Author's Choices

Roman’s Top 15 Releases of 2023

Once more, it has been an absolutely stunning year with an amount of great releases I can’t even recount. When having recollected what I favored this year, I tended to even forget releases that I strongly enjoyed only because of the volume of albums that saw the light of day in 2023. Apart from that, I did not even find time to write about all of these great releases, so don’t worry if there are releases I haven’t said anything about so far. I enjoyed them all, I just didn’t find time to write about them all.

Cestode – Flesh
[Heavenly Vault]

Gushing out of the filthiest gutters of the German underground Sludge and Doom Metal scene, this nasty chunk of furious rage combines your favorites of slow Metal genres with a decent amount of Punk attitude that underlines the production of this release.

Since this is the full-length debut by the band, better make sure to re-check before entering 2024 in order not to miss any upcoming releases.

Eremit – Wearer of numerous Forms
[Fucking Kill Records | Drei Gleichen]

There were several factors that raised the interest of the release of Eremit’s third full-length record. First of all and most importantly, this release was set to bring the first cycle of this narrative to an end. Secondly, with a first track that tops the mark of 60 minutes, both the track itself as well as the vinyl release that was a huge 4×12″ package, this even superseded the numbers of the Bearer of many Names.

On this album, Eremit also debuted their band-owned label Drei Gleichen after having departed from Transcending Obscurity Records and showed once more that they were interested in diving into further genres close to their coining Death Doom sound as well. Just recently, they also dropped a live album on vinyl via Zann’s Records that browses through the material of this album.

Woe – Legacies of Frailty
[Vendetta Records]

I got to know Woe with their 2017 full-length Hope Attrition. However, I came across this album a few years after the release and got stuck on the mesmerizing sound as well as the anti-fascist framing of this band that is strongly markes especially on the aforementioned album with “No Blood Has Honor.”

On Legacies of Frailty, Woe’s intensely capturing sound underlines the ever-repeating failures of mankind. Taking a closer look around right now, no matter which aspect you choose, I don’t need to argue any further why this album should draw your attention.

Nekus – Sepulchral Divination
[Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

If you are in need of descending into infernal swamps, you might be interested in the latest release of Death Doom dwellers Nekus with their Sepulchral Divination. Much in the likes of Bloodsoaked Necrovoid, this pile of mold-dripping bones will grab you by the feet, draw you in and consume you in the slowest possible way.

Although the Death Doom sound was highly prominent on Nekus’ last release, Sepulchral Divination injects numerous blasting Black Metal sequences that thrust you around in between bone-grinding Doom.

Chepang – Swatta
[Lower Class Kids Records | Holy Goat Records | Coxinha Records
Selfmade God Records]

The sheer magnificence behind the underlying concept of this album alone would already be enough to argue why Chepang’s latest release Swatta should be popping up on numerous end year lists. All 4 sides of this release capture a different vibe that can be heard quite clearly. Side A captures light and thus positivity, which can be grasped especially by the sound of the chords on this side. On Side B, the band captures the vibe of darkness, which showcases a different, less major chord sound. Side C then transports unity by collaborating with numeours (really, NUMEROUS!) artists and the side D is something special that should better be checked out yourself.

The sound on each of these sides is absolutelty great and I was highly convinced by the underlying concept of this album. There were a lot of different incredibly beautiful treatments of physical releases for this album as well.

Lamp of Murmuur – Saturnian Bloodstorm
[Night of the Palemoon | Not Kvlt
Argento Records | Wolves of Hades]

If you are digging deeper into the Black Metal underground, I’d suppose that the major share had already heard of Lamp of Murmuur far before the release of this full-length. This band has been a leading point among Raw Black Metal bands for years now. However, when te first track of Saturnian Bloodstorm was released, the expectations slightly shifted.

Whereas the previous releases showcased strong experimentation with the sound of Raw Black Metal, this album seems to be a formidable hommage to Immortal’s seminal Battles in the North.


Chain Whip – Call of the Knive
[Drunken Sailor Records | Neon Taste Records]

One aspect that coined the year 2023 for me was the fact that I deliberately dived deeper into the current Punk scenes and thriving artists. I listened to a damn lot artists in the beginning of the year, but I certainly got stuck when having listened to Two Step To Hell by Chain Whip.

Luckily enough, this band was also set to release a new full-length this year so I was quite eager to listen into this as well. And goddamn, it is great again. Chain Whip play Hardcore-infused Punk that pretty much sounds like Dead Kennedys on speed.

Mudhead – Create & Destroy
[Self-Released | Santa Diabla]

Having been made aware of this release quite early via members of the band already, time was short and it took me quite long to finally listen to Mudhead’s full-length debut Create & Destroy in its entirety. After having done so, though, I was fully convinced by the immense energy this band and album conveys.

All of the tracks on this album bear a certain vibe, several tracks are absolute earworms and the entire instrumentation, from riffing across drums to vocals, are so damn versatile that you will remain interested from the first track til the album finisher.


Majesties – Vast Reaches Unclaimed
[20 Buck Spin]

When this year started, I did not bear in mind the fact that older releases of Gothenburg’s Melodic Death Metal pioneers In Flames had such a strong impact on me when I was young. This drastically changed when I listened into the first track of Majesties off their full-length debut Vast Reaches Unclaimed.

No, this is not just a revival of the sound In Flames already played in the 90s. This is an individual tone that takes strong influences from the sound of Sweden’s early Melodic Death Metal scene. However, this came out of nowhere and it was so good that it immediately had me re-check the entire early catalogue In Flames released until 1999. What a great release!


Wet Dream War Machine – Songs of Joy and Recreation
[Fucking Kill Records | Lower Class Kids Records]

Although our boy Nino from Lower Class Kids Records mentioned this band numeours times before the release of Songs of Joy and Recreation, I did not manage to listen into Wet Dream War Machine’s sound before release day. However, after having dived into this album for the very first time, I immediately got hooked by the very characteristic sound of this band.

Rhythm-driven, blasting sound that takes influences from a certain corner of the Post-Punk scene is intertwined with noisey elements, harsh Hardcore energy and a nuance of electronic foundation work.

Spiritual Cramp – S/T
[Blue Grape Music]

While having looked up a great many of new Punk releases throughout this year, I got hooked on Chain Whip as mentioned earlier. Apart from that, though, another band that has put a spell on me immediately after having first listened to their sound was Spiritual Cramp. I got to know this band from a YouTube video in which Jeremy Bolm talks about underrated Hardcore Bands.

The original sound of the band that was strongly influenced by the sound of The Clash was absolutely fantastic and the development of the sound that moved towards a stronger Garage tone and even further on this album has saved this band a strong position as one of my favorite Punk bands right now.

Tomb Mold – The Enduring Spirit
[20 Buck Spin]

With their 2019 release Planetary Clairvoyance, Canadian Death Metal act Tomb Mold already showcased that they are up to experimenting with their Death Metal sound. It took quite some years for the follow-up of this album to be released. In the meantime, guitarist Derrick Vella was involved in the formation of avantgarde Death Metal act Dream Unending, which merged the Death Metal tone with a highly psychedelic and dreamy sound.

On their latest release The Enduring Spirit, we were surprised by the fact that aspects of this tone found its way into the experimental outbreaks of Tomb Mold, thus bringing forth an genre-bending album that could most probably be called the best release of this band so far.

No Sun Rises – Harmisod
[Self-Released | Alerta Antifascista Records]

When having prepared the announcement we wrote for this year’s Culthe Fest 2023 that showcased an immensely strong line-up, I came across No Sun Rises that captured my interest by the straightforward statement against NSBM already.

Again, I got to know this band this year and as a matter of fact they also released a new album this year as well. Only consisting of four tracks, there is plenty to discover on this album. Icecold Black Metal sound is merged with Post-Black Metal elements that showcase their strength via folk-ish soundscapes and strong acoustic sequences.

Rană – Richtfeuer
[Breath Sun Bone Blood]

In 2021, German Blackened Crust combo Rană already found my interest with their debut EP Armament , which felt as if it combined the sound of early Downfall of Gaia with A Patient Man by Cult Leader. On their follow-up record, Rană convinced that they were capable of submerging in whatever sound they liked, throwing in numerous influences while constructing a record that sounds highly prolific.

This certainly is one of the records that overtook a major share of my listening time this year once it was released. The overall craftmanship on this album is absolutely stunning and I can’t wait for future releases to come.


Trespasser – Ἀ​Π​Ο​Κ​Ά​Λ​Υ​Ψ​Ι​Σ
[Heavenly Vault | Red Nebula]

If there’s one thing I learned from writing at this blog, it definitely is the fact that I seem to be a huge fan of “the whole package.” When having taken a closer look at Trespasser’s sophomore full-length release, I found exactly what I was looking for. During my first listening of this album, I already got hooked on the amazing riffing, the versatile songwriting and overall energy on this release.

However, when having digged deeper into the underlying concept of this album, I was totally fascinated by this album. The idea alone that forms the foundation of this release is absolutely stunning and the execution with regards to the music uplifts this to an album that should be on the list of any Black Metal fan for damn sure!


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