A great philosopher of our age often posits a question. It may be a rhetorical question, but one that every fan of heavy music finds themselves asking every day. It is not a question of faith, nor meant to invoke an existential crisis, but one far more important and intrinsic to the makeup of Heavy Metal. “Do you want heavy?”. Well, if the answer is yes – as it always should be – then look no further than Enterprise Earth. Continue reading →
With The Onlooker (Season of Mist Underground Activists) Ukraine’s Windswept has issued an open invitation to any and all Black Metal releases this year to challenge them for the throne. And maybe time will prove my assessment to be wrong, but several listens into The Onlooker its hard to imagine another Black Metal release as sonically satisfying as this anytime soon. Continue reading →
While the first album (Bless The Earth With Fire) by the sludgy metal quintet Allfather aggressively raged against the injustices in the world, their second album, And All Will Be Desolation (Rotting Throne) shows a different take on the political landscape that is not often present in music: whereas most political music will call for, and show the fight against the power in a positive light – rise up and not think about the negatives of the movement – And All Will Be Desolation reflects on the sombre side of fighting against injustices across the globe. Continue reading →
And then there were ten! We are slashing our list of 2013 heavy music Albums of the Year down another bunch to albums #10-#6. As voted on by the global staff of Ghost Cult Magazine, these albums represent some of the best releases of last year.
10. Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals – Walk Through Exits Only (Housecore)
Intelligent, difficult, challenging, aggressive, unique extremity from Big Phil.
Issue 10: “If you love the vitriolic harshness of classic middle-era Pantera albums, Superjoint Ritual and his other work, you will be thrilled to hear the sound of the Phil of old rise again. This album will speak to a primal place deep within you, and it will have you speaking in tongues.” Read the full review
9. Vista Chino – Peace (Napalm)
Kyuss (minus Homme) return with a chilled out fuzzy purpose.
Issue 13: “Given that no other band of their ilk has ever come close to bettering the Kyuss sound, this was hardly ever likely to go wrong, and with the likes of Garcia and Bjork at the helm, Vista Chino are a blast from the past that are surely here to stay, and one that any self-respecting rock fan should thank his/her lucky stars for. Welcome back gentlemen!” Read the full review
8. Gorguts – Colored Sands (Season of Mist)
Discordant Death metal masterpiece
Issue 12: “Gorguts are one of the best technical death metal bands out there, and Colored Sands is a very welcome return which easily measures up with other entries in their discography. The best thing about Colored Sands is that they haven’t attempted to recreate any part of their discography, yet it is still resolutely, undeniably, Gorguts.” Read the full review
7. Kylesa – Ultraviolet (Season of Mist)
Psychedelic sludgers bring the rock on their 6th album
Issue 10: “Filtering a psychedelic and shoegaze like warmth and expression through their distinctive sonic mastery, the band has created an album (that) will enslave a new breath of fever fuelled recruits to their continuing artistry and imagination.” Read the full review
6. Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen (Candlelight)
Progressive, extreme, inventive and avant-garde
Issue 13: OCTOBER ALBUM OF THE MONTH “Das Seelenbrechen translating to “The Soul Breaking” in English, sees Ihsahn pushing further into the realms of Avant-Garde experimentalism. Aided by the fine gents in Leprous, Tveitan has crafted an increasingly bold complex concoction of intricate time changes, free jazz passages and snarling extreme metal.” Read the full review
We jump back in to our countdown today with albums 20-11. Check back in over the next few days as we unveil our list until we get to the #1 heavy music album of 2013, as chosen by the staff of Ghost Cult Magazine.
20. Leprous – Coal(Inside Out/Century Media)
Melodic, progressive metal that established Leprous as more than just Ihsahn’s backing band.
Issue 9: “These young Norwegian visionaries display purposeful progression. Having set and surmounted daunting bars, serious exploration must be in store”. Read the full review
19. Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer (Party Smasher)
Most accessible release to date from mathcore legends.
Issue 8: MAY ALBUM OF THE MONTH “Shall we start by getting the superlatives out of the way first? One Of Us Is The Killer is the finest record that The Dillinger Escape Plan have released. Period. It is a record so good you keep pinching yourself that this isn’t just some kind of weird extreme music dream where everything you love about this type of music arrives all at once and in beautifully realised fashion.” Read the full review
Much vaunted farewell from acclaimed Irish post-Black metal trio.
Shorter songs led to a greater diversity and focus of intensity in a dense and punishing album that moved away from AoP’s trademark sound to great, claustrophobic effect. Post-Black metal, but not as we know it.
17. Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent (Roadrunner)
Vibrant comeback for the metalcore kings
Completely revitalised by the return of Jesse Leach, who turns in his best vocal performance to date, with the energy of a band just starting out rather than a seasoned veteran. Repeated short-sharp-shock treatment of the best order.
16. Soilwork – The Living Infinite (Nuclear Blast)
Double-album of melodeath and pounding metal
Issue 6: “A whopping two album assault on the neural system, the band’s most accomplished and ambitious work to date…Diversity and memorable songs are the two defining elements which make (this) truly captivating”
15. Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused To Sing (Kscope)
Exquisite, melancholic prog from the mind of Porcupine Tree mainman
Issue 6: MARCH ALBUM OF THE MONTH “Enigmatic, multi-layered and breathtakingly ambitious, unusual soundscapes, there is a brooding darkness in the light, definite grit in the oyster… Wilson is raging very brightly indeed.”
14. Wardruna – Runaljod – Yggdrasil (Indie)
Mesmerizing Norwegian ambient folk
“The songs of Wardruna will provide insight into Norse mysticism and a peaceful respite from the pace of urban living. The band’s approach to their beliefs and ideas runs much deeper than the vast majority of other acts that share the same genre and it is because of this that the music holds such mesmerising power.” Read the full review
13. Corrections House – Last City Zero (Neurot)
Post-metal “supergroup” create something super
Issue 14:NOVEMBER ALBUM OF THE MONTH Not only are these men masters of their own individual sounds, they have managed to create something together that is bigger than themselves. Like their main bands, there is no relegating this music to the background. It is so insidious, stark and sure of itself that it righteously demands your full attention. Read the full review
12. Deafheaven – Sunbather (Deathwish)
Transcending black metal with unbridled optimistic swells battle blastbeats and beauty
Issue 10: (We may have got this one wrong at the time, but still managed to say…) “Something mystical and transcendent, warm and alluring… upwardly spiralling melodies…. Captivating, intertwining lines weaving a seductive web” Read the full review
11. Beastmilk – Climax (Svart)
80’s influenced death rock captures the imagination
Climax takes you back to the glory days of Joy Division, Killing Joke, Morrisey et al, with jagged and dreamy guitar lines. And songs. Proper ones, of the apocalyptic post-punk variety with rumbling bass, Danzig-ian vocals.
There is an overwhelming feeling that 2013 was a “good year” and that the world of extreme and progressive music (the very areas of the musical spectrum that Ghost Cult revels in and focuses on) is in a state of rude health and the true core of what stimulates this publication; the experimental, the boundary pushing, the truly progressive, the interesting, the dynamic, the atmospheric and above all the out-of-or-above-the-ordinary, has risen like the proverbial cream.
The year started with Cult of Luna’s ‘Vertikal’ taking our first Album of the Month award, setting the tone for the year, before things really started to get going in February with veterans Darkthrone, a particularly visceral Suffocation, and Voivod, in their 31st year and on their 11th album, impressing, the Canadian thrasers being our flagship release. March was a busy month. Though the award went to the prog-opus of Steven Wilson, it also saw excellent releases from Killswitch Engage, Wardruna, Clutch, Soilwork and Rotting Christ, while Portal took Death metal to new levels. The quarter ended with Steak Number 8 being our most acclaimed release, edging out Ghost, Cathedral’s farewell, The Ocean and Altar of Plagues.
Spring moved on, and The Dillinger Escape Plan took the coveted Album of the Month plaudits for May, in a month that also saw KEN Mode, Spiritual Beggars and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats catch the ears of our writers. The summer brought us festival season, the new Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains and Amon Amarth albums. While Chthonic, Leprous, Phil Anselmo and Orphaned Land took home the plaudits, Deafheaven and Kylesa didn’t fare so well at the hands of our judges. Chimaera, Haken and Shining were our summer Album of the Month winners.
Heading into Autumn and top quality albums were flying around thick and fast. Post-metal protagonists A Storm Of Light claimed September’s honours from Carcass and Gorguts, with Ulcerate, Vista Chino and Skeletonwitch releasing strong albums in a month where Trent Reznor brought Nine Inch Nails out of retirement. The following month belonged to Ihsahn, who took the monthly award and the front cover, too, while notable releases included Alter Bridge, Trivium, Korn and Monster Magnet from the “big boys” as well surprise package of the year Beastmilk and a great year was brought to a close with Corrections House adorning the cover, and as our album of the month. 2013, was a year whereby both old and new acts helped make it a diverse, extremely progressive and enjoyable one.
And so to the Ghost Cult Staff Albums of Year for 2013 – our staff team have slaved over their personal Top 20’s, with over 220 albums were voted for covering an extremely diverse base. After a very hard fought contest, and a year overflowing with great albums, the final list has been pulled together and a deserving overall winner was decided upon.
Part I; 50- 21
50. GWAR – Battle Maximus (Metal Blade)
49. Motörhead – Aftershock (UDR)
48. Russian Circles – Memorial (Sargeant House)
47. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp)
46. Rotting Christ – Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy (Season of Mist)
45. Pyres – Year of Sleep (self-released)
44. Protest The Hero – Volition (self-released/Razor & Tie)
43. Black Sabbath – 13 (Vertigo/Universal)
42. Battlecross – War of Will (Metal Blade)
41. Trivium – Vengeance Falls (Roadrunner)
40. Riverside – Shrine of New Generation Slaves (Inside Out/Century Media)
39. Helen Money – Arriving Angels (Profound Lore)
38. Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance (Peaceville)
37. Ulcerate – Vermis (Relapse)
36. Watain – The Wild Hunt (Century Media)
35. Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Capitol)
34. Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks (Columbia)
33. Voivod – Target Earth (Century Media)
32. TesseracT – Altered State (Century Media)
31. Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork (Matador)
30. Kvelertak – Meir (Roadrunner)
29. Russkaja – Energia! (Napalm)
28. Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods (Nuclear Blast)