The 21 Best Heavy Metal Albums of 2013

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Phil Anselmo & The Illegals, Walk Through Exits Only Nobody's in the habit of denying Phil Anselmo's talent at this point; his credits include Pantera, Down, Arson Anthem, Housecore Records, and many other projects. But holy hell is this album, his first solo venture, heavy. I'd have to call it one of his rawest, heaviest and intense projects since Pantera--even heavier, in fact. The songwriting is honest and pretty self-explanatory on tracks like "Music Media Is My Whore," "Usurper Bastard's Rant," "Bedroom Destroyer" and "Bedridden."

Ministry, From Beer to Eternity This album was a labor of love for Ministry lead singer/industrial metal icon Al Jourgensen. Beer to Eternity features some of the band's best songwriting and engineering, and was originally guitarist Mike Scaccia's project--but after he passed, Jourgensen felt it upon himself to finish the album "for Mikey."

The fact that there's a possibility it's the band's farewell album makes it even more musically valuable.

Kylesa, Ultraviolet Georgia's pretty damn good at producing great stoner sludge metal: In addition to Mastodon and Baroness there's Kylesa, who fuses basement punk and biker metal on Ultraviolet.

Singer-guitarists Laura Pleasants and Philip Cope provide a top-notch backbone for some serious psychedelic headbanging, along with the ability to capture the essence of their thrilling-yet-raw live show. Glimpses of early Black Sabbath.

Church of Misery, Thy Kingdom Scum Japanese psychedelic doom metal at its finest! Founded by bassist Tatsu Mikami in 1995, the band didn't really make it to the United States until 2012, after they had already put out five albums.

Mikami's serial killer fascination allows for some pretty crazy song-writing, and many songs tell the story of innocent children growing up to be gruesome murderous beings (i.e. BTK/Dennis Rader on Thy Kingdom Scum).)

Children of Bodom, Halo Of Blood This is probably Children of Bodom's best album since Hatebreeder, as they've continued to refine their sound over the past few years.

Halo of Blood is heavier than the band's previous work without drowning out their trademark melodicism and their subgenre-hopping vibes.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise