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The 50 Best Albums of 2013

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 10 December at 08.36

The definitive countdown of the year in music featuring A Day To Remember, Paramore, The Wonder Years, Frank Turner, Fall Out Boy and plenty more!

If the average length of an album is 40 minutes, in 2013 you could have listened to just over 13,000 in a row. This is the definitive list – compiled by Rock Sound’s esteemed, knowledgeable and extremely attractive staff and critics – of the only 50 worth your time this year.

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50. Palm Reader ‘Bad Weather’ (Small Town)
‘Bad Weather’ delivered almost offensive levels of aggression, backed up by genuine emotion and even soaring melody when the time was right.

49. The Black Dahlia Murder ‘Everblack’ (Metal Blade)
Further evidence that the loudest and fastest music is the best music.

48. Hands Like Houses ‘Unimagine’ (Rise)
Australia has produced many great heavy bands in recent years and Rise Records' pedigree speaks for itself, so are Hands Like Houses going places? For sure.

47. Pure Love ‘Anthems’ (Vertigo)
Holding onto the gutsiness from their past punk lives, the pair sculpted a rock record true to its name, filled with anthems.

46. The Dangerous Summer 'Golden Record' (Hopeless)
Too brooding to be described as pop punk, but ‘Golden Album’ will be cherished for years to come.

45. Arcane Roots 'Blood & Chemistry' (PIAS)
Acrobatic and balletic in equal measure, Arcane Roots’ debut wasn’t so much a fully formed piece of work but a roadmap to where they could go in two, three or four albums’ time.

44. Better Off '(I Think) I'm Leaving' (6131)
The perfect way to introduce some of the finest purveyors of Brand Newcore (is that a thing yet?) around. (We Think) it’s brilliant.

43. Blessthefall 'Hollow Bodies' (Fearless)
Never write off a band because they might be about to pen their magnum opus.

42. Northlane ‘Singularity’ (UNFD)
They are going to be a band everyone is talking about for years to come.

41. The American Scene ‘Safe For Now’ (Pure Noise)
The American Scene’s debut was a heart-on-the-sleeve indie rock affair, completely devoid of pretense.

40. Deaf Havana ‘Old Souls’ (BMG)
A lot of band members can relate to the lyrics about touring, getting shitfaced and dealing with the hangovers in places so many miles away from home.

39. Mogwai ‘Les Revenants’ (Rock Action)
When the writers of the French TV hit (known as The Returned over here) had to devise a soundtrack that fit the show’s haunting, sinister undertones, it was a no-brainer.

38. Tesseract ‘Altered State’ (Century Media)
This second album reaffirmed their status as one of the UK’s most innovative heavy bands.

37. Listener 'Time Is A Machine’ (Tangled Talk)
Where their previous albums might have focused too heavily on Dan Smith’s acclaimed way with words, ‘Time Is A Machine’ matched his lyrics with an intricate, chaotic musical backdrop.

36. Frightened Rabbit 'Pedestrian Verse' (Atlantic)
A masterclass in spare, soulful and emotionally devastating songcraft, Frightened Rabbit’s fourth album was starkly beautiful throughout.

35. Asking Alexandria ‘From Death To Destiny’ (Sumerian)
Danny Worsnop’s outstanding vocal performance aside, these are the best songs the band have ever written – tight, ferocious and explosive.

34. Allison Weiss 'Say What You Mean’ (No Sleep)
The vocal hooks she crafted were coupled with endless feeling and integrity, and her expertly-layered synths and acoustic guitars crowned an effervescent, exciting new sound.

33. Falling In Reverse ‘Fashionably Late’ (Epitaph)
Predictably weird but with more memorable choruses than you can shake a stick at it, haters be damned.

32. Night Verses 'Lift Your Existence' (Easy Killer)
At 56 minutes it’s a monster, but one that never lets up.

31. Daylight ‘Jar’ (Run For Cover)
‘Jar’ has one foot in 1995, the other in the present day and boasts more than a few bona fide post-grunge classics.

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30. Queens Of The Stone Age ‘…Like Clockwork’ (Matador)
As perfect for a Saturday night as much as a Sunday morning, thanks to this album the Queens aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

29. Stray From The Path ‘Anonymous’ (Sumerian)
Provocative in the best sense of the word, Stray From The Path got right in the face of apathy and stupidity this year with an apoplectic beast of a record.

28. We Came As Romans ‘Tracing Back Roots’ (Atlantic)
The Michigan sextet proved that their ear for a chorus can be married with brutality to great effect, and in it they produced a template for everyone else to follow.

27. Touché Amoré 'Is Survived By' (Deathwish)
One of the toughest – but most rewarding – listens of the year.

26. Bad Rabbits ‘American Love’ (Bad Records)
Boston’s finest seamlessly collided soul, funk, hip-hop and rock, emerging with this insanely catchy, dancefloor-friendly triumph.

25. Norma Jean ‘Wrongdoers’ (Razor & Tie)
Over a decade since debut ‘Bless The Martyr And Kiss The Child’ slapped a tired genre round the face, the sludgy, Dirty South assault of their sixth full-length pummelled us into submission just as comprehensively.

24. The National ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ (4AD)
A quietly harrowing patchwork of addictions, regrets and failures it was also, bizarrely, their most sonically accessible work,

23. 65daysofstatic ‘Wild Light’ (Superball)
Epic in every sense of the word, and also shitloads of fun.

22. Mallory Knox ‘Signals’ (A Wolf At Your Door)
Full of big hearted sentiment and impossibly large choruses, this band hit their stride exactly as the spotlight turned their way. Outstanding.

21. Fall Out Boy ‘Save Rock And Roll’ (Mercury)
When you open an album with an aggressive song like ‘The Phoenix’, you really set yourself up for success.

20. Lonely The Brave ‘Backroads EP’ (Hassle)
When they drop the album next year, every single other band on the planet had better get out of the goddamn way.

19. Nine Inch Nails ‘Hesitation Marks’ (Polydor/Columbia)
Was it dance music? Was it industrial? Who cares, when it sounded this good you can call it what you want.

18. City And Colour ‘The Hurry And The Harm’ (Cooking Vinyl / Dine Alone)
Something about his particular country-tinged guitars, bluesy songwriting and candid vocals sets him leagues apart from other tattooed, acoustic guitar-toting punks.

17. Clutch‘Earth Rocker’ (Weathermaker)
Heavier and more direct than ever, they retained the bluesy riffage and surrealism that made their name, while kicking things into overdrive.

16. Foals ‘Holy Fire’ (Transgressive)
An example of a great fucking catchy tune, and an exciting sound compared to most music that's out right now.

15. Kvelertak 'Meir' (Roadrunner)
Sometimes, the best music is made by a bunch of borderline lunatics who wield their instruments like weapons and who only want to make the most invigorating and exciting noise possible.

14. State Champs 'The Finer Things' (Pure Noise)
These upstate New Yorkers dropped one of the best pop-punk albums of the decade in ‘The Finer Things’.

13. Deafheaven 'Sunbather' (Deathwish)
Blast beats, death metal vocals and swirling, beautiful guitars that sounded like a crazy combination of Kill Holiday and Wolves In The Throne Room.

12. Biffy Clyro ‘Opposites’ (14th Floor / Warner)
Having shouldered immense burdens over 18 years as a band, ‘Opposites’ reminded us exactly why they deserve to be selling out arenas.

11. The Bronx ‘IV’ (ATO)
Fistfuls of fury? Check. Buckets of soul? Check. Another superb album from The Bronx? Double fucking check.

10. Balance And Composure ‘The Things We Think We're Missing’ (No Sleep Records/Hassle)
A record that was sometimes obtuse, often jaded but always utterly captivating, and one that turned the band into one of modern rock’s brightest prospects.

09. The Story So Far ‘What You Don't See’ (Pure Noise)
The songwriting is excellent, production is excellent, vocals are way better and the lyrics are relatable with so many people.

08. The Dillinger Escape Plan ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ (Party Smasher)
With a heavy helping of the anthemic-yet-evil melody that made ‘Miss Machine’ so exciting and all the spasmodic violence and weirdness we love them for, ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ was exactly what was hoped for.

07. Defeater ‘Letters Home’ (Bridge 9)
Ahead of this record’s release, Defeater were renowned for mixing intricate hardcore songwriting with lyrics rooted in history and family, and their third album let precisely no one down.

06. Frank Turner 'Tape Deck Heart' (Xtra Mile)
His most personal – and best – album yet, Frank’s fifth effort in six years took the red-raw honesty of his earliest material and married it to a clutch of songs that were both comfortingly familiar and ambitious enough to justify the commercial success this record brought.

05. The Wonder Years 'The Greatest Generation' (Hopeless)
'The Greatest Generation’ was an imperious display of pop-punk at its savvy best and the defining album of what may well have been the genre's best year for a decade.

04. A Day To Remember 'Common Courtesy' (self-release)
‘Common Courtesy’ felt like the beginning of a glorious new chapter rather than the ending of a truly harrowing one. And that’s no mean feat.

03. Paramore 'Paramore' (Fueled By Ramen / Warner)
They’ve found a perfect balance of experimental and their signature Paramore sound. As well as that, it’s a super fun album.

02. Bring Me The Horizon ‘Sempiternal’ (RCA)
With a nuanced and fluid approach to metal, Bring Me The Horizon are not just playing the game, they are changing it.

01. Letlive. ‘The Blackest Beautiful’ (Epitaph)
While ‘Fake History’ kicked and bucked with nervous energy, this record took the kernel of what made them so exciting in the first place and painted it brightly for all the world to see.

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