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by Chuck Eddy

January 13, 2014

2013's Most Extreme Metal

by Chuck Eddy  |  January 13, 2014

So OK, one last (I promise) metal post before the book finally closes on 2013. Basically, in the past month or two, all sorts of publications, websites and contributors thereof have tried to answer the all-important question: "What were the best metal albums of 2013?" In December, I pieced together a mix taken from Decibel magazine's list. This one is based on year-end tallies at several other outlets: Basement Galaxy, Burning Ambulance, Hellbound, Last Rites, Magnet, PopMatters, Revolver, Rock-a-Rolla, Spin. After assigning more weight to albums appearing on multiple lists and/or occupying higher spots, then eliminating duplicates from that Decibel mix and from Rhapsody's monthly Top 15 roundups, here are samples from 25 more 2013 metal albums you might want to know -- in descending order of how well they fared.

But are they really the most "extreme" metal albums of the year? Who honestly even knows what that means? What seems clear, though, is that "extremeness" is the primary factor by which many tastemakers judge this music (as opposed to, say, having intelligible, memorable songs with beginnings, middles and ends). So, for instance, there's plenty of "experimental" or what-have-you black metal (or, OK, "post-black-metal"): Oranssi Pazuzu, Altar of Plagues, Inquisition, Thrall. And there's at least as much ultra-violent and/or ultra-technical death metal, generally by seasoned platoons: Deicide, Suffocation, Amon Amarth, Wormed, Hail of Bullets.

Cult of Luna, the Ocean, Russian Circles, and Locrian mix nebulous shoegaze or post-rock textures in their earbleed onslaught; Windhand, Agrimonia, ASG, Moss, and Wolvserpent lean toward the dronier, sludgier, uglier end of doom; Jesu probably do both. And for those so inclined, there's also mathcore (The Dillinger Escape Plan), occult metal (In Solitude), heavy psych (Earthless), savage thrash (Fueled by Fire), Norwegian noise rock (Arabrot) and Japanese stoner plod about serial killers (Church of Misery). If that's not extreme enough, what is?

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