Joe's Top 10 Albums of 2023

Joe's Top 10 Albums of 2023

It's been another bumper year for metal. This list is the result of countless hours spent listening to a variety of albums from across the extreme metal sphere. There are so many incredible albums that didn't make this list, which is a testament to the sheer quality of releases present in this year. Long may it continue.

Here are the 10 that made the cut:

10. Eternal Rot - Moribound
Release Date: 24th July 2023
Label: Momento Mori

This album is as vile as the cover suggests, but it still manages to worm its way into your brain and embed itself there. The sheer volume of weighty riffs this band produce is mind-blowing. The production is spot-on, and highlights the incredible song writing buried beneath the pus-drenched exterior.

9. Autrest - Follow the Cold Path
Release Date: 16th February 2023
Label: Northern Silence Productions

This is a debut album, from a one-man project from Brazil. Have a listen to it, and let that sink in. Sounding like it hails from the icy plains of Scandinavia, this album is an atmospheric black metal masterpiece.

8. Krigsgrav - Fires in the Fall
Release Date: 23rd June 2023
Label: Wise Blood Records

This album has so many layers. Rooted in Black Metal, with hints of Death and Doom, this has something for a wide variety of extreme metal fans. Dripping in atmosphere, with blistering riffs and enchanting melodies. My favourite album artwork of the year as well.

7. Necropanther - Betrayal
Release Date: 3rd March 2023
Label: Independent

This album rips. There isn't any other way to describe it. It's Melodic Death/Thrash, with dynamic vocal delivery, great riffs and memorable songs.

6. Katatonia - Sky Void of Stars
Release Date: 20th January 2023
Label: Napalm Records

How do they do it? A sound that demands repeat listens, each one hooking you in and forcing you to take notice. There is no other band on this planet that can produce music that burrows its way slowly into your consciousness. A band that has truly perfected their art continues to deliver.

5. Horrendous - Ontological Mysterium
Release Date: 18th August 2023
Label: Season of Mist

Progressive Death Metal has taken a number of different forms since Chuck Schuldiner produced the template for it in the late 80s. There hasn't been a band since then that has embodied it quite so well as Horrendous. Their latest offering sees them at their peak.

4. RUÏM - Black Royal Spiritism - I​.​ O Sino da Igreja
Release Date: 26th May 2023
Label: Peaceville Records

A two-piece featuring Blasphemer (of Mayhem fame) as the principal architect. This is Black Metal based on the ideas that he brought to Mayhem in the late 90s. A masterclass in second wave Black Metal, with some other influences thrown in. The result: a near-perfect album, with a lot to unlock on each spin.

3. Arcas - Where the Light Once Shone
Release Date: 1st September 2023
Label: Northern Silence Productions

I've not heard many people mention this album, which is a travesty. An album that is steeped in so much atmosphere, it borders on a transcendent experience. Another one-man Black Metal project, this is an album not focused on riffs, but on the overall feel. It certainly delivers on that.  

2. Wayfarer - American Gothic
Release Date: 27th October 2023
Label: Profound Lore Records

Wild-west themed, melodic Black Metal. It should not sound this good. This is a totally unique band, with a totally unique sound. It just works, on so many levels.

1. Fires in the Distance - Air Not Meant for Us
Release Date: 28th April 2023
Label: Prosthetic Records

I've struggled to think of an album in the last 10 years that has had this much impact on me. Melody, heavy riffs and emotion all exude from this masterpiece of an album. There really is no other way to describe it. Ask me in 7 years if this is my favourite album of the decade...

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