ListsDecember 5, 20239,767 views

5 Bands That Went From Good To Great in 2023

Here's a smattering of acts that leveled up this year, we love to see it.

5 on the rise 2

By Jake

One of the most rewarding things to witness is an artist reaching for greatness and accomplishing that feat. This year saw no shortage of solid releases but in this list we want to highlight the bands that made the transition from being a cut above to being in another league, at least when compared to their previous efforts. Whether adding new elements to their arsenal, improving songwriting, or simply doing it better than they ever have before, here are five bands that reached for greatness in 2023.

Blindfolded and Led to the Woods 

Video Premiere: Blindfolded and Led to the Woods - "Caustic Burns"

With a band name that hardly rolls off the tongue, Blindfolded and Led to the Woods have been making music since around 2011 and they are having a similar arc as one of our favorites around here: Job For a Cowboy. Beginning as a deathcore outfit this band has slowly evolved into a technical and progressive death metal outfit but still retain that penchant for the brutality of their former identity as well as a similar production style. Rejecting Obliteration expands on their sound with progressive flourishes that provide dynamic counterpoints to the muscular death metal that envelops this record and makes for one of most impressive jumps in quality this year.


Afterbirth 23

By now, everyone is aware of Afterbirth’s strange and wonderful journey from brutal death metal demo in the early 90’s to the progressive brutality of their Unique Leader years. The approach post-reformation began incorporating new ideas along with the gurgle god, ‘Big Will’ Smith, on vocals, Afterbirth became an entirely new animal. This year’s In But Not Of sees the band finding a home on Willowtip Records along and with that, a distilled vision which organically incorporates their nuanced, out-of-the-box song structures, influences that reach into the depths of black metal, ambient, alternative, and more without sacrificing the punch of a truly brutal death metal album.

Creeping Death 

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Texas is a hotbed for metal and hardcore and Creeping Death have been an example of a band that can do both: the emphatic spin-kicking of hardcore mixed with hair-whipping death metal riffs. This is a band that’s been around for a while and while the output has been a little up and down over the years, this year’s Boundless Domain put the whole package together in what is not only their best LP to date but also managed to put a stamp on their identity as a band.



Seattle natives Xoth have been making their own hybrid of metal for a while and have been local darlings because of it. Their blend of thrash and death metal and this year on Exogalactic, they upped the ante in every aspect. More melody, more solos, a tighter production, and a near perfect runtime, Xoth took a gamble and stuck the landing. Exogalactic is one of the most finely balanced albums of this ilk to see the light of day in quite some time.

Night Verses

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Of all the bands mentioned here, none have quite the journey that Night Verses have. After jettisoning their vocalist to become an instrumental band, one would assume the quality of the output would diminish but the opposite has been true for this outfit. With several albums under their belt, this talented trio - including drummer extraordinaire Aric Improta - elevated their craft to a new level this year. Every Sound Has a Color In The Valley of Night: Part 1 doesn’t go out of its way to break the rules but has no problem being obstinate when needed and the ensuing trifecta of energy, skill, and art happens to be the most combustible album that this band has released to date.



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anonymous 88 days ago

Blindfolded And Led To The Woods is still around? Have t heard of them in 10 years but they're goated for going on that kids show and announcing their singer fell off the roof and broke both his legs

anonymous 87 days ago

No one cares

anonymous 86 days ago

5 bands that went from "Who?" to "Who the fuck?"

anonymous 85 days ago

What a GGGGGGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY list of dogshit. 5 bands to avoid more like it 😴 💤

lake_flaccid 74 days ago

Creeping Death album was one of the best this year, they really stepped it up. They sound like an old school florida death band, it's great

anonymous 71 days ago

goo to goooooooo

anonymous 69 days ago

There's 2 bands on here that ANYONE cares about and both were well established and didn't go from "good to great" this year, retard.