What is the best rock or metal album of 2013?
We asked Ultimate Guitar readers to nominate and vote for the best albums of the year as part of our annual awards ceremonies. The result is a list of records which should land straight on your shopping list, if they haven't already appeared in your collection.
We still love to hear about your personal favorites from the year, even if they didn't make it to the top 10 this time. Share your reaction in the comments below.
In the meanwhile, enjoy this playlist and pass on the heavy love with the 'Like' button at the end!
10. The Dillinger Escape Plan "One of Us Is the Killer"
This band have been pushing the concept of crazy kinetic music past the fringe since long before it was cool. Today they're one of the most forward-thinking bands and have the most frantic live show you'll ever see. This album takes inspiration from their early days, which sounds great with their 2013 production values.
9. Amon Amarth "Deceiver of the Gods"
If you've ever been curious about how it would sound for Vikings to travel forward in time and churn out shuddering anthemic metal on their pure instinct alone, this is it.
8. Dream Theater "Dream Theater"
Although drummer Mike Mangini played drums on Dream Theater's last album after replacing Mike Portnoy, he didn't get a chance to fully unleash his creativity until songwriting for this record began. And wow, what a drummer. Hear him smack the bajeezus out of his kit in "Illumination Theory" from their awesomely heavy new self-titled album here.
7. TesseracT "Altered State"TesseracT gave us a progressive masterpiece in this album, which took a big stride forward from previous efforts partly thanks to new singer Amos Williams whose clean vocals helped inspire the rest of the band. "We’re still Tesseract, but with a slightly more energetic and vibrant colour about us now," says bassist Amos Williams. Sounds like a fair trade to us.
6. Protest the Hero "Volition"
These young Canadian heroes went without a record label and trust fans to stump up $125,000 on a crowdfunding site to fund this album. It worked, and the result was a stunning technical tapestry which sent Ultimate Guitar readers wild.
5. Black Sabbath "13"
It's still a little hard to believe that Black Sabbath came back and recorded a new album after decades on other projects. It almost didn't happen at all; guitarist and lead songwriter Tony Iommi was diagnosed with cancer early in the recording process. Thankfully, his recovery seems to be going well and the resulting album lived up to high expectations.
4. Alter Bridge "Fortress"
The superstar members of Alter Bridge are often on the road with other rock projects alongside the likes of Slash and others, but every time they get back together, they sure know how to make an incredible rock record. And if you have the edition with the bonus track called "Outright," consider yourself lucky: it's actually a misprint and will be corrected with the real title "Never Say Die" in the future.
3. Alice in Chains "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here"
The second album since Alice in Chains reunited over the past decade proves that they're just as talented now as at any point in their career. Controversial words, but it's hard for an act to live up to old expectations - which makes this mighty album even more impressive.
2. Steven Wilson "The Raven that Refused to Sing (And Other Stories)"
What happens when you pair one of the most respected progressive rock songwriters and producers in the world with legendary Pink Floyd engineer Alan Parsons? Why, one of the most beautiful albums of the year. Each song is based on a supernatural story, and features lyrics that will chill you to the bone and musicianship that will warm your heart.
1. Queens of the Stone Age "...Like Clockwork"
Remember last year when we polled for the most anticipated album of 2013? QOTSA were the winners by a long shot, so they had a lot to live up to. Thankfully they did, and they did it with aplomb. A series of exciting teaser animations gradually revealed the album and had fans scrapping together theories tying the animations to the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. But in the end, all that mattered was how the album sounded - and it sounded f--king great.
That's the end of our official Top 10 Albums of 2013, as voted for by Ultimate Guitar readers.
Do you agree with the final list? What is your favorite release? Let us know what you think in the comments, and hit the 'like' button below to share these great records with your friends.