AD1NF1N1TUM's Top 23 Albums of 2023
Weird folk is not dead! You love to see it. Really, really dig this weird, dark Irish folk group from Dublin. Epic, foreboding stuff.
22. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse
RIFF-O-RAMA!!! Really cool blend of Queens of the Stone Age art rock meets heavy psych with a little dash of thrash.
21. Hellripper - Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags
An epic and infectious blend of blackened thrash, power metal, and straight up heavy metal that will fill your bones with lightning and your blood with fire.
20. Peter Gabriel - i/o
This reminds me a lot of Tool's Fear Inoculum in the sense that it's essentially the summation of everything that came before it, melded together and perfected. Doesn't quite have the same edge as his best records, but his maturity as a songwriter and a producer is clear.
19. Blackbraid - Blackbraid II
Indigenous black metal? FUCK yes. I love that, with the exception of some of the interlude-ish moments of indigenous music, this is probably the best straight up black metal record of 2023. Just incredibly effective and well-written BM that never lets up.
Pure, unadulterated old school THRASH!!! Also best album cover of 2023.
17. Faethom - Chaosmorphogoria
I just discovered this band early this year when they played their comeback show opening for Imperial Triumphant and I immediately fell in love with how much FUN this band is. Metal is so often a genre that takes itself way too seriously but I always love seeing metal bands that just wanna have fun writing thrashy blackened heavy fucking metal songs about space aliens and giant monsters and this one's definitely got the goods.
16. Shitstorm - Only in Dade
27 songs in less than 10 minutes of the most unrelentingly brutal noisy grindcore I've ever heard. Grindcore usually isn't my thing and maybe I'm biased because I've known these guys almost 20 years but Shitstorm is by far my favorite grindcore band and absolutely deserves to be considered among the best to ever do it.
15. Entropia - Total
A cornucopia of towering riffs, jarring rhythms, and desolate atmosphere that swaddles you in a blanket of prog-post-metal and lulls you into a dreamscape you'll never want to wake up from. The guitar work is crisp and imaginative, the production is lush and clear, the melodies and textures are hypnotic--this is so delicious that even as sparse as the vocals are, I think I'd like this even more without them. Just let this epic music shine.
14. Sadus - The Shadow Inside
I've never been quite as high on this band as others have so I hope you'll forgive me (and perhaps take it with a grain of salt) if I say that this, to me, is the best thing they've ever done. Incredibly tight, confident, relentless thrash with some of the best riffs these guys have put to tape.
13. Cattle Decapitation - Terrasite
As much as I love some of their previous albums, this might just be Cattle Decapitation's best work. I feel like they really nail prog elements and the blending of the prog stuff with the crushingly heavy brutal death-grind in a way they've never really quite captured before. This album is like being punched in the face with methamphetamine and LSD.
12. Kostnatění - Úpal
An absolute mauler of dissonant black metal with influences ranging from Deathspell Omega to Turkish folk music and some truly demonic vocals that remind me a bit of Katharsis. Very raw and, in a lot of ways, quite primitive for dissonant black metal, which I always love, though certainly not lacking in moments of stark creativity.
11. George Clanton - Ooh Rap I Ya
Absolutely love this spiritual successor to The Stone Roses creating grooving dance music blasted through a whirlpool of wall-of-sound electronics and synths. Such a vibe, this album. Put this one on in the bathtub and just v i b e . . .
10. Tim Hecker - No Highs
This is the first Tim Hecker album I've ever heard but it definitely won't be the last. Definitely one of the best drone albums I've heard. I love the things he does with different textures and unique instrumentations to create these absolutely ethereal atmospheres. So much awe and wonder in this music.
9. Nenagenix - Lo Más Cercano a Caer
I always fucking love me some good old fashioned 90s alternative and when you add in that Nenagenix is majority women and Argentinian and sing in Spanish, I'm fucking all over it. Doesn't overstay its welcome at a svelte 28 minutes--in fact I'd be fine with it being twice as long--but uses that time economically, using big, impactful melodies and chord progressions to create big fucking moods. This whole record is just such a vibe, dripping in reverb and awash in Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr. influence. Probably my most listened-to album of 2023.
I love Foo Fighters but I definitely did not have "Foo Fighters album in my top ten of 2023" on my bingo card...But Here We Are. Easily the best record they've made since 1997's The Colour and the Shape (many are calling it their best ever but this is egregious The Colour and the Shape slander and will not be tolerated on this page) which I suppose isn't surprising considering what a lot of these songs are about. But also a lot of it has to do with the shoegaze influences at the forefront of some of these songs in a way that they were only very subtextual in much of their early work (and perhaps never more prevalent than on The Colour and the Shape). The first 3/4 of the album is mostly above average Foo Fighters (which is still pretty great, mind you, and features some of the best melodies they've written in a long time) but then--much like The Colour and the Shape--in the last 1/4, becomes something transcendent.
An impressively evocative, sophisticated blend of post-rock, post-metal, and atmospheric black metal, chock full of delightfully unorthodox melodies and dizzying textures that combine with pitch perfect production to take you on a mesmerizing, immersive, and incredibly dynamic sonic journey.
I listened to this one earlier this year and I wasn't that into it--kinda felt a little too try-hard--but I went back to it later (as I often do, as capricious as my tastes can be) and absolutely fell in love with the creativity of it. The jarring, jolting rhythms are so effective against the swirling vortexes of towering, malfunctioning riffage. That's what this album feels like: things just constantly going wrong.
5. Portrayal of Guilt - Devil Music
This might be the most unique album I've heard this year apart from 93696. The first half of the record is some of the sickest sludgy avant-garde black metal...and the second half is all the same songs but arranged for strings and it is incredible and haunting in a very Univers Zero sort of way and I absolutely fell in love.
4. Ὁπλίτης [Hoplites] - Ψευδομένη & Τρωθησομένη & Ἀντιτιμωρουμένη
3. 파란노을 [Parannoul] - After the Magic
This isn't quite on the level of 2021's To See the Next Part of the Dream for me--which really only speaks to how great that album was, obviously, considering this is #3 on this list--but only because it trades the energy and momentum of TSTNPOTD for a more chill vibe, though still incredibly powerful and evocative at its most climactic moments.
I don't know how Austin Lunn does it but only two years removed from the 2021 opus ...And Again Into the Light, he's come back and topped it. In a lot of ways this is really kinda just AAITL perfected. Everything that made that album great, improved upon significantly. Some of the most epic, breathtakingly beautiful atmospheric black metal with grand flourishes of post-rock and Americana.
1. Liturgy - 93696
Metal music in the 2020s has been having one of the best periods it's had in quite some time and somehow this might be the best metal album of the decade so far. This is one of those albums that's just so incredible that you can hardly believe it was created by mere mortals. This is the work of demigods. And it was written by a transgender woman. :')
Jessie Ware - That! Feels Good!
I love pop music but admittedly a lot of it isn't really in my wheelhouse for the most part but there are always a few albums that can't help but crack my rotation and this year it was the immensely talented Jessie Ware. So many memorable tunes here full of heart and soul and beauty.
Sufjan Stevens - Javelin
As always, Sufjan Stevens crafts impeccably beautiful music. But for me, he's at his best when his albums are full of variety, and this one was just a little bit too much of the same to crack my list.
Jerome's Dream - The Gray in Between
I love Jerome's Dream but this is easily the best thing they've done. Holy shit this is an absolute MAULER. Kind of a similar direction that D*ughters took with the self-titled and You Won't Get What You Want albums but with a lot more edge and fire.
Sadness // Abriction - Sadness // Abriction
This is really gorgeous and just such a vibe but it's WAY too long, otherwise it probably would have made the list.
Cavalera - Morbid Visions / Bestial Deviations
I've recently gotten super into Sepultura's early thrash/death metal albums and this is one of those albums that was just begging for the re-recording treatment and it definitely does not disappoint. Brings these songs into the present without losing any of the brutal, raw edge of the original songs.