Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Top 10 Albums of 2013

Something different today; I decided that rather than reviewing an album, I’d write an article based on my Top 10 albums of 2013. I figured I’d explain why each album made the list. And probably reiterate some of each albums best moments. Hope you enjoy, I’m definitely excited to write this! I’ve provided a YouTube video to each album. Each video is the song I initially considered the highlight.

#10 -- Scorpion Child – Scorpion Child

Original review found here.

There are many bands out there who try their hardest; a lot of the times try too hard, to embody that of a classic rock band. There are many out there, including myself, who prefer classic rock over modern rock, and most of these bands try to bring that sound back. However, the end result typically sounds more like an AC/DC cover band, with nothing really special about the band. They lack true feeling and emotion and concentrate strictly on just the sound. Such is NOT the case for Scorpion Child who not only embodies the style and vibe of a classic rock band, but is in every way a credible modern rock outfit. Their debut album is filled from beginning to end with some of this year’s best rock songs.

#9 -- Paramore – Paramore

Original review found here.

While it is true that Paramore took an almost drastic turn in their sound, thanks in part to the departure of Josh and Zac Farro, two of the bands original members, that doesn’t change the fact that this is still a great album. Sure some songs sound more poppy than usual (Still Into You) they still provided that same pop-punk sound that fans love on a few tracks. I consider this a good turning point for Paramore. Hayley Williams says it herself, “Some of us have to grow up some times” on the track Grow Up. While she was referring to something else, I find that really fitting for the direction Paramore took. In the end, this self-titled effort by Paramore is one of the most diverse albums released all year.

#8 -- Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

Original review found here.

While not as diverse as Paramore, or other albums to have come out this year for that matter, Alice in Chains return in fine form regardless. While their previous album, Black Gives Way To Blue wasn’t a bad album at all, it did by a point feel like the songs needed a bit of a change. Alice in Chains answered that with The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. The album starts off a bit slow, but before you know it the songs all start to have their own identity, making this album what I believe to be their finest effort since their immortal grunge classic Dirt.

#7 -- Protest The Hero – Volition

Original review found here.

The most recent album I reviewed, and as I mentioned in the article, it was a tough one to write about; all the more reason for this to be in the Top 10. No progressive metal band can do what Protest The Hero can do. Sure, while there are some show-offs out there who can play along with the band’s songs, there isn’t another group of young gentlemen out there who can write songs the way Protest the Hero have done throughout four full-length albums. With Volition, the band only continues to mature and as a result, they have not only released their best album yet, but also one of the top metal albums of the year.

#6 -- Barenaked Ladies – Grinning Streak

Original review found here.

Barenaked Ladies? Yes. Sure this is a list that includes bands like Alice In Chains, Protest The Hero and some other even heavier bands to come, but keep in mind that this isn’t a metal blog; it’s a rock blog. That being said, the Barenaked Ladies have always had the capability of writing some incredible songs, some that everyone knows, some that only few know, but the point is that they continue to do so on Grinning Streak. Every tune has a hook in it that everyone can sing along to, probably some of the best hooks out of any album on this list, and they are not afraid to be a little quirky at times. Such would describe the bands entire career though. Despite missing founding member Steven Page, the band still fares well at bringing the 90’s to the modern day.

#5 -- Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King

Original review found here.

Undoubtedly one of the most controversial albums to be released all year by one of the most controversial bands in modern hard rock, Avenged Sevenfold finds themselves in my top 5. Despite their hiccup on the song This Means War being, what I can’t deny, a rip-off of Metallica’s Sad But True, the rest of the album is fantastic. Any other comparison to Metallica, or anyone else, is merely those many people who just dislike the band, for no real reason, making excuses to further dislike the band. The best part is that the band, and their fans, couldn’t care less. Songs like Acid Rain and Heretic, to name a few, are patented Avenged Sevenfold tracks that show the band maturing and simplifying their sound without simplifying their song writing.

#4 -- Butcher Babies – Goliath

Original review found here.

Surprisingly, Goliath is one of the most diverse metal albums I have ever heard. Butcher Babies have come out full swing with an album that I can’t wait to see them top. While I’ve ranted about how many of today’s metal bands, while I do enjoy them, tend to sound the same, Butcher Babies are far from any other current metal band. Sure their music has a lot of screaming, which is something I’ve referred to as something that’s getting very old, but Carla and Heidi just have a way of delivering their screaming vocals with something more than other metal bands, and they aren’t afraid to show off their clean vocals. But the best part is their backing band. Rather than having a virtuoso guitarist pointlessly playing notes faster than you can hear them, guitarist Henry Flury is better than that, keeping his place as a groovy metal guitarist, showing off the odd solo but playing it with class.

#2/3 -- Alter Bridge – Fortress/Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt

Original reviews found here and here.

I’m honestly stumped here. I just can’t decide which album is better. I’ll leave this up to you. Considering how different these bands are, I’m sure that the choice shouldn't be this hard for others. On one hand, Alter Bridge continues to release music that no one could ever duplicate. Their charisma and comfort playing together as a band is as evident on Fortress as it’s ever been. Myles Kennedy continues to show why he is easily one of today’s best singers and Mark Tremonti continues to be such an underrated yet genius song writer.

On the other hand, Lightning Bolt is THE most diverse album released all year. Not one song sounds the same from the other and the band doesn’t sound like they have aged at all after almost 25 years together as a band. In fact, I’m convinced they haven’t aged at all. Their song writing, as would be expected, only continues to improve and the musicians themselves, especially Mike McCready, just continue to stand out more. Yes, I just can’t decide which album rightfully holds the #3 spot and which rightfully holds the #2 spot.

#1 -- Monster Truck – Furiosity

Original review found here.

There is, however, no doubt what the #1 album to have been released all year is. Only the second 10/10 I’ve ever given an album, after Halestorm’s The Strange Case Of... and justifiably so. Slash made it a point to commemorate the band and the album for everything it is and HMV’s all around Canada guaranteed the album for customer’s satisfaction. Any customer who didn’t like the album could return it, no questions asked. I have never seen HMV do that. While these are all facts, they aren’t why this is the top album of the year. As with any album, it’s the music that has to speak for what it is and not just what people say about the music. Monster Truck know exactly what it takes to make a great hard rock song and disguise it in to being a hit. Beyond catchy riffs, easy to sing along with hooks and terrific harmonized vocals are only some of the things that make songs like Psychics and The Lion and pretty much every song on the album terrific. Not to mention when the band goes in to their surprisingly convincing blues influences on For The Sun. Yes, I see no reason why Furiosity shouldn’t be the top album released all year. Not to mention The Lion has to be the second best rock song released all year, behind Pearl Jam's Sirens.

Honorable Mentions
There are two: Black Sabbath's 13 and Volbeat's Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies. People either love the new Sabbath or don't. Most people's only excuse for not liking it is because of the absence of Bill Ward. My advice to them is this - get over it. It was either this new album of some pretty amazing doom metal songs by the masters themselves, or nothing. As for Volbeat, which just barely didn't make the list, the main thing I have to remind people is that this is one of the leading acts in modern metal, and their uninclusion from this list really means nothing. But you didn't need me to tell you that.

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