Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013

16th Dec 2013 | 10:56

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Total Guitar's Best 20 albums of 2013
The TG team and contributors pick their favourite guitar albums of 2013

The Total Guitar team and contributors have had their iPods out and put their thinking caps on to choose their favourite guitar albums of 2013. Now the votes are in and here, in descending order, are the top 20.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Alkaline Trio – My Shame Is True

Guitarist: Matt Skiba

A whole eight albums in, Alkaline Trio never fail to surprise us with their knack for mixing killer hooks with lean punk energy. In a genre that’s become an increasingly dirty word (and increasingly lacks the ‘punk’ part), Alkaline Trio are still producing guitar-heavy pop-punk in its truest form.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Joe Satriani – Unstoppable Momentum

It’s not just the technical prowess, although there’s obviously truckloads of that, peaking with the napalm tapping section on Lies And Truths. It’s the melodies. All widdlers reckon they play ‘songs’, but Satch is one of the few who never feels like he’s working through a scale book.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

Guitarists: Jerry Cantrell, William DuVall

The songs Hollow and Stone typify the AIC approach, but Voices and Scalpel verge on countrified territory, while the title track echoes Facelift-era epics. TDPDH proves they’ve overcome the risk of a post-reunion sophomore slump

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Biffy Clyro – Opposites

Guitarist: Simon Neil

Across both discs here, Biffy manage to stay focused and true to their instincts. Confident and expansive, with an effortless complexity and monster chorus after monster chorus, Opposites is the sound of a band who have hit a powerful groove and now seem almost unstoppable.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Deap Vally – Sistrionix

Guitarist: Lindsey Troy

Hailed as everything from the saviours of rock to the girl-girl WhiteStripes, Deap Vally were under plenty of pressure to turn in a pretty special debut album. And they have. The electricity is reminiscent of the Stripes, though Lindsey Troy’s playing owes more to Hendrix and Page than White.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Tesseract – Altered State

Guitarists: Acle Kahney, James Monteith

The British progressive metallers returned with a worthy follow-up to their 2011 debut, One, and a sound all of their own: intricate grooves folded into dreamy clean layers. It’s inclusive prog or transcendental metal, depending on where you’re coming from.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
The Artistocrats – Culture Clash

Guitarist: Guthrie Govan

Inspired by the mind-melting experience of touring, Culture Clash is a blast. It sees thevirtuoso trio of Guthrie Govan on guitar, Bryan Beller on bass and Marco Minnemann on drums serve up
a giddying cocktail of impossible solos and surreal, morphing Zappa-esque arrangements.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
The National – Trouble Will Find Me

Guitarists: Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner

Again, The National prove they’re equals to the likes of Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse and Wilco, and natural inheritors of REM’s crown. The Dessner twins intertwine their telepathic six-strings into atmospheric picked intros, EBow’d lines and resonant riffs.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars

Guitarist: John Paul White

Welcome to the bittersweet. White’s tasteful guitar and Charlie Peacock’s sensitive production frame this second album perfectly. Their songs – including the beautiful ballad Same Old Same Old and the gritty blues of I Had Me A Girl – are timeless enough to become standards.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal

Guitarist: Lee Malia

Oli Sykes has never screamed less, with tracks such as And The Snakes Start To Sing offering a mix of melodic singing, atmospheric clean delayed guitars, choirs and sampling to keep fans guessing. It’s progressive on a grand scale, thankfully without ever forgetting it’s a metal album.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
City And Colour – The Hurry And The Harm

Guitarist: Dallas Green

This is Green’s most cohesive and addictive C&C album yet. It manages to be confessional without self-indulgence, and the rich upfront acoustic tones and distant pedal-steel textures make this a slow burner – but one that will burn into your affections. Refreshingly honest music.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Jimmy Eat World – Damage

Guitarists: Jim Adkins, Tom Linton

Very few can write bittersweet paeans to the human condition that are as immediate as Jim Adkins (No, Never and one of his best yet, Please Say No are standouts here). He and Tom Linton are now masters at using melodic colour to enhance sublime songwriting with sparkle and dirt.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Clutch – Earth Rocker

Guitarist: Tim Sult

With a rhythm section burrowed deep in the pocket, Tim Sult mainlines righteously kinetic riffs, matched by Neil Fallon’s inventive lyrical magic and vehemence on standout tracks Crucial Velocity, DC Sound Attack!,Unto The Breach, Cyborg Bette... actually, most of Earth Rocker.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Karnivool – Asymmetry

Guitarists: Drew Goddard, Mark Hosking

Karnivool’s greatest strength is that the talents of the rhythm section share equal space at their sonic table, especially in the more open compositions Aeons and Sky Machine. One of the most exciting progressive alt-rock bands to emerge in years.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Jon Gomm – Secrets Nobody Keeps

Gomm’s complex fingerstyle technique and acts of rhythmic physical violence on his guitar are no mere novelty; these are exquisite arrangements, and somehow no element ever upstages another. Perhaps the best percussive guitar album we’ve ever heard.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Dream Theater – Dream Theater

Guitarist: John Petrucci

From the moment opener False Awakening Suite fuses orchestral sounds, mind-bending riffs and dramatic transitions, it’s clear we’re in safe hands here. Petrucci’s trademark thick Mesa rhythm and leads are present, while The Looking Glass reveals crunchy cleans that evoke Alex Lifeson.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Soilwork – The Living Infinite

Guitarists: Sylvain Coudret, David Andersson

With a revolving door of guitarists, and principal songwriter Peter Wichers leaving (twice), all bets were off for the Swedish metallers. But here are 20 tracks, no filler and a show of their strengths: massive riffs, sophisticated shred, huge vocal melodies, and a fresh progressive ambition.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King

Guitarists: Synyster Gates, Zacky Vengeance

The paced class here is refreshing. Gates’s solos feel cinematically grand, too – fluid neoclassicism in Heretic, wah spiralling into the abyss on the gothic grandeur of Requiem,with Slash-levels of expression in power ballads Crimson Day and Acid Rain.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Russian Circles - Memorial

Guitarist: Mike Sullivan

This Chicago instrumental trio have made very good albums before, but none have sounded as complete and compelling as their fifth record. Mike Sullivan builds bleak towers of discordance and riff metal on Deficit and Burial, always fortified by the heroic drumming of Dave Turncrantz.

Total Guitar's top 20 albums of 2013
Alter Bridge – Fortress

Guitarists: Mark Tremonti, Myles Kennedy

Harder, faster, heavier: book-ended by Blackbird-scale epics Cry Of Achilles and Fortress, while punishing, groove-some syncopated riffs reign supreme elsewhere in The Uninvited, Peace Is Broken, Cry A River and the bruising Bleed It Dry. The energy never dips.

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