Jan 022024
 

(Today we present the fifth and final installment of Neill Jameson‘s 2023 year-end list. You can find the first four Parts by hitting this link and scrolling down.)

See the subtle change in the title? I’m building a narrative, I’m told that’s a good idea in writing. As far as I can tell (from constantly Googling myself), I’ve been doing year-end lists here since 2014. Initially I would only pick a few records each year, mostly because I was trying to shed light on things that other people may not have noticed throughout the year, which would grow somewhat each year until we made it to 2018, one of the most miserable years I’d had in a moment, and it showed in the lack of anything approaching enthusiasm in my writing. But once 2019 hit, it was like something opened up in me and I was actually interested in seeking out new music, the closest to approaching being passionate about anything I’d been in years. And from there I haven’t slowed down. 

I understand that these lists are read for a variety of reasons, to see if your band was in it, to disagree with it, to tell me I’m either an SJW cuck or a nazi, or (and this is the lowest number) to actually seek out new music that might interest you. Regardless of your reason, I hope you’ve found something you’re looking for out of this. I don’t really want to hear about it either way.

These were my favorite releases of the year not covered by my Invisible Oranges list, which was all album based. There’s a few here too, sure, but this is mostly EPs, demos etc. Not a lot of surprises if you’ve read any previous years. This will probably be wordy, even for me (“long winded” is another description I’ve read about myself) Enough from me, here’s the list: Continue reading »

Jan 022024
 

(For the years 2012 through 2015 an NCS supporter from India who went by the name deckard cain contributed some interesting year-end lists that we posted as part of our annual Listmania series, and he reviewed songs and albums for us too during that same interval. Then he drifted away, but returned with a year-end list in 2021, then drifted again, and returns once more with another very interesting 2023 list below.)

Greetings all!

These year-end lists are indeed great spaces to think through the year that was. Personally, it was a year of tumult. Moments of happiness of being able to spend time with family after many a year of living abroad were great and so were deeply harrowing experiences of loss and unwarranted suffering. Nothing new here! For life always gets back at us all with a sense of pendulous certainty.

Going full elegiac on the state of the world is beside the point. But the albums on year-end lists? Well, they fit in as signposts, reflective of one’s state of mind then, linking them in turn, to events and feelings. Perhaps a version of chronologically mapping your emotional states. And to that end all these records mattered one way or another, whether as anodynes to one’s pain, as chasers downed after moments of elation. and everything in between. In no particular order or rank and…..and as the last of the Horadrim says: Continue reading »

Dec 292023
 

(One of the perennial highlights of our year-end LISTMANIA series are the articles Neill Jameson has contributed, and we’re very happy that he’s doing so again this year. This one is the fourth of five Parts we’ll be publishing. You can find the preceding parts if you go here and scroll down. To be clear, Neill wrote the title of this feature himself.)

I guess one of the (many) hypocritical things I’ve written over the years is how I shit on others for having huge end of year lists yet here I am with fifty things that were released in the last twelve months that I want to share with everyone.

But there’s a few things to consider here, the first being the sheer magnitude of music being recorded and released every day. I can compare it to getting ready for a colonoscopy, you can’t believe how much shit keeps coming out. And, to continue the charming metaphor, most of it is absolute liquid shit. So keep that statistic in mind, my fifty is equal to my ten or twenty a decade ago, adjusted for inflation.

My second point is that those other lists are mostly dreck.

I’ve been working on myself this year and practicing self-care. You can tell it’s working. Here’s the next batch: Continue reading »

Dec 282023
 

(For the 13th year in a row, our friend Johan Huldtgren of the Swedish black metal band Obitus — whose 2017 album Slaves of the Vast Machine is still their latest release — has again allowed us to share with you his year-end Top 10 list, which originally appeared on Johan’s own blog.)

I rarely include this caveat, but sometimes it’s good to reflect on it. Lists like this are always snapshots in time, it’s the ten albums I picked at the time of writing whittled down from a longer list, and often times which get picked and which get left off is just mood dependent. And that is only the albums which I’ve heard; experience has taught me that I will sometime down the road find albums released this year which could easily have made the list. Regardless I hope you find something here you enjoy which you may otherwise have missed. Continue reading »

Dec 272023
 

(To help bring life to the dead week between Christmas and New Year’s Day we continue presenting year-end lists by our writers. Today we have Part II of a two-part list by our Denver-based contributor Gonzo. You can find Part I here.)

It’s only when you start to write your year-end list that you realize how much shit you didn’t listen to each year. I’m not even sure how that happened, given that I’m borderline psychopathic about keeping track of what I listen to every week, but the result here – the top 10 in my yearly two-parter – is something I feel represents the best of what I heard throughout 2023.

I could make up for that with a list of “honorable mentions” that didn’t quite make the cut, but in all transparency, the day job and life have culminated into a real bitch of a time-suck this month. So, this will be briefer than I’d prefer, but here it is no less. Continue reading »

Dec 262023
 

(To help bring life to the dead week between Christmas and New Year’s Day we continue presenting year-end lists by our writers. Today we have Part I of a two-part list by our Denver-based contributor Gonzo, with Part II to follow tomorrow.)

While it’s one thing to have your Spotify Wrapped viciously critiqued by an army of your peers, only the truly dedicated (or most antisocial) among us will go so far as to lock themselves in a room for several days to list out – in lavish detail – what they feel are the best albums to be released over the past year.

And just like my ability to craft an absurdly long sentence to begin the exercise of assembling such a list, this year’s top picks spared no expense in grandeur. From post-metal gems to forward-thinking, avant-garde atmosphere that we all might look back on in 10 years and think, “good god, this is underrated,” 2023 had a little something for everyone in the world of metal.

I’ll get right to it, then – this is the first half of my top 20 albums of the year. For those of us keeping track at home, that means you’ll find #11-20 below and #1-10 will follow soon. (Provided my day job doesn’t try to kill me in the process.) Continue reading »

Dec 222023
 


photo by Hillarie Jason

(One of the perennial highlights of our year-end LISTMANIA series are the articles Neill Jameson has contributed, and we’re very happy that he’s doing so again this year. This one is the third of five Parts we’ll be publishing. To be clear, Neill wrote the title of this feature himself. And hey, you should check out Krieg‘s new album Ruiner too.)

Five. There’s five of these things in total. This is the third one.

These are getting more and more difficult to write because I’ve always taken a minute or two to refresh my memory on what I’m writing about but this year I’ve found myself just drifting off and listening to more and more of each release, which causes a slowdown in my progress. 

This is all fascinating to you, I’m sure. I’ve let my tea grow cold, let’s dive into it before I write more about my old womanly habits. Continue reading »

Dec 222023
 

(Seb Painchaud, the main man behind the Montréal band Tumbleweed Dealer, has very expansive and eclectic musical tastes, which is one reason why for eight years in a row we’ve asked him to share a year-end list with us. This one, as usual, goes in all sorts of different directions.)

2023 was a year that had music. Here is some of it.

“Why waste time say lot word when few word do trick?” – Ashton Kutcher (Or at least some guy that looks like him) Continue reading »

Dec 212023
 


photo by Hillarie Jason

(One of the perennial highlights of our year-end LISTMANIA series are the articles Neill Jameson has contributed, and we’re very happy that he’s doing so again this year. This one is the second of a handful of Parts we’ll be publishing. To be clear, Neill wrote the title of this feature himself. And hey, you should check out Krieg‘s new album Ruiner too.)

Still here? Good. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed your chance to call me a nazi or SJW cuck, depending on your obviously refined perspective. Here’s the next batch of releases from 2023 you should check out. 

Your band probably isn’t here. Maybe next list. Continue reading »

Dec 212023
 

(Didrik Mešiček from Slovenia made his first appearance as a writer at NCS this past September, and has given us six reviews before 2023 has ended. In the feature below he shares his list of the year’s Top 20 metal albums.)

If 2022 felt like the year in which we recovered from the pandemic, 2023 really went into full bloom for me from a musical perspective. I’ve seen around 90 bands live, which is definitely my new record (that I, of course, plan on breaking next year). On the front of new releases, however, I can’t say I found it to be a particularly impressive year and would generally rank the pandemic years higher.

The notable shift for me personally though was that there are a lot more black metal inclusions than usual. Whether this is my personal evolution or a sign of the genre continuing to evolve in a positive manner, as I do believe it has in recent years, or a mix of both, I’m not quite sure. Without further ado, here’s a list of 20 albums that I’ve found either most impressive, most appealing, or just worth pretentiously talking about for one reason or another this year.

For those less gifted in the art of reading, here’s also a link to the Best Of 2023 (only about 6 hours of material) playlist, which is made up of my picks from the albums I talk about here plus a few extra songs that were also released this year: https://open.spotify.com/album/6ePCa1DxMuRWkjddULq6GW?si=zrG_Vu2QTR6IWYOaYptR5w Continue reading »