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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.

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Album Review: Soilwork’s ‘The Living Infinite’ is a career-defining double album

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In Flames and Soilwork are two of the biggest Swedish melodic death metal bands still consistently putting out albums. While In Flames changed its formula drastically over the years (and isolated many fans in the process), Soilwork gradually modified its sound to the slightly more commercial output of today while still retaining elements set in place on the now classic releases A Predator’s Portrait and Natural Born Chaos.

Fans and critics have applauded more recent efforts by Soilwork including The Panic Broadcast and Sworn to a Great Divide, but these albums were missing something that made the previously mentioned classics (and even to some extent Figure Number Five) so highly regarded. Given the departure of longtime guitarist and founding member Peter Wichers for a second time, followed by other longtime guitarist Ola Frenning leaving, things were beginning to look shaky for frontman Björn “Speed” Strid and the future of Soilwork. It was even more worrisome when Strid announced the follow-up to Sworn to a Great Divide would be a double album released as a full 20-track package (a risky move for any band).

After giving The Living Infinite several listens, it is safe to say the double album is Soilwork’s best release in years and holds its own against the group’s other career-defining classics.

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