Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Top 13 albums of 2013

It’s been a while since my last post and there are a bunch of things I need to blog about but given the date I’m going to put all those things on the back burner and announce my top 13 albums of 2013.

13 Black Sabbath – 13. Appropriately in 13th place is Black Sabbath’s ‘13’. The first album to feature Ozzy since 1978 but sadly drummer Bill Ward was left out before recording. Chock full of killer riffs, this album is solid start to finish. Classic rock & Sabbath fans should love this. Favourite Track: Loner or God is Dead?

12 Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood – Black Pudding. Mark Lanegan teams up with Duke Garwood to put out a quiet soulful beautiful album. Few tracks have much more than an acoustic guitar (or piano) and vocals. Perfect for those quiet downtime moments where you want something quiet. Favourite Track: Last Rung or Mescalito

11 Vista Chino – Peace. The band formerly known as ‘Kyuss’ & ‘Kyuss Lives’ releases their first album since 1996 and first without Josh Homme. It was hard listen to this album without expectations. Kyuss was the first band I saw live, they blew me away and instantly changed the style of music I was listening to. (Did I tell you about the time I saw Kyuss support Metallica in 1993?). I can see why some Kyuss fans will be disappointed in this but there are a bunch of good tracks on here especially if you consider it Vista Chino & not Kyuss. Some tracks sounds a touch ripped off, some flow on nicely from various Kyuss albums and others show a new style of their own. Favourite Track: Adara

10 Five Horse Johnson – The Taking of Black Heart. If you know Clutch you should know and love Five Horse Johnson. The taking of Black Heart is another quality album from FHJ. If there is a better blues/rock band out there then I’m not aware of them. Gotta love that harmonica too. Favourite Track: Mexico 

9 Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks. Trent Renzor quietly and secretly reforms a new incarnation of NIN and drops a new more mature and rather sultry dancey album on us. The only thing I particularly dislike is the use of auto-tune in track ‘Everything’. Whether it’s done ironically or not I just don’t like it. It’ll never be my favourite NIN album but it has some really great tracks on it. This should appeal to most NIN fans and also gain a new following as well. Favourite Track: Satellite

8 Tumbleweed – Sounds From The Other Side. 90’s Aussie stoner rock band Tumbleweed have been promising a new album for the past few years since reforming with their original guitarist and regularly touring. The album is an instant classic, Aussie rock at its finest! Favourite Track: Mountain

7 Red Fang – Whales & Leeches. The eagerly awaited third album from Red Fang doesn’t disappoint but with quite a few albums this year I don’t think it’s quite as good as their previous. Still that leaves it better than 99.999% of other albums that came out this year. Favourite track: Blood like cream

6 Pelican – Forever Becoming. Pelican are one of those bands I’ve always ‘sort of’ been into. While never being one of my favourites I’ve always liked what they’ve done but somehow never really got around to listening to often. A few years ago they appeared done for as a band when their lead songwriter amicably left in favour of time with his family. But fortunately they were able to replace him and have gone onto release Forever Becoming and what a cracker the new album is. If you don’t know Pelican they seem to get lumped in the same circles as Isis. Favourite Track: Vestiges

5 Big Business – Battlefields Forever. Probably their best album to date. It’s heavy, quirky and catchy as hell. What more do you want from those other two guys from the Melvins. Favourite Track: Chump Chance

4 The Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer. I’ve tried many times previously to get into TDEP but I’ve always found them way too heavy and chaotic for my tastes. With their new album I gave them another go and after a few listens a few tracks started gelling with me. I’ll probably never be truly into the intense crazy metal sections but I’m very much digging the stuff that is more like a heavy version of Tomahawk. I’m not sure what long term TDEP fans think of the album but I love this release. Favourite Track: One of us is the killer or Paranoia Shields

3 Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. Ok yes the title is rather silly and so are one or two lyrics lines but this album has some great rocking songs. The album would possibly be more solid if one or two of the later tracks had been cut but the dream of the 90’s is still alive if AIC can keep putting out albums like this on. Favourite Tracks: Hollow (heavy), Voices (quieter) 

2 The Drones – I See Seaweed. Another silly album title but don’t be put off, this album is awesome. I didn’t think the Drones would be able to follow up their previously album Havilah so well but they have. If you don’t know the Drones, you should. Favourite Track: I see seaweed

1 Clutch – Earth Rocker. The album was released in March and about halfway through my first listen I knew this was going to be my favourite album of the year. Nothing else would have a chance in hell of getting even close to it. Not only was it the latest release from my favourite band but it’s one of their best releases ever. While I loved their more bluesy albums of recent years, this album is an awesome return to straight out rock. The album has energy and lots of it. It doesn’t get much better than this folks! Favourite Track – DC Sound Attack

So there you have it, 2013 will forever be known for a brilliant Clutch album and quality albums from some of my favourite 90’s bands like Alice in Chains, Nine Inch Nails, Tumbleweed and Vista Chino (aka Kyuss). The dream of the 90’s is still alive in Portland rock music.

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