Best albums of 2023 - Editor: Daniel

This year, we also decided to highlight some of our editorial team's favorite albums, as we usually do on Instagram, and I have the pleasure of being the first to post, bringing some of the muscal chaos that has become known on our podcast.

I admit that this year I listened to less music (but I took a lot of more photos) than in recent years, so I'm sure I've missed something good. Feel free to suggest your opinions by sending me a direct message at Instagram.

Blackbraid - "Blackbraid II"

"Blackbraid II" by Blackbraid has emerged as a notable milestone in the metal scene of 2023. The project led by Sgah'gahsowah is critically acclaimed for its innovative fusion of black metal with elements of Native American music.

The track "The Spirit Returns" exemplifies the ability to combine intensity and melody, while "Moss Covered Bones on the Altar of the Moon", an epic composition of almost 14 minutes, is praised for integrating Native American flutes and exceptional guitar. The album's production is noted for its perfect balance between tradition and modernity, raising the quality and authenticity of the music.

This album not only sets a new standard in American black metal, but also offers a unique and impactful listening experience, reflecting a deep respect for Native American culture??????.

1. Ne Obliviscaris ? ?Exul?

"Exul" by Ne Obliviscaris is a gem of progressive and extreme metal, marking the band's triumphant return after six years. This album stands out for its complexity and beauty, while maintaining the band's unique identity.

"Exul" is Ne Obliviscaris' darkest and most evocative work to date, representing an impressive creative rejuvenation for the band.

The album's production is exceptional, highlighting each element of the music in a clear and balanced way, resulting in a perfect harmony between the heavy and dark elements with the melancholic beauty of the music.

2. Panopticon ? The Rime Of Memory?

Panopticon's album "The Rime Of Memory" is an epic and complex listening experience that combines elements of melodic metal, atmospheric black metal and folk. Each of the album's six tracks is a journey in itself, with "Cedar Skeletons" standing out for its excellent guitar work and fluidity. Another notable track is "I Erindringens Høstlige Dysterhet", which stands out for its memorable and sticky riffs.

"Winter's Ghost" is a perfectly crafted black metal composition, evoking images of icy, frozen fields. The album is a unique work of art that requires a full listen to fully appreciate, offering a cold and harsh atmosphere that is both alienating and emotionally captivating.

Despite its challenging length, the album has the ability to draw the listener in for more listens, thanks to its powerful atmosphere and the palpable emotion in its compositions.

3. Queens of the Stone Age ? ?In Times New Roman...?

Queens of the Stone Age's album "In Times New Roman..." is a dark and introspective work, marked by lead singer Joshua Homme's challenging personal experiences, such as the loss of close friends, his cancer diagnosis and his divorce. Musically, the album presents a mix of heavy rock with experimental nuances and a touch of black humor.

Standout tracks include "Straight Jacket Fitting", which contains reflections on insanity, and "Obscenery", which begins with striking guitar riffs and transitions into a grandiose chorus. Other songs like "Negative Space" and "Made To Parade" also stand out for their energy and the band's characteristic style. The album retains the mischievous spirit of the group's music, but with a darker, more disorienting approach, reflecting Homme's personal struggles

4. The Acacia Strain - Step Into The Light / Failure Will Follow

"Step Into The Light" and "Failure Will Follow" by The Acacia Strain display striking contrasts. The first, fast and aggressive, stands out for its hardcore intensity.

The second, denser and darker, delves into doom and sludge metal, with long, atmospheric tracks like "Bog Walker". Both albums demonstrate the band's ability to vary styles while maintaining consistent quality and intensity.

5. Arkona ? ?Kob?

arkona kob

Arkona's album "Kob'" is a conceptual work that delves deep into pagan and black metal. With introspective lyrics, the album explores dark and apocalyptic themes. Masha Scream, with her voice varying between guttural and clean, creates a dense and enveloping atmosphere.

The tracks mix folk elements with heavy metal riffs, standing out for their diversity and intensity. The track "Ydi", for example, is epic and full of powerful beats and Masha's impressive vocals. "Kob'" is praised for its unique approach and the band's ability to create an immersive and complex musical experience

6. Cult of Luna ? ?The Long Road North?

cultofluna long road north

Cult of Luna" with "The Long Road North" brings a mix of powerful and contemplative moments, on an almost cinematic scale. The opener "Cold Burn" is striking, with pulsating riffs and rasping vocals.

The album, influenced by Nordic nature, alternates between intensity and atmospheric desolation, with highlights such as "Beyond I" and "An Offering to the Wild". The production is immersive, each track contributing to a cohesive and captivating experience.

7. Lions at the Gate - "The Excuses We Cannot Make"

lions at the gate new album

The album "The Excuses We Cannot Make" by Lions at the Gate, formed by former members of Ill Niño, is an impressive debut on the alternative metal scene.

This work presents a well-balanced mix of modern metal with elements from the early 2000s, while remaining heavy, melodic and full of catchy choruses. The presence of keyboards adds a distinctive ambience to the tracks, amplifying the somber tone of the lyrics, which deal with themes such as regrets and internal struggles.

8. Gridlink - "Coronet Juniper"

gridlink coronet juniper

9. Stoned Jesus ? ?Father Light?

stoned jesus father light

Gridlink returns with "Coronet Juniper", an impressive feat that reaffirms their mastery of grindcore. This album, a worthy follow-up to "Longhena", marks their return after a nine-year hiatus. It's a 19-minute compact that mixes supreme technical skills with a frenetic and precise approach.

"Silk Ash Cascade" opens the album with an almost death metal aura, while "Ocean Vertigo" and "Pitch Black Resolve" surprise with catchy melodies, standing out amidst the controlled chaos. The addition of Mauro Cordoba on bass further enhances the band's sonic texture. Matsubara's agile guitars, combined with Chang's intense and characteristic vocals, create an environment where each track brings something new to the table, keeping the listener hooked from start to finish.

10. Asagraum ? ?Veil Of Death, Ruptured?

asagraum veil of death

"Veil of Death, Ruptured" by the Dutch band Asagraum is a black metal album that mixes aggression and melody, a hallmark of the genre. This work stands out for its well-crafted production and its ability to create an immersive and intense atmosphere.

The tracks "Ignem Purificat Lilitu" and "Fearless Dominance" start the album with a direct and uncompromising approach, featuring vigorous riffs and raw vocals. The inclusion of instrumental interludes, such as "Opus Ad Errantem" and "Opus Ad Aeternum", offers an interesting contrast to the ferocity of the other tracks, creating a richer dynamic for the album.

11. Sleep Token ? ?Take Me Back to Eden?

Take Me Back to Eden", Sleep Token's latest album, reveals an evolution in the band's sound, mixing elements of alternative metal and indie pop. The album opens with "Chokehold", a powerful track that combines evolving arrangements with intense vocals, creating a thrilling atmosphere.

On the other hand, tracks like "Aqua Regia" stand out for their softness and elegance, bringing an interesting contrast to the album. Despite being a well-produced piece of work with some standout moments, I feel it lacks the innovation characteristic of their previous albums. "Take Me Back to Eden" ends up being a bit conventional and not as memorable when compared to its predecessors.

12. Djunah - "Femina Furens"

"Femina Furens" by Djunah, led by Donna Diane, is an intense and emotional album. Mixing heavy rock with poetry, it deals with recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder. The songs vary between alternative rock, metal and punk, standing out for their passionate delivery and sonic diversity. The guitars and drums create a powerful atmosphere, while Diane's vocals display a raw emotional range. Lyrics inspired by poets such as Gerard Manley Hopkins and Sylvia Plath add poetic depth to the work. "Femina Furens" is a visceral and cathartic portrait, mixing aggression and vulnerability?

Honorable Mentions:

Below are some other albums I'd like to recommend that I think are worth a listen, in no particular order:

  1. Crypta ? ?Shades of Sorrow?
  2. Haken - "Fauna": Average Score
  3. Froglord ? ?Sons of Froglord?
  4. Graveyard ? ?6?
  5. Hypno5e ? ?Sheol?
  6. Sanguisugabogg - "Homicidal Ecstasy"
  7. Fires In The Distance - "Air Not Meant For Us"
  8. Kvelertak ? ?Endling?
  9. Baroness - "Stone"
  10. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - "The Silver Cord"
  11. Year of the Knife - "No Love Lost"
  12. Devildriver ? ?Dealing With Demons Vol. II?
  13. Sevendust ? ?Truth Killer?
  14. Thantifaxath - Hive Mind Narcosis
  15. Year of the Knife - "No Love Lost"
  16. Lamp of Murmuur - "Saturnian Bloodstorm