The Heavy Metal Review

The Heavy Metal Review’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013

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Another year down and a pretty memorable one in terms of music released. While I haven’t been keeping up-to-date with the reviews, it still feels right to once again share the albums that stuck with me the most in 2013.

10. Chimaira – Crown of Phantoms

Crown of Phantoms

Chimaira is one of those bands metal elitists (and the review section of Decibel magazine) always seems to hate on year after year, passing them off as somewhat generic tough-guy music that spawns the macho crowd you don’t need at a metal show. However, I was a big fan of 2009’s The Infection and now 2013’s Crown of Phantoms. Mark Hunter delivers his usual brand of guttural vocals which you probably know whether or not you like at this point, but it’s guitarist Emil Werstler who gets weird on each track to keep things feeling fresh with fun riffs, fills and squeals. And hey, it’s also a great weight-lifting album!

9. Evile – Skull


Wild card! I have followed UK thrashers Evile’s music over the years and always thought they were the closest thing we have to the good ‘ol days of Metallica, but the band’s music just seemed to be missing that lasting power the Bay Area thrashers had in their heyday. So when I purchased Skull via Amazon MP3 I was expecting sometime highly listenable, but not all that memorable. This is not the case at all. If you are looking for an example, go on YouTube and listen to the song “Head of the Demon.” The entire album is like a mix of Slayer meets Testament meets Metallica thrash goodness. Give it a spin!

8. Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed

Serpents Unleashed

Skeletonwitch puts on a mean live show, but the band has never fully managed to capture the full experience of the blackened thrash stage goodness in a studio recording – until now. Serpents Unleashed is a quick and fierce album that never outstays it’s welcome. It also has some of the best metal bass production of the year, with every galloping rhythm and slide played by Evan Linger coming in through the speakers.

7. Battlecross – War of Will

War of Will

It was a rough 2013 for the city of Detroit. However, it was a very good 2013 for Detroit natives Battlecross. The group’s debut album Pursuit of Honor was pretty attention-grabbing and War of Will is like the Terminator sequel you weren’t expecting, but that totally blew you away with even more explosive robot action in 1991 (wait… what was I talking about again?). I recently saw a Happy New Year video the band put out and its members seem like the most genuine bearded dudes around, so I’m going to continue to root for them in 2014 and beyond. You can do it Battlecross (and Detroit)!

6. Ghost B.C. – Infestissumam

Infestissumam Cover

The major label follow-up to Ghost’s much-hyped 2010 debut Opus Eponymous had to prove the mysteriously outfitted Swedish ghouls were more than just a one-hit-wonder, and despite what listeners think of the album itself, it stands as a successful evolution of the band’s sound with a bit less King Diamond and a little more Blue Oyster Cult influence this time around. It has plenty of memorable hooks that will linger in your mind and just feels more complete than its predecessor.

5. Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam

Pinnacles of Bedlam Cover

Before the Carcass’ reunion album stole the death metal show in 2013, Suffocation released its seventh record unto the world and Pinnacle of Bedlam is explosive the whole way through. Frank Mullen and the gang are arguably at their finest hour here, with Dave Culross completely destroying the kit. This is one of those albums where I find myself following the drums more than anything else at times. It’s classic death metal done right and sometimes that’s all you need.

4. Toxic Holocaust – Chemistry of Conciousness

Awaken the Serpent Cover

Chemistry of Consciousness is fast, mean and in-your-face. Just like a good thrash metal album should be. Joel Grind has been working hard to tour and perfect his all-guns-blazing sound since 1999 and this is easily the frontman’s finest effort to date. The songs average in at the 2-3 minute mark, so the album is great for a quick thrash fix that sounds more dangerous than overdone.

3. Soilwork – The Living Infinite

The Living Infinite Cover

A double-album is risky business for any band, especially when you’re not playing a more progressive style of metal where the fans are all expecting to sit down for over an hour with your latest release. And while Soilwork’s The Living Infinite does feel a bit daunting to take in all at once, I find it provides a mostly consistent and enjoyable listening experience. It’s quite possibly the final greatest achievement we’ll see from the Gothenburg/Swedish melodic metal movement.

2. The Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer

One of Us is the Killer Cover

The Dillinger Escape Plan has made a living spitting in the face of the mainstream and the experimental (yet at times hauntingly melodic) One of Us is the Killer is no different. The record showcases some of the all-out loopy sounds from the band’s early days, while still moving forward with the more accessible aspects explored on Option Paralysis. This is metal that challenges the listener and while it may not fit your personal style, it is definitely a worthy contender for album of the year.

1. Carcass – Surgical Steel

Surgical Steel Cover

Carcass’ Surgical Steel has already topped plenty of year-end lists for 2013 for good reason – it’s one of the few albums in any genre to do the impossible by actually living up to fan expectations after the legendary group’s 20-plus year hiatus. Yes, there are still instances where you might need a medical journal to help follow along with the lyrics, but the fans wouldn’t want it any other way. This album puts a smile on my face even now when listening and what better indicator of album of the year than that?


One Response

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  1. Great site!


    December 19, 2014 at 4:31 pm

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