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".
7/15 - Slayer/King Diamond
7/29-8/1 - Wacken Open Air
8/29 - Borealis (?)
9/5 - Insomnium (?)
10/3 - Hibria