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Scary Terry's Top 20 Metal Albums of 2013, #5-1

by Terry Stevens

You can see my picks for numbers 20 through 16 here.

You can see my picks for numbers 15 through 11 here.

You can see my picks for numbers 10 through 6 here.

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."  

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#5:  The Ocean - "Pelagial"

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This album jumped up and down my Top 5 a few times.  I'm still not entirely sure I'm ready to leave it here.  Sometimes you just have to go to print.

The Ocean's "Pelagial" is so deep.  The song title reference the layers of the ocean (the body of water, not the band).  We start at the surface, and as we descend, the music gets deeper and darker.

Orginally intended to be an instrumental album due to their vocalist having some health issues, Loic Rossetti recovered in time to add vocal parts.  Much like the music, the lyrics take us deeper and deeper in to the human psyche.

That line from the video above:  "How much control do we have over what we wish for?"  That's a psychology class in and of itself.

(BTW, Rossetti delivers both clean and harsh metal vocals on this album.  If harsh vocals are a big turn off for you, just check out the instrumental version of the album.)

If there's one album that you buy as a result of this list, make it my pick for number one.  But if you have a few bucks left over, you can't go wrong with The Ocean.

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#4: Ghost B.C. - "Infestissumam"

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Much like Volbeat, I did NOT get this band the first time I heard them.

Blue Oyster Cult-ish music with lyrics that are almost always about Satan, and performed by a bunch of guys dressed like monks, oh and their lead singer dressed like the Pope in corpse paint?  Ooo-kaaaay.

But you know what?  It works.

Much like A7X, the cries of "That's not metal!" ring out every time Ghost is brought up.

Is it full of tough guy posturing, and gutteral roars?  Nope.  Doesn't need it.

Ghost manages to be sinister and dangerous without the hysterics of their peers.

Not "metal".  You know what?  Don't care.  Still love it.

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#3:  Bring Me the Horizon - "Sempiternal"

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Their first record for a major label.  

The band feared that the suits would force them to sell out.

The suits told them to "write the heaviest album you can".

Metalcore is filled with dime-a-dozen bands trying to "write the heaviest album".

So, Bring Me the Horizon chose to write from the heart.

It just happened to end up heavy:

"Sempiternal" blends the heavy, the rhythmic, the abrasive, the ambient, and the heart into an album that most metalcore...scratch that, metal bands would be afraid to release.

Seriously, this is TRACK ONE:

It's like Linkin Park with BAWLS!

And that line, "I can't drown my demons, they know how to swim", gold.  "Sempiternal" is full of moments like that.

I'm calling it now.  "Sempiternal" is not only one of the best Metal albums of 2013, it's going to go down as one of the best of this decade.

Not a bad song on it.

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#2:  Dillinger Escape Plan - "One of Us is the Killer"

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If there's been a common theme over the last few slots in this countdown, it's been that the top slots are being taken up by bands who are daring to do something different within the genre.

Honestly, if you're looking for another rehash of the same riffs we've been listening to since forever, you should have stopped at #18, #19 and #20 .

There are a lot more "noisey" metal bands around these days, but no one commands that chaos and shapes it in to song like Dillinger Escape Plan:

In its most Intense moments, "One of Us is the Killer" is challenging to the ear, and unforgiving to the senses.  Once again, Dillinger Escape Plan is taking no prisoners.  This is their show, get on board or run for your effing life:

But, like their past albums, there are a couple of moments that sound like they could be...rock...radio...hits?

The Dillinger Escape Plan could easily write nothing but hit singles and call it good.

Thank goodness they challenge themselves, and us to do better.

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#1:  Protest the Hero - "Volition"

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Once I heard it, there's was no doubt in my mind that it was the year's best.

Why is Protest the Hero's "Volition" my top pick?

Let's break it down, starting with the music.

This band is everything that's awesome about metal.  Just listen to the first single and track, "Clarity":

Guitar pyrotechnics, soaring clean vocals, balanced by occasional gutteral roars, and lyrics that have some heft, that actually say something.

What other band in metal is taking on the issue of pit bull bans in Canada?  None.  Just Protest the Hero.

Having Lamb of God's Chris Adler banging away on the drums for this album certainly didn't hurt:

And this...song...right...here.  How many rock/metal shows have you been to that follow this exact script?

Now let's get to the next part of what makes this album soar.

The fans helped to build it.

Protest the Hero launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in order to record the album without having to mess with a record label.  They offered awesome perks .  Fans responded and chipped in to the tune of $341,146.00 U.S. dollars.

Given the high quality of the album they gave us, that was money well spent.

This is metal with an eye towards the future, both in creation and execution.

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So, who did I leave out?

Who didn't rank in the right spot?

Completely agree with everything I typed because you're [dashingly handsome/alarmingly beautiful] and astoundinly intelligent?

Share your thoughts in the comments below, and crank up some METAL!

*In addition to providing the only Best of 2013 list you need to read regarding metal this year, or not, "Scary" Terry Stevens is a radio host for Midwest Communications. You can Book Face with him here .
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