The main reason that I moved to New York City last year was the opportunity to be around the biggest metal scene in the United States, and to be able to catch more shows than ever before. Atlanta, while I still love it with all my heart, simply does not get the tours that New York City does, and I need to be around music. A live show is much more than an event for me. It’s a gathering of the metal family, watching our metal Gods play the soundtrack to our lives, and it’s absolutely priceless. This year was packed full of shows, and as hard as it was, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite ten concerts from 2013! Trust me, there were a TON of amazing tours this year, but these definitely stick out as my favorites! Enjoy!

#10 – The Black Dahlia Murder and Skeletonwitch
10/26/13 Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory

Ever since I first heard The Black Dahlia Murder and Skeletonwitch, these guys quickly became two of my favorite acts in the metal scene. To see them grow into the powerhouses that they are now is beyond impressive, and well deserved for all of the hard work that they’ve put into their music. To have these two bands in a small, sold out venue for one night was a dream come true, and they did not disappoint. These two write metal the right way, and will be for many years to come. I only hope they tour together again soon in the future, because it’s a show everyone should see!

#9 – Nile – 03/10/13 BB Kings Blues Club – New York, NY

When it comes to the death metal genre, it does not get any better than Nile to me. Their catalog is pack full of some of the most creative and devastating death metal music in history, and they continue to still push boundaries over twenty years later. This 2013 tour had the legends playing two sets, including one that contained songs from throughout their entire career. Some of these songs haven’t been played live in years or ever, and after the two hour set, I could have stayed for two more hours without a problem. There is simply no other band like Nile, and they still rule the world.

#8 – Newsted – 05/21/13 Highline Ballroom – New York, NY

Being the huge Metallica fan that I am, I’ve always respected and admired Jason Newsted for his passion and energy in his art. When he recently returned to the scene, I couldn’t have been happier. With the “Newsted” release, he unleashed an album of true heavy metal, and he performed it perfectly at the New York show. Along with several covers, the set had unbelievable energy and his drive for the music is obviously still there. Being a huge of his work I am and getting to witness this from the front row was a moment I will never, ever forget. Plus hearing “My Friend Of Misery” live again was just awesome.

#7 – Neurosis – 01/19/13 Brooklyn Masonic Temple – New York, NY

Neurosis at a Masonic Temple. Need I say more? One of the most powerful acts to ever walk onto a stage in a truly magnificent venue, this was just unreal. My ears rang for days after this set, but it was well worth it. I wish I could describe the sound in the building for you, but only those who were there will fully understand. Honestly, this was only my second time seeing the band live, but nothing will ever top that gig. It left my deaf and speechless, which is exactly what a Neurosis show should do to a fan. I’m still in awe.

#6 – Watain – 10/08/13 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY

Over the past five years Watain has grown into one of the best live bands on the planet. We all remember the carcasses on stage on the last tour, and the smell, but this time around it was all about the music. Yes, they had the upside down crosses on stage, along with demonic imagery, but the music was at the forefront, and they truly put on a show. In my opinion, Erik is one of the best front men in metal, because he truly believes in their art and message, and it conveys to everyone in the audience at their shows. The energy, set list, and whole vibe of Irving Plaza made this show one of my favorites, and only made my respect for the band grow to new levels. Watain truly made 2013 their year.

#5 – Black Sabbath – 08/04/13 – PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ

Two words. Black Sabbath. This year brought us a new album and new tour dates, and there was NO way I was missing this gig. Although Bill Ward wasn’t there, the stage was full of heavy metal royalty and they performed all of the hits we love perfectly. I heard about Ozzy’s voice issues going into that show, but at PNC Bank Arts Center, he sounded awesome. As for Tony and Geezer, well they were as exceptional as we’ve come to expect. Plus, they played “Children Of The Grave” and that alone made this one of the best shows of the year. All hail Sabbath!

#4 – Death Angel, 3 Inches of Blood, Battlecross, Revocation and Diamond Plate – 10/29/13 – Webster Hall – New York, NY

When it comes to legends of the thrash metal scene, Death Angel is and will always be mentioned near the top of the list. They’ve continued to write incredible songs for more years than I’ve been alive and their live show are still as energetic as it was in videos I’ve seen from the 80’s. They truly enjoy every moment that they are on stage and that’s just awesome. Add in the heavy metal torch carriers in 3 Inches Of Blood, my newest addiction, Battlecross, a band I consider the future of metal in Revocation, and a band that is writing true thrash unlike anyone their age in Diamond Plate, and this concert was just INCREDIBLE!

#3 – Morbid Angel – 11/12/13 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY

If you are a death metal fan, “Covenant” is a record that touched your life in some way shape or form. Morbid Angel are the pinnacle of death metal bands for most fans, and when they announced that they would be performing the classic album in it’s entirety on this tour, there was no way in hell I was missing it. After the set was over and I picked my jaw off the ground, and the only word I could say was flawless. Every note, every scream, every light, every moment of that show was perfect. Absolutely perfect. They are legends for a reason, and proved it on that night here in New York City.

#2 – Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals – 10/16/13 – Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY

There is simply no one that owns a stage like Philip H. Anselmo. Still to this day, when he walks onto the stage and into those lights, he gets respect unlike anyone else in the scene. With the Illegals by his side, he performed an electric set to an audience that kept the pit a warzone the entire night here in New York City. Throw in that he performed several Pantera hits, as well as an Agnostic Front and Superjoint Ritual cover, and this show is one that will go down as one of my favorites of all time. The “kid” still has the drive and passion for his music, and respect for his fans, and for a HUGE Phil fan like myself, it’s beyond cool to see. Phil is an icon, and there will never be another like him, so let’s enjoy every moment.

#1 – Gojira – 02/19/2013 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY

Everyone knows about my Gojiraddiction, but let me put that to the side and explain why this show is my favorite of the year. Not only was this the first time hearing the material from “L’Enfant Sauvage” live, as they haven’t made it Atlanta yet, but this was a sold out show, and I was in the front row for all of it. A lot of people, including myself, consider them the most exciting band in metal at the moment, and who can argue that point. Their energy on stage is absolutely unreal, their message is strong, and their strive for perfection is something that we’ve haven’t seen from a band in a while. I’ve seen them four times prior to this show, but this was the first time I truly saw them as giants. Their confidence was at an all time high, and the crowd’s energy was just insane. Plus, they closed the show with “The Gift Of Guilt,” which holds a special place in my heart, and that’s a moment that I’ll never ever forget for many reasons. Honeslty, it was the perfect ending to my favorite show of 2013, and luckily for us, they have new material in the works, which means more tour dates are coming too. Count me in.