Revis(it)ing the Past: 2013 Edition

By Eric Perzanowski, Staff Writer

Recently, I saw a post on social media by some band that I can’t immediately recall celebrating the five-year anniversary of the release of one of their albums. “Has it really been five years?” I thought. I was swarmed with memories of going into my local record store throughout my senior year of high school and spending whatever money I had on CDs. Almost definitely, that unnamed album was one of the many that I bought.

 In that reminiscing, I thought a lot about the then vs. now comparisons. Naturally, one of the first areas of comparison that came to mind was my music taste then and my music taste now. After spending almost five years with a college radio/media organization in a town with a sizable music scene, how would my favorite albums from the year I started college hold up in the year I graduate from college?

 Original Top 10 Albums of 2013

1. Battlecross – War of Will

2. The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack

3. Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance

4. Carcass – Surgical Steel

5. Týr – Valkyrja

6. Revocation – S/T

7. Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed

8. Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light

9. Amon Amarth –Deceiver of the Gods

10. Dropkick Murphys – Signed and Sealed In Blood

 Even though I’m still heavy into metal, 2013 was the height of my metal nerdiness. I immediately recognized that five of the records (Battlecross, The Black Dahlia Murder, Tyr, Rivers of Nihil and Amon Amarth) were put out by Metal Blade. Oddly enough, Revocation went on to sign with them and released another album the following year. Stuffing my top 10 with Metal Blade releases was a common occurrence during these years: they tend to have a roster stacked with both prominent names, as well hype-worthy up-and-comers, and in addition, their branding and ubiquity at metal festivals made them an appealing label for my teenaged self.

 Having Surgical Steel at the four spot was probably the biggest surprise for me. While I enjoyed it a lot more at the time, considering I haven’t even gone back to it in several years, it’s hard to rationalize putting it ahead of most other things on this list. I feel like I just bought in hard on the hype of the legendary Carcass releasing its first album in 17 years. I still remember it as a good album, but I honestly couldn’t name you a track from it if you were to play one.

 Similarly, having Dropkick Murphys at #10 came as somewhat of a shock. I don’t know if I was trying to branch out my list to include something other than metal (yeah right), or if I was trying to show some pride for my home state, as a Massachusetts transplant living away from home for the first time (it’s a little-known law in Massachusetts that every household must own at least one Dropkick Murphys album).

 I wish I had made a list beyond 10 selections because I’m curious to see how I would have originally ranked albums like The Ocean’s Pelagial, The Dillinger Escape Plan’s One of Us is the Killer, Soilwork’s The Living Infinite and Killswitch Engage’s Disarm the Descent. In the case of the first three, they should have been close to breaking the top 10, and as the years have passed and these albums have solidified themselves, it’s baffling that they didn’t. For Disarm the Descent, leaving it out the first time around was a mistake, and it has induced wild nostalgia trips every time I’ve revisited it.

 Outside of my original selections, the thing that has surprised me most is the lack of albums that I have since discovered. There are a few that I gave listens to during 2013, and ended up appreciating more as I gave them more attention in the following years. There are a couple that I was aware of, but slipped under my radar for some time (like, despite being a huge Queens of the Stone Age nerd through middle and early high school, I didn’t even listen to 2013’s …Like Clockwork a full time through until this past fall).

However, the only releases that I’d consider adding to list, and from artists that I didn’t listen to at the time are Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap, Danny Brown’s Old and Lorde’s Pure Heroine. I swear, every other year, there must be loads of albums I’ve since discovered, or at least that’s what I like to think.

There is also the case of After The Burial, who released Wolves Within with two weeks remaining in the year. Granted, I didn’t even listen to this until 2014, but how does one appropriately assess an album that gets put out after a majority of the year-end lists get published?

In recreating this list, I knew the 10 albums I wanted to include but did not have a clue on the order. Whereas in my first column, there was an obvious new pick for number one. I was hesitant to keep War of Willat number one. It wasn’t so much that it had fallen off in quality, it was more of the opportunity to name something else my favorite release of 2013. However, there hasn’t been anything else that has evoked the same intense love and constant re-listens.

Re-Ranked Top 10 Albums of 2013

1. Battlecross – War of Will

2. The Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer

3. The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack

4. The Ocean – Pelagial

5. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap

6. Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light

7. Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed

8. Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance

9. Lorde – Pure Heroine

10. Killswitch Engage – Disarm the Descent

Honorable Mentions: Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods, Danny Brown – Old, Within the Ruins – Elite

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