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KNAC.COM Staff Top Ten Releases For 2023

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Friday, December 29, 2023 @ 10:02 AM


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A new year is now upon us and in 2023 a boatload of great hard rock and heavy metal was released, and to that end, the staff at KNAC.COM have compiled their lists of Top Ten (and in some cases, Top 15 or 25) releases of the year.

Larry Petro, Managing Editor/News Monkey

01.) Godsmack Lighting Up The Sky (BMG)
02.) Icarus Witch No Devil Lived On (Cleopatra)
03.) Nikki Stringfield Apocrypha (Self-Released)
04.) Lines Of Loyalty Hurts To Be Human (Self-Released)
05.) Kissing Judas False Saint (Self-Released)
06.) Avatar Dance Devil Dance (Thirty Tigers)
07.) Burning Witches The Dark Tower (Napalm)
08.) KK's Priest The Sinner Rides Again (Napalm)
09.) Rock City Machine Company Rock City Machine Company (Lindsley)
10.) Metal Church Congregation of Annihilation (Rat Pak)

Honorable Mentions:

Metallica - 72 Seasons
Robin McAuley - Alive
Fifth Angel - When Angels Kill
Elegant Weapons - Horns For A Halo
Steel Panther - On The Prowl
Nita Strauss - Into The Void






George Dionne, Podcaster

01.) Lee Small The Last Man On Earth (Metalville)
02.) Jason Bieler Postcards From The Asylum (Self-Released)
03.) Nitrate Feel The Heat (Frontiers)
04.) Alcatrazz Take No Prisoners (Silver Lining Music)
05.) Acid King Beyond Vision (Blues Funeral Recordings)
06.) Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons Kings of the Asylum (Nuclear Blast)
07.) Edge Of Forever Ritual (Frontiers)
08.) Staind Confessions Of The Fallen (BMG)
09.) DGM Life (Frontiers)
10.) Prong State of Emergency (Steamhammer)

Honorable Mentions:

Overkill - Scorched
Hitten - While Passion Lasts
Girlschool - WTFortyfive?
Overland - S.I.X.
Houston - Re-Launch III






Wendy Jasper, Death Metal Aficionado

01.) Necrofier Burning Shadows in the Southern Night (Season of Mist)
02.) Blood Stained Dusk Deadlights Beckon Me (Black Lion)
03.) Darkthrone Goatlord (Peaceville)
04.) Doro Conqueress: Forever Strong & Proud (Nuclear Blast)
05.) Lizzy Borden Death of Me (Single) (Metal Blade)
06.) Dimmu Borgir Inspiratio Profanus (Nuclear Blast)
07.) Winger Seven (Frontiers)
08.) Fifth Angel When Angels Kill (Nuclear Blast)
09.) Cherry St Twisted, Rude & Sticky Sweet (Perris Records)
10.) Blut Aus Nord Disharmonium Nahab (Debemur Morti Productions)
11.) Metal Church Congregation of Annihilation (Rat Pak)
12.) Children of Bodom A Chapter Called Children of Bodom (Spinefarm)
13.) Immortal War Against All (Nuclear Blast)
14.) Tsjuder Helvegr (Season of Mist)
15.) Enslaved Heimdal (Nuclear Blast)
16.) Mork Dypet (Peaceville)
17.) Incantation Unholy Deification (Relapse)
18.) Vesperian Sorrow Awaken the Greylight (Black Lion Records)
19.) Eleine We Shall Remain (Atomic Fire Records)
20.) Tarja Dark Christmas (earMusic)






Alex "Dr. Metal" Yarborough, Orlando Contributor

01.) Iron Savior Firestar (AFM)
02.) Primal Fear Code Red (Atomic Fire)
03.) Night Legion Fight or Fall (Massacre)
04.) Overkill Scorched (Nuclear Blast)
05.) Diviner Avaton (Rock of Angels)

06.) Mystic Prophecy Hellriot (Rock of Angels)
07.) Metal Church Congregation of Annihilation (Rat Pak)
08.) KK's Priest The Sinner Rides Again (Napalm)
09.) Angra Cycles of Pain (Atomic Fire)
10.) Kamelot The Awakening (Napalm)
11.) Fifth Angel When Angels Kill (Nuclear Blast)
12.) Archon Angel II (Frontiers)
13.) Chris Boltendahl's Steelhammer Reborn In Flames (Rock of Angels)
14.) Alchemy Fire Alchemy Fire (Qumran)
15.) Wishing Well Sin and Shame (Inverse)
16.) Jag Panzer The Hallowed (Atomic Fire)
17.) Bloodbound Tales From The North (AFM)
18.) Firewind Still Raging: Live at Principal Club Theater (AFM)
19.) Night Demon Outsider (Century Media)
20.) Pyramaze Bloodlines (AFM)






Chris Pirri, Chief Twit

01.) Rival Sons Darkfighter (Atlantic)
02.) Metal Church Congregation Of Annihilation (Rat Pak)
03.) Obituary Dying of Everything (Relapse)
04.) Beyond The Black Beyond The Black (Nuclear Blast)
05.) Gloryhammer Return To The Kingdom Of Fife (Napalm)
06.) Mammoth WVH Mammoth II (BMG)
07.) Metallica 72 Seasons (Blackened Records)
08.) Overkill Scorched (Nuclear Blast)
09.) Butcher Babies 'Til the World's Blind (Century Media)
10.) Delain Dark Waters (Napalm)






Breezy Bird, Idaho Contributor

01.) In Flames Foregone (Nuclear Blast)
02.) Asking Alexandria Where Do We Go From Here? (Better Noise)
03.) Sevendust Truth Killer (Napalm)
04.) Any Given Sin War Within (Mascot)
05.) Godsmack Lighting Up The Sky (BMG)
06.) Saul This Is It...The End Of Everything (Spinefarm)
07.) Staind Confessions Of The Fallen (Alchemy)
08.) Lions At The Gate The Excuses We Cannot Make (Self-Released)
09.) Taproot ScIssrs (THC)
10.) SalivaRevelation (MRI)

Honorable Mentions

Heavens - Edge Get It Right
Robin McAuley - Alive
Archetypes Collide - Archetypes Collide
The Word Alive - Hard Reset






Junkman, On Air Personality, Hoarder Of All Things Salvageable

01.) Metallica 72 Seasons (Blackened)
02.) Mammoth WVH II (BMG)
03.) Dirty Honey Can't Find the Brakes (Dirt)
04.) Winery Dogs III (Three Dog)
05.) Tygers of Pan Tang Bloodlines (Mighty Music)
06.) Girlschool WTFortyfive? (Silver Lining)
07.) Extreme Six (earMusic)
08.) Kvelertak The Endling (Rise/Petroleum)
09.) Buckcherry Vol. 10 (Round Hill)
10.) Jag Panzer The Hallowed (Atomic Fire)
11.) In Flames Foregone (Nuclear Blast)
12.) Dethklok Dethalbum IV (Water Tower)
13.) Haken Fauna (InsideOut)
14.) Nita Strauss The Call of the Void (Sumerian)
15.) Sevendust Truth Killer (Napalm)
16.) Overkill Scorched (Nuclear Blast)
17.) Metal Church Congregation of Annihilation (Rat Pak)
18.) Godsmack Lighting Up The Sky (BMG)
19.) Suicide Silence Remember...You Must Die (Century Media)
20.) Texas Hippie Coalition The Name Lives On (MNRK)

Bonus 5:

Prong - State of Emergency
Avenged Sevenfold - Life Is But A Dream
Danko Jones - Electric Sounds
Primal Fear - Code Red
Avatar - Dance Devil Dance






Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Correspondent

01.) Metallica 72 Seasons (Blackened)
02.) Overkill Scorched (Nuclear Blast)
03.) Burning Witches The Dark Tower (Napalm)
04.) Mammoth WVH Mammoth II (BMG)
05.) Cannibal Corpse Chaos Horrific (Metal Blade)
06.) Icarus Witch No Devil Lived On (Cleopatra)
07.) Dirty Honey Can't Find The Brakes (Dirt)
08.) Alice Cooper Road (earMusic)
09.) Kamelot The Awakening (Napalm)
10.) Kataklysm Goliath (Nuclear Blast)
11.) Rockin' Engine Altered By Evil EP (Independent)
12.) KK's Priest The Sinner Rides Again (Napalm)
13.) Primal Fear Code Red (Atomic Fire)
14.) Extreme Six (earMUSIC)
15.) Kill Devil Hill Seas Of Oblivion (Legend Recordings)

Honorable mentions:

Nikki Stringfield - Apocrypha
Rock City Machine Company - S/T
Elegant Weapons - Horns For A Halo
Raven - All Hell's Breaking Loose
Buckcherry - Vol. 10
The Winery Dogs - III
Girlschool - WTForty-Five?






Travis Failey, Planet Earth Contributor

01.) KK's Priest The Sinner Rides Again (Napalm)
02.) Elegant Weapons Horns For A Halo (Nuclear Blast)
03.) L.A. Guns Black Diamonds (Frontiers)
04.) Electric Mob 2 Make U Cry & Dance (Frontiers)
05.) The Winery Dogs III (Three Dog)
06.) Nita Strauss The Call Of The Void (Sumerian)
07.) Sevendust Truth Killer (Napalm)
08.) Doro Conqueress - Forever Strong And Proud (Nuclear Blast)
09.) Rival Sons Darkfighter (Low Country Sound/Atlantic)
10.) Tesla Full Throttle Live (Independent)

Honorable Mentions

Lynch Mob - Babylon
Joel Hoekstra's 13 - Crash Of Life
Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons - Kings Of The Asylum
Dirty Honey - Can't Find The Brakes
Metallica - 72 Seasons
Last In Line - Jericho
Sweet & Lynch - Heart & Sacrifice
Extreme - Six






Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor

01.) Metal Church Congregation of Annihilation (Rat Pak)
02.) Paul Rodgers Midnight Rose (Sun)
03.) Robin Mcauley Alive (Frontiers)
04.) Ray Alder II (Inside Out)
05.) Paul Lidel's Scream Therapy Paul Lidel's Scream Therapy (Perris)
06.) Overkill Scorched (Nuclear Blast)
07.) Escape The Hive This is Gonna Sting (Vanity Music)
08.) Doro Conqueress - Forever Strong and Proud (Nuclear Blast)
09.) Winger Seven (Frontiers)
10.) U.D.O. Touchdown (Atomic Fire)






Geoff Ketler, Cleveland Contributor/Aces High Photography

01.) Extreme Six (earMusic)
02.) Crypta Shades of Sorrow (Napalm)
03.) Overkill Scorched (Nuclear Blast)
04.) Sevendust Truth Killer (Napalm)

05.) Nita Strauss The Call of the Void (Sumerian)
06.) Mammoth WVH Mammoth II (BMG)
07.) Metallica 72 Seasons (Blackened)
08.) Avatar Dance Devil Dance (Black Waltz)
09.) KK's Priest The Sinner Rides Again (Napalm)
10.) Dieth To Hell and Back (Napalm)






George Mihalovich, Pittsburgh Contributor/AFTERSHOK Guitarist

01.) Dokken Heaven Comes Down (Silver Lining)
02.) The Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds (Geffen)
03.) Metallica 72 Seasons (Blackened)
04.) Vandenberg Sin (‎Mascot)
05.) Winger Seven (Frontiers)
06.) Extreme Six (earMusic)
07.) Iron Savior Firestar (AFM)
08.) Anthem Crimson & Jet Black (Reaper Entertainment)
09.) U.D.O. Touchdown (Atomic Fire)
10.) Fifth Angel When Angels Kill (Nuclear Blast)
11.) Metal Church Congregation of Annihilation (Rat Pak)
12.) Overkill Scorched (Nuclear Blast)
13.) Diviner Avaton (Rock of Angels)
14.) Primal Fear Code Red (Atomic Fire)
15.) Mystic Prophecy Hellriot (Rock of Angels)
16.) Kill Devil Hill Seas of Oblivion (Legend)
17.) Sorcerer Reign of the Reaper (Metal Blade)
18.) KK's Priest The Sinner Rides Again (Napalm)
19.) Jag Panzer The Hallowed (Atomic Fire)
20.) The Defiants Drive (Frontiers)
21.) Jelusick Follow the Blind Man (Escape Music)
22.) Air Raid Fatal Encounter (High Roller)
23.) Roadwolf Midnight Lightning (Napalm)
24.) Icarus Witch No Devil Lived On (Cleopatra)
25.) Steel Panther On the Prowl (Steel Panther Inc.)

Legends: Alcatrazz, Robin Trower, Raven, The Winery Dogs, Trevor Rabin, Foghat, Doro, Tygers Of Pan Tang
Veterans: Lynch Mob, Heavens Edge, Evile, DGM, Dethklok, Theocracy, Victor Smolski, Last in Line, Bangalore Choir, Magnus Karlsson, Majesty, Signum Regis, Maurader, Snowy Shaw, King Kobra, Electric Boys, Eldritch, Saint Daemon, Hitten, Galneryus
New and emerging artists: Ronnie Romero, Sarayasign, Demons Down, Valentino Francavilla, Vypera, Olathia, Burning Sun, Elegant Weapons, ScreaMachine, The Lightbringer Of Sweden, Frenzy, Generation Steel, Icon of Sin, Black & Damned, Stormwarning, Sacred Outcry, Cry of Dawn, All My Shadows, Ashrain

It was another excellent year for metal and hard rock, making it nearly impossible to keep up with all of the noteworthy releases - of which these are only a fraction. But together, this collection of curated lists provides a strong cross-section of the year in music. Listen on your preferred platform and support the bands that speak to you to help ensure that artists can continue to rock. \m/






Thomas Coffman, Houston Photographer Extraordinaire

01.) Nikki Stringfield Apocrypha (Self-Released)
02.) Godsmack Lighting Up The Sky (BMG)
03.) Extreme Six (earMusic)
04.) Nita Strauss The Call Of The Void (Sumerian)
05.) Rock City Machine Company Rock City Machine Company (Lindsley)
06.) Night Ranger 40 years And A Night (Frontiers)
07.) Lynch Mob Babylon (Frontiers)
08.) Alice Cooper Road (earMusic)
09.) Greta Van Fleet Starcatcher (Lava)
10.) L.A. Guns Black Diamonds (Frontiers)






Peter Atkinson, Northeast Contributor

01.) Wayfarer American Gothic (Profound Lore)
02.) The Acacia Strain Failure Will Follow (Rise)
03.) Baroness Stone (Abraxan Hymns)
04.) Myrkur Spine (Relapse)
05.) Cattle Decapitation Terrasite (Metal Blade)
06.) Katatonia Sky Void Of Stars (Napalm)
07.) Spiritbox The Fear Of Fear (Rise/Pale Chord)
08.) Svalbard The Weight Of The Mask (Nuclear Blast)
09.) Cryptopsy As Gomorrah Burns (Nuclear Blast)
10.) Cannibal Corpse Chaos Horrific (Metal Blade)

Honorable Mentions

Angra - Cycles Of Pain
Earthside - Let The Truth Speak
Insomnium - Anno 1696
Obituary - Dying Of Everything
Raven - All Hell's Breaking Loose






Mike Lewis, Pacific Northwest Photographer

01.) Imperial Crystalline Entombment Ancient Glacial Resurgence (Debemur Morti)
02.) Godflesh Purge (Avalanche)
03.) Tsjuder Helvegr (Season of Mist)
04.) Imperial Demonic Beneath the Crimson Eclipse (Black Lion)
05.) Blut aus Nord Disharmonium - Nahab (Debemur Morti)
06.) Argenthorns The Ravening (Avantgarde)
07.) Blasphemerection The Origin of Evil (Ablaze Productions, Inhumar Producciones)
08.) Immortal War Against All (Nuclear Blast)
09.) One Master The Names of Power (Eternal Death)
10.) Duivel Heiligschennis (Nomad Snakepit)






Rob McNees, Vinyl Aficionado

01.) Overkill Scorched (Nuclear Blast)
02.) Blood Star First Sighting (Shadow Kingdom)
03.) KK's Priest The Sinner Rides Again (Napalm)
04.) Night Demon Outsider (Century Media)
05.) Obituary Dying Of Everything (Relapse)
06.) Crown Lands Fearless (Universal Music Canada)
07.) Metallica 72 Seasons (Blackened)
08.) Prong State Of Emergency (SPV)
09.) Trespass Wolf At The Door (From The Vaults)
10.) Hammerhedd Nonetheless (Hammerhedd)






Daniel Licitra, South Florida Contributor

01.) Danko Jones Electric Sounds (Napalm)
02.) Burning Witches The Dark Tower (Napalm)
03.) Primal Fear Code Red (Atomic Fire)
04.) Cruel Force Dawn of the Axe (Shadow Kingdom)
05.) Crom The Era of Darkness (From the Vaults)
06.) Tygers of Pan Tang Bloodlines (Mighty Music)
07.) Iggy Pop Every Loser (Atlantic)
08.) Persekutor Snow Business (Blues Funeral)
09.) Elegant Weapons Horns for a Halo (Nuclear Blast)
10.) Steel Panther On The Prowl (Self-Released)

Honorable Mentions

Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton - Death Wish Blues
Wig Wam - Out of the Dark






Charlie Steffens, GnarlyFotos, LA Correspondent

01.) Mammoth WVH Mammoth II (BMG)
02.) Kill Devil Hill Seas of Oblivion (Legend Recordings)
03.) Drain Living Proof (Epitaph)
04.) Jared James Nichols Jared James Nichols (Black Hill)
05.) Dead Groove Band Dead Groove Band (Rock Avenue)
06.) Metallica 72 Seasons (Blackened)
07.) Obituary Dying of Everything (Relapse)
08.) Prong State of Emergency (SPV/Steamhammer)
09.) Corey Taylor CMFT2 (BMG)
10.) Cross Country Driver The New Truth (Frontiers)






Francisco Zamudio, MetalXCandy, LA Correspondent

01.) Suffocation Hymns From The Apocrypha (Nuclear Blast)
02.) Crypta Shades Of Sorrow (Napalm)
03.) Cattle Decapitation Terrasite (Metal Blade)
04.) Blood Stained Dusk Dead Lights Beckon Me (Black Lion)
05.) Vomitory All Heads Are Gonna Roll (Metal Blade)
06.) Devangelic Xul (Willowtip Inc.)
07.) Dying Fetus Make Them Beg For Death (Relapse)
08.) Tsjuder Helvegr (Season Of Mist)
09.) Kataklysm Goliath (Nuclear Blast)
10.) Burning Witches The Dark Tower (Napalm)

Honorable Mentions:

Garoted - Bewitchment Of The Dark Ages
Frozen Soul - Glacial Domination
Immortal - War Against All
Incantation - Unholy Deification
Cannibal Corpse - Chaos Horrific
Nikki Stringfield - Apocrypha


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