So in an unrelated blog to what I usually blog about, here’s my top ten albums of 2013. As you can gather this year as been a bit of an eclectic one for musically.
1. Surgical Steel – Carcass: Awesome return from the North West death metallers, certainly their finest work since Heartwork, quite possibly their finest work ever. Absolutely relentless, crushing and incredible.
2. Curse & Chapter – Hell: Returned NWOBM legends follow up 2011’s unbelievably good ‘Human Remains’ with an equally as good sophomore effort. The songs are more progressive and ambitious, but lose none of their catchiness or narrative. This is how metal should be.
3. Payroll Union – The Mule & Elephant: Historically accurate alternative folk rockabilly, or something like that. All you really need to know is this Sheffield band produce some amazing and powerful music and stand out from most of the other also-rans of the music scene.
4. Error 500/Frankenstein – Mutation: Absolutely insane and off the wall project by Ginger Wildheart, roping in members of the Fall and Napalm Death to mention a few to assist. What can only be described as sing along pop grindcore, its mind bending, both difficult and easy on the ears and completely crazy. Marvellous.
5. Deceiver of the Gods – Amon Amarth: Rapidly becoming the AC/DC of the melodic death metal scene, Viking metallers Amon Amarth know what we want to hear so don’t bother deviating from their tried and tested formula. Crushing riffs, sing along choruses, Viking war and mythology lyrics and throat shredding vocals.
6. All at Sea – Emily Baker: What? A non-metal/rock album? Yup! Lovely melancholy singer/songwriter material with an Americana twist (odd for a singer from the south of England). Great chill out stuff.
7. The Dream Calls for Blood – Death Angel: Back on the metal now! And another triumphant new album from the thrash legends. Like many of their contemporaries (Testament, Exodus, Kreator etc.) Death Angel just keeps getting better and better, showing a lot of the 80s thrash bands just needed some decent production to really show how good they were/are.
8. Southeastern – Jason Isbell: Ex-Drive By Trucker, 440 Unit bandleader and all round great guy, Isbell follows up the diverse ‘Here We Rest’ with the much more acoustic and soulful Southeastern. The simpler approach and stripped down sound allows Jason to show off his fantastic vocal skills all the more.
9. Goodbye to All That – Outroads: Another incredible Sheffield band that deserve to get a lot more attention. From blues standards with a twist to acoustic rockers to more straight up folk numbers, the Outroads have a diverse sound’s almost akin to Dave Matthews Band. Check them out and soon!
10. In the Minds of Evil – Deicide: Decide have been off the boil for the last decade, but this year’s offering is a brutal return to form. Skull-crushing, soul shredding, brain rattling, ear burning sonic atrocity! It’s fantastic! If hell had a soundtrack, it would sound something like this.
So there you have it, bring on 2014.