Exclaim!'s Best of 2013: Top 10 Metal & Hardcore Albums

1. Carcass
Surgical Steel
(Nuclear Blast)

British death metal legends Carcass made an amazing and much-talked-about return with Surgical Steel, their first album since 1996's ill-fated boogie-death album Swansong. There were naysayers and there were skeptics, but they were silenced with this album's aggression and attitude; not bad for the work of what basically, in the death metal scene, amounts to a bunch of old fogeys.

"Thrasher's Abbatoir" gets the shredding started in a huge way, laying down melodic death metal not unlike the band's Heartwork heyday. Tracks such as "Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard" and "316L Grade Surgical Steel" have amazing titles and the grinding, shredding glory to back it up, while "The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills" encapsulates perfectly what Carcass is all about. The song is catchy, fun, heavy, but packs more than enough punch to keep even listeners happy.

The addition of Daniel Wilding (ex-Aborted) on drums was also cause for concern, but Wilding is up to the task like a pro, stepping in the large shoes of original drummer Ken Owen just fine. Surgical Steel is a fantastic album, and really, it's the long-overdue follow-up to Heartwork, which came out a whopping 20 years ago. (Greg Pratt)