There’s a scene in the also-ran ’90s teen film Empire Records where one of the titular music store’s employees sorts through the CDs snatched by a just-caught shoplifter. The clerk is appalled that said juvenile criminal would only be jacking rap and metal and encourages him to listen to some jazz.
The passive suggestion in that scene is that obsession over those genres is best suited to 14-year-olds who haven’t yet grown out of their age of aggression. If that’s true, then I am undoubtedly regressing, as I spent roughly 79 percent of 2013 listening to fantastically guttural hip-hop and ultra-intense metal.
Luckily, metal’s constant shape-shifting and envelope-pushing provide a multitude of approaches and attitudes. The six albums listed below all fall under the heading of “metal,” but no two are the same. The only thing they share is a fundamental intensity that taps into something pure and primal. This year wasn’t as great a year as 2012, when stalwarts Baroness, Converge, High on Fire, and Gojira all hit remarkable peaks. But there was still plenty of shredding majesty and genuflections before darkness.
So enjoy my picks for the six (the most evil number) best metal albums of 2013. Apologies to Watain, Skeletonwitch, Kvelertak, Tombstoned, Amon Amarth, Ancient VVisdom, and Avatarium, all of whom made metal records I loved and just missed the cut for the top. Try ‘em all, and play ‘em loud. READ FULL STORY