Angry Metal LisaEvery year we listen to a lot of music, and while some records might be superior, they don’t always contain the best songs. So, I started doing the “Top 10(ish) Songs o’ the Year” to point out the amazing songs that I love even if they come from records I don’t have to love. So here’s the first of my amazing Top 10(ish) lists from 2013. I’ll write a year-end look for my Top 10(ish) albums later, so without further ado:

#(ish): Final Symphony London: “Final Fantasy VI” — Yeah, sure, this isn’t a real release, and yeah, the original wasn’t released anywhere near 2013. But who cares? This rendition of the Final Fantasy VI music is quite possibly the best arrangement I’ve ever heard. It works amazing, and the Kefka music is especially awesome.

#10: Leprous: “The Cloak” — I didn’t even realize there was a video for this, but from Coal this was easily my favorite song. That’s saying something, as Coal has continued to grow on me since it was released and, frankly, I hated it. The melody from Ihsahn‘s backup band actually reminds me of my favorite Opeth stuff, with its melancholy and beautiful vibes; walking the fine line between Marillion prog and catchy melodies. Really amazing to listen to every, single time.

#9: Ulver: “Son of Man” — I really wasn’t really sure what to expect when I got an e-mail from Hr. Garm with the promo of Messe I.X-VI-X. It took me a long time to get into, but I keep coming back to “Son of Man.” This track demonstrates a couple of things: first, the value of the slow build; second, that epic is metal even when those making the epic don’t want to be metal. Way to go, Ulver.

#8: Wisdom of Crowds: “Frozen North” — Bruce Soord and Jonas Renkse created a pretty cool post-Depeche Mode record this year that I really enjoyed. With Renkse’s special voice, this project nails the post-metal Katatonia sound and was just one of the songs I came back to the most often this year.

#7: Black Sabbath: “Dear Father” — So, while Sabbath can’t take the cake for the best record o’ the year (SPOILER ALERT!), they did definitely contribute one of the best songs of the year in “Dear Father,” which is probably the crowning jewel of 13. And while it takes shots at the priests—surprise, surprise—this is simply among the band’s best writing since the ’70s and should be mentioned with its greatest moments. Also, Ozzy sounds great. How’d they do that?

#6: Anciients: “Raise the Sun” — In case you’re wondering why I’m putting this list, just go forward to 1:30 and listen to that friggin’ riff! Of all the bands mixing more ‘classic’ heavy metal into their sounds, I think that Anciients pulled it off the absolute best. This riff is crushing and the song is 6:34 of amazeballs. So well-written, and groovy as hell.

#5: Riverside: “The Depth of Self-Delusion” — SoNGS is a pretty good record, but it’s best song was definitely “The Depth of Self-Delusion” (sic). I’m not sure how to even describe what these Polacks do that just rocks my fuckin’ boat, but the groove and the writing and the melodies all just show off the best that progressive rock has to offer. “The Depth of Self-Delusion” has all the things that hit home for me: amazing melodies; great composition; inaudible lyrics so as to not piss me off. And it’s produced really well. It’s just downright rad.

#4: Orphaned Land: “Brother” —  Orphaned Land‘s 2013 platter wasn’t an album loaded with amazing songs, but “Brother” is special. “Brother” is an emotionally poignant track that is a letter written from Isaac to Ishmael and reads like a letter from Israel to Palestine at times. It’s extraordinarily well-composed, and it is the lyrics that really do it for me. That’s not a thing you often hear when it comes to metal.

#3: Haken: “Cockroach King” — Haken‘s newest record is awesome, but unlike a lot of amazing records, this one still has a track that outshines the rest of it: “Cockroach King,” which shows off the band’s wacky side. With a video that rips off Queen while using muppets, it’s hard not to love these guys. “I long to be a disciple of the cockroach / I was hopelessly choking on the roach fallacy / thankfully, when the mirage finally melted / the impurity of the cockroach was revealed to me.” Yeah. Like. What more can I even say?

#2: Trials: “Upon this Day” — In the Shadow of Swords is an epic album with a several tracks that made my final considerations, but I have to say that the track “Upon this Day” definitely stands alone in its epic heaviness. It’s true that I like my music epic and poignant and this track offers all of that in spades, with a heavy dose of groove and an excellent vocal performance from thrash metal crooner Mark Sugar. An absolute highlight.

#1: Amon Amarth: “Hel” —— Amon Amarth and Messiah Marcolin? What more do I need to say? It’s a Swedegasm. This track absolutely rules. Messiah sounds immense, and Amon Amarth wrote their best song since “A Thousand Years of Oppression” or “Fate of Norns” (I can’t decide which) to feature the man on. The melodies are haunting and the track is heavy and doom, just Messiah’s speed. I didn’t know the minute I heard it that this would be the best, but at the end of the year it’s not a surprise. Horns and hammers raised to Amon Amarth!

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  • Yes! Anciients and Trials were two great discoveries for this year. And I hope Wisdom of crowds is more than a one-off

  • André Snyde Lopes

    This list is pretty interesting. It’s almost like I half-expected some of these picks. “Hel” was definitely the best song in the new Amon Amarth and great call on “Cockroach King”. That song is a blast to sing along to.

    My personal picks off the top of my head would probably include “Only Tears to Replace Her With” by My Dying Bride, “Sole Passenger” by The Fall of Every Season, “Monstrance Clock” by Ghost, “Cry of Achilles” by Alter Bridge, “Teratology” by Spektr, “Hymne til Havet” by In Vain among others.

    Great choices regardless, now onto the best albums lists!

    • I have to check out Sole Passenger, a lot of people have mentioned it but I can’t get into that record.

      Hymne till Havet is a good song that I kinda forgot about…

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Amends gets kinda side-tracked after Sole Passenger but it’s a great opener to the album and sets the mood perfectly. Mammoth is kind of a strange song (for me) but Aurelia and Waves are both great as well.

  • The Metal Pigeon

    Good list, some of these I hadn’t checked out. Definitely agree on Brother by OL, and man I love me some Final Fantasy scores. I think my favorites in that realm are the FF VI and VII Piano Collections —- some of the best piano playing I’ve ever heard, I love them as much as someone doing Chopin.

    • That Ulver record is fucking cool. You should check it out. It’s not _easy_ but it’s good.

      I love Final Fantasy and that OL song is among the best they’ve written even if that album is poop.

      • Excentric_1307

        You were not kidding about the Ulver album. That is probably the most metal thing I’ve ever heard that’s not metal. It’s an amazing palette cleanser after listening to something like Blood Mortized.

  • Игорь Чернов

    I would have wanted to see top of angry best soundtrack in the games, this is a BIG surprise see in this blog music from final fantasy, badass

    can’t wait the best albums top before the new year

    • I love Final Fantasy music, man. Lots of nerd cred here.. haha.

    • Pascual Villaseca

      Loved final fantasy VI, and the music is awesome.
      The piano collections its a must have.

  • Juan Esteban Mendoza

    I haven’t heard most of the songs in the list, but “Brother”, “Hel” and “Coackroach King” are amazing songs.

    My list would be completed with”
    “Because it’s There”, Haken
    “Luminol”, Steven Wilson
    “Blood of Heroes”, Tyr
    “Dead for a Day”, Witherscape
    “Boiling Heart of the North”, October Falls
    “Sole Passenger”, The Fall of Every Season
    “Savior in the Clockwork”, Avantasia
    “For Broken Words”, Dark Tranquility…The only song I actually liked from that album.

    Looking forward to the record of the year list!

    • Great stuff here. I agree with you there on Haken, Wilson, Týr, Witherscape, and October Falls. Those were all on my final list.

      • Juan Esteban Mendoza

        Btw, what’s your favourite FF soundtrack? I only discovered FF music around 2 years ago when a friend showed me the FFVII woundtrack which i love.

    • Realkman666

      Agreed on Witherscape and Avantasia. I’m glad I’m not the only power fag here.

    • Kyle McDonald

      Props for “Sole Passenger”. That song was amazing.

  • Zadion

    Props for the FFVI score!

  • Andres Pintos Nocerino

    shade empire

    • Nah, none of the stuff on that album really rocked my world.

      • nunka

        Agreed. I loved Omega Arcane when it came out and I was a huge advocate at the time… But very few songs on that album are holding their appeal after repeated (20+) listens. :(

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    Nice. This definitely made me revisit these. I didn’t pick up on the Ulver song my one (and only) time through.
    The Cloak kick ass. I am ashamed that it did not crack my list.

    • The Cloak is a weird track and Son of Man, too. But these just really spoke to me for some reason. It’s quite wonderful and positive to remember that, yes, you can actually have amazing tracks even on records that don’t always rock your world. Though that Leprous album is coming closer and closer to my Top 10.

      • FutureBeyondSatan

        That Leprous album is a grower…
        A few songs that moved me: First Felt Pain by Votum, Firechild by Sahg, Pulse by Ihsahn, and I’ll Walk With You by A Sound Of Thunder.

        • Leprous is a grower. That Sahg record isn’t a grower, it’s just an asskicker.

          • FutureBeyondSatan

            Sahg spins daily!
            Did you hear Blaze’s guest vocal on My Disease by A Sound Of Thunder. It’s not an earth shaker, but hey, it’s Blaze!

  • Siege Bantayan

    The Cockroach King is simply amazing. Agreed.

  • Piet

    Damn, Hel was actually one of the only tracks on the album I didn’t find amazing.

    • That’s funny. I love the whole album, but Hel is the highlight for me.

    • Realkman666

      You probably didn’t beat a Völgarr boss while listening to it. ;)

  • Antoine Roth

    Some great stuff here indeed, and really good atmospheric pieces.

    My list would be smthg like that (not 100% sure about the order):

    #ish) Vienna Teng – The Hymn of Acxiom
    10) Noumena – Mysteries of Motion
    9) Watain – The Child Must Die (pretty boring record overall, very disappointing, but that song is still the best BM I heard this year)
    8) Turisas -The Days Passed (so full of energy)
    7) Haken – Atlas Stone (All songs are amazing on that one, but the chorus and jazz bits in that particular songs just rule)
    6) Witherscape – Mother of the Soul
    5) Riverside – We Got Used to New Us (TDOSD is also amazing, but not as much as that one IMO :))
    4) Amon Amarth – Warriors of the North
    3) Amorphis – The Wanderer (not a great record, but this song floored me)
    2) In Vain – Tokens of Time
    1) Orphaned Land – Shama’im (I love Brothers but I find this one even more beautiful, and Hebrew sounds so good in songs)

    • This is a great list. Almost any of these songs could have made my list.

    • Zadion

      The Hymn of Acxiom is straight up in my top 5 of the year. That song is so beautifully haunting it actually moved me to tears once and *still* gives me chills. I wouldn’t call it Vienna’s best song, but it’s super damn close.

      • I love that I’ve cultivated a little den of heavy metal Vienna Teng lovers.

  • RU63

    Great list, very diverse. Again, you have introduced me to bands i should be listening to.

  • Steve

    My favourite from the Haken album was “Falling Back to Earth”. Definitely the centrepiece for me.

    • nunka

      Seconding this… “Falling Back to Earth” is amazing. Starts out with incredible energy, then funky jazzy bit, more energy, quietly mournful interlude, crushing riff, and finally dramatic crescendo. It’s a real rollercoaster of a song. Exactly what prog should be!

    • Jorje Gonzales

      Hey you look just like me in that picture

  • Barry Neilson

    After initially not being massively keen on the guest vocals on Hel, you are completely right….this song owns. Loved the whole album and would probably say Warriors of the North is my favourite. Other songs I’ve really enjoyed this year would be
    Spectrum of Eternity – Soilwork
    Kings of the Shadow World – Chimaira
    Lethean – Katatonia (from Dethroned and Uncrowned, so although not a new song I found it to be a great take on the whole album)
    Thou Begone – Deicide
    The Valley – Leprous

  • Great list! If I had to pick something off of Deceiver I would probably go with Hel as well. Those guest vocals make it pop out from the rest of the album.

    Also, as everyone is saying, classy move with the inclusion of that FF6 piece. That’s actually the game that made me want to be a game designer, and the music (and how it is used) is such a huge part of why that game is good.

    • Are you a game designer?

      • Yup! I’ve also worked as an art director and a producer, but game design is why I got into the industry.

        Right now I have my own indie studio, Mad Science Games and I’m working on a strategy game of my own called Tyrant of Terror. It’s a ways away from release but it’s going to be super fun and metal.

  • Mike Eckman

    So many good songs already on this list and in the comments. Here are a few I didn’t see already mentioned:

    “Armageddon 16 to 9” – Parasite Inc. (another great one off this album is “The End of Illusion”

    “The Great Reality” – Persefone (the title track off this disc is great too)

    “Aurelia” – The Fall of Every Season (I LOVE these guys and this song is just so hauntingly beautiful)

    “Falling Further” – Fates Warning (Most of the reviews Ive read for this album dont even mention this track, but to my ears, this is the best song on the record)

    “Floating on the Murmuring Tide” – In Vain (I already spammed this in another thread here, but this song is so kickass, I have to mention it again. This song has so much going on in it, yet it all works together so seamlessly)

    “The Trapper” – Kalmah (come on, its Kalmah!)

    “Through Our Darkest Days” – Mercenary (I can’t believe it took me til 2013 to discover this band, but I love this whole record, so its really hard for me to pick a favorite, so I’ll just pick this one)

    “White Palace” – Omnium Gatherum (For some reason, these guys didn’t get much love here on AMG, but this album is the Be’Lakor of 2013 and the only 10+ minute song on my list)

    “Home is Where the Sty Is” – Poisonblack (come in, it rocks and its the closest we’ll ever get to another Sentenced album!)

    “Somewhere Else to Disappear” – Andy Winter (everyone knows about Witherscape, but did anyone know he did lead vocals on another album in 2013?)

    “Wisdom of Crowds” – Wisdom of Crowds (yes this album already has some love here, but the title track is definitely the highlight of the record for me!)

    “Dont Stop Killing Me” – End of Green (this has a very Sentenced-esque feel for me, but this song was stuck in my head for months this year)

    “Swan Saivo” – Eternal Tears of Sorrow (I think this bands best work is in their past, but this album has one or two standout tracks, this being one of them)

    • Wait, like Andy Winter from Winds?

      • Mike Eckman

        Yes, the one and only! :)

        • Ooo. Didn’t know that was coming out. Thanks for the heads up!

  • nunka

    I love these end of year song lists! I’ve always been more into spectacular songs than spectacular albums, so it’s nice to see some standout songs represented. I don’t think there’s a single EOY list of yours that hasn’t left me with a solid recommendation. This year, it’s Anciients. That is a seriously killer riff, and one I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Thanks, AMG.

    • Awesome! Glad to be of service.

      I just think it’s a shame that we focus on whole albums when there can be awesome tracks that really kick ass that get ignored. We shouldn’t do that!

      • Buddist Metal Lover

        I second that!

        Since you are leaving the site for the philistines (yes that means you Steel Drums and MadamX) you should MAKE them post a regular 2-3 BEST MUSIC of the month that was not reviewed in the Record of the Month lists.

        How do like THAT extra work Steel ? … you stoner metal lover you …

        Still think “Incantations” by Satan and “Take My Bones Away” by Baroness kicked ass this year also.

        Cheers!

        • We’re strictly on a pay-to-play standard now, so send me some cash and I’ll consider it.

        • Yeah, focusing on good songs is cool, but I still think the album is the primary form. I think it’s the most glorious of all forms because it’s a long form. Pointing out individual songs is a bit akin to pointing out good chapters from books. Sure, they’re nice: but it’s the whole of the book that matters the most, not a well-executed chapter.

    • Mike Eckman

      I agree 100%. There have been so many phenomenal songs released on albums that as a whole, don’t stand out, but without lists like these, those individual songs would go unnoticed. Seriously, check out “The End of Illusion” by Parasite Inc, off their album ‘Time Tears Down’.

  • Realkman666

    Surprisingly good Sabbath track, but the lyrics sound like something out of a metal album.

  • Honestly you could have put any song from Anciients’ Heart of Oak in there and I wouldn’t disagree with you. Loved the Haken record this year, and Cockroach King definitely sticks in one’s head. I might go with “Nightwave” by Enshine for my top pick though.

    • It’s a good record. They get a tad long-winded for me and I lose patience about 3/4 through the record which is why it didn’t make my end of year, but it’s some good shit.

  • Ash Pearson

    I never actually heard Dear Father becuase I never made it that far in the album! If only the rest of the album was as good as that!
    Despite 13 being a little under average Sabbath still kick ass live though, and their support act Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats made a very good show as well.
    The rest of the list are all definantly agreeable!

  • AnnieK13

    Good list – a few things I hadn’t heard…Riverside – holy crap they are good!

    • Riverside is an excellent band. That album isn’t as good as some of their earlier work imo, but it’s a damned fine record from a really superb band. Glad you liked it!

  • PFC

    Deceiver of the Gods was the album I listened to more than any other in 2013 so I guess you could say it was my Album of the Year, if I had to pick one. Hel is definitely one of the highlights!

  • jeremcord

    wanna talk “loudness war here” because those videos opened my eyes (again !) on a few things.
    First Thanks a lot for all these great titles that I discovered for most of them. I knew and already loved “dear father” and “the cloak” caus I ve got the CDs. I listened to them here and WOW ! Have you noticed the difference between these versions and those on the CDs (or maybe you have vinyls?) on which it’s very very loud ? I could not believe it (and I could not believe that I had not realised how bad these Cds sounded). The BS song and the whole album is super-clipped and absolutely unlistenable. It’s the same for Leprous ; on the Cd when the drums shows up it becomes horrible and I am not even talking about the chorus. I am very surprise that these versions are way more dynamic than on the CDs (even if they are not lossless, which is absolutely another question regarding data compression and not dynamic compression). Are promo videos always more dynamic and why? Should I throw away my Cds and listen to youtube ?

    If you want to be aware of how the Loudness war is serious (I mean you AMG know), listen to “dear father” on CD and then here (or I guess on the vinyl). Everyone could hear the damages !!
    I bet this test would work for most of these songs here (???)