BEST OF 2013: Runners up (or committing atrocities against the entire metal world)

With the annual, highly anticipated (at least for me since I still was tweaking over the weekend) Top 40 albums of the year, we want to pay some tribute to the records that didn’t make the list but that I loved nonetheless. And I expect with the pack of albums I discuss first that there will be some hate sent my way, but it’s my list. Go make your own list. OK, off we go.

Carcass - Surgical Steel - Artwork

Gorguts covernoisem cover

So that Decibel tour next year, eh? Now, that’s a package tour. Perhaps my most anticipated show outside of Gilead Media Fest. Yet, none of those bands made the list, and yes, I realize I should be burned alive for that. Carcass’ amazing comeback “Surgical Steel,” Gorguts’ incredible new opus “Colored Sands,” and Noisem’s bad-ass crossover thrash collection “Agony Defined” all are worthy of the insane amount of praise each one received. I love and celebrate all of them and cannot wait to see all three bands do these songs live. So, champ, how exactly did they not make your top 40 when they appear on every other list this year? Well, because as good as they are, I happened to like 40 records more than these ones. Do you realize how many metal albums come out every year? So, so many. The fact these are mentioned still means I recognize their brilliance, and they’re albums I listen to with regularity. So, sure, they didn’t crack the top 40, but they’re all incredible records nonetheless. That means that Decibel 2014 tour is going to be an event you should not miss. And I will not miss it.

For more on Carcass, go here: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialCarcass

To buy the album go here: http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.nuclearblast.com/en/

For more on Gorguts, go here: http://www.gorguts.com/

To buy the album go here: http://e-shop.season-of-mist.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/

For more on Noisem, go here: https://www.facebook.com/NoisemBaltimore

To buy the album go here: http://shop.a389records.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.a389records.com/site/

Twilight cover

As a fan of classic heavy metal, as well as Primordial howler Alan Averill, the Twilight of the Gods project was a revelation. Here is a band that also includes members of heavy hitters such as Aura Noir, Thyrfing, Einherjer, and more, that made one of the catchiest, most righteous slabs of classic metal glory in some time. Averill stretches his voice even further (I know! How is that even possible?) while the rest of the band gives him the proper fire and chaos to call forth the gods, grab his sword, and challenge them to a world-deciding battle. It will get your blood surging, and if you grew up loving bands like Dio, Bathory, and Iron Maiden, you will get lost in this thing and feel all the better for it. Here’s to more from this band.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.twilightofthegods.eu/Twilight_of_The_Gods/Twilight_of_The_Gods.html

To buy the album go here: http://e-shop.season-of-mist.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/

cleric cover

It was a pretty strong year for death metal, and unfortunately that means a lot of records slid under the radar. One of those was “Gratum Inferno,” the debut album from Dallas maulers Cleric. This record is filthy, dripping with evil, rough around the edges, and totally in line with what death’s old gods had in mind when they dredged up this sound from the swamps and ancient graveyards. These seven songs stretch over 29 minutes for a perfectly portioned, utterly disgusting display that should begin digging a bloody path for the band’s future. If you like your death metal ugly, unpolished, and horrific, do yourself a favor and get in on the bottom floor with Cleric before the rest of the world wakes up to their skull-bashing punishment.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/666cleric666

To buy the album, go here: http://store.tofucarnage.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://tofucarnage.com/

vattnet cover

Vattnet Viskar’s jump to Century Media was a surprising one since the band only had their 2012 self-titled EP to their name. But the label isn’t made up of a bunch of dummies, and they knew what everyone else did once that EP dropped, that being this band is one of the most promising young outfits out there, and it’s wise to jump on them before someone else does. The band rewarded CM for their good faith and smart business move by releasing their incredible full-length debut “Sky Swallower,” an eight-track, 38-minute opus filled with black metal savagery, post-rock wonder, and pure imagination. If anything, “Sky Swallower” proves they were just scratching the thin icy surface of their potential on their EP, and this group seems like one that can produce some modern classics in the years to come. This one’s damn close to that, and it’s a powerful first step for a band that has the entire world in front of them.

For more on the band, go here: http://vattnetviskar.com/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.cmdistro.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.centurymedia.com/

summoning cover

I love every Zelda game ever released. Even the shitty ones. They’re still Zelda. It’s one of the reasons I think I adore Summoning so much and their heavily keyboard-laden records that probably make plenty of eyes roll. Whatever, man. Have some fun, why don’t you? The band’s new “Old Mornings Dawn,” their first record in seven damn years, was a pleasure to behold and truly sounds like the soundtrack to an epic videogame. Even if it’s really Tolkien love. Those bands that try to mix videogame music into their hardcore are nowhere near getting it as right as Summoning do their their atmospheric, dreamy black metal, and this record provided hours of good fun as I seriously played games along to this collection. Dorky? Sure. But I had a better time than you did, as all Summoning fans can say who spent their time with this wondrous gift.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.summoning.info/

To buy the album, go here: http://shop.napalmrecords.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.napalmrecords.com/

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