If you follow me on twitter, or if you read my first two short stories (now out of print), you know what a huge fan of heavy metal music I am. So, it only seems fitting that I should do a list like this. This is in no particular order, except for the last two.
10. Hatebreed – Divinity of Purpose
I don’t know if it’s the name or what, but Hatebreed just doesn’t get the recognition or respect they deserve. They have their own distinctive sound which is lovingly showcased on Divinity, but they also try out a few new things. The entire album is heavy and in your face, which if you’re tired of your favorite bands watering down their sound to appeal to the masses, you will definitely appreciate. Favorite tracks include: Honor Never Dies, Before the Fight Ends You, and Dead Man Breathing.
9. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side of Heaven & the Righteous Side Of Hell, Vol. 1
A duet with Maria Brink? Yes, please! I’m a huge 5FDP fan. Seen them live at least 4 times now. The Wrong Side of Heaven featured a lot of guests and was quite a masterpiece.
8. City in the Sea – Below the Noise
I had a chance to see these guys live back in October and they were just as good live as they are on the album.
7. RED – Release the Panic
Red is probably on the less heavy end of the metal spectrum, if there is such a thing. I still enjoy them a lot. When I’m looking for something angsty to write to, I usually pull up RED. Release the Panic held an incredible number of great songs on it including, Damage, If We Only, Release the Panic, Die for You, Perfect life, and Same Disease. Plus, I finally got to see them live this year, so that made me pretty happy too!
6. Fall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll
I’ve never been a huge FOB fan. But Save Rock and Roll had some great songs including Just One Yesterday, Alone Together and The Phoenix.
5. Asking Alexandria – From Death to Destiny
A little bit different sound from previous AA albums, but I like it. From Death feels like growth and exploration of different sounds rather than selling out. Killing You, The Death of Me, Run Free, Don’t Pray for Me, Moving On and the Road were stand out tracks for me. Looking forward to seeing them live in 2014.
4. Dayshell – Self Titled
Shayley Bourget’s voice is one of the reasons I fell in love with the band Of Mice & Men, so when he left I was disappointed. I perked up when I heard he was starting his own project Dayshell, and then not so patiently waited for the first album to drop. In fact, I think this was the only album that I pre-ordered way in advance this year. Finally releasing in September, it was worth the wait! Also got to see them live on the Allstars tour and they delivered. Every song is solid. Favorites include: Edge of the World, Share With Me, Not coming In, Avatar, Hail to the Queen, and I Owe You Nothing.
3. I See Stars – New Demons
My love of I See Stars is a funny thing. I saw them live twice and didn’t get all the fuss. If you don’t know, they have a pretty large, loyal fanbase. Once I got my hands on a copy of Digital Renegade, I understood. They do a brilliant, unique mix of electronic and hardcore music with fierce unclean vocals. After wearing out my copy of Digital Renegade I was eagerly awaiting New Demons and I have not been disappointed. More than excited to see them live again in 2014.
My favorites: Ten Thousand Feet, New Demons, Violent Bounce, Muder Mitten, We’re Not in Kansas Anymre and Crystal Ball, but honestly they’re all fantastic.
2. Attila – About that Life
Attila gets a lot of hatred. They self-describe as “party metal” so if you don’t care for light-hearted lyrics about drinking and mayhem, avoid. That’s fine, because sometimes I’m just not looking for something deep and meaningful. Sometimes I just want to rock out and sing along to something totally inane that sounds good. About that Life was that album for me in 2013. Not going to lie, I’ve probably listened to at least one song from it every day since it released. I was lucky enough to see them live and they put on an excellent show.
Favorite tracks include: About that Life, Middle Fingers Up, Thug Life, Unforgivable, Backtalk and The New Kings. Looking forward to catching them live with I See Stars in February.
1. Bring Me the Horizon – Sempiternal
Quite possibly the exact opposite of everything I said about Attila. Bring Me the Horizon’s Sempiternal contains some very nuanced songs layered with meaning. It is absolutely brilliant from start to finish. Every song is a gem. Can You Feel My Heart is probably my favorite but Antivist is a close second and the rest of the album is tied for third. I’m not kidding.
Honorable mentions: We Came As Romans – Tracing Back Roots, Killswitch Engage – Disarm the Descent, Sleeping with Sirens – Feel and Glass Cloud’s EP – Perfect War Forever.