20 Best Metal Albums of 2013

The year's wildest, smartest, most intense heavy music


Blood Ceremony, 'The Eldritch Dark'

Blood Ceremony, 'The Eldritch Dark'
Courtesy of Metal Blade Records

Unabashed occult enthusiasts Blood Ceremony still put on the best renaissance-metal act this side of Ghost B.C. – full of vintage-style synth and flute breaks – but on their third record, The Eldritch Dark, they maybe just believed it bit more and their Alice Cooper-via-Jethro Tull act came into its own. "Ballad of Weird Sisters" puts barnyard fiddlin' in a stompy hard-rock context, and "Drawing Down the Moon" is the prettiest song Dio-era Rainbow never recorded. It's a rare band that can put on a retro act and innovate at the same time.

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