(In this post we welcome back our good friend from the Dominican Republic and stalwart NCS supporter, Vonlughlio, who provides the following list of his favorite 2013 releases.)
So the time as arrived again for the year-end year, and for the second time I have been privileged to be able to post mine here at No Clean Singing. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Islander for letting me share the albums I have grown to love in 2013. Thanks also to all the other guest writers for their year-end contributions, through which I have found some great music.
Last year, when I did my top 25, I knew what albums would be on the list from the get-go and did not have any second thoughts about it. This year, with all the great releases, I had a tough time to be honest. I had to make several drafts and still was not satisfied with the end result. So I decided to make a top 40, and after three attempts finally made a list that I feel comfortable with. When I showed it to friends, some were shocked that certain well-known bands (whose albums I liked) did not make the final draft. In fact, some of the readers here will be puzzled as well.
Another thing I decided to do this year was to include some of my favorite EP’s. To be honest, I’m more into full-lengths, but decided to pay more attention since there is some quality music in this type of release. With all that being said, here is my top 40. Hope you like my choices and if not, that is ok too.
40) Ayreon–Theory of Everything
I have been a fan of Ayreon since their 1995 sophomore release Actual Fantasy. This is one of many projects from multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen. The only instruments that he does not play are the drums, which are handled by Ed Wardby. In each of the releases, he has been able to gather some of the greats from the prog world, and this album was no exception. For this release, he enlisted Jordan Rudess, Steve Hackett, Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, John Wetton, and Cristina Scabbia, just to name a few.
39) Take Over and Destroy—Endless Night
This is one band I found about thanks to a friend of mine who posted the link to their Bandcamp page on my FB wall. So I decided to check them out and liked them right away. My favorite things about this album are the diversity in the riffs, the use of the organ to enhance the overall sound, and the vocals. Really hoping this band gets more exposure and can’t wait to see what they bring in their future releases.
38) Deformatory—In the Wake of Pestilence
Another band I found about thanks to a post from Paul of Blasthead Records recommending them, and he was dead on. Love the drums and guitar work and how everything is high energy and keeps you headbanging until the end.
37) Voivod—Target Earth
Well, this is a band that one of my uncles used to listen in the eighties, and he gave me some of their albums as birthday presents, so I’m quite familiar with them. When they released Target Earth. I knew it was a must-purchase for me, even though I only heard one song before doing so. I’m so happy I did, because this album is just amazing. Great guitar work from Chewy and bass from Blackie, which for me are what I love most about this release.
36) Mephistopheles—In the Wake of Pestilence
After a long 7 years, the band released their sophomore album, and I was happy for this release since Chalky is one of my favorite vocalists. They did not disappoint — this album is a great mix of technical and brutal death metal, with abstract riffing and complex structuring.
35) Zealotry– The Charnel Expanse
I found about this band by browsing for new music in Bandcamp. This is one record that you can just press play and relax. I enjoyed the diversity in the structures of the songs, and the drum performance is superb. It was only later on that a friend told me that the session drummer was no other than Lille Gruber from Defeated Sanity, one of my favorite musicians. From what I have read, the band are already working on a follow-up, and I’m really stoked to hear what they do next.
34) Bacteremia– Cerebral Wrong Settings
This is just one sick album from start to finish. Once I put the CD on, I feel compelled to do mosh pits in my room, every single time. The vocals, guitars, and drums complement each other perfectly. Really impressive debut, and I hope that this band get more recognition, which they deserve.
33) Nero Di Marte– Nero Di Marte
This Italian band I found on YouTube, while just looking for random music. I was impressed by the song I heard and decided to buy the álbum. For me, they play progressive metal with hints of technical death metal. They delivered a very complex album, with constant composition changes in their songs. Amazing writing and musicianship.
32) Pyrexia—The Feast of Iniquity
I was waiting for this release, since I’ve been fan of them for so long, and this new one did not disappoint. This is overall a fine death metal album, and for me personally, it is a fun record to listen to. Don’t know why, but every time I listen it’s with a smile on my face. I hope for nothing but the best for this band and will forever be a fan of them.
31) Colosus –Blesten
I discovered this band from the UK thanks to the Sideblast Series releases by Kaotoxin Records. This is great atmospheric black metal. Really good music for just sitting back and relaxing. I like the structure of the songs, the vocals are very good, and the combination of the heavy and the ambient parts is excellent.
30) Immolation– –Kingdom of Conspiracy
Death Metal legends!!!! This is a band who in my opinion have never released a bad record in their 20-plus years in the scene. Loved by so many around the world, they have released one killer album in Kingdom of Conspiracy. Some might have a problem with the production, stating that it is too clean. But for me, I say that it enhances the overall atmosphere of the record. This is a crushing album, and I really hope they play forever, in the hope that someday I will be able to take my son to see them live.
Another album I was really looking forward to, and it did not disappoint at all. The vocals are sick and the musicianship is really good. One thing I love about this band are their lyrical themes — ”Psychosis, Human Evolution and Science”. Let’s just hope they don’t take another 10 years to make the next album.
28) Grave Upheaval-–(No Title)
Discovered them at Nuclear War Now Bandcamp, and fuck this is just one killer death metal album. The album and songs don’t have names and that really worked rather well and enhances the experience of the listener.
27) Beatwars—Blood Becomes Fire
This band I discovered last year thanks to No Clean Singing and loved their first album; they have become one of the few sludge/stoner bands I like. Their second release is spectacular and quite different from their debut. Still, they maintain the sounds that differentiate them from other bands in the same genre.
26) Carcass—Surgical Steel
Seventeen years for this album to see the light, and to be honest I was a little skeptical at first. But once I heard the official stream all doubts were removed. Bill Steer and Jeff Walker did a fantastic job, as always. Good to see they are finally back and looking forward to more music from them.
25) In Solitude—Sister
Before purchasing the album, I was familiar with two songs from their previous album and the first single from this one. Really liked each song, and the most favorite thing is the spectacular guitar work on this record. So after listening, I decided to buy their previous albums and it’s great to hear how they have grown as band.
24) Monolithe — IV
One good friend recommended them last year when they released III, and I was blown away by how good the album was. So I decided to get this one and I’ve got to say that for me IV is their best work so far. All of their albums consist of one track, so I recommend relaxing and just pushing play. Really, how the instruments complement each other and the ambient parts of the album are the best part of the experience.
23) Sulphur Aeon–Swallowed by the Ocean’s Tide
First of all, I’ve got to thank Mr. Islander for writing about them at NCS. I spent some time looking for a distro in the USA that had the CD. In the meantime, I was constantly listening to the songs on YouTube. Finally found a distro and got it on the spot. This is one great death metal album with a lot of power and diversity in the songs. Looking forward to seeing what the band does next.
22) The Flower Kings—Desolate Rose
Dear reader, if you are still with us, this is one of my favorite prog bands. Their last record was one of my favorites from last year. This time they did a double CD. A lot of songs from the album are shorter than the usual 8-or-more-minute songs (though there are some of those in the album) and it worked perfectly for this release. The synths, bass, and guitar work are very good, as always, confirming why this is one of my favorites.
21) Skeletonwitch—Serpents Unleashed
This album has become one of my favorites from this band. Like the others, it’s full of energy, great riffs, and those damn vocals that I enjoy so much. Every time I listen to one of their albums, it has the same result — leaving me wanting to listen more.
20) Saprogenic—Expanding Towards Collapsed Lungs
This band has become one of my favorites and this album is crushing. The vocal delivery and drum performance are just insane. They even cover Dissection, and it’s a great cover. I hope that the band get more recognition and continue to create killer music.
Found about them through FB, and when I saw that George Kollias was the guest drummer, I knew I needed to check them out. It’s a great album — really loved the lyricial theme, the vocals, the guitar performances, and of course the drumming. For fans of Nile and Ex-Deo, this is a must listen.
18) Abyssal—Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius
Discovered them on Bandcamp, and got to say that their album is just one dark hole that is going to have your soul (well at least that’s how I felt when listening). Impressive musicianship from start to finish, with haunting vocals. This band is mysterious; no one knows who they are, just that they are from the UK.
17) Laceration—Severing the Divine Iniquity
One of my favorite bands from New Standard Elite. I was very fortunate to do a small write-up for Metal Bandcamp about the label and this band. What I love about this album is the diversity each song brings and how each one shines throughout the album. Impressive guitar work, and the vocals are just so damn sick!!!!
One record that is simply crushing from start to finish. The best parts are the drum work and guitars. They don’t need to rely on guitar wankery (a phrase others use, but which I actually love) to be technical death metal. The structure of the songs and the overall sound of this album is proof of that.
15) Asphyxiate—Self Transform From Decayed Flesh
Another great brutal death metal band signed by New Standard Elite and in my humble opinion the best Indonesian band out there. The overall performance by the members is spectacular, and the diversity in the songs is a highlight.
14) Broken Hope—Omen of Disease
One of my favorites when I was a teenager — great times, indeed, listening to them. When I learned that they were doing live performances and that their new vocalist was Damian Leski (vocalist of Gorgasm), I literally lost my shit. Why?? ‘Cause I like his vocals and Gorgasm is one of my favorite brutal death metal acts. Plus the guitar, bass, and drum performances on this record are top-notch.
One of my all time favorite bands, and got to thank NCS for their work on following the developments that let us know the band were back together and releasing both a new album and a documentary. Some friends don’t understand why I like them since they are a Christian band who play death metal. I like them and that is all I know, and I will continue to like them as long as I live.
One of the best debut albums this year. Prior to this, they managed to create a buzz with their demos and EP. The band capitalized on that with this release with real substance, creating a unique death metal record. It’s been a constant play in my house since its release.
11) Grave Miasma—Odori Sepulcrorum
One majestic death metal album. Really atmospheric and dark, with complex structures that change when you least expect it. The vocals are well-delivered and enhance the overall feel of the album (if that makes sense).
For me, the best experimental death metal — they simply blow my mind with each release. Enjoyed the new one more than Swarth — the music just flows better. Still, the band know what they want and execute the music perfectly.
09) Autopsy—The Headless Ritual
Legends of death metal and one of my all-time favorite bands. This is one amazing record that never gets old. Everything about it is excellent, from the vocals to the guitar work to the drumming. One plus is the chance to hear Mr. Cutler sing in this one, and I hope for the same on future releases. This band hold a special place in my heart and I will forever be a fan.
08) Darkthrone—The Underground Resistance
This has become one of my favorite releases in their catalogue. Nocturno Culto’s guitar work is just all over the place (in a good way) and Fenriz’ work is top-notch, as usual. This is a band who with each release surprise me — I love the fact that they never repeat themselves.
07) Krypts—Undening Degradation
An impressive debut album that truly captures the old school death metal vibe. The production quality helps ensure that the listener will enjoy a brutal experience. They have managed to deliver an album that will surely become a classic.
06) The Ruins of Beverast—Blood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer
I found out about this band through a post from a friend on FB, with high praise. So I bought the record, and ended up buying three more from their back catalogue. This record is more doom-oriented than their previous work, and it succeeds rather well, with haunting vocals that are just out of this world and superb music.
05) Aosoth—IV: Arrow in Heart
Another band that I found about just last year thanks to Mr. Islander. Became an instant fan and bought their discography as it existed to that point. When I heard the first single of the new album, I pre-ordered it right away. For me, this is their best work so far. The bass, the drums, the guitar, and those vocals — all of it just perfect. This is my favorite black album of 2013.
04) Haken—The Mountain
My favorite prog album of this year. Before purchasing it, I had only heard a few songs from their previous albums and thought they were good. I read a lot of great reviews of The Mountain and decided to check it out — and it is a beautiful album with great musicianship. Plus, the lyrics are very well-written and I identified with a lot of them.
03) Eye of Solitude—Canto III
A band who have become one of my all-time favorites. They execute the music perfectly, with more variation this time around, including blast beats and even black metal parts in some of the songs. Deos, their vocalist (ex-Unfathomable Ruination) brings much more diversity this time around, from the low guttural to the screaming to even narration parts. His performance on the album is yet one more reason why he has become one of my favorite vocalist in the genre.
02) Gorguts—Colored Sands
Like many others, I waited patiently for this album, for 12 years. I shed tears of joy when I learned of the release date. Luc Lemay is a fucking God and an excellent musician who knows what he wants, and he has surrounded himself now with so many other great musicians, such as Mr. Longstreth (one of my top 5 drummers), Colin Marston, and Kevin Hufnagel. All of them bring something of their own to this record, and that is one of the many reasons why I love it.
01) Defeated Sanity—Passages Into Deformity
The best Brutal Death Metal band. This record was released at the beginning of 2013, and from the get-go I knew in my heart that it would be my number one pick of 2013. I even bought the album twice (digitally and in CD format) — that’s how much it meant to me. The DVD that comes along with the CD is killer, since it provides a glimpse of the creative process they go through. The vocals, those damn gutturals, are just one of the sickest I’ve ever heard. Basically, this band are at the top of their game. I wish they would get more recognition and all the respect they deserve.
Deeds of Flesh—Portals to Caanan
Katechon—Man, God, Giant
Tribulation—Formulas of Death
Parasitic Ejaculation—Rationing the Sacred Humans Remains
Cerebral Engorgement—Gastrointestinal Bleeding
Pathology–Lords of Rephaim
Lithotome — Lithotome
BEST EPs OF 2013:
Seminal Embalmment—Staked and Sodomized
Gaped—The Murderous Inception
If you managed to see the whole list, thank you for reading. Just want to say that I’m not a reviewer of any sorts, just a guy stranded in the middle of the Caribbean who is very passionate when it comes to music.