2023 has been an incredible year for metal and as it is wrapping up we wanted to go over some of the highlights of the year! Here are our top 10 favorite breakdowns of 2023 in no particular order.
Top 10 Breakdowns of 2023:
10: Knocked Loose - "Deep in the Willow / Everything is Quiet Now"
In June, Knocked Loose dropped the "Upon Loss Singles", 2 absolute bangers out of nowhere. Both tracks are some of the finest music Knocked Loose has ever released and we couldn't choose between which one has the better breakdown so we included both!
"Deep in the Willow" starts with ominous ambience before exploding into Bryan Garris's signature screams and the band's explosively heavy instrumentals. With multiple iconic breakdowns, one stands out with "Deep in the Willow" leading towards the ending breakdown with a hilarious yet brutal one-liner, screaming "Knocked Loose Motherfucker" before beating you down with double bass drumming, intensely heavy chugging, and screeching pick scrapes.
"Everything is Quiet Now" starts with rapidly paced and aggressive instrumentals with screaming and growls adding to the chaos. With a breakdown before the 1-minute mark, Knocked Loose shows they aren't here to mess around. Just past the 2:00 mark, Bryan Garris screams "Everything is Quiet Now" and the song launches into a powerful breakdown with fierce guitar chugging that is eventually layered over with gentle ambient guitar that melds Knocked Loose's extreme breakdowns with melodic and atmospheric elements.
9: Synestia/Disembodied Tyrant - "The Poetic Edda"
Time Stamp: 5:13
A song that's building a ton of hype in the deathcore community, "The Poetic Edda" is a collaboration between Synestia and Disembodied Tyrant. The 6-minute track takes the listener on a journey through rapid thrash grooves, impossibly fast double bass drumming, and extreme vocals. With an incredibly dark sound, "The Poetic Edda" balances orchestral elements and dramatic pads to create a brutal sound that is based in melody and technical musical composure.
Featuring Shadow of Intent's Ben Duerr, the track features two wildly intense breakdowns, with the first being a double bass groove with lightning-fast chugging that will have you bobbing your head. The final breakdown of "The Poetic Edda" is a dramatic downtempo explosion that features extreme vocal screams, guitar screeches, and huge gaps between chugging, cementing it as arguably one of the heaviest breakdowns of all time.
8: Signs of the Swarm - "Amongst the Low & Empty"
Time Stamp: 2:54
Renowned for their inhuman vocals and over-the-top breakdowns, Signs of the Swarm is a popular name in the deathcore and downtempo community. The band dropped one of their most extreme breakdowns with "Amongst the Low & Empty" off of their July album of the same title.
Signs of the Swarm waste no time, starting with violent chugging and double bass beats before launching into galloping thrash riffage. Distinct electronic sounds like pads/synths and distant trap beats add variety to the song's sound. Suddenly, the song throws the listener into the midst of a groovy guitar riff that fades away into double bass beats, bass drops, guitar chugs, gutturals, screams, and growls. Signs of the Swarms somehow tops their ridiculously heavy sound with "Amongst the Low & Empty".
7: Unprocessed - "Thrash"
Genre: Progressive Metal
Time Stamp: 2:07
Self-described as "guitar-driven metal", Unprocessed creates a unique sound that has a heavy emphasis on technical guitar lead melodies while still staying true to a heavy metal sound. "Thrash" mixes incredibly catchy vocal hooks with intense metal sections to create a distinct sound that appeals to fans of rock, and metal and also music fans who appreciate the technical aspect of the band's guitar playing.
Unprocessed utilizes a unique breakdown in "Thrash" using percussive tremolo picking to create a breakdown that isn't traditionally heavy yet forms an interesting and different sound that matches the song excellently.
6: Nail Bite - "Endless"
Genre: Metal mixed with other genres
Time Stamp: 3:29
Nail Bite is a fresh, up-and-coming metal band that is known for writing songs that mix metal with various genres. "Endless" is no exception and the band starts off with a gentler sound, using clean vocals and funky synth tones that mix weirdcore and lofi genres with a modern rock sound. The song features a unique melting sound effect that launches into an incredibly catchy chorus. Then the song unexpectedly switches over into extreme growls and screams, alongside explosive guitar chugging. The track's breakdown progressively slows down in tempo and lowers in pitch, creating a brutally heavy sound and a gradually fading outro.
Nail Bite features samples such as old Windows sound effects and trickling water, creating an ambient and nostalgic sound with a new refined metal style. Fans of metal need to check out this rising band!
5: Larcenia Roe - "Nose Tork"
Time Stamp: 3:29
Larcenia Roe put themselves on the map this year with ridiculously over-the-top breakdowns such as the one found at the end of "Nose Tork". With all the goblin noises, pig squeals and ludicrously long cymbal hits that a deathcore fan could hope for, "Nose Tork" leaves almost comically long spaces of emptiness between insanely fast double bass drumming and chugging.
Filled with breakdowns, nuclear guitar tones, and crushing vocals, "Nose Tork" is just under 5-minutes of inhuman vocals and slamming riffage. If you are a fan of deathcore you should definitely check these guys out!
4: Mental Cruelty - "Forgotten Kings"
Time Stamp: 3:47
Mental Cruelty displays a slamming blackened deathcore song with "Forgotten King's" off of their latest album "Zwielicht". With technical guitar riffage, racing blast beats, and intense orchestral and choir arrangments, Mental Cruelty creates an unforgettable sound that fans of extreme metal genres are sure to enjoy.
Just before 4 minutes, "Forgotten Kings" launches into a brutally heavy breakdown with reverbed vocal growls, earth-trembling bass drops, and intense guitar riffs.
3: Chelsea Grin - "Fathomless Maw"
Time Stamp: 2:28
OG late 2000s deathcore band, Chelsea Grin is still slaying the scene with their album release, "Suffer in Heaven" which dropped in March. "Fathomless Maw" is one of the standout songs from the 8-track album and features an absolutely gut-wrenching finale. With a whisper, Chelsea Grin launches into held-out chugging and screaming with pinch harmonics, pick scraping, and blackened ambience, such as apocalyptic sirens that fill the vast soundscape. Chelsea Grin's still got it and it doesn't seem like they will be stopping anytime soon, thankfully.
2: Spiritbox - "Cellar Door"
Time Stamp: 2:45
It's been a little while since we've had a Spiritbox track that was exclusively screaming and "Cellar Door" did not disappoint. Starting out the gate with energetic drumming, electronic synths, and brutal instrumentals, Spiritbox holds nothing back from the get-go.
Courtney LaPlante screams with violent intention before the song bursts into harsh guitar-chugging with ambient guitar layered in the background as the song fades out over the next 2-minutes of intense breakdown instrumentals and screams. Spiritbox does an excellent job of gradually fading the song into an ominous soundscape that closes out the track.
1: The Browning - "Poison"
Time Stamp: 2:34
The Browning released "Poison" in September and the song's electronic elements such as synths and glitching effects make it stand out from a lot of modern deathcore. About 1-minute in after a synth build-up, The Browning launches into a brutal breakdown filled with growling, double bass grooves, and continued synths in the background.
The song's final breakdown takes the form of a more traditional breakdown with brutal guitar chugging, pitch-shifted screeching, and powerful djent riffage. Whichever type of breakdown you prefer, you can pick your poison (pun intended) with The Browning's latest song!
What were your favorite breakdowns of the year? Let us know what you want to see next!
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