So, what are the 10 Best Rock Albums of 2013? We offer our humble opinion with a list that includes a handful of acts who took a long time between albums, but returned in a big way this year. Patience paid off for fans of such veteran bands as Queens of the Stone Age and Alice in Chains, as both of those acts released stellar discs in 2013. Meanwhile, radio rock kings like Five Finger Death Punch and Stone Sour didn’t waste any time between discs. Either way, here are our picks for the 10 Best Rock Albums of 2013:
‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor’
From the twisted and creative mind of Rob Zombie comes one of his better albums in a while, the strangely titled ‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor.’ It’s a cohesive album with strong songwriting expertly walking the line between campy and captivating. Along with the usual industrial influences and movie clips, there are some unexpected twists like the Middle Eastern-tinged interlude ‘Theme for the Rat Vendor’ and a cover of the classic rock staple ‘We’re An American Band.’ John 5 is one of the best guitarists in the business, and is in his usual stellar form on this album.
The long-running Maryland band Clutch have built a large and loyal following over the years. Their latest album ‘Earth Rocker’ was released on their own label, and ended up being their highest charting album so far, even surpassing their major label days. ‘Earth Rocker’ is heavier than their recent albums, and also more streamlined after going through lengthy pre-production. Neil Fallon’s always interesting lyrics and the band’s tight musicianship show why Clutch are one of the best rock bands in the business.
It took more than 30 years, but Bad Religion finally cracked the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 with their 16th album ‘True North.’ It’s a concise and streamlined effort, with nearly every song under 3 minutes. The album has that classic Bad Religion sound with no big surprises, but they do it so well you won’t mind. ‘True North’ shows that even after three decades the punk legends are still pointed in the right direction.
'The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1'
Five Finger Death Punch released not just one, but two albums in 2013 in 'Volume 1' and 'Volume 2' of 'The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell.' While both discs are very solid, we give the slight nod to 'Volume 1,' which features some incredible collaborations, including 'Lift Me Up' with Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford. 5FDP never pull any punches (pun intended), and they continued to fly the flag for hard rock in 2013.
It's not so often that a single band puts out one of the best hard rock songs and one of the best alternative songs in the same year, but AFI did that with 'I Hope You Suffer' and '17 Crimes' off their latest album 'Burials.' The disc is a deeply personal one for lead singer Davey Havok, whose lyrics run the gamut of emotions from dark to light.
'Hail to the King'
One of the year's most anticipated album was the latest effort from Avenged Sevenfold, and the band did not disappoint (unless you're Robb Flynn) with 'Hail to the King.' The disc is filled with epic rockers like the title track and 'Shepherd of Fire,' and shows an already immensely popular band entering a new era in their storied career.
Alter Bridge's 'Fortress' is the band's most ambitious album to date, as they explore some new soundscapes and deliver a number of soaring tunes like the album opener 'Cry of Chcilles' and the first single 'Addicted to Pain.' The disc features frontman Myles Kennedy and lead guitarist Mark Tremonti at the heights of their talents, with each pushing the other to new levels in their already accomplished careers.
‘House of Gold & Bones Vol. 2‘
It’s difficult enough to write and record enough quality songs to make a good album, and even harder to do it for a double album. But that’s exactly what Stone Sour did with the concept album ‘House of Gold & Bones.’ The first half was released in late 2012, and the second part in the spring of this year. Both albums are outstanding, but ‘House of Gold & Bones Vol 2‘ is just a little bit better. The epic ‘The Conflagration’ is a highlight on an album with songs ranging from accessible rock to edgy metal.
‘...Like Clockwork’ is Queens of the Stone Age’s first album in six years, and filled with big-name guests. Artists such as Elton John, Trent Reznor and Dave Grohl lend their considerable talents to the record, but the album leaves plenty of room for the band to shine. From the experimental ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’ to the radio-friendly ‘I Sat By the Ocean,’ Josh Homme and company have created a dark, yet timeless album with ‘...Like Clockwork.’
‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’
Alice in Chains came back strong in 2009 with 'Black Gives Way To Blue,' proving the band still had life after the tragic death of Layne Staley. But with 2013's 'The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here,' the band has once again taken its place atop the rock mantel with a stellar disc that is jam-packed with standout tracks, including singles 'Hollow,' 'Stone' and 'Voices.' While being very current, the disc recaptures the classic Alice in Chains sound that influenced legions of bands over the past two decades. 'The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here' earns the No. 1 spot on our 10 Best Rock Albums of 2013.
Which 2013 Rock Album Is Your Favorite?
Which 2013 rock album is your favorite? Did we miss your favorite disc of the year? Let us know in the comments section below: