2013 was full of great music, especially in the rock genre. I’m not one of those to separate rock from hard rock, metal, etc.; it’s all rock ’n’ roll to me.
Narrowing down my top 10 was a task, but I’m satisfied with it. These bands all bring joy to my ears. If there isn’t an album on here you’ve heard, do yourself a favor and buy it, or check it out somewhere and then buy it. They’re all worth it!
- Alter Bridge: Fortress | The vocals of Myles Kennedy matched with the guitar shredding of Mark Tremonti is always a delight, and this is the reason it’s easily the album of the year. This release was highly anticipated by music lovers, and did not let them down. From the opening track to the end, it’s absolutely brilliant. Pick up a copy and enjoy.
- Avenged Sevenfold: Hail To The King | Since their debut album, A7X has grown as a band and rock musicians. From the early days of screaming to the last album of pure metal, what else could you ask for? How about “thrash metal?” That’s exactly what the boys did with their new album; it’s almost a reincarnation of Metallica. Is that even possible if they aren’t dead? Who cares? The album rocks.
- Alice in Chains: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here | The devil may have put dinosaurs here, but God put Alice in Chains here. With sounds that are pleasing for modern fans and hints of days of old, this is a solid, solid, solid follow-up to the 2009 release Black Gives Way To Blue. Layne Staley would be proud.
- Stone Sour: House of Gold and Bones Part II | What else can be said about these guys that hasn’t already been said? How hard is it to write an album? Seems pretty hard, and I’m sure it is…but how hard is it to write a double album and have Part II be better than the first? Obviously, not that hard for the guys in Stone Sour. Their follow up to the successful Part 1 is amazing. There’s some hard rock, some rock with edge, and a little metal. It’s a winner winner, chicken dinner!
- Sevendust: Black Out the Sun | First off, I LOVE Sevendust, every single phase of this band, from the beginning until now. They’ve never disappointed me, and this album was no different. This is probably their second best to date, if not the best album they’ve put out. It’s an exact replica of their live show, from having Lajon Witherspoon belt out some awesome lyrics to the other boys making some beautiful noise. It’s amazing, and there is so much sound of the earlier days. It’s in your face, a testament to their ever-growing sound, and just brilliant, brilliant musicianship. Kudos to them.
- Killswitch Engage: Disarm the Descent | This album was pretty close to busting into the top 5. When I heard Howard Jones was parting ways from the band, I was a bit curious as to where they’d go. Then came the news that former lead singer Jesse Leach would be taking over. Really? He didn’t work out once before; what would be different? Everything. I mean everything. The band has matured a lot since its earlier days. Leach must have taken note, because he did, as well. Having both sides mature as artists has left all of us wanting another album…now. This is the best Killswitch Engage album period. Vocals are on key, music is on point—it’s amazing.
- Clutch: Earth Rocker | Clutch always puts out solid music, every single time, shy would this be any different? It wasn’t. It’s not a spectacular album, but it shows this band has amazing musicianship. Lead singer Neil Fallon always mesmerizes (and confuses) us with some incredible lyrics. Clutch fanboys went nuts for this album, and with good reason. It’s one of their best.
- Queens of the Stone Age: Like Clockwork | I’ll start by saying I’ve never really been a huge fan of this band, not to the extent that I’d drop everything to listen to their album. I do listen to their music, though. It’s been six years since their last album, and this was worth the wait. There are some heavyweights making guests appearances on here, including Elton John; they even experimented some and it pays off. This will be that QOTSA album people are talking about for the next six years. (Hopefully they push out another album before then.)
- Rob Zombie: Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor | Zombie is Zombie: You pretty much know what you’re getting with every album. But he keeps making solid, solid, solid music. It doesn’t hurt that he has John 5 by his side, who is one of the best—if not the best—in the business at his position. If you’re a Zombie fan, you’re not going to be upset by this album.
- Fiver Finger Death Punch: The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell Part 1 | These guys really haven’t put out a bad album since their debut hit. Like Stone Sour, they released a double album, but with both coming in 2013 for 5FDP. The first was better than the latter, and Judas Priest probably helped. No matter what these guys do, it’s always in your face. Don’t get me wrong: That second album would probably be #11 if I were doing a list of the top 20.
This past year gave me some awesome music, and I’m excited for 2014. Hopefully some band will just blow out our eardrums out, and Sevendust is going into production on a new acoustic album. Wahoo!