Friday 20 December 2013

Chris Markwell’s Top 25 Records of 2013

25) Necrotic Disgorgement – Documentaries of Dementia

A death metal album full of swagger, insanely offensive titles and brutal music.  If ever I’m feeling in need of a pick-me-up, this is the album I turn to. 

24) Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose

BLACK STAR RIDERS - All Hell Breaks Loose

Scott Gorham and co. decided to not record an album under the Thin Lizzy moniker, and instead became Black Star Riders.  They created an album that rolls back the years to a simpler time of hard rock, hard fighting and hard living.  A modern-era classic that Lynnott would be proud of. 

23) Red Fang – Whales and Leeches

True blue fuzz and filth, a great follow-up to 2011’s ‘Murder the Mountains’. 

22) Born of Osiris – Tomorrow We Die Alive


I’m not the only one who’s surprised that this album is here.  But it is.  And it is amazing, combining electronic elements with ridiculously heavy, slamming blast beats.  Take a risk and check it out. 

21) Speedtrap – Powerdose

Some great thrash metal from Helsinki, bringing back the raw aggression of the early 80’s and throwing in some new millennium venom with it. 

20) Revelation – Inner Harbor

A sonic road odyssey, with prog turns and rock highways that send the mind racing. 

19) Wormed – Exodromos

These Spanish noise maniacs take this year’s title for ‘Lowest Vocal Pitch’, Phlegeton’s pipes are just that guttural his tones have been known to cause nosebleeds in more sensitive listeners. 
18) Hierophant – Great Mother Holy Monster

My very first review for The Sludgelord was for these Italian hardcore ruffians. And yes, their terrific audio madness is
still as potent now as it was all those months ago.

17) Palms – Palms

Chino Moreno and Isis created a beautiful album, full of spacy goodness and oozing New Romantic style.  The perfect album to chill out to after a long, hard day. 
16) Black Sabbath – 13

One of the most polarizing albums of this year, ‘13’ has elicited a great many reactions from press and public alike.  Although it is a shame original drummer Bill Ward was not allowed to record the album for whatever reason, Brad Wilk delivers an excellent stand-in job.  As for Ozzy, Tony and Geezer, the album rolls back the years to the time when these three men were at their most vital.  Whether you love it or you hate it, you have to respect the fact that these guys are still going and still desire to create heavy music. 

15) Gary Numan – Splinter

The godfather of industrial came back into the fray with an album of darkly delightful electro tunes.  This guy seems to have an endless supply of inspiration: he’s a marvel to behold. 

14) Blackout – We Are Here

This Brooklyn cave metal trio blew me away with their six track of epic, fuzz-fueled sludgery.  Every metalhead’s home should have this in their collection. 

13) Exivious – Liminal

The new band from ex-Cynic member Tymon Kruidenier took me on a prog journey of heroic proportions.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy the noise. 
12) Kylesa – Ultraviolet

Recommended to me by the illustrious Matt Fitton, Kylesa are space, rock, sound and vibrancy all rolled into one.  Plus Laura Pleasants is one hell of a guitarist. 

11) Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light

A brutal debut from this Reading, PA quintet.  Listen to track ‘Mechanical Trees’ and feel your mind rage with happiness. 
10) Orchid – The Mouths of Madness

Orchid are living, breathing reincarnations of the 70s hard rock scene.  ‘The Mouths of Madness’ is a fitting homage to those days, a beautiful metal epic that soars above the everyday metal landscape. 

9) Dichotomy – Paradigms

Tech death never sounded so good.  These fine gents from the Emerald Isle created an album so brutal, so gosh-darn monolithic, it threatened to turn my speakers into molten lumps of plastic.  Amazing doesn’t begin to cover it. 

8) Kataklysm – Waiting for the End to Come

These Canadian hyperblasters simply smashed their way into my top 10 with an album that is just mind-bogglingly vicious.  Seriously.  It has to be kept on a leash to prevent it from eating the other CDs

7) Euphoric Defilement – Ascending to the Worms

Just like the band name suggests, listening to these guys is such joyous destruction.  Everything about their songs is pulverizing- they made something that should definitely be regarded as a modern death classic. 

6) Autopsy – The Headless Ritual

Doom, death, torment and grind: Autopsy are truly masters of the extreme metal art.  Their latest exhibition is just a gallery full of twisted masterpieces, through which everyone should walk. 
5) Motörhead – Aftershock

I owe a lot to Motörhead.  One of my earliest musical memories is of my dad putting on his vinyl of ‘Iron Fist’ and showing me what fast music was all about.  I got to repay my dad for this gift by taking him to see them live for his 63rd birthday.  Lemmy and co. have always been there for me: outlaws who stuck a middle finger up to bullshit at every opportunity.  ‘Aftershock’ is just another fist raised in defiance of Father Time, and is filled to the brim with riffs, speed and passion.  Here’s to you, Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey: Motörhead forever! 

4) Combichrist – No Redemption

These German industrial demons threw 2013 a curve ball by not only writing an album for use with a video game (Devil May Cry), they also made it a balls-to-the-wall rock fest.  Andy LaPlegua and friends tear the scene apart with their catchy hooks and uncompromising attitude towards making heavy music.  Quite simply, ‘No Redemption’ rocks. 

3) Carcass – Surgical Steel

These Scouse death metal titans returned to the battlefield with this: an album so magnificent it (personally speaking) matches ‘Heartwork’ for its brilliance.  This is THE death metal album of 2013 for me. 

2) Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

Ahhh, Trent Reznor.  After making Oscar-winning soundtracks and prancing about with your lady fair in How to Destroy Angels, you came back to your first love.  And boy, were we happy for it.  Nothing else can really match NIN’s razorblade smile or insidious stare: I was hypnotised by this album on first listen, and never want to snap out of the trance.

1) The Ocean - Pelagial

Here it is.  THE album of 2013 for me.  German prog metal behemoths The Ocean and ‘Pelagial’.  An album so vast the seven seas could be dwarfed by its scope.  So deep, you could never see its true end.  Robin Staps and his merry band of troubadours took my mind and sent it hurtling down to skull-crushing levels.  Ever since then I have listened regularly to this album and found new marvels to wonder at, new inspirations to draw from.  If I were stranded on a desert island, I would most certainly take The Ocean with me.