Just as 2013 has been a memorable year for rock and roll, it has also been one for the metal music world. Progressive metal bands Queensryche and Dream Theater each issued triumphant self-titled albums, whereas such names as Motorhead and U.D.O. delivered their own standout efforts. See who is crowned number one on our list of The Best Metal Albums of 2013.
10) ‘Abbey Load’
Heavy metal smashup group Beatllica returned this year bearing their new album ‘Abbey Load’. Combining the distortion fueled rage of Metallica with the symphonic rock styling of The Beatles, Beatllica come up with some surprisingly standout music. Hearing the band perform classics like “Come Together” in Metallica‘s instantly recognizable style never gets old.
9) ‘The Dark and the Light’
Doogie White & La Paz
Former Rainbow lead vocalist Doogie White has been receiving some strong attention lately for his new album with Michael Schenker, but earlier this year he returned to La Paz to create ‘The Dark and the Light’, a standout album filled to the brim with rampaging bass lines, racing guitar riffs and White’s operatic singing style which as always runs right in the vein of the late great Ronnie James Dio.
8) ‘Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies’
Volbeat has never apologized for their use of melody and catchy hooks to carry a song along, and they certainly aren’t going to start now on ‘Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies’. Bold vocal harmonies and formidable rhythm assaults run rampant on the band’s fifth studio album. Add in Volbeat’s manic collaboration with shock rock legend King Diamond on “Room 24”, and you have something truly standout.
7) ‘United World Rebellion: Chapter One’
Skid Row make a well welcomed return-to-form on their new effort, ‘United World Rebellion: Chapter One’. The band reverts back to the iconic heavy metal style which populated Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach-fronted efforts, with manic rhythm guitar work and ranging primal screams transporting the listener back to 1989 and easily making this Skid Row’s finest studio release since ‘Subhuman Race’.
6) ‘Resurrect Me’
Embraced by fans as the sixth member of Queensryche, Pamela Moore returned with her first solo effort in seven years, ‘Resurrect Me’. Known best for her role as Sister Mary in the ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ albums, Moore now steps into the main spotlight while remaining strong and to the point. The melodic atmosphere found in such songs as “Paranoia” have enough strength to appeal to followers of her patented work, as well as a new wave of fans.
Udo Dirkschneider has achieved a formidable reputation within the metal music world for his role as the original lead vocalist for Accept. Nowadays Dirkschneider is proud to be at the helm of his own project, appropriately titled U.D.O., who released their new album ‘Steelhammer’ earlier this year. This new effort captures all of the elements which made Dirkschneider’s earlier albums with Accept so memorable: war army choruses, massive guitar riffs and the still admirably dynamic vocal range of the now 61 year old front man.
4) ‘Dream Theater’
Whenever Dream Theater releases a new album, it’s means for celebration. The group is responsible for some of progressive metal’s most memorable anthems and heavily replayed albums, which are filled to the brim with impressive synthesizer sections and pick grinding guitar work. When it comes to their 2013 self-titled effort, it’s certainly no exception. Virtuoso musicianship and introspective lyrics abroad, ‘Dream Theater’ proves to be a dynamic and provocative return from one of the godfathers of the genre.
While they don’t do anything revolutionary with their 21st studio album, Motorhead deliver another adrenaline-powered collection of anthems on ‘Aftershock’. From a stylistic standpoint, ‘Aftershock’ maintains the same elements of rock and roll and heavy metal which coated Motorhead’s earlier releases. The album boasts several traditional high-tempo favorites, disproving any notation that Lemmy’s recent health problems might hold the band back.
Black Sabbath overcame countless trials during the process of recording their long awaited comeback album ’13’ with original lead vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Tony Iommi is the true center of attention on these new tracks; despite being diagnosed with lymphoma and regularly being put through rigorous medical treatment, Iommi continued to go back into the studio and create his signature doom-laden guitar riffs which are so defining in Black Sabbath’s signature sound. Geezer Butler’s raw bass lines and manic lyrics, alongside Osbourne’s instantly recognizable singing style, similarly play substantial roles in making this album such a nostalgic comeback.
We have to tip our hat again on this one; the true surprise of 2013 was Queensryche’s triumphant self-titled return to form. The simple removal of a certain lead singer was all this band needed to create a their finest effort since ‘Empire’. Todd La Torre does an admirable job in the shoes of his predecessor, while effortlessly applying his own personal style into the performance. The atmospheric dual guitar playing of Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren is some of the finest this band has presented in decades, whereas the backbone of bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield provide the final touches which make this album complete.