#10. PRIMITIVE MAN Scorn
Audio doom. And I don't mean the style of metal. I mean, dread, despair and DOOM. While this is Doom Metal, it isn't your grandpappys style of Doom. This is heavy, blackened, sludgy doom in the vein of the mighty Coffinworm Nothing peaceful or serene, just uncompromising, bludgeoning riffs.
#9. LANTERN Below
Simply put, one of the best Death Metal releases in the last several years. Old school early 90's Death Metal without sounding like a retread OSDM act . Great production also with a real cavernous sound but yet still very clear. Add in some heavy atmospherics and some Doom elements and you have yourself a contender for Death Metal album of the year.
#8 DEVIL Gather The Sinners
#7 JOEL GRIND The Yellowgoat Sessions
How can you go wrong when the main man behind Toxic Holocaust decides to do a side project dedicated in sound and aesthetic to early era Bathory? You can't, that's how. This whole album rips and I've probably listened to it more than all but my #1 but I gotta take some points away for essentially being a cover band. RIP Quorthon.
#6 DARKTHRONE The Underground Resistance
If you haven't heard Darkthrone since their Black Metal heyday then you're really missing out. They've made great Crust Punk albums since and with this one they go (almost) all out Traditional Heavy Metal. I'm talking Agent Steel, Mercyful Fate kind of stuff. Seriously. Without a bad album in their catalogue and constantly evolving, Darkthrone is easily the most consistent band in Metal.
#5 MAGISTER TEMPLI Lucifer Leviathon Logos
This is a band that came out of absolutely nowhere to me. This is their debut LP, I heard no buzz about them beforehand, no demos, no nothing. When I happened to come across a teaser track they leaked online I was blown away. Traditional Heavy Metal in the old style with some NWBHM influences, what really carries it are the vocals. I'm not sure if they are for everybody but goddammit I love 'em. Oh, and RIFFS.
#4 TORTURE CHAIN Mutilating Astral Entities
This here badboy was only released on cassette at Chaos In Tejas a few weeks ago and is completely sold out. Nor is it on Youtube. Truly kvlt. But relax, it's too good to not be released in other formats. US Black Metal. If you think USBM can't stand up to our brothers from Norway, you're in for a surprise. Every demo Torture Chain has done before this is great and really upped my expectations for when they release a full length. Well, expectations meant. I wish I could provide a sample but here's there full demo from 2012 so you can get a taste.
#3 ENFORCER Death By Fire
Call them a retro retread act, call them cock rock or a novelty, call them whatever you want. Enforcer brings us back to a time when Metal was more about fun than who can be more grim than the next guy. They balance somewhere between NWBHM and Speed Metal and goddamn is it awesome. If you can't enjoy this than you're just an asshole, it's that simple. Great musicians, great songwriting and songs you're going to actually remember months from now! Gasp! What a novelty. Memorable songs are a rarity in Metal these days and trust me there's a bunch of songs here you'll be waking up with in your head.
#2 SACRIPHYX The Western Front
In their debut LP Sacriphyx takes Death Metal, elements of Doom and Black Metal combined with war themes and creates what is destined to become a classic. Other bands have done this but not the way Sacriphyx has. While most bands focus on the violence, Sacriphyx focuses on the emotions of war. Fear, despair, honor, valor and tell a story. The whole album is based off of WWI battles and even with growled lyrics they are able to convey all these emotions perfectly. A well thought out history lesson of a Death Metal album. Whodathunkit?
#1 MAGIC CIRCLE Magic Circle
Local Massachusetts Hardcore kids from bands like The Rival Mob who thought the could make a Doom Metal album and uh boy, where they right! Loosely musically comparable to bands like both Pagan Altar and Pallbearer and of course the indominable Black Sabbath,what really sets it apart is the vocal performance. Ozzy-esque with out the nasally voice it really pulls the whole album together and they are even better live. Great, memorable songs that can be played over and over without getting sick of them. The marks of a true classic.
There you have it you pencil neck geeks, my best of the first half of 2013. Hopefully the 2nd half is just as fruitful!!! See ya soon!