Jan 052014

(NCS contributor Leperkahn returns to our site with his list of 2013’s best albums.)

Hello all. I want to start by apologizing for how late this list is. I’ve been planning to write this list out for at least a month now, but college applications essays (do I sound like a broken record now? I feel like I’m blaming all of my shortcomings on them) have once again hijacked my days, nights, and weekends. I honestly haven’t left my house for this entire first week of my school’s winter break, except to get the mail. But things are looking up now. I’m finally done with apps, and as I type this I’m on my way to Mammoth Lakes (a.k.a. Valdur-land) to go snowboard and impersonate a giant three-toed sloth.

Anyway, enough of my pouting. Let’s get on with this list of the objectively best music of 2013, as chosen completely subjectively by my tastes and what I had time to listen to. Though before I start, I would like to apologize to djneibarger in advance: I’m afraid I didn’t get to listen to Vexovoid enough to put it on this list. I’ve already administered 20 lashings to myself for this mistake. The same goes for the new Hail of Bullets, Man Must Die, Abyssal, Ruins of Beverast, and a couple other gems (I’m just now getting to the new Tyr and Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats albums as I type).

Also, before you start reading the actual list, drop everything that you’re doing and go listen to these two songs immediately: Continue reading »

Jan 042014

(Guest writer Alain Mower returns to the site with his wonderfully eclectic list of favorite releases from 2013.)

Recommendations from a stranger regarding life-enhancing albums of the past 365 days…

…but first, some reflections on this year. I tend to have a more ‘grab-bag’ taste in music, with a little bit of everything finding its way onto my list of best music, but man was this a great year for metal – and really, music in general.

One representative sign of this has been just how diverse the music lists have been this year, even among people with similar tastes in music. For me, any of my Top 15 could have been the number one album of the year, and any of them could have competed for that slot in past years – reflecting a depth of quality that I never could have previously conceived. The only thing that kept me from having an entirely metal list of top albums is my natural indifference toward most death and blackened death metal.

There will always be regrets – for example, I still haven’t yet bought a copy of Fen’s Dustwalker or Oranssi Pazuzu’s Valonielu — and that Austin Lunn of Panopticon didn’t share his list with us until recently – that Obsidian Tongue album right?! – but, without further ado, here are albums that have been populating my sonic sphere of existence without end and will continue to better my existence through their existence. Continue reading »

Jan 042014

(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. Continue reading »

Jan 022014

(In this post NCS writer TheMadIsraeli delivers his list of 2013’s Top 10 albums.)

I really wanted to do a top twenty this year.  I really did.  After a shit ton of scrutiny though, I decided I couldn’t come up with twenty.  A top ten has to do for this year, because ten specific albums overwhelmingly stomped everything else for me.  This year was an ABSOLUTELY MONSTROUS year for metal, particularly death metal and prog-tinged metal.  That’s funny to me, by the way, because a lot of that prog-tinged stuff was also death metal.  While my personal favorites didn’t always gravitate in that direction (although three very select choices are indeed on here), I’m overall very pleased with this year.

Now, as for this list:  I’ve never done a list before where my order “mattered” per se.  I don’t like ranking albums against each other, never have.  I figure they’ve done well enough if they get onto my list in the first place.  However, this time, some albums were so definitively good that there had to be a ranking.  This time the ordering of my list matters (at least to me), and I even have an album of the year.

I certainly hope the musicians I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with and getting to know over this year will understand if they didn’t make the cut.  The competition was simply too brutal.  There will be honorable mentions though, so this won’t be a hard-locked top-ten-, nothing-else-matters kind of list.

So here they are… my top ten albums of 2013. Continue reading »

Jan 022014

(As we have in the past, we asked our friend Fredrik Huldtgren, vocalist for both Sweden’s Canopy and Germany’s Kaos Vortex and the man behind the exciting Elemental Nightmares vinyl project, to share with us his favorite albums of 2013, and here’s his list.)

I always have trouble coming up with these lists, mainly because I can never remember what was released when, and usually once I find something I truly enjoy, I tend to get stuck on it and miss out on a lot of the other albums that came out. So, after going through what I had bought this year, here is a list of the 10 albums I enjoyed the most.

10. The Ruins of BeverastBlood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer

To follow up an album such as Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite is no easy task, and while Blood Vaults … does not quite live up to its predecessor, it is one hell of an album. Brooding, dark, and filled with some great riffs. Continue reading »

Jan 012014

photo by Ray Cottle

(Wretched humies that we are, and wishing to be spared when the domination of the great dragon comes, we humbly asked A Band of Orcs if they would share with us their favorite releases of 2013, and received this response from Gronk!, verse weaver and wielder of the shamanic bass. HAIL GZOROTH!)

Us allies at No Clean Singing have ask usses for review our favorite metal tales of 2013. As Shaman of the Gore-Stained Axe Tribe, Me, Gronk!, preserve kin’s history in song, invent tales of novel exploits of tribe, and convey to all Will of Great Gzoroth, Dragon of Chaos and Fire. Hail Gzoroth! 

In short, me tell stories.  Me also study Earthrealm metal tribes’ lyrical lore, for more understand our enemies, our allies, and the realm usses find usses in.  Earthrealm Metal Tribe’s Chronicle of despair, struggle, oppression, and (sometimes) rebellion of humies’ doomed kind against the ‘oppressors’ has kept running strong this year as in years before.  Whether view of vikings (Amon Amarth), aliens (Gwar), humies fearing aliens (Voivod), America-realm patriots (Havok) or just mortal humies (Iron Reagan), the tales make clear: Domination is coming! (Or is already here?)

Great has it been a year for doom-saying apocalyptic end-of-the-world fear and longing. A Swirling, hidden terror grips humies’ hearts. Every ungreen feels so, but naming “It” a bit like try to grasp eel — more tighter youse squeeze, more quickly “It” slips through youse clawed fingers. Or youse get shocked! But still, metal minstrels try and here is Gronk!’s favorite of what thems say this year. Continue reading »

Dec 312013

photo by Andy Ensslin

(I asked Topon Das, founder and guitarist of Canadian grind marauders Fuck the Facts, to share with us some of his favorite releases of 2013, and here are his thoughts about four of them.  And if you want an interesting change of pace, check out the latest release by another of his projects, Merderahta.)


GorgutsColored Sands

Gorguts is one of those bands that really have no room for a dud and even a good album has a hard time sticking out in their strong discography. Colored Sands isn’t going to usurp Erosion of Sanity as my favorite album of theirs, but it is really nice to hear Luc Lemay still making great mind-bending metal in 2013. There are a lot of really great riffs and ideas that might seem complex on the surface, but falling into their groove is  still extremely easy. This has always been one of Gorguts’ strong points. Continue reading »

Dec 302013

(Continuing with this year’s edition of Listmania, I again invited Johan Huldtgren of the killer black metal band Obitus to share with us his year-end list, because I’ve consistently found his musical tastes to be solid and interesting. Once again, he agreed. An expanded version of this list appears on Johan’s blog.)

For many reasons 2013 was a musically poor year for me. I was very busy with work, I then changed jobs, I bought a new home, sold an old one, and then moved somewhere else. Hence I’ve not been out there searching for new music or even keeping up with my favourite blogs. As such, when it came time to make my yearly pontifications I realized I had barely heard ten albums, much less liked ten albums this year, so I relaxed the verbiage a bit and settled on “releases”, as this would let me include: EPs, demos, splits, and so on. In the end, most of the selections are albums, but some are not. So without further ado, here is the 2013 list of my favourite releases:

10: VallenduskBlack Clouds Gathering

An album I accidentally stumbled over, and have not been able to let go. Slow melodic black metal, nothing unique but generally well done.

http://pestproductions.bandcamp.com/album/black-clouds-gathering Continue reading »

Dec 302013

 (Our friend, fellow blogger, and regular commenter deckard cain has delivered a two-part year-ender for our LISTMANIA series, and here’s Part 2. Or rather, Scroll II. The first scroll can be found here.)

Greetings fellow brethren…

I hope the last scroll was sumptuous enough. If not then scroll II might just suit your tastes.


1. Thy LightNo Morrow Shall Dawn

If Eye of Solitude successfully harnessed the deepest yet emotional shade of doom, then Thy Light probably does the same for Black Metal. From a band that named its last album Suici.De.Pression, you just cannot expect anything else than something a lot bleaker than the last. Coupled with post-rock, this makes a truly captivating listen, even if it’s a heart-rending one at that. Continue reading »

Dec 292013

 (Our friend, fellow blogger, and regular commenter deckard cain has delivered a two-part year-ender for our LISTMANIA series, and here’s Part 1. Or rather, Scroll I.)

A stooping back, coughed-up blood, feet that grate, and yet death eludes me. A great evil works beneath the surface, ceaselessly, to guarantee me life, sustaining it. I reckon it is that good-for-nothing, hellhole-dweller, Diablo, once again. While the rest of humanity holds vitality dear to their hearts, I deny it with vehemence unparalleled. I seek the eternal silence so I may finally be rid of my physical burdens. But for now, senility is a curse, while immortality, thrust upon me, remains a bane of unfathomable proportions.

What eases my pain in these howling doldrums is companionship. I thank Lord Islander and his kin for offering this opportunity to spell out the contents of these scrolls. The great and exotic findings within will hopefully make for a sumptuous feast of music. I shall now reveal scroll I, once hidden away in a SATCHEL deep within Tristam’s boondocks.

Feel free to judge my character, and maybe piss on it…But in the end I humbly request you to…

“Stay awhile and listen” Continue reading »