Best of 2013 in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal – Part 2

Deep Purple, Satyricon, Red Fang ... and more 
by Peter Lindblad

Youth will not be served in this portion of our "Top 20 Hard Rock and Heavy Metal 2013" list, except for Red Fang that is.

Deep Purple, Monster Magnet, Satyricon and Oliva – that's Jon Oliva of Savatage fame – all made compelling arguments for not being put out to pasture in 2013, making some of the most exciting and powerful music of the year.

Here, we tip our cap to albums 15-11. The top 10 awaits. 

Deep Purple - Now What?!
15. Deep Purple: Now What?! – Lost in all the hoopla over Black Sabbath's comeback was the return of Deep Purple, who crafted one of the most beguiling and intoxicating records of their career. By turns cinematic and mysterious, with a widescreen Middle Eastern vibe that recalls Ian Gillan's work with Tony Iommi on the recent WhoCares collaboration, Now What?! is also smolderingly soulful and even, in a minor sense, jazzy. And yet it never lets you forget that Purple can still burn through hot-wired hard rock, like the stuff that made them one of the '70s most explosive acts, with the kind of musical chops other bands would die for, as Don Airey and Steve Morse take off the training wheels and go for broke.

Oliva - Raise the Curtain 2013
14. Oliva: Raise the Curtain – Savatage was always a different kind of metal animal, theatrical and progressive while still managing to sound powerful and heavy. With Raise the Curtain, Jon Oliva, the group's founder, pulled out all the tricks, making this a Bat Out of Hell for the new millennium. Only Meat Loaf was never this unpredictable or adventurous, as Oliva boldly takes a lot of risks here, but the emphasis with Raise the Curtain is always on great drama and melodic grandeur, leading its wide-eyed audience through aural scenery and costume changes as breathtaking as any Broadway show.

Red Fang - Whales and Leeches 2013
13. Red Fang: Whales and Leeches – Maybe it was a small step backward. Maybe Red Fang isn't quite ready to make that grand statement of bearded and boozy metal glory everybody believed they would with Whales and Leeches. Still, the stormy Whales and Leeches is a whirlwind of purposeful and nearly manic activity, and yet it harnesses brawny riffs, wonderfully warped lyrics and raging rhythmic bluster into fairly tight, but malleable, song structures. Red Fang is kind of like Mastodon's more mischievous little brother, somewhat less serious with a slight touch of ADD. 

Monster Magnet - Last Patrol 2013
12. Monster Magnet: Last Patrol – It's all fine and good that Monster Magnet went back to using vintage gear for the making of Last Patrol. The fact that they did so and were able to generate such a compelling blend of wind-whipping space-rock and mind-bending psychedelia is more a testament to the creativity and songwriting aptitude of Dave Wyndorf than any simple equipment changes. Moments of painful introspection are leavened by cosmic tales of revenge and debauchery, as Monster Magnet flies around the universe looking for cheap thrills, and Last Patrol is full of them.  

Satyricon - S/T 2013
11. Satyricon: Satyricon – Not as blackened as in days of yore, Satyricon, nevertheless, can still conjure up plenty of chillingly melodic brutality, technical free-for-alls and dark malevolence on command, as this self-titled effort so effectively illustrates. The Norwegian black metal stalwarts don't mind slogging through layers of sonic sludge or inviting doom metal heaviness into their fortress of solitude, but Satyricon has morphed into a more dynamic entity, somehow becoming increasingly intense and heated in the process, while never quite escaping the eerie atmospheres in which they've lived for lo these many years. And there's something oddly comforting about that.

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