From doom to rock: the coolest albums of 2023.

Written by Featured, Album Review, Chronique

What’s your favorite record of 2023? Well, there are as many criteria as there are listeners. In our opinion, the “best” album is the one that will go down in history, one we will take on a desert island, the one that pushes the boundaries of amplified music despite its imperfections. We picked ten albums each. Not all of them will have the same meaning when we re-read this list in 3, 5 or 10 years. But today, they made for the finest school year group picture for this 2023 vintage.

Our top 3 winners

Dozer – Drifting in the Endless Void (Blues Funeral Recordings)
Domkraft – Sonic Moons (Magnetic Eye Records)
Mutoid Man – Mutants (Sargent House)

Beeho’s Top 10

And then 2023 drew to a close in a flurry of rock and decibels. Never has the need to commune in a liberating Riff Mass felt so vital – not to expiate for our sins, but to celebrate life at its wildest. Our metal superheroes Mutoid Man arrived like the messiah with their unbridled alien heavy, proving to the world that you can be technical AND fun. Also unbridled were King Gizzgizz and their new accolade to the gods of thrash, as well as garage-psychedelic-disco-punk tornado Frankie & the Witch Fingers — far too danceable to be avoided. We surrendered to Domkraft‘s infallible psychedelic doom and drooled in admiration at Howling Giant‘s stratospheric heavy prog. Not to mention Deathchant‘s badass NWOBHM riffs, as well as the greatest stoner metal delivery of the year by the way underrated High Priest. But the end of the world wouldn’t be worth living without a little darkness: the ultimate thrill of the Full Of Hell and Nothing split, the lesson in elegance with Spotlights, and redemption through beauty with Jaye Jayle. With all this in mind, how can we not look forward to 2024?

  1. Mutoid Man – Mutants
  2. High Priest – Invocation
  3. Deathchant – Throne
  4. Howling Giant – Glass Future
  5. Domkraft – Sonic Moons
  6. King Gizzard – PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation
  7. Full Of Hell and Nothing – When No Birds Sang
  8. Frankie & the Witch Fingers – Data Doom
  9. Jaye Jayle – Don’t Let Your Love Life Get Your Down
  10. Spotlights – Alchemy For The Dead

Special mention to It It Anita (“Mouche”), Somnuri (“Desiderium”), Fange (“Privation”), Khanate (“To Be Cruel”), Militarie Gun (“Life Under The Gun”).

Lord Pierro’s Top 10

What will we remember from this year in music? That it surpassed our expectations! From the silky dark rock of Hail The Void to the stoner psychedelia of Black Rainbows, from the surprisingly addictive Mutoid Man album to the Wizardian doom of Witchthroat Serpent and the more occult Dopelord… Waste not, want not, just like Newcastle’s Pigsx7! I made a few noise rock forays with Greece’s own Last Rizla (their best album to date), the crazy Belgians in It It Anita who established themselves as a true force to be reckoned with, and the ever-smooth KEN Mode and the final part of their diptych. I found it impossible to pigeonhole the goodness delivered by Thunder Horse and Spotlights since the Texans play heavy metal brimming with nods to the greats, just like the soaring New Yorkers who managed to stand out from the pack. What about Domkraft and Dozer‘s riff masterclasses? These are two of the most monstrously heavy and addictive albums I’ve listened to this year, and undoubtedly a landmark in their own right. In the end, rankings don’t matter much as they might always change according to the mood. It’s only about the pleasure triggered when they get blasted in the stereo… LOUD.

  1. Hail The Void – Memento Mori
  2. Dozer – Drifting in the Endless Void
  3. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Land of Sleeper
  4. Mutoid Man – Mutants
  5. Domkraft – Sonic Moons
  6. Witchthroat Serpent – Trove of Oddities at the Devil’s Driveway
  7. Dopelord – Songs for Satan
  8. Thunder Horse – After The Fall
  9. Last Rizla – Noise Without Decay
  10. It It Anita – Mouche

Special mention to KEN Mode (“Void”), Spotlights (“Alchemy For The Dead”) and Black Rainbows (” “Superskull”).

Matt’s Top 10

2023 promised to be a great vintage, with most of my favorite bands releasing new albums. So it’s no surprise to find my Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs darlings’ excellent “Land of Sleepers” — a summary of everything that makes the band so fascinating — at the top of the chart. Unsurprisingly, Baroness, Kvelertak, Domkraft, Mondo Generator and Mutoid Man, whose talent I’ve praised so much over the last few years, landed in there too. There were a few surprises in store, such as the Frenchies Witchthroat Serpent and their masterclass in horror-laden doom. Another discovery comes to mind, with UK’s Morass of Molasses, blending genres in a creative frenzy, and the inspiring sludgy noise rock of These Beasts. Then, one band once again proved that anything can happen in Scandinavia: the Dozer masters and their raging and highly successful comeback.

  1. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Land of Sleeper
  2. Mutoid Man – Mutants
  3. Domkraft – Sonic Moons
  4. Witchthroat Serpent – Oddities at the Devil’s Driveway
  5. Baroness – Stone
  6. Kvelertak – Endling
  7. Morass of Molasses – End All We Know
  8. Dozer – Drifting in the Endless Void
  9. These Beasts – Cares, Wills, Wants
  10. Mondo Generator – We Stand Against You

Sylvain Golvet’s Top 10

Rock’n’roll still has died in 2023, but the world seems to be on the road to chaos and several artists have chosen to go with the gloom in the loudest of bangs. After all, noise is what will help us endure these tough times: King Gizzard‘s thrash metal apocalypse, Domkraft‘s cosmic doom, The Psychotic Monks‘ noisy nightmare, Frankie and The Witch Fingers‘ counter-technological energy, Incendiary‘s sorrowful hardcore, and more. What’s more, this year crowned a few established bands and some personal faves — some of them even returning to our EOYL — such as The Machine, Kvelertak and Graveyard. A rich and eclectic year, with the likes of Rezn captivating us with their introspective journey and Mutoid Man proving once again that they are indeed mutants formed from every scrap of metal in existence. An eclecticism that shines even more brightly if you consider those who almost made it to the top 10 (DM me if you want to know).

  1. King Gizzard – PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation
  2. The Machine – Wave Cannon
  3. Domkraft – Sonic Moons
  4. REZN – Solace
  5. Frankie and The Witch Fingers – Data Doom
  6. Psychotic Monks – Pink Colour Surgery
  7. Incendiary – Change the Way You Think About Pain
  8. Mutoid Man – Mutants
  9. Graveyard – 6
  10. Kvelertak – Endling

Yannick K.’s Top 10

First of all, Sweden’s Dozer and Domkraft caught everyone’s attention. The former claimed to be the originators of high-class Swedish stoner rock. As for the latter, I’ll quote Caza: “It’s a terrible magma of unleashed chthonic forces, uniting with the fires of the screaming sky in the incandescent apotheosis of cosmic copulation!” No better. At the top of the class is Soldier Brodsky, the metal workhorse we’ve seen on every stage this year with three bands, including Mutoid Man who issued the boldest and most grandiose record of 2023. For anything party-related, on the far left of the classroom, there is DRAIN who keep perpetuating the crossover genre in 2023, Venice Style. At the back of the room by the heater, Håndgemeng delivered a doom’n’roll album filled with noise, fury and sweat. Lucky us, there was also the romantic Hail The Void and their beautifully macabre doom, reminding us of our condition as mere mortals. In the back, Graveyard also appears in this snapshot, busy introspecting with one of their most cathartic blues ever. And then there’s the kid who’s grown up too fast, with Baroness now being fully aware of their qualities (and weaknesses) and no longer afraid to dare. This new confidence suits them just fine. Finally, there are the dreamers in their brightly-colored shirts: the motorik-driven Verstärker show you what happens beyond the horizon, while their friends Kanaan are constantly ready to reach for the stars. Guided by their free spirit, their record is a psychedelic supernova in the making.

  1. Dozer – Drifting In The Endless Void
  2. Domkraft – Sonic Moons
  3. Mutoid Man – Mutants
  4. Verstärker – Jenseits
  5. Hail The Void – Memento Mori
  6. Kanaan – Downpour
  7. Baroness – Stone
  8. Drain – Living Proof
  9. Graveyard – 6
  10. Håaandgemeng – Ultraritual

And then there’s the one we never see. IT’S YOU, faithful reader with a sore neck, you are our reason for being. We thank you. Until next year.

Last modified: 18 December 2023