ALBUMS OF THE YEAR: STAFF PICKS – Matt Cook’s Top 25 Albums of 2023

With our sights set on the end of one year and the start of another, we are sharing End of Year lists from staff, bands, and some friends in the business. Ghost Cult scribe (and part of our new, expanded reviews editorial team) Matt Cook has great taste in metal, has the most luxurious beard on staff, and is a great dude. Check out his top picks for his Top Albums of 2023!

Honorable Mentions:
25. Dyssebeia – Garden Of Stillborn Idols (Transcending Obscurity)
Progressively scintillating death metal that breeds identity, distinguishability 

24. The Menzingers – Some Of It Was True (Epitaph Records)
Pop punk that proves the band’s longevity as well as masterful songwriting

23. Suffocation – Hymns From The Apocrypha (Nuclear Blast Records)
The purveyors of brutal tech death doing their brutal tech death shtick

22. Leper Colony – Leper Colony (Transcending Obscurity)
Sounds of the late 80s/early 90s death metal scene without feeling replicated

21. Fen – Monuments To Absence (Prophecy Productions)
Impactful, sensational atmospheric prowess 


Matt’s Top 20:
20. Great Cold Emptiness – Immaculate Hearts Will Triumph (Flowing Downward)
Captivating, attention-grabbing atmospheric doom that deserves recognition

19. Pyramid Mass – Monolith (Self-Released)
A massive effort, indeed, teeming with a mystical yet damning vibe

18. Necropanther – Betrayal (Self-Released)
Thrashy goodness that doesn’t rely on partying antics, tomfoolery

17. Sunrot – The Unfailing Rope (Prosthetic Records)
Eerie, brash, raw tones and satisfying atmospheric elements

16. Humanity’s Last Breath – Ashen (Unique Leader Records)
Deathcore-y metal rife with explosiveness, bombast

15. Tomb Mold – The Enduring Spirit (20 Buck Spin)
Miserable, chaotic, billowing death metal served on a silver platter of filth

14. Burner – It All Returns To Nothing (Church Road Records)
The name of the band says it all, and they don’t disappoint

13. Spanish Love Songs – No Joy (Pure Noise Records)
Alt punk rock featuring sad tracks, near-perfect and unique singing style

12. Downfall Of Gaia – Silhouettes Of Disgust (Metal Blade Records)
Atmospheric blackened death that transcends music; world-building aura

11. To Kill Achilles – Recovery (Arising Empire)
Brutally honest, relatable lyrics appropriately given harsh vocal tones

10. Harm’s Way – Common Suffering (Metal Blade Records)
A re-establishing of where these showstoppers belong

9. Year Of The Knife – No Love Lost (Pure Noise Records)
Hardcore meant for diehards of hardcore

8. Sentenced 2 Die – Parasitic Infection (Self-Released)
Rip-roaring death metal from one of the scene’s rising stars

7. Man Must Die – The Pain Behind It All (Distortion Music)
Pummeling, enraging tech death that can motivate an army

6. Dying Wish – Symptoms Of Survival (SharpTone Records)
Metallic hardcore aided by superb harshes, smooth clean singing

5. Dying Fetus – Make Them Beg For Death (Relapse Records)
Brutal death from pioneers who refuse to slow – or quiet – down

4. Dawn Of Ouroboros – Velvet Incandescence (Prosthetic Records)
Seering blackened prog metal with energy, might and staying power

3. Fires In The Distance – Air Not Meant For Us (Prosthetic Records)
Doomy melodeath with healthy instrumentals, atmosphere, character

2. Cattle Decapitation – Terrasite (Metal Blade Records)Grinding death metal with a sultry selection of groove, intrigue.

1. Foretoken – Triumphs (Prosthetic Records)
Captivating, technical, invigorating melodeath steeped in myth, mystique