Well folks, we’re halfway through 2023 and WOW has it been a fantastic year so far for heavy metal! A handful of amazing albums have been released over the past six months – great works from both the mainstream and underground realms of metal, with every subgenre having something terrific to offer.
As this time of year calls for, we at The Pit have come together to compile a list of the best metal albums of 2023 thus far. Let us know if any of your current favorite 2023 metal albums made the list, and if not, what other records are you enjoying this year?
Sky Void of Stars – Katatonia
Kicking this list off is one of the first metal albums that came out in 2023 – Katatonia’s Sky Void of Stars. When it comes to epic and melodic doom that’ll get your waterworks going, no one does it better than Katatonia. As the band’s 12th studio album, Sky Void of Stars is an astounding work brimming with thrilling instrumentation and intense mood.
Outcry – Never Ending Game
What happens when you combine tough guy hardcore with an unabashed love for catchy-ass choruses? You get Never Ending Game. Outcry is a testament to the band’s songwriting ability, easily juggling between heavy-as-fuck chug riffs and anthemic singalongs. It working so well is a testament to the band’s songwriting, under the hands of anyone else it could have been a super awkward record but NEG throw it down nicely.
To Know The Light – Dawn Ray’d
When it comes to kickass modern black metal, Dawn Ray’d is one of the best around. The band’s brand of anarchist black metal with a touch of folk makes for a compelling experience, especially when it comes to their new album To Know The Light. From beginning to end, this record features a stunning display of technical performances as well as rich philosophical and political lyricism.
War Remains – Enforced
Newer thrash bands often sound like they’re just repeating what bands from the ’80s were doing, but Enforced brings a ferocity and energy to the table that’s been sorely missed from metal for a minute. War Remains is front-to-back pure ferocity and rage, showing there’s still plenty left in the tank for the genre.
Homicidal Ecstasy – Sanguisugabogg
You’ve heard us gush time and time again about this record, but Sanguisugabogg’s Homicidal Ecstasy is modern death metal at its finest. Instrumentally, vocally, and lyrically, this record is out to provide metalheads with a disgusting and brutal fucking time.
Only Constant – Gel
Gel has made a huge impact in hardcore in a very quick amount of time, the culmination of that being their debut LP Only Constant. What sets them apart from the pack is their ability to weave in moments of psychedelia into their full-force hardcore attack, paving the way for a sound no one else in their lane is hitting on.
…So Unknown – Jesus Piece
Jesus Piece’s …So Unknown is easily one of the year’s heaviest releases, without a doubt. With their second studio album, Jesus Piece offers hardcore and metal audiences one of the most sonically relentless records of the year; each track makes for a gripping rush of metallic shredding and pounding instrumentation. Seriously, put this album on and see how long you last without headbanging or swinging your body around (it’s that energizing).
Moments of Clarity – Narrow Head
Blending up influences from Oasis to Helmet, Narrow Head make heavy rock music that will remind you why you got into the genre to begin with. Moments of Clarity is a prism of different sounds and moods, ranging from the gazey serene to absolute pit crushers. Like we’ve said in the past, you need to back this band.
Härvest – Poison Ruin
Poison Ruin’s Härvest is like a work of abstract art where what you’re hearing will vastly be different from what the next will. One might think it’s a work of pure punk rock calling to mind the works of Aus-Rotten while others might hear a very clear death rock vibe, not to mention a black-and-roll element. Whatever you get from it, it’s clear that Härvest is a really excellent record that’ll satisfy any punk.
Blossom – Pupil Slicer
With Blossom, Pupil Slicer takes their grindcore formula and elevates it to stunning and captivating new heights. Throughout Blossom, Pupil Slicer offers listeners a remarkable soundscape of various intensities and atmospheres; whereas one track may involve absolute intense grind, another may embrace a somber air through post-punk elements. The array of creativity Pupil Slicer displays through their artistry is nothing short of brilliant.
Fromjoy – Fromjoy
There really isn’t a whole lot out there that sounds like Fromjoy. The Houston, Texas metalcore band merges together breakbeats, jungle, and heavy-ass breakdowns into one final mix that sounds like if Sewerslvt wanted to make a Converge record. This band is onto something big.
Post-American – MSPAINT
Part punk, part electronic, part pop, MSPAINT is 100% sick. Putting Hattiesburg. MI for music, the group delivers some of the most exciting live performances in alternative music today, reinterpreting punk music as dance music through a frenetic energy that sounds like nothing else.
A New Tomorrow – Zulu
When it comes to modern hardcore and powerviolence, Zulu is absolutely top tier. Their new record, A New Tomorrow, is an incredible experience that provides exhilarating instrumentation and insightful lyricism. While the band is relatively young in their career, this record shows off a great deal of promise for Zulu, highlighting each member’s remarkable talents and skills.
Void Eternal – nothing,nowhere.
Emo and heavy music have always been a part of Joseph Muhlerin’s nothing,nowhere., but on Void Eternal those influences synthesize into crushing tracks. Enlisting the help of Static Dress, Underoath, Pete Wentz, and more, the record calls to mind the explosive emotion of From First to Last but updated for 2023.
We’re Still Here – HIRS Collective
The newest album from HIRS Collective is a truly awe-inspiring work that not only features astonishingly gripping grindcore but also involves a tremendous variety of musical guests. Hearing all the unique compositions HIRS has created while performing alongside acts like Thou, Soul Glo, The Body, Escuela Grind, and more is nothing short of breathtaking.
Living Proof – Drain
Crossover metal by way of the most posi band to ever breathe, Drain’s Living Proof is pure fuel for moshers everywhere. The Bay Area group writes deceptively simple hardcore, jamming in intricate riffs and guitar work into some serious burners.
93696 – Liturgy
Liturgy’s newest album is a fantastic experience that pushes the creative boundaries of black metal. Liturgy has already done so much to defy the conventions of black metal, and through 93696, the band has constructed a work that is both overwhelming and enchanting in technical brilliance.
Glacial Domination – Frozen Soul
We appreciate Frozen Soul’s commitment to showing the world just how metal ice can be. Glacial Domination calls to mind Obituary at their finest, delivering pure death metal shreddage but with the added bounce of hardcore music. Death metal is in pretty great hands right now, Frozen Soul being one of the genre’s frontrunners for greatness.
Step Into The Light & Failure Will Follow – The Acacia Strain
A little bit of a cheat with this one, but we are going to count The Acacia Strain’s Step Into The Light and Failure Will Follow as one whole release. When you combine both of these records into one listening experience, you have yourself one of the most creatively interesting and sonically compelling releases to come out of metal this year.
every day is sOmeOne’s speciaL day – OLTH
Did screamo ever truly die? Who knows. Either way, NYC’s OLTH bring a take to the genre that’s frenetic and exciting. every day is sOmeOne’s speciaL day (incredible dedication punctuating) calls to mind days spent downloading every possible screamo release on Mediafire and listening to it all in a marathon session, capturing a very real feeling of rage and beauty in a short amount of time.
Terrasite – Cattle Decapitation
It’s surreal how Cattle Decapitation topped themselves with album number eight, considering how stellar of a record Death Atlas is. On Terrasite, the band provides us with not only a severely crushing and grinding work of death metal, but they imbue that sound with gushing emotion. Through sonic and theatrical extremity, Cattle Decapitation has crafted one of the most gripping records of 2023 thus far.
Devil Music – Portrayal of Guilt
One half blackened screamo and grind, the other half classical music, Portrayal of Guilt’s Devil Music is a surreal and unique record through and through. While the first half offers thrilling metal instrumentation, it’s so damn impressive and fascinating to hear classical interpretations of those songs in the record’s back half. On Devil Music, Portrayal of Guilt has taken a major leap forward and displays a refreshing and exciting new realm to their artistry.
Wicca Phase Springs Eternal – Wicca Phase Springs Eternal
From emo rap to acoustic guitar work to synthy post-punk, there isn’t anything Wicca Phase Springs Eternal can’t make work. On his latest self-titled, Wicca takes the loneliness of wandering around in barren open-world video games and captures a vibe many of us have felt but haven’t been able to put into words. It’s his most fleshed-out work since breaking away from Tigers Jaw, and one of the best things we’ve heard this year.
Deathless – Hellish Form
While the band doesn’t have many releases under their belt at this time, what they have put out is nothing short of extraordinary. With their newest album, Deathless, Hellish Form unleash a doom atmosphere that is crushing, melancholic, and overwhelming. From the intense droning instrumentation to the powerful and insightful lyricism, Hellish Form’s Deathless is a remarkably powerful force of doom metal.
Take Me Back to Eden – Sleep Token
Take Me Back to Eden is a bold release, blending crushing drone and doom metal alongside pop and electronic elements. Through the album’s theatrical and mesmerizing soundscapes, Sleep Token displays a willingness to defy convention; they have crafted a work that isn’t just refreshing but also has the power to inspire further creativity in the scene.