Louder's writers pick their 10 favourite albums of 2023

Some of this year's best albums
(Image credit: Atlantic/Thirty Tigers/Spinefarm/Warner/Nuclear Blast/Geffen/Ninja Tune/The Other Songs)

Between Creeper winning Metal Hammer's coveted 2023 critics poll, Classic Rock naming Rolling Stones' Hackney Diamonds the best rock album of the year and our recent look inside the best electronic albums of the last twelve months, it's that time of year when best-of lists are flying at you thick and fast as we look back over the year that was.

Well, guess what? We've got another for you! Hooray! This time, however, rather than some big, complex voting system or an in-depth look at any particular genre, we've just asked Team Louder - that's our core staff and our most trusted freelance contributors - to pick their ten favourite albums of 2023, and tell us a little bit about the record that meant more to them than any other. That's it. Any genre. Any artist. No messing about. From indie to EDM to metal to hip hop, it's all covered. Here's what they came up with.



1. The Bathers - Sirenesque 

"The Bathers are still the best-kept secret and weirdest anomaly in Scottish music. Sirenesque is their first album in 12 years and Chris Thomson is still singing like a man with a broken heart and a mouthful of broken teeth. Like Tom Waits jamming with Tindersticks on a lost Ennio Morricone score.”

2. Ian Hunter – Defiance Pt 1 
3. Zach Bryan `– Zach Bryan 
4. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom – Reset In Dub 
5. Skinshape – Craterllus Tubaeformis
6. The 3 Club Men – The 3 Club Men EP  
7. Fucked Up – One Day 
8. Ratboys – The Window 
9. Danko Jones – Electric Sounds
10. Slow Pulp – Yard


1. The Tubs - Dead Meat
"You'd be forgiven, upon hearing The Tubs' debut album, for thinking it was a hidden gem plucked from US college rock's mid-80s heyday. Sweet, jangly guitars and lyrics spiked with sarcastic self-loathing meet flecks of Fairport Convention-esque English folk and driving, concise songwriting which lays bare the band's roots in the UK’s DIY punk scenes."

2. Fucked Up - One Day
3. The Murder Capital - Gigi’s Recovery
4. Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want To Turn Into You
5. Shame - Food For Worms
6. Shit Present - What Still Gets Me
7. Oxbow - Love’s Holiday
8. PJ Harvey - I Inside The Old Year Dying
9. Bdrmm - I Don’t Know
10. Boygenius - The Record


1. Barry Can't Swim - Where Will We Land?
"The best EDM debut since Bicep's classic first record and a wonderfully warm and layered journey through disparate but beautifully explored sounds, from propulsive house to off-kilter jazz to dreamy shoegaze. The UK's most essential young producer has officially announced himself."

2. Creeper - Sanguivore
3. Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want To Turn Into You
4. Avenged Sevenfold - Life Is But A Dream...
5. Noname - Sundial
6. Green Lung - This Heathen Land
7. Anish Kumar - A Mixtape By...
8. Casisdead - Famous Last Words
9. Orbital - Optical Delusion
10. Blackbraid - Blackbraid II


1. Corinne Bailey Rae - Black Rainbows
“The most astonishing, fearless and beautiful record of 2023, Black Rainbows is an artistic triumph on every level, deeply rooted in historical brutalities which illuminates present day injustices and inequalities. From the fizzing riot grrrl punk of New York Transit Queen to the haunting Peach Velvet Sky and the cosmic jazz experimentalism of Before The Throne Of The Invisible God, it’s the most uninhibited, expansive and thrillingly unapologetic album of the year.”

2. JAAW - Supercluster
3. Goat - Medicine
4. Benefits - Nails
5. Janelle Monáe - The Age Of Pleasure
6. Olivia Rodrigo - GUTS
7. Green Lung - This Heathen Land
8. Viji - So Vanilla 
9. Mandy, Indiana - I’ve Seen A Way
10. Kyle Minogue - Tension


1. Ren - Sick Boi
From the moment Anglesey rapper Ren released the astonishing, 9-minute Hi Ren a year ago, it was clear 2023 would be his year. And so it proved: Sick Boi was an album so good Hi Ren didn't even make the track listing, tipping a hat to Eminem, the Beastie Boys, Kendrick Lamar and KRS-One yet good enough to stand alongside any of them. Harrowing, heartfelt, occasionally furious and wildly creative, it's an album that makes you think Ren is capable of anything. And it beat Rick Astley to number one.      

2. Idris Ackamore & The Pyramids - Afro Futuristic Dreams
3. Starbenders - Take Back The Night
4. Avenged Sevenfold - Life Is But A Dream…
5. Sundae Painters - Sundae Painters
6. Blood Command - World Domination
7. Steven Wilson - The Harmony Codex
8. Superbloom - Life's A Blur
9. Cuticles - Major Works
10. Lankum - False Lankum


1. Green Lung - This Heathen Land
"A fantastical feast of story and sound, an eccentric love letter to the haunting myths that have shaped the British landscape and a dramatised expansion of their well-loved brand of mossy stoner/doom. From its rock-opera-like melodies, theatrical synth, extravagant guitar work to the entrancing vocals of frontman Tom Templar, who flits between the phantasmic crooning of Tobias Forge and the granular bellows of Rob Halford, there are endless moments to appreciate."

2. Creeper - Sanguivore
3. Avenged Sevenfold - Life Is But A Dream...
4. Sleep Token - Take Me Back To Eden
5. Baroness - Stone
6. Twin Temple - God Is Dead
7. Myrkur - Spine
8. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse
9. VV - Neon Noir
10. Pigs x 7 - Land Of Sleeper


1. Paramore - This Is Why
"After the neon-pop reinvention of After Laughter, Paramore dug deeper into the rabbit hole of quirky pop sensibilities for This Is Why. The result is an instantly gratifying, gloriously lovable record that chucks up shades of new wave, 00s American indie and early art pop, Hayley Williams somehow managing to turn some of the most universally appealing music of her career into starkly confessional narratives that touch on everything from lockdown isolation to global conflict."

2. Creeper - Sanguivore
3. Sleep Token - Take Me Back To Eden
4. Green Lung - This Heathen Land
5. Arlo Parks - Soft Machine
6. Myrkur - Spine
7. The Menzingers - Some Of It Was True
8. Margarita Witch Cult - Margarita Witch Cult
9. Babymetal - The Other One
10. Grave Pleasures - Plagueboys 


1. Slowdive - Everything Is Alive
Slowdive reclaimed their shoegaze throne after a 22 year absence in 2017 with their brilliant self-titled 4th album. But this year’s dreamlike Everything Is Alive managed to top it. Kisses, Shanty, Prayer Remembered and The Slab are standouts, but the whole album is a joyous celebration of everything I love about the band.

2. Billy Nomates - CACTI
3. Depeche Mode - Memento Mori
4. Ozric Tentacles - Lotus Unfolding
5. Boygenius - The Record
6. Shit Present - What Still Gets Me
7. Goat - Medicine
8. Sigur Ros - Atta
9. Corinne Bailey Rae - Black Rainbows
10. Esben And The Witch - Hold Sacred


1. Voyager - Fearless In Love 
After all the band's more than laudable achievements at Eurovision this year, not least in an Australian prog metal band being voted into the Eurovision final and holding their own, Voyager's eighth studio album Fearless In Love showed them at peak creativity. Still heavy and still proggy, but also including the Euro 'hits', it's been their finest work. I wish the band the very best in dealing with singer Danny's current health struggles."

2. Moon Safari - Himlabacken Vol. 2 
3. Green Lung - This Heathen Land
4 Crownlands - Fearless
5 Peter Gabriel - i/o
6 Silver Moth - Black Bay
7 The Fierce And The Dead - News From The Invisible World
8 Steven Wilson - The Harmony Codex
9 Lars Frederik Foisle - Fire Foretellinger
10 Trevor Rabin - Rio


1. Creeper – Sanguivore
"Creeper remembered that guitar music is best when it focuses on one thing – epic tunes. And Sanguivore is epic in every way, from its feverishly theatrical songs to its blackly humourous vamps-on-the-rampage storyline. A high-kicking soundtrack to the greatest fang flick yet to be made, and easily the equal of the great albums that inspired it."

2. Lana Del Rey – Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd
3. Blur – The Narcissist
4. Lankum – False Lankum
5. Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want To Turn Into You
6. Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We
7. Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy
8. Metallica - 72 Seasons
9. Militarie Gun – Life Under The Gun
10. Wednesday - Rat Saw Good


1. Tesseract – War Of Being
Tesseract’s first album in half a decade was well worth the wait. The UK prog metal idols consolidated the best aspects of every prior release on War Of Being, from the cinematic scope of One to the blunt-force riffs of Sonder. With Daniel Tompkins’ better-than-ever vocals on top, it proved a bulletproof masterpiece.

2. Burner – It All Returns To Nothing
3. Enslaved – Heimdal
4. Ken Mode – Void
5. Svalbard – The Weight Of The Mask
6. Katatonia – Sky Void Of Stars
7. The Ocean – Holocene
8. Health – Rat Wars
9. Sylosis – A Sign Of Things To Come
10. Green Lung – This Heathen Land


1. Steven Wilson - The Harmony Codex
This was the album that I found myself replaying over and over, getting lost in its diverse, enveloping textures – Pink Floyd-esque grandiosity, dark industrial edges, electronic layers, dreamy cinematic instrumentals, one track that's positively Neil Young-y. A liberated, kaleidoscopic trip through Steven's myriad influences and experiences."

2. The Struts - Pretty Vicious
3. Crown Lands - Fearless
4. Wytch Hazel - IV: Sacrament
5. Those Damn Crows - Inhale/Exhale
6. The Inspector Cluzo - Horizon
7. Thomas Walsh - The Rest Is History
8. Chris Shiflett - Lost At Sea
9. Starbenders - Take Back The Night
10. Creeper - Sanguivore

1. Ludwig Göransson - Oppenheimer (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 
"There was a lot of mulling over putting a score as my album of the year but then I’ve listened to this more than anything else and I think it’s better than anything else - it’s a shoo-in. Göransson’s brilliant score is experimental goth-rock disguised as neo-classical compositions, intense, eerie, bombastic and driven by hypnotic and memorable minor chord motifs."

2. Blur – The Ballad Of Darren
3. Steven Wilson – The Harmony Codex
4. Gaz Coombes – Turn The Car Around
5. U.S. Girls – Bless This Mess
6. Billy No Mates – Cacti
7. Sigur Rós – Átta
8. Queens Of The Stone Age – In Times New Roman
9. Django Django – Off Planet
10. James Blake – Playing Robots Into Heaven


1. Sleep Token - Take Me Back To Eden  

"Sleep Token exploding from cult, masked oddities to one of the biggest band’s in modern metal wasn’t on the bingo card in 2023, but Take Me Back To Eden had that kind of transformative power. Genre-bending and musically innovative, it pushed insistently at metal’s boundaries, while mysterious frontman Vessel spun devastating tales of love and loss that hit on a universal level. Deeply personal, it felt like the closest we’ve been so far to glimpsing behind the veil. It will be a thrill to see where they go next."

2. The Murder Capital - Gigi’s Recovery 
3. Olivia Rodrigo - Guts 
4. Creeper - Sanguivore 
5. Code Orange - The Above 
6. Paramore - This Is Why  
Militarie Gun - Life Under The Gun 
8. Ashnikko - WEEDKILLER 
9. Janelle Monae - The Age Of Pleasure 
10. Boygenius - The Record 

1. Paramore – This is Why
An iconic pop-punk band for years, but with their sixth studio album Paramore fully transitioned into a classy art-rock collective worthy of their influences. Taking the best elements of New Order, Talking Heads and Bloc Party and infusing their own brand of upbeat, bubblegum melodicism into it, This is Why is Paramore’s masterpiece."

2. Gabriels – Angels and Queens
3. Casidead – Famous Last Words
4. Joey Valence & Brae – Punk Tactics
5. Algiers – Shook
6. The St Pierre Snake Invasion – Galore
7. 100 gecs – 10,000 gecs
8. Urne – A Feast on Sorrow
9. Nation of Language – Strange Disciple
10. Model/Actriz - Dogsbody


1. Olivia Rodrigo - Guts
This sophomore success from a former Disney star, now global popstar and the face of new-gen pop music, is the epitome of what a 2000s coming-of-age teen movie soundtrack sounds like. Rodrigo evolves from her 2021 debut Sour with tracks that still encompass her bubblegum punk sound, such as all-american bitch and get him back!, but offer a well-rounded, emotionally mature response to the trials and tribulations of young heartbreak and teenage angst.

2. Doja Cat - Scarlet
3. Beartooth - The Surface
4. Raye - 21st Century Blues
5. Various artists - Barbie OST
6. Troye Sivan - Something To Give Each Other
7. Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We
8. Dominic Fike - Sunburn
9. Boygenius - The Record
10. Lil Uzi Vert - Pink Tape


1. Lankum – False Lankum
The first song on False Lankum is one of the heaviest, most jaw-dropping pieces of music I’ve ever heard. Arcane Irish folk, powered by Swans-like drones and a palpable sense of dread: Go Dig My Grave would be reason enough to adore this fearless Dublin band. Pleasingly, the rest of the album is equally astonishing. Should’ve won the Mercury."

2. Benefits – Nails
3. Frozen Soul – Glacial Domination
4. Vomitory – All Heads Are Gonna Roll
5. Gong – Unending Ascending
6. Loraine James – Gentle Confrontation
7. Onoe Caponoe – Concrete Fantasia
8. Spirit Adrift – Ghost At The Gallows
9. Skindred – Smile
10. The Shits – You’re A Mess


1. Creeper - Sanguivore
"A goth-rock opera about vampires with all the theatricality of The Rocky Horror Picture Show? I can only assume that Creeper wrote Sanguivore exclusively with me in mind because they ticked all the boxes this year. More flamboyant, extravagant rock music in 2024, please and thank you."

2. Problem Patterns - Blouse Club
3. Depeche Mode - Memento Mori
4. Lana del Rey - did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?
5. PJ Harvey - I Inside the Old Year Dying 
6. The Murder Capital - Gigi's Recovery 
7. Hozier - Unreal, Unearth
8. M(h)aol - Attachment Styles
9. The Mary Wallopers - Irish Rock N Roll
10. Olivia Rodrigo - GUTS


1. Myrkur - Spine
Myrkur’s Spine slices through 2023’s musical mediocrity like a razor-sharp talisman. An ethereal concoction of dark, haunting melodies, gauzy atmospherics and blistering waves of black metal,  it's a tempestuous journey into the soul's shadowed corridors. Each track, a labyrinthine dance with the arcane, crowns Spine as this year's musical zenith.

2. Rolling Stones - Hackney Diamonds
3. Wayfarer - American Gothic
4. Shylmagoghnar - Convergence
5. Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We
6. Wednesday - Rat Saw God
7. Fires In The Distance - Air Not Meant For Us
8. Cloak - Black Flame Eternal 
9. boygenius - The Record
10. Manchester Orchestra - The Valley Of Vision


1. Silent Planet - SUPERBLOOM
"SUPERBLOOM is a profound burst of existentialism; injecting blackgaze-y dreamscapes into their distinctive prog-metal sound, Silent Planet perfectly balance ethereal introspection with guttural sorrow. Every track manages to capture a bittersweet liminality, be that Euphoria’s djent-y bite, Antimatter’s oozing darkwave, or closer SUPERBLOOM’s gentle, effervescent grace. Rather fittingly, SUPERBLOOM’s intricate reflection on mortality feels exhilaratingly alive."

2. Origami Angel - Brightest Days
3. Twin Temple - God is Dead
4. Fall Out Boy - So Much (For) Stardust
5. Creeper - Sanguivore
6. Tesseract - War Of Being
7. Olivia Rodrigo - GUTS
8. Yves Tumour - Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume
9. Yeule - softscars
10. Trophy Eyes - Suicide & Sunshine


"WEEDKILLER effortlessly bridges the gap between avant-garde pop and rock. There are so many bangers on this album - a few that stand out to me are Chokehold Cherry PythonCheerleader, and You Make Me Sick! I love the style and authenticity Ashnikko has created in her work over the years."

2. Overmono – Good Lies
3. Paramore – This is Why
4. Wargasm – Venom
5. Banshee – BIRTH OF VENUS 
6. Yves Tumor – Praise a Lord Who Chews but Does Not Consume
7. Sleep Token – Take Me Back to Eden
8. Black Country New Road – Live at Bush Hall
9. Code Orange – The Above 
10. Beartooth – The Surface 

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.