Dec 262013

While continuing to post our own year-end lists of 2013’s best metal as chosen by our staff and numerous guest writers, we also continue to make room for lists published by selected ‘zines and so-called “big platform” web sites with dramatically larger audiences than metal-only sites like this one. This morning one appeared that we’ve been waiting for:’s list of “The Top 40 Metal Albums of 2013”.

Pitchfork has been around since 1996 and now boasts “a fiercely loyal audience of more than 5 million unique visitors each month”. Metal is only one of the genres of music to which Pitchfork devotes attention (and certainly one of the smallest in terms of audience), though because of Pitchfork’s size it has been the platform for many significant metal song and album premieres this year. Its Top 40 list was compiled by Pitchfork editor Brandon Stosuy as part of his ongoing Show No Mercy column. Whatever else you may think of Pitchfork’s main musical coverage, I think Show No Mercy is worth reading.

Stosuy’s list includes explanations for the top 25 picks, plus sample songs, and you can go HERE to check out all of that. Via that same link you can also see the lists assembled by current and former Pitchfork contributors Grayson Currin, Drew Daniel, Kim Kelly, Andy O’Connor, Hank Shteamer, and Zoe Camp.

After the jump, I’m just going to embed the Top 40 list itself, with a few thoughts. As always, we encourage you to leave your own reactions in the Comment section.


The list includes all the “usual suspects”, by which I mean bands that have appeared on just about every “best of” list I’ve seen on the bigger sites, as well as many metal blogs: Carcass, Gorguts, Inquisition, and In Solitude. And the No. 1 spot is filled by a band who have soared to equal prominence (you know, the one that has become the favorite punching bag for kvlt fans across the globe — undeservedly so, in my opinion).

But what I find most interesting about the list are the surprise appearances — for example, Agrimonia in the No 2 spot, Power Trip (a favorite of our man BadWolf) in the No 4 position, Lycus at No 6, and SubRosa at No 9. I also thought it was cool to see bands such as Noisem, Nails, Tribulation, VHOL, Grave Miasma, The Ruins of Beverast, and Castevet in the Top 20. All of these bands are deserving of the attention — though I don’t mean to suggest they’re the only ones on the list who are.

And how about 20 Buck Spin having as many artists on the list (4) as Relapse? And if you’re counting the label appearances, Profound Lore takes the prize with 6.



40. Bone Sickness: Alone in the Grave [20 Buck Spin]

39. Batillus: Concrete Sustain  [Seventh Rule]

38. Raspberry Bulbs: Deformed Worship [Blackest Ever Black]

37. GNAW: Horrible Chamber [Seventh Rule]

36. Altar of Plagues: Teethed Glory and Injury  [Profound Lore]

35. Locrian: Return to Annihilation [Relapse]

34. Atlantean Kodex: The White Goddess [Cruz del Sur]

33. Mouth of the Architect: Dawning [Translation Loss]

32. Celeste: Animale(s) [Denovali ]

31. The Body: Christs, Redeemers [Thrill Jockey]

30. Vaura: The Missing [Profound Lore]

29. Yellow Eyes: Hammer of Night [Sibir]

28. Windhand: Soma [Relapse]

27. Vastum: Patricidal Lust [20 Buck Spin]

26. Exhumed: Necrocracy [Relapse]

25. Vattnet Viskar: Sky Swallower [Century Media]

24. KEN mode: Entrench [Season of Mist]

23. Autopsy: The Headless Ritual [Peaceville]

22. Skeletonwitch: Serpents Unleashed [Prosthetic]

21. Oranssi Pazuzu: Velonielu [20 Buck Spin / Svart]

20. Castevet: Obsian [Profound Lore]

19. The Ruins of Beverast: Blood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer [Ván]

18. ASG: Blood Drive [Relapse]

17. Grave Miasma: Odori Sepulcrorum [Profound Lore]

16. Tribulation: The Formulas of Death [Invictus Productions]

15. In Solitude: Sister [Metal Blade]

14. Nails: Abandon All Life [Southern Lord]

13. Russian Circles: Memorial [Sargent House]

12. VHÖL: VHÖL [Profound Lore]

11. Inter Arma: Sky Burial [Relapse]

10. Noisem: Agony Defined [A389]

09. Subrosa: More Constant Than the Gods [Profound Lore]

08. Carcass: Surgical Steel [Nuclear Blast]

07. Darkthrone: The Underground Resistance [Peaceville]

06. Lycus: Tempest [20 Buck Spin]

05. Gorguts: Colored Sands [Season of Mist]

04. Power Trip: Endless Procession of Souls [Southern Lord]

03. Inquisition: Obscure Verses for the Multiverse [Season of Mist]

02. Agrimonia: Rites of Separation [Southern Lord]

01. Deafheaven: Sunbather [Deathwish]


  1. I really wanted to keep agrimonia on my list but I saw it on so many year end lists so I passed. Asg only made the cut for me because even though it was on a lot of lists, they seem to be a band music writers know far more then the average metalhead knows them.

  2. Seeing the description he gave for The Ruins Of Beverast left me intrigued and I followed a few links through to the full album stream: How had I missed this shit!? It’s weird, it’s heavy, it’s hitting all the right buttons 🙂

  3. a really good list, but there is one unforgivable glaring omission. any guesses?

  4. I really liked this list. I’ve found that over the past couple of years, pairing the Pitchfork list with the Stereogum list and things work out pretty perfectly. I still don’t quite “get” that Inter Arma album, going to have to spend more time with it, clearly.

    • Do it. I had the same experience with In Solitude’s Sister: I didn’t get the appeal at first, but it slowly wormed its way into my consciousness. Now I can barely put the thing down.

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