This is very much a pan-global top eleven, let it not be said that I’m some kind of Scandinavian elitist. Okay, maybe a little, but that’s hardly my own fault. Right, here it is, Brutalviking’s Top 11 albums of 2013.
11. Ghost (B.C.) – Infestissumam
Yes I jumped on the “Holy Crap, Ghost” band wagon. I blame Lord Doom… But I digress, what Ghost give us here is a Solid Slab of Satanic Gospel Rock, infused with Progrocky riffs and Organs, you can’t not like it. Hail Satan.
10. Rotting Christ – Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
These Greek extreme metallers won me over when Darkfiend forced the discography upon me; it felt kinda “rapey” but it worked. Theogonia won me over, the follow up AEALO spent months on my playlist and now Kata Ton… completes the trilogy of albums with hard to pronounce names. All joking aside, this album is drenched in mythological imagery and the song writing is nothing short of artistic, in the classical Greek tradition.
9. Megalodon – Darkness in Sonance
Like a galactic shark, this album crunched down on my frame and didn’t let go until I was a ragdoll of crushed bones and liquefied organs. That is to say, it’s a fantastic debut album! Great tracks, all written impeccably and though it may be hard to headbang to it (Those offbeats!), Darkness in Sonance rests firmly in my daily playlist.
8. Infanteria – Isolated Existence
Infanteria represented South Africa at the Wacken Metal Battle, is that not reason enough for their album to be on this list. NO? wWell how about the thrastastic tracks, Chris Hall’s thrasnificent vocals, and keyboards thrown in for good measure? Cataclysmic oppression gets me ready for work every morning.
7. Powerwolf – Preachers of the Night
Aah, Powerwolf, easily one of my favourite power metal bands, Preachers of the Night continues their legacy of catchy choruses, blistering riffs, and orchestration Wagner would approve of. A respectable follow up to 2011’s Blood of the Saints, it also reached number one in Germany. Does that make them sell outs, or do Germans have good taste in power metal? I choose to believe the latter. Amen and attack!
6. The Drift – Dreams of Deluge
This album was the last inclusion on my list. It came from left field and floored me with its imagery, its excellent musicianship and stellar artwork. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you totally can in this instance, and not be disappointed. Sublime from start to finish, you’d be mad to not give it a spin or seven.
5. Heaven Shall Burn – Veto
Heaven Shall Burn re-introduced themselves to me with Veto since I hadn’t really listened to anything after 2008’s Iconoclast. This album, to me, is the epitome of what a “modern” metal album should be. It opens with “Godiva”, blasts through “Hunters will be Hunted” without letting up! It’s a full aural assault and I love it. Walls of metal and tasteful breakdowns. Not to mention one of the better covers I’ve ever heard. They successfully cover one of their country’s most influential bands (No, not Rammstein), fucking Blind Guardian!
4. Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods
Who doesn’t need more Amon Amarth in their lives? This album builds and progresses from Surtur Rising in a good way and with this outing the guitar work is a notch higher than it was previously. Lots of NWOBHM sensibilities – some of the riffs remind me of mid-80s Iron Maiden – and this is a good thing, as they incorporate this element in the signature Amon Amarth way.
3. Dead Lucky – Sons of Lazarus
Local sleaze peddlers Dead Lucky have impressed the hell outta me this year. And this is probably the most controversial inclusion, you see as I said in my review, it’s not metal. But fuck it, if it isn’t just a damn fine album. The whole thing feels like a Motörhead tribute in the best way. I can’t stop listening to this album, It’s like a disease.
2. Battle Beast – Battle Beast
Move over Nightwish, Epica and any other female-fronted band, the time of the ‘Beast has come. Still carving a path since their 2010 Wacken Metal Battle victory and with a new vocalist on this one, it’s a plate of cheesy goodness drenched in synths, solos and soaring vocals. This is the kind of album you can’t hate. I loved 2011’s Steel and this builds on everything I love. Their anthemic tunes will have you screaming “Let it roar!” and “She’s a black ninja!” in no time flat. Fun fact – Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish named this his album of the year.
This album is as close to perfection as is musically possible. Seriously, I can’t fault a single aspect on this release. It perfectly blends Arabian folk music with decidedly western metal. It’s this dichotomy that makes this album so enthralling. The opening of the album is also just so freakin EPIC, and yes, that’s EPIC in all caps.