Hard to believe it's already December and time to look back on the past year, reflecting on the changes we've made, the adventures we've had, and most importantly, the albums we've listened to and really, really enjoyed. Below are my Top 15 Albums of 2013; if you correctly guess which album is Number One before looking, I will mail you a cookie. And don't forget to agree/disagree/tell me how full of shit I am in the comment section!
15. Arsaidh - Roots
Favorite Track: "Carved in Stone"
14. Obscure Sphinx - Void Mother
Favorite Track: "Waiting for the Bodies Down the River Floating"
13. Windhand - Soma
Favorite Track: "Evergreen"
12. Deafheaven - Sunbather
Favorite Track: "The Pecan Tree"
11. Ghost - Infestissumam
Favorite Track: "Monstrance Clock"
10. Mouth of the Architect - Dawning
Favorite Track: "Patterns"
9. Pelican - Forever Becoming
Favorite Song: "The Tundra"
8. Gorguts - Colored Sands
Favorite Track: "Forgotton Arrows"
7. Clutch - Earth Rocker
A rip-roaring bevy of pure rock fury, Earth Rocker is one of the most fun Clutch albums to date. With the exception of the bluesy slow ride down the Mississippi "Gone Cold," every one of Earth Rocker's tracks live up to its title. Neil Fallon's vocals dance in a way that suggests he's having the time of his life, and while political and social lyrics still abound, they're scattered among stories of speedy motorcycles and booze. Earth Rocker is a party on a record, highly recommended for anytime you want to amp up the energy and get the people rockin'.
Favorite Track: "D.C. Sound Attack"
6. TesseracT - Altered State
Favorite Track: See Above
5. Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
Favorite Track: "I Appear Missing"
4. Cult of Luna - Vertikal
Vertikal is said to be loosely based on Fritz Lang's Metropolis, a silent film from the 1920s I watched stoned in a film class once. While I can't tell you how true that is, I can say that Vertikal is Cult of Luna's finest work to date, a dense, wholly consuming album that balances crushing force with passages that feel like an audio fog. The album opener, "The One," manages to capture all of the impending grandiosity in a mere two minutes, while behemoth "Vicarious Redemption" stretches it out over eighteen immense minutes that leave you exhausted after listening, which is rough because it's only the third track on the album. Listening to Vertikal straight through is essential; like most concept albums, it has musical themes that are at play in many different places. Don't let the oppressive nature of the music scare you off; block out an hour, turn off the lights, and dive in.
Favorite Track: "Mute Departure"
3. Altar of Plagues - Teethed Glory and Injury
Favorite Track: "Twelve Was Ruin"
2. Steven Wilson - The Raven that Refused to Sing (and other stories)
Favorite Track: "The Watchmaker"
1. Carcass - Surgical Steel
Favorite Track: "Master Butcher's Apron," "The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills"