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203 For 2023: The Grym Hessian’s Top Metal Albums Of The Year

  1. Icarus WitchNo Devil Lived On (Cleopatra Records)
  2. OwlbearChaos to the Realm (independent) 
  3. Danava-Nothing But Nothing (Tee Pee Records)
  4. Hellripper-Warlocks Grim &Withered Hags (Peaceville Records)
  5. Uriah HeepChaos & Colour (Silver Lining Music)
  6. EnforcerNostalgia (Nuclear Blast)
  7. Majesties-Vast Reaches Unclaimed (20 Buck Spin)
  8. Lamp Of Murmuur-Saturnian Bloodstorm (Argento Records)
  9. Ulthar-Anthronomicon (20 Buck Spin)
  10. Ulthar-Helionomicon (20 Buck Spin)
  11. KommandDeath Age (20 Buck Spin)
  12. Methane-Kill It With Fire (independent)
  13. InsomniumAnno 1696 (Century Media Records)
  14. Tower Hill-Deathstalker (No Remorse Records)
  15. Gorod-The Orb (independent)
  16. Holy Moses-Invisible Queen (Fireflash Records)
  17. Coven JapanEarthlings (No Remorse Records)
  18. RunemagickBeyond the Cenotaph of Mankind (Hammerheart Records)
  19. Lüger-Revelations of a Sacred Skull (Heavy Psych Sounds)
  20. Ne Obliviscaris-Exul (Season of Mist)
  21. ObituaryDying of Everything (Relapse Records)
  22. SkinflintHate Spell (Cargo Records UK)
  23. BodyfarmUltimate Abomination (Edged Circle Productions)
  24. Kromheim-Journey to Divinity (ndependent)
  25. Shakma-On Tenebrous Wings (Duplicate Records)
  26. GirlschoolWTFortyfive? (Silver Lining Music)
  27. RavenAll Hell’s Breaking Loose (Silver Lining Music)
  28. Cloud Catcher-Return from The Cauldron (Cauldron Audio Works)
  29. Jag PanzerThe Hallowed (Atomic Fire Records)
  30. ExmortusNecrophony (Nuclear Blast)
  31. Lovebites-Judgement Day (Victor)
  32. SomnuriDesiderium (MNRK Heavy)
  33. Eleine-We Shall Remain (Atomic Fire Records)
  34. Bloodbound-Tales from the North (AFM Records)
  35. Burning WitchesThe Dark Tower (Napalm Records)
  36. Church Of MiseryBorn Under a Mad Sign (Rise Above Records)
  37. Thulcandra-Hail the Abyss (Napalm Records)
  38. Blood Star-First Sighting (Shadow Kingdom Records)
  39. Alcatrazz-Take No Prisoners (Silver Lining Music)
  40. Cattle DecapitationTerrasite (Metal Blade Records)
  41. Dead Shape Figure-The Sworn Book (Rolling Records)
  42. Tygers Of Pan TangBloodlines (Mighty Music)
  43. Smoulder-Violent Creed of Vengeance (Cruz del Sur Music)
  44. Tanith-Voyage (Metal Blade Records)
  45. Archon Angel-II (Frontiers Records)
  46. Overkill-Scorched (Nuclear Blast)
  47. Bell WitchFuture’s Shadow Part 1: The Shadow’s Gate (Profound Lore Records)
  48. RaiderTrial By Chaos (Redefining Darkness Records)
  49. Void King-The Hidden Hymnal (independent)
  50. Extreme-Six (earMUSIC)
  51. Legion Of The DamnedThe Poison Chalice (Napalm Records)
  52. 71TonMan-Of End Times (Transcending Obscurity Records)
  53. Witchthroat Serpent-Trove of Oddities at the Devil’s Doorway (Heavy Psych Sounds)
  54. Ahab-The Coral Tombs (Napalm Records)
  55. EnslavedHeimdal (Nuclear Blast)
  56. Tsjuder-Helvegr (Season of Mist)
  57. Immortal-War Against All (Nuclear Blast)
  58. Duskwood-The Last Voyage (Ripple Music)
  59. TankZilla-s/t (Heavy Psych Sounds)
  60. Wytch Hazel-IV: Sacrament (Bad Omen Records)
  61. Fynal Stand-Tribulation Saint (independent)
  62. Kalmahs/t (Ranka Kustannus)
  63. Ancient Days-Devil’s Night (independent)
  64. Black Rainbows-Superskull (Heavy Psych Sounds)
  65. Ontborg-Following the Steps of Damnation (Black Lion Records)
  66. Saint Karloff-Paleolithic War Crimes (Majestic Mountain Records)
  67. Enforced-War Remains (Century Media Records)
  68. Crimson Devils-Forever High (independent)
  69. Istarn-Eschatology (Senseless Life Records)
  70. DiethTo Hell and Back (Napalm Records)
  71. AngraCycles of Pain (Atomic Fire Records)
  72. Spirit AdriftGhost at the Gallows (Century Media Records)
  73. Stonecutters-Eye of the Skull (independent)
  74. Terra Builder-Solar Temple (Transcending Obscurity Records)
  75. Hellwitch-Annihilational Intercention (Listenable Records)
  76. The Night Eternal-Fatale (Ván Records)
  77. Horrendous-Ontological Mysterium (Season of Mist)
  78. Shadows-Out for Blood (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)
  79. TheocracyMosaic (Atomic Fire Records)
  80. Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze-The Fractal Ouroboros (independent)
  81. Scar SymmetryThe Singularity Phase II: Xenotaph (Nuclear Blast)
  82. Dying Fetus-Make Them Beg for Death (Relapse Records)
  83. Restless Spirit-Afterimage (Magnetic Eye Records)
  84. Servant-Aetas Ascensus (MDD Records)
  85. Cloak-Black Flame Eternal (Season of Mist)
  86. Whore of BethlehemRitual of Homicide (Comatose Music)
  87. Mortuary DrapeBlack Mirror (Peaceville Records)
  88. Hephaistos-Medusa (independent)
  89. Ringworm-Seeing Through Fire (Nuclear Blast)
  90. Godthrymm-Distortions (Profound Lore Records)
  91. VandenbergSin (Mascot Records)
  92. U.D.O.Touchdown (Atomic Fire Records)
  93. Grand Cadaver-Deities of Deathlike Sleep (Majestic Mountain Records)
  94. Dethklok-Dethalbum IV (WaterTower Music)
  95. Warmen-Here For None (Reaper Entertainment)
  96. ProngState of Emergency (Steamhammer)
  97. IncantationUnholy Deification (Relapse Records)
  98. Mutoid ManMutants (Sargent House)
  99. Bottomless-The Banishing (Dying Victims Productions)
  100. Triumpher-Storming the Walls (independent)
  101. Century-The Conquest of Time (Electric Assault Records)
  102. Riparian-Age of Splendor (independent)
  103. Domkraft-Sonic Moons (Magnetic Eye)
  104. Primal Fear-Code Red (Atomic Fire Records)
  105. Weird Tales-Second Coming, Second Crucifixion (Interstellar Smoke Records)
  106. …and Oceans-As in Gardens, So in Tombs (Season of Mist)
  107. Tombstone-Angel of Blood (independent)
  108. Taake-Et hav av avstand (Dark Essence Records)
  109. KataklysmGoliath (Nuclear Blast)
  110. Vision Master-Sceptre (Gates of Hell Records)
  111. Dying Wizard-Artefact (independent)
  112. Ibliss-Bintang Fahar (Helter Skelter Productions)
  113. Ironmaster-Weapons of Spiritual Carnage (Black Lion Records)
  114. Sons of Eternity-End of Silence (Massacre Records)
  115. Sulphur Aeon-Seven Crowns and Seven Seals (Ván Records)
  116. AnachronismMeanders (Unorthodox Emanations)
  117. UadaCrepuscule Natura (Eisenwald)
  118. Sylosis-A Sign of Things to Come (Nuclear Blast)
  119. MardukMemento Mori (Century Media Records)
  120. CryptopsyAs Gomorrah Burns (Nuclear Blast)
  121. Black Light Council-Lords ov the Last Days (independent)
  122. Abaddon-Statues of Sorrow (MMD Records)
  123. Tomb Mold-The Enduring Spirit (20 Buck Spin)
  124. SorcererReign of the Reaper (Metal Blade Records)
  125. Dreadhammer-Sovereign (independent)
  126. Tailgunner-Guns for Hire (Fireflash Records)
  127. Spirit Possession-Of the Sign… (Profound Lore Records)
  128. Just Before Dawn-A War Too Far (Raw Skull Recordz)
  129. Heavy LoadRiders of the Ancient Storm (No Remorse Records)
  130. Iron Savior-Firestar (AFM Records)
  131. Tentacult-Lacerating Pattern (Transylvanian Recordings)
  132. Mercenary-Soundtrack for the End Times (NoiseArt Recordings)
  133. Moonlight Sorcery-Horned Lord of the Thorned Castle (Avantgarde Music)
  134. Haunt-Golden Arm (Iron Grip Records)
  135. Kvelertak-Endling (Rise Records)
  136. Destructor-Blood, Bone, and Fire (Shadow Kingdom Records)
  137. Kerrigan-Bloodmoon (High Roller Records)
  138. Nervosa-Jailbreak (Napalm Records)
  139. Asinhell-Impii Hora (Metal Blade Records)
  140. Dusk-Wheels of Twilight (Argonauta Records)
  141. Cirith Ungol-Dark Parade (Metal Blade Records)
  142. AutopsyAshes, Organs, Blood and Crypts (Peaceville Records)
  143. Howling Giant-Glass Future (Magnetic Eye Records)
  144. Primordial-How It Ends (Metal Blade Records)
  145. Metal ChurchCongregation of Annihilation (Rat Pak Records)
  146. Metallica-72 Seasons (Blackened Recordings)
  147. CryptaShades of Sorrow (Napalm Records)
  148. Helms Deep-Treacherous Ways (Nameless Grave Records)
  149. KnifeHeaven into Dust (Napalm Records)
  150. High Spirits-Safe on the Other Side (High Roller Records)
  151. VarathronThe Crimson Temple (Agonia Records)
  152. Vastum-Inward to Gethsemane (20 Buck Spin)
  153. Valdrin-Throne of the Lunar Soul (Blood Harvest)
  154. Green Lung-This Heathen Land (Nuclear Blast)
  155. Lazy Man’s Load-Saints Full of Sin (Juke Joint Records)
  156. Go Ahead And Die-Unhealthy Mechanisms (Nuclear Blast)
  157. Satan’s Fall-Destination Destruction (SPV GmBH)
  158. Flashback-The Draconic Oath (independent)
  159. SwornA Journey Told Through Fire (independent)
  160. Final Gasp-Mourning Moon (Relapse Records)
  161. Necrofier-Burning Shadows in the Southern Night (Season of Mist)
  162. Trespass-Wolf at the Door (From the Vaults)
  163. Panopticon-The Rime of Memory (Bindrune Recordings)
  164. QuasarbornNovo oružje protiv bola (independent)
  165. Cruciamentum-Obsidian Refractions (Profound Lore Records)
  166. Rogue Deal-Escape from Justice (Andromeda Relix)
  167. Ego Planet-s/t (Argonauta Records)
  168. Supertzar-Epic Truths & Fantaisies (Analog Spleen Records)
  169. Dyssebeia-Garden of Stillborn Idols (Transcending Obscurity Records)
  170. Solitary Sabred-Temple of the Serpent (Vinylstore.gr)
  171. Taxi Caveman-UGH! (Interstellar Smoke Records)
  172. Axenstar-Chapter VIII (Inner Wound Recordings)
  173. Sacrifire-The Art of Decay (Apostasy Records)
  174. March To Die-Tears of the Gorgon (No Remorse Records)
  175. Helleruin-Devils, Death and Dark Arts (independent)
  176. Pyrolatrous-Inveterate (Gilead Media)
  177. Hyperia-The Serpent’s Cycle (independent)
  178. Night In GalesThe Black Stream (Apostasy Records)
  179. SilverbonesBrethren of the Coast (Stormspell Records)
  180. Sadus-The Shadow Inside (Nuclear Blast)
  181. Plaguemace-Reptilian Warlords (Napalm Records)
  182. Dawn Ray’d-To Know the Light (Prosthetic Records)
  183. Diamonds HadderBeyond the Breakers (independent)
  184. Asagraum-Veil of Death, Ruptured (Edged Circle Productions)
  185. Wayfarer-American Gothic (Profound Lore Records)
  186. Danko Jones-Electric Sounds (Nuclear Blast)
  187. Thantifaxath-Hive Mind Narcosis (Dark Descent Records)
  188. Cadaver-Age of the Offended (Nuclear Blast)
  189. BlackBraidBlackbraid II (independent)
  190. Frozen SoulGlacial Domination (Century Media Records)
  191. Gama BombBats (independent)
  192. Deviser-Evil Summons Evil (Hammerheart Records)
  193. Gatekeeper-From Western Shores (Cruz del Sur Music)
  194. Phantom-Handed To Execution (Inframetal Records)
  195. Anthem-Crimson & Jet Black (Ward Records)
  196. Ruin Lust-Dissimulant (20 Buck Spin)
  197. Seven DoorsFeast of the Repulsive Dead (Redefining Darkness Records)
  198. Savage Blood-Wheel of Time (MDD Records)
  199. Convocation-No Dawn for the Caliginous Night (Everlasting Spew Records)
  200. Algos-Upon the Rivers of Night (Buil2Kill Records)
  201. Blazon Rite-Wild Rites and Ancient Songs (Gates of Hell Records)
  202. Elegant Weapons-Horns for a Halo (Nuclear Blast)
  203. Malice Divine-Everlasting Ascendancy (independent)

    I hope you enjoyed perusing this roll call of mine for what is The Class of 2023. Obviously, it’s been another prolific year for the heavy metal universe, 2023 bringing us an insane number of albums representing subgenres new and old from bands making blessed debuts and fiery swansongs alike. Reigns of terror from extreme metal bands continued, colliding with crusades from the power/trad metal sector. Knights took on knaves as angels warred with demons, all of it resulting in compelling music that will stand for ages. A sense of solidarity prevailed also, even the most malevolent acts desiring to keep this music alive and ever evolving, shaking hands with their adversaries after worthy battles.

    And yes, it’s a long list! There were just so many releases, and I didn’t have the heart to leave anything out. You thought I overdid it last year. Hah! Again, these are inspiring and overwhelming times in which to be a metal fan. But it’s not a contest either. Even finding one new band to listen to is enough. I myself don’t know how I do it. It can surely be daunting. I don’t blame people for not wanting to climb that mountain.

    As I do each year, I have to thank Metal Archives/Encyclopedia Metallum for being immensely helpful for myself and other hessians across the globe in terms of discovering new music and for documenting the heavy metal saga as it perpetually unfolds. Be sure to check out the music online for yourself, and if you like the album, buy it somewhere! Until next year, keep it heavy, keep it true.