As much as it’s The Right Thing to say that music isn’t a competition, it’s also fair and correct to point out that music is not your children. You’re allowed to have a favourite and you usually do. That’s why we like to focus on our favourites. here are some brief explanations as to why our contributors’ favourite albums are their favourite albums.
Of course, all of these favourite albums were compiled and democratised into an overall Thrash Hits Album of 2013. If you’d like to read TH Editors, Raziq Rauf and Hugh Platt‘s Top 3 albums of 2013, you should click here. They’re special and one of them is writing about himself in third person right now.
Crash of Rhinos – Knots
In a year that was paved with conspiracies, Crash of Rhinos were running away with the public vote for Thrash Hits’ COROT-3b Prize before Acoda’s late surge, but both bands were cruelly denied victory by the website’s editors in a move that would’ve made even Robert Mugabe blush. With all five members playing instruments (yes, they have two bassists) and sharing microphone duties, Derby’s Crash of Rhinos weave patterns that envelope themselves around the listener and twist, turn and tangle. They achieve a brutish kind of beauty built on mathy melody, quiet cacophony and grizzled vocals that soar gracefully.
Deafheaven – Sunbather
I really wanted a different no.1 to everyone else, but that’s not how these things work, is it? Sack the “album of the year” title, it’s one of the most powerful and uplifting records I’ve ever heard.
TesseracT – Altered State
TesseracT – Altered State
It’s funny what can come out of adversity, eh? After a shaky 2012, it’s as if TesseracT decided self-pity was off the table, consolidation be damned. Resisting weighty temptation to churn out the Two to 2011’s lauded debut One, Altered State saw them dig deeper into dynamics of progressive music in general – aided in no small part by their shrewd recruitment of Ashe O’Hara (Voices From The Fuselage). It boasts grounded awestruck anthems like ‘Nocturne’ and, in the likes of ‘Calabi-Yau’, atmospheric experimentation that’s no mere cover-up for some trip down their collective naval. Altered State is the album that sees TesseracT move from djent flag planters to frontier explorers of progressive metal. And – armed with maturing anthemic tendencies, the ability to imbue a sense of awe into their tunes, and an ever broadening imaginative reach – I’m intrigued to see where they go from here.
Deafheaven – Sunbather
I keep going back and forth on the Deafheaven and Altar of Plagues’ record. Which one is best? Well, they’re both great, duh, but Deafheaven have the edge because for them this is the album that has made them. It’s pushed them to the fore and people are talking about them – both positively and negatively (oh my god it’s not even really black metal – fuck off, eh?) and for them, this is just the beginning. I love the AoP album, so much, but this was the end of the band and it feels so final but I’m glad they went out on what is probably the best work they’ve ever done.
Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen
Ihsahn’s gone way, way off his own stylistic boundaries and into brand new territory. Emotional, brilliantly composed and a work of genuine genius.
The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation
As a someone in their mid-to-late twenties who is, essentially, a failure in almost every conceivable regard, The Wonder Years’ latest effort speaks to me in an almost telepathic way. Rich and colourful storytelling paired with fist in the air pop-punk to stunning effect. The Greatest Generation is heartbreaking and life-affirming in equal measure. I treasure this album.
Jamie Lenman – Muscle Memory
Part 1 is a raging bastard, and Part 2 is a jolly. Weird, totally unexpected, and a late contender after what has been a great year overall. Not many records impress me this much on the first listen.
letlive. – The Blackest Beautiful
I loved Fake History, I love The Blackest Beautiful. The three years between the records have done a lot – for both the band and their fans. People’s musical tastes have changed, and with that it has brought ll. From knocking out an album containing some simply huge bangers to releasing a banging album with massive, massive songs. It just feels like a great album, it doesn’t lose its way or tail off like I found with FH, but maintains its course from start to finish like any great album should. Besides, THAT drum bit in ‘That Fear Fever’ Still makes me grin like a twat.
Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal
I don’t think it can be underestimated how big a step this record is for a band who used to be mocked and derided by “metal” fans and who are now quite rightly heralded as one of the brightest burning lights in UK rock music. It’s clear from the opening track “Can You Feel My Heart” that the band is firing on all cylinders, and quite simply this is a record bursting at the seams with “bangers”. While others fumble uncomfortably with electronics, desperately trying to make their metalcore-by-the-numbers sound more relevant and “now”, BMTH have flawlessly and tastefully succeeded where others fail thanks to the addition of Jordan Fish, and quite apart from being a fantastic album from start to finish and undoubtedly BMTH’s best record to date, “Sempiternal” makes you genuinely excited about what this band will produce in the future. Gold.
Vanna – The Few And Far Between
This is my number one album for 2013, purely based on the fact that until this year, I hadn’t even heard of the band before. A lovely man called Ives who was working with TAIM this summer at Ghostfest was wearing a Vanna raincoat, and told me to check them out. Little did I know they were playing in about 15 minutes time at the festival, so I went down to the room they were playing in, and was completely blown away. This album is fucking brilliant – and so are all their others. So, for me 2013, was finding Vanna (and Night Verses, Rosetta, The Hell and of course, Jamie Lenman coming back). Listen to ‘Please Stay’. It’s so amazing.
Touché Amoré – Is Survived By
This band navigates the tendrils of the human psyche more clearly than any other band in existence. Is Survived By sees them in an introspective mood, but that doesn’t stop the record exploding with indignation at the grotesque inadequacies in society. Every track is deeply personal, yet every one speaks to the mass of disaffected youth who can’t imagine cementing a legacy in a technologically advanced, but socially atavistic, world.
Biffy Clyro – Opposites
Double albums have a history of being ok at best, often rubbish, but rarely great. However Biffy Clyro’s sixth is up there with the best of their career. A masterclass in contemporary rock music over 20 songs and the likes of ‘Biblical’ and ‘Picture a Knife Fight’ are big enough to fill the huge arenas and festival stages the band now headline. This album cemented Biffy Clyro’s position as one of the best rock bands in the world.
Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods
As Samuel Johnson nearly said, when a man is tired of Amon Amarth, he is tired of life.
Darkthrone The Underground Resistance
If anyone else had released this record in 2013, they’d have been laughed out of the room. Whilst it’s true that so much of The Underground Resistance is just a wee bit rubbish, it’s DARKTHRONE, for fuck’s sake the band that codified an entire scene’s aesthetic almost by accident. That slackness is a huge part of the zero fucks, ballsout charm of an album that achieves the only thing a metal album really needs to do plaster a massive grin on the face of any true (or trve) headbanger that hears it. Dropping the Motörheadisms and applying broad sweeps of Agent Steel, Venom and Bathory instead makes this a far more riff-fuelled affair than we’ve heard from Darkthrone for a long time,and Fenriz’s experiments with King Diamond-esque wails and shrieks lift the whole thinginto the ‘essential’ bracket. Album closer ‘Leave No Cross Unturned’ might even be the best thing they EVER record.
Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories)
This needs no introducing. Wonderful musical craftsmanship from the modern day master of prog, topped off with some of the finest guitar playing on a record this year, courtesy of Guthrie Govan. Stunning stuff.