The holiday season that just passed was an eventful one for metal, in some ways. For instance, there was that Wall Street Journal exposé on how more and more death metal and grindcore bands are cheating by using drum machines, since over the past couple decades those subgenres have become too fast for actual humans to keep up. And there was the more promising news, broken in a Teen Vogue interview of all places, that new New York City mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter, Chiara, is a major fan of NWOBHM, thrash, "Scandinavian, folk and Viking metal," and she has led her magnificently Afro'd younger brother, Dante, down the evil path as well.
Closer to home, there was finally time to pour some last-minute ketchup on 2013 metal albums that either came out late in the year or were slept on when they emerged earlier. Here are 15 such slabs, in descending order of use value, from across metal's spectrum: from majestic middle-American body builders Thunder Tribe and Argus to too-cool-for-drool Northwest corridor bohos Anciients and Sandrider; from spooky Swedeys Ghost B.C., Noctum and Tribulation to reivisionist Western hemisphere speedies Cauldron, Toxic Holocaust and Power Trip; from Treponem Pal's dub-drilled Gallic gadgets to Damnations Day's fancy-pants Down Under drama to Purson's freaky Limey gothicisms to The Architects' glammy Missouri meat and tomatoes. Not to mention Cathedral, who've been making England even more depressing for epochs now. All in all, enough to tide you over until 2014's deluge kicks in. Happy New Ears -- you'll need them!