Here are the best rock and metal albums of 2023 according to Chaoszine staff

Author Arto Mäenpää - 16.12.2023

Year 2023 was absolutely amazing in terms of new music, and we got to hear tons of great new records this year. Our editors have listed now their top 10 favorite albums of the year and you can check out the lists below:

Arto Mäenpää

  1. In Flames – Foregone
    If someone had stated at the beginning of 2023 that In Flames would be responsible for the best album of the year, I most likely wouldn’t have believed it. However, “Foregone” has probably been spinning on my playlist more than any other album this year, and it’s genuinely a very good and cohesive record from this melodeath pioneer. Apparently, the combination of the pandemic and the birth of The Halo Effect made Friden and Gelotte dig deep to find that inner fire and sharpening their songwriting pen. This album truly is a masterpiece.
  2. Sleep Token – Take Me Back To Eden
    I debated for a long time whether to put In Flames or Sleep Token at the top of my list because “Take Me Back To Eden” is also a very genre-breaking and versatile record. Sleep Token has an almost magical ability to combine various genres in their music, yet making them sound like a cohesive whole. I claim that this band will be seen as a headliner at major festivals one day. Worship!
  3. Cavalera – Morbid Visions
    The Cavalera brothers signed a deal with Nuclear Blast and released a couple of early Sepultura classics re-recorded. Both “Morbid Visions” and “Bestial Devastation” work very well in their re-recorded versions showing how timeless these masterpieces truly are.
  4. From Ashes To New – Blackout
    If you’re a fan of the older Linkin Park and, for some reason, have managed to overlook From Ashes To New, now is the time to correct that and give “Blackout” a spin. It’s an excellent album for fans of modern metal/nu-metal/alternative rock, and I highly recommend it.
  5. Spiritbox – The Fear of Fear (EP)
    Usually, when considering top lists for the year I immediately drop EP’s out from the list but “The Fear Of Fear” is just such a functional and compact entity that it must be mentioned on this list. Spiritbox is one of the most interesting bands in the metal scene today, and the songs on the EP, such as “Jaded” and “Cellar Door” are among the best in modern metal songs released in 2023.
  6. Orbit Culture – Descent
    While arranging the first half of the list was somewhat easy, placing ranks 6-10 could almost be on the same level. Orbit Culture is one of the most interesting bands in the groove metal scene since Machine Head, and even though “Descent” doesn’t quite reach the level of the brilliant “Nija” as a whole, it still shows that OC is on the right track and on their way to larger stages. Impressive!
  7. Within Temptation – Bleed Out
    Temptation shifted to a slightly more modern gear with their album “Bleed Out,” and the result is, in my opinion, an almost perfect metal album. The album is very versatile, and its content is unfortunately timely due to its handling of war. Somehow, with this album, you can hear that the band gave 110% when creating it, making it the best album this band has ever made.
  8. Corey Taylor – CMF2
    Corey Taylor
    ‘s second solo album is much more cohesive and stronger than its predecessor, “CMFT.” While “CMFT” seemed to be just a collection of different songs, Taylor maintains a better thematic thread with “CMF2.” It’s an excellent rock album for fans of heavier rock.
  9. Periphery – Periphery V: Djent Is Not A Genre
    stepped up the heavy game and released their heaviest album in their career. Songs like “Wildfire” and “Everything Is Fine!” are brilliant demonstrations of what the band can do at its heaviest. “Wildfire” is probably one of the most played songs on my own playlist this year. It’s an extremely cohesive and heavy piece for all djent lovers.
  10. …And Oceans – As In Gardens, So In Tombs
    Symphonic black metal to conclude the list. …And Oceans excels in this genre, and “As In Gardens, So In Tombs” is an excellent example of the band’s abilities. For fans of symphonic black metal, this album is definitely worth checking out, as it doesn’t have a single weak link.

Honourable mentions:
Moonlight Sorcery
– Horned Lord of the Thorned Castle
Mors Subita
– Origin of Fire
Before The Dawn
– Stormbringers
Bloodred Hourglass
– How’s the Heart?
– 1696
Kaunis Kuolematon
– Mielenvalta
– Fatalism
– Phantomine EP
Block Of Flats
– No Hope For The Hopeless
– Heartrot

Benedetta Baldin

  1. VV – Neon Noir
    The rebirth of an artist, the continuity of a legend, the impressive work of a talent that is never ending. The whole world is now different because of “Neon Noir”; and if not the entirety of the world, at least mine is surely different. Words enough cannot express the depth of feelings and emotions that this masterpiece evokes, you just have to listen.
  2. Degrees of Truth – Alchemists
    I honestly hate comparisons, but the talent that this group holds is perhaps the only thing closer to Nightwish that we have in 2023. So let’s take some time to celebrate this outstanding group, that with only its third album has accomplished more than many artists will ever in their entire career.
  3. Liverbox – The Great Spirit Of Rock’n’Roll
    Melodic and AOR rock are my favorite subgenres, and I think that this Finnish group has truly delivered us a magnificent album. Powerful vocals, amazing melodies, great style: you can find so many positive points throughout the whole record, and I highly recommend it for all the listeners that miss the old school rock ‘n roll.
  4. Great Master – Montecristo
    It was just one year ago that I discovered Great Master, but they have breached their way into my ears, my heart and my soul in such a little time. Their power metal is refined, layered, authentic and perfectly executed, and with their latest release, they have truly smashed the standards of the genre once again.
  5. Silktron – Bruadarach
    Finland has been blessing us this year with some marvelous releases, and it would be a crime if I didn’t include Silktron. They have crafted something unique and spectacular, which showcases the talent and the effort that this group continues to deliver to the audiences worldwide. You cannot miss this album if you’re a fan of folk metal!
  6. Edge Of Forever – Ritual
    Just like wine getting better as time passes, the same can be said about Edge Of Forever, that this year have released a mind-blowing album, full of symbolism, culture, passion and metal, of course. This album is a journey through time and life, which will result in a journey deep within ourselves as well. You cannot be the same after this ritual.
  7. Insomnium – Anno 1696
    My lack of knowledge of death metal is unfortunately still quite big, but it would be foolish to overlook this masterpiece from Insomnium, that describes a story of the times when the Great Famine hit the North. Get ready to be transported into another age and experience with all your senses this dark period, but be careful because the atmosphere will be different than today.
  8. Poppy – Zig
    I have a feeling that this album will be listed under the definition of “evolution” in the dictionary very soon. I know, I’m probably exaggerating but it is so refreshing when an artist decides to experiment, innovate and invent themselves once more.
  9. Break Me Down – Soul Clashes
    What a pleasure it is when a talented band releases an album worthy of their value: and this is the case for Break Me Down, who decided on a different approach (kudos to them for this!) and you cannot stream yet the album but you can buy it if you attend one of their performance. Their mesmerizing rhythms and hypnotic vocals will leave you wanting for more, an addiction that is their fresh alternative metal.
  10. Reasons Behind – Architecture Of An Ego
    Think about the best electronic dance music you can possibly imagine. Think about the finest heavy metal you can possibly dream about. Now unite these two elements and you’ll get the newest album by Reasons Behind, who are taking the EDM metal to the next level with every step they take.

David Araneda

  1. Malokarpatan – Vertumnus Caesar
    I’m usually hesitant to include such a late release on the top spot of my album of the year list, but this one has been on repeat since it came out. Blending blackened heavy metal with folk, psychedelic, and Goblinesque cinematic elements makes “Vertumnus Caesar” a highly enjoyable listening experience from start to finish. In a world full of copycats and streamlined music, Malokarpatan manages to do what few artists can achieve these days: come up with a unique style that provokes profound emotions and transports your imagination to unseen worlds. Even if you don’t understand a word they’re saying.
  2. Moonlight Sorcery – Horned Lord of the Thorned Castle
    One of the most pleasant surprises of the year and certainly my favorite full-length debut of 2023. If you miss early Children of Bodom, especially the first three albums, you’re in for a treat with this young Finnish outfit. Skillful playing, super catchy melodies with a great balance between aggression and musicianship is their recipe for success.
  3. The Night Eternal – Fatale
    A very solid sophomore effort by this German quintet and a great improvement from their debut, mixing traditional heavy metal with darker, almost gothic vibes to spice things up a little bit. The songwriting and production have improved a lot throughout the years so I’m looking forward to hearing what they can offer in the future.
  4. Thy Catafalque – Alföld
    Hungarian mastermind Tamás Kátai has been consistently releasing genre-bending quality material for quite some time now. Dropping some of the more avant-garde approaches from his latest albums, this is as straightforward as Thy Catafalque gets, remaining nevertheless weirder and more exciting than most bands currently. We hope to see some more extensive touring around Europe next year.
  5. Spirit Adrift – Ghost at the Gallows
    One of my favorite younger bands from the USA, Nate Garrett and co. are back with a great collection of bangers, and boy do they deliver the goods. Including more hard rock sounds than on previous efforts, this album combines the best elements of old school metal with ’80s vibes and modern production values.
  6. Wytch Hazel – IV: Sacrament
    A little bit of light is needed on the list amongst so much gloom and darkness. I’m often not very excited about bands dealing so openly with religious topics, but this is by far my favorite record of them. The choruses and guitar harmonies are simply delicious and will make you sing along from the first listen.
  7. Stortregn – Finitude
    Swiss clockwork machinery operating at its best, delivering ultra-technical death/black metal with great taste and mind-blowing instrumental passages. Despite its complexity and progginess, “Finitude” doesn’t feel like a futile exercise in shredding just for the sake of shredding, but more like a cohesive collection of butt-kicking high-octane songs.
  8. Insomnium – Anno 1696
    You can’t go wrong when it comes to these Finnish melodeath masters. An ambitious conceptual album based on a story written by bassist/vocalist Niilo Sevänen, “Anno 1696” sounds a bit rawer and darker than their last couple of studio efforts, which feels refreshing and helps them keep their worldwide momentum.
  9. Riverside – I.D.Entity
    If “Wasteland” was the album that helped the band to deal with grief after sadly losing their original guitarist, “I.D.Entity” brings back some optimism and hope, which shows in a more cheerful and colorful approach. But Riverside wouldn’t be Riverside without some criticism of modern society, so the lyrics are still as sharp and spot-on as usual.
  10. Katatonia – Sky Void of Stars
    There are as many Katatonia fans as there are Katatonia albums, but I’m really into this modern, more sophisticated version of the band. “Sky Void of Stars” is exquisitely moody and melancholic, aging like a fine wine. You can tell an album is good when it was released in January and you still enjoy it the same way in December.

Honourable mentions:
Soen – Memorial
The Ocean – Holocene
Enslaved – Heimdal
Spidergawd – VII
Terminalist – The Crisis as Condition

Vickky Lewis

  1. Alt. – ABEYANCE
    A debut album like no other. The Aussie band Alt. proved themselves to the world that they are a fresh breed who can mix dark and light elements to create a unique sound that showcases both a light metalcore pop side and flips to a heavy scream power in seconds.
  2. Cyan Kicks – I Never Said 4ever
    The album that has your back. Modern rock with poppy vocals that strike you in the heart with its relevance. Alongside catchy melodies, you will be dancing and singing along.
  3. Grave Pleasures – Plagueboys
    Heavy hooks and dark lyrics bring out the goth inside. The danceable sound that echoes throughout the album makes a psychedelic feel, pushing their talents into new post-punk territory that proves their songwriting is reaching new heights.
  4. Metallica – 72 Seasons
    They are back and still showing us why they are one of the greats.
  5. Not My Weekend – Shimmer.Season
    Pop punk that puts a spring in your step. With catchy and emotional lyrics, you’re bound to feel a connection with this album. Whether relating to each track or just simply having a good old dance.
  6. HANABIE – 来世は偉人 (Reborn Superstar!)
    Hardcore that has been dipped into J-Pop/Neo-Japanese style. HANABIE gives a fresh take that is heavy and growls, standing out in a world of their own.
  7. Nothing But Thieves – Dead Club City
    A beautiful album that speaks from the heart. Creating their own universe where these songs live is a unique way of bringing them to life. Diverse in songwriting and storytelling.
  8. Voyager – Dreamer
    Alive with punchy ’80s feels that include hard-hitting drums and bass. With groovy and heavier tunes that take off into new directions while still within Voyager’s romantic range and luxurious keys.
  9. Stoned Statues – Guardian
    They came swinging harder and faster, knocking us out with a fearless album. Stacked with contagious attitude and bold melodies.
  10. Rock Band From Hell – Music For Late Night Activities
    A debut album that will have you putting your hands in the air. A fresh punk sound with hints of other genres allows the band to experiment, creating a dark lyric but still uplifting album.

Special mentions outside the list:
Hara – Survival Mode
Story Of The Year – Tear Me To Pieces
SiM – Playdead
Stam1na – X
Turmion Kätilöt – Omen X
Maneskin – Rush

Flavia Andrade

  1. Cattle Decapitation – Terrasite
    “Terrasite” claims the absolute first place on my 2023 top 10 list. This album is truly impressive both as a collection of fantastically brutal songs and as a display of great musicianship. The album manages to be extremely complex, yet not complicated—it’s not exactly easy listening, of course—but it’s a pleasant set of some of the heaviest sounds to have hit the market this year. Songs about hopelessness and disillusion with mankind have never sounded so comforting. Travis Ryan’s vocal abilities, which take him from the depths of death grunts to the heights of blackened growls, always impress and really shine here in “Terrasite”. If you haven’t taken the time to listen to this album as a whole, please do; I can tell you it will be an exhilarating listening experience.
  2. Enslaved – Heimdal
    One of the best metal bands out there, Enslaved has created yet another masterpiece in “Heimdal”. No one ever doubts that whenever an Enslaved album comes out, it will be really good. Still, there is something really special about this one: Heimdal is a heavy, complex, and layered album. Yet, everything seems in place and never overdone. Lyrically, this time they chose a mysterious deity to address – as mysterious as the depths of what lurks in the human psyche, a theme Enslaved also explores. The pummeling drum work in “Congelia” alone should earn “Heimdal” a spot on this list, but the album is impressive in every way, so complex that, every time you listen to it, you catch a different impression of it. A true work of art.
  3. Kvelertak – Endling
    is one of the most interesting-sounding contemporary bands, and they prove it yet again with “Endling”. Their unique mix of rock & roll, punk rock, and black metal never fails to impress or amuse. “Endling” is a well-humored, high-spirited album, with great guitar riffs and energetic vocals. Sung in their native Norwegian, Endling tells the history of Norway—not the epic tales of Vikings—but of the ordinary people that inhabit the land. It earns its place on this top 10 for its inventiveness and high-quality production.
  4. Blackbraid – Blackbraid II
    Melodic black metal at its finest, the band’s sophomore album builds on Blackbraid’s debut very cleverly. The use of acoustic instruments like the flute, and the presence of folk melodic lines along with tremolo guitars and blast beats, bring to life a nostalgic feeling of epic stories. An album that you can almost visualize as you listen to it, creating the atmosphere of the forests and backlands of the North American continent. Another Blackbraid album that deserves a spot on my top 10, for the warmth it manages to bring to an otherwise freezing genre.
  5. Nervosa – Jailbreak
    A band that keeps reinventing themselves, a lot of the heavy metal world’s eyes were on Nervosa in the past year when founding member and guitarist Prika Amaral announced she was taking up lead vocals. On “Jailbreak”, Amaral has proven that she can deliver in that new role, leaving no room for harsh criticism. The album is a collection of some of the best-crafted songs Nervosa has released so far, and a lot of that is due to Amaral’s newly assumed vocal duties, which seem to have brought a new fierceness to their sound. Good riffage and impressive solos permeate most of the songs on “Jailbreak”, an example of how good thrash metal should be played.
  6. In Flames – Foregone
    This album marks the band’s return to their best form, with a sound closer to In Flames’ early melodeath, heavier hues. However, the band manages to keep reinventing themselves even when going back to their roots: there are progressive metal moments, yet the songs are bangers that would lift up any crowd in a live performance. I would even dare to say this is their best album in years, and it truly deserves its place among the top 10 albums of 2023.
  7. Insomnium – Anno 1696
    Skilfully blending folk elements into their melodeath style, “Anno 1696” features Insomnium in their best form. Great guitar work and beautiful melodies convey an atmosphere of darkness and sadness that permeated Northern countries in the late 17th century: a time of religious persecution, with paganism falling victim to the oppression of Christianity. “Anno 1696” tells this story with a heaviness that makes this one of the best Insomnium records so far, with a tightly knit sound. A melodeath masterpiece, no doubt.
  8. Rancid – Tomorrow Never Comes
    This album proves that Rancid is in better shape than ever—an aggressive, in-your-face record that features 16 songs in less than 30 minutes. It doesn’t get more punk rock than that. The band proves yet again that the genre has aged well and has kept its fun side along with the anger and rebelliousness. Besides, Rancid shows that punk rock does not equal bad musicianship: the album sounds really tight and well-produced, with an on-point sound.
  9. Voyager – Fearless in Love
    You might know Voyager from 2023’s Eurovision song contest, but they have been a powerhouse of prog rock in Australia for a while now. Danny Estrin, vocalist and keytar player, brings to “Fearless in Love” an intensity that reminds me of Rush’s Geddy Lee. With clever tunes and anthemic choruses, but still keeping true to their proggy roots, Voyager manages to take prog rock to the masses, killing it with a groovy rhythm section, and futuristic vocal and keys/synth tracks. Fearless in Love is an update of prog rock of sorts, with a sound that will please both music geeks and newbies, for this is a very accessible album to the untrained ear, as well as a treat for those more experienced prog rock fans.
  10. Crypta – Shades Of Sorrow
    sophomore effort deserves to be featured on this top 10, not only for the album’s heaviness but also for its great grooves. Brutal in its simplicity, a no-frills album that truly earned its place here. There are no great guitar solos here, but the sheer energy of these grooves and vocals merits all the praise.

Special mentions:
Watain – Die in Fire – Live in Hell (Agony and Ecstasy Over Stockholm)
Lowd – What Lurks Inside…
Green Lung – This Heathen Land
Immortal – War Against All

John Wins

  1. Foo Fighters – But Here We Are
    A year after the passing of Taylor Hawkins and Dave’s mother, Foo Fighters transformed pain and mourning into a beautiful and touching album, which is the band’s best work since “Wasting Light”.
  2. Mammoth WVH – Mammoth II
    Wolfgang Van Halen’s second work not only shows the strength of his songwriting but brings more metal and melody to an album that sounds like a band, even though it was recorded by just one (very talented) person.
  3. Shereign – Ghost Diaries
    The debut of this Finnish band not only mixes something between power and melodic death metal but also brings a modern sound with many interesting lyrics. Long may Shereign reign!
  4. Angra – Cycles of Pain
    After a decade with Fabio Lione on vocals, the band released their best work with the Italian singer, on an album that talks about life and death with that mix of Brazilian music and heavy metal that only Angra can do.
  5. Stam1na – X
    The tenth album of these guys from Lemi not only pays homage to each previous album but brings the best that Stam1na can do: melodies that stick in your mind, lyrics that make you think, and the strength of the best heavy metal in the land of a thousand lakes.
  6. Within Temptation – Bleed Out
    After releasing many singles in the last 3 years, the full album was finally released and it did not disappoint. Lyrics that talk about activism and world crises were on point and show that Within Temptation is better than ever.
  7. Stoned Statues – Guardian
    The band’s second work comes just a year after their debut, and in this short time, it is already possible to notice not only an evolution but that the Finnish trio is definitely ready to conquer the world with their rock/metal.
  8. Starbenders – Take Back the Night
    The mix of punk, glam, and hard rock returns more mature in this new work from the Atlanta quartet, which talks about love, sex, and fears in a way that only Kimi Shelter can sing about.
  9. Fall Out Boy – So Much (for) Stardust
    After some experimental and uninspired albums, Fall Out Boy returns with their best album in the last decade. Great vocal melodies, provocative lyrics, and the best of emo music in 2023.
  10. Soen – Memorial
    Album after album they manage to release a new work better than the previous, and with “Memorial”, the Swedish band surpasses itself again with a dark, poetic, and heavy record.

Special mentions outside the list:
Rytmihäiriö – Surmacore
Luis Mariutti – Unholy
Hugo Mariutti – The Last Dance
Katatonia – Sky Void of Stars

Oussama El Ouadie

  1. Cannibal Corpse – Chaos Horrific
    Is there a need for an explanation as to why Cannibal Corpse reign supreme over the world of extreme metal? No band has been consistent for this long in terms of delivering the most brutal music over four decades. This release is in line with this statement.
  2. Dying Fetus – Make Them Beg for Death
    What an album! When you think death metal can’t get more brutal, the Maryland power trio comes to prove you wrong. A tapestry of violence, and a vulgar display of extremely fast death metal, and awfully heavy slams.
  3. Suffocation – Hymns from the Apocrypha
    This has been a full-on death metal year. One more legendary band with a full-length release. Suffocation finds the perfect balance between technique, caveman riffs, and incredible efficiency. A masterpiece in drumming, production, riffs, and an all-around perfectly tight-knit and balanced brutal death metal album.
  4. Cryptopsy – As Gomorrah Burns
    The return of the Canadian machine-gun of a band. Relentless from front to end in an album that signs the long-awaited full length we’ve been longing for. No nonsense, just pure straight forward death metal that doesn’t leave time for breathing.
  5. Crypta – Shades of Sorrow
    The second full length from the Brazilian band is cementing their status as a new South American extreme metal powerhouse. They are spitting their rage and anger at us in a very brutal, yet subtle form. An album filled with melody, melancholy, and a lot of aggression. It also has its share of catchy choruses that get you singing along. Solid album.
  6. Sanguisugabogg – Homicidal Ecstasy
    Nasty. That’s the first word that comes to one’s mind when listening to this album. It’s crazy how such a non-listener-friendly album is meeting such critical acclaim. “Brutal” can’t stress how vile this album is. You listen to it with a constant grin on your face. It’s genius by the most obnoxious of standards. These Americans are sticking their gruesome creation in our faces, and we love it.
  7. Invicta – Triumph and Torment
    This has been my discovery of the year. What if Kreator joined forces with Iron Maiden to play death metal? It would sound like Invicta. An interesting mix of melody with blazing speed and brutality to spawn a wretched manifesto of thrash/death metal that will open quite a few circle pits.
  8. Gutslit – Carnal
    India isn’t the first place that comes to your mind when you think of death metal, but this grindcore/death metal band has all it takes to leave its mark with a very unique style of extreme metal that’s putting together several elements to spawn an absurdly violent creation, shaped by none other than the great Mark Lewis.
  9. Lokust – Infidel
    Although it certainly didn’t live up to my expectations, it remains nonetheless a very solid release and shows a lot of maturity for a debut album. Still impressed by how all the best elements from different genres of extreme metal were handpicked to create bangers such as “Guiltless,” “Parasitic,” or “Eradication: One.”
  10. Rise of the Northstar – Showdown
    Indeed, a showdown of “in your face” hardcore metal that kicks your ass song after song. An amazing band to mosh to, and a solid release to cement their presence in the hardcore metal scene.

Julia Suloinen

  1. VV – Neon Noir
    I wouldn’t say that His Infernal Majesty is back, and it’s wholesome HIM ver 2.0, but it’s surely a very beautiful and soft (in a good way) as well as pretty dark record. And, most importantly, Ville Valo’s voice is indeed just as good as it has always been.
  2. 3TEETH – EndExe
    The most curious thing about this album was that I discussed the process and some secret details of the concept of this album with the frontman Lex Mincolla long before it was released, in the year 2020, so I was far beyond excited to figure out how the outcome turned out to be. And it was the most pure epic sinister cosmic industrial you can hear nowadays.
  3. Myrkur – Spine
    I got shivers while listening to it! This album is something celestial, ethereal, and out of this world. I admired its mysterious balance between heaviness and gentleness.
  4. Sleep Token – Take Me Back To Eden
    It’s not a surprise that such mind-blowing eclecticism combined with deep and unique vocals made this album a real breakthrough for the band! I am happy more and more people learn about them through this record!
  5. Tarja – Dark Christmas
    I never knew I needed the compilation of gothic Christmas songs until I heard this album! Sophisticated, with a solid twist of sparkling melancholy, yet – very solemn and festive.
  6. Nita Strauss – Into The Void
    As a listener, I’m a huge sucker for great collaborations in the metal world, and this album literally consists of the collaborations of one of the best guitar-players in rock&metal nowadays and such iconic vocalists as Anders Friden, Alissa White-Gluz, Chris Motionless, and others. The notable mentioning goes to the fact how each song on the album “resonates” with the original band of each invited vocalist.
  7. Orbit Culture – Descent
    I must confess I discovered this band only this year, and it was the cliche of love at first sight. I am mesmerized by the way their sound covers like an avalanche, its multilayeredness and volume. And also it feels like the Universe has finally heard my prayers about “if Metallica performed more death and more melodic metal, I’d love them much more.” If you know what I mean :)
  8. In Flames – Foregone
    This album just blew my mind, being absolutely beyond any expectations. The best In Flames album in a decade for sure, and I still recall the pleasant neck pain after headbanging the heck out of my body during “The Great Deceiver” at Hellfest this year.
  9. Insomnium – Anno 1696
    The legends of Finnish Melodic Death never let down, delivering the finest quality material. And now imagine this finest quality material framing a perfect blend of actual Finnish history and gloomy fiction – you get the best concept album of the year for sure. Plus, I could never imagine that I’d hear the angelic Johanna Kurkela on the Insomnium album…
  10. Iron Savior – Firestar
    I’ve been a devoted power metal girl for more than 20 years now, and Iron Savior are not only the undying classics of the genre but also are the finest example of stability in this life. Such music makes me feel alive; it brings the major drive to my life and makes me feel like I can run a marathon hyper-speed or drive a spaceship or do some other bombastic stuff. All in all, I’m a simple girl: I hear a new Iron Savior album – I instantly make it no. 1 in my “albums of the year” ranking.