery – Thy Kingdom Scum

  19. Top 15 in no order:

    Agrimonia- Rites of Separation

    Altar of Plagues- Teethed Glory & Injury

    October Falls- The Plague of a Coming Age

    Primitive Man- Scorn

    Atlantean Kodex- The White Goddess

    The Ocean- Pelagial

    Cult of Luna- Vertikal

    Beastwars- Blood Becomes Fire

    Rotting Christ- Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy

    Skeletonwitch- Serpents Unleashed

    Thrawsunblat- Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings

    Vattnet Viskar- Sky Swallower

    Batillus- Concrete Sustain

    Nails- Abandon All Life

    Witherscape- The Inheritance

  20. Ulcerate – “Vermis”
    Gorguts – “Colored Sands”
    Immolation – “Kingdom of Conspiracy”
    Tribulation – “The Formulas of Death”
    Watain – “The Wild Hunt”
    Vreid – “Welcome Farewell”
    Svart Crown – “Profane”
    Toxic Holocaust – “Chemistry of Consciousness”
    Summoning – “Old Mornings Dawn”
    Fleshgod Apocalypse – “Labyrinth”
    Hail Of Bullets – “III: The Rommel Chronicles”
    Eye Of Solitude – “Canto III”
    The Ocean – “Pelagial”
    Altar Of Plagues – “Tethed Glory and Injury”
    Cult Of Luna “Vertikal”
    Portal – “Vexovoid”
    Grave Miasma – “Odori Sepulcrorum”
    Krypts – “Unending Degradation”
    Sulphur Aeon – “Swallowed By The Ocean Tide”
    Deafheaven – “Sunbather”
    Gigan – ” Multi-Dimensional Fractal-Sorcery And Super Science”
    Wolvserpent – “Perigaea Antahkarana”
    Lithotome – “Lithotome”
    In Solitude – “Sister”
    Deeds Of Flesh – “Portals To Canaan”
    Inter Arma – Sky Burial
    Hexvessel – “No Holier Temple”

  21. Feels like I’ve completely missed this year and still catching up with last years releases. There’s so much I haven’t gotten around to yet. I’m actually suprised of the amount of black metal on the list.

    Aosoth – IV: Arrow In Heart
    Cultes Des Ghoules – Henbane
    Gris – À L’âme Enflammée, L’äme Constellée…
    Guttural Secrete – Nourishing The Spoil
    Gloryhammer – Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife
    Hebosagil – Lähto
    KEN Mode – Entrench
    Inquisition – Obscure Verses For The Multiverse
    The Monolithic Deathcult – Tetragrammaton
    Nails – Abandon All Life
    Noisem – Agony Defined
    Pest [SE] – The Crowning Horror
    Portal – Vexovoid
    Toxic Holocaust – Chemistry Of Consiousness
    War Cross – Warcross [DEMO]
    Wormed – Exodromos

    Great non-metal releases:

    Sturgill Simpson – High Top Mountain
    Dalindèo – Kallio
    The Devil Makes Three – I’m A Stranger Here

  22. It seems I’m late to the party !

    My favorite albums of the year, in no particular order :

    Cryptic Forest – Ystyr
    Black Sabbath – 13
    Woe – Withdrawal
    Frigoris – Wind
    Vreid – Welcome Farewell
    Watain – The Wild Hunt
    Thrawsunblat – Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings
    Tyr – Valkyrja
    October Tide – Tunnel of No Light
    Wędrujący Wiatr – Tam, Gdzie Miesiąc Opłakuje świt
    Persefone – Spiritual Migration
    Mephistopheles – Sounds of the End
    Okular – Sexforce
    Ctulu – Seelenspiegelsplitter
    Arsaidh – Roots
    Orpheus Omega – Resillusion
    Dichotomy – Paradigms
    Shade Empire – Omega Arcane
    Unbreath – My Faith Against Me
    Officium Triste – Mors Viri
    Imperium Dekadenz – Meadows of Nostalgia
    Seth – The Howling Spirit
    Anciients – Heart of Oak
    Mourning Beloveth – Formless
    Ataraxie – L’être et la Nausée
    Caladan Brood – Echoes of Battle
    Bodyfarm – The Coming Scourge
    Chthonic – Bu-Tik
    Howl – Bloodlines
    Norhod – The Blazing Lily
    Hanging Garden – At Every Door
    Seeds of Iblis – Anti Quran Rituals
    Vorna – Ajastaika

  23. I’ve been kinda broke for the latter part of the year, so there’s still a bunch of albums I’d like to get my hands on. But so far I’d say:

    Mechina – Empyrean. Holy shit they really took things to the next level.
    Byzantine – S/T. I have to admit this is the first album of theirs I own, sad I didn’t hear of them earlier.
    Rotting Christ – Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
    Nothnegal EP
    Dreaming Dead – Midnightmares. This album’s probably about half instrumental, some really good musicianship on show in a stripped-down setting.
    Summoning – Old Morning’s Dawn
    Hope For The Dying – Aletheia.
    Eye of Solitude – Canto III.

    And a few worthy mentions:
    Adora Vivos – Toward the Empyrean. For fans of Amiensus (features some of the same musos)
    Ancient Vvisdom – Deathlike
    Ryan Amon – Elysium soundtrack
    In Vain – Aenigma. The latter half of the album didn’t really hold me as much as the start, otherwise I’d put it higher.

    December could still hold a few surprises. Lorelei should drop their album soon.

    • Adora Vivos hit the spot. Thank you for that.

      • Sweet, always good to find new stuff from a random blog comment. There’s alot of stuff mentioned here I’m obviously going to have to check out. I’m gonna need a whole week of pure music listening judging by these lists.

  24. Woe – Withdrawal
    Saprogenic – Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs
    Gorguts – Colored Sands
    Portail – Vexovoid
    3 Parts Demon – Eden, Post Exodus
    Scorned Deity – Adventum
    All Pigs Must Die – Nothing Violates This Nature

    Additionally, I’d like to place the new releases from Deicide and Watain in the disappointment category

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