Top 25 industrial / darkwave albums of the year 2023


Top 25 albums of the year 2023

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Referring to the events that unfolded globally, 2023 has again been a bloody, terrible year. Music continues to be a true therapy for soothing pain and suffering, though it seems to have a diminishing impact on the ongoing horror. Therefore, I’m once again wrapping up the year with a personal selection of my very own ‘best of’ albums.

Throughout the year, over 700 productions were selected, and 450 reviews were conducted. Some productions were declined because the style of music didn’t fit, others weren’t reviewed for not being ‘good enough’, while a final portion of reviews will be postponed to early 2024. I am immensely grateful to all the labels, bands, and promoters for considering my work, and I look forward to collaborating again in 2024.

I extend my deepest gratitude and thanks to Rich Bova (NEIKKA RPM), who has been reading, correcting, and improving the reviews for many years. Without Rich, these reviews would not exist. I also want to thank Bernard Van Isacker, chief editor of Side-Line Music Magazine, for our ongoing, successful collaboration. Last but not least, I thank my lovely wife, Katja, for giving me the time and freedom to pursue my passion.


Looking ahead to 2024, I’ve been scaling back my activities for a few years and plan to reduce them further. Having started with my first reviews and interviews back in 1991, I feel the end drawing near. My aim is to reach 2025, but nothing is certain. I’ve grown a bit tired and disillusioned with how things are evolving.

That’s why I want to express a big ‘F*** you’ to so-called ‘artists’ and label owners who fail to realize or appreciate the work I do in creating reviews and preparing interviews to spotlight them. Guys, I do this for free and in my free time! The attitude and lack of respect shown by some – fortunately a very few – is very, very sad. But, I’m afraid it reflects the world we live in. Behind a genius artist doesn’t always stand a great person. It’s odd realizing that the ‘biggest’ and long-established artists in this scene are often the most accessible.

Writing reviews remains highly subjective and a source of discussion. Remember, it’s always the reviewer’s perception. I assure you, I always strive to substantiate my reviews as best as possible. A review is subjective but must be honest!

Like every year, I’ve selected the best albums of the year 2023. This ‘TOP 25’ encompasses various styles like EBM, Dark-Electro, IDM, Synth-Pop, Ethereal, Dark-Ambient, Industrial, Ritual, Cinematic, Gothic, Post-Punk, Cold/Dark-Wave, Dark-Techno, and a few related genres. It’s always an exciting yet challenging task.

This ‘TOP 25’ is based on the promotional material I received, excluding compilations, ‘best of’ productions, EPs, and singles. So, here’s my ‘TOP 25’ from 2023, and don’t forget to share it with your friends…

Stéphane Froidcoeur (for Inferno Sound Diaries/Side-Line Reviews)

Top 25 albums of the year 2023

  1. CERULEAN VEINS “Black” Cold Transmission Music
  2. LIEBKNECHT “Fabrikat” Ant-Zen
  3. FRONTIER GUARDS “Colony” Aliens Production
  4. SOPOR AETERNUS & THE ENSEMBLE OF SHADOWS “Alone At Sam’s – An Evening With…” Apocalyptic Vision / Trisol
  5. WAVESHARD “Waveshard” Corvus Records
  6. THE EMPATH “Black Hole” Audiophob
  7. VNV NATION “Electric Sun” Metropolis Records
  8. EFF DST “Incarnate” Ant-Zen
  9. ENZO KREFT “XL” Enzo Kreft
  10. DELEYAMAN “The Sudbury Inn” TTO Records
  11. GIRLS UNDER GLASS “Backdraft” Dependent Records
  12. ALIEN VAMPIRES “Return Me To Hell” Alfa Matrix
  13. SUN’S SPECTRUM “The Silence After The Fall” Cold Transmission Music
  14. DANIEL MYER “Hingab” Sonic Groove
  15. SHROUDS “Shrouds” Hands
  16. DIARY OF DREAMS “Melancholin” Accession Records
  17. MONO INC “Ravenblack” NoCut / SPV
  18. ROME “Gates Of Europe” Trisol
  19. OHNE NOMEN “The S-Witch” Cold Transmission Music
  20. THE SEVEN WHORES OF THE APOCALYPSE “All Through The Waste” Scanner / Dark Dimensions
  21. SPANKTHENUN “The Bunker Tapes Vol.3” SpankTheNun
  22. BLACKCARBURNING “Watching Sleepers” COP International
  23. GOD BODY DISCONNECT “The Weight Of Regression” Cryo Chamber
  24. MILDREDA “Blue-Devilled” Dependent Records
  25. PASCAL SAVY “Simulacra” Cyclic Law
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Inferno Sound Diaries

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