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10 Best Metal Albums of 2013

Ghost / Black Sabbath / Gorguts
Theo Wargo / Frazer Harrison, Getty Images / David Stevens, www.gravenimage.us

A multitude of metal bands deserve recognition for their achievements in 2013, but now’s the time to narrow it down to a Top 10! Who made the cut? These are our picks for the 10 Best Metal Albums of 2013.

From the inventors of metal itself to modern innovators and present powerhouses, the best 2013 albums come from all branches of metal’s evolution. Check out our picks for the 10 Best Metal Albums of 2013 and allow these records to become your newest musical addiction!


Queensryche, 'Queensryche'
Century Media
10

'Queensryche'

Queensryche
 
 

After a messy split with long time singer Geoff Tate, the three remaining original members of Queensrÿche vowed to return to their roots and make a metal album again. Backed by new powerhouse singer Todd La Torre, the band made good on their promise, delivering the best Queensrÿche album since the wildly successful ‘Empire.’ La Torre’s pipes are solid gold as he belts out maddening falsettos and distinguishes himself enough from Tate as to not just be called a mere clone.

 
Ihsahn, 'Das Seelenbrechen'
Candlelight
9

'Das Seelenbrechen'

Ihsahn
 
 

Legendary black metal / avant-garde vocalist Vegard Sverre 'Ihsahn' Tveitan boasts an impressive discography both with Emperor and his solo career, and 'Das Seelenbrechen' is yet another crowning achievement for Ihsahn. Blending progressive and black metal sensibilities, Ihsahn creates a stunning soundscape, creating the feel of an album rather than a collection of tracks. This gem is a front-to-back listen, so carve out some time and submerge yourselves within 'Das Seelenbrechen.'

 
Kylesa, 'Ultraviolet'
Season of Mist
8

'Ultraviolet'

Kylesa
 
 

Georgia's finest just never show any sonic weakness, and Kylesa's 'Ultraviolet' continues the decade-long tradition through sweat and sand. The entirety of 'Ultraviolet' is a march through the desert, filled with delirious dehydration and bizarre mirages. The pure strength and atmosphere created through 'Unspoken,' 'Vulture's Landing' or the riff-heavy 'Grounded' proves once again that the South is ripe with phenomenal metal. Although Kylesa stuck with their patented sound, 'Ultraviolet' is somewhat more accessible then the act's previous work, and that sensibility is sure to lure in legions of new followers.

 
Motorhead, 'Aftershock'
Motorhead Music
7

Motorhead

'Aftershock'
 
 

Motorhead sounds like Motorhead, but the trio brandishes raw power unlike any other band with 'Aftershock.' Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey give fans exactly what they want throughout 'Aftershock,' balancing pure rock 'n' roll, heavy metal and even some soulful blues within the 14-track punisher. Simply put, this album has balls … and it proves that you don't have to reinvent yourself to remain fresh. Despite of Lemmy Kilmister's health concerns, the legend remains strong and on-point throughout 'Aftershock.'

 
Dream Theater
Roadrunner
6

Dream Theater

'Dream Theater'
 
 

With each release from Dream Theater, expectations are immediately massive. The cult act has composed some of progressive metal's most celebrated albums, and their 2013 self-titled effort stands tall next to each one. 'Dream Theater' provides yet another epic listen, culminating with the 22-minute opus 'Illumination Theory.' The balance and focus of 'Dream Theater' remains unwavering, each member shining through both as pure musicians and members of an elite unit.

 
Black Sabbath, '13'
Vertigo
5

'13'

Black Sabbath
 
 

After 35 years, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler entered the studio together to record a full-length album. After the departure of drummer Bill Ward and the cancer diagnosis of Iommi, Sabbath ran into setbacks very early on, but after a monster recording session, '13' was completed and released on June 11, 2013. Despite fighting with lymphoma, '13' belongs to Tony Iommi. The riff master's raw songwriting prowess and mind-bending solos are interwoven into '13' beautifully, while tracks such as 'God is Dead?' and 'Damaged Soul' are powerfully driven by the vocals of Ozzy and massive bass tone of Geezer Butler.

 
Deathwish
Deathwish
4

'Sunbather'

Deafheaven
 
 

Coming straight out of left field, both surprisingly and stylistically, Deafheaven have received unanimous acclaim for their second studio album, 'Sunbather.' Mixing post-rock, shoegaze and black metal, 'Sunbather' is an unlikely success stylistically, but the balance created by Deafheaven is truly stunning. 'Sunbather' is all about becoming enveloped by sound. Whether trudging through comforting or extreme territory, the album whirls around the listener, allowing he or she to become submissive to a sonically-imposed atmospheric paralysis.

 
The Ocean, 'Pelagial'
Metal Blade
3

'Pelagial'

The Ocean
 
 

Frontman Robin Staps is proud to be at the helm of one of metal’s most dynamic and exciting bands of today. The Ocean are absolutely unpredictable, which is what puts the German group on year-end lists every time they release a new album, or two like in 2010. The Ocean take aesthetics of post-metal and blend them with elements of metalcore and whatever Mastodon can be labeled as. ‘Bathyalpelagic II: The Wish in Dreams’ gets the blood flowing while ‘Hadopelagic II: Omen of the Deep’ lets the waves of atmosphere wash over the listener before violently wresting him or her from the trance.

 
Ghost B.C., 'Infestissumam'
Loma Vista
2

'Infestissumam'

Ghost B.C.
 
 

After the underground success of 'Opus Eponymous' in 2011 (2010 in Europe), expectations for Ghost's (Ghost B.C.) sophomore album, 'Infestissumam,' were gigantic. Though polarizing, 'Infestissumam' cultivated the band's concept into a more rich and precise realm. Ghost were able to capture and distort childlike innocence, juxtaposed refuge and the same sweet, hypnotic cadence of church music to lure potential listeners in towards a greater truth. Consisting of the death-waltz 'Secular Haze,' the demon-chanting 'Year Zero,' the metronomic 'Monstrance Clock' and many more, 'Infestissumam' is yet another opus -- perhaps even a magnum opus.

 
Gorguts, 'Colored Sands'
Season of Mist
1

'Colored Sands'

Gorguts
 
 

In the niche genre of technical death metal, Gorguts stand alone with their unique, twisted brand. After a 12-year gap between albums, founder Luc Lemay assembled a stellar cast of musicians and brought Gorguts back to the top with ‘Colored Sands.’ While the album is not as over-the-top as the previous two albums, the band makes up for it with their rhythmic focus of dissonance and atonal madness. Rather than make a similar album, they went for broke with a new sound that has been critically well-received.

 

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