Dec 122013

As part of our year-end Listmania series, we re-publish “best metal album” lists compiled by certain “big platform” web sites and selected print zines. Today, we bring you what Rolling Stone magazine thinks are the 20 best metal albums of 2013.

Rolling Stone states that it has a total circulation of almost 1.5 million, and per this source, its web site receives about a half a million unique visitors every day. Its music coverage does include metal, but it focuses much more on rock. Or at least that was my impression back when I was a subscriber.

Rolling Stone introduced its 2013 list this way:

“Are these the most extremely extreme albums of the year? No, they’re more interesting and exciting than that. If there’s a thread running through these records, it is a lack of purity, a willingness to mess with metal’s structures and strictures. Here are Rolling Stone’s 20 favorite metal albums of 2013.”

Honestly, I was preparing to cringe before I started reading through the list. But as it turned out, I didn’t cringe or laugh at all. It’s certainly not as extreme a list as others we’ve re-published (though it does make what’s becoming an almost obligatory nod toward Gorguts in these “big platform” lists), and it includes some albums that arguably aren’t metal at all. But there are some good picks on the list, at least in my book.

To see the list at Rolling Stone’s site and read the explanations for each choice, go here.

20.  Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance

19.  Mastodon – Live At Brixton

18.  Stomach Earth – Stomach Earth

17.  Melt Banana – Fetch

16.  Steven Wilson – The Raven Refused To Sing

15.  Voivod – Target Earth

14.  Cathedral – The Last Spire

13.  Church of Misery – My Kingdom Scum

12.  Kylesa – Ultraviolet

11.  SubRosa – More Constant Than the Gods

10.  Clutch – Earth Rocker

09.  Inter Arma – Sky Burial

08.  Earthless – From the Ages

07.  Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us Is the Killer

06.  Blood Ceremony – The Eldritch Dark

05.  Gorguts – Colored Sands

04.  In Solitude – Sister

03.  Windhand – Soma

02.  Kvelertak – Meir

01.  Deafheaven – Sunbather


  1. Sunbather… the “Look how cool we are” choice (good album though).

    I do cringe at the fact that they’ve put a fucking LIVE ALBUM in here as one of the best of the year. What a fucking slap in the face that is.

  2. There is alot of bands recurring on these big lists. Seems like you HAVE to have at least 3-4 of the same as all the other magazines or labels, just to be safe. Sure, i get alot of people actually enjoy Deafheaven, Carcass, Gorguts, In Solitude, Kvelertak, Dillinger Escape Plan and so forth, but i refuse to believe that everyone who works at these places has SO similar musical tastes. Not at all the same diversity as in NCS’ readers lists.

    • That’s pretty much why we don’t do an official “NCS Site List”. We all have quite different tastes, and compromising on one single list would a. seem a bit too authoritarian (“this is our list… we are right!”), and b. would invariably be a compromise that wouldn’t please anyone.

      hence why these site-wide lists tend to be much safer. They’re a conglomeration of enough albums everyone’s JUST keen enough on to agree can go on the list. But rarely involve albums people are truly crazy about.

      • However, I do hope all five of the NCS crew will post their individual top 25 lists 🙂 I am highly interested to see what y’all personally really enjoyed this year!

      • I was goint to say that alot of these lists seem like they lack passion, or genuine interest, and just go with “safe” choices, but it is more likely that it is like you say. That thelists were made by several people, and contain only the album everyone could agree on.

        Also, with this list they manage to reach genres, thus a wider audience. they are , after all, making money off of this.

  3. Pretty good list but it seems like it was copied and pasted from another source. The only list worth waiting for is Brandon Stosuy’s Show No Mercy Top 40 of 2013. The last two years that was *solid*.

  4. This wasnt quite the disaster that I expected…they must have at least one person on staff who actually listens to metal..albeit, rather well known metal.

    At this point, Im pretty sure I can predict some variation of the top 5 for every major publication out there

  5. Is this the first mention of Stomach Earth on one of these lists? That album is crushing. It’s in my Top 25.

    • Yes, first mention on any of the lists we’ve posted so far. That’s one of the reasons this list surprised me. I was also surprised to see Inter Arma. Two very heavy underground groups that I really didn’t expect to see on a YE list from this zine. Respect for that.

  6. there’s no Portal on this list, i’m hitting the the “reject” button

  7. Deafhaven. That’s laughable. Gorguts put out the best METAL album this year – don’t deny it. Stop trying to be different – you’re only appealing to hipsters. Have fun with that. I thought I’d found a credible metal music site to frequent – apparently not. Laters.

    • Um, er, uh, ah, the list in the post isn’t ours. We are not The Rolling Stone. They are The Rolling Stone. We are NO CLEAN SINGING. We are posting their list as a public service. We haven’t posted any of our own lists yet.

      • That guy was amazing. I like the fact that he’s come here, got the wrong end of the stick (or the wrong stick entirely) and then left in a huff, never to be heard from again.

        It’s not exactly a major loss…

    • Well, Music is subject to taste, and while you may think Gorguts put out the best metal album this year, Rolling Stone did not. What makes putting Gorguts as number 4 not credible? They would not even make my top 25. Neither would Deafheaven for that matter. Do you have to have a certain taste to be credible? Myself i found the lack of peronal taste displayed in this list to be “not credible”

      what an arse

  8. Was that a jab at Decibel? “Are these the most extremely extreme albums of the year? No, they’re more interesting and exciting than that.”

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