Dec 062013

While awaiting the rollout of our own series of posts devoted to the year’s best metal, I continue to keep an eye out for year-end lists published by what I’ve been calling “big platform” web sites. By “big platform” sites, I mean those that have web traffic which greatly exceeds even the biggest metal-only sites. By definition, these are sites that cover musical genres beyond metal, and usually entertainment interests beyond music.

PopMatters is a popular culture web site with broad coverage of music, film, television, books, comics, software and video games — you name it. Its articles get picked up regularly by the mainstream media, and it claims a readership of more than 1 million unique visitors per month. In other words, it fits the profile of “big platform” web sites whose lists of 2013′s best metal we’ve been re-publishing here at NCS.

Today, PopMatters published its list of “The Best Metal of 2013″, ranking the chosen albums from #20 to #1. The list was compiled by Adrien Begrand, Dean Brown, Chris Colgan, Brice Ezell, Benjamin Hedge Olson, Erik Highter, and Dane Prokofiev (who has been an occasional contributor to NCS over the years). To see the list with accompanying descriptions and explanations of the choices along with sample tracks or full-album streams from most of the listed albums, use THIS LINK.

And right after the jump, you can see a list of the PopMatters picks.

20.  Dark Tranquillity – Construct

19.  Heaven Shall Burn – Veto

18.  Atlantean Kodex – The White Goddess

17.  Exhumed – Necrocracy

16.  Shooting Guns – Brotherhood of the Ram

15.  Lycus – Tempest

14.  Kataklysm – Waiting For the End To Come

13.  Deafheaven – Sunbather

12.  Russian Circles – Memorial

11.  Clutch – Earth Rocker

10.  Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed

09.  Kvelertak – Meir

08. Oranssi Pazuzu – Valonielu

07.  Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury

06. Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance

05.  Gorguts – Colored Sands

04.  Shining – One One One

03.  Carcass – Surgical Steel

02.  SubRosa – More Constant Than the Gods

01.  In Solitude – Sister

My two cents? This is a very solid list, barring the three albums I simply haven’t heard — by Atlantean Kodex, Shooting Guns (who I’ve never heard of before), and SubRosa. I’m surprised by the high ranking of SubRosa and In Solitude — not because I think those albums aren’t deserving of praise (as noted, I haven’t even heard one of them), but because they’re a break from the releases that are consistently starting to appear in the Top 5 of many other lists.

Anyway, please do sound off in the Comments.


  1. Decent list indeed, the Kodex and SubRosa albums are both good, but quite dense and need a lot of listens to be truly appreciated.

  2. I’ve noticed two things since Listmania started this year:
    1. Adrien Begrand has contributed to three lists (MSN Headbang, Decibal, Popmatters)
    2. The dude pushes absurdly hard for In Solitude. A lot of other lists, non-Adrien Begrand lists have In Solitude, but not as high or as consistantly.

    • Actually, the PopMatters’ list didn’t have In Solitude in the top spot at first. I’m the alter-ego of the Prokofiev guy, and Begrand had told Prokofiev that the top album was changed because of the last-minute inclusion of Prokofiev’s top 20 list, which had In Solitude among the top 5.

      • Yep, blame Happy Metal Guy.

        Of the four lists I’ve voted on this year (it’ll probably be around six when all’s said and done, so’s the life of a freelancer) only the MSN list was just me. Seven people voted on the PopMatters list, as noted above, and dozens voted for Decibel and Terrorizer, so it’s impossible for one person’s vote to decide the #1. I have been vocal in my endorsement of ‘Sister’, but I’m not the only one. Although it might look like that at the moment!

        • As I wrote above, I thought this was a really good list, one that was eclectic without seeming to be the result of calculated/forced eclecticism. And unlike other lists I’ve seen, I think most knowledgable listeners can say “this list deserves respect”, even if their own choices would be different — and maybe even dramatically different. I think In Solitude finished too high on this list, but I would have included it somewhere in a Top 20 of my own, if my brain were capable of making lists like this, which it isn’t.

          • My statement above wasn’t strictly criticism. I ‘m happy o see a newer band like In Solitude
            Makevas many year end lists as it has been, and what I’ve heard off it is excellence. Just remember
            Reading the Decibal review, Headbang review, and seeing these lists sparked my sapien pattern
            Spotting impulse. But they all seemedblile solid lists, though I love it when the contributors discuss
            Why they put each albim in its respective place

  3. What do people think of Darkthrone’s release out of curiosity?

  4. Serpents Unleashed was a solid record, but I don’t think it’s deserving of the #10 spot, especially when Construct is #20. Also, why are Finntroll and Ghost getting, like, no love on any of these lists?

    • Finntroll is awesome, but that type of folk metal never seems to make these lists

      …Unfortunately for Ghost, the bloom is completely off the rose..The increase in occult rock/ traditional doom albums this year has kind of pushed them out of the way.

      • I think Ghost may be a victim of their own success. There were other bands this year who did their style in more creative, more interesting ways, but holy hell, there are some incredibly catchy, memorable songs on Infestissimum.

  5. Dark Tranquility – Construct…whoever nominated this needs to get their ears checked, for one of the most consistent bands in metal this album is completely mediocre

  6. it is a pretty good list, although it’s in dire need of some Portal

  7. Technically Clutch shouldn’t be on the list only because they’re not metal. More of a stoner/blues rock thing.

  8. How is Clutch considered Metal?

  9. Atlantean Kodex is easily one of the top metal albums of the year, although, dear Headless Master, it’s quite the Exception to the Rule. If you need a dose of old-school metal, however, and enjoyed the great recent albums from bands like Dawnbringer and While Heaven Wept, it’s in the same league for both style and substance.

  10. decent list, but no defeated sanity, ulcerate, carcass

  11. In Solitude is the hipster pick of the year for many outlets. Seen them live twice, and while I’m not offended, I’m not understanding why all the hype either.

    I heard a song or two off the new one and it did nothing to change my opinion of them (or give me any desire to listen to the whole album)

    • In Solitude is not a hipster pick..Where are you even getting that? Theres nothing there that would even appeal to hipsters as its basically King Diamond with a bit of goth rock thrown in

      If youre going to complain about anything being a hipster pick its that Deafheaven album

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