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


Thermal count is rising in perpetual writhing, the primordial ooze of albums continues, and the sanity they lose choosing their favorites of the year. Awakened in the morning, to more ear-pollution warnings…

Now I can only laugh, as I read our epitaph – we end 2023 with cheer, in the light of our Albums of the Year.

May you all rust in peace…

Click for Part 1 (75-41) and Part 2 (40-21)

 

20. HEALTH – Rat Wars (Loma Vista Recordings) “HEALTH are a clear example of post-genre bands that have been coming out of the woodwork. Stylistically flitting from one genre and influence to another, intermingling them all seamlessly, anything could be on the horizon for them, all we know is that Rat Wars is up there with the cutting edge of music and genre boundaries, and that’s all HEALTH will continue to do” GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – December

 

19. Insomnium – Anno 1696 (Century Media Records) “Insomnium is known for taking its heavy, melodious riffs beyond the norm and conjuring a truly inventive tone full of dreamy dismalness and gripping gloom. There is real momentum, ardent emotions… this is a sincere presentation of grit, heart, and fortitude. The variations of tones and emotions are perplexing and massively enjoyable”. GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – February

 

18. Katatonia – Sky Void of Stars (Napalm Records) “Katatonia is on a phenomenal creative run; arguably one of the best in Metal music. Sky Void Of Stars requires a greater amount of time to fully showcase itself and with further listens it reveals further dynamics and increased depths. The melancholy is, of course, a striking trait of the band”. GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – January

 

17. Dødheimsgard – Black Medium Current (Peaceville Records) “Black Medium Current shows this sense and desire for the avant-garde has not remotely dulled. In fact, dull is about as far removed from this as possible. The results are very much captivating however and show what a creative force the band are. It is a challenging and, at times, near-worrying listen, but one that warrants time and rewards with depth and immersion”. GC review

 

16. ††† (CROSSES) – Goodnight, God Bless, Love You, Delete (Warner Music) “It’s great to have Crosses back as their first album is one to return to time and time again when you’re in the mood for this style of music and the alluring sound of Chino’s vocal chords so often conveyed in the mellower Deftones moments… another fine and eclectic synth-heavy genre record for your shelf”. GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – October

 

15. KEN Mode – VOID (Artoffact Records) “KEN Mode has always been profound in expressing trenchant melancholy through their songs, and on this release they viscerally managed to pull it off again. It’s like an embodiment of the despair they have felt throughout the years due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, the disappointment and deep-rooted melancholy they felt manifested into the purest harsh cacophony in a form of two-album arc”. GC review

 

14. Cannibal Corpse – Chaos Horrific (Metal Blade Records) “The fact is though, especially since the addition of guitarist Erik Rutan, the Florida-based five-piece has shown a consistent and clear improvement in every department. Song lyrics might still be deeply rooted in shock value pulp horror, but the machine that surrounds them strives to evolve, no matter how slowly or insidiously, with every new cycle”. GC review

 

13. Sleep Token – Take Me Back To Eden (Spinefarm Records) “Forgive me if I come across as blasphemous, but much like Deftones decided to put in a lot of their chips on The Cure flavored post-punk on the seminal White Pony, Sleep Token is gambling similarly fusing smooth R&B vocals with hard-hitting riffs here. Resurgent? Divisive? Hasn’t that been the story of metal all along?” GC review

 

12. Sylosis – A Sign Of Things To Come (Nuclear Blast Records) “A Sign Of Things To Come is the sound of a band on top form, all members completely in sync as a complete unit and it is crystal clear that with the band now a priority act and focused behind Middleton, that Sylosis have well and truly returned to conquer the UK metal scene”. GC review

 

11. Baroness – Stone (Abraxan Hymns) “A grey spot creeps into the blue skies towards the end, but it is the great pool of calm waters on an album with many eddies. Stone is the sixth album from Baroness, and at this point in their career, they are operating on another level of song-craft and musicianship compared with anybody else. Honestly, maybe they always have been”. GC review

 

10. Tomb Mold – The Enduring Spirit (20 Buck Spin) “Technical progressive Death Metal trailblazers Tomb Mold must have known they had something remarkably special on their hands. The girth this seven-track, 43-minute technically proficient Death Metal release musters is enormous… Not only did they deliver; they feel worlds ahead of pretty much everyone else”. GC review

 

9. Swans – The Beggar (Young Gods) “Michael Gira has been pondering his existence on Swans records for decades, but The Beggar feels like the band’s most existential statement to date. Was it the heightened uncertainty of the Covid pandemic that made Gira hyper-aware of his own mortality, or is it just the inevitability of advancing years? Whatever the cause, Swans in 2023 remains vital”. GC review

 

8. Overkill – Scorched (Nuclear Blast Records) “Seems like we’re going to have to score another one for the bad guys. And by bad guys, I am referring to some of Thrash Metal’s pioneers who refuse to acknowledge the passage of time and are still melting amp heads like it was 1986. With Scorched, Overkill finds themselves standing in defiance and releasing some of their best work”. GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – April

 

7. Mutoid Man – Mutants (Sargent House) “As a song-writer Brodsky is arguably in the golden age of his career, following up Heavy Pendulum, with this new record that is expertly crafted with strong vocal hooks, and a succession of the most infectious and complex guitar riffs you’re going to hear in 2023, encompassing a whole host of influences, to create a myriad of sounds”. GC review

 

6. Urne – A Feast On Sorrow (Candlelight Records) “Urne creates a cathartic ambience with their music, delivered aggressively but also allowing the sound to meander with moments of uplifting melody. With their sophomore release, Urne produce a deeply textured record, stretching beyond their debut, continuing their growing trajectory in the UK’s vibrant metal scene”. GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – August

 

5. Pupil Slicer – Blossom (Prosthetic Records)

“Not only does Blossom live up to potential, but it exceeds all expectations and is quite honestly the work of a band who have now created their own sound, soaked in a sophistication well beyond their years. Blossom shows a clear progression in just about every aspect, from the production to the songwriting, and most importantly the delivery”. GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – June

 

4. Cattle Decapitation – Terrasite (Metal Blade Records)

“Picking up where the previous record Death Atlas left off, the tenth album from deathgrind legends Cattle Decapitation finds new life evolving from the charred and blackened carcass of the Earth. Emerging from its human cocoon, the titular beastie – much like the band itself – awakens to continue on its path towards total planetary devastation. GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – May

 

3. Code Orange – The Above (Blue Grape Music)

“The seamlessly unpredictable journey sucks you into a universe that only becomes more elaborate and enthralling the more you let it consume you. Code Orange’s confidence in pushing the envelope continues to grow with each album, making for a three-dimensional element of surprise that no other band could replicate. Only time will tell how their influence will shape the future of Hardcore. But it will.” GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – September

 

2. Enslaved – Heimdal (Nuclear Blast Records)

“At this point some thirty years into their illustrious career, Enslaved have truly transcended into their own musical entity. Creating a genre in their own image with a highly unique sound that still stays true to their extreme metal roots, but also blends the darkness with the light of progressive rock, and providing two distinct and opposing vocal styles in a way that no other band does… a grand vision that Enslaved have executed to perfection, on an album that is up there with their best”. GC review

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – March

 

We have a supplemental video for this part of the countdown:

 

And a podcast!

PODCAST: Episode 374 – Ghost Cult’s Album of the Year Part 3 (20-2)

Read Part 1 here:

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

Read Part 2 (40-21) here:

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

Part 4 and the #1 album coming soon….

 

STEVE TOVEY