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CVLT Nation’s Top 10 CROSSOVER & THRASH Records of 2023

#10 BLOODRHINE BLOODRHINE

Calling all fans of fast, bloodthirsty riffs and soul-crushing percussion…BLOODRHINE is the new project flowing from the corpse of Vancouver’s beloved rock n’ roll legends Black Wizard and they’re ready to drown you in rivers of death-soaked thrash! Their debut EP is giving my weary soul the heavy metal beatdown it needs right now. It’s got the speed, the wailing melodies, the sepulchral vocals, and the epic, rolling drums that will have you headbanging nonstop with your fists in the air. 

#9 Sentinel Age of Decay

Sentinel makes thrash with a HEALTHY dose of punk and their record Age of Decay is rife with messages about the poison we’re taking in every day. This record is full of anthemic, anti-system rallying cries that will have you headbanging all the way to the elite’s gallows! This record is fast and fearless, with pummelling blastbeats and raging riffs that motivate me to keep finding my way through life outside of the norm.

#8 BLOOD OATH Lost In An Eternal Silence

Lost In An Eternal Silence kicks off with a hiss and a howl and all of a sudden I’m sucked into BLOOD OATH’s deathly world! There’s nothing silent about Lost In An Eternal Silence — instead it feels like this band has attempted to manifest fear itself into sonic form. Right from the start, BLOOD OATH is dragging me into an aural abyss littered with the bones of their enemies and I’m not trying to escape their death-infused grip!

#7 Skourge Torrential Torment

Unholy HELL YES — this has been a sick year from Crossover/Hardcore! Skourge’s new album Torrential Torment only proves that 666%. Real talk, there is not one whack or weak moment on this LP. Every tune has the power of a bulldozer and the depth of the deepest cave. I can’t get over the way this record was mixed because it has this seething and gruesome energy to it that leaves me speechless. It’s so evident Torrential Torment was created by humans that have lived experience when it comes to Crossover/Hardcore! “Blood-Drenched Sun” screams torment while at the same time is full of gnarly riffs! Make sure to peep (y’all better blast the full album) their song “Flagellation” because it’s more brutal than police brutality and rocks HARD AF. Their song “Hallucinator” almost decimated me because it’s that fucking RAW and “Meditation” just punched me in my gut! Torrential Torment is out via Lockin’ Out Records and I know for a fact that this is one of the raddest records of 2023. In 2019, our whole family got to see them live and they fucking killed it!

#6 SAINTBREAKER Unrelenting Violence

Saintbreaker is brutal.

Even if no other band is making music that is brutal in the truest sense, this band is. In the songs on their eagerly awaited sophomore LP, Unrelenting Violence, the band deals not simply with the figurative brutality of the shredding riffs and pummeling blastbeat variety, but also with the very literal brutality of war, of orphaned children, of leveled cities, of extinct civilizations, and of the legacies of unapologetic imperialism that are still dictating world events today.

While Saintbreaker has always been an essential band in modern crossover and thrash, their long-awaited sophomore LP, Unrelenting Violence, brings fans a band that is more confident and more masterful than ever, with a new infusion of death and grind that enhances their already overwhelming firepower.

#5 TORENA Evil Eyez

I can’t front and I won’t front — Torena Evil Eyez out via DAZE is a FUCKING BANGER!!! Every tune is a straight HC anthem and will have you saying, damn, this record is gnarly AF! The drum intro on “Stand Your Ground” is so fucking RAD, and then the song kicks in. Blast their song “I’m Still Here” so that y’all can experience how fucking awesome this band truly is. This band has something to say and they express themselves to the fullest. Torena creates music for a community they believe in, and it comes through loud and fucking clear on every moment of Evil Eyez. They will be touring really soon and from what I can see they set it off live. I have been listening to bands from Oxnard for the past 40 years and Torena keeps the fire blazing! If you don’t know, now y’all know that Evil Eyez is a HUGE sonic can of HC All Out RAGE!

#4 DOOMSDAY DOOMSDAY

DOOMSDAY is taking no prisoners on their s/t record Doomsday! They’re here to crush your skull and destroy your eardrums, and slit your throat with razor-sharp riffs. It sounds like an entire demonic horde is trampling my soul when those gang vocals kick in. Yeah, I’m fucking digging this one!

#3 PEST CONTROL Don’t Test the Pest

Unholy Hot Like FIRE Pest Control’s new album Don’t Test the Pest is a classic in my book! Damn, this album bangs harder than the Rollin 20’s Blood Gang and is a non-stop Cross over Thrash gem! WTF the breakdown you will encounter while blasting this album will put a smile on your face! Peep the anthem “Buggin Out” and tell me this band is not fire and I just might lose my shit. Unholy hell yes, I would love to see them live. Mark my words Pest Control has something to say and the world better gets with the program! Don’t Test the Pest is a HUGE Riff party that will get you drunk on Radness!

#2 ZORN ZORN

WTF repeat this 666 times: WTF!!! The new self-titled ZORN album out via Sorry State Records is fucking JOHN BLAZE and hotter than an erupting Volcano!!! Every tune is truly a rip-roaring anthem that will give any Metal Punk-loving human eargasms all day long! So I have been a fan of this band from day one but after experiencing this record I’m a full-on STAN! From the very first track, “The Spell of The Fairy Tree,” I realized this band is on a mission to make even the UNDEAD headbang their asses off in their graves! It’s as if every ZORN song has magical powers that will put the listener into a state of Blackened Bliss. This band conjured up anthems that will stand the test of time and rock all of us into a frenzy!

Musically, every member of this band brought their A-Game real talk. Vocally, the howls are next-level RAW AF throughout the whole album. The riffs and grooves are so infectious they fucking talk to your inner thoughts and have them stage-diving off of your nightmares! Blast their song “Chosen” — If you don’t think it rocks, something must be wrong with your ears! Yo ZORN, if y’all are reading this, I want y’all to know this album slaps harder than HARD! There is not one weak or wasted moment in this record. I know for a fact that the Sonic event will end up on our end of the list for sure. In closing, imagine if early Slayer, 45 Grave, Voivod, and Discharge decided to have a hellspawn together — the bastard child might sound as AWESOME as this new ZORN!!!

#1 PHROZEN Questioning Society’s Secrets

You may have noticed that when I write about music, I focus on my mental and emotional response to it. And a lot of the time, especially with certain heavier genres, I tune into my rage. I’ll hear some especially ominous riffs or soul-crushing drums and I’ll think about all the things that piss me off, all the ways we hurt ourselves and each other for profit and to protect our fragile fucking egos. Sometimes I wonder whether the artists will resonate with my worldview, because I know some of them don’t even if that’s what their music drew out of me—and then I write it anyway.

Well, I don’t have to wonder with this ridiculously brilliant record from PHROZENQuestioning Society’s Secrets feels like they took my letters and read each one out loud to the tune of some of the sickest, most devastating blackened thrash I could ever imagine. I mean, this is a seriously good fucking album. It’s an instant fucking classic and I am not exaggerating. I hope you’re listening to it right now because I can’t accurately describe the addictive nature of Questioning Society’s Secrets. It sounds like a gut punch to a million colonizers, or maybe a million gut punches to one colonizer, but either way, this is the soundtrack to peacefully and violently dismantling an increasingly oppressive power structure that’s gaslighting us into thinking we matter because we line their pockets. Holy fuck, it’s the full package for me.

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

“IRON
Sentient 51423

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