Ahh, 2013, another intriguing year for metal music, a year filled with drama, controversy, arrests, fan bitchery and sagging sales reports, all of which we could’ve lived without.  On the other hand, Black
Sabbath’s 13 became one of the biggest success stories for the genre and a number of artists pushed beyond their considerable talents to evolve even further and maintain a sense of credibility for the genre.  Ihsahn, The Ocean, Cult of Luna, Kylesa, Scale the Summit and of course, the mighty freedom fighters, Chthonic, all come to mind.  Motorhead and Monster Magnet delivered career-defining records with Aftershock and The Last Patrol respectively, while ex-Iced Earth singer Matt Barlow came back to the scene and gave what I believe to be the finest metal vocal performance of the year with his new band, Ashes of Ares.

I think Megadeth took a little more heat than they deserved for Super Collider, but I understand why the faithful turned from that album.  It’s nowhere near as offensive as the general consensus believes, but still, it’ll be (as always) interesting to see where Mr. Mustaine and the crew go next after issuing a pop-flavored hard rock album instead thrash.  Then Voivod defied the odds with Dan “Chewy” Mongrain doing a remarkable job filling shoes nobody ever thought could be replaced.  Target Earth was a major surprise and it filled my heart with giddiness since I’ve sung Voivod’s praises for much of my life.  Hails.

Two of my selections for this year’s Immaculate Receptions list for metal music are barely metal (i.e. Conny Ochs and Matt Boroff), but they are so ingenious, infective and relevant they deserve their spots on this list.  There are a bigger number of Honorable Mentions I flagged this year because there was so much good material being generated they simply deserve acknowledgement.  It was a great year for me personally at Blabbermouth and I was happy to have made many new band chums, industry friends and readers this year.  2014 should be no less fun at the Blab and I’m ready to rock.

With that, here’s my 25 Immaculate Receptions List for 2013: 


1.  ChthonicBu-Tik

2.  The OceanPelagial

3.  VoivodTarget Earth

4.  Cult of LunaVertikal

5.  SoilworkThe Living Infinite

6.  Black Sabbath13

7.  Soul RemnantsBlack and Blood

8.  Palms s/t

9.  CarcassSurgical Steel

10.  DisfigurementSoul Rot EP

11.  Monster MagnetThe Last Patrol

12.  IhsahnDas Seelenbrechen

13.  A Pale Horse Named DeathLay My Soul to Waste

14.  Conny OchsBlack Happy

15.  TomahawkOddfellows

16.  MotorheadAftershock

17.  Ashes of Aress/t

18.  A Storm of LightNations to Flames

19.  CzarNo One is Alone if No One is Alive

20.  Death AngelThe Dream Calls for Blood

21.  Fates WarningDarkness in a Different Light

22.  KylesaUltraviolet

23.  Matt BoroffSweet Hand of Fate

24.  Philip H. Anselmo and the IllegalsWalk Through Exits Only

25.  Be’LakorOf Breath and Bone



Honorable Mention List:


Ephel DuathHemmed by Daylight, Shaped by Darkness

SkeletonwitchSerpents Unleashed

Vista ChinoPeace

Children of BodomHalo of Blood

Scale the SummitThe Migration

MoonbowThe End of Time

AttackheadVoices in the Dark

SepulturaThe Mediator Between Head and Hand Must Be the Heart

Hank 3’s 3A Fiendish Threat

Nephren-KaThe Fall of Omnius

Queensryche (Todd LaTorre camp) – s/t

Black TuskTend No Wounds EP

Oceans of Slumber – Aetherial

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