So here's the deal: I haven't listened to shit this year and now it's come back to bite me in the ass. There's a flurry of amazing black metal, death metal, doom metal, sludge metal, crust, drone, post-rock (and any combination thereof) albums released this year and I haven't gotten the chance to properly listen to most of them. I'll chuck the ones I can remember at the end of the list, with the promise of getting into them later. The actual list consists of 10 albums I have been listening to over and over this year, in alphabetical order. These are the ones I'm absolutely obsessed with, my personal cream of the crop. See you in 2014!
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Well, I may have been a bit rash in my review earlier this year. As long-time friend and occasional TZEEEAC reader OSD pointed out (while screaming and flailing his arms around in frustrated anger), this one’s a grower. While I’m still not crazy about certain songs, AM has definitely wrapped itself around me and I can safely hail it as another triumph for the Arctic Monkeys. It’s full of catchy, memorable songs, ranging from soft, sentimental ballads like I Wanna Be Yours and Fireside to rock-out-with-your-cock-out anthems like R U Mine and all the way to hip-hop flavored late-night tunes like Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?. There’s no stopping these guys!
Deafheaven – Sunbather
The absolute kings of Marco black metal, Deafheaven have taken the entire underground by storm with their sophomore album, Sunbather. It’s a monster of an album, flawlessly executing and perfecting the formula of shoegazing post-black metal or whatever the fuck you wanna call it. Emotional, introspective lyrics snarled over meditative yet aggressive guitar riffs and some of the best drumming I’ve seen in a while, plus wonderful cover art and a highly charismatic lead singer – Deafheaven have it all and it’s no surprise Sunbather has received unanimous praise. It’s just that good.
Ghost BC – Infestissunam
The highly-anticipated second album by Ghost enthralled me with its lush melodies, luxuriant atmosphere, stellar production, insanely catchy songs and some of the most memorable choruses I’ve ever heard. There’s not one bad song on this record (although there are two kinda boring ones…), in fact, most of them are excellent and they bring out the best in Papa Emeritus II’s brilliant voice and the Nameless Ghouls’ knack for writing some of the best pop-rock tunes around. Come together for Lucifer’s son!
Ghost BC – If You Have Ghost EP
It was high time Ghost gathered their amazing covers on one release because I almost feel that their covers are better than their own songs. Even though I’d rather they include the Beatles “Here Comes the Sun” cover (strangely missing from this EP) instead of yet another boring live rendition of Secular Haze that nobody cares about, If You Have Ghost is a lovely collection of covers of songs by Roky Ericson, ABBA, Army of Lovers and Depeche Mode and I don’t feel bad in the slightest for having two Ghost releases in my end-of-the-year list. Truly, if you have Ghost, you have everything!
Kazi Ploae - Silent Regis EP
By far my favorite Romanian rapper (out of the few I actually have a deep passion for) and definitely the brightest one in the underground scene, Kazi Ploae has crawled out of his grave once more and teamed up with acclaimed producer Silent Strike to deliver one of the best hip-hop releases of the year. The Silent Regis EP mixes Kazimir’s intricate, intelligent lyrics and flawless vocal delivery with Silent Strike’s ambient-infused electronic backdrops into five tracks that I’ve been listening to over and over for the past… 10 months? Holy shit! If there’s one must-listen Romanian release of 2013, this is definitely it.
FREE DOWNLOAD COURTESY OF BANANA SOCIETY
FREE DOWNLOAD COURTESY OF BANANA SOCIETY
Locrian - Return to Annihilation
Highly atmospheric electro/drone/black metal that evokes terrifying visions of worlds forming and crumbling, with tons of textures, noises, horrific shrieks and minimalistic drumming – in a word, Locrian. Their new album might not be as haunting as The Crystal World, but it’s an excellent release by these noise-mongers, nonetheless. Cool videos, too.
Modern Life Is War – Fever Hunting
I’ve never even listened to these guys before, but Modern Life Is War hooked me instantly with their energetic brand of hardcore punk, chock-full of memorable riffs, tight drumming, great vocals and inspiring lyrics. I’m gonna listen to Health, Wealth and Peace forever.
Perturbator - Sexualizer EP
"Meet Jimmy, an actor on the set of his new blockbuster film: "Sexualizer". Jimmy is a porn star, and unfortunately for him, a drug addict. Ever since Jimmy's agent hooked him up with a new strain of Angel Dust, his grip on reality has started to slip. When the tension is too high and the girls are too hot, Jimmy can't help but start brutally killing anyone who gets in his way. But when Jimmy is caught and ends up in prison, the line between reality and drug-induced fantasy begins to blur, and he soon discovers that all of his actions may have been part of "Sexualizer" plot..."
This description sounds fucking amazing, but the best part is the music totally lives up to the expectations. Perturbator really outdid himself this time and conjured five tracks of 80s-inspired synthwave that’s been on heavy rotation since the day it was released. C’est magnifique!
Touche Amore - Is Survived By
Another well-known hardcore punk band I wasn’t aware of until Volo introduced me to it, Touche Amore has quickly become one of my favorite bands ever. Why? Well, because 1) they play some of the best melodic hardcore around; 2) the emotional, instantly-relatable lyrics might actually prompt you to make some changes in your life and 3) they are just a bunch of sweet boys singing, touring, laughing and having fun together. I can definitely get behind all these positive feelings!
Umberto – Confrontations
Umberto aka Matt Hill moves away from his giallo-inspired soundtracks and into hard sci-fi territory with Confrontations and pulls it off without breaking a sweat. I’ve been listening to this since it came out back in February and I still listen to it on the reg. Music to get abducted by UFOs to!
OTHER GREAT SHIT/HONORABLE MENTIONS/STUFF I HAVEN'T LISTENED TO PROPERLY:
Occultist - Death Sigils
An Autumn for Crippled Children - Try Not to Destroy Everything You Love
Valerinne - Arborescent
YOUTH CODE - YOUTH CODE
Wreck And Reference - No Content
All Pigs Must Die – Nothing Violates This Nature
Altar Of Plagues – Teethed Glory And Injury
Nails – Abandon All Life
Katechon - Man, God, Giant
Aosoth - IV: Arrow In Heart
Leucosis - Leucosis
Torture Chain - Mutilating Astral Entities
Fister - Gemini
Nightslug - Dismal Fucker
The Body - Christs, Redeemers…
Bottom Feeder - Grinding Teeth
TesseracT - Altered State
Russian Circles - Memorial
Hope Drone - Hope Drone
Sun Worship - Surpass Eclipse
Malthusian - MMXIII
Leprous - Coal
Samsara Blues Experiment - Waiting for the Flood
This Routine Is Hell - Howl
Death Grips - Government Plates
No Omega - Shame
Horseback - A Plague of Knowing
Clipping - midcity
Whores - Clean
Enforcer - Death by Fire
Pissed Jeans - Honeys
Echo Park - Deluge
Oathbreaker - Eros|Anteros
Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats - Mind Control
Kadavar - Abra Kadavar
Church Whip - Psychedelic Nightmare
Blockheads - This World Is Dead
Cloud Rat - Moksha
Rotting Christ - Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού
Rotten Sound - Species at War
Portal - Vexovoid
Njiqahdda - Serpents in the Sky