I’ve done top ten-lists at least since 1998, but the 2013 list has been one of the hardest ever to piece together. So much quality, so many strong releases. I am a huge fan of eighties heavy metal, but those who get stuck there, and don’t check out all the great new bands, lose out on acts that are equally as good.
There is a lot of stuff happening within the realms of traditional metal at the moment, you just have to invest a bit of time digesting it all to be able to throw all the rotten apples away. On a funny note, it might look like I picked bands for this list only among those I interviewed during the year. In fact, it’s the other way around: I was lucky enough to do (mostly) in depth interviews with all the bands in my list. Thanks to those of you helping me out with these.
By the way, the list below is for albums only. I might come back with an own list for demos and EPs later on. Keep checking back if you are interested in those.
Strong candidates, just outside the list:
Argus, Asgard, In Solitude, Realmbuilder, Sinister Realm and Stone Magnum
Way too few people are talking about this album, it must be because of the fact that it’s not released on CD yet. Awesome doom metal , and a big improvement on “Pathways Into Darkness”. Read my interview with Will here: https://metalsquadron.com/2013/07/09/the-wizard-an-impending-apocalypse-by-fire/
Along with the albums by The Wizar’d and Stone Magnum’s “From Time To Eternity”, the overlooked album of the year. Great traditional stuff, just give them a chance! Read my interview with Diego here: https://metalsquadron.com/2013/06/05/voltax-a-struggle-against-conformity/
After a couple of weak albums, at least by Sacred Steel’s standards, they released one of their best records ever. My favorite in their catalogue, along with the debut. Read my interview with Gerrit here: https://metalsquadron.com/2013/03/18/sacred-steel-100-percent-pure-metal/
Where have all the great US metal-bands disappeared? Well, besides Borrowed Time, the veterans in Attacker were the only ones delivering high quality stuff. As we like to say here at Metal Squadron – No modern bullshit! Read my interview with Mike Sabatini here: https://metalsquadron.com/2013/03/14/attacker-vital-veterans/
One of the suprises of the year. Also one of the freshest and most unique release within the more traditional doom metal-field this year. Read my interview with Albert Bell here: https://metalsquadron.com/2013/10/16/nomad-son-passion-for-hammond/
The highlight of the year when it comes to raw, epic metal, came from Portugal’s Ravensire. Rough vocals, super heavy riffs and outstanding leads. “Drawing The Sword” is one of my favourite tunes from 2013. Read my interview with Nuno here: https://metalsquadron.com/2013/11/25/ravensire-passionate-and-raw/
As both Steve Ramsey and Brian Ross have put it: We wanted to create the follow up to “Court In The Act”, an album that could have been released in 1984. I think they managed just fine. An incredible comeback album. Read my interview with Steve Ramsey here: https://metalsquadron.com/2013/04/14/satan-back-to-the-beginning/
The bands who release their albums late in the year always have an advantage over the acts putting out their stuff early on. Maybe this one should be in second place, I am not sure. Reviewed by me in Scream magazine, awarded with a perfect 6 out of 6. Fabulous album, the title track is one of the songs of the year, and a future classic for sure. Read my interview with Felipe here: https://metalsquadron.com/2013/04/17/procession-no-spelling-error/
After the EP, I had moderate hopes for this one, but it pretty much changed when I heard the single tracks and especially when the band released the first taster from the album. Very refreshing metal without straying one bit away from the genre. Read my interview with J. Priest here: https://metalsquadron.com/2013/10/29/borrowed-time-epic-and-doomy-heavy-metal/
So how do you pick album of the year? For me, it had to be the album I have returned to over and over again. Not a dull moment, and some of the most captivating moments I have heard on a record for many years. If you haven’t bought this one yet, get the vinyl version, as it’s one of the best looking I’ve seen. Think I received three copies of the CD from different sources, passed all of them on and got the LP. Read my interview with Manuel Trummer here: https://metalsquadron.com/2013/09/11/atlantean-kodex-no-happy-anthem/