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Spiner202
12-16-2013, 08:45 AM
I plan to unveil my top 10 on my blog on December 31st, but for the fine folks at Metalsetlists, there will be an early sneak peak at entries 30-11 on the list, along with the most disappointing releases, most overhyped/overrated albums, and best and most disappointing live bands I saw in 2013.

We begin with the most disappointing bands seen this year. There were a few bad bands I saw this year (Stolen Babies being the worst), but this very very short list consists of bands I was excited to see that disappointed.

Most Disappointing Live Bands of 2013

2. Flotsam & Jetsam: F&J did put on a decent show, but unfortunately the old material was clearly so much better than the new stuff that it kind of sucked they just didn't play the first album in full. This is the kind of band you really only need to see once, even if you like their studio material a lot.

1. Testament: Testament already holds my record for worst live performance ever, but they redeemed themselves when I saw them last year. This time, however, they once again let me down. Firstly, I will appreciate that Chuck was sick, but it's not fair to play a shortened set on the night Overkill drops off the tour when their setlists are already stale and they didn't say anything about it or offer refunds.

With that out of the way, we move on to their terrible sound. While not as bad as it was at Heavy TO, Testament's sound was still pretty pathetic. The playing was top-notch (other than Chuck's performance), but it doesn't matter if it sounds bad. This will be the last time I see Testament unless they get on another really killer tour, but even then, I would need to go for the other bands.

Up next will be the top 10 bands of the year!

Spiner202
12-16-2013, 04:25 PM
Moving on to a more positive note, we start with the top 10 bands I saw this year. I decided to leave Crimson Shadows out of this list simply because I don't think it's really fair to judge them anymore. I saw them 3 times this year, bringing my total to 10, and it's always a wicked show. I'm just glad their music is starting to reach a wider audience.

10. Lich King
July 25
Hard Luck Bar

After many years of hoping to see this band, I was finally able to see the legendary thrashers Lich King! The band is even more hilarious live than they are on record, and though they didn't play my personal favourite track, "Act of War", this was still a great night. The pit was minimal, but it did exist. Tom Martin mocking people as they left or played on their phone was pretty entertaining. Overall, this was a great (albeit very late) night, and I'm already ready for them to come back.

9. Cannibal Corpse
May 31
The Phoenix

Cannibal Corpse is the without question the second greatest death metal band of all-time (behind Death). I didn't get the chance to see them until this year, but it was well worth the wait. The entire set was brutal, with many of my favourite tracks. This was the hottest show I've ever been to, but that couldn't ruin it as Cannibal Corpse was spot on all night. For me personally, the contrast with Napalm Death made this better. I'm not a huge ND fan, and when you see the headliner come on and just absolutely destroy the opener, it makes them even better (though I did enjoy Immolation).

adamclark52
12-16-2013, 05:53 PM
That Decibel show was great but Fuck me was it hot.

Spiner202
12-18-2013, 09:36 AM
8. Skull Fist
September 7
The Opera House

This was my second time seeing Skull Fist and it was amazing. This band is exactly what I love about metal. They're fun, rock hard, and aren't too serious. Jackie Slaughter is a complete showman, jumping out and playing into the crowd, and shredding No False Metal with the other guitarist on his shoulders.

7. Overkill
November 3
The Opera House

Anybody who has seen Overkill is well aware of how brilliant they are. Blitz is a madman on stage and everything is very tight. There's always room for improvement in the setlist, but this was a great performance, on what was one of the best concerts I've been to in 2013.

Spiner202
12-19-2013, 02:40 PM
6. Warbringer
November 3
The Opera House

I know this looks crazy ranking Warbringer above Overkill, but I think it's fair in this case. Overall, I'm a bigger Overkill fan, but The Electric Age was not my thing, and I was psyched about the new Warbringer release. Also, Warbringer were much better this time than the first time I saw them, so this was a satisfying performance. It's funny because at the time I really disliked "The Turning of the Gears" and it was noticeable how much less everyone enjoyed that song, but now I love that track.

5. Firewind
February 9
The Mod Club

Firewind is one of many bands that I absolutely love and had to wait a long time to see. Although it was announced that Apollo was no longer in the band for this tour, it actually didn't make a ton of difference because I was right in front of Gus' amp and could mainly only hear him. Normally, bad sound will annoy me, which I why I hang back, but Gus and Firewind are that good that they'll still make the top half of my list. Gus is truly a special guitar player, and I'd love to see them again, and headline.

Spiner202
12-20-2013, 02:46 PM
4. Kreator
November 3
The Opera House

I did go to a decent number of concerts in 2013 (nowhere near as many as a lot of you guys though!), but thrash is the greatest music in existence, and seeing 3 of my favourite thrash bands ever was awesome. When I saw Kreator last (2009), I was still getting into their music, but now I love all of their old and new stuff. Kreator is a completely brutal experience and Mille is among the best frontmen in metal. While the setlist was not ideal (needs more Extreme Aggression), there weren't really many bad choices.

3. Helloween
September 28
The Opera House

Much like Firewind, this is a band that was on my bucketlist for a long time. Helloween is the golden standard for great power metal. Surprisingly it was their Deris-era stuff that worked better for me, but the night as a whole was great. Helloween is probably among the catchiest bands ever, and there is nothing more fun than a power metal concert where everybody is singing along to "Future World".

Spiner202
12-21-2013, 06:21 AM
Time to get things really moving here...

2. Yngwie Malmsteen
April 26
The Phoenix

Yngwie Malmsteen is all things ridiculous as a guitarist. Personally, I love that he is completely self-indulgent and arrogant. He's better than everyone else, and he knows it. What I didn't expect was that he'd be able to play all of his crazy material while running around the stage wildly. While I didn't know all of his songs, I was extremely happy that I bought Odyssey prior to seeing the show as they played some stuff from that and it became one of my favourite records of his. Despite not knowing who the singer was, the keyboardist and bassist that sung were both amazing. Though he charges a steep price ($40), I would not even hesitate to go see him again. He's a masterful showman and guitar player, and all musicians should go see him.

1. Avantasia
July 7
Francophonie Park, Quebec City Summer Festival

This wasn't even a contest. I never thought I'd get to see Avantasia, and though I had to travel for it and miss school (something I do not like doing ever), it was worth it. This was their first show in North America, and it almost didn't happen because Tobias was wildly sick. He didn't sing every song because of this, but that in many ways made it more special. As much as this was about Avantasia for me, it was also about getting to see Michael Kiske, and hearing him do the song "Avantasia" solo was just magical. Everything worked perfectly because the rain held off and they got an impressive sized crowd for the show. I suppose my only complaint is that it wasn't the full 3-hour show, and since tons of people were travelling to see them, it would have been nice to see the whole show. Nevertheless, this was the best concert of 2013, and a top-5 concert of all-time for me.

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Up next we move on to talking about albums that came out in 2013. First, we have the 5 most disappointing albums. I will stress that #4 and 5 aren't all that disappointing. I don't love these bands as much as other people do, but I expected a bit more. There just weren't too many disappointing releases for me in 2013 (other than some that still made the top 30).

Most Disappointing Albums of 2013

5. Darkthrone - The Underground Resistance

I'm one of those guys who enjoys Darkthrone's current material more than their black metal stuff. I was expecting this to be the first record of theirs that I really loved as they moved even further into the realm of traditional heavy metal. This was definitely a good album, but I rarely find myself coming back to it.

4. Manilla Road - Mysterium

Has there ever been a Manilla Road release with less hype? These guys seem universally loved, yet nobody talks about this album (despite there being a lot of praise for Hellwell last year). Personally, I found this album to be very boring, and I don't think I've listened to it more than once or twice after my first listen. I suppose that Manilla Road usually takes a while to click, but this one didn't have much, if anything that I remember to be redeeming about it.

3. Warbeast - Destroy

This was the first real major disappointment. "Krush the Enemy" was brilliant. Combining Rigor Mortis and Gammacide was a great idea, but it seems like they can't keep the momentum. This album is just not interesting. None of the songs are as memorable as "Scorched Earth Policy", nor are they more brutal. It's almost like the band released the most generic thing possible given their sound.

2. Enforcer - Death By Fire

Much like the Darkthrone record, this one isn't bad at all; in fact, it's pretty good. The problem is that the band set the bar so high with "Diamonds" that this was almost guaranteed to not live up to it. When I listen to any sort of speed/heavy/power metal, I'm looking for memorability and catchiness first, and aside from "Death Rides This Night", I didn't get much from this record. I've gone back to it numerous times, and while I enjoy it while it's on, I'm left with nothing afterwards. Just this morning I was listening to "High Roller" from "Diamonds", and it still blows me away how awesome it is.

1. Gama Bomb - The Terror Tapes

Has a band ever had such a sizeable drop-off in quality considering their sound is the exact same? I'm referring specifically to the drop between "Citizen Brain" and "Tales From The Grave In Space". The former is one of the all-time great retro thrash records. Every song is a ball of energy, and the band has struggled to pull that off again. Both "Tales From The Grave In Space" and this record have a few memorable songs, but ultimately fall short. The band almost sounds like a cartoon of itself the way the singers voice doesn't change ever.

It's funny because I always associated Gama Bomb and Bonded By Blood as bands that were somehow connected because I got into both of them in 2008 when their albums from that year came out. Gama Bomb seemed more promising initially, but I have yet to be let down by Bonded By Blood, whereas I'm almost at the point of losing interest in Gama Bomb. I will probably end up getting their next record, because I love all things thrash, but they really need to do something to make themselves more interesting quickly.

Spiner202
12-22-2013, 07:53 AM
Now we get to the controversial part. The next 6 albums are by far the most overrated releases of 2013. To clarify, these albums are by no means bad (though I honestly didn't like any of them that much), but I just don't understand how they received the level of praise that they did.

Most Overrated Albums of 2013

6. Iron Dogs - Wild and Free

It was no surprise to me that everybody loved this album, but take a step back and think about what you're listening to. The melodies are beyond simplistic, to the point where it sounds like the musicians have no ear for music theory at all. They also never stop with the melodies. This is an amateur release, but the praise for it is scary.

5. Ranger - Knights of Darkness

This is definitely a fun speed metal EP, but there's nothing memorable about it at all. The best moment is when they rip off "Majesty" by Blind Guardian. Everything else about it is predictable. It's fast, but that's it really.

4. Skeletonwitch - Serpents Unleashed

This is just a band as a whole that I have trouble appreciating. I can't help but feel they pander to exactly what people want with their sound. It's like Dragonforce, but for trve metal fans.

3. Satan's Host - Virgin Sails

This was my first experience with Satan's Host, and it was certainly underwhelming. The mix of clean vocals and more extreme music just didn't work the way I expected it to. Conklin is a great singer, but I felt things weren't catchy enough. I suppose that's the point, but "Virgin Sails" was boring. It's long, and aside from a few moments, there's nothing really all that great. It's weird because the sound is definitely different from most bands out there, but I don't feel like this is a particularly standout release.

2. Carcass - Surgical Steel

Of all of the albums on this list, this is the one I really enjoy and will come back to. But how Carcass is considered anywhere near the best of 2013 confuses me. I'm not a huge fan of their old stuff (grindcore or melodeath), and this is just an enjoyable melodeath comeback for me.

1. Gorguts - Colored Sands

The fact that people love this release makes me worry for the future of metal. This album is excessively long, and completely uninteresting. I do like how they worship Immolation a lot on the album, but I'd prefer the band just gets to the point and delivers good death metal the whole time. It's time for Gorguts to go back to playing stuff from "Considered Dead".

adamclark52
12-22-2013, 08:56 AM
I agree. The Carcass album was really good but not even close to the best thing that came out this year. Something tells me Decibel just put it at number one to ensure the band would do their tour next year. My favorite song was actually the intro 1985.

Alduin
12-22-2013, 10:03 AM
1. Gorguts - Colored Sands

The fact that people love this release makes me worry for the future of metal. This album is excessively long, and completely uninteresting. I do like how they worship Immolation a lot on the album, but I'd prefer the band just gets to the point and delivers good death metal the whole time. It's time for Gorguts to go back to playing stuff from "Considered Dead".

This album has some of the heaviest moments Ive ever heard, and how some parts are disgusting yet beautiful at the same time, I find it to be truly amazing

AnthG
12-22-2013, 01:15 PM
Man, totally agree on Carcass. Totally disagree on Skeletonwitch (despite me not really liking Beyond the Permafrost as much a lot of people). I don't know how to feel about you now.

Spiner202
12-23-2013, 08:26 AM
Man, totally agree on Carcass. Totally disagree on Skeletonwitch (despite me not really liking Beyond the Permafrost as much a lot of people). I don't know how to feel about you now.

I had such high expectations for Skeletonwitch because everyone loves them, but it just didn't work for me.

On to the list.

Top 30 Albums of 2013

30. Children of Bodom - Halo of Blood

This release sort of came out of nowhere to be awesome. The prior record was a step up for the band, but "Halo of Blood" brought them back to being good. It doesn't reach the brilliance of "Follow the Reaper" or "Hate Crew Deathroll". It seems like they aren't too heavy on the classical elements anymore, but the songwriting is finally interesting again. The title track and "Transference" are the highlights.

29. Lost Society - Fast Loud Death

What makes this album so good is that despite being very straightforward thrash, there's really nothing quite like it. The lead playing is completely bluesy, and the energy on this album is unparalleled. I feel like this band will be boring very quickly (they've already finished recording their next album), but this is definitely an interesting novelty. Standouts are "Trash All Over You" and "KILL (Those Who Oppose Me)".

28. Sodom - Epitome of Torture

When it comes to quality, Sodom is among the most consistent bands ever. While they change their sound often, they always deliver a good record. I think this one fell a bit short of "In War And Pieces", but it is nonetheless a stellar album. My favourites are "Epitome of Torture" and "Stigmatized".

27. Razormaze - Annihilatia

If there were an award for most improved band of 2013, it would go to Razormaze. The prior releases of theirs were ruined by vocals, but it seems like Razormaze has solved that problem. In addition to that, they've taken a more serious and technical approach. Almost like "...And Justice For All"-lite. This album is wicked, and I really hope people check it out because I think a lot of metal fans would like it. The best tracks are "Worshipping The Void" and "Electric Deception".

Onioner
12-23-2013, 09:40 PM
Couldn't have described the Sodom album better. Spot on sir.

SomewhereInTime72
12-23-2013, 10:14 PM
I agree about Halo Of Blood. It doesn't compare to the albums from "when Bodom were good," but it's actually pretty good. Actually probably more like #25 on my list (if I am ever going to get around to making one, lol.)

I also agree that Surgical Steel is crazy overrated. Good, but nowhere near the praise it's been getting. :eyes:

Spiner202
12-24-2013, 05:52 AM
26. Coldsteel - America Idle (EP)

This band sort of came out of nowhere with a new release. This is a thrash band from the early 90's that put out one album before disbanding, but has recently reformed to put out this EP. The vocals are a bit gruff, and the riffs are nothing special, but the songwriting is contagious. I was actually familiar with them before they got on the Helloween tour, but they were awesome there, and that made me enjoy this release even more. The highlights are "America Idle" and "Blood Secrets"

25. Anvil - Hope In Hell

This is a bit of a disappointing release from Anvil. It is by no means bad, but "Juggernaut of Justice" was amazing, and this was a step down. A lot of the lyrics feel cliche, but that doesn't stop several of these songs from being really catchy. Also, it's hard not to like an album of this quality when you consider that Lips is 57 and still going strong. I suppose this ranking is the result of my excessive love for Anvil, but it's an enjoyable album nonetheless. Standout tracks are "Hope In Hell" and "Eat Your Words".

24. Havok - Unnatural Selection

This was one of my most anticipated records, but it didn't turn out perfectly. A few songs on this album are completely brilliant. They're thrashy, fast, and aggressive. But then the band made some questionable choices (the Sebastian Bach-esque vocals on "Under The Gun", the "Children of the Grave" cover, etc). It seems like the thrash community really disliked this album, but everyone else loved it. I fall right in the middle of those two, as I do enjoy listening to it, but my expectations were much higher. The best songs are "I Am The State", "Give Me Liberty... Or Give Me Death", and "Unnatural Selection".

23. Huntress - Starbound Beast

Huntress took a huge step up on this album as Jill Janus got rid of her "wailingness". The songs in general seem more focused. This album took a few listens to sink in, because it didn't have any standout hits like the last record did. I'm not sure why the band gets the hate they do, but I love Huntress' music. My favourites are "I Want To Fuck You To Death", "Destroy Your Life", and "Spectra Spectral".

jhdeity
12-24-2013, 09:09 AM
Cool list so far. Love Havok and Sodom getting some love. I've seen too many lists that omit them or people just never heard them I guess.

Spiner202
12-26-2013, 06:53 AM
Cool list so far. Love Havok and Sodom getting some love. I've seen too many lists that omit them or people just never heard them I guess.

:metal:

22. Timo Tolkki's Avalon - The Land of New Hope

You have to respect Timo for never giving up. Even though he ran Stratovarius into the ground, he regrouped with the decent Revolution Renaissance, Symfonia, and now with this Avantasia copy. The good news is that this album is actually really enjoyable. It slows down a bit in the middle, but when you bring in Michael Kiske to do a straight-up plagiarism of "Keeper of the Seven Keys" for the title track of the record, you have a winner. Even though there are a number of moments that sound like they've ripped off another band, I suppose my love of power metal has made me overlook it. The highlights are "A World Without Us", "Enshrined In My Memory", and "The Land of New Hope".

21. Mindmaze - Mask of Lies

From the moment I first heard "Never Look Back", I knew this band would be awesome. The album took a while for me to really get into, because I'm not much of a prog guy, but the power metal elements reign strong as well so that helped. Part of what makes this album work so well is that the female vocals are not at all gimmicky, and that's so rare to hear in metal that it stands out a lot. The guitar work is incredible too. I also really enjoyed the tribute to Savatage in "Remember". The best songs are "Never Look Back", "This Holy War", and "Remember".

20. Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the Gods

I only recently became an Amon Amarth fan, but this album is just awesome. It's really no different from anything else they've put out recently, but the production and songwriting are so impressive that it's hard not to love this album. I think because it's their first album of theirs that I've heard that is new since I became a fan, I put more time into learning it than the others, so I came away enjoying it more than the last two. Either way, it's right on par with all of the over stuff. Standout tracks are "Deceiver of the Gods", "As Loke Falls", and "Father of the Wolf".

19. Death Angel - The Dream Calls For Blood

Can anybody explain where this Death Angel came from and what they did with the Death Angel of albums past? I've always been a huge supporter of Death Angel, and I did like their previous albums, but they had a bad habit of putting a couple of fast tunes on their records and then easing off the gas for the rest of the album. On "The Dream Calls For Blood", they did no such thing. This album is pure speed for the most part, and is really impressive. If this is the new direction of Death Angel, I will definitely get to be more excited for each of their releases. My favourites are "Son of the Morning", "The Dream Calls For Blood", and "Caster of Shame".

jhdeity
12-26-2013, 08:34 AM
:metal:


19. Death Angel - The Dream Calls For Blood

Can anybody explain where this Death Angel came from and what they did with the Death Angel of albums past? I've always been a huge supporter of Death Angel, and I did like their previous albums, but they had a bad habit of putting a couple of fast tunes on their records and then easing off the gas for the rest of the album. On "The Dream Calls For Blood", they did no such thing. This album is pure speed for the most part, and is really impressive. If this is the new direction of Death Angel, I will definitely get to be more excited for each of their releases. My favourites are "Son of the Morning", "The Dream Calls For Blood", and "Caster of Shame".

I'd have to say being a Death Angel fan has been one really interesting roller coaster of a ride. I was there from Day 1 when they were a big zine favorite. Loved the speed metal Ultra Violence then when Frolic came out it took a few spins but songs like Mind Rape, 3rd Floor and eventually Bored sunk in. Act III had songs I loved and songs I hated. Eventually I grew to really like songs like Room with a View and Veil of Deception only to have them vanish soon after.

I remember going to see The Organization live with 50 or so other people and they were great live actually. The the 5-6 Death Angel songs they played were all the heavy stuff so I got back into that and then kinda forgot about them.

Art of Dying and Killing Season both piqued my interest but not enough to really get me back into them. Then Relentless came out and I saw them live for the 1st time in 20 years and was blown away. The new songs were awesome live and way heavier than on cd.

Now they drop The Dream Calls For Blood on us? A full circle speed metal classic? <insert Scanners overused gif here> Mind Blown.

Wouldn't it be great if Megadeth and other bands had followed a similar path? I guess Testament has to a certain degree but not the pure speed metal path like DA took. I really hope they can influence some of those old school bands to do the same thing. NEED MORE SPEED!

jhdeity
12-26-2013, 08:40 AM
After giving it some thought I guess Overkill needs to get some credit in this speed resurgence also. My favorite Overkill songs are the really fast ones or the really slow ones like Skullkrusher and Horrorscope. Their last 2 cd's are worlds better than anything they put out for many years leading up to them.

So once again one of the most underrated bands Overkill needs to be given some credit for inspiring other bands to follow the right path. All Hail!

Spiner202
12-26-2013, 08:41 AM
I'd have to say being a Death Angel fan has been one really interesting roller coaster of a ride. I was there from Day 1 when they were a big zine favorite. Loved the speed metal Ultra Violence then when Frolic came out it took a few spins but songs like Mind Rape, 3rd Floor and eventually Bored sunk in. Act III had songs I loved and songs I hated. Eventually I grew to really like songs like Room with a View and Veil of Deception only to have them vanish soon after.

I have a pretty similar view on these records. I do like Act III quite a bit, but it's half good songs and half boring songs.

I remember going to see The Organization live with 50 or so other people and they were great live actually. The the 5-6 Death Angel songs they played were all the heavy stuff so I got back into that and then kinda forgot about them.

That honestly seems like a decent turnout given the time period, and the fact that I'm guessing nobody knew who they were back then.

Wouldn't it be great if Megadeth and other bands had followed a similar path? I guess Testament has to a certain degree but not the pure speed metal path like DA took. I really hope they can influence some of those old school bands to do the same thing. NEED MORE SPEED!

Some of them have done similar things. I think Testament has been one of the most consistent bands since they've come back, but it's only been two albums. Not many bands other than Megadeth has really put out as many "comeback" records as Death Angel. I actually loved United Abominations and Endgame, but the last two have been pretty disappointing. I suppose Exodus has done well, but their albums are too long to keep me entertained. It's been long enough since the last one that hopefully their new one will be good though.

Edit: Just saw you mentioned Overkill. Honestly, I really liked Ironbound. It is a brilliant thrash record. I seem like the only person that can't get into The Electric Age. It's still thrash, and that's good for them, but the songwriting isn't as strong as Ironbound.

Spiner202
12-27-2013, 05:22 AM
18. Vesperia - An Olden Tale

Vesperia is a folk/melodic death metal band that features my awesome guitar teacher shredding it up on lead guitar, alongside the bassist/drummer of Crimson Shadows. I'm not usually one for folk, but this album is just awesome. It has what might be the catchiest melody I've ever heard in "The Swordsman". If there's one thing you listen to on this list, try 30 seconds of that song and you should be hooked. I'm probably a bit biased on this release, but it really is brilliant. Standouts are "The Swordsman", "Forsaken Shores", and the epic "An Olden Tale".

17. Deicide - In The Minds of Evil

This is by far the most old-school sounding Deicide album since "Serpents of the Light". While it isn't as obviously catchy as "To Hell With God", it is probably just as good. I think this one ranks so high just because it caught me by surprise. Benton sounds amazing, and it's nice to hear modern Deicide without Ralph Santolla. I did like some of Santolla's soloing, but it really didn't fit Deicide. My favourite tracks are "In The Minds of Evil", "Godkill", and "End The Wrath of God".

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Once we get to this point, I have to clarify that these next releases are on another level. In any other year where I didn't go so crazy and hear everything humanly possible (though not on MPF's levels), these would make my top 10.

16. Axxion - Wild Racer

RACER! I'M A WILD RACER! That is literally the only thing that goes through my head when I think about this album because it's so brilliant. It took me a while to warm up to the vocals on this album, but now I love them. They're very much in the Skull Fist "crazy guy shouting melodically" style. Overall the album has a lot of awesome speed metal burners, but they can still slow it down when they need to. The best songs are "Wild Racer", "Stallion", and "Still Hungry".

15. Holy Grail - Ride The Void

This is one band that could have messed up badly, but luckily they managed to create something pretty good. It gets a bit misguided at certain points, but there are enough good songs to make me keep coming back to this album. They continued the emphasis on shredding, which is enough to keep me happy despite the questionable moments. The highlights are "Sleep of Virtue", "Silence The Scream", and "The Great Artifice".

Spiner202
12-28-2013, 06:24 AM
14. Phantom - The Powers That Be

Toronto's traditional heavy metal scene is currently the best in the world, bar none. Phantom may appear to be newcomers, but they're actually the result of Ash Lee Blade breaking up. This first EP from the group is seriously one of the best things I've ever heard. The first three tracks in particular are so undeniably catchy that I always have them randomly popping into my head. While this band sounds nothing like Skull Fist or Cauldron, fans of both bands should definitely enjoy them. Standout tracks are "The Powers That Be", "In Metal", and "Keepers of the Flame".

13. Ghost - Infestissumam

Trendy pick #1 on my list, but this album deserves it. I was certain Ghost would buy into their own hype from the last album, and when I first heard "Secular Haze" and "Year Zero", I was convinced that happened. I decided to give the album a shot anyways when I got an HMV gift card for my birthday and it was a great choice. This record is far better than the first one. It's simplistic, but catchy. The zaniness of the both singles ended up growing on me, and the bouncy "Jigolo Har Megiddo" became in the running for song of the year for me. There's so much that is great about this album to say, but it's really something everyone needs to hear if they haven't. My favourites are "Secular Haze", "Jigolo Har Megiddo", and "Monstrance Clock".

12. Hatchet - Dawn of the End

It's no secret that I was a huge fan of Hatchet's first album. It was a modern thrash masterpiece, and that's probably why this album took a bit to grow on me, but now I enjoy "Dawn of the End" even more than the debut. The production is perfect for a thrash record, with one of the crunchiest tones ever (best noticed on the mid-paced title track). Once again, Jules' signature lead guitar style is really noticeable, despite a bit of a shift in the style of the riffs. There's even some Iron Maiden influence in "Fall From Grace". As you saw from earlier in the list, this was by far the best thrash album of the year by a mile, until another contender arrived. Nonetheless, it will go down as one of the great retro thrash records of all time. The best songs are "Fall From Grace", "Dawn of the End", and "Vanishing Point".

11. Satan - Life Sentence

This is the second and last trendy pick of my list, but, again, this is quite deserving. I actually got to hear this album well before it leaked/was released, and I knew immediately it was something special. I don't think there has ever been a release in the last decade that has sounded so convincingly old-school. I honestly don't think I can say anything about this album that hasn't been said by anyone else, so I'll just ended it here. My favourites are "Twenty Twenty Five", "Siege Mentality", and the best song of all: "Testimony".

Onioner
12-28-2013, 06:54 AM
[B][SIZE="3"]12. Hatchet - Dawn of the End

It's not secret that I was a huge fan of Hatchet's first album. It was a modern thrash masterpiece, and that's probably why this album took a bit to grow on me, but now I enjoy "Dawn of the End" even more than the debut. The production is perfect for a thrash record, with one of the crunchiest tones ever (best noticed on the mid-paced title track). Once again, Jules' signature lead guitar style is really noticeable, despite a bit of a shift in the style of the riffs. There's even some Iron Maiden influence in "Fall From Grace". As you saw from earlier in the list, this was by far the best thrash album of the year by a mile, until another contender arrived. Nonetheless, it will go down as one of the great retro thrash records of all time. The best songs are "Fall From Grace", "Dawn of the End", and "Vanishing Point".



My boys! :party: I really should send this blurb over to Julz and company, I'm sure they'd be humbled as all hell from reading it. I forgot, did you finally get to see them on the Soilwork tour?

Now that it's been a good amount of time since the album came out, I definitely think Dawn of the End is a very high watermark for the traditional side of the retro-thrash thing, along with Waking Into Nightmares (we'll have to see if Fog of War match it, I think it's very possible). It's almost kind of like a nice coda for the re-thrash thing.

Spiner202
12-28-2013, 07:09 AM
My boys! :party: I really should send this blurb over to Julz and company, I'm sure they'd be humbled as all hell from reading it. I forgot, did you finally get to see them on the Soilwork tour?

Yeah I saw them and it was awesome! I'm currently wearing my Hatchet shirt from that tour.

Now that it's been a good amount of time since the album came out, I definitely think Dawn of the End is a very high watermark for the traditional side of the retro-thrash thing, along with Waking Into Nightmares (we'll have to see if Fog of War match it, I think it's very possible). It's almost kind of like a nice coda for the re-thrash thing.

I would agree those two are near the top. Waking Into Nightmares is the best retro-thrash album and will never be beaten, but Dawn of the End ranks up there with Feed The Beast, Citizen Brain, and a few others that top my retro-thrash list. Fog of War definitely has the potential, but I don't love their first album for some reason.

kalfitegrdan
12-28-2013, 07:18 AM
Life Sentence was trendy? I barely heard anyone talk about it.

infinitydeth
12-28-2013, 07:50 AM
Life Sentence was trendy? I barely heard anyone talk about it.

No it's trendy.

Onioner
12-28-2013, 08:40 AM
I would agree those two are near the top. Waking Into Nightmares is the best retro-thrash album and will never be beaten, but Dawn of the End ranks up there with Feed The Beast, Citizen Brain, and a few others that top my retro-thrash list. Fog of War definitely has the potential, but I don't love their first album for some reason.

Fog's first album is honestly only alright IMO. They've grown up a lot since that album, both musically and lyrically. I'm standing behind their upcoming album (whenever the hell it actually comes out) mainly because I know how good the songs are from seeing them plenty of times in the last couple of years. I'm confident that they won't fuck up the production, so I think it'll be a great one.

No it's trendy.

It's trendy in the best possible way. It's an old as hell NWOBHM band releasing a new album on some obscure basement label. It should have been totally forgotten just like any new album by a NWOBHM band that isn't Saxon or Iron Maiden always is, but it got recognition because the album's actually phenomenal. Life Sentence deserves every accolade it gets and as far as I'm concerned, it was the real comeback of the year whereas everyone seems to be harping on Surgical Steel.

Spiner202
12-28-2013, 09:03 AM
Fog's first album is honestly only alright IMO. They've grown up a lot since that album, both musically and lyrically. I'm standing behind their upcoming album (whenever the hell it actually comes out) mainly because I know how good the songs are from seeing them plenty of times in the last couple of years. I'm confident that they won't fuck up the production, so I think it'll be a great one.

Glad to hear. I do think they could be a great band, but when I finally got the debut, it didn't hit me as well as I expected.

It's trendy in the best possible way. It's an old as hell NWOBHM band releasing a new album on some obscure basement label. It should have been totally forgotten just like any new album by a NWOBHM band that isn't Saxon or Iron Maiden always is, but it got recognition because the album's actually phenomenal. Life Sentence deserves every accolade it gets and as far as I'm concerned, it was the real comeback of the year whereas everyone seems to be harping on Surgical Steel.

This sums it up well. It's a trendy pick because it's on every tr00 metalhead's list (including mine), but it's well-deserved. My top 10 (or 30) in no way coincides with the general taste of any other list I've seen, but somehow Satan manages to break through all of that and get the #11 spot, so I'd say it's definitely trendy.

kalfitegrdan
12-28-2013, 10:37 AM
This sums it up well. It's a trendy pick because it's on every tr00 metalhead's list (including mine), but it's well-deserved. My top 10 (or 30) in no way coincides with the general taste of any other list I've seen, but somehow Satan manages to break through all of that and get the #11 spot, so I'd say it's definitely trendy.

Fair enough. It's high up on my list as well. I thought you were talking like Ghost or Deafheaven trendy though.

Spiner202
12-29-2013, 06:05 AM
Top 10 Albums of 2013

10. Blazon Stone - Return To Port Royal

Forget "Resilient", this is the album you need to hear to fulfill your piracy needs! This isn't even Running Wild worship; it's the second coming of Running Wild. The vocalist isn't quite a dead ringer for Rolf, but his voice is equally as fitting. Ced (the guitarist/mastermind) totally understands the intervals that make those pirate-like riffs. I'm really surprised no one is talking about this, but I know it is popular because it is the most-viewed review on my webzine of 3 years, despite the review only being up since May. Standout tracks are "Return to Port Royal", "Stand Your Line", "Curse of the Ghost Ship", and "Blackbeard".

9. Warbringer - IV: Empires Collapse

This is not at all the Warbringer album I wanted. After several listens, however, it did grow on me. The band went out and did some things different. Even the song that seemed like it was going to ruin the record ("The Turning of the Gears") has become one of my favourites. I do think had the band just run with the Vektor/HeXen influence they used on "Hunter-Seeker", this would probably be the top album of the year. That song is easily the best on the album, and already one of the greatest thrash songs ever. I'm not totally sold on the doomy "Leviathan", but aside from that track, this album was a pleasant surprise. My favourites are "The Turning of the Gears", "One Dimension", "Hunter-Seeker", and "Iron City".

8. White Wizzard - The Devil's Cut

If you are in a band and want your band to be awesome, listen to this album. I have never heard an album that is more blatant about the fact that they have better guitar players than you. With Dragonforce, it's a novelty (and a great one at that), but on "The Devil's Cut", White Wizzard uses every single opportunity where there is no singing to shred. Also, it's great to see that Jon recovered from "Flying Tigers". That album had some good ideas, but it was too ambitious for its own good. There are still some moments on "The Devil's Cut" that aren't 100% memorable, but this is still an impressive release. While this is probably my favourite White Wizzard lineup already, I'm not at all concerned that they've all been fired again, because Jon Leon will put it all together again in a great way. The best songs are "Strike the Iron", "Torpedo of Truth", "Storm Chaser", and "The Sun Also Rises".

illuminatus917
12-29-2013, 09:53 AM
Most Overrated Albums of 2013


#1. Sunbather

Spiner202
12-29-2013, 03:21 PM
#1. Sunbather

It probably is, but I didn't listen to it. That list was only things I had to endure :P

Spiner202
12-30-2013, 06:38 AM
7. Screamer - Phoenix

This was the first album from 2013 that I heard and it still stands out as one of the best. This band seems practically unknown and I cannot figure out why, because they've released two traditional heavy metal albums that match or exceed what bands like White Wizzard, Enforcer, Cauldron, and others are doing. This album holds back on the hard rock influence a bit and is more focused on metal than the last record, but is probably still a slight step down. The record has everything you could want, from high-speed riff-fests, to long epics with wicked shredding, to headbanging inducing hard rock riffs. The vocalist is one of the most genuine sounding singers in metal, as are the guitarists. The leads were better on the prior album, but everybody needs to listen to "Lady of the River" and tell me that isn't a masterpiece of a solo. My favourite songs are "Demon Rider", "No Sleep 'til Hamilton", "Mr. Noman", and "Lady of the River".

6. Gloryhammer - Tales From The Kingdom of Fife

When Alestorm's mainman announced a side project, I didn't think it would be anything better than Alestorm. Until I saw the cover art, that is. This record is everything I love about power metal. It feels epic, the melodies are soaring and catchy, and it's just a lot of fun. It doesn't take itself seriously, but it doesn't need to. The vocalist is really impressive, and I'd love to hear him do some more material. The only downside to this album is that there are a couple of melodies that sound very similar to some melodies from Alestorm records, but it is nothing too egregious. The best songs are "The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee", "Angus McFife", "Amulet of Justice", and "The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder".

5. Helloween - Straight Out Of Hell

Helloween is on an absolute roll with their last 4 records. "7 Sinners" in particular really blew me away, so I knew not to get my expectations too high because I didn't think they could match that album. "Straight Out Of Hell" goes above and beyond what "7 Sinners" was, and is probably the best Helloween album since the Keepers records. Although I'm not a fan of 60+ minute albums, there is little wasted material here. I loved the classic Helloween stomp of "Far From The Stars", while "Burning Sun" delivered the scorching speed metal that I want to hear from the band once in a while. "Nabataea" is a true epic in every sense of the word, and it also has a few classic Helloweenisms (the "children children" part, and the "Once there was a land midst of the chaos" drum build up). "Hold Me In Your Arms" might just be the best ballad they've ever done, while the track that precedes it has one of the world's catchiest melodies. I cannot say enough good about this album, but it definitely proves that the inventors of the genre are back on top (well, not quite; but more on that later ;) ) The standout tracks are "Nabataea", "Far From The Stars", "Waiting For The Thunder", and "Asshole".

Tomorrow comes the top 4, and those records are somehow even on another level than everything else I've heard this year!

Spiner202
12-31-2013, 06:30 AM
4. Rocka Rollas - Metal Strikes Back

http://i.imgur.com/dg41257.jpg?1

This is among the most brilliant metal albums ever written. It is a perfect release of speed/heavy/power metal for fans of Running Wild, Judas Priest, Grave Digger, and others. The guitar solos are fantastic, as they've always been on Rocka Rollas' albums, and the band's vocalist just screams metal. It's impossible not to like lyrics like "We were born to play the loudest metal!/Only victory and epic battles!". "Metal Strikes Back" is by far the most underrated album of 2013, and it's something you really need to hear to believe. It may take a couple of listens to sink in, but I assure everyone that this album is well-deserving of most people's year-end lists. Highlights: "Night of the Living Steel", "Metalive", "Heavy Metal Strikes Back", and "Blazing Wings"

3. Crimson Shadows - Sails of Destiny

http://i.imgur.com/4DzOMa9.jpg

This EP may only be 3 tracks, but those 3 tracks are just as strong as anything on the band's debut, and Crimson Shadows continues to show why they were the Wacken Metal Battle winners. This band is like Dragonforce with death and black metal vocals. It is completely brutal stuff. I completely understand why those people who don't like guitar solos wouldn't like this, but I don't understand why some metal fans don't like guitar solos in the first place! Highlights: "Freedom and Salvation", "Maiden's Call", and "Moonlit Skies and Bloodied Tides"

2. Stratovarius - Nemesis

http://i.imgur.com/VWnV6qw.jpg?1

I don't think there's a better band in metal right now. The last two Stratovarius albums have been complete masterpieces. "Elysium" topped my 2011 list, and "Nemesis" comes extremely close as well. This album was more of a grower than the last one, but it is just as good. There are songs that are ridiculously catchy ("Unbreakable" and "Fantasy"), as well as some more experimental stuff ("Halcyon Days"), and then there are songs that just rock really hard ("Abandon" and "Dragons"). There isn't a weak moment on this album, and I have to think a lot of that is because of the influence of the newest guitarist Matias Kupiainen, but even if it isn't, the band has gelled now better than ever before. Highlights: "Abandon", "Unbreakable", "Fantasy", "Dragons"

1. Avantasia - The Mystery of Time

http://i.imgur.com/jK5Cgur.jpg?1

Every single time Tobi comes out with a new Avantasia or Edguy release, he tries to test the patience of his fans. I'm sure "Lost In Space" really shocked people as a single, but "Sleepwalking" has taken this to new limits. And somehow, I ended up liking it. The good news is that the rest of the album is heavier, but this is still one of Avantasia's least-metal albums. The guest vocalists did a great job on this album (particularly Eric Martin), and Tobi always sounds amazing. There are two long epic songs on the record, and they're both interesting in their own way. The first is more of a speed metal track, whereas the second one is a grandiose end to the greatest album of 2013. Highlights: "Spectres", "Black Orchid", "Savior In The Clockwork", "What's Left of Me", and "The Great Mystery"

John The Drummer
12-31-2013, 01:22 PM
#1. Sunbather

It probably is, but I didn't listen to it. That list was only things I had to endure :P

So much hype for this album.. I gave it a shot (well, not sure if it was this album, just looked up random songs on the YouTubes) and turned it off almost immediately. Not mah thang.