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Best Metal Newcomers Of 2013 Explored, Part 1: Witherscape, Gloryhammer, and Cnoc An Tursa

Each year in our annual metal awards we take a look at the best “newcomers” – those bands that released debut full-lengths worth your time.

In addition to the standard slew of burgeoning metal bands getting their footing in 2013, there were several new projects created by established members of the scene that dropped some of the best albums of the year.

To help get you acquainted with the best new talent releasing albums you may have missed, we’ll be looking at each of the bands nominated for the “best newcomer” category by our staff. Today content manager xFiruath covers Witherscape (which ended up winning the category in our 2013 awards), Gloryhammer, and Cnoc an Tursa.


An instance of the champ coming out of retirement to show the young pups how things are done, Witherscape marks the return of European metal legend Dan Swano, who has spent the last several years behind the sound board instead of in front of the microphone.

Rather than going in the direction of his various ‘90s projects, this band is essentially a progressive death metal outing, with some strong classic metal leanings. “The Inheritance” was an album I greatly enjoyed on first listen, and have only come to appreciate even more over time, to the point it’s now among my most played metal on any given week.

To find out more about Witherscape, you can read our interview with Dan Swano, or check out my original review of the album right here.


Taking what is already an over-the-top genre, Alestorm’s Christopher Bowes decided to dive deep into the grandiose antics of power metal to create Gloryhammer. “Tales from the Kingdom of Fife” is as epic and fantastic as a power metal album can be, detailing unicorn invasions and battles with magic dragons.

Some are obviously going to find the whole affair to be far too silly to take seriously, but it seems unlikely Bowes and co. are going for anything other than tongue-in-cheek hilarity. In this case that silliness is backed up by some pretty impressive musicianship, however, creating an awesome album for those who can get into the style. You can read Crom_Carl’s review of the debut album here or get acquainted with the music below.

Cnoc An Tursa

These Scottish metallers are representing their heritage through music with debut album “The Giants of Auld” (reviewed here). Blending black metal with folk, the band offers up a different approach to the style than what you’ll hear from other bands in that similar arena like Eluveitie or Equilibrium.

Check back in tomorrow to see what bands other members of the staff nominated, and why they deserved to be recognized as the best newcomers of 2013.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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