Here is the second and final half of my top 50 songs of the year…
25. Pharmakon – Milkweed / It Hangs Heavy
Honestly a struggle to pick a favourite on Pharmakon’s debut (Crawling On Bruised Knees only just misses out) as every track is just downright brutal and uncomfortable… in the good way. Noise and rhythm balanced perfectly.
24. Melvins – Station To Station (ft. J.G. Thirlwell) [David Bowie cover]
Easily my favourite cover on “Everybody Loves Sausages”. The urgency of it and Thirlwell’s performance is nothing short of stellar.
23. Locrian – Eternal Return
This opening track for “Return To Annihilation” stands out from the album, having a more straightfoward shoegaze approach. Those synths, driving drums, Smashing Pumpkins-esque guitar lead and screamed vocals just get me hyped every time I hear it… then I’m calmed down by the rest of the album.
22. Year Of No Light – Tocsin
Admittedly, the track does take a little while to grab your attention, but when it does, it becomes a monumental progression through riffs and grooves. My highlight is 9.33 onwards, but you’re really better off starting from the beginning and see how it gets to that point…
21. Yellow Eyes – Many Long Fingers Bent In Pain
Deafheaven aren’t the only band that ties black metal and the unusual atmospheres of outside influences. Leaning closer to their black metal roots, Yellow Eyes manage to remain off-kilter and very original in forming their own sound; this being the prime example on their 2013 release.
20. Whirr – Keep
Just heavy feelings come with every play of this track. Whirr maintain their reputation as a shoegaze band that just does not stop hitting home.
19. Grails – Invitation To Ruin
This track may have been released prior to 2013 (I’m not sure) but it’s only become easily available to purchase on Grails’ still fairly new compilation “Black Tar Prophecies Vol. 4, 5 & 6”. Easily my favourite track, just entrancing and seductively mysterious.
18. Ensemble Pearl – Painting on a Corpse
Members of Sunn O))) and Boris work together again, what can you say? Again, just an easy favourite from the self-titled album.
17. Gas Axe – Divine Gluttony
The Welsh beasts came out with a devestating EP of three songs and this is the opener. The intro is massive and the progression through the 10+ minute song is just breathtaking.
16. Ulcerate – Cessation
One of the doom/sludgier tracks on their new album, it doesn’t stop them from giving you blastbeats and facemelting guitar riffs. This track is like a science lesson in how to conjoin death metal and sludge…
15. Queens Of The Stone Age – I Sat By The Ocean
One of the more upbeat tracks on their 2013 album. I said all I needed to say about it in my review.
14. Blockheads – Follow The Bombs
THAT OUTRO RIFF/GROOVE.
13. Chelsea Wolfe – The Waves Have Come
The longest track from “Pain Is Beauty” but easily the most emotionally engaging. Loss summed up in song.
12. Deafheaven – Vertigo
Just listen to it, dammit.
11. Oathbreaker – The Abyss Looks Into Me
A soft track on the aggressive fusers’ latest release and easily my favourite – while their hardhitters are a force of their own, there’s just something extremely enticing about this track. Caro Tanghe’s vocals are just phenomenal.
10. Suuns – Powers of Ten
Wonder what Radiohead would sound like if Thom Yorke was force fed bath salts for a year? This seething breaking-point anthem to ruin.
9. Russian Circles – Memorial (ft. Chelsea Wolfe)
It’s easily the most beautiful and heartwrenching song of 2013. I really hope Russian Circles and Chelsea Wolfe work together again in the future.
8. Conan – Beheaded
I liked Bongripper’s track on their split with Conan early this year, but when compared to each other, Beheaded is next level doom. Granted, it’s pretty standard for Conan with extremely drop-tuned guitars and a tempo that must go into time with the grinding of Teutonic plates, but it’s just a relentless bludgeoning that never gets old.
7. Nails – God’s Cold Hands
And the award for the most face-smashingly aggressive song in recent years goes to…
6. Ben Frost – Metal On Skin
Ben Frost released a lot of music this year, pretty much out of the blue. A lot of it is great, but none of the tracks on any of the releases stands up to the defeated sound of this track. Ben Frost at his darkest… possibly.
5. Dragged Into Sunlight & Gnaw Their Tongues – Untitled
This track was only available for 24 hours to stream and was made sure to never appear again anywhere on the internet for months afterwards. Even now it’s hard to find somewhere you can listen to it, but it’s worth the search if you can. Dragged Into Sunlight revisit similar grounds to their noise EP “Terminal Aggressor” with the help of the scarring Gnaw Their Tongues. Scary.
4. Melvins – I Told You I Was Crazy
My favourite track from the “Tres Cabrones” album. It carries an influence from the Throbbing Gristle cover they did on “Everybody Loves Sausages” beforehand; so mix those creepy electronics with sludgey guitars at parts with a creepy Tom Waits influence: this is what you get.
3. Clams Casino – Crystals
The third and last track that appeared on GTA V. Clams has built himself an unquestionable reputation as a flawless producer so far, able to keep his production both mind-numbingly graceful and catchy. Crystals is no different, in fact, you could put it up there in my top three tracks by Clams. Easily.
2. Queens Of The Stone Age – I Appear Missing
Again, I went over my feelings for this song in my review of the album. Homme just hitting… well, home.
1. Deafheaven – Dreamhouse
The opening track for “Sunbather” is easily my favourite. The amount I’ve listened to this in the car, while walking with my iPod, on my laptop, on vinyl, etc. is borderline ridiculous. It’s a journey through intense emotions, something that highly resonated in me this year. Hearing this live when I saw them was perfect.