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Sunday 31 December 2023

AOTY 2023: Zak Skane Top 20

20. Kirk Hammett – Portals

This cinematic four track brings a different side to the famous Metallica lead guitarist. Throughout this 27 minute journey we get to greeted by waves of ambience, textures and orchestras that will take us through this emotional journey. I was very this outcome especially this being on of the first side projects to stem from Metallica.

19. Spite - Dedication To Flesh

The Deathcore meets Beatdown crew have came out in 2022 with the Dedication to Flesh. 7 years and 3 releases later the band can still pack a punch with low tuned of guitars with their signature sound of jolty riffage whilst the singer Darius Tehrani gives us some of his anger filled guttural gymnastics. Tracks like Caved In, Made to Please and title track will snap the necks of many hardcore head bangers.

18. Slaughter The Giant – Depravity

The Belgium Melodic outfits have stuck out me that you can still have young fiery passion but still come with an old soul. Check out their singles The Undead and Compliance.

17. Counterparts – A Eulogy For Those Still Here

Counterparts are still coming into 2022 more emotional and angry than ever with the furious Whispers of Your Death, and Unwavering Vow and the melodic A Eulogy for Those Still Here. This band still know how to create a good Melodic Hardcore album.

16. Silverstein – Misery Made Me

Misery Made Me still proves that the band still have the fire that they had on their earlier albums When Broken is Easily Fixed 2003 and Discovering the Waterfront 2005. With heavy songs like Die Alone and Ultraviolet to their classical emo driven track Cold Blooded this band are still willing to give us the goods to still bringing something new to the table.

15. Kublai Khan – Lowest Form Of Animal

Kublai Khan still wearing their 5 track Lowest Form a Animal. Each track starting with their opening song Swan Song to their closing track Dynasty the band still know how to rip your face whilst still being honest and whole some.

14. Northlane – Obsidian

The Australian modern metal act have been melting minds with their mix up of ‘Djent’ and trance metal crossover, from the trance driven Clockwork, to the topical title and pop sounding Echo Chamber and the soaring Carbonized. After 12 years this band still know how to turn heads, especially mine.

13. The Devil Wears Prada – Colour Decay

I have been a fan of this since they released Deadthrone back in 2011. The band have been noticeably pushing the boundaries with the metalcore sound since their Space E.P in 2015. So when I checked out that they have done a post-hardcore driven album I was sold! This album is very songwriter driven by swapping well structured breakdowns for emotional lyrics and heavy pulling of heart string melodies with tracks such as Exhibition and Salt but fear not this album still has it’s heavy moments such as Watch Tower, Time and Noise.

12. Polythia – Remember That You Will Die

Another installation from the modern kings of shred from the neo classical and trap mash up of Playing God, to introducing vocals into the mix from guest appearances from Sophia Black on ABC, Lil West in Chimera, Chino Moreno from Deftones on Bloodbath to appearances from the G.O.A.T himself…see what I did there Steve Via in their closing track Ego Death. This band are still pushing boundaries and still guitar driven music fresh.

11. Slipknot – The End So Far

The bands most experimental albums since Volume 3 Subliminal Verses, from the risky choices of songs like Adderal and Acidic to the crowd pleasing The Dying Song, The Chapletown Rag and Hive Mind to my personal favourite Yen. This was a satisfying to some but divisive to others.

10. Gutlocker – To Be Alive

Going from strength to strength Gutlocker have been gigging the UK underground scene for a good 6 years (according to their socials) and in 2022 they have treated us to their debut album. Through out the course 11 tracks the band have melded their Groove metal, Hardcore and Southern metal perfectly especially with personal favourites Sink or Swim, To Be Alive and Once a Snake. Defiantly go and check this band out if you are a fan of Lamb of God, the sludgy side of Mastodon and The Dillinger Escape Plan.

09. Lamb Of God – Omens

The groove metal legends still striding through 2022 with their second album with new drummer Art Cruz. In the this we get to see Art getting a lot more settled in the role with some coming up interesting drum grooves in the opening track Nevermore which we get to hear Rhandy Blythe mixing harsh and clean singing. The southern groove is still present as ever with Vanishing and they can still spit the venom with Ditch. 9 albums in and the band still know how to deliver the punch.

08. Meshuggah – Immutable

The modern masters are back with a raw approach, still adapting their polyrhythmic assault from their most recent albums but carrying on their organic production style at was featured on their previous album Violent Sleep of Reason. Tracks like Broken Cog, the lower tuned power of Phantoms and the groovy leads of Ligature Marks will please the followers and win the newbies.

07. Korn – Requiem

Back with their 13th studio album the grandfathers of Nu metal are still here to help us through their darkest journey. This album has been mentioned in quite a few Bad Albums of 2022 videos but I thought this album still continues their emotional turmoil from their previous album The Nothing but in a more polished form. In the this album we get to see Jonathan Davies stepping back from the harsh vocals to incorporate more melody in his vocal patterns, but fear not this album still punches. Monkey and Head are still delivering the low end punch especially on songs like My Confession, It’s On It’s Way and Disconnect, Ray Luzier still delivers the groove and Jonathan still touches our heart strings, so don’t hesitate on giving this album a listen.

06. Electric Callboy – Tekkno

The German party metalcore are proving that metalcore does not have to be serious with Tekkno. Containing dance floor hits like the chad energy filled Pump it, the bouncy We Got the Moves and the Pop Punk parody of Fuckboi featuring Conquer Divide. I am definitely placing this on my good mood playlist along side Tenacious D and Steel Panther.

05. Spirit Box – Rotoscope

Just after the metalcore community have just recovered from the silk smooth assault the band have a collection of them still pushing the sonic boundaries of what we know as Modern Metalcore. From the industrial opening track of Rotoscope, the bouncy Sew Me Up and the anthemic track Hysteria. After listening to this three track masterpiece this band leave us wanting more.

04. Bleed From Within – Shrine

The Scottish groove masters released their most commercial effort to date with choruses becoming more quote in radio friendly in comparison to their older releases fear not this band still know how to bring the heavy, especially with tracks such as I am Damnation, Levitate and Stand Down. I can’t wait to hear what this band has got in store for us in the future.

03. Bad Omens – The Death Of Peace Of Mind

The pop metal driven act have come out with their new master peace The Death of Peace of Mind. From start to end every track its own identity from the melancholic title track The Death of Peace of Mind, The fast paced of Nowhere to Go and the aggressive groove of Artificial Suicide. There is something for everyone in this album.

02. Fit For An Autopsy – Oh What The Future Holds

Continuing the shire brutality from the their 2019 release the Sea of Tragic Beasts, Oh What the Future Holds uses the same formula but the band have smoothed the edges to make this one modern metal masterpiece.

01. Malevolence – Malicious Intent

The Sheffield crossover kings have made one of the best albums in their catalogue to date. Importing more hooks into this bands sound has not softened them by any means, this album may be more accessible in comparison to their older material but this band has kept their venom especially with tracks like Life Sentence, Karma and Broken Glass whilst inserting melodic driven tracks such as Higher Place On Broken Glass. This is one of the most consistent sounding metal albums since Machine Heads The Blackening and Parkway Drives Ire.

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