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2023 turned out to be a very exciting year in the music!  While Liv Kristine (formerly of Leaves Eyes and Theatre Of Tragedy) and Codeseven may be worlds apart in regards to genre, they both presented absolutely epic comeback albums to the world.  Long running bands such as Tygers of Pang Tang and Eclipse presented the very best albums of their already massive careers.  Metalcore is alive and still bursting with imagination and intrigue, thanks to releases from artists such as Creak, Stain The Canvas, and the currently unsigned Last Night of SolaceScarlett O’Hara made a stunning transformation into hard rock with their surprise end of the year album while artist on the rise Conmac unveiled an indie pop collection of songs with a massive amount of heart and conviction.  While a Top 10 List is always subjective, these are the releases that had the most impact on Editor Ken, and are well worth checking out…

Go Let It In by Codeseven (Equal Vision Records)

It’s been nearly 20 years since the last Codeseven masterwork, and with the unveiling of Go Let It In, the band has presented their finest recording to date. The magic and mystery are still very much present within the cosmic soundscapes, with selections such as Rough Seas, Hold Tight, and A Hush… Then A Riot tantalizing the senses into an otherworldly state of mind. From the rapturous vocals to the superbly imaginative instrumentations, Go Let It In is sheer artistry in motion, and it’s a journey that will challenge and stimulate all types of music fans.

Codeseven on Instagram

Chains Deluxe by Conmac (Independent Release)

Conmac is the creation of Connor Aiken, a recording artist based out of Vermont ready to take on an entire world with his emotionally driven indie pop. With the unveiling of the Chains Deluxe Edition, Conmac presents very catchy songs that will spin in your head for ages. Snakes is a cautious tale of trying to avoid the pitfalls of love and life while remaining a compassionate person while Makeup’s in spiraling melodies and the “you only call me when your drunk” lyrical content slams deep into the heart of matter. Conmac exudes a ton of star presence and his personality and passion rages on throughout the 14 brilliant tracks found within. There’s a lot of wisdom and discovery to be found in this memorable recording.

Conmac on Instagram

Depth Perception by Creak (Prosthetic Records)

Newcastle, UK nu-metal / metalcore band Creak present one of the most stunning debuts of the year – innovative extreme metal at its most explosive and heartfelt. From the earth-shattering refrains of the opening Crossroads into the chaotic encounter of Hare In The Woods and wondrous sensory overload of Restless Dreams, the auditory soundscapes are both gripping and cinematic. Depth Perception is a thrill ride for the senses, and it packs a wallop that extreme music fans will want to revisit time and time. Infinitely intriguing and well worth seeking out.

Creak 0n Instagram

Megalomanium by Eclipse (Frontiers Music Srl)

Swedish rockers Eclipse recently issued their tenth studio album, Megalomanium on Frontiers Music Srl, definitely presenting a band at the very height of their creative artistry.  Over the last 10 years, the band has been reaching an ever-growing audience with each album release thanks to their stellar songwriting and high energy performances. At its core, Eclipse is a heavy rock band with massive hooks, and with an appeal that transcends genres.  Imagine meshing the best in AOR and hard rock with the emotional reveries of My Chemical Romance, and you are only beginning to envision the dazzling tapestries found within the sonic world of Megalomanium.

Eclipse on Instagram

Too Far Gone by Last Night of Solace (Independent Release)

Based out of the thriving Dallas music scene, Last Night of Solace is the future of metalcore/deathcore. Too Far Gone is their self-released debut, filled with impassioned tunes that will devastate the senses and set the imaginate in flight. Comparable to the early iconic works of Avenged Sevenfold and Motionless In White, Last Night of Solace present a stunning sense of urgency with songs such as Archetype, Writhing, and Shards. Expect 2024 to be the year Last Night of Solace explodes out on the Lone Star State and into the hearts and minds of metalcore fans everywhere!

Last Night of Solace on Instagram

River Of Diamonds by Liv Kristine (Metalville Records)

River of Diamonds by Liv Kristine is the sixth solo album by the queen of Scandinavian gothic metal, and it’s one from the heart that will remain with the listener for an eternity. From the opening refrains of the brilliant Our Immortal Day to the sweeping title track duet with Fernando Ribeiro of Moonspell and beyond, Liv Kristine delivers a massively emotional masterwork that is stunning to behold. Love Me High soars into the stratosphere while If I Am Dreaming presents the artist at her most impassioned. This captivating album should be all over the worldwide radio airwaves.

Liv Kristine on Instagram

Overthrown by Scarlett O’Hara (Oxide Records)

And right at the gate of the final weeks of the year, Scarlett O’Hara launched a surprise album release on everyone with the glorious Overthrown. It’s their third full lengther, featuring 8 absolutely rock-solid songs that should be smashing all over hard rock radio.  Lead vocalist Moises Lopez sings with a stunning amount of passion and conviction, and the sonic reveries soar into vibrantly stratospheric heights. Scarlett O’Hara has grown so much since their Rise Records/Brodeo days, and Overthrown launches a dynamic new era for this epically underrated band.  Standouts include Criminal, Midnight In Eden, and 5 A.M.

Scarlett O’Hara on Instagram

All Fine / eniF llA (Deluxe Edition) by Stain The Canvas (InVogue Records)

All Fine / eniF llA by the Stain The Canvas was originally released late in 2022, when my Top Ten was already completed.  I have no qualms placing this amazing album on this year’s listing, since the recently issued Deluxe Edition contains several powerhouse new songs and remixes while revisiting an album destined to become a crucial metalcore classic for the ages.  With the passionate vocals of Bryan Marte and the imaginative guitar work and songwriting of Lorenzo Accàttoli combined with dazzling performances from all involved, Italy’s own Stain The Canvas are positioned to stun an entire world with their epic artistry.

Stain The Canvas on Instagram

In Rhino We Trust by Steel Rhino (GMR Music)

Fans of hard rock and heavy metal will be over the moon when taking an exploration in the realm of Steel Rhino. Featuring the thrilling vocals of Firewind frontman Herbie Langhans along with former Bai Bang members Mikael Rosengren on drums and Filip Vilhelmsson on bass and guitars, In Rhino We Trust charges at the listener with a sheer ferocity! Over the top and a glorious amount of fun, Steel Rhino is destined to become a head banging addiction to music fans all around the world. In Rhino We Trust channels icons such as Dio and Priest in their heyday, while stamping their own indelible legacy on a much-revered genre.

Steel Rhino on Instagram

Bloodlines by Tygers of Pan Tang (Mighty Music)

The long running Tygers Of Pan Tang is as hard rocking as ever before! With a thrilling new album entitled Bloodlines being released worldwide via Mighty Music, the Tygers have majestically unleashed one of the very best metal albums of the year! From the triumphant opening refrains of Edge Of The World to the pulsating In My Blood and beyond, Bloodlines by Tygers Of Pan Tang presents a band at the very height of their rocking legacy, unleashing vibrant music with a thrilling sense of urgency that rivals and arguably surpasses what they achieved with their early releases. This Tyger still roars proudly and rapturously!

Tygers of Pan Tang on Instagram

A sampling from the very best releases of 2023.  Now bring on the music classics of 2024!

(Compiled by Ken Morton for Highwire Daze Magazine)

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