2023 was yet another stellar year for heavy music. Sleep Token became the genre's latest stars. Avenged Sevenfold and Metallica delivered their long-awaited new opuses, and bands at all levels of the scene — from hardcore club-dwellers to stadium-filling rock stars — released some of their career-best work.
As is tradition, after publishing our own best albums of the year list, we asked Revolver readers to pick their single favorite record of the last 12 months. See the top five vote-getters ranked accordingly below.
Throughout the Nineties and early 2000s, Sweden's In Flames pioneered the Gothenburg melodic death-metal sound and then spent the last couple decades incorporating other genres into their alt-metal oeuvre.
On Foregone, they made a conscious effort to return to their melodeath days, resulting in the heaviest, most reinvigorated batch of songs that Anders Fridén and Co. have churned out in a long time.
Clearly, the fans are stoked.
Metallica have taken their fans on a helluva journey throughout the last 40 years, swerving from speed metal to groove-metal to hard rock to whatever the hell St. Anger is and then back to thrash (with another WTF detour into Lulu land).
On 72 Seasons, they finally found a sound that they're ready to settle down with — and it's the one they've been best at all along. Metallica's 77-minute thrash epic has everything a real-deal fan could want from them: wicked solos, tasty riffs, shout-along choruses and a healthy dose of headbanging workout grooves.
Simply put, 72 Seasons sounds like quintessential Metallica. And Revolver readers love Metallica.
Pick up 72 Seasons on black vinyl over at Revolver's shop.
Albums that were a long time comin' resonated deep this year, especially Queens of the Stone Age's latest opus. In the six years since 2017's dance-rock left turn Villains, frontman Josh Homme has been through hell and back, and In Times New Roman... sounds like a band in the full throes of rejuvenation.
The crunching, stonery edge of their early work returns to the fore on cuts like "Negative Space" and "Paper Machete." But the sleek production and tight, boogie-inducing grooves pick up right where the fan favorite ...Like Clockwork left off.
These Queens have reclaimed their crown.
The seven-year wait for The Stage's follow-up was equal parts exciting and agonizing (probably more the latter), but Life Is but a Dream... made all the nail-biting anticipation worthwhile.
Enhanced by psychedelic drugs and a mid-career feeling of "fuck it" freedom, the Deathbat crew embraced all of their wildest tendencies and broke all the rules for what a metal record "should" sound like.
The final product is A7X's boldest, most fearlessly experimental outing yet — and the fans fucking love it.
Pick up Life Is but a Dream... on limited edition "brown" vinyl over at Revolver's shop.
Sleep Token are Revolver's Artist of the Year, and their staggering Take Me Back to Eden tops our best albums list. Turns out that our readers couldn't agree more.
The masked U.K. band's popularity has been at a fever pitch since "The Summoning" and "Chokehold" first hit the internet back in early January, and even after their mighty third LP finally dropped in May, the reverberations haven't chilled since.
As an album, Take Me Back to Eden is Sleep Token's most ambitious and mature release yet. Those are adjectives that sometimes carry stuffy, pretentious connotations, but TMBTE is the opposite — Vessel's catchiest hooks and most downright fun (and funky!) musical maneuvers lie within its eclectic tracklist.
When musical anthropologists look back on 2023 in 20 years, Take Me Back to Eden will surely be viewed as an era-defining moment. It feels right that it's our readers' No. 1 album of the year.
Order Revolver's new 76-page Sleep Token collector's issue, featuring rare photos, a deep dive into their trilogy, famous fan tributes, and more, at our shop.