10. After the Burial – Wolves Within
After the incredibly dismal and unremarkable In Dreams, I had low expectations for this album. The musicianship on display on Wolves Within is superb, but the band is kept from reaching their full potential, and a higher slot on this list, by a lackluster vocal performance and slightly odd production.
9. The Holy Guile – FSU
Despite coming across as slightly juvenile in presentation, The Holy Guile’s debut full length effort, FSU, is an expertly-crafted piece of music. This album is most likely to be connected and compared to vocalist Saud Ahmed’s previous project, the now-defunct Crimson Armada, but it is capable of standing apart from TCA and on its own.
8. Silverstein – This is How the Wind Shifts
Silverstein has always been a band that seemingly gets better with age and This is How the Wind Shifts is no exception. There’s not much to say about this album other than it is classic Silverstein, which is hardly a bad thing.
7. A Day to Remember – Common Courtesy
A Day to Remember had quite the task ahead of them after their extremely divisive 2010 effort, What Separates Me from You. Common Courtesy, however, is an excellent return to form that successfully manages to blend all of the best elements of their past releases without coming across as stale.
6. Bring Me the Horizon – Sempiternal
While I give Silverstein credit for being able to maintain and build upon their defined sound, I have to also commend Bring Me the Horizon for being able to successfully reinvent themselves with each album and sound good while doing it. Sempiternal is the band’s least “metal” album to date, but that does not stop it from being extremely energetic and endearing. Possibly the band’s finest effort to date.
5. Ovid’s Withering – Scryers of the Ibis
Scryers of the Ibis is to 2013 what Slice the Cake’s The Man With No Face was to 2012: an absolutely outstanding progressive death metal (perhaps this tag is too simple, but accurately capturing their genre in text would take far too long) record unlike anything else. Ovid’s Withering successfully blends several genres of extreme metal and sprinkles eloquently-composed lyrics about the Greek gods and myths across the top to create one hell of an album.
4. Defeater – Letters Home
It’s not quite as emotionally charged as Empty Days and Sleepless Nights, but Letters Home is an outstanding record nonetheless. Songs such as “No Savior” contrast excellently with more aggressive ones such as “Rabbit Foot” to demonstrate that Defeater is much more than a one-trick pony.
3. Sworn In – The Death Card
Some people might accuse Sworn In of simply being angsty teenagers, and The Death Card certainly does show some evidence of that, but I think they’re onto something. The Death Card is one of the most pissed-off, aggressive releases of the year and I’m looking forward to what they can do with some time to grow and hone their sound even further.
2. The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack
The Black Dahlia Murder returns again with their decidedly evil homage to Gothenburg melodeath with a modern twist. Everblack is filled with superb riffs and wicked vocals that both seem to improve with each release. Also on show is drummer Alan Cassidy’s Black Dahlia debut. Cassidy had considerable shoes to fill after the departure of Shannon Lucas, but he does a commendable job here and has hopefully dispelled all doubts about the change.
1. Dark Sermon – In Tongues
I’ve been listening to this album somewhat regularly since it came out near the beginning of the year and it still has not gotten old. In Tongues is the best debut album to be released this year, as well as my personal favorite of 2013, and suggests that there will be more fantastic releases from Dark Sermon in the future. Dark Sermon wastes no time with contrived deathcore stereotypes and tropes and shows everyone the way modern deathcore should be. “The Tree of New Life” is quite possibly my favorite song of 2013.
Erra - Augment
We Came as Romans - Tracing Back Roots
Goodmorning, Gorgeous - Capstone
Dance Gavin Dance - Acceptance Speech
Impending Doom - Death Will Reign