Ghost Cult’s Albums of the Year 2023: Part 2 (40-21)


After such a fine introduction to the albums that have soundtracked our 2023 (Part 1 – 75-41), we now get into the belly of the beast and plunge on through the never, a testament to the diversity and abundance of alternative and heavy music that availed and impressed us this year.
So, without further ado (fewer words, more riffs…)

40. Sanguisugabogg – Homicidal Ecstasy (Century Media) “Equal amounts of groove and straight-up ignorant caveman riffs that will make you want to swing a club around… disgusting, vile, and downright dirty”

GC review

 

39. Zulu – A New Tomorrow (Flatspot) “A wealth of musical influences invigorate and infiltrate A New Tomorrow, the vocals bring a bite to the album, and across the release bursts of aggression and breakdowns fuels.”

GC review

 

38. Holding Absence – The Noble Art of Self Destruction (Sharptone) “It’s difficult to pick out standout tracks when every single one is a masterpiece, so just know they’re all worth listening to. The perfect package of authentic emotion, sheer talent, and artistic chemistry this band shares is truly something that cannot be matched.” GC review

 

37. Grave Pleasures – Plagueboys (Century Media) “There wasn’t a moment on Plagueboys I felt was wasted or where my attention wandered. An excellent release that fans of vintage post-Punk / New Wave / Deathrock. It’s almost like the 1980s never really went away.” GC review

 

36. Jesus Piece – …So Unknown (Century Media) “Finding Jesus Piece shorty before quarantine, I was yearning for more of this special dose of metallic hardcore from the Philly group. After these five years, it is clear how the band has matured individually and as a group for the better, of which this record is a testament of.” GC review

 

35. Metallica – 72 Seasons (Blackened) “72 Seasons really picks up exactly where (Hardwired…) left off, acting as a real companion piece and perhaps rubber-stamping the modern Metallica sound, which is really made up of a little bit of everything they have done before. GC review

 

34. Dying Fetus – Make Them Beg For Death (Relapse) “Hidden behind the wall of belligerence is a refreshing and diverse groove mixed with riffs and multi-layered tracks. nobody can question the band’s consistent, enduring identity. Their presence in the landscape is as weighty as their sound, and they haven’t missed a damn beat since debuting in the 1990s.” GC review

 

33. Svalbard – The Weight of the Mask (Nuclear Blast) “For album number four, Svalbard have taken a heavy swing in a direction with a substantial influence of blackened shoegaze (making) the blend of light with the dark work extremely well; a rollercoaster of an album which is both lyrically and musically deep”. GC review

 

32. Year of the Knife – No Love Lost (Pure Noise) “I’m not sure if “beast” is the best term to describe what No Love Lost is about considering that it conducts business in under twenty-five minutes. Maybe “a mugging” would be the best descriptor. here’s to hoping Year of the Knife can get their flowers for such a stellar musical effort”. GC review

31. Dreamwell – In My Saddest Dreams I Am Beside You (Prosthetic) “…their second release looks outside of their shell in search of new influences from the likes of metalcore and post-hardcore (which) brings the band to a whole new level. For a band to be able to accomplish this on only their second record is phenomenal”. GC review

30. Paramore – This Is Why (Atlantic) “While their last couple of albums were framed as reintroductions following lineup changes, This Is Why reinforces the purity of the remaining golden trio. Combining their rock roots with their pop flair and individual quirks, Paramore is now standing stronger than ever”. GC review

29. Alice Cooper – Road (earMUSIC) “Recorded live in the studio with no overdubbing, this is Alice and his band in full flight and with no frills. Road is yet another top-quality record packed with memorable, instant choruses, killer hooks, and some of Alice’s best lyrics for years.”
GC review

 

28. Great Falls – Objects Without Pain (Neurot Recordings) “Their sound embraces the arena around noise rock and post-hardcore, and they have proven to be a strongly emotive force. but even with such expectation Objects Without Pain is one that requires bracing for, with its punishing tale… an emotional and difficult listen, but one that cannot be recommended enough”. GC review

27. Silent Planet – SUPERBLOOM (Solid State Records) “While Silent Planet’s brand of metal has always used a dynamic approach, songs like “Antimatter” take this distinctive strategy to new territories. Stuttering industrial effects explode into dooming chugs with eerie synth swells filling in the gaps. This coalesces into a groove that could be the soundtrack for an apocalyptic mosh party”. GC review

 

26. Drain – Living Proof (Epitaph Records) “The album art is accurately indicative of a band who in the promo notes are described as “good, friendly violent fun”. Drain are forging their own path what with their occasional stylistic detours that help keep things interesting, but they also remember to stay faithful both to their roots and Hardcore’s own rich legacy”. GC review

25. Foo Fighters – But Here We Are (Roswell Records/RCA) “Maybe I’m just too sentimental since I am definitely a long-time Foos fan and a Taylor stan, but this album is stellar. Music is the greatest healer of all the arts, cathartic when needed most. Anyone suffering will come out of hearing this one for the better, but bring some tissues”. GC review

 

24. Dawn Ray’d – To Know The Light (Prosthetic) “Dawn Ray’d, however, are different. Undoubtedly a black metal band, they nevertheless espouse a progressive approach, both musically and ideologically. They use a violin as a main instrument, mix elements of folk music and punk with raw black metal, and take an overtly anti-fascist and anarchist stance”. GC review

23. Obituary – Dying of Everything (Relapse) “My favorite of all is the oppressive guitar tone that permeates “Be Warned” as Obituary settles on a gnashing tempo and drags you against your will through the swamp. It is only week two of the new year and we already have something like Dying of Everything? Should be a good year.
GC review

 

22. Wayfarer – American Gothic (Profound Lore / Century Media) “This unexpected return to a more straightforward metal album colored by the Western influence comes together in a beautifully dark manner. Not only is American Gothic one of the best black metal albums of 2023, but finds the band taking their place alongside the top-tier American black metal bands”. GC review

 

21. Prong – State of Emergency (Steamhammer / SPV) “Yes, there is the temptation to overuse words like “stomping” when talking about Prong. Victor has his style, but to be fair, it’s a great style. The man is a riff-making machine… State of Emergency adds several new editions to this great tradition of heavy-riffing, gut-punching, stompers to get your blood pressure escalating”.
GC review

 

Read part 1 here:

Ghost Cult’s Album of the Year Countdown 2023: Part 1 (75-41)

 

Read Part 3 (20-2) here:

Ghost Cult’s Albums of the Year 2023 – Part 3 (20-2)

Part 4 and our #1 album of 2023 coming soon…

STEVE TOVEY