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.

FOO FIGHTERS / BUT HERE WE ARE / ROSWELL RECORDS

A poignant testament to resilience and grief in the face of personal tragedy, Foo Fighters’ latest album was written during a period of deep introspection following the untimely deaths of drummer Taylor Hawkins and frontman Dave Grohl's mother. Navigating the stages of grief with brutal honesty, Grohl's lyrics consistently deliver emotional gut punches, supported by some of the band’s most impassioned performances to date. From the punk-infused “Under You” to the haunting “Hearing Voices” and the bittersweet “The Glass”, each track captures snapshots of memories. Concluding with the tender acoustic farewell of “Rest”, But Here We Are is a universal and distinctly human exploration of loss, tenacity, and the redemptive power of music. - Maddy Howell

 

GIDEON / MORE POWER. MORE PAIN. / EQUAL VISION RECORDS

Having spent a large portion of their 15-year existence searching for an identity, MORE POWER. MORE PAIN. sees the Southern aggressors not only realizing their true potential - but far surpassing it. Their most impactful release to date - equal parts raw and formidable - the band’s sixth album sees them confront pain and resilience, recognizing that enduring hardships often strengthens resolve. From the chugging riffs of “Too Much Is Never Enough” to the poignant “I Will Carry You” - a tribute to drummer Jake Smelley’s close friend - each track reflects a band fuelled by purpose and passion. A testament to overcoming adversity that serves as a beacon of strength in a world besieged by negativity, it’s an unyielding record of sacrifice and determination. - Maddy Howell

KVELERTAK / ENDLING / RISE RECORDS

The Norwegian rock titans’ fifth album unveils the enigmatic tapestry of their homeland. Shunning the conventional Nordic narrative of Vikings and fairies, Endling explores the dark corners of local culture and rituals with an evocative sonic journey across Norway's past, present, and future. Led by vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen and recorded mostly live, here the sextet masterfully intertwine punk anthems, thrash metal, garage rock, and '70s influences against a black metal backdrop. Rammed full of signature triple-guitar harmonies - particularly forefronted on the groovy title track - with Endling Kvelertak solidify their reputation as genre-defying virtuosos, ushering in a new era of rock 'n' roll escapism. - Maddy Howell

 

NOTHING,NOWHERE. / VOID ETERNAL / FUELED BY RAMEN

Cementing his status as a maverick in the alternative scene, nothing,nowhere.’s fifth album pays a heavy, heartfelt tribute to his musical roots. Swerving away from the lamenting sadness of his previous work, VOID ETERNAL presents a more focused aggression, each track more chaotic and cathartic than the last. Recorded in the musician’s self-built Vermont studio, it features star-studded collaborations - including Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, Lorna Shore’s Will Ramos, Senses Fail’s Buddy Nielsen, and Underøath. A game-changing celebration of the vulnerability, connection, and expression that dominated the albums he grew up with, it marks nothing,nowhere.’s transition into a visceral, heavier form. - Maddy Howell

XOTH / EXOGALACTIC / DAWNBREED RECORDS

This album is a masterpiece for fans of hyper fast thrash, tech death and power metal, as it somehow combines all three of these metal sub genres. Absolutely stunning riffs that will both blow your mind with the technicality and get stuck in your head with the catchiness. Keep your eye out for Xoth in 2024. - Kevin Diers

 

ZULU / A NEW TOMORROW / FLATSPOT RECORDS

 

When it came time to release their debut full length album, Los Angeles hardcore band Zulu stepped up to the plate and smashed it right out of Dodger stadium. This is crushing metallic hardcore that blends hip hop and jazz influenced passages perfectly. - Kevin Diers

 

UADA / CREPUSCLE NATURA / EISENWALD RECORDS

 

Portland melodic black metallers UADA returned with their fourth album and this is by far their best work to date. This is EXACTLY what Iron Maiden would sound like if they decided to write a black metal album. - Kevin Diers

 

THE HOPE CONSPIRACY / CONFUSION/CHAOS/MISERY / DEATHWISH INC

 

Boston hardcore heavyweights returned after 14 years of slumber with the killer surprise drop of this EP which includes a cover of the Swedish crust punk band Anti-Cimex. Raw, heavy and just as potent as ever. - Kevin Diers

 

SANDRIDER / ENVELETRATION / SATANIK ROYALTY RECORDS

Seattle heavy rockers Sandrider brought us 10 more songs stuffed with big, burly riffs. Make sure you dig into this album if you like Melvins, Torche or High On Fire. - Kevin Diers

 

SKINDRED / SMILE / EARACHE RECORDS

WHERE THE FUCK DO I BEGIN?! This band has been grafting hard and putting on ‘the best live show of the whole festival’ across the globe for years. But 2023 was the year Skindred were given their flowers. A band who always deliver a strong musical identity that has never been replicated, this album felt like a ‘best of’ album. It brought the various identities of the band all together to create a journey of ragga-punk-metal-rock moments like no other. They deserved every moment of celebration they had this year from mainstream television appearances to going viral on Tik Tok to their No 2 record in the mainstream UK album charts. This week I have been listening to ‘If I Could’ but to be honest, my favorite track changes every time I listen. Us Brits are so excited for you America as they come back stateside in 2024 for Sick New World, just after they have been down under at Knotfest Australia to pack a harder punch than an angry kangaroo. - Sophie K.

 

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