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The 11 Best Metal Albums of 2023

Gut-churning doom, hip-hop-influenced industrial metal, avant-garde black metal, thrash for the ages, and so much more

This list goes to 11 … and that Spinal Tap joke is about as far as headbanging traditionalism goes with this list of 2023’s best metal albums. The past year has seen beloved metal titans like Metallica and Godflesh expand their signature heavy riffage in unexpected ways, and it has given a platform for daring bands like Khanate and Agriculture to explore the avant-garde. What connects these records is the groups’ shared desire to push beyond listeners’ expectations, to question what “heavy” means. Metal has always been about individualism, so here are the year’s 11 most unique offerings.

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