Sunday, January 12, 2014

Metallattorney's Top Twenty of 2013

I am sorry I am late, I was working on this for quite awhile.  I have not been as active in the last year with the blog or listening to music in general.  A lot has happened in the last year, including buying a home and the long process of moving.  I have also been working a lot.  Nevertheless, I did hear a number of impressive albums.  Many of these have yet to appear as reviews here, but they will soon.

So without further ado, Metallattorney's Top 20 of 2013:

Okay, this one is pretty weird.  Every time I pick up a Watain album, I have a certain sound in mind that I am expecting to hear.  I expect them to sound like Dissection at the height of their sound.  This completely blew me away.  Obviously the biggest takeaway is the slow song with clean vocals.  That came as quite a shock, let me tell you.  But when you get past the shock, this is a very compelling album.

Revocation is the best of the retro thrash metal bands.  Although they do not entirely fit in with that group because of their late 80's death metal influences and an ability to take influences from a variety of other musical styles.  Banjos anyone?

Probably my favorite album by the Japanese doom/death band so far, which is really saying something as I have enjoyed everything I have heard from them.  This album finds the band incorporating a lot more faster-paced, crunchier sections while retaining the same Hellhammer-at-half-speed sound the band typically had.  Yet it has not lost any of the grime and decay from previous releases.

There is something to be said for simplicity.  Toxic Holocaust has been doing their thing for years now and their thing is a mix of Motorhead, Venom, Bathory, and Hellhammer.  Every album is about a half hour of rampaging speed and proto-thrash riffs.  It goes by quickly but it is a hell of a lot of fun.

Yet another terrific album from the undisputed masters of brutal death metal.  Suffocation proves they still have it on this release.  The pioneering band is still going strong as always.

Canada has some damn good thrash metal.  Mortillery is the latest thrash metal band to arrive out of the Great White North.  This is an underrated thrash metal album that went largely unnoticed.  That's unfortunate.  Cara McCutchen is a vocalist on par with Sabine Classen.

Is it possible to both anticipate and dread something?  Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Ozzy Osbourne reunited to write new music for the first time in several years and this time we got a full album out of them.  This reunion resulted in a surprisingly strong album that did not disappoint.  It is, quite simply, a Black Sabbath album played with a modern flair.

Blackened death metal the way it should be.  Denouncement Pyre is one of the darkest, most brutal bands still going out of the Australian "war metal" scene.  They were always a little too blackened to really fit in with Destroyer 666, Atomizer, and the like, but that just made them that much more interesting.  This is their best album yet.

Not an easy album to digest, but Defeated Sanity continues to impress.  Their brutal technicality is on display in spades here.  I considered their last album to be one of my favorite slam death albums of all time.  If anything this one tops even that.

I liked their black metal sound, but their blackened power metal is absolutely incredible.  Since reuniting with Harry Conklin from Jag Panzer, their original singer, Satan's Host has been on a completely different level.  This album, while not as powerful as its predecessor, continues in that vein.

Hypocrisy does not really fit in with either of the two big Swedish death metal scenes.  They are too melodic for the Stockholm sound and too heavy for the Gothenburg sound.  But what they do is continue to put out fiercely powerful albums every single time.  And they continued to do so with this release.

I love good sludge metal and Lord Dying definitely qualifies.  Sludge has become known more for groups like Baroness in the last few years.  It is great to have a band step in and play it the way it should be played.  Much more like Crowbar.  This was one hell of an impressive debut and I found myself listening to it over and over again.

This is one I have not heard a lot yet.  I just recently decided to check it out due to its placement in Full Metal Attorney's Top Albums list, but I like it a lot.  It is decidedly old school death metal, sounding like the genre did back when it was truly evil-sounding.  Vastum does a terrific job of bringing back that vibe, sounding like a mix of old Immolation, Incantation, Sinister, and others that made death metal terrifying.

It was a good year for good slam/brutal death.  Especially the more bizarre groups like Wormed and Defeated Sanity.  This album has been a very long time coming.  Wormed's last album came out in 2003 and we have only had a split and an EP since then.  But the band definitely made this one worth the wait.  The technical slam death metal band from Spain has put out an amazing album.

I am a big fan of the sort of melodic metal that Amorphis has been putting out over the last several albums, since Tomi Joutsen joined the band, but even I admit that it was in danger of becoming a little too predictable.  Then we got this one which reinforced how truly great Amorphis can be.  This album marked a return at least somewhat of their harder-edged sound.  There are still elements of the previous sound, but this is Amorphis's heaviest album in years.

I know I say this every year, but each year some album by a traditional metal band comes around and completely blows me away.  Enforcer, Christian Mistress, Grand Magus, and others have all done this in the past.  This last year, it was Huntress.  From the Judas Priest-inspired music style, to the sultry, yet commanding vocals of Jill Janus, Huntress's album is an incredible listen.  Or maybe I am just taken with the singer.  I don't really know.

Voivod has released their first album without any input from the late Denis "Piggy" D'Amour.  After his death in 2005, the band used recorded material he created to continue to put out music.  This album saw the band recruit Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain to take over the guitar and the album was their best in years.  Voivod still has it and remains one of the most unique metal bands ever.

Holy shit this band just keeps getting better and better.  The Italian band proves that a band can have symphonic elements and still be brutal and powerful.  The symphonic elements never threaten to take attention away from the death metal foundation.  If anything, it works incredibly well in conjunction to create an incredible, theatrical metal album.

Skeletonwitch never fails.  In fact, if anything they continue to get better.  Every time I hear a new album by the band, I am blown away.  Yes, this is their best album to date, the same thing I said about each of their last few albums.  So here we are again.

Holy shit.  That's all I have to say.  It was not until this year that I really started to enjoy crossover in a big way.  And the major reason for this was this album.  Power Trip absolutely crushes on this album.  It is fast, heavy, loud, and I keep coming back for more.  It is Metallattorney's 2013 Album of the Year.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't even heard most of this stuff. It's occurred to me how reviewing the available promos and not listening to much else has really altered my listening habits. Great to see Vastum on the list, as well as a few others I sent your way.