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Scary Terry's Top 20 Metal Albums of 2013, #20-16

by Terry Stevens

Introduction

Lists and cats, they're what makes the internet go 'round.

And at the end of the year, there's nothing more list-eriffic than a "Best Whatever of 2013" list.

I'm Scary FN Terry , host of Scary Terry's Saturday Nightmare , heard every Saturday night from 9pm-Midnight CST on Rock 94.7/102.9 in Central Wisconsin; online at Rock947.com , and on your smartphone or tablet when you download the Rock 94.7 App .  

I receive somewhere between a buttload and a poopload of digital downloads and CDs from bands who want their music featured on the Nightmare.  I follow the scene to see what's new and interesting.  Long story short, I'm exposed to A LOT of metal.

What follows is a list of the albums that stuck out the most to me in 2013.  My rankings are based on a few factors, with none weighed more heavily than the others.  Sales figures, airplay, buzz, and whether the album is something that's actually interesting to listen to, are all figured in.  That's just a long-winded way for me to say, "This all just my opinion so if you don't like it, whatever."

On with the show.

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#20:  Avenged Sevenfold - "Hail to the King"

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There are going to be two reactions to this being in at #20.

Reaction 1:  "WTF?!?!?  Avenged Sevenfold isn't even metal!

Reaction 2:  "WTF?!?!?  This was the top selling metal album of the year!  It should be higher!

A7X's "Hail to the King" was indeed the top selling Metal album of 2013.  It's pretty easy to see why, what with great songs like "Hail to the King":..

"Shepherd of Fire"...

and "This Means War"...

In defense of this record, once you get past the blatant riff-lifters on the album, you'll actually find some decent stuff.  I'm rather partial to "Planets" myself.

Now, if you're an A7X hater, and feeling teh butthurt over such a derivative album making a Top 20 list, keep this in mind.

New metalheads have to start somewhere.  It's a rare person that just starts listening to Cannibal Corpse right out of the womb.  A7X's "Hail to the King" is a perfectly fine gateway drug to the scene that you and I cherish.  Plus, a METAL band selling that many records in this day and age is something to be celebrated, not trashed (even if it is a glorified covers album).

Speaking of gateway drugs to metal...

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#19:  Five Finger Death Punch - "The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 1&2

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I'm combining these two because this is essentially a double album.  Sales gimmicks aren't going to get you two entries on the list, boys.

Much like A7X, Five Finger Death Punch is a good gateway drug to metal.  Is it Mall Metal?  Well, yeah.  Is it aping Pantera riffs?  Yeah (but so do a ton of other bands if we're being honest with ourselves here).  Did both halves of this double sell a ton of copies anyway?  Yup.  Is this next song "Under and Over It  with Rob Halford"?

Yup.

Love 'em or hate 'em, while they're not the most innovative metal band out there, FFDP is one of the biggest, and their double album was one of 2013's biggest metal sounds.

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#18 TIE:  Black Sabbath - "13" & Motorhead - "Aftershock"

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I'll be the first to admit, if any other doom/stoner/sludge metal band had released "13", no one would give a damn about it.  But it wasn't just any band that dropped "13".  It was THE Black freaking Sabbath (minus the drummer, but whatever).

After hearing every doom/stoner/sludge metal band imitate Black Sabbath for the last 3 decades, it was nice to hear the originators do their thing.  Is it possible for a band to imitate itself?  Sure, but Sabbath makes it sound good.

On a similar note, Motorhead released a Motorhead album this year.  Much like AC/DC (and though it pains me to say it, Slayer lately), they have their sound, and don't stray far from it.  That's fine though.  Motorhead always delivers a few magic metal moments on every album.  "Aftershock" is no exception:

Plus, if you think I'm going to leave Lemmy off this list when he almost freaking DIED this year, you're crazy.

Here's the thing with both of these bands.  Much like A7X and FFDP, they also released top-selling gateway drug albums.  The difference is, these gateways lead to a glorious past.

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#17:  Devin Townsend - "The Retinal Circus"

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Here's where the butthurt truly erupts.

"OMG!  You put A7X and FFDP [on the list/on the bottom of the list] and now you're gonna put a LIVE album on here?!?!?"

If you ask me what my favorite metal albums of all time are, Iron Maiden's "Live After Death" live album would be waaaaay up at the top of that list.  It's a snapshot of "Powerslave"-era Maiden at their prime.  It's a collection of their greatest songs.  You feel like you're in the crowd when you listen to it.

Much like "Live After Death", Townsend's "Retinal Circus" features an ridiculously talented artist performing in his prime.  The featured songs range from all over his career, including his Strapping Young Lad Days.  It's a gateway drug (recurring theme anyone?) to one of the best composers and performers in metal.

Most live albums sound like a singles collection with terrible production values, and an occasional bit of lame stage banter from the lead vocalist.  

The production on "The Retinal Circus" is tight, and the banter...  My god.  If you haven't watched Townsend perform live before, you're in for a real treat here.  His wry, warped, sense of humor shines through the entire album.

Plus, it's the first live metal album I've ever heard that has a bathroom break, so there's that.

Whether you get it on CD or DVD, GET IT.

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#16:  Scale the Summit - "The Migration"

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This is the only album on the list that you can't sing a long to.

I wrote in another blog recently, that no one in mainstream rock or metal seems to want to write instrumentals anymore.

If that bugs you too, then allow me to introduce you to Scale the Summit.

"The Migration" has hooks galore, guitar sections that go way beyond the wank-fest solos that you find on some records, and incredible musicianship the whole way though.

I love well-written lyrics as much as the next metal head.  However, there are some times where I just want to feel the music without some meathead vocalist telling me how I should feel about the music.  Scale the Summit is just what the doctor ordered.

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So, still butthurt about A7X and FFDP's placement on the list?

Can't believe I ranked Black Sabbath in the bottom 5?

Completely agree with everything I typed (you genius, you)?

Share your thoughts in the comments below, and check in later for the next part of the Countdown!

CLICK HERE TO SEE #15-11! 

*In addition to making A7X fans feel butthurt, "Scary" Terry Stevens is a radio host for Midwest Communications. You can Book Face with him here .
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