ALARM's 51 Favorite Albums of 2013

ALARM’s 51 Favorite Albums of 2013

Saving the best for last, we’ve chosen our 51 favorite albums of 2013, pulled from the acclaimed and the unsung — some of the best as well as most boundary-pushing releases from rock and beyond.


Interview: Nile guitarist Karl Sanders on “a gazillion riffs,” vocal timbres, and endless learning

Nile: At the Gate of SethuNile: At the Gates of Sethu (Nuclear Blast, 7/3/12)

“The Inevitable Degradation of Flesh”

Nile: “The Inevitable Degradation of Flesh”

Nile guitarist and occasional vocalist Karl Sanders has been living death metal for as long as the genre has existed. From a brief but storied stint living with Morbid Angel to Nile’s breakthrough in 2000 with Black Seeds of Vengeance, Sanders has been there. It is then all the more remarkable that his songwriting and lead playing have been ratcheted up another notch for Nile’s newest full-length, At the Gate of Sethu.

Listeners have reasonable expectations of what they’re getting when they pick up a Nile album: guttural voices chanting lyrics based upon ancient Egyptian texts, a torrent of Middle Eastern modal riffing, inhuman drumming with copious cymbal accents, and interludes of melody played on traditional Egyptian instruments. Sethu will not disappoint anyone expecting these things.

ALARM's 50 Favorite Songs of 2012

ALARM’s 50 (+5) Favorite Songs of 2012

Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.

Connectivity and the colossus: Swedish metal mavens Meshuggah on alternate musical pathways

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meshuggah_kolossMeshuggah: Koloss (Nuclear Blast, 3/27/12)

“Do Not Look Down”


The average brain of an adult human has 100 to 500 trillion synapses. Each new electric impulse, each wrinkle that develops in our minds, leads to our understanding of the world around us. How this is done is still a mystery, and our experience of music is at the forefront of this complex puzzle. Somewhere between vibrations in the air hitting our eardrums and memory, we each confront and interpret the sounds of our surroundings and perceive the phenomenon of music — that which is made of rhythm, pitch, timbre, and dynamics.

ALARM's 50 Favorite Albums of 2012

ALARM’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012

Another year, another torrential downpour of albums across our desks. As always, we encountered way too much amazing music, from Meshuggah to The Mars Volta, Converge, Killer Mike, P.O.S, and many more.