Lists! - Heavy Blog Is Heavy

Category: Lists!


Here we are at the end of our fifth year at Heavy Blog. I remember at one point in high school (circa 2005-2006), I listened to Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet for my Valentine and thought death metal was unmelodic noisey garbage that tried way too hard to be offensive. I even wrote a rant about the matter on my MySpace blog, which served as a precursor for Heavy Blog. Embarrassing, I know. So why talk about it now?

I feel like if you look back on every year-end list I’ve done for this site (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), you can see an evolution take place from metalcore kid just getting his feet wet in the online metal community to someone who I feel is more well-rounded and respective of all genres. You won’t just be catching prog and djent, I assure you. This list has more diversity, and likely includes the heaviest albums of any list I’ve done before. This blog has some depth in that regard, as you can chart the taste of our writers as they change over the years. I like to think that’s pretty neat, and it allows for this site to grow and change with the genre we all associate with so closely. Thankfully, music taste is fluid, and I’m glad that there’s more and more music available every year for us to enjoy.

2013 was an insane year. I graduated college, landed my first job from of my major, and started living on my own. With so much going on, you may have noticed a bit of a dip in content once summer rolled around. That wasn’t a coincidence. Even with a 8-4 job, I still try to keep Heavy Blog afloat, though I’ve considered stepping down or closing our doors on more than one occasion as the stress got a little hard to handle. Who knows what 2014 will hold, but I do know that 2013 was unforgettable. I can’t believe it’s almost over.

So without further ado, here’s an arbitrarily numbered list of awesome albums from 2013. Remember: it’s okay to not like thing.

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2013, what a year. Seriously. As of writing this introduction, it’s the 10th of December and I’m staring down the barrel of a list of around thirty releases that I still have yet check out and by all accounts could probably destroy the order of this list but, oh well, c’est la vie. Maybe some day I’ll catch up, but it won’t be any time soon.

Once again, this year I made everything extremely hard for myself by only picking ten records in an effort to counter the fact I enjoyed such a huge selection of metal. This list represents ten records that, when I pick up my iPod to put something on before heading out the door, are the tried and true selections that I tend to opt for — it’s an odd measure, but one that for me tends to pick out the records that I truly love and have listened to enough to know inside out. So, check them out, or don’t, it’s up to you — I just hope you guys had as much of a good year as I did.

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Due to work circumstances, I haven’t really been able to write a lot for HBIH in the second half of the year, but music is what kept me going through the long, tiring days at work the entire year. Without further ado, I present you the 15 albums, 3 EPs and 1 video that really became a part of my daily routine and made my life much more colorful. I really enjoyed listening to these over and over and I feel like they’ve become a part of me. That’s what matters with music, right? Also, I put a link/embed to listen to my favorite track from each album, so you can enjoy them like I did!

Without further ado, bring on my arbitrarily ordered list of enjoyable albums from this year that you should take seriously!

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I’m going to skip the intro because I know most of you just want to read the list.

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dan wieten

Man, what an INSANE year this has been. I’ve undergone some major life overhauls and taken some huge risks, both personally and with my band The Omega Experiment. So many dreams have been fulfilled this year. The Omega Experiment re-released our debut on Listenable Records in February, appeared in the likes of Metal Hammer, Terrorizer, and PROG magazines, and toured Europe with Fates Warning and played ProgPower and Euroblast. Touring Europe was my first ever time out of the country besides Canada (does that even count?), and it was also my first time ever flying. I switched majors from mathematics to writing (yay), finally moved out on my own again after spending a few years with my dad trying to recover from a haggard ten year drug addiction, moved back in with him for a month between places, moved back out, almost had a nervous breakdown trying to recuperate financially from tour… I’m sure there’s more but that’s the gist of it.

I can’t begin to think how next year will top this year as far as taking risks, change, and accomplishments. So far I’m looking forward to continuing writing our second album, maybe playing a few shows, seeing where I’ll live when my lease is up, and forging ahead with my writing career. But before I venture too far into the future, I’ll reminisce on this past year in music for me. I spent the better part of it listening to and adding to my usual Spotify playlists (80s, black metal, etc.), and sifting through tons of stuff people told me to check out or that I kept seeing in my Facebook feed. I sometimes feel like Facebook is a real killer of music, because if you keep getting fed the same shit everyday and people are raving about something, if you’re anywhere near as rebellious as I am, you’ll run like hell. I adore Deafheaven. I really do. I preordered Sunbather and listened to it all the way through maybe once; one reason being that I was pretty swamped with school/recovery/band/work/etc, but also because people just kept talking about it and talking about it. I still have no desire to put it on and give it the fair shot it deserves. I suppose the same could be said for other albums on my list, but this one in particular was just overwhelming. So it’s not here. Sorry.

The most memorable part of the year musically for me was over the spring and summer, when from out of nowhere Letlive’s album Fake History knocked me on my ass for the first time and instigated a rekindling of the hardcore flame that burns inside me. So I took suggestions from friends and scoured their picks, coming out of it with a new favorite band in Counterparts. This also just in time for their latest album, The Difference Between Hell and Home. This was the best album of the year for me. It spoke to me on a level I haven’t felt from a band like that in a long time, and at a crucial point in my life when I needed it most. The rest of my picks have no particular order. So, without further ado, here are the albums that made this year bearable for me:

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Some of you may know me as one of the photographers for Heavy Blog. I shoot shows in Philadelphia, NYC, and occasionally other places. Due to the thriving scenes on the east coast, almost every band I want to see tours around me. As I shot over 100 shows this year, I was exposed to a lot of different music. My opinion of a band’s music on an album changes for better or for worse when I see a band live. As this is the case, my top 20 list only consists of bands I did not see this year.

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2013 was a difficult year for me musically. Choosing ten albums that stuck with me, meant something to me, was not an easy task. No other year in my memory did I spend more time listening to albums from years past than albums from the current year. There were, however, many albums I did enjoy. Every album I gave a positive review was worth quite a few listens. My biggest problem this year was the mass amounts of hype surrounding certain albums, a few of which I really wanted to enjoy. Album’s like The Ocean‘s Pelagial started off strong enough but fizzled around the halfway mark. So, here are ten albums, and some honorable mentions, that provided me with entertainment, inspiration, and some great drives.

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I don’t really do introductions, but here’s an opinionated list that you probably hate, as I’m likely the most vanilla of the staff as far as taste is concerned. Choosing albums was particularly difficult and at one point I struggled with a list of 15 and ended up with nearly 30 albums, which was weird to think about after many hours of infighting for half of that. So here’s only ten.

Harness the Earth materials, and so forth.

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brian shields

Disclaimer: I never know what it means when people say one band or one album is “better” than another.  There’s no giant scoreboard in the sky that gives Necrophagist 150,000 Awesomeness Points and Barry Manilow negative 2,000,000 points.  So for me these are the new releases (albums and EP’s) that brought me the most pleasure in 2013.  You can argue about what bands are best but you can’t argue with me about what brings me pleasure.  Chances are by this time next year I will be in love with a record from 2013 that’s not on this list because I wasn’t cool enough to know about it at the time.

Also I have two lists.  One is of more established bands, the ones that came out on larger labels or that have a national or international following.  The second is my “Great New Metal” bands, emerging acts that it’s my mission to help more people discover.

I hope you enjoy living in “The Golden Age of Metal” which I maintain is right fucking now!

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No long introduction. Let’s just get down to business. View Full Article »

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