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We at Teeth of the Divine don’t want to just steamroll over 2023 like it never happened, because when you go back and really think about all the wild shit that went down, it certainly deserves some recognition – from our nation’s capital providing the most insane reality TV possible (we can’t wait for the George Santos/Lauren Boebert spinoff) to a handful of millionaires deciding to visit the Titanic in a glorified oil drum with unsurprisingly disastrous results, there was no shortage of explosive (er, implosive?) moments to reflect on.

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As I’m putting together this list, I am now just experiencing my first ever bout of covid. It hasn’t really been a TERRIBLE experience, but in the last day I just lost my ability to smell or taste. IT’S FUCKING WEIRD. I also remembered something that, frankly, I should already have remembered but, well, I’m a fucking idiot.

So like, I’m in the kitchen cooking soup (again) and I notice… I don’t smell anything? “That’s weird,” I mutter to myself, as I grab a soup spoon to take a test taste of the broth I’m cooking down. Lo and behold – NOTHING. Nada. Zilch-o. Now, a normal, sane person would take these two experiences and just accept it and move on, right? OR, you could say “nah I don’t believe that” and head to your refrigerator, where you may or may not have a bag full of habanero peppers in the vegetable crisper, at which point you may or may not say “I bet I know how to find out for sure,” and you MAY or may not grab one of those bad boys and just pop that shit in your mouth and start chewing. It’s at that point, dear reader, you will remember that spice, or specifically heat, is not a flavor. It has nothing to do with taste at all. It’s pure chemical reaction. And it’s at that point that I learned what the pure essence of heat, without the mask of flavor, truly feels like.

This has nothing to do with the state of metal in 2023, or my experience with it. It’s just a story of how I managed to vomit in my refrigerator.


1) GraveRipper – Seasons Dreaming Death (Wise Blood Records)

I’ve always maintained that my list be based on albums I simply had the most fun listening to, not necessarily the most technically or creatively brilliant offerings of the year, and Seasons Dreaming Death was far and away the most fun I had listening to metal this year. I still have no idea what the fuck has gotten into the water over in the state of Indiana, but GraveRipper may well have just coronated themselves the new kings of Thrash n’ Roll. An absolute scorcher.

2) WayfarerAmerican Gothic (Profound Lore Records)

Had it been my list was based on creative brilliance alone, American Gothic would stand head and shoulders above the rest. As it is, not only have Wayfarer set a new benchmark for the potential of American Black Metal, but they’ve done it in such a way that is wholly original and thoroughly enjoyable. Purists be damned, Wayfarer have made one hell of a statement with this record.

3) HellripperWarlocks Grim & Withered Hags (Peaceville Records)

My earliest nominee for album of the year didn’t quite make it the distance, but through no fault of its own. Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags is still a modern speed metal masterpiece, and has rocketed James McBain’s glorious hellspawn right to the top of the genre’s pantheon of heavy hitters. ALL HAIL THE GOAT!

4) Cloak – Black Flame Eternal (Season of Mist)

Unfortunately, we never got around to reviewing this one at Teeth of the Divine, but damned if this album from Atlanta‘s kings of Blackened Heavy Metal didn’t have its claws dug deep into my skin from first listen. It truly speaks to the quality of releases in 2023 that this one didn’t crack my top 3, but alas, Black Flame Eternal still hits all the right, epic notes.

5) Katatonia – Sky Void of Stars (Napalm Records)

I guess it’s just me? I haven’t seen a ton of fanfare for this one since its release all the way back in January, but I think this is Katatonia‘s most complete, catchy album released in quite some time. Sweden’s masters of morose have done it again, and the earworm melodies of tracks like “Opaline” and “Birds” stack right up there with some of the band’s best.

6) Megaton Sword – Might & Power (Dying Victim Productions)

One of modern Heavy Metal’s most endearing acts, the Swiss answer to the likes of Eternal Champion and Possessed Steel come out swinging with their most bombastic, strutting effort to date. This one’s chock full of the kind of sword-swinging anthems you need to get the blood flowing proper.

7) Flesher – Tales of Grotesque Demise (Redefining Darkness)

Sometimes raw simplicity is exactly what the doctor ordered, and Indiana’s Flesher serves up straight-to-the-point, no frills death metal to the highest degree. Featuring some of the purest headbanger riffs you’ll hear anywhere this year, Flesher ain’t fucking around. This one rips.

8) Fires in the Distance Air Not Meant for Us (Prosthetic Records)

Fires in the Distance turned up the dial in a big way to deliver their most epic, memorable record to date. As much as I enjoyed Echos from Deep Novermber, I did not expect to be blown away like I was listening to this one. American Death Doom has its new kings.

9) MajestiesVast Reaches Unclaimed (20 Buck Spin)

In a year that saw the likes of In Flames and The Halo Effect make all kinds of waves in the world of Melodic Death Metal, it was the before-unknown Majesties that actually laid claim to the throne. Melodies and harmonies abound, Vast Reaches Unclaimed was a revelation. I can’t wait to see where this young act builds from here.

10) Tower Hill – Deathstalker (No Remorse Records)

Canada’s Tower Hill live by one rule alone: Above all, have a friggin’ blast. Deathstalker is an absolute clinic in classic Heavy Metal songwriting, delivered with tongues (and balls) out attitude and a flair for the ridiculous. No one asked for a Heavy Metal anthem about slamming White Claws, but god damn it, Tower Hill delivered one anyway. Keep this young act on your radar.

The best of the rest!

11) KalmahKalmah (Ranka Kustannus)

12) Kaunis KuolematonMielenvalta (Noble Demon)

13) Cattle DecapitationTerrasite (Metal Blade Records)

14) HelgaWrapped in Mist (Season of Mist)

15) Desolate RealmLegions (Self-Released)

16) Sanguine GlacialisMaladaptive Daydreaming (Self-Released)

17) Sulphur AeonSeven Crowns and Seven Seals (Van Records)

18) EnforcedWar Remains (Century Media Records)

19) SmoulderViolent Creed of Vengeance (Cruz Del Sur Music)

20) For I am KingCrown (Prime Collective)

21) Blazon RiteWild Rites and Ancient Songs (Cruz Del Sur Music)

22) The Arcane OrderDistortions from Cosmogony (Black Lion Records)

23) VorderFalse Haven (Suicide Records)




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