Ghost Cult’s Album Of The Year 2023: Part 4 – And The Number One Album is Blackbraid’s – “Blackbraid II”

And then there was one.

Ghost Cult started out in the Netherlands in 2012 as a digital magazine, and we mainly covered only underground bands with rare mentions of mainstream artists. As we became a global brand, we incorporated more classic metal, modern heavy bands, and some mainstream coverage too, since that’s what all the big websites and magazines do, and we thought that’s what we should do. We’re okay with that. We still cover tons underground bands with reviews, interviews, and concerts. In a throwback, more underground bands made our final voting list from our staff than in many years. We like that too. 

And now our #1 album for 2023 is…

1. Blackbraid Blackbraid II (Self-Released)

GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – July

We reached out to Sgah’gahsowah for a comment on Blackbraid II being voted the AOTY from Ghost Cult, and he replied via Suspiria PR:

“The immense outpouring of support Blackbraid II has received is surreal, to say the least. I truly can’t describe in words how grateful I am for the opportunity to share my art and vision with the world. I never could have done this without the support of the fans so thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I promise Blackbraid is just getting started!”

Anyone who has observed the brief and thrilling career of Blackbraid should not be surprised by this final ranking. Especially when you listen back to Blackbraid II on repeat and take it all in. Just turn up the speakers, turn off the lights, burn one, and just let the music transport you far away to the woods.

Really great heavy music is about finding an escape route to the psyche.

When the debut album arrived just over a year ago, the entire Metal scene woke up and took notice. Not just journos who fan flames online with verbosity, but real fans at the shows. Real people in the trenches could not stop gushing about this band. There’s no such thing as an overnight sensation in underground metal let alone in the “grim and troo kvlt” ones. The USBM scene is mighty and proud, but hasn’t really had a new band come along like this with two great releases right out of the gate in a long time.

Clearly, Sgah’gahsowah was interested in expanding their sound without throwing out what made the band special in the first place. Lots of artists get a lot of hype and then rest on their laurels, but this group are just interested in the music and the depth of experience they can share with fans. Drawing from common early influences of first and second wave Norwegian Black Metal, as well as incorporating their own cultural influences, this record stays with you long after it’s done playing. Few artists really make art at the end of the day, and Blackbraid II is an artistic statement as much as it is a record that came out in 2023.

To have Blackbraid as our number one band for 2023, clearly the most underground and DIY band to ever win our top spot, is not just a surprise; it’s super cool! When we say it’s an honor to cover a band like this, you know we really mean it. We’ve been fortunate to follow them from the cassette copies, to the bars and small clubs, into the big theaters and even big festivals worldwide. We hope the future brings many more albums, and many more rituals.

INTERVIEW: Blackbraid on “Blackbraid II” – Touring, and Staying DIY

Read Part 1 (75-41) here:
Read Part 2 (40-21) here:
Ghost Cult’s Albums of the Year 2023: Part 2 (40-21)
Read Part 3 (20-2)
Ghost Cult’s Albums of the Year 2023 – Part 3 (20-2)