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The Best of 2013!

In addition to my top picks for 2013, you can also read the top 5 picks from Mike, Pete, and Jez. Since we all have different tastes, it makes more sense to see different folks' opinions.

Dan's Picks for the Best of 2013

2013 was an unusual year musically... lots of very good releases, but very few that stood out as superb. Historically there have usually been a small pack of releases that would separate themselves from the pack, but not so much this year. It leaves me with an overall feeling of "meh" for the year that was. On the flipside, 2014 looks to be a HUGE year for quality releases.

The Also Rans

Aeon Zen - Self Portrait EP
Aon Zen
Arc Angel - Harlequins of Light
Benedictum - Obey
Benesser - The Start of Something New
Black Rose - Turn on the Night
Blackmore's Night - Dancer and the Moon
Bonfire - Live in Wacken
Boston - Life Love and Hope
Cemetary Dance - Poser Zombies
Charming Grace - ST
Chasing Violets - Jaded Hearts
Chastain - Surrender to No One
Compilation - Metal for Jesus
Cosmic Punch - Clay Pit Road
Crashdiet - The Savage Playground
D-A-D - Dic.Nii.Lan.Daft.Erd.Ark
Danger Angel - Revolutia
De La Cruz - Street Level
Def Leppard - Viva! Hysteria
dEmotional State - In Denial
Device - ST
Diamond Dawn - Overdrive
Divided Multitude - Feed on Your Misery
Edge - Heaven Knows
Epysode - Fantasmagoria
Fair Warning - Sundancer
Fergie Fredriksen - Any Given Moment
Gama Bomb - The Terror Tapes
Giuntini Project - IV
Golden Resurrection - One Voice for the Kingdom
Great White - 30 Years - Live from the Sunset Strip
Hardreams - Unbroken Promises
Hartmann - The Best Is Yet to Come
Helker - Somewhere in the Circle
Helloween - Straight Out Of Hell_ Premium Edition
Hibria - Silent Revenge
Human Fortress - Raided Land
Ian James Stewart
Imagine Dragons - Night Visions
Indicco - Karmalion
Iron Mask - Fifth Son of Winterdoom
Jessica Prouty Band - Set Me Free
Joey Summer - Even the Saints Are Sinners
Jorn - Symphonic
Jorn - Traveller
Kick - Memoirs
Kingcrow - Crescendo
Kryptos - The Coils of Apollyon
KULT - Unleashed from Dismal Light
Lancer - ST
Laneslide - Flying High
Lords of Ruin - Life Is a War
Mad Margritt - Show No Mercy
Markonee - Club of Broken Hearts
Masterplan - Novum Initium
Ministry - From Beer to Eternity
My Endless Wishes
My Soliloquy
N.O.W. - Bohemian Kingdom
No Possession Blues - ST
Norse - All Is Mist and Fog
Oel - Corello Motello
Oliva - Raise the Curtain
Paris - Only One Life
Pat Travers - Can Do
Patrick Hemer - More Than Meets the Eye
Pink Cream 69 - Ceremonial
Place Vendome - Thunder in the Distance
Player - Too Many Reasons
Protector - Reanimated Homonculus
Rage of Angels - Dreamworld
Reds'cool - Bad Story
ReinXeed - A New World
Rhapsody of Fire - Dark Wings of Steel
Rhapsody of Fire - Live
Royal Hunt - 20th Anniversary SE
Royal Hunt - A Life to Die For
Ryan Michalski - I Am Starting Over
Safire - All Because of You
Shadows Past
Shakra - Power Play
Shannon - Circus of Lost Souls
Sinner - Touch of Sin 2
Snakecharmer - ST
Snowfall - Cold Silence
Spaceking - Are You Standing
Stala and So - Play Another Round
State Cows - The Second One
Suidakra - Eternal Defiance
Swedish Hitz Goes Metal 2
Tellus Requiem - Invictus
The Burning Crows - Behind the Veil
The New Black - Cut Loose
The Prowlers - Point of No Return
Thunder Tribe - War Chant
Timmo Tolki's Avalon - The Land of New Hope
Tyla - Devil's Supper
UDO - Steelhammer
Until Rain - Anthem to Creation
Vandroya - One
Verdict - The Meaning of Isolation
Vindictiv - Cage of Infinity
Within Temptation - Q Music Sessions
Wolfpakk - Cry Wolf

Honorable Mentions

A Life Divided - The Great Escape. This one caused a ruckus when I decided to add it to Heavy Harmonies. While incorporating musical elements from other genres, the melodic hooks are excellent!

Amaranthe - The Nexus. Power metal meets metalcore meets Euro synthpop. Catchy though.

Angelica - Thrive. Great female-fronted melodic rock, lush production.

Bloodgood - Dangerously Close. Excellent comeback album over 20 years in the waiting.

Eden's Curse - Symphony of Sin. Excellent and heavier iteration of the band. Very promising future.

Harem Scarem - Mood Swings II. Most rerecorded albums fall short of the original release, but this one is actually as good as, if not better than the original! If it weren't a rehash, it might have made my top 5.

Lawless - Rock Savage. Excellent crunchy hard rock with plenty of melodic moments. Has a vintage feel at times, but not dated.

Magnus Karlsson's Free Fall. This one landed JUST outside my top five. Symphonic but not too self-indulgent, with loads of melodies throughout. Nice variety of vocalists.

Queensryche - ST. What a welcome effort! Contrasts superblyw with the P.O.S. that Geoff Tate put out. This is infinitely more genuine QR.

Redrum - Victims of Our Circumstances. Michael Bormann and Co. have produced and excellent slice of hard rock.

Saffire - From Ashes to Fire. Slightly proggy at times, but an overall good slice of melodic metal.

Sparklands - Tomocyclus. Very 80s sounding pomp AOR with a bit of a Scandi vibe and some westcoast AOR influences.

The Theander Expression - Strange Nostalgia. Another one that just missed my top 5 for the year. Very polished and dynamic with quite powerful choruses at times.

The Poodles - Tour de Force. I don't know that they can release a bad album. The absolute essence of crunchy hard rock at its finest.

Dan's Winners

5th Place

cover Find Me - Wings of Love. This is an all-star Frontiers project that hits on all cylinders. Very lush production and very radio-friendly hooks and choruses. The lead vocals are the strongest element. Standout tracks are Another World and Dancing With a Broken Heartbeat. Great replayability and polished throughout.

4th Place

cover John Elefante - On My Way To The Sun. While not quite up to the standard set by Mastedon - 3, which was my album of the year for 2009, it is still a wonderful piece of melodic rock. At times very Kansas-esque, as shown in the track below, but at other times more conventional in structure. I'm still amazed at how well John's voice has held up over the years. There's been none of the deterioration that freuqently plagues singers in their 50s and 60s. Just a wonderful album.

3rd Place

cover W.E.T. - Rise Up. I've always been a fan of Jeff Scott Soto's material. He's been everywhere doing everything. The debut W.E.T. album didn't capture my attention at the time, whereas this album seems to be much more consistent across the board. The choruses are just phenomenal. The only thing keeping it out of the top slot this year is the production. It's mastered at sound levels so high across the board that the dynamic range is severely compromised. The headroom is gone. It's like setting the knobs to 11 all the time. Anyhoo, that's really a minor complaint... like criticizing Kate Upton for not being as hot as Mila Kunis. Right... like anyone would kick either out of bed. Hmmm... am I saying that JSS is the Kate Upton of AOR? ;)

2nd Place

cover Stryper - No More Hell to Pay. To Hell With the Devil and In God We Trust have always been my favorite Stryper albums... until this year. This album came out of nowhere and surprised everyone; I think very few people were expecting an album of this calibre. I can honestly say that I think this is the besl album they have ever done. It harkens back to their vintage material more so than any of their recent efforts.

Dan's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2013 CD of the Year

cover Pretty Maids - Motherland. This band has been on a roll as of late. While many people (including myself) through it would be difficult to followup the phenomenal Pandemonium, they have defied the odds and come out with one killer album. Their material is so damned memorable and infectious, that you find yourself humming their melodies when you least expect it. Some people point to the material they released in the 1980s and early 1990s as being their "classic" or best material, but in my option we are in the midst of their best material right now. Pandemonium and Motherland as back-to-back studio releases is a combination that is virtually impossible to beat for strength and quality of material. If you missed this album in 2013, you did your ears a disservice. Fix it. Now.

Mike's Picks for the Best of 2013

The Also Rans

Alice In Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
Black Sabbath - 13
Buckcherry - Confessions
James Christian - Lay It All on Me
Cleavage - 15 Gets Ya 20
Cleavage - XOXO
Covered Call - Impact
Eden's Curse - Symphony Of Sin
Faith Circus - Turn Up the Band
Sammy Hagar - Sammy Hagar and Friends
Helloween - Straight Out Of Hell
Killer Dwarfs - Start at One
King Kobra - II
Koritni - Alive and Kicking
Loveblast - Hard Liquor in Big Glasses
Lynch Mob - Unplugged: Live From Sugarhill Studios
Newsted - Heavy Metal Music
Newsted - Metal
No Love Lost - S/T
Queensryche - Frequency Unknown
Queensryche - Queensryche (2013)
Redrum - Victim of Our Circumstances
Stone Temple Pilots - High Rise
Stryper - Second Coming
Tributes - Thriller: A Metal Tribute to Michael Jackson
W.E.T. - Rise Up

Honorable Mentions

Anthrax - Anthems. Great little EP of cover songs from the mosh kings!

Deep Purple - Now What! The best work in ages from Deep Purple. "Hell to Pay" and "Above and Beyond" are particularly excellent!

Harem Scarem - Mood Swings II. This CD was amazing the first time around, and things haven't changed 20 years later!

Tom Keifer - The Way Life Goes. Nice comeback for Mr. Keifer; a bluesy, rockin' affair that should appeal to Cinderella fans and straight blues fans alike.

Krokus - Dirty Dynamite. Another heaping helping of straight forward hard rock from Swiss legends Krokus.

Metal Church - Generation Nothing. My favorite metal release of 2013!

The Poodles - Tour De Force. Another solid release from one of my favorite bands of the last decade.

Skid Row - United World Rebellion: Chapter One. Their best work since the departure of Sebastian Bach! Now if we could just get a full release this good!

Starship - Loveless Fascination. Basically a Mickey Thomas/Jeff Pilson project, this is a much harder rocking effort than you would expect, and I quite enjoy it!

Tigertailz - Knives. Cool little EP featuring Jules Millis of White Widdow and The Deadthings fame on vocals. Would love to get a full release in 2014!

Mike's Winners

5th Place

cover Maxx Explosion - Forever. This one caught me by complete surprise! An awesome mix of House of Lords and Dokken (two of my all-time faves!), this release features some of the catchiest songs of 2013. "Cross Your Heart", "Love is a Nightmare" and "Can't Stop Falling" are all excellent, but really, the entire disc is quite good. I highly recommend you check this one out if you have not already done so!

4th Place

cover Pink Cream 69 - Ceremonial. With nearly six years passing since their last studio release, "In10sity", one would expect a pretty good effort, and in my opinion, PC 69 have delivered. While hard rockers like "Land of Confusion" and "Big Machine" shine, it's the lighter fare of "Wasted Years" and "The Tide" that really steal the show here. A great release; I hope they don't wait another six years to do a follow up!

3rd Place

cover The Winery Dogs - The Winery Dogs. Considering the players involved here, how could it not be good? Kotzen, Sheehan and Portnoy have released a disc full of hard rockers, with "Elevate", "Time Machine" and the excellent ballad "I'm No Angel" being the standout tracks for me. One of my most listened to discs of 2013. Hopefully the guys will stick around a while and give us a few more releases like this one.

2nd Place

cover Pretty Maids - Motherland. While not quite up to the lofty standards of 2010's superb "Pandemonium" (what is?), "Motherland" is still one helluva release, and my second favorite disc of 2013. Tracks like "Hooligan", "I See Ghosts", "Infinity" and my favorite, "To Fool a Nation" make this one a must own! The Maids deliver as they always do!

Mike's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2013 CD of the Year

cover Stryper - No More Hell to Pay. The best release of 2013; hands down! Stryper have released a disc that not only equals their best work of the 80s/early 90s, it surpasses it! Michael Sweet has never sounded better, and Oz Fox simply kills it here! From the openers "Revelation" and title track "No More Hell to Pay" to the ballad "The One" and the closing rockers "Sympathy" and "Renewed" this one features a little something for everyone. It is amazing to see a band that has been around for over 30 years releasing their best music at this stage of their careers. Excellent work Stryper; bring on the follow-up!

Pete's Picks for the Best of 2013

The Also Rans

Airbourne - Black Dog Barking
Bai Bang - All Around the World
Cleavage - 15 Gets Ya 20
Cleavage - XOXO
Deep Purple - Now What!?
Diamond Dawn - Overdrive
House of Shakira - Pay to Play
Tom Keifer - The Way Life Goes
James LaBrie - Impermanent Resonance
Laneslide - Flying High
Liberty N' Justice - The Cigar Chronicles
Lionville - II
Magnus Karlsson's Free Fall - Free Fall
Miss Crazy - Grip
Moritz - SOS
No Love Lost - No Love Lost
Place Vendome - Thunder in the Distance
The Poodles - Tour De Force
Queensryche - Frequency Unknown
Queensryche - Queensryche
Rage of Angels - Dreamworld
Saxon - Sacrifice
Summers - 364
Voodoo Circle - More Than One Way Home
The Winery Dogs - The Winery Dogs

Honorable Mentions

AdrianGale - Suckerpunch! Everything you'd expect from AdrianGale, if you loved their prior releases, you will love this one just as much.

Buckcherry - Confessions. A bit of a return to form IMHO, Lyrics not quite as cheesy as the last couple, and I've always been a sucker for catchy sleaze rock.

Burning Rain - Epic Obsession. I wanted to like this a lot more, and it's very good, but when I go back to their first two, I think it falls short a bit.

Coldspell - Frozen Paradise. The third of three solid releases from these guys, classy melodic hard rock coupled with some GREAT guitar sounds.

Crashdiet - The Savage Playground. Great vibe, killer songs, the production is just way too raw for me.

David Reece - Compromise. Great stuff from one of the more prolific voices in rock. I swear his voice gets better with age.

Eden's Curse - Symphony of Sin. Honestly their best yet IMHO, the songwriting is totally on point, and the musicianship as always is amazing.

Faith Circus - Turn Up The Band. Great songwriting and a solid production, tons of catchy choruses.

Gundacker Project - Plug Me In. Another surprise for me this year, stellar stuff right out of nowhere. High quality melodic rock with great vocals, excellent guitar work, and catchy choruses.

Hardcore Superstar - C'mon Take On Me. Very good, but they still aren't measuring up to the s/t from 2005 IMHO.

King Kobra - II. Wow, this was great, Shortino does a great job with the vocals, and the songs are killer.

LaValle - Dear Sanity. Fantastic production, solid songwriting and playing, I wish there was a bit more diversity on it, but when it comes to mid tempo melodic rock, they've got it nailed.

Loveblast - Hard Liquor in Big Glasses. Killer stuff, balls out rock'n'roll that sounds fresh and not dated. If it was a full length release it might have made my top 5.

Madman's Lullaby - Unhinged. LOVE the style of this one, got a real Badlands vibe to it. Looking forward to seeing more from these guys, and I'll bet they kill it live!

Redrum - Victim Of Our Circumstances. Great songs and Michael Bormann on vocals, 'nuff said!

Skid Row - United World Rebellion: Chapter One. Sounds like they're back and ready to take names and kick ass. Again, if it was more than an EP it might have made the top 5.

Snakecharmer - Snakecharmer. "Accident Prone" may be my song of the year, and this record sounds almost like old school Whitesnake with Paul Rodgers on vocals… not a bad thing at all!

W.E.T. - Rise Up. Excellent record with a great production, what more would you expect from JSS and company?

Pete's Winners

5th Place

cover Maxx Explosion - Forever. I admit, I wasn't all that excited when I heard about this release, being as it's basically House of Lords minus James Christian… well, I stand firmly corrected, this is a great release and I listen to it quite a bit. Chris' voice is great, and the musicianship is just stellar across the board. Jimi Bell is on fire, and there are some great solos and massive riffs all over this album. The songs are also very solid, and show some nice diversity from mid tempo melodic, to all out rockers, and of course a ballad or two. I'd have to say this was my big surprise on the list, go get it if you haven't.

4th Place

cover Newman - Siren. Newman's best effort yet IMHO, and that's saying a lot after "Under Southern Skies". Siren pulls out all the stops right out of the gate with "Scar of Love" and continues right through "Don't Know Why". I really feel like they've become a cohesive unit as opposed to a mainly studio band. Those live appearances are really paying off from what I hear on this disc. Lastly, as a guitar player, the guitar sound on this release just really kills it.

3rd Place

cover Pink Cream 69 - Ceremonial. The last few PC69 releases were quality, and in fact I don't think I've ever disliked anything they've put out. The production is always solid, the playing is always great, but I think with Ceremonial they upped the ante in the songwriting department by several notches, "Wasted Years", "Special", "I Came To Rock", it's really a solid offering from these veteran rockers and well worth adding to your collection if you haven't already.

2nd Place

cover James Christian - Lay It All On Me. I love this disc, it spent a whole lot of time in my car, and I played it constantly. A great blend of rockers, ballads and a little pop sensibility, all with that great production quality you can expect from Mr. Christian. I don't know how he does it, but he is the king of consistent, high quality releases in melodic rock whether it's HoL or solo stuff.

Pete's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2013 CD of the Year

cover Pretty Maids - Motherland. Wow, this one just floored me. Everything you'd expect from Pretty Maids, the seemingly effortless jump from heavy riffing to AOR choruses, the big production, and solid lyrics, yet somehow even better this time around. My favorite tracks are "Mother Of All Lies", "To Fool a Nation", "Sad To See You Suffer" and "Why So Serious" but really I can't say there's a bad track in the bunch.

Jez's Picks for the Best of 2013

The Also Rans

Airbourne - Black Dog Barking
Amaranthe - The Nexus
Angelica - Thrive
AOR - L.A. Temptation
AOR - The Secrets Of L.A.
Reuben Archer - Reuen Archer's Personal Sin
Bai Bang - All Around The World
Robin Beck - Underneath
Benedictum - Obey
Black Veil Brides - Wretched And Divine
Black Sabbath - 13
Black Star Rider - All Hell Breaks Loose
Bon Jovi - What About Now
Buckcherry - Confessions
Charming Grace - S/T
James Christian - Lay It All On Me
Crash Diet - Savage Playground
Deep Purple - Now What?!
De La Cruz - Street Level
Diamond Dawn - Overdrive
Eden's Curse - Symphony Of Sin
Fair Warning - Sundancer
FM - Rockville/Rockville II
Four56 - Edge Of The Storm
Hardcore Superstar - C'mon Take Me On
Harem Scarem - Moodswings II
Heaven's Basement - Filthy Empire
Jump - The Black Piulgrim
Tom Kiefer - The Way Life Goes
Mia Klose - London
Krokus - Dirty Dynamite
Last Autum's Dream - Ten Tangerine Tales
Little River Band - Cuts Like A Diamond
Pamela Moore - Resurrect Me
Jimmy Martin - Wild At Heart
Motorhead - Aftershock
Orianthi - Heaven In This Hell
Osukaru - Triumphant
Paris - S/T
Place Vendome - Thunder In The Distance
Player - Too Many Reasons
The Poodles - Tour De Force
Queensryche - Frequency Unknow
Queensryche - Queensreyche
Richie Sambora - Aftermath Of The Lowdown
Joe Satriani - Unstoppable Momentum
David A. Saylor - Kiss Of Judas
Snakechrmer - S/T
Solstice - Prophecy
Stala & So. - Play Another Round
Starship - Loveless Fascination
State Cows - The Second One
Status Quo - Bula Quo!
Stryper - No More Hell To Pay
Tarja - Colours In The Dark
Taste - S/T
Toseland - Life Is Beautiful EP.
The Theander Expression - Strange Nostalgia
White Wizzard - The Devils Cut

Honorable Mentions

Arc Angel - Harlequins Of Light. Expertly crafted Pomp/AOR from Jeff Cannata. A long time coming, but well worth the wait.

Battle Beast - Battle Bast. Harmonius Finnish heavy metal, with great keyboard/guitar interplay, fantastic hooks and brilliant songs. (Seriously recommended)

Carmen Gray - The No.1 EP. 5 track EP. from this very fine Finnish band. Modern melodic rock at it's best.

Coney Hatch - Four. First album in nearly 30 years from one of Canada's finest. Straight forward hard rock, with more than a musical slant at their masterful debut

Daughtry - Baptized. Great songs, consistent as hell, although maybe lacks a little bite throughout. Still an album I enjoyed immensely.

Dream Theater - Dream Theater. The Kings of Prog metals best album in a long time. Just missed out a top 5 spot. Brilliant.

John Elefante - On My Way To The Sun. One of the best voices in the business and his new album, which continues with the AOR/Prog crossover sound of the last Mastedon 3 album The thought provoking video for 'This Time' was excellent too.

John Fannon - Saved Up All The Pieces. Ex New England member with his first solo album. A stripped back, acoustic based sound with quality song writing and some excellent ballads.

Find Me - Wings Of Heaven. Top class melodic rock 'Project feat. Robbie Le Blanc and Daniel Flores.

Fergie Frederiksen - Any Given Moment. Fergie back at his very best since Toto's mega 'Isolation' album back in '84.

Houston - II. Sugar sweet 80's AOR, with hooks galore . One of the best of it's type this year without doubt.

James LaBrie - Impermanent Resonance. Excellent 3rd solo album with a great mix of non DT style metal, more 'commercial' material and a couple of cracking ballads.

Lifesigns - Lifesigns. Very accessible modern melodic Prog with a quintessential English feel. My Prog disc of the year.

Magnus Karlsson's Freefall - Free Fall. A bit of a no brainer for all Karlsson/Allen/Lande fans. Heavy, melodic, fantastic production although I wasn't keen on all of the guest vocalists involved if I'm honest.

Moritz - SOS. A fine set of traditional AOR songs, that lacked a little in their production, but definitely made up for with their quality. For a self released album, a very good effort indeed.

Pat Travers Band - Can Do. A really pleasant surprise, well worth checking out if you are into PT's earlier 'Hard Rock' sound.

Pretty Maids - Motherland. Follow up to 2010's excellent 'Pandemonium'., Heavy and melodic in equal measures with some great songs throughout.

Reckless Love - Spirit. The Finnish Hair Metallers return with their third instalment. For me, not quite as strong as the previous 2 releases, but still a very good disc with plenty of merit.

Saxon - Sacrifice. 35+ years, their 21st studio album and still banging out top quality Heavy Metal. Long live Saxon.

Seventh Key - I Will Survive. A very welcome return of Billy Greer and Mike Slamer. Immaculately executed progressive AOR.

Summers - 364. Def Leppard 'Lite' and a damned good album at that. Great, hooky songs. Maybe one or two short of brilliant, but a definite keeper. Roll on album number 2.

W.E.T - Rise Up. The return of one of Scandanavia's finest bands. A step up from the excellent debut, although I wasn't quite salivating as most have been over this. Highly recommended non-the less.

The Winery Dogs - The Winery Dogs. Sheehan/Kotzen/Portnoy 'Supergroup' which impressively ticks most of the right boxes.

Jessica Wolff - Renegade. She's Finnish, and she plays great melodic/Pop rock..(ohhh and she's blonde and cute). That's all you need to know.

Vega - What The Hell. Initially a little disappointing, but after a few spins everything clicked into place nicely. Not as good as the debut, but definitely highly recommended.

Von Hertzen Brothers - Nine Lives. Eclectic modern prog with plenty of catchy songs, tricky time changes and fantastic musicianship.

Jez's Winners

5th Place

cover A Life Divided - The Great Escape. This was like a breath of fresh air and kicked the new musical year off with a mighty bang, although I know it raised a few eyebrows on it's inclusion on the hallowed HH main pages. Call it what you want, Electro Rock, Synth Rock and yes It does have a lots of keys, and is quite experimental in places, but it also has some super choruses and riffs throughout, and never strays too far away from it's (Very) melodic core. Admittedly it won't be to everyone's taste, but for me, this hit the spot right on the head, and replay value was extremely high, compared to quite a few others this year which didn't hit the mark so well.

4th Place

cover Lordi - To Beast Or Not To Beast. As with past releases, liking this will totally depend on whether or not you get on with the vocals or not. Personally, Mr. Lordi's vocal style reminds me of Udo from Accept (not everyone's cup of tea either I know), but coupled with their heavy yet highly melodic style, razor sharp riffs and huge choruses, they have never failed to disappoint over the course of 5 albums. 'To Beast Or Not To Beast' is no different, following the same template as before, albeit with a slightly heavier sound, ably backed up by a huge Michael Wagener production.

3rd Place

cover Degreed - We Don't Belong. A relative late comer to my top picks, but what a stunning album it is and a major step up from their promising debut a couple of years ago. Melodic rock with a modern twist is the name of the game and a rock solid, mix of stunning songs (check out 'What If' for one of the best songs of the year) excellent, tight musicianship, wrapped up in a production to die for. Superb stuff.

2nd Place

cover Lovex - State Of Mind. Another very strong, well delivered album from the Finns, and one which fits in nicely with the high standards set by the previous 3. There are a couple of twists and turns along the way to keep things fresh and up to date and It has been noted that some have accused the band of being too 'Radio' or 'Pop' friendly on this album. Personally I see this pretty much as a natural progression from the previous 'Watch Out' (which made my number 1 slot back in 2011') ).and as with the Degreed album, this really is a very fine modern melodic rock album with a very consistent, well written set of songs My only niggle here is that at a stingy 35 minutes, including a bonus track, I would have liked a little bit more 'Listening Pleasure'!

Jez's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2013 CD of the Year

cover Steve Lukather - Transition. Released way back at the end of January, this has steadfastly refused to leave my number one position since. It has been seriously challenged on ocassions, believe me, but here it remains, standing proud in the top position 'Transition' just about perfectly sums up what I like to listen to in my old age, melody, emotion, amid some beautiful song writing and of course Luke's sensational guitar work finishing off the songs to perfection. Just like a fine wine, he gets better and better with age and every subsequent release. Numero uno... You bet.

Existing comments about Best of 2013

Heavy Harmonies Volunteer
From: whiplash1972 Date: January 27, 2014 at 18:00
Heads up Heavy Harmonies members! You can now post your comments here on the Best of 2013 lists! Be sure to chime in with your Top 5! :-)

From: Doug Date: January 27, 2014 at 19:06
These are awesome and so comprehensive. You guys know your stuff!! Excellent work.

From: Doghouse Reilly Date: January 27, 2014 at 19:32
My top five: 1. Clutch: Earth Rocker; 2. DevilDriver: Winter Kills; 3. Amon Amarth: Deceiver Of The Gods; 4. Thunder Tribe: War Chant; 5: Soilwork: The Living Infinite. HM: Motorhead, Aftershock.

From: CC Date: January 28, 2014 at 7:52
My top 5: 1: New Device - Here we stand 2: Falling Red - Empire of the damned 3: Reckless Love - Spirit 4: Santa Cruz - Screaming for adrenaline 5: Tom Keifer - The way life goes ... would have liked to have included Toseland or Curran, but a 4 track EP just wasnt enough. Plenty of other good releases though like Wildside Riot, Stryper, Halestorm, Anthrax, Shameless, Liberty N Justice, Barbe Q Barbies to name a few.

From: metalmastermusic Date: January 28, 2014 at 13:58
1.Eden’s Curse – Symphony of Sin 2.Coldspell – Frozen Paradise 3.Burning Rain – Epic Obsession 4.Winery Dogs - ST 5.Magnus Karlsson – Freefall 6.W.E.T.– Rise Up 7.Maxx Explosion – Forever 8.Stryper – No More Hell To Pay 9.David Reece – Compromise 10.De La Cruz–Street Level 11.LaValle–Dear Sanity 12.Find Me–Wings of Love 13.Adriangale-Suckerpunch 14.Degreed–We Don’t Belong 15.Tom Keifer–The Way Life Goes 16.Vega–What The Hell 17.Loveblast – Hard Liquor In Big Glasses 18.Queensryche – ST 19.Snakecharmer–ST 20.Newman–Siren 21.PC69–Ceremonial 22.Tainted Nation–F.E.A.R. 23.Hardcore Superstar–C’mon Take On Me 24.Code of Silence–Dark Skies Over Babylon 25. Impera–Pieces of Eden

From: metalmastermusic Date: January 28, 2014 at 14:01
I did not have the Pretty Maids album until after I had made this list but it would fall in about #9 for me and all the other would move down one.

From: steve72 Date: January 28, 2014 at 18:06
1.Tom Keifer - The Way Life Goes 2.The Winery Dogs - The Winery Dogs 3.Stryper - No More Hell To Pay 4.The Ginger Wildheart Band - Albion 5.Hardcore Superstar - C'mon Take On me (Honorable Mentions... *Dream Theater - Dream Theater *Baby Animals - This Is Not The End *Rob Zombie - Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor)

From: Scandiman Date: January 29, 2014 at 13:07
Great lists guys! Totally agree with your comments about the Pretty Maids release. It is by far my #1 album of the year. Did no one listen the 'Unbreakable' by Smash Into Pieces? This album was amazing.. #2 on my list followed by Seventh Key's 'I Will Survive' Vega's 'What The Hell' and then Lovex 'State Of Mind.' 2013 was the best year for music since 2008 IMHO. This coming year is looking to be off the charts.. let's hope it rings true!

From: 123charpenay Date: January 29, 2014 at 13:17
it s very interesting to see that we are not some ships,we have not the same taste in hard rock top ten for 2013 is:1 danger zone "undying" 2 sturm und drang "graduation day" (jap issue) 3 amaze me "guilty as sin" 4 laneslide "flying high" 5 redrum "victim of our circonstances" reckless love "spirit" 7 wet "rise up" 8 lost weekend "evermore" 9 stryper " no more hell to pay" 10 stala & so "play another round".hope 2014 will be at the same level than 2013.keep on rockin.

From: rick kerch vzla Date: January 29, 2014 at 16:02
Nothing but a great selection guys!!!...keep on rocking Dan,Pete,Mike & Jez!!!

From: underworld king Date: March 28, 2014 at 7:22
Happy to see Pretty Maids getting the respect they deserve here. You guys run an awesome site!

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