By Trevor Proctor
This has been another year filled to the brim with some seriously excellent metal releases, that’s why it’s been so difficult to pick a top twenty and also why there’s no such thing as an end of year list that’ll please everyone. I’ve never read any myself that I’ve totally agreed with – there’s always someone left out or someone not featuring as highly as you’d place them. This list is by no means perfect or comprehensive; it’s merely the recordings that I’ve enjoyed most throughout the year.
Big thanks to Mr Jude Felton for the opportunity to work with the Lair of Filth, there’s a few releases here that wouldn’t be if I hadn’t had the privilege of listening to them thoroughly for reviews for the Lair. Thanks also to my Fiancee Audrey for tolerating the extreme music I constantly make her listen to in the car.
20. Uncoffined - Ritual Death and Funeral Rites (Memento Mori)
Doom metal of death from Scotland’s Uncoffined – raw, heavy, one to watch in 2014.
19. Chthonic - Bu Tik (Spinefarm Records)
The seventh studio album from Chthonic featured more traditional instrumentation than previous releases with the greatest of effect.
18. Nocturno Culto’s Gift of Gods - Receive (Peaceville)
Straight up heavy metal EP from Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto, essential listening.
17. Twilight of the Gods - Fire on the Mountain (Season of Mist)
What started life as a Bathory tribute has turned into a major player in the world of heavy metal.
16. Satyricon - Satyricon (Roadrunner Records)
Few curve balls here, but still a fantastic release.
15. Ereb Altor - Fire Meets Ice (Cyclone Empire)
Essential listening from Ereb Altor - so much more to offer than most Viking metal.
14. Grave Miasma - Odori Sepulcrorum (Sepulchral Voice Records)
Another seriously good death metal release from the UK, and another band to watch in 2014.
13. Black Sabbath - 13 (Virgin EMI)
It was never going to be as good as the first 4 masterpiece albums but I feel we still got an excellent release from the masters of the genre.
12. Unkind - Pelon Juuret (Relapse Records)
Brilliant crust filled D-Beat madness from the crazy Fins.
11. Ulcerate - Vermis (Relapse Records)
A difficult but rewarding album, Ulcerate achieve a perfect balance between technical aggression and blackened atmospherics.
10. Malthusian - MMXIII (Invictus Productions)
Debut EP of hallucinogenic, oppressive music that’s so original and fresh it couldn’t be omitted from the top 10 let’s hope 2014 brings us a lot more of this fantastic band.
9. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Mind Control (Rise Above Records)
Not as instantly likeable as Blood Lust but a damn fine album that grows on you with every listen.
8. Deicide - In the Minds of Evil (Century Media)
One of the year’s strongest death metal releases and their best album for several years.
7. Patrons of the Rotting Gate - The Rose Coil (The Path Less Traveled Records)
An amazing album, created by the UK’s own mad musical genius – some achievement when we consider it’s predominantly the work of one very talented individual.
6. Ihsahn - Das Seelenbrechen (Candlelight)
Another masterpiece from one of metals most creative minds an excellent album that sees Ihsahn explore more musical soundscapes.
5. Sheol - Sepulchral Ruins Below The Temple (Iron Bonehead/Invictus Productions)
A fantastic death metal debut, an essential addition to any collection from a very exciting UK band, the UK death metal scene is so much healthier for their presence.
4. Altar of Plagues - Teethed Glory & Injury (Candlelight & Profound Lore Records)
Unfortunately this is Altars of Plague’s final album, but what a way to end a fantastic career.
3. Gorguts - Colored Sands (Season of Mist)
Technicality, depth and beauty – an amazing return to the studio from Canada’s finest.
2. Cathedral - The Last Spire (Rise Above Records)
A very fitting conclusion to Cathedral’s legacy, this album fully represents Cathedral’s back catalogue from the straight up doom of “The Forest of Equilibrium” to the eccentricities of “The Guessing Game”.
1. Carcass - Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)
With a series of amazing live performances and a top quality album 2013 was always going to be Carcass’ year – an amazing return to form.