Now that 2013 was here and gone like a flash, I have finally realized it and gotten my Top Album of 2013 posted. There was a lot of great music released. Some were unexpected gems, some had high expectations and sucked, and others still made me believe that some of today’s rock can hold up some years from now. Not too much of that, but still some entertaining and riveting music to ROCK to. Check out my Top 20:
20. Jared James Nichols – Old Glory & The Wild Revival
This 5-track E.P. from the 22 year old blues rock prodigy kicks off with an amazing track called ‘Blackfoot,’ and the rest of the album’s material firmly adds this young guitar great to the list of potential future legends. This Berklee College of Music alum is that good. Recognize and do it now. A full album will follow this Spring.
19. Buckcherry – Confessions
Another great album from a band that continues to not get the acclaim they deserve for what they are…a truly great American Rock band. While these guys have had multiple great albums over the years and a wealth of fantastic material, I really feel they should be more well known in all rock circles. This was a bit of a departure for the band, but still delivered as Buckcherry always do.
18. Joe Satriani – Unstoppable Momentum
Joe brought forth another great album of material in 2013 that generally lives up to that of his past. Music you can feel from Joe, right when we needed it. There just aren’t any artists around anymore that not only do what Joe does, but does it this well every time.
17. Tedeshi Trucks Band – Made Up Mind
Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi put their solo bands on hiatus to form a new group in 2010 that lets the married couple focus on making music together. We are so glad they did. ‘Made Up Mind’ is the band’s third album and continues the feel good blues vibe of their previous studio and live album releases. I have yet to see Tedeshi Trucks Band live, but with dates booked in 2014, I hope to get the chance to see these fantastic musicians and their bandmates perform this great material live.
16. Alter Bridge – Fortress
Alter Bridge returned with their new album ‘Fortress’ in 2013, and it delivered the combo of intense in your face rock along with the emotion and connecting mid tempo tracks that the band puts into each and every release. Alter Bridge has yet to tour the U.S. behind this release, but have multiple dates on tap for 2014. I expect the album to get a resurgence on the charts and hopefully with radio airplay for more of these deserving tracks.
15. Monster Truck – Furiosity
The Canadian rockers from Hamilton, Ontario bring it big time on this, their first full-length album. The band had released two EP’s previous to this album, but I was glad to finally discover the band behind this latest release. The band mixes their hard rock, punk and classic rock influences and it comes out crushing like a Monster Truck. To me there is a harder rocking Skynyrd vibe, which I really dig. The band won the 2013 Juno Award for breakthrough album of the year and theyplayed the Download Festival in 2013. They’ve toured with Slash and others in the U.S. in the past and will be touring in the U.S. with Buckcherry later this month, so look for them and show your support! I really dig their vibe and hope bigger things in the future for them.
14. Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose
The band that previously toured as Thin Lizzy decided to recharge with a new album and a new band name and the result was a much acclaimed offering that checks in at #15 on my list for 2013. While still holding onto a core sound, Black Star Riders collectively have a new energy and a exciting future that begins with this album.
13. John Fogerty – Wrote A Song For Everyone
Fogerty brought a new energy to many of his Creedence Clearwater Revival classic tracks and added some great new songs to this collaborative collection. The likes of Kid Rock, Bob Seger, Foo Fighters and Tom Morello joined country artists Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson and Miranda Lambert on the album with Fogerty, creating some unique new versions of his songs.
12. Anthrax – Anthems
The sixth EP from the legendary thrash rockers brings versions of the band’s favorites from the 1970’s together, along with two versions of “Crawl”, a song from their previous studio album. Featured covers on the album include ‘Anthem’ (Rush cover), ‘T.N.T.’ (AC/DC cover), ‘Smokin’ (Boston cover), ‘Keep On Runnin’ (Journey cover), ‘Big Eyes’ (Cheap Trick cover) and ‘Jailbreak’ (Thin Lizzy cover).
11. Alice In Chains – The Devil Put The Dinosaurs Here
The fifth studio album from Alice In Chains, and the second with singer William DuVall, peaked at #2 in the U.S. charts and featured some great tracks like ‘Hollow,’ ‘Stone,’ and ‘Voices.’ The rest of the album has moments, and while not to the level of 2009’s ‘Black Gives Way To Blue,’ overall it warrants a Top 15 finish on my top albums of 2012.
10. Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
Pearl Jam’s tenth studio album continued and added to the band’s acceptance and future Hall of Fame credentials. The guys are aging graceful, delivering moments of the 90’s angst, with an adult and contemporary sound on other tracks. It all works and delivers ‘Lightning Bolt’ into my Top 10.
9. Stryper – No More Hell To Pay
Christian rockers Stryper delivered an album stronger than I anticipated and worthy of a Top 10 finish on my list. Micheal Sweet has showed what an amazing talent and leader of the band he is, with his producing, singing, and guitar skills all showcased along with other long time band members Oz Fox, Robert Sweet and Tim Gaines. Stryper’s ‘No More Hell To Pay’ way truly one of the year’s rock surprises.
8. Queensryche – Redemption
If it wasn’t obvious before it’s release, this version of Queensryche with all the original members of the band and new singer Todd LaTorre, trumped the Geoff Tate version by far after it. The album is all quality material, and the addition of LaTorre has added a new passion that was seemingly missing with the last few Queensryche records. We shall see if Tate answers in 2014 with an album of his own, but this will be tough to beat.
7. Motorhead – Aftershock
Despite Lemmy Kimister’s recent health issues in 2013, the new album from Motorhead was a jack and coke, with a shot of tequila, jager and another shot of jack. The album rocks hard from beginning to end, and while we all want Lemmy to chill out a bit and curtail his favorite intake so he can be with us for as long as possible, this album from Motorhead continues the legacy of the band and the man who is a true rock original.
6. Tom Keifer – The Way Life Goes
A great solo offering from the Cinderella frontman that showed a wide range of influences and talents. Tom has always been a fantastic songwriter, with multiple memorable hits from his Cinderella days. That continues with ‘The Way Life Goes,’ and I hope we get more new solo material in the future from Tom, as well as new Cinderella music.
5. Pop Evil – Onyx
Michigan rockers Pop Evil continued their onslaught on the airwaves, with two songs from their latest album already going to #1 on the Active Rock charts. The second album from the band has firmly etched the guys as major players in rock, with the ability and talent to take it to an even bigger level.
4. Stone Sour – The House Of Gold & Bones Part 2
One of the most interesting rock projects of the year, with Corey Taylor raising Stone Sour’s influence, even getting closer to the level of popularity of his other band Slipknot. This was the second of the two ‘House Of Gold & Bones’ albums, and spawned two singles that are in my Top 10 tracks of the year. Combine the two CD packaging and you get an actual cardboard model home, and add the whole comic book issues with that and you have a dynamic, multi-layed project that reached so many on so many levels.
3. Sound City – Real To Reel
A fantastic soundtrack album to Dave Grohl’s ‘Sound City’ rockumentary, the project combined artists that have recorded legendary albums in the past at the iconic Sound City Studios, with an array of great artists that Grohl brought together as the Sound City Players. Two tracks from this album also are featured in my top tracks of the year. If you have yet to see the ‘Sound City’ movie, you owe it to yourself to check it out and enjoy!
2. Black Sabbath – 13
I was upset when first hearing that drummer Bill Ward wouldn’t be a part of the Black Sabbath reunion tour and album, but with each listen, the album continues to get better and better to me. The project has been a huge success, with the album and tour both making Black Sabbath one of the rock stories of the year. I still am holding out hope that Ward will get to rejoin his bandmates for shows and recordings at some point (better be soon), but if that doesn’t happen, will still have this crushing Sabbath album that kicked my ass.
1. The Winery Dogs – The Winery Dogs
This is by far my favorite release of 2013! Master musicianship from the power trio featuring guitarist and vocals from Richie Kotzen, bass from the amazing Billy Sheehan, and percussion by one of today’s great drummers, Mike Portnoy. Great songs with great hooks, and a variety of sounds demonstrating three masters meshing in a way that maybe even they didn’t think possible. A phenomenal album from a band that I hope continues to stay together and put out more fantastic music. While the band has played some shows in 2013 in the U.S., I’m hoping for more opportunities to see this material live and what they future holds for a band that deserves to be recognized by all rock fans of any genre.
Others that missed the Top 20:
Megadeth – Supercollider, Jimi Hendrix – People, Hell & Angels, Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King, Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol. 1 & 2, Stone Temple Pilots – High Rise (E.P.), Airbourne – Black Dog Barking, Korn – The Paradigm Shift, Kill Devil Hill – Revolution Rise, Krokus – Dirty Dynamite, S.U.N. (Something Unto Nothing), Gov’t Mule – Shout, Eve To Adam – Locked & Loaded