It’s the end of the year (wow, that came quickly!) and my opportunity to review the year and pick my top 11 albums of the year – because 11 is more than 10. Certainly there are other contenders that didn’t quite make my cut. These are outstanding albums and maybe on a different day or in a different mood, I might move some of the lower ones up or down. Just outside of the top 11, in no particular order, are Jorn’s Traveler, Black Sabbath’s 13, Amon Amarth’s Deceiver of the Gods, Heavatar’s Opus I: All My Kingdoms, Withem’s The Point of You, Intronaut’s Habitual Levitations, and Atlantean Kodex’s The White Goddess. Without any further delay:
11 Voivod – Target Earth - I really wondered if Voivod had it in them to continue releasing new material having run out of songs written by Piggy. Well, they do and the result was great. I hope there are many more to come from this eclectic Canadian band.
10 Haken – The Mountain - I admittedly didn’t like this much at first, but it grew and turned out to be an outstanding release.
9 The Vision Bleak - Witching Hour - What a great find. One of those band I had no idea about prior to hearing this release. If you haven’t heard them yet, be sure to check them out.
8 DGM – Momentum - They get better with each album. I listened to this album a lot earlier this year and still find it to be enjoyable. The Russell Allen appearance is a bonus.
7 Kalmah – Seventh Swamphony - Melo-Death done right. The Swamp Lords blew me away with this album.
6 Trouble – The Distortion Field - Good to see this Chicago-based doom band back, but in a more Traditional Metal mode. The Distortion Field is worthy of the name Trouble.
5 Finntroll – Blodsvept - Ahhhh, Finntroll. No way I would have said they would be on my end of year list, yet here they are with this tremendous album. Best one of their career.
4 Masterplan – Novum Initium - The epic title track nearly puts this on the list by itself.
3 Týr – Valkyrja - The Faroese band’s strongest album yet. I am an admitted ‘fanboy’, but this one crushed from beginning to end.
2 The Ocean – Pelagial - Another surprise. Pelagial is simply outstanding and captures exactly what the band set out to do. Nearly perfect.
1 Fates Warning – Darkness in a Different Light - It’s been a long time since Fates Warning released an album, but it appears that they saved up only the best for their 2013 album. While not as ‘heavy’ as some others on this list, I think these Progressive Metal kings recorded their best album in at least 20 years. It continues to be in regular rotation and is worth your time.
Best song – I am sticking with Nabatea from Helloween, my pick for the first half of the year. This is what Power Metal is supposed to sound like. Runners up are Luna Luna from Heavatar and Masterplan’s Novum Initium.
Best show – Although Ensiferum at Paganfest back in April was great, I am going to go with Finntroll in San Antonio at Backstage Live. Just tremendous.
So this is farewell to 2013 and greetings to 2014. May we have some great Metal once again this coming year.
I hear the sound in a METAL way.
Let me know how you hear it – firstname.lastname@example.org
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