Top 10 Albums of 2013

What are the best albums of the year? The votes have been counted, and it's time to find out the winner.

Top 10 Albums of 2013
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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.

102 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    jody97
    Some honorable mentions: Ghost - Infestissumam Gorguts - Colored Sands Deafheaven - Sunbather Bad Religion - True North & Christmas Songs Voivod - Target Earth Volbeat - Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies Kvelertak - Meir Clutch - Earth Rocker August Burns Red - Rescue and Restore Motorhead - Aftershock Red Fang - Whales and Leeches Arctic Monkeys - AM Some from above deserve place IMO
    Kaseke
    I would have liked The Oceans new effort on this list as well... It was one solid album
    bevski208
    Not a bad list at all. Not entirely convinced about DT, I thought this album wasn't as good as recent efforts, but still a solid album. Hopefully we'll see Tool up here next year...
    Witt1975
    I'm with you on DT. It's a good album, but I'm a fan of the heavier DT stuff. Train Of Thought is hands down my favorite of theirs. Systematic Chaos is pretty damn good too. Having said that, way way better than anything I could ever put out...
    Darth Crow
    Actually I think that DT should be higher on the list... I definately liked it more than the new Sabbath, for example. But I'm just really glad they made it on the list
    iommi600
    Some albums that deserve a mention, IMO (not that anyone cares, of course): God is an Astronaut - Origins My Bloody Valentine - MBV Death Grips - Government Plates Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2 The Fall - Re-Mit Arctic Monkeys - AM Beady Eye - BE Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks Johnny Marr - The Messenger Arcade Fire - Reflektor Sebadoh - Defend Yourself
    The Spoon
    Amos Williams is just the bassist of Tesseract. Their new singer's name is Ashe O'Hara
    LynchMobster
    I think i would have put Disarm the Descent - Killswitch Engage in place of Amon Amarth but that's just me
    Spoony_Bard
    I'm sure someone has already mentioned this, but there's an error in the Tesseract entry. Amos Williams is their bassist. The new singer is Ashe O'Hara. Pretty great list, though, all things considered.
    mokeefe4
    Very glad that Steven Wilson's work was recognized! Fantastic album by a fantastic musician.
    fugazimats
    Deafhaven, Comadre, Touche Amore, Bosnian Rainbows, Foals, Palm Reader, Wounds, Defeater... The list of great albums is endless.
    DowntownRascal
    1. Disclosure - Settle 2. Bonobo - The North Borders 3. Toro Y Moi - Anything in Return 4. AlunaGeorge - Body Music 5. James Blake - Overgrown 6. Arcade Fire - Reflector 7. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city 8. Daft Punk - Random Acces memories 9. Kanye West - Yeezus 10. Empire of the Sun - DNA
    skeetlzz
    You know it was a good year for music when good kid, m.A.A.d. city was nominated for best album and best rap album but won't in either.
    ibanez124
    I would have put "Fortress" above "TDPDH", but that is just my personal opinion
    Kueller917
    Pretty representative list. Really been getting more into Steven wilson's album recently. Also giving a shout out to Sigur Ros' Kveikur, Mesita's Future Proof, and 65daysofstatic's Wild Light. So much music out there. I wish I could hear it all.
    rkeane32
    today is not wednesday jeremey, now run off and go fetch me the newly fresh paint before the sun comes down. and dont you dare get that fair trade coffee again
    jody97
    No Sunbather from Deafheaven? Oh maybe the album is just not for ug community.
    Chickendirt
    10. Hesitation Marks-NIN (A brilliant comeback album filled with a variety of genres) 9. Overgrown-James Blake (A beautiful mix of Dubstep and Ambient elements with that voice) 8. AM-Arctic Monkeys (Just a great, sexy rock album) 7. Asymmetry-Karnivool (An amazing prog record which gets better by age) 6. Kveikur-Sigur Ros (Just beautiful) 5. Hungry Ghost-Violent Soho (As an Aussie this album just brings out everything awesome about being Aussie) 4. RAM-Daft Punk (Awesome funk and disco music where every song is different) 3. Rookie-The Trouble With Templeton (An unknown Brisbane folk band who's album brings back memories of 90sRadiohead, Jeff Buckley and even at times Portishead) 2. ...Like Clockwork-QOTSA (Above description sums it up) 1. Not Art-Big Scary (A flawless album where each song individually is great and together they sound even better. Mixes bluesy rock riffs, garage rock drums, classical piano and beautiful ballads in one album, lead by the whispery voice of Jo and the Jeff Buckley-esque voice of Tom)
    xbgeox
    Uuuuh I thought hesitation marks was insane. They let Trent slip in the top 10 songs as well... Where is the nin love?
    Maximusofmetal
    Quite perfect ! ...Like Clockwork is one of the best albums of the decade ! I wouldd just add Kveikur from Sigur Ros, a very good album too