Here they are, my five favorite albums released in 2013, along with a special podcast with tracks from each. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
5 – General Lee – Raiders Of The Evil Eye (Play The Assassin Records)
Although technically released in 2012, the vinyl re-release this year prompted a new publicity campaign, which is where I caught wind of the post-hardcore group out of France. Setting aside that slight technicality, listeners to Raiders Of The Evil Eye are in for an absolute treat; melding Converge with post-rock-esque instrumental passages and atmospherics, the record sucks you in from two minutes in and doesn’t let you go until the absolutely brilliant closing passage of “Running With Sharp Scissors” has subsided.
Featured Track: “Running With Sharp Scissors”
4 – Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Capitol Records)
Looking back at my review, my feelings on The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here haven’t really changed all that much; essentially, it’s a brilliant record, but calling it an Alice In Chains record doesn’t quite fit the bill. Yes, Jerry Cantrell still conjures the spirit of the Layne Staley days with his voice and his guitar, but without Staley, this isn’t the same band. Despite that, I only found three other records this year that left the same mark. As much as I might miss what was, that is a ringing endorsement for this version of one of my favorite bands of all time.
Featured track: “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”
3 – David Bowie – The Next Day (ISO / Columbia)
Few albums were as hyped as The Next Day, which marked Bowie’s first studio effort for longer than many people realized. A void nobody could possibly fill was amply filled, all hype was met and The Next Day proved that the Alien still had something special in him to share with humanity. A more complete, and completely satisfying, rock record could hardly be found in 2013 or in any other year.
Featured Track: “Valentine’s Day”
2 – Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork (Matador / Rekords Records)
The internal strife, the severe funk of frontman Josh Homme, the seemingly inevitable return…all of it came together on …Like Clockwork like a fresh breeze, breathing new life into a band that seemed to be coasting for several records. There is real danger on …Like Clockwork, chances taken, experiments undergone, and in the end it makes for the best QOTSA record since their breakthrough Songs For The Deaf
Featured Track: “Keep Your Eyes Peeled”
1 – Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen (Candlelight Records)
Candlelight Records have long been a favorite. Ihsahn has long been a favorite, from his monumental work with Emperor and, even more so, as a progressively-tilted solo artist. Das Seelenbrechen, even before hitting my ears, seemed like it was going to blow me away. The stars were aligned for something special, with Ihsahn quoting an urge towards experimentation and untouched, spur-of-the-moment elements throughout the record. The results? The best metal album of 2013, the best piece of music of 2013, and a record that I’ll be playing until I die. Beautiful in every sense of the word.
Featured Track: “Tacit”
Enjoy the podcast! The tracks are in the order they’re listed above:
General Lee – Running With Sharp Scissors
Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
David Bowie – Valentine’s Day
Queens Of The Stone Age – Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Ihsahn – Tacit
It was a great year for music, but what year isn’t? Here’s to an even better 2014! Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year to all of you faithful Emissionites!