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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Top Albums

Though my music blog is no longer running, I of course can't resist at least sharing my favorite albums from this past year. I'm going to focus more on giving representative samples of each album and letting them speak for themselves than doing a writeup on each album.

Top 5:

The Afterman: Descension - Coheed and Cambria (Progressive rock; United States)

Nightmare Ending - Eluvium (Ambient; United States)
Eluvium double album. Enough said.

Seventh Swamphony - Kalmah (Melodic death metal; Finland)
Interesting new Kalmah album featuring further explorations into life in the Finnish countryside, and interesting slower songs like "Hollo" above and "The Trapper". See also "Pikemaster".

Live - From Chaos to Eternity - Rhapsody of Fire (Symphonic Power Metal; Italy)
Rhapsody of Fire's D&D metal bombast reaches new levels of epic on this new live album.

Nemesis - Stratovarius (Power Metal; Finland)

Other 2013 Recommendations:

The Nexus - Amaranthe (Melodic death/power/pop metal; Denmark/Sweden)
It's basically Swedish melodic death metal on a sugar rush.

Deceiver of the Gods - Amon Amarth (Melodic death metal; Sweden)

Wagner Reloaded - Apocalyptica (Symphonic metal/Classical; Finland)
Apocalyptica's first live album is a very interesting mix of cello-powered metal and classical music. Possibly their first album meriting the separate genre of "cello metal".

Rescue & Restore - August Burns Red (Progressive metalcore; United States)

Sleddin' Hill - August Burns Red (Progressive metalcore; United States)
This is basically a whole album version of ABR's cover of Carol of the Bells (which is on here in rerecorded form).

The Mystery of Time - Avantasia (Symphonic power/progressive metal; Germany)

The Theory of Everything - Ayreon (Progressive metal; Netherlands)
The rivalry continues: arguably better than Avantasia's new album.

Ars Musica - Dark Moor (Symphonic power metal; Spain)

Dream Theater - Dream Theater (Progressive Metal; United states)
Yes, I finally cracked and got Dream Theater's post-Portnoy albums. Drumming aside, they don't feel as distinctively Dream Theater as their earlier work, but are still interesting.

Saivon Lapsi - Eternal Tears of Sorrow (Symphonic/melodic death metal; Finland)

Skull - Evile (Thrash Metal; United Kingdom)

Blodsvept - Finntroll (Death/folk metal; Finland)

Straight Out of Hell - Helloween (Power metal; Germany)

Impermanent Resonance - James LaBrie (Progressive metal/hard rock; United States)

Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came - Jesu

Pure Heroine - Lorde (Pop; New Zealand)
Blame Marissa for getting me into this one, but it has grown on me.

Through Our Darkest Days - Mercenary (Melodic death/power metal; Denmark)
Though still not at the level of Kral or Mikkel, Rene Pedersen does a much better job carrying the band's vocal duties here.

Planetary Breathing - MyGrain (Melodic death metal; Finland)

Dark Wings of Steel - Rhapsody of Fire (Symphonic Power Metal; Italy)
RoF's new studio album is interestingly slower than usual, but certainly lived up to my expectations as a devoted fan.

The Migration - Scale the Summit (Instrumental progressive metal; United States)

Pacifica - Segue (Ambient/Electronic; United States)
As my friend Evan pointed out, this album sounds exactly like the cover looks.

Kveikur - Sigur Rós (Post rock; Iceland)

Rise - Skillet (Modern hard rock; United States)
Skillet's first concept album is a very pleasant suprise. See also some of the more anthemic tracks like "Rise" and "Circus for a Psycho".

The Living Infinite - Soilwork (Melodic death metal; Sweden)
Also a pleasant surprise: a double album of very solid melodeath from Soilwork.

Cupid's Head - The Field (Electronic/ambient; United States)

Vengeance Falls - Trivium (Metalcore/thrash; United States)

Vermis - Ulcerate (Technical death metal; New Zealand)

We As Human - We As Human (Hard rock/metal; United States)
Up-and-coming We As Human does a good job of working their Christian faith into their lyrics without beating you over the head with it. The only one of these bands I've seen live this year.

Pre-2013 Albums I Missed:

The Void - Beardfish (Progressive rock; Sweden)
This would have been on my top 5 for 2012. See also: "Ludvig and Sverker" and "Note".

The Parallax II: Future Sequence - Between the Buried and Me (Progressive deathcore; United States)


Dethalbum II - Dethklok (Melodic death metal; United States)
A hilarious affectionate parody of Scandanavian death metal.

A Dramatic Turn of Events - Dream Theater (Progressive Metal; United states)

The Fall - Gorillaz (Alternative hip hop/electronic; United Kingdom)
This album is basically a series of musical reflections from the eclectic English virtual band as they toured the United States.

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