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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 actually hate making lists, and truth be told I hardly listen to records the year they come out. I’m still stuck in 2005 when metalcore was still worth listening to. But I managed to throw together what I think is a good summary of both my personal tastes and what I found worth listening to this year. Enjoy the thing and praise lil b


Every year, Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas brings together some of the best acts in rock, hip-hop, comedy, and action sports. With a lineup as diverse as theirs, it’d be pretty impractical for a niche blog to cover everything, but the hardcore and metal presence across the fest’s three days is enough to draw our attention! Photographer Maclyn Bean flew out from Philly to Austin to cover the fest, and you can catch select photos from day two below, featuring 4ARM, Narrows, Sarah Silverman, Defeater, August Burns Red, Gojira, The Locust, and Slayer!

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Warped 2013

[View Part One Here]

Vans Warped Tour is a yearly staple in the American touring circuit. Sure, the amount of relevant heaviness fluctuates with each year, but the 2013 iteration saw a handful of bands worth caring about. Photographer Maclyn Bean attended the Camden, NJ date of the tour, and with as many bands as he shot, we’re splitting his photos into two posts! This time, we have photos of Big Chocolate, Crossfaith, Oh Sleeper, August Burns Red, Defeater, The Story So Far, and Glass Cloud‘s Chad Hasty performing fill-in drum duties for The Amity Affliction!

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August Burns Red are one of the few metalcore bands that keep me intrigued. Though I wasn’t much of a fan of Leveler, I think Constellations is one of the best albums of the genre and completely set a new bar for it. I’m super excited for their upcoming record Rescue And Restore as are quite a few of the writers here, and today the band gave us a first glimpse of the record with their single ‘Fault Line’. And it’s awesome. It’s both heavy and melodic, with some of the best guitar work I’ve heard from the band. There’s even some clean vocals on this track, and they fit in quite nicely with the rest of the song. If this is any indication of how the new album is going to sound, I’m even more stoked. Rev up your excitebikes, ladies and gents!

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To be honest I kind of forgot that August Burns Red had a new album out on the horizon. It isn’t really that I hate them or anything like that, it’s that the band kind of exists in this plane of forgetability in my mind. I always seem to enjoy them during active listening, but after the record ends, so does my attention span. It doesn’t even seem like it’s been two years since their last album. Where has all the time gone?!

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Matt Greiner & JB Brubaker of August Burns Red @_8655684581_l

After wrapping up the recording sessions of their upcoming album, August Burns Red (along with their closely associated post-rock band Bells) played a one-off hometown-adjacent show in West Chester, PA. Photographer Maclyn Bean was there to capture the show, with photos available below.

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Religion in Metal --- Betraying the Martyrs

Ever since its humble beginnings, metal has demonstrated a blatant line between music and religion. Whether a band was singing about the devil, using an inverted cross of bones as a microphone stand, “sacrificing” women on stage, or even burning down the faithful’s houses of worship in the forests of Norway, there’s fair reason metal is looked down upon. At least that’s how it used to be. Fast-forward to present day and you’ll see the view on metal has gone from being the Devil’s spawn to viewed simply as noise. Why? Because bands have become popular that share religious values. From the old school Extol to upcoming crop of Betraying the Martyrs, 7 Horns 7 Eyes, and Impending Doom, the list is filled with many bands that make metal for a living but sing about their religion and that openly identify with their beliefs. More and more pop up every day, and you’ll even see entire tours filled with religious-affiliated bands; even Christian music festivals like Icthus and Cornerstone dedicate much of their lineup to heavier groups with a positive spiritual message. More often than not though, these bands will sometimes share stages with ones that are either openly non-religious or that don’t think religion is positive in any way. So why do we like bands such as these that have values that metal was really designed to go against?

For one, religious metal music is really for a specific, automatic, built-in audience. For someone raised in a conservative, religious household, metal music may not be what the parents find the “ideal” music for their child to listen to. However, if you say “Oh, they’re singing about God and Jesus, and here are their lyrics to prove it”, parents would let their children listen to it and the kids could still feel they get to experience metal like we do because it is religious. Ever read the lyrics to a 7 Horns 7 Eyes song? They go something along the lines of this: “To what end will our foolish ways lead? Shall we be consumed by your Holy wrath and reap our deserved fate? O my God, come down in power engulf this man in cleansing winds of Your unceasing mercy. Let adoration rise within me; liberate Your creation.” Those lyrics were taken from their song ‘Divine Amnesty’ from their debut album Throes Of Absolution, and it’s pretty black and white that these lyrics are about God. It doesn’t sound like on the surface, though, which is why kids love it; their parents let them listen, but it’s still heavy metal.

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Hello! This is Kyle Bishop, singer, songwriter, and piano player of the shitty band, Numbers. For some reason, HBIH thinks my opinion matters, and asked what I’ve been listening to this crazy year of 2012. So, without wasting anymore of your time, here are a few!

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August Burns Red

Rev up those excitebikes, because August Burns Red have began writing their fifth studio album! Matt Greiner has begun writing his drum tracks for the new album, which leads one to believe guitars are mostly done, at least with the basic riffs. Sounds about right; it’s been nearly 2 years since Leveler and the band always sticks to that sort of release cycle. I, for one, am stoked. ABR are among my favorite metalcore bands, and they have this weird way of mixing heavy riffs with awesome leads on top that really make them stand out from the rest.

We will have more news on this story as it develops, but until then, here’s a little refresher on how awesome they are.


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