Best Metal Albums of 2013 | Writers' Choice

Best Metal Albums of 2013, by Matt Hinch

1. Clutch - Earth Rocker (Weathermaker)
I'm unashamed of my total bias towards Clutch. Part of the reason for that is they never release the same album twice. Earth Rocker does just that by being one of Clutch's most energetic albums. Their continual evolution keeps listeners coming back for more. Bar none best band on the planet. Ever.

2. Anciients - Heart of Oak (Season of Mist)
Vancouver's Anciients have had a monster year. From the reception of debut Heart of Oak to a number of high profile tours, their name was everywhere. And with good reason. Heart of Oak takes progressive sludge to the next level with an unstoppable torrent of riffs erupting like geysers and incredible dynamics.

3. SubRosa - More Constant Than the Gods (Profound Lore)
This Salt Lake City group sound so unique with their use of electric violins to compliment their brand of emotionally taxing doom/sludge. I'm a tough bearded dude and this album brings me to tears every time. Heavy as a lead balloon musically and lyrically, Subrosa are only getting better with each release.

4. Vhol - Vhol (Profound Lore)
Aesop Dekker, Mike Scheidt, John Cobbett and Sigrid Sheie. Do I really need to say more? Fine. Severely punked up black metal with touches of classic rock and thrash. It's always pushing forward with determined passion and brilliant performances. I've got my fingers crossed this isn't a one-off.

5. Batillus - Concrete Sustain (Seventh Rule)
Batillus are so heavy it's almost not even fair. Concrete Sustain ups the electronic elements from previous album, Furnace. The album worms its way under your skin where it's nice and warm to escape the heartless chill of the urban landscape. It's been on my phone all year and I have no plans to take it off.

6. Jucifer - Beyond the Volga There is No Land (Nomadic Fortress)
Like Clutch, Jucifer never fall into redundancy. Beyond the Volga centers on WWII Russia and the city of Volgograd. Gazelle Amber Valentine and Edgar Livengood capture the pain and anguish of death as well as the pride and fighting spirit of a proud nation, and then flatten you with it.

7. Cloud Rat - Moksha (Halo of Flies)
I'm pretty sure I hurt myself kitchen-moshing to this one. Not a good idea when you're cooking. But it's hard not to do when something grinds this goddamn hard. Vocalist Madison delivers a performance for the ages (especially on "Vigil") and their cover of Neil Young's "Needle and the Damage Done" is beyond words.

8. Noisem - Agony Defined (A389)
Long live thrash! A bunch of kids barely old enough to shave are shaping the face of thrash to come. Agony Defined is 26 minutes of pure aggression and flat out fun. Ripping guitars, blasting drums and energetic vocals are wrapped around an infectious catchiness. The future of thrash is as bright as a brand new pair of white high-tops.

9. Woe - Withdrawal (Candlelight)
The highest ranking black metal release on my list. (VHOL really, defy categorization.) There's something about the level of personal emotion that comes across on Withdrawal that I just can't shake. Not to mention a raft of absolutely killer riffs. Put your troo or kvlt arguments away. This is great stuff.

10. Windhand - Soma (Relapse)
Female vocalists in doom bands has been a common theme on my listening list this year and there has been none better than Dorthia Cottrell. Regardless of gender, the vocals are just one part of this monstrous record. Insanely heavy stoner doom and haunting drone. I'm surprised the Appalachian Mountains are still standing.

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