20 Best Metal Albums of 2013

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

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Blood Ceremony, 'The Eldritch Dark'
Courtesy of Metal Blade Records6/20

6. Blood Ceremony, 'The Eldritch Dark'

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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