Every year we hear the same old complaints from the same old people – “Year xxyy was a terrible year for albums”. 2013 was certainly an interesting year. On the surface of things, big bands like NIN, Tomahawk, QOTSA, Alice In Chains, Black Sabbath and Pearl Jam all had albums on the horizon. Mostly they were all disappointing though, with only one of those artists making my top 10. I suspect this contributed strong to some people claim 2013 was a bad one for music – had even half of those bands released great albums, I doubt there would be so many complaints.
Personally though, I thought 2013 was a good year for music. For those willing to look outside of the square and listen to bands that aren’t 20 years old, there was a lot to like.
As usual I had a hard time coming up with my top 10. I had a shortlist of 15, and while removing a couple of them was relatively easy, taking out the final 3 was really hard. It’s safe to say the honorable mentions below are all great albums well worth checking out.
In no particular order, here are my top 10 albums of 2013:
Weekend Nachos – Still
Many of you whop have followed the website for some time are well aware of my love of crusty grind and power violence, and Weekend Nacho’s have cemented themselves as a force in this genre with the new album Still. Brutal, fast, catchy and short – the way power violence should be.
Bosnian Rainbows – Bosnian Rainbows
Never been a big fan of the work of Omar Rodríguez-López, and when I heard Bosnian Rainbows was a pop album, I feared the worst. Despite that, I did take a listen, and to my surprise it was much better, and less pop than I expected. It’s a great rock record with some atmospheric moments and strong female vocals. An easy choice for my list this year.
Call of the Void – Dragged Down A Dead End Path
Call of the Void perform a style of sludge metal with elements of power violence, and their latest album Dragged Down A Dead End Path has been a regular listen for me all year. The track Bottom Feeder being a highlight for me, and one of my favorite tunes from 2013.
Kylesa – Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet is a strong album from a band that has never quite taken the next step for me. Kylesa have released some good music, but after this latest release I’m happy to put them in the great category. I’m not sure their style will appeal to everyone, but the thick guitar sound as well as some really interesting songwriting (especially on the latter half of the album) are right up my alley.
Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
Queens of the Stone Age were on their last strike. Lullabies To Paralyze and Era Vulgaris were both pretty bland albums in my book, so I was surprised when I heard that …Like Clockwork was an album full of character and emotion. I’ve always preferred the first three harder rocking albums from the band (and still do) but Like Clockwork is a great addition to their discography.
Earthless – From The Ages
Russian Circles were one of the bands I had to eliminate from my shortlist to make a top 10. I did so because I had two instrumental albums, and decided only one of them should make the list. From The Ages is a better album – it’s more of a straight up rock album than the post-rock styling of Memorial, but in my opinion the musicianship is better, and the songwriting catchier and more upbeat. You can’t go wrong with either album though!
The Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer
Dillinger Escape Plan are good at releasing excellent albums. This one is no exception. While I felt this was a much better album than their last one, and a worthy addition to my list, I still year for something a little more from these guys. Ire Works is still their best release by a mile, and while this album hints a little more in that direction, I think they still have some finer work inside them. Will they ever find it? Who knows….
Fuzz – Fuzz
There are several bands I’d never heard of before 2013 on this list: Call of the Void, Nails and this band Fuzz. Like their name suggests, the perform fuzzy psychadelic rock that has grooved its way into my heart this year.
The National – Trouble Will Find Me
There’s probably a few of you thinking “what is a band like this doing in Hellboy’s list?” and it is a good question. I still don’t really know why I enjoy this album like I do. Mostly, I think it’s that I find the vocals and lyrics quite compelling, and well matched to the style of music. I’ve never given the National much time prior to this album, but now I’m a convert.
Nails – Abandon All Life
If I were to pick a favorite for 2013, this would most likely be it. This album is 17 minutes of unrelenting power violence which doesn’t have a weak moment. If you can handle the blast beats and vocals, this album will be in your collection for life.
Here are some honorable mentions – albums that made my shortlist but had to be culled to make 10:
Pissed Jeans – Honeys
Destruction Unit – Deep Trip
Russian Circles – Memorial
The Melvins – Tres Cabrones
Romero – Take The Potion