MetalBite's Top 10 Albums of the Month - October 2023

Welcome back to MetalBite's Top 10 Albums of the Month! Last push before the holiday slowdown but still lots of time to drastically alter your album of the year list based on some unbelievably good, game-changer kind of album that came out of nowhere. Let's see if we've got any of those that came out in October! (spoiler: we definitely do)



Sorcerer - Reign Of The Reaper
Metal Blade Records

The fourth album from this well-regarded Swedish epic doom group has a lot more of what the last release was missing, in case you lost the plot back in 2020.
Full review by Michael here


Sepulchral Curse - Abhorrent Dimensions
Transcending Obscurity

If the phrase "Finnish death metal" makes your heart skip a beat you've already pre-ordered this, but even if you think that scene lacks distinct and varied bands (a valid complaint once you get past the occasional outlier like Demilich), this should still grab your attention. It's hard to describe exactly why this has more staying power than half of Dark Descent's roster, perhaps more the production of several little things coming together as opposed to one big factor. The production on this is excellent, which helps - it's clean yet crunchy, highlighting the strengths of the riffing and grooves. Although this doesn't blend genres or throw in any unusual influences, each riff has an identity of its own and you can really tell this group has been nitpicky and selective when refining their craft.

Abhorrent Dimensions reminds me a lot of Desolate Shrine if they capitalized on their potential. That group always has a massive and larger than life sound that feels like it should have less build and more release, whereas Sepulchral Curse use potent, crushing catharses to punctuate their songs frequently - often multiple times per track - and it makes for a more digestible and memorable listen at the end of the day.


MoshPit - Mogu (EP)

Serbia's new coming crossover thrash/hardcore punk band MoshPit Mošorin has introduced themselves with a self-released debut EP Mogu on October 4th, and in just a couple of days later they had their first gig on the Zlo Fest festival in SKCNS Fabrika. Their gig certainly did their EP justice, and they successfully proved that they're capable of composing and performing catchy and entertaining songs with themes of social issues. Although this EP shows that band has potential, hopefully their full-length album will turn out an even bigger banger that will make punks and thrashers mosh. MoshPit? MOGU!


Autopsy - Ashes, Organs, Blood And Crypts
Peaceville Records

More of the same from the masters - sickly, putrid death metal where the stench seems to fill your nostrils long after the album starts playing.
Full review by Michael here


Smokecastle - Stardust (EP)

Another new coming band which appeared out of nowhere in the Serbian metal scene is Smokecastle from Belgrade, which dabbles in very occult doom/stoner/sludge metal. They self-released their debut EP Stardust on October 17th, and the output is nothing short of amazing. The songs are rich with incredibly dark, suspenseful and atmospheric riffs with a Lovecraftian and esoteric vibes, which is definitely blessed with some kind of magic. If you are into doom, stoner and sludge metal, you should probably check this one because it might be perfect for you.


Comaniac - None For All

Traditional American thrash meets technical influence to create a thoroughly interesting listen.
Full review by Michael here


Tower Hill - Deathstalker
No Remorse Records

Canadian heavy metal band Tower Hill have come out with their debut full-length album, released on October 27th via No Remorse Records, providing plenty of awesome bangers with plenty of catchiness and stylistic consistency. Although the songs aren't exceptional or memorable, they are still quite enjoyable and definitely a worthy listen by all means. There have been a lot of NWOTHM bands with themes of war, mythology and fantasy, and Tower Hill fits with the rest like a glove. If you are a fellow heavy metal fan thirsting for sword and sorcery, look no further than Tower Hill's Deathstalker.


Body Void - Atrocity Machine
Prosthetic Records

Nightmarish, cacophonous and genuinely unsettling - it's hard for bands to hit all of these qualities while still remaining somewhat musical, but Body Void has this uncanny knack for beating you senseless with noise only to leave you begging for more.


Stortregn - Finitude
The Artisan Era

Perhaps one of my most anticipated album of this year - the previous album, Impermanence, is a 5-star riff buffet with all the bells and whistles, garnishes - this band is everything I want a technical melodic death metal band to be, with the tasteful restraint of Omnivortex, the melodic runs of Inferi and nods to the larger-than-life song structures of Fallujah and Rivers of Nihil.

This feels like their speediest and most technical effort yet, but it comes at the expense of the elegance and majesty of the previous album that made it a top 5 album of the year for 2021. Maybe they felt like they had to keep up with all the ridiculously talented bands on this label? It's still the same band I fell in love with and they did pivot to focus on a style I do like, but it feels like they're trying to do too much and jumping into new ideas too fast, and in the process, losing their identity. I still very much want you to get into this band, but with the caveat that I'd suggest you check out their earlier works first.


Endseeker - Global Worming
Metal Blade Records

Tried and true HM-2 worship like always, but there's an extra groovy edge to this particular album that makes it especially worth your time.
Full review by Michael here


Heretoir - Nightsphere
Northern Silence Productions

I've always maintained that Germany is one of the most fertile region for metal scenes, and it's consistent no matter the style. You name a subgenre of metal and you can always find a German band that is a strong representation of it, if not one of the best bands from the style. That is very much true for Heretoir, one of the longest-runnning post-black metal bands who have never quite been the most prominent or popular band in the style - perhaps because this is only their third full-length since 2006 - but each of their releases is a great listen that manages to simultaneously venture down the style's most uplifting and harrowing avenues.


Eradikated - Descendants
Indie Recordings

Eradikated is a new Swedish band coming at you fast and furious. They play an interesting mixture between old Slayer and newer thrash they created with Descendants a very interesting and entertaining album. They're versatile and they make 42 minutes go by very quick.. They have the fast chugging, some aggressive hardcore touches, and it's fair to say that if Slayer was in their prime today they'd probably sound something like this.. This is pretty good stuff for a debut album and this group has great potential to make themselves a name in the scene.


Doro - Conqueress - Forever Strong And Proud
Nuclear Blast

Doro has always been an excellent vocalist with enduring passion and love for heavy metal music, and her latest output is no exception. Her fourteenth full-length album Conqueress - Forever Strong And Proud, released on October 29th via Nuclear Blast, provides a pocketful of awesome songs with lots of amazing ideas from riffs, solos and even guest vocal appearances from Rob Halford on two tracks. Doro is still worthy of her Metal Queen status, and just like her new album, she remains Forever Strong and Proud.


Praznina - Čovek Koji Nije

Serbian one-man black metal project Praznina had quite the journey with the previous EP's Podsvesno Mrtav and Nedostižni Zenit, but once October 28th came, the band self-released its first full-length album Čovek Koji Nije, which is a brilliant expansion to his previous works in terms of excellent songwriting and musical expression. Even though it seems like a typical Mgla black metal type band to many people, the songs of Praznina have much more esoteric vibes with its own unique philosophy of personal nature. If you are fans of bands such as Mgla, Uada, Groza, Gaerea and others, consider taking your time to check out Praznina's first full-length album. Hopefully we won't wait long for this album to receive a physical release from the label Hammer of Damnation.


Sorry... - Self Inflicted Razor Cutting
Tragedy Productions

One of the most consistent DSBM pieces this year and in the band's history, Self Inflicted Razor Cutting sure leaves a cutting on the listener's heart with the sharp razor of its hopeless flow. Feelings of melancholy, helplessness and frailty remain persistent throughout the album just like the band's experiments like Void's uneven vocal techniques and a new bassist's work offering some memorable passages. Yet another solid release for lonely evenings and uncertain days.


Diabolic Night - Beneath The Crimson Prophecy
High Roller Records

Continuing where they left off with Beyond The Realm, Christhunter and Heavy Steeler deliver some old-school black-thrash in the vein of Cruel Force, old Sodom, Kreator or Destruction. They bring their own flair to it via a pairing with atmospheric keyboards and some more "medieval" flair in 'Starlit Skies' (a huge homage to German legends Desaster). The guitars and the drums retain that nostalgic 80s vibe all the while. Although it took me several listens to get into the album, I have eventually come to declare this a worthy piece of Teutonic Steel!


Heavy Load - Riders Of The Ancient Storm
No Remorse Records

The founding fathers of Swedish heavy metal, better known as Heavy Load, have returned 40 years since their previous album Stronger Than Evil. Their fourth album Riders Of The Ancient Storm was released on October 9th via No Remorse Records, and on that day onwards, fans of oldschool heavy metal have been blessed with all the might and glory. There are so many great songs on this album, the best examples being 'Ride The Night', 'Angel Dark', 'Walhalla Warriors' and 'Raven Is Calling'. This album marks a triumphant return to form for a veteran heavy metal band, just as it was with Cirith Ungol's Forever Black in 2020.


Mortuary Drape - Black Mirror
Peaceville Records

Italy has had a significant number of everlasting wicked and macabre bands like Necrodeath, Bulldozer and Schizo, and Mortuary Drape is no exception. Three days before All Hallow's Eve, they released their sixth full-length album Black Mirror via Peaceville Records, continuing their unholy tradition of black magic, necromancy and occultism that has been the quintessential DNA of their music for decades. The songs are quite nocturnal and macabre, as you would expect from a band such as Mortuary Drape, and at no given moment did the band drop their ball on this new album, not by a longshot. There have been so many great black metal releases of this year, and Black Mirror is no exception. Definitely one of the best and perhaps one of the most wicked black metal albums that have come out this year.




Afterbirth - In But Not Of

10: Afterbirth - In But Not Of
Willowtip Records

It starts out much like a typical Afterbirth album (if that is even something that can truly be claimed), but at around the seventh track it takes a turn into something a little more sludgy, proggy, and restrained, that retains some of the tendencies and characteristics of the first half of the album. It's sort of reminiscent of Defeated Sanity's self-split, where the two parts of the album have their own flavour but still sound like the same band. It almost sounds like Afterbirth parroted some Artificial Brain motifs - Angels Feast on Flies kind of gives me that impression.

It was a clever choice by the band to front-load the album with the brutal death styled-stuff, because this gives new fans a ton to enjoy while offering a really compelling and unique exploration into new realms - all in just 35 minutes!

MetalBite's Rating: 8.5/10


Wayfarer - American Gothic

9: Wayfarer - American Gothic
Century Media Records

Ameircan Gothic strikes a nice mixture between traditional black metal, Americana music and some more ambient tunes. Wayfarer creates a dense, oppressive atmosphere that allows the listener to dive into some wild west imagery, breathing in the dusty air of the prairies. They set the vibe with their distinct spaghetti Western riffing (except in the purest black metal song 'Black Plumes Over God's Country') and will get the attention of more open-minded fans looking for something different. but they always find a smart way to build in their harsh, tremolo-peppered black metal. American Gothic is another highlight for this already notorious Colorado group.

MetalBite's Rating: 8.5/10


Crystal Coffin - The Curse Of Immortality

8: Crystal Coffin - The Curse Of Immortality

The Starway Eternal, the previous album by this BC-based power trio, was on heavy rotation for me and placed in my personal AOTY list, so I eagerly awaited their next release. Crystal Coffin has a style that's simple yet effective - long stretches of steady midpaced riffing with futuristic, cosmic flousihes in the soloing and keyboards. The lyrical concept provides an additional distinct element, and the band has a knack for getting the most out of a few sparse elements, holding your attention by locking you into a groove and then adding frills and subtleties to string you along. This album doesn't have the same immediate punch to the riffs that some of the song on The Starway Eternal did, but it's a richer and more satisfying "full album experience". You really feel the ebb and flow of the story while each track builds to something even greater.

MetalBite's Rating: 8.6/10


Laster - Andermans Mijne

7: Laster - Andermans Mijne
Prophecy Productions

It is not unusual for black metal fans to experience mixed feelings when a once-beloved band finally severs the ties with the sub-genre that birthed them. For Laster, such an eventuality has felt inevitable, almost from the moment that they released their first album in 2014. From the outset, their take on black metal was decidedly avant-garde, and included obvious outside influences, even if the core of their sound remained recognisably extreme. With their fourth record, Andermans Mijne, Laster truly cut the apron strings, delivering a warped and off-kilter rock album, that owes more to The Jesus Lizard than it does to Judas Iscariot, and is more indebted to Ved Buens Ende than it is to Venom. The band's origins are sometimes discernible in the sheet-metal washes of minor key guitars, and the odd burst of velocity found on songs such as 'Stegen Spiegel', but Laster as equally as likely to break out into warped electro, disco drum patterns, and stabs of jazz chords as they are into icy tremolo, and it suits them down to the ground. Finally, the gothic grandeur that they have always hinted at comes to the fore via vocal melodies that recall Solstafir and Beastmilk, meolodies that force their way through the taut and restless dissonance of the restless and inventive guitar work. Andermans Mijne is an endlessly fascinating journey that effortlessly pulls Laster into new and exciting territories, while still only hinting at what glories may lie ahead.

MetalBite's Rating: 8.6/10


Sulphur Aeon - Seven Crowns And Seven Seals

6: Sulphur Aeon - Seven Crowns And Seven Seals
Van Records

A more restrained and melodic affair than the band's previous work, making occasional forays into Swallow the Sun-esque melodic death/doom territory to garnish their trademark riffing style. The shift is comparable to Horrendous, where it's not a complete 180 but a jarring enough transition that it might alienate a few folks that were coming at the band from their more extreme angles. When you give this album time to reveal its subtleties, though, it pays off. Whether the songs blitz through melodic, thrashy tremolo riffs or drift in dreamy, cosmic textures, it's all put together well enough to fill the shoes of the "epic" vibe it creates.

This was always a band that sounded like they could be even better, as good as their earlier albums were. There was always something missing - like there was the potential for something really great to happen, but it never quite got there, even though you enjoyed the ride nonetheless. This actually seems to hit a few of those sublime moments, and it's the kind of thing that will probably slowly reveal more of itself over a matter of months - maybe even years. But it's definitely in the rotation now.

MetalBite's Rating: 8.7/10


Owdwyr - Receptor

5: Owdwyr - Receptor

Debut albums are not supposed to be as good as this, particularly when the band's chosen mode of expression is jazz-inflected technical death metal. Owdwyr (a name that is going to be spelt incorrectly as often as Pyrrhon or Lamp Of Murmuur are) cover a huge amount of ground with Receptor, from the likes of the djent-adjacent 'Supplicant', to the fluid death metal of standout track 'Ein' to the grandiose symphonic prog and eerie acoustics of 'Reverie', a track that reminds this writer of the much-missed To-Mera. As viscerally thrilling as the blasting death metal found across much of the record is though, it is when they give free reign to their weirdness to dominate that the Americans really fly. The astonishing 'Cower' adds Zorn-esque saxophone skronk to early Dillinger Escape Plan acrobatic algebra, and other tracks see the band's avowed jazz influences take precedence. The extreme metal scene is not short of musicians claiming inspiration from that intimidating and sometimes impenetrable world, but unusually, Owdwyr are not simply throwing hipster references around for scene points. Indeed, guitarist Paul Plumeri Jr boasts significant jazz heritage, a heritage that allows him to weave quotations from a number of works throughout the band's intense thrashings, with the liquid lead guitar of Allan Holdsworth the most prominent point of reference. By the time that the dizzying Atheist-meets-Incantation madness of 'Catalyst Sequence' hits as the penultimate track, Owdwyr have enthralled and energised the listener in equal measures, and the initial tranquillity of closer 'The Sputtering Touch' is welcome respite before the final killing blow is delivered. Marvellous stuff, and without doubt one of the best debuts of 2023.

MetalBite's Rating: 8.8/10


Cirith Ungol - Dark Parade

4: Cirith Ungol - Dark Parade
Metal Blade Records

Speaking of Cirith Ungol, the gods of chaos magick and the albino warrior Elric of Melnibone have returned to the studio and once again delivered a banger of an album. Their sixth album Dark Parade was released on October 20th via Metal Blade Records, and it took on the world of heavy metal by storm. The announcement of this album was a pleasant surprise and my overall experience with this album can be described with the epic third track 'Sailor On The Seas Of Fate', because this was both an amazing and an epic journey from start to finish. This band still holds up and has never disappointed me on any of their previous releases. Sadly, they recently announced the departure of their longtime guitarist Jim Barraza, and not longer after, they said that 2024 will be the last year for Cirith Ungol. Whether their sixth album was meant to be their swansong or not, it is a great closure to the band's 5 decade chapter and all six of their albums will keep the band's legacy alive for many years to come. They certainly managed to deliver even at the end of the road and will definitely go out with a bang when they play their last gigs in 2024.

MetalBite's Rating: 9.2/10


Tardigrade Inferno - Burn The Circus!

3: Tardigrade Inferno - Burn The Circus!

The long-anticipated sophomore full-length from the leaders of avantgarde metal realm Tardigrade Inferno doesn't disappoint with its dark humor, mesmerizing melodies and uncanny stories definitely making the band stand out even within the weird and "unclassifiable" metal acts. A masterpiece possessing fury, despair, sardonicism and fright all at the same time and yet another proof the tardigrade is not dying any time soon.

MetalBite's Rating: 9.5/10


Aegrus - Invoking The Abysmal Night

2: Aegrus - Invoking The Abysmal Night
Osmose Productions

Right from the start, icy winds blow into your face to invoke the abysmal night. These Finns show no mercy on their fourth full-length, offering hateful, harsh and devastating black metal. Catchy, groovy numbers like 'Followers Of The False Prophets', invoke serious headbanging with their Celtic Frost-vibes, complete with the classic Tom Warrior grunt (OUGH). There's also a healthy dose of punk in 'Through Devil's Breath' and they pay massive tribute to Darkthrone in 'Temple Of The Ardent Worship'. Combine it all and you get a pure, old school Satanic evil kind of sound that I haven't come across in quite some time. The passion and pure hate on this makes it a personal highlight in black metal for 2023.

MetalBite's Rating: 9.5/10


Malokarpatan - Vertumnus Caesar

1: Malokarpatan - Vertumnus Caesar
Invictus Productions

Ever since this album was announced, I was extremely stoked for many months and I was not ready for what was to come. Malokarpatan's fourth album Vertumnus Caesar, released on October 27th via Invictus Productions, is a brilliant masterpiece of black and heavy metal with various influences that include 70's psychedelic and progressive rock, with a strong occult and esoteric vibes regarding the concept of the album. All their previous works have been amazing so far, especially their third album Krupinské ohne which seemed impossible to surpass, but the followup Vertumnus Caesar managed to do just that. It's got plenty of catchy and melodic heavy metal riffs with very complex and progressive songwriting, along with the amazing psychedelic instrumental 'Panstvo Salamandrov Jest V Kavernách Zeme' which has a strong film soundtrack quality to it. Out of their entire discography, I'd say that this album has probably the most influences of Master's Hammer than ever before, but in terms of musical execution, it is definitely an album like no other in the world of black metal. Do not be fooled by obtuse and ignorant responses from people saying that this has something to do with "dungeon synth" or that it is "Jethro Tull of black metal", because no one of them comes close to describing the occult essence that this album transcends.

MetalBite's Rating: 9.5/10

Thanks for stopping by! If you're still itching to check out new albums, you can view past year's lists below:

September 2023

August 2023

July 2023

June 2023

May 2023

April 2023

March 2023

February 2023

January 2023

And, of course, Follow MetalBite on Facebook, Spotify and Instagram so you can be there right when the next Top 10 list drops!

Entered: 11/15/2023 10:57:40 AM
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