1. Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent
The studio return of original vocalist Jesse Leach proved to be a successful endeavor and an exceptional release, pleasing many long-time and new fans alike.
2. Black Sabbath – 13
Heavy metal pioneers, Black Sabbath, reunited in late 2011, showing the world that they still have the power after all these years through this phenomenal release and a world tour.
3. Alter Bridge – Fortress
As a band comprised of all of the members of Creed except for singer Scott Stapp, Alter Bridge continue to portray their superior sound, much different from the former group. With lead vocalist Myles Kennedy in the limelight, Alter Bridge are virtually unstoppable, as confirmed by Fortress.
4. Eminem – Marshall Mathers LP2
The sequel to 2000’s Marshall Mathers LP, 2013’s Marshall Mathers LP2 affirms that angry Eminem is indeed the best Eminem. With the necessary controversial insults and the use of a variety of rapping styles, this new effort is arguably his best yet. From the Beastie Boys-esque “Berzerk” to the lightning speed spitting on “Rap God” to the voice-altering style on “Love Game,” Eminem surprises the listener with the vast versatility he possesses.
5. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
To say that Justin Timberlake’s experimentation on the two-part The 20/20 Experience was ambitious would be an understatement. However, as a single entity, this effort absolutely worked. The majority of the songs are exceptionally lengthy in duration, which makes it that much more curious. Unlike other musicians, Timberlake does not lose the listener in these longer tracks. The people that say Mr. West is a musical genius need to give The 20/20 Experience a good listen. Perhaps, they would subsequently stop using the term “musical genius” so loosely. As clarification, good ol’ JT portrays his musical ingenuity on this new two-part release.
6. TesseracT – Altered State
After several lead singers coming and going, it seems as though British progressive metal band TesseracT have found their winner in Ashe O’Hara. O’Hara is featured on the group’s sophomore effort, 2013’s Altered State. This new release follows the same conceptual format portrayed in TesseracT’s 2011 debut, One. Long-time TesseracT fans miss former vocalist Daniel Tompkins, but O’Hara fills Tompkins’ large shoes and then some on Altered State. The album’s single, “Nocturne,” is a strong highlight of the album with O’Hara reaching notes many metal vocalists would be afraid to attempt, accompanied by heavy, time-altered instrumentation.
7. Trivium – Vengeance Falls
This record was a bit hard to get into at first, but once the taste is acquired, the quality of the new material seems to nearly reach the bar set by 2008’s Shogun.
8. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Some people may call Random Access Memories a modern classic or even a masterpiece. It is indeed a phenomenal output by this electronic pop group and offers an enjoyable listen from top to bottom. While every song is spectacular on this album, specific song highlights include “Doin’ It Right,” “Give Life Back To Music,” “Lose Yourself To Dance,” and the over-played radio single, “Get Lucky.”
9. Clutch – Earth Rocker
While 2013’s Earth Rocker may not be exactly comparable with 1995’s Clutch, it has some great hard rock music on it, much of it seeming very blues-inspired, which is never a bad thing.
10. Vanna – The Few And The Far Between
Founding member Evan Pharmakis may be gone from Vanna, but he is doing great things in his solo project, Wind In Sails. As for Vanna, 2013’s The Few And The Far Between is one of their strongest efforts thus far. The clean vocals may be grittier than the ones once provided by Pharmakis, but they suit the short, aggressive songs very well.
This has been a great year for music as well as for this blog. I sincerely appreciate everyone who reads this blog. This has been the most eventful year since the inception of The MusicTalker, both in terms of my posting frequency and of the traffic from many new readers. Additionally, I am very grateful for all of the musicians who have reached out to me this year with music, looking for some exposure. While my readership is still growing, it was a pleasure writing pieces for you and I hope that I will hear from many of you in the future regarding any new releases or updates. Thank you for 2013 and may the new year bring more amazing new music!
– [Tim] The MusicTalker