Hey Everybody, welcome back to the Top 100 Albums of 2023. Today, we inch every closer to the top of the mountain with Part VII: 40-31. Where more people pay attention than previously on this list despite my intentions. But instead, lets just get right into the rules and into the list proper.
1.) This list will be going over my top 100 albums from 2023 in 10 segments from November 27th till December 8th (Monday-Friday both weeks). 10 Albums a day, starting at 100 and going all the way down to number 1.
2.) The list will be in written form at heavydebriefings.weebly.com and in video form on the Heavy Debriefings YouTube channel. Both versions will cover the same albums but will be presented slightly differently as the videos will be off the cuff than the written versions. So Dealer's choice on how you want your presentation.
3.) These 100 albums are 100 original, brand-new, studio LPs. No EPs, live albums, cover albums, rarity albums, splits, re-releases, or anything other than brand-new albums that came out in 2023.
4.) As I am just *counting fingers* one man; I can only cover so much. If your favorite album isn't on here it is because A.) I didn't hear it B.) I didn't hear it enough C.) It wasn't my bag...baby or because of incidents in recent years D.) The Artist/Band did or said something so stupid I can't in good conscious give them any press.
5.) All of my thoughts are my own thoughts. No sponsorships, obligations to include anything, or trend hopping to look cool. Just what I've enjoyed. No more, no less.
6.) NONE of these albums should be ignored regardless of their placement on this list. Your favorite album of the year could be at number 96, 72, 33, 12, or 1. You won't know unless you give it a proper shot. This isn't a list of 100 albums I heard this year; it's a list of the TOP 100 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. If I didn't enjoy these albums and think they were worth promoting, I wouldn't be talking about them.
7.) No Honorable Mentions this year. Doing 150 Albums last year burned me out on the idea of it. Maybe it'll be back next year, but this is strictly the list.
8.) ENJOY SOME NEW MUSIC FROM 2023! This list is for you!
40.) Baroness- Stone
FFO- Alternative Metal, Sludge Metal, Progressive Rock
Baroness has finished the color spectrum era of the band and started a new chapter with stone. In short, it feels like the best of Baroness album with all new material. All eras of the band so far are recognized in some way, shape, or form throughout the album from its heaviest moments to its most mellow and everything in between. There are also enough new tinges to the album to not make anything sound redundant. While picking a favorite album is all in the ears of the beholder; I believe Stone will go down as one of the most solid baroness albums when all is said and done. Now, what will be next? Metal? Concrete? Fire? We'll find out when the time is right.
39.) Eclipse- Megalomanium
FFO- AOR Rock, Hard Rock
I'd go as far as to say that not only is Eclipse my favorite Swedish rock band, or even European rock band, but they just might be my favorite rock band. Every album fits what I am looking for at the time, whether it's a heavier, poppier, or in the case of the latest album; a mix of everything. There are stadium rock anthems aplenty on here, there are some heavier songs that will appease so many, and they even go left of center for a bit with some more pop-rock elements. I swear one song sounds like the best My Chemical Romance song they ever wrote. This thing is all over and it works. It feels like an album and not just a collection of songs and Eclipse proves once again that they are one of the best rock bands around.
38.) Ronnie Atkins- Trinity
FFO- AOR Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
Ronnie Atkins is a worldwide treasure. With an inspiring ongoing story, an impeccable voice, and wouldn't you know it, he also occasionally makes music with Eclipse mastermind Erik Martensson in the form of Nordic Union. Atkins' 3rd solo album, Trinity, the aptly named album shows so many sides to his musicality. From the heavier riffs, the styles that any Pretty Maids fan will gush over, to moments that just show him doing what he loves most; making music. The fact he has been so prolific over these last several years is awe-inspiring and universe-willing, I can't wait to see what's next. This album is a ray of sunshine on a very cloudy day.
37.) The Lion's Daughter- Bath House
FFO- Horror Metal
The Lion's Daughter is a perfect combo with Dog Fashion Disco/Polkadot Cadaver as the leaders of horror metal. Different styles, but they all have the touches of horror and heaviness that make the music and lyrical content so captivating. In the course of The Lion's Daughter, they focus much more in recent times on synth-driven soundtrack-style horror escapades, but especially on Bath House, the band explores more territories into thrash metal, industrial, trance, and even doom. This carries the flag that their previous album, Skin Show started, but made something more experimental, demented, and horrifying. Someone from A24 or Neon needs to get The Lion's Daughter to make a film score immediately!
36.) Oryad- Sacred & Profane
FFO- Progressive Symphonic Metal, Gothic Metal, Avant Garde
2023 has been a stellar year for debut albums and Oryad is another example of this fact. Sacred and Profane shatters the preconceived notions of what a symphonic-style band can be. It can go from insanely heavy moments to majestic operatic performances to time-warping you to feel like you are watching a 1920 vaudeville show and so much more I am leaving out (I can't give everything away can I?). Someone needs to get this band to open for Fleshgod Apocalypse on their next NA tour, it would be the perfect pairing. Of course, Vikram Shankar is a part of this album on mixing, mastering, and bass duties (he will be on this list much more coming up) and he only attaches himself to the best musicians. Absolutely no exception here. I can just sense the sophomore album is going to explode the band if everything comes together, I have my hopes up for it, because this is a band that needs to be heard by all.
35.) Sermon- On Golden Verse
FFO- Progressive Metal, Melancholic Metal
This sophomore release from the UK duo is something of absolute wonder. No two songs sound the same, and no themes are hit lyrically, but everything fits together as it should and makes for such an exciting album experience. The mastermind of this band, Him, got Jamie Stewart to start handling drum duties and you can feel his style all over this album, especially on the final track, Departure. How to describe this album, well, it's quite hard since it hits so many different avenues, sometimes in the same song. But if you insist, imagine a mix of Katatonia, Tool, Alcest, & Vader and you might start to get an idea of everywhere this thing goes. This is truly a progressive album in the essence of the term. You won't find anything else like this in 2023 or maybe even from any other band. It's required listening for those that want the more progressive side of things from atmospheric rock to extreme drumming and everything in between.
34.) A Flourishing Scourge- Sickened Seed
FFO- Extreme Progressive Metal
I have been waiting (im)patiently for the follow-up to this band's self-titled debut album for 6 years. Almost to the point where I was afraid that I'd never hear from the band again. Thankfully, this month, they released what has become their finest work to date and an album that anyone who is a fan of Ne Obliviscaris, Vintersea, Ihsahn, or any other band that plays on the extreme side of progressive metal would even dare. It also helps them get drumming extraordinaire, Hannes Grossmann to track the drums and add his special blend of musicality all over this album. Filled with such peaks and valleys from ethereal moments so some of the heaviest moments in the genre for 2023, this is easily one of the best things to close out 2023. The only reason it is not higher is that it came out at the beginning of the month, had I not started writing this in mid-November and did this in December or January, it would be so very close to the top. Seriously, don't skip this one if this sounds intriguing at all. This is an album that deserves your praise and love.
33.) Ray Alder- II
FFO- Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Hard Rock
The sophomore album from the legendary frontman of Fates Warning I know is not something he wanted to make. When I talked to him during the first album, he mentioned that he wanted to put his focus on the new Fates Warning and only do another solo album if that was not going to happen. Low and Behold, here we are. But decide the sadness that FW may not release new music ever again, we did get the best Ray Alder performance since FW's Theories of Flight; in my humblest of opinions. There is so much heart and emotion on this album thanks to Alder's vocal abilities and Michael Abdow's incredible songwriting. It's a dark and somber album; Hell the closing song, Changes even feels like it is a goodbye to FW writing new music and entering a new chapter of his life (just speculation on my end). This mixes prog, metal, and hard rock perfectly with every song feeling not only catchy but necessary. If this is the way things are going in the future, I can't wait for album three. It may be his best yet.
32.) Urne- A Feast on Sorrow
FFO- Progressive Sludge Metal, Thrash Metal
Urne may have put out the saddest album of 2023. If it is not this album, it will be another album I'll be talking about later in the list. This album deals with loss in the roughest ways, from losing bandmates to losing friends and family to losing one's self and all of the anger, sadness, and every other emotion that comes from it. A severely darker album than their debut could only be produced by Gojira's Joe Duplantier who made this album feel like an unstoppable monster. It is not an easy listen and it may just make you tear up, but it is also one of the most cathartic albums of the year. Urne continues to grow and I couldn't be happier for them.
31.) Woe Unto Me- Along the Meandering Ordeals, Reshape the Pivot of Harmony
FFO- Funeral Doom Metal, Death Doom
Easily one of the best albums of the combination of funeral doom and death doom that one could ask for. 5 tracks, 63 minutes long, every song feels like the perfect soundtrack to excruciating mental and physical pain. There's not much more you could ask for. Not to give everything away for the list, but this is my funeral doom album of the year because of how much care went into crafting these songs. All the peaks and valleys, highs and lows, fantastic cleans and demonic growls. This is what I want in the genre. Slow and brooding, but with variation. It almost feels like progressive funeral doom, if that is such a thing. I know it's a very niche genre and style, but I implore anyone willing to give this a chance. It's a gorgeous and misanthropic album that we all need in 2023.
And there we go, folks. 7 parts down, 70 albums down, and only 3 parts left and 30 albums to go. Thank you once again for taking the time to check this out and I hope to see you tomorrow for Part VIII: 30-21. Until then, This is Josh Rundquist saying, SEE YA!
- Josh Rundquist (Heavy Debriefings)