12/19/2013

The 10 Best Metal/ Hard Rock/ Punk Albums of the Year

The first thing I wanna address is the title to my long time readers. I know in the past the list has only had the word "metal" in it, but I wanted to avoid the "that's not metal" comment. And, in some cases, it isn't. So, in the end it's the right title to post here. Anyway, on to the subject at hand, this year saw A LOT of really fucking awesome releases. Enough so that the top ten kept changing, well except for my pick for best album. That remained the same from the moment I heard the album in a friend of mine's car. This has to be one of the most exciting years for heavy music, I've heard. So, that made making this list both tough to do and really awesome to wade through as a metalhead. Anyways, it's here, it's done, and now you can see my picks for yourself.


10. AFI- Burials- Perhaps the year's biggest surprise to me came in the form of this amazing album. It's dark and melodic, yet with the right type of sound to not turn-off their fan base. The album gets better with each listen, and is, in the end, the very best album of AFI's career. I would say it's thier masterpiece. Oh and "I Hope You Suffer" is one of the best rock songs of the year!






9. Eyes Set To Kill- Masks- I been a fan of ESTK for a while, but this album has made them one of my favorite bands out there. It's their best work, yet. It's a heavier and harder sound for the band, while still keeping the melody and accessibility that they have sonically. They even went back and picked two songs from their last album, White Lotus, and redid them to make them heavier and even better sounding than they already were! Songs like Haze and Little Liar are among some of my most played tracks of the year!
 


8. A Pale Horse Named Death- Lay My Soul to Rest- The second release from this band is just amazing! A dark and brooding epic that is crushing and emotionally charged. I wonder if they can top this one, but while it won't be easy, I think that they can! This is the definitive album to listen to when you are feeling like shit, or even when you ain't. And, songs like DMSLT, Cold Dark Mourning, and Shallow Grave make them light years ahead of any band even trying to make this kind of metal music.


7. Norma Jean- Wrongdoers- Another band that made their best album of their career has to be Christian metalcore masters, Norma Jean. With Wrongdoers they have streamlined their sound, while still keeping, it heavy and very aggressive with great technicality. It's an album that gets better with each listening and showcases a band that is just head and shoulders above any from the more generic music that others playing this kind of music have.



6. Suffocation- Pinnacles of Bedlam- This was a very solid year for extreme metal and this brutal and vicious release from NY's technical masters of mayhem is a shining example of just that. It ranks as one of their finest works, with the crushing Sullen Days ranking as one of the absolute best death metal tracks of the year!! On a side note, I think this is the best cover on the list.






5. Warbringer- IV: Empires Collapse- Every album they release gets ranked by me, because they are THE best of all the modern era thrash bands. This album continues that tradition with aggression and heaviness to spare. In all, this is the best thrash metal album of the year!






4. The Black Dahlia Murder- Everblack- While, I am a huge fan of these melodic death metallers, I always harken back to Nocturnal, as their best. While, that remains the case, they finally have an album that does comes close. Heavy and technically sound, this one rips from start to finish, and The Evil Dead inspired Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorns might well be my absolute favorite death metal song of the entire year! I LOVE signing the chorus!!



3. Carcass- Surgical Steel- Holy fuck! It's been ages since a new Carcass came out, but my God have they made up for lost time!! This is one of the greatest comeback albums in the history of metal music! A continuation of the melodic death metal that they pioneered in the classic Heartwork, this is a masterpiece that has been getting rave reviews in every metal site and mag and with GREAT reason. This is their second best album of their career, and I cannot wait to see what they will give us next!



2. Watain- The Wild Hunt- One of my absolute favorite black metal bands continue to prove why they are head and bloody shoulders above their fellow musicians in the sub-genre. An epic, evil, and majestic album, it shows the band growing and experimenting and even slowing down for a ballad or two!! Yet, they always stay true to their wonderfully evil and Satanic sound. The best album to listen to in the pitch black, cold night released this year, and, unquestionably, well to me anyways, the best black metal release of the year.



1. Killswitch Engage- Disarm the Descent- While, it was a continuous moving around in the other rankings, this was the only album that came in at number one and stayed there. Jessie Leach had to become a better signer, as he was replacing Howard Jones (and returning to front the band full time). And, boy did he ever! A great mix of inspiring lyrics, driving grooves, great musicianship, crushing heaviness, wonderful melody, and those aforementioned amazing vocals, makes this their best work since The End of Heartache. I listen to this album all the time and it's great for just about anytime or anything I'm doing. "A Tribute to the Fallen" might be the best song of the year, at least to me. KsE are truly back and better than ever!!

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Five Finger Death Punch- The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2
Winds of Plague- Resistance
Trivium- Vengeance
Avenged Sevenfold- Hail to the King
Five Finger Death Punch- The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1
Terror- Live by the Code
Arsis- The Unwelcome

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