The Kerrang! staff’s top albums of 2023

10. Sydney Sprague – Somebody In Hell Loves You
9. The Dirty Nil – Free Rein To Passions
7. Dream Nails – Doom Loop
6. Samiam – Stowaway
5. Crime In Stereo – House + Trance
4. THE XCERTS – Learning How To Live And Let Go
3. Taking Back Sunday – 152
2. Plasma Canvas – Dusk
1. Codefendants – This Is Crimewave

Every year, I hate this. Every year, I curse myself for not being organised enough to make this process easier. Every year, I know there are great albums that I haven’t heard, or ones that I’ve forgotten when these lists come around. Every year, I pledge to do better the next year. Every year, I fail. That said, this year, I’ve known my favourite album since before 2023 began. I was lucky enough to hear Codefendants’ This Is Crimewave way before it was announced, and truth be told, it was probably my album of 2022, except it wasn’t out yet. It’s one of the most original, inspiring and powerful records I’ve ever heard in my life – the insanely good twin lyrical skills of Get Dead’s Sam King and Ceschi Ramos combining to paint an incredibly powerful warts-and-all portrait of the underbelly of the U.S. Drawing on their experiences behind bars, the pair’s songs incisively reveal just how much damage the capitalist system has done to America and those suffering most in society as a result. At the same time, there’s a whole lot of (broken) heart underpinning these songs, whether it’s addressing the break-up of a relationship, the death of a parent, police brutality, the drug war, the devastating and fatal effects of the fentanyl epidemic. Each song sounds so different but they flow perfectly together. There are also a bunch of great guest vocalists, including The D.O.C.’s first recorded verse in 19 years. And it was all financed and facilitated by Fat Mike, who plays bass throughout. Not just a brilliant record, but an insanely important one. Put it on and you’ll find it hard to take off. There’s a good fentanyl metaphor to be made there, but that might be a little too crass. Then again, you know Fat Mike would make it.