Sebastian’s Favorites Of 2013
12. Turisas – Turisas2013
The Finnish power folk metal act delivers its most experimental and controversial record, and that’s what makes this album so entertaining, unique, and unpredictable.
11. Saltatio Mortis – Das Schwarze Einmaleins
The German medieval rock band delivers one of its best records ever, filled with a balanced mixture of joyful and vivid hymns, as well as some dark and intellectual lyrics.
10. In Extremo – Kunstraub
In Extremo is still the best German medieval rock band around, and delivers a record filled with tearjerking folk ballads, modern industrial bangers, and joyous anthems for the crowd.
9. Ewigheim – Nachruf
The German gothic metal band delivers a record filled with numerous catchy anthems thanks to simple but effective instrumentation, dark but passionate lyrics, and charismatic vocals.
8. Ivory Twilight – Seven
This symphonic power metal act from Bulgaria convinces with a diversified, experimental, and open-minded debut record featuring more fresh ideas than any other genre band in recent memory, as well as a stunning mixture of three very different vocalists.
7. Activator – Defender Of Life
The Russian heavy/power metal project released two records in one year, with the first one being by far the best and freshest metal opera release that easily beats out Avantasia, Ayreon, or Timo Tolkki’s Avalon this year.
6. Tyr – Valkyrja
The legends from the Faroe Islands are back with one of their finest efforts ever, featuring atmospheric ballads, authentic folk-driven tracks, progressive heavy metal epics, energizing Viking metal hymns, and even two fantastic cover songs.
5. Voivod – Target Earth
The French-Canadian progressive thrash metal band is back with a bang, and even though this record goes back to the band’s legendary outputs Killing Technology, Dimension Hatröss, and Nothingface, the new release sounds fresh, motivated, and open-minded.
4. Atrocity – Okkult
This German metal band has always been a hit or miss thing, and has covered pretty much everything from brutal death metal over gothic rock to ethereal folk rock, but their newest output is probably their best, as it features many atmospheric extreme metal, as well as some experimentation in a highly consistent and coherent album.
3. Stratovarius – Nemesis
I have always been a fan of earlier Stratovarius records such as the atmospheric Twilight Time, the progressive masterpiece Dreamspace, and the open-minded power metal milestone Visions, but the last few years had been rather chaotic and disappointing apart from the more interesting Elysium. The highly diverse, emotionally passionate, and absolutely energizing hit record Nemesis is more than just a return to form, but a career milestone that is only beaten out for me by Dreamspace.
2. Amorphis – Circle
Amorphis is my favorite metal band ever, and their most recent effort is one of their best, featuring one of my favorite songs ever, “Hopeless Days”, as well as many other greats like “Narrow Path” or the courageous black metal-driven highlight “Nightbird’s Song”.
1. Orphaned Land – All Is One
Israel’s dynamic folk, progressive, and symphonic metal band Orphaned Land put out its very finest effort this year. My best album of the year combines epic symphonic metal with exotic middle eastern folk songs and open-minded lyrics with a relevant and true message. This here is by far the best text passage in any song of the year: “Evil falls on each of us, there’s nothing new; who cares if you’re a Muslim or a Jew; the awakened ones are nothing but a few; and the one to make the difference now is YOU.”
13. Bader Nana – Anthology (Kuwait) // 14. Dagoba – Post Mortem Nihil Est (France) // 15. Ai Weiwei – The Divine Comedy (China) // 16. Tang Dynasty – Thorn (China) // 17. Black Sabbath – 13 (United Kingdom) // 18. Anvil – Hope In Hell (Canada) // 19. The Maintenance – Under Construction (Japan) // 20. Keldian – Outbound (Norway) // 21. Helloween – Straight Out Of Hell (Germany) // 22. The Vision Bleak – Witching Hour (Germany) // 23. Avantasia – The Mystery Of Time (Germany) // 24. Anarchadia – Let Us All Unite (Syria) // 25. Chthonic – Bu-Tik (Taiwan)
Most anticipated releases for 2014:
Black Infinity – The Illuminati Of Love And Death I & II (Vietnam) // Crematory – Antiserum (Germany) // Gamma Ray – Empire Of The Undead (Germany) // Sabaton – Heroes (Sweden) // Sonata Arctica – Pariah’s Child (Finland) // Tengger Cavalry – Ancient Call (China) / Within Temptation – Hydra (Netherlands) // Xandria – Sacrificium (Germany)
Possible new Anthrax record (United States of America) // possible new Apoptygma Berzerk record (Norway) // possible new Edguy record (Germany) // possible new Elvenking record (Italy) // possible new Eluveitie record (Switzerland) // possible new In Flames record (Sweden) // possible new Overkill record (United States of America) // possible new Screaming Savior record (China) // possible new Sexto Sonar record (Venezuela) // possible new Sigh record (Japan) // possible new Therion record (Sweden) // possible new Unisonic record (Germany) // possible new X Japan record (Japan) // and many more