Reviews, Interviews, and Podcasts concerning the best Extreme Metal music

Justin’s Top 10 Albums of 2023

After thousands of hours of listening, making a playlist of 267 albums that I felt merited a 3.5/5 or better score, and pairing that playlist down to 30, then again to 10, I’ve finally arrived at my top 10 albums of 2023!

It was an incredible year for music, with over 70 albums ranking a 4.0 or higher for me, which made this year’s list a true struggle. I’m exceptionally happy with the results though. I’ve included my spotify playlist of my top30 albums at the bottom of the page as well.

10. King – Fury and Death – This album appeared near the end of the year and just blew me away. It’s aptly named Fury and Death, and is the best Immortal style album we’ve gotten in years. Grim, vicious, and black as hell, these Australians are killing it.

9. Tryglav – The Ritual – This was an album from earlier in 2023 and one that I just kept revisiting again and again. After a few weeks of listening, I bought it on Vinyl, and I still spin it regularly. It’s the best blackened Death metal album that I heard last year. It’s full of catchy melodies, blazing guitars and outstanding harsh vocals.

8. Moonlight Sorcery – Horned Lord of the Thorned Castle – What’s left to say about this album that hasn’t already been said? It’s on almost everyone’s end of year lists, because it’s frosty black metal played as if it’s power metal. It’s a little bit of something for everyone and it’s incredibly fun. If you haven’t checked it out, you should.

7. Moonreich – Amer – Man, what a year for French Black metal. This album was definitely my most played of 2023, with well over 100 listens. It’s full of raw emotion, and incredibly diverse songs… I couldn’t get enough of it. The fact that it’s only number 7 on my list is a testament to how incredible the releases were this year.

6. Aodon – Portraits – The second stellar French Black metal band to make this list. Portraits is a beautiful journey, full of glorious highs and despairing lows. It’s just packed to the brim with raw emotion, backed by intense melodies that will draw you in and make you understand the story they are telling, even if you don’t speak the language. This is damn near a masterpiece level album.

5. Fires in the Distance – Air Not Meant for Us – Doom metal is not usually my favorite subgenre, so it’s rare that a Doom album would make my top 10, let alone my top 5. ANMFU is so good though, that I immediately listened to it on repeat 20 times after my first time hearing it. I knew instantly that it’s haunting melodies were something special, and I was certain it would make my end of year list somewhere. I feel very good about having it in my fifth spot.

4. Inherits the Void – The Impending Fall of the Stars – Surprise, Surprise, another French black metal band in my top10. Seriously though, this album is the meloblack album of the year, and it just kicks so much ass. If I listened to Amer 100 times, I listened to this one 95. Every song is a banger. I can’t wait to see what these guys do next.

3. Sodomisery – Mazzaroth – I discovered the poorly named Sodomisery with their 2020 album “The Great Demise”. I heard so much potential on that album, but it was scattered and a bit incoherent. Fast forward three years and they released the Death metal album of the year. It’s so good that nothing I can really say will do it justice. Just listen to it!

2. Permutation – Transcience – This one snuck under most people’s radars somehow, but it’s easily the catchiest album of the year. Top tier melodic death with black influences. I was lucky enough to snag one of the last shirt/vinyl combos off their bandcamp and got a personalized thank you. Honestly though, THANK YOU to Permutation for creating such a great record.

1. Penitence Onirique – Nature Morte – This is a technical melodic black metal masterpiece. The last album on my top 10 list from France (FOUR TOTAL!), and easily the best. I found this late in the year, but I played it as much as I possibly could. It’s almost all I’ve been listening to since the start of the year too, since few new releases have come out. If you enjoy meloblack at all, you must check out this album.

The Rest:

  1. Imperium Dekadenz – Into Sorrow Evermore
  2. CLOAK – Black Flame Eternal
  3. Mephorash – Krystl-Ah
  4. Frozen Dawn – The Decline of the Enlightened Gods
  5. Horrendous – Ontological Myserium
  6. Amalekim – Avodah Zarah
  7. Three Eyes of the Void – The Atheist
  8. Wayfarer – American Gothic
  9. Ulfuo – Of Existential Distortion
  10. Omnivortex – Circulate
  11. Non Est Deus – Legacy
  12. …And Oceans – As in Gardens, So in Tombs
  13. Crystal Coffin – The Curse of Immortality
  14. Asagraum – Veil of Death, Rapture
  15. A Flourishing Scourge – Sickened Seed
  16. Krigsgrav – Fires in the Fall
  17. Mystic Circle – Erzdamon
  18. Malphas – Flesh, Blood, and Cosmic Storms
  19. BlackBraid – BlackBraid II
  20. Carnation – Cursed Mortality

Here is a link to my Spotify Playlist, containing my top30 albums of 2023:

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