The most wonderful and not at all stressful time of the year is upon us yet again. And yes, if you look at the first number on the list, I’ve gone utterly insane. My top 100 albums of the year, in what I believe to be chronological order. Now, of course, this is full of disclaimers.
1) This is solely my opinion. If you disagree, that’s perfectly alright. Please let me know on our socials (NICELY) what you think it should be instead!
2) there have been 468 albums covered by us this year. An album not being on the list does by no means mean it wasn’t good. There were so many albums I wished made this list, but I couldn’t quite make it happen.
3) Yes, I know there are still albums to come out this year. I’m sure the likes of Beans on Toast and Bad Touch would make it on this list given the chance. However, I don’t have time to wait until the middle of December. So, from now on, this list will run November – November!
So, with all the formalities out the way, let’s get on with it shall we?
100: Crypta – Shades of Sorrow
These first few (30 odd) are going to pain me to put in this position. This is a damn solid death metal album from the Brazilian ladies. The band’s second album is crushingly brutal at times, lightening quick at others, yet still has enough melody to hook in a new listener. Fernanda Lira’s growls and screams are even better than on the band’s debut, and new addition Jéssica di Falchi on lead guitar fits in perfectly and is a real highlight of the album at times.
We gave this album a very respectable 8/10 in our review. When some bands slump on a sophomore album, Crypta run, and show that they are very much the future of heavy music if this release is anything to go by!
Listen to: Poisonous Apathy, The Other Side of Anger and Lord of Ruins
99: Alana Springsteen – TWENTY SOMETHING
Talk about whiplash, and we’re only two entries in! The first of a number of country albums on this list comes curtesy of Alana’s debut full-length. I first discovered her when she got announced for The Long Road festival this year (review of the event here) and since then she has exploded with the release of more singles and this album. It’s easy to see why, too. It’s well written country-pop, and Alana has a fantastic voice.
There are two reasons as to why she is a little low down on this list. The first, which is a recurring issue with a lot of country this year, including on this list, is that it’s too long. There are plenty of great tracks on this album, but it does feel rather front-loaded and by 8/9 tracks in I felt like I’d practically heard all the album had to offer. The second is that it’s definitely on the more pop than country side. Still, we gave this an 8.5 and it fully deserves that score. It’s a damn good album!
P.S. having Chris Stapleton on a track and NOT having him sing is a silly idea, regardless of how good the song is.
Listen to: you don’t deserve a country song, hypocrite and ghost in my guitar
98: KK’s Priest – The Sinner Rides Again
Onto some old-school NWOBHM now from the Judas Priest alumni. Anyone who is familiar with the band, Priest or the genre they came from knows exactly what to expect from this album. Because of that, it’s honestly quite hard to talk much about the album. I think we did pretty good in our review here. 9/10 is definitely what this album is worth. Everyone fires on all cylinders throughout, playing their asses off, and KK’s one of the best songwriters in the genre today. If you’re a fan of 70s metal, this one is definitely for you!
Listen to: Sons of the Sentinel, One More Shot at Glory, Wash Away Your Sins
97: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – PetroDragonic Apocalypse…
Y’all know I ain’t typing that whole title, we’ll be here all day if I do. The Australian multi-genre band put out two albums this year, but this one was the highlight by far. It’s a stoner/grunge metal album, and a fucking great one at that. Don’t get me wrong, The Silver Chord is a good album too, but completely different and not really my sort of thing. Meanwhile, this is peak Gizzard, and a sound I wish they’d explore far more regularly.
The band constantly explore with styles and sounds, more so than practically any other, and while their more easy-listening, funky stuff is generally more popular (and I love that too), there is something about this level of energy and passion missing from a lot of their other music. It’s been a few years at this point since they’ve explored the heavier side of their sound, but given how well it’s gone down, they’ll surely do this more often as a result! A very deserved 8.5 from us!
Listen to: Motor Spirit, Witchcraft and Dragon
96: Morgan Wallen – One Thing at a Time
A controversial one now, and this early too.
What can I say about this album that hasn’t already been said? The biggest breakout star of the year, and one of the biggest names in the music world this year, country or otherwise. He’s on the highest grossing tour in country of 2023, and sold out the O2 in London in no time at all. So, after all of that, you may be thinking, why is it so low down? Well, dear reader, it’s 36 tracks long. nearly TWO FUCKING HOURS. There is only so much similar, slow-ish country I can take before getting bored, and it’s a hell of a lot less than 36 songs.
However, at the same time, it’s the album that’s given us tracks like ‘Tennessee Fan’, the awesome ‘Man Made a Bar’ with megastar Eric Church, and of course arguably the biggest song of the year, ‘Last Night’. There are a lot of amazing songs on the album, but also a lot of filler. And it’s a bit of a slog to get through too, the album spreads out the killer between a lot of slower stuff. Still, I was a little harsh when I reviewed it, and would probably give it a 7.5 now!
Listen to: Last Night, Man Made a Bar and One Thing At a Time
95: TesseracT – War Of Being
I have to admit, when I first listened to this I loved it, and it started a lot higher up on the list. However, when I checked it out again to write it, I found myself slightly disappointed. It’s still a cracking prog-metal album, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t go quite as hard a lot of the time as I thought it did. However, there were plenty of times, during the opener, ‘The Grey’ and title track specifically, where I did love it still and completely get it.
It’s very much an album to listen to as a whole than individual tracks. And, in that sense, it’s phenomenal. And from a instrumental and writing standpoint, they are practically unmatched in their genre. A spoiler for those looking, this album is on the list but Periphery isn’t. That’s how good these guys are. And, as you can see below, the videos are incredible. we gave it an 8.5 and honestly, after multiple listens, I stand by that and it’s making it onto this list!
Listen to: Natural Disaster, War of Being, Echos
94: Marty Stuart – Altitude
The country legend himself has no right still making music this good. It’s a lot more chilled out than most country on this list, but is also a traditional sound in the genre that is pulled off to perfection. ‘Country Star’ is up there with any of his extensive back catalogue, in my opinion. It’s just a damn fun listen, and if anyone reading this is into country, it’s a must listen. Sure, it isn’t as high as a fair bit of the other country on this list, but that doesn’t take away from it’s quality at all. This is an awesome old-school album, and is only higher because it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It got 8 from us but I’d happily add another .5 to that!
Listen to: Country Star, A Friend of Mine and Time to Dance
93: Otherwise – Gawdzillionare
Heading way back towards the start of the year now with the Vegas radio-rockers. My feelings on the album haven’t really changed since I did my review back in March, though. A great sound and some amazing tracks, but also some filler and a lot of similar stuff. The highs are ridiculously high, like the opener and title track. And the addition of pop and hip-hop elements into the early 2000s rock is really interesting. It’s a very good album, but does start to wear a tad thin by the end. Still, the tracks mentioned previously alone score it a place on this list!
Listen to: Full Disclosure, Gawdzillionaire, Excorsism
92: Alice Cooper – Road
After a questionable release in 2021, the godfather of shock-rock returned with maybe the most Alice Cooper album in decades. It’s dark classic rock, and a hell of a lot of fun. Much like KK earlier, if you know the style and sound, this is exactly what you’d expect, and it’s awesome. Between catchy as anything vocals, awesome playing and some truly interesting arrangements including horns, it’s just great. Also, it features one of Tom Morello’s best guest features on ‘White Line Frankenstein’, so what’s not to love?
It pains me to put Alice this low, but this year has been one hell of a year. Still, he got a 9/10 from us, and still makes the list!
Listen to: I’m Alice, All Over the World and The Big Goodbye
91: Staind – Confessions of the Fallen
I’m sure some of you may laugh at this band being here, but the truth is that their return album is fucking good. The first album from the band in over a decade brings back the heaviness of their early work, while at the same time producing catchy-ass radio-rock and the odd great ballad they are known for! Aaron sounds just as good as ever and proves that he’s still great at writing early 2000s, moody radio-rock. I’ve been a fan of the band since I was a kid and this made me very happy, both from nostalgia and being genuinely good. If you are one of those who dismissed this comeback before hearing it, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. It’s a fun, heavy radio rock album! 8.5/10 is very fitting for it!
Listen to: Cycle of Hurting, Confessions of the Fallen and Here and Now
90: Metallica – 72 Seasons
Another potentially controversial one as I know there are many out there that are big into this album. And they have reason to be, it’s not a bad album by any stretch. However, when compared to their last couple of albums, it feels like they’re stuck in neutral, or even took a step back. There is some great thrash on this record, but it also kinda felt mostly forgettable for me. Outside of a couple of amazing tracks, it all felt very run of the mull post-St Anger Metallica. None of it feels like it holds a candle to ‘Moth Into the Flame’, ‘Halo on Fire’ or even ‘All Nightmare Long’.
The band have absolutely nothing to prove, to me or anyone else. And again, it’s still a damn good metal album, hence it’s spot on this list. But considering they are still one of my favourite bands 15 years after me first getting into them, I feel like they could do a little better than this, hence why it’s only at 90. A solid 8.5 from us still, though!
Listen to: Lux Aeterna, 72 Seasons and You Must Burn!
89: Overkill – Scorched
More thrash now, and it was released on the same day as Metallica. So, this is probably yet another controversial placement. However, this is exceptionally good thrash metal from a band that have been doing it for over 40 years solid and have really honed their craft. The riffs are awesome, the drumming incredible, and the production is top notch. If you’re into thrash, there’s not much better in 2023 than this album (apart from a couple later). It’s a foot-stomping, head-banging awesome fucking album, and you should all check it out immediately. It rightfully got a 9 from us!
Listen to: Scorched, Harder They Fall and Twist of the Wick
88: Before the Dawn – Stormbringers
The return album of Tuomas Saukkonen’s solo melodeath project hasn’t quite held up on a second listen from me. It’s a great album for sure, combining elements of gothic and power metal into the death, but it wasn’t quite as good as I remember it being. Having said that, I still agree with the 9/10 we gave it in our review. It’s objectively a great album, just sadly not quite as good as I remember. Still, there is a HELL of a lot to love with this release, and my only real complaint is that it’s over after just eight full tracks. Tuomas’s screams are incredible, his cleans are powerful, and the whole band play their asses off throughout. If you’re into the genre, you’re bound to love this!
Listen to: Reveries, Downhearted and Chaos Star
87: Phil Campbell & the Bastard Sons – Kings of the Asylum
I really, really wanted this to be higher. I am a huge fan of this band and their last two albums have been up towards the top spots in their respective years. And I know a lot of their fans love this album and were pissed at my review as it is. And, after three months of sitting on it, I think I understand the reason why, for both points.
It’s very Motorhead. Now, I love Lemmy’s baby as much as the next guy, but I was really enjoying Phil infusing the punky rock style with more of his blues and hard rock influences. Stuff like ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Born to Roam’ are some of my favourite tracks from the band and are on the slower side. They help break up the album a bit, too. This album is full to the brim of fast paced, punk inspired rock ‘n roll. That’s awesome, and there are definitely a lot of great tracks on it. But it’s just less of an album for me than the others.
Now that I’ve covered my back for the 7.5/10 score, I do still think it’s a great album and worth being higher than some other albums that got 8+. The scores are as much about my personal opinion as anything else, and this album is objectively great, even if it’s not as much what I wanted as a couple of the previous ones. There’s plenty of highlights and greatness from the NWOCR mainstays, though!
Listen to: Hammer And Dance, Kings of the Asylum and The Hunt
86: Frail – Stand by Me in the Storm
This is another album that’s been up and down this list like a yoyo. The alt/atmospheric rock band’s latest offering is damn enjoyable, that’s for sure. As an album as a whole, it’s got a great sound and energy to it and I’ve listened to it in its entirety multiple times since its release. If you’re into the dark, moody, brooding side of European rock, you’ll love this a lot. And it has a great heaviness to it too, with some awesome screams spread throughout.
So, why is it not higher? It’s a mixture of there being so many insanely good albums having been released this year, and that there wasn’t one or two tracks individually that stood out to me. As good as they all are, I haven’t really listened to the tracks on their own without the rest of the album too. It still got a massively deserving 9/10 from us, and I still can’t wait to hear more from them!
Listen to: Mirror, Children of Depravity and Come Back to Me
85: Urne – A Feast on Sorrow
This albums was a lot like the Phil Campbell one earlier in the list, for me. I absolutely adored this band’s debut album a couple of years back, yet this one didn’t quite grip me in the same way. And again, it is an objectively fantastic album from a heavy music perspective, and I know there are a LOT of fans of it. I think for me it took a step away from the Gojira sound and more into a more hardcore direction. I love that the band are taking a step towards their own sound, it’s just not quite to my taste.
Still, their musicianship is still off the charts good, as is their composition and songwriting skill. They are one of the most talented bands in the scene today, and have crafted some incredible tracks for this offering. If you’re into the heavy stuff I’d still very highly recommend checking this out! I enjoyed it more on my first listen, but I’d say it still deserves the 9/10 we gave it!
Listen to: Becoming The Ocean, The Burden and Peace
84: Paramore – This is Why
This lands on this list largely from a nostalgia reason than anything else. I wasn’t even the biggest fan of Paramore in my youth, but tracks like ‘This is Why’ and ‘The News’ reminded me a lot of sitting around at a friends house at like 13, not having a care in the world, and just made me happy. And, from what I understand, it wasn’t just me who thought this album (or at least half of it) was a welcome return to rock music from the band. It’s been popping off since it’s release and has even been nominated for a Grammy. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t go that far, but it is a damn good album. Even the slower, more soft pop-rock stuff in the latter half is a great listen. It feels like an amalgamation of everything Paramore have done up until this point, and got a very deserving 8.5 from us!
Listen to : This is Why, The News and C’est Comme Ca
83: Nouveau Arcade – Dead Hearts
A bit of a wildcard entry, this one, as it’s not particularly rock music, for the most part. However, what it is is a damn good new wave/synth/industrial pop album. It’s a truly interesting listen that even at over an hour never once gets boring or drags. There are so many different styles blended together that it’s a real testament to how good the songwriting is. There are plenty of highlights throughout, as shown in our review! If anyone here is a fan of 70s and 80s pop music or the new synthwave revolution, check this out immediately! Another solid 9/10
Listen to: Run Boy Run, Die on me Now and Only Happy When it Rains
82: From Ashes to New – Blackout
This album kinda came out of nowhere for me. I was familiar with the name of the band but that was about it, so for me to love this album so much is awesome. I pretty much covered all my feelings about the album in my review but to summarise: I love the rappy, Papa Roach-inspired nu metal sound that the band have going on, and they have written numerous bangers across the album. If this had come out in the early 2000s or late 90s, they’d be one of the biggest bands on the planet currently.
My only slight negative that pushed it down the list a little is that it’s a little cringy, isn’t it? It’s rather angsty and edge, and I think with me now being closer to 30, it doesn’t resonate with me as much as it would a decade ago. Still, I’ve listened to this a lot since it came out in July, and I probably won’t stop any time soon! Another solid 8.5/10
Listen to: Nightmare, Until we Break and Heartache
81: White Rose Motor Oil – The Gift of Poison
This is a REALLY interesting entry into this list. Very much a DIY band, it’s honestly criminal that this band aren’t bigger. It’s an album packed full of incredibly catchy, massively underrated country/folk music with a tinge of rock. It is packed full of highlight tracks, catchy vocal lines and some awesome instrumentation. It’s the perfect album to throw on and chill out to! It got one of the easiest 9/10‘s I’ve given out all year when I reviewed it. No matter what sort of music you’re into, check this out! They deserve it!
Listen to: Red Light, Ain’t No Saint and Meet Me at the Bottom