The Best Albums of 2023

The Best Albums of 2023

- By Ramon Gonzales

The collective Knotest.com editorial team compiled their list of some of the best albums of the year and the entries are as diverse as they are dynamic.

TWIN TEMPLE / GOD IS DEAD / PENTAGRAMMATON
The audacity to bridge classic rhythm and blues, vintage soul and doo-wop with a stylishly subversive slant is enough to pique anyone's interest, but Twin Temple are far from schtick.  Alexandra and Zachary James manage to articulate the tenets of Satanism while embracing their love for legends like The Vandellas, The Marvelettes and The Shirelles with the kind of authenticity that make the dup a one of one. One listen to "Be A Slut" proves that Twin Temple are without question in a league of own. - Ramon Gonzales
SVALBARD / THE WEIGHT OF THE MASK / NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
Serena Cherry is a marvel both as a songwriter and a performer with Svalbard's fourth record serving as testament to that. Combining sweeping melody with fits of menacingly heavy catharsis, Cherry's ability to conduct such chaos is nothing short of brilliant. The album's closer "To Wilt Beneath the Weight" is an absolute masterclass and arguably one of the best metal tracks of the year, asserting the kind of nuance and complexity that emphasizes the best parts of heavy music.- Ramon Gonzales 
CREEPER / SANGUIVORE / SPINEFARM 

This album is Creeper in their most realized, most authentic iteration. This is what happens when you combine the inspirations of Meatloaf, The Lost Boys, David Bowie, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Misfits in one rock opera masterpiece. They created more than just an album, they built a universe...and I'm a sucker for an elaborate concept album. “Black Heaven” is my standout track; it’s a gothic, darkwave-inspired track built for a dark, dirty dance floor. - Tori Kravitz

SLOWDIVE / EVERYTHING IS ALIVE / DEAD OCEANS

This is a favorite album and a top-tier live show experience of 2023. Slowdive are masters of shoegaze and pioneers of the genre. They have gracefully perfected their craft and withstood the test of time, letting their dreamy, tender, ethereal music speak for itself. The six-year wait for this release was worth it. Without Slowdive, our favorite present-day blackgaze bands wouldn’t exist and their legacy deserves endless praise. - Tori Kravitz

MYRKUR / SPINE / RELAPSE RECORDS

I love the diverse tracklist and haunting sounds on this album. Myrkur possesses a mystical ability to transport you to a different world with her usage of traditional Scandinavian folk music combined with her black metal influences. “Valkyriernes Sang” is a heavy standout track for me while “Mothlike” was a pleasantly surprising stylistic curveball. - Tori Kravitz

PARAMORE / THIS IS WHY / ATLANTIC RECORDS

 

An instant classic and a timely album that embodies the challenges of millennials navigating our clumsy, confusing, and exhausting existence with tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Like yes, I do go to the chiropractor for social interaction sometimes. If music's greatest purpose is to make people feel seen and heard, Paramore understood the assignment. - Tori Kravitz

LOCKET / SUPERLUMINAL / FEARLESS RECORDS

 

Locket are newcomers to the scene and this is their debut release, and it became an unexpected favorite for me. Despite being new and modern, it was a boost of serotonin for the part of my brain that craves the nostalgic, fun pop-rock that I loved in the 2010’s. They honed in on those influences without sounding gimmicky, which was a breath of fresh air. “Sonic Bloom” is my personal favorite! - Tori Kravitz

FOTOCRIME / ACCELERATED / ARTOFFACT RECORDS 

 

Ryan Patterson is a staple of the Midwest hardcore and postpunk communities, cutting his teeth in the 90s and early 2000s in bands like The National Acrobat and Black Cross before fronting his own power-violent trio, Coliseum, whose jagged noise slowly evolved into moody, dark romanticism. The earnest and thoughtful singer/guitarist took the next natural step with the rapidly prolific Fotocrime, armed with shimmering Gretsch guitars and melancholic keys, making music owing more to Sisters Of Mercy and Killing Joke than Minor Threat. Accelerated sees the one-time solo project take broader shape with increased involvement from Fotocrime’s touring lineup. If anyone released better romantic post-punk songs this year than “I Still Need You Here,” “Saint Marie,” “Match Factory Girl,” or “Night Must Fall,” well, I have yet to hear them. - Ryan J. Downey

METALLICA / 72 SEASONS / BLACKENED RECORDINGS 

 

One could be forgiven for thinking a new record from the biggest of the Big 4 appearing on a list from the host of the Metallica-themed podcast Speak N’ Destroy is a given. But even setting my very public devotion aside, 72 Seasons is an objectively impressive contribution to the band’s mighty catalog. While not quite as rich and dynamic as the wondrous Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, the yellow-and-black-colored platter stands tall against with forceful, decisive, and confident riffage. The “right hand of Hetfield” delivers, with the collective sounding harmoniously in sync, even as they mostly eschew literal harmonies in favor of rhythm. A twinge of NWOBHM, particularly with “Lux Aeterna” (my most-listened to song this year); body-moving stompers like “Shadows Follow”; the cancel-culture-combating “You Must Burn!”; the gobsmacking, moody, expansive 11-minute-and-ten-seconds album closer “Inamorata”; there’s a lot to digest, and I loved it all. May the mighty Metallica make anthems for many more “seasons” to come. - Ryan J. Downey

TRIBUNAL / THE WEIGHT OF REMEMBRANCE / 20 BUCK SPIN 


This one arrived all the way back in January and should not be overlooked by any doom dogs. Paradise Lost was my most-listened to band in 2023 according to my Spotify Wrapped and I’m a forever fan of the rest of the “Peaceville Three” (rounded out by Anathema and My Dying Bride), too. Vancouver, Canada’s gothic doom duo Tribunal are disciples of My Dying Bride as well, with a heavy dose of Candlemass, and enough personality to distinguish their debut. Soren Mourne, a classically trained cellist and bassist, puts blackened growls over the mournful riffs, churned out with passionate proficiency by guitarist/vocalist Etienne Flinn. The pair are joined by a handful of collaborators on The Weight of Remembrance, including different drummers. It’s a heavy, mournful, dynamic breath of frosty air for my favorite subgenre. Tribunal rules. - Ryan J. Downey

 

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