One of the ways I'm trying to get myself back into the groove is this year end wrap up. This was a pretty good year for me and I'm looking forward to 2014. So I shall blather on about my favorite things of the year. Which means music, nail polish and events.
Starting with music, these were my favorites:
Katatonia - Dethroned and Uncrowned
I'm utterly devoted to Katatonia and their gloomy music. Dead End Kings released in 2012 did not disappoint. I was pleased to hear some actual guitar solos on this release and a tad bit heavier sound.
The Racing Heart and Lethean are the stand out tracks for me and this was one of my favorites last year.
What could have been disastrous was that they released a remix/acoustic version of that this year. Those kinds of things often tend to be a cheap money grab and suck really, really bad. This was not the case. It was really amazing.
Rotting Christ - Katá ton Daímona Eaf̱toú
I love Rotting Christ so much and I was hotly anticipating this as Aealo blew me away. (Their version of Orders From the Dead is devastating and features the legendary Diamanda Galas.)
This time they experimented with different instrumentation and explored mythology of many cultures not just Greek. Which is good because it did seem that they may be veering into Greek nationalism. One thing I always love about their music is Sakis Tolis' mesmerizing guitar riffs and they are in full force.
Skeletonwitch - Serpents Unleashed
This band just kills it. Each album gets better and better. Skeletonwitch does a great hybrid of thrash and black metal with a surprising about of melody. Serpents of the Unleashed is threatening to overtake Beyond the Permafrost as my favorite from them. I'm just disappointed that I wasn't able to see them in November when they actually came to Eugene. They are thrilling live and I recommend seeing them when you can.
Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the Gods
The best "Don't call us a Viking metal band" around. Amon Amarth never disappoints with their melodic death metal. They've always had a great riffing but this time the guitar is even better and the sound is even livelier. This is the music you want when you need to get inspired and head into battle. Or hit the pit. Whatever.
Chthonic - Bú-Tik
I love this band because they do great black metal and use traditional Taiwanese instrumentation and melody. The combination is brutal and breathtaking. This time they wrote the Taiwanese melodies first and then the metal. They are a political band, active in the Taiwanese independence movement and their lyrics highlight Taiwanese mythology and history. This album was much more elegant and sophisticated and less shrill. I use shrill because Freddy's vocals used to really cut through me and I could only listen to a few tracks at a time. However, I can queue up the full album and rock out.
Huntress - Starbound Beast
I got into this band this year when I got Spell Eater and I had to have Starbound Beast. Classic metal with thrash and doom elements. Singer Jill Janus is fierce and this band is tight. It's nice to have another female fronted band that isn't fully doom or a symphonic mash up.
The only disappointment this year was Kalmah - Seventh Swamphony.
And it's not really a disappointment. It's still the awesome melodic death metal they've always done. But it didn't feel particularly fresh and the album title is pretty dumb. I expected more but I won't be abandoning them any time soon.
Sadly, this was a bad year for concerts for me. I only saw two. The European festivals were in full swing this year and it kept many of the bands I wanted to see from coming to the States. The Mayhem Fest was the only real metal thing to happen this year in the US and they definitely booked better bands but it wasn't quite enough to make me want to go to Washington. Even though Amon Amarth, Huntress and Children of Bodom were on the bill.
However, I did get to see Moonspell in March and that was amazing. I also saw Whitesnake in August. I know, random. But I love them and always will. David Coverdale's voice isn't quite what it used to be but it was worth it. I just wish they could've done Walking in the Shadow of the Blues.
Looking ahead, I'm super excited that Moonspell is doing another US tour in 2014. They never do that. I usually wait about three years to see them again. Best of all, they will be coming back to Portland and I will be there! I'm not sure but I think they may be headlining too. Yay for longer set! (And maybe they'll play Mute? A lamb can dream.)
I'm excited that they are touring with Atrocity and Leaves Eyes. I love Liv Kristine and I've never seen her live.This also means that I may be able to convince my sister and brother-in-law to go with us. He loves symphonic metal and he's into Leaves Eyes. My sister not so much but she's a down girl and will give it a shot.
And that is where we shall end. What was your favorite music of 2013?