Every year since 2007, TMD has released its annual ‘Top 10 Best Metal Albums list’. It’s always difficult to nail down who exactly deserves these ten spots. After all, hundreds upon hundreds of metal records get released every year. To be included on this list, bands do not need to be signed to a label, and this list is open to all the many various sub-genres of heavy metal music.
What makes a great heavy metal album? It starts with a high level of musicianship and is followed by consistency in songwriting and production. Nobody likes to hear a shitty sounding record or basic guitar solos, right? And who wants to spend money on an album that has one or two cool tracks but then the rest are all clunkers?
Here is TMD’s list of the ‘Top 10 Best Albums’ released in 2013. This list for the first time is accompanied at the end by TMD’s selection for ‘Worst Album of 2013’ and ‘Best Song of The Year’.
#10. UNHUMAN – “Unhuman”
Unhuman is the sleeper metal album of the year, hands down. The death metal unit from Montréal, Québec takes extreme music to the next level on this simply punishing collection of frenetic as hell crushers. They just edged out Carcass and other heavy metal bad asses to make this list, so you better check them out!
#9. HAVOK – “Unnatural Selection”
Denver, Colorado thrash metal act HAVOK are some bad dudes. Their goddamn electric third album “Unnatural Selection” pushes thrash metal to new heights with a sheer technical bravado joined with some seriously well crafted pit starters that totally harkens back to the epic feel of a young METALLICA.
#8. MINISTRY – “From Beer To Eternity”
(13th Planet Records/2013)
Al Jourgensen is the Energizer Bunny of rock. Will this man ever call it a day? This is said to be the final record that will be released by Al and company due to the death of guitarist Mike Scaccia, who passed away from a heart attack in 2012. It certainly captures the spirit of the band at its most fierce and pissed off. This record pure and simple is musical genius.
#7. DEVILDRIVER – “Winter Kills”
Dez and the boys never dissapoint. How do they keep such a high level of heavy metal greatness album after album? Simple, keep the heavy riffs chugging and the banshee vocals soaring sky high, and never ever settle for mediocrity. This band continues to be one of the very best in the world of metal.
#6. HATEBREED – “The Divinity Of Purpose” (CD)
(Razor & Tie Records/2013)
American metallic hardcore masters HATEBREED are the perfect antidote to ‘bullies’ around the planet. ‘Divinity’ is the most vicious sounding I have ever heard this band and from top to bottom this record is a all out rocker that keeps on giving. It seems as if the best is still yet to come from this band and that is just flat out scary.
#5. BYZANTINE – “Byzantine”
American groove metal masters BYZANTINE released the comeback album of 2013 – after having been on hiatus for several years. With their self titled masterwork they put everyone in check with one ass kicker after the next and doing it with the most technical skills among the bands on this list. I just hope they stick around for some more action and don’t disappear on us again.
#4. HELL – “Curse And Chapter”
(Nuclear Blast Records/2013)
English heavy metal act HELL gave the fans what they have craved with their second full length album entitled “Curse and Chapter” and it sure is a beauty. This is the way metal music should sound. I cannot wait to hear what this band does next.
#3. GWAR – “Battle Maximus”
(Metal Blade Records/2013)
GWAR’s 13th studio album “Battle Maximus” is an instant classic. The band marched on itself after enduring the death of guitarist Cory Smoot in 2011. This album is pure punk reckless abandon. Even if you think these guys look stupid in their outfits you need to sit down and listen to the ‘rock that they roll’. This album will go down as one of their best ever.
#2. PHILIP H. ANSELMO AND THE ILLEGALS – “Walk Through Exits Only”
Legendary heavy metal vocalist Philip H. Anselmo proved all the haters wrong in 2013. ‘The Kid’ is still as heavy as he was over a decade back with Texas metal icons PANTERA. Guitarist Marzi Montazeri is a revelation on this ultra-head slamming collection of perfectly ferocious cuts. A lot of people still hold Anselmo to blame for Dimebag Darrell’s slaying on the stage in 2004, but his brutally poetic musical statement on this album delivers a big “Fuck you!” to all of them in a way that only ‘The Kid’ can.
#1. MOTÖRHEAD – “Aftershock”
The legendary band’s 21st studio album kicks you in the balls from the word go. It’s hard to believe that Lemmy – dealing with ill health in his later years – still has the same damn intensity behind his music as he did thirty years ago. This purely ‘balls to the walls’ record will definitely stand the test of time.
MEGADETH – “Super Collider”
(Tradecraft via Universal/2013)
If Dave Mustaine spent less time doing stupid interviews and focused more on the actual craft of creating killer thrash metal music he would not be in this ugliest of all spots. What can be said about “Super Disaster” that has not already been said? The worst thing of it all – besides the campy songwriting and less than stellar guitar work – is now having to watch the two Daves make excuses to the media for this atrocity in heavy metal. This junker will go down quite possibly as the worst of Dave Mustaine’s legendary career.
“Give Me Liberty… Or Give Me Death” by HAVOK