I have been struggling with my top 10 list for some time now. I have been switching places and using all kinds of methods while trying to figure out how the heck I can get these albums sorted out in some kind of order. Finally I came up with a solution: I prepared a scorecard and decided to use different categories to break down the albums: replay value, no skipping, songwriting, atmosphere and uncanniness. When I added them all together, I got the maximum points of 40. This helped me a lot (the little perfectionist I am) and one album scored the perfect 40 points and I then suddenly realized the issue has been solved.
However, since so many great metal albums were released last year, I decided to raise five more albums to the limelight. What struck me even more that I was so passionate and wanton with my ratings that all the top 15 albums scored between 36 and 40 points. Thus I had to raise those albums higher where some of the criteria received full score. In the end this all means that many placings in my list are totally interchangeable, but the top 5 have been pretty solid for some time.
10th place Altar Of Plagues: Teethed Glory & Injury (Profound Lore Productions)
Altar Of Plagues left the scene with truly unique offering. Teethed Glory & Injury is built of black industrial soundscape where distorted guitars and humming electronic sounds join forces with post-black metal and even hints of post-rock. Haters gonna hate as they say, but as I really didn't see this coming I have to give the guys credit where it's due. Special hats off to the album art.
Killing cuts: God Alone, Twelve Was Ruin, A Remedy and A Fever
9th place Vallendusk: Black Clouds Gathering (Pest Productions)
This was a no-brainer for me: from the first I heard this album I loved it. It seems to end up on heavy rotation every three to four weeks, so I knew it needed to make my TOP 10. The airy atmosphere, the outstanding guitar work and the impeccable songwriting makes this album a keeper and one the biggest surprises in 2013.
Killing Cuts: To Wander and Beyond, Fragments Of Light, Shades Of Grey
8th place Oranssi Pazuzu: Valonielu (Svart Records)
This album grew with each listen and there is something haunting about how it combines psychedelic rock and post-black metal. Some songs are straightforward and dynamic, where some built the atmosphere slowly before bursting into furious riffing and relentless headbanging.
Killing Cuts: Vino Verso, Tyhjä Temppeli, Ympyrä On Viiva Tomussa
7th place Deafheaven: Sunbather (Deathwish Inc.)
This was one of my most anticipated albums and first listen I was impressed but not floored. With repeated listens the long tunes carry the album beautifully, but for some reason the post-rockish interludes I normally tend to skip which is the reason it didn't make the TOP 5 cut.
Killing Cuts: Dream House, Vertigo, The Pecan Tree
6th place Ulcerate: Vermis (Relapse Records)
Beyond the shadow of a doubt the drumming album of the year: Jamie Saint Merat is unstoppable and unbelievable. There is really nothing I can complain about this album, the only reason for dropping out of TOP 5 is the replay value as it crushes me more and more every listen I need too much time to recuperate which is time off listening to new awesome music.
Killing cuts: Vermis, Await Rescission, Weight Of Emptiness, Cessation