1. STRYPER - No More Hell To Pay
Stryper plays to its strengths and successfully recaptures its mid-eighties form in the process. The upshot is the group’s heaviest and overall best album to date.
2. WARLORD - The Holy Empire
Guitarist William J.Tsamis reunites with original Warlord vocalist Rick Anderson to create epic metal classic. Classical overtures and deep melodies collide to create powerful and epic music in its purest form.
3. ABSOLON - Darkness Rising
New band from vocalist Ken Pike (Malachia) touches upon a European influenced power metal sound. Also a concept album based loosely around the story of A Portrait of Dorian Gray with a modern interpretation.
4. John Elefante - On My Way To The Sun
Former Kansas and Mastedon front man delivers a heavy rocking AOR sound with occasional progressive moments. Cover artwork and production shine equally.
5. SACRED WARRIOR - Waiting In Darkness
Top-notch comeback album from veteran eighties power metal outfit. Features the heaviness the group always strove for but could not quite captures on previous releases.
6. REINXEED - A New World
Inconsistent at times in the past, Swedish symphonic power metal act delivers its most well rounded release to date. Also finds the group experimenting with some progressive, melodic and classic metal slants.
7. SIX MINUTE CENTURY - Wasting Time
Power and progressive metal from Houston, Texas based group that proves heavier than 2008 debut Time Capsules. SMC continues to standout with solid musicianship and current events based lyrics.
8. SONIC DIVIDE - Sonic Divide
One of the better new bands to hit the scene brings a joining of AOR, melodic rock and commercial hard rock. Lushly textured songwriting and overall emotional edge lends to quite the enaging self-titled debut.
9. BLOODGOOD - Dangerously Close
Another solid comeback album in a year characterized by eighties metal bands delivering on promise of new material. You will find a joining of heavier and faster tracks and those with a more accessible sound.
10. BARREN CROSS - Birth Pangs
A double live album that captures the group’s entire performance from the 2012 Elements of Rock show in Switzerland. Featured is material from all the previous Barren Cross releases in addition to several new songs.
11. BRIDE - Incorruptible
Quality swan song effort by veteran hard rock act from Louisville, Kentucky. The album runs the gamut from the hard rocking to the bluesy to the acoustic to the progressive.
12. DESYRE - Glamtron
Hair metal with a heavier edge, Desyre takes the next step in terms of its songwriting. Tons of infectious energy and non-stop hooks guarantees repeat listen.
13. HEDDA - The Storm
Concept album based around a fictional war between various factions of angels with power and progressive metal employed as the vehicle to get said storyline across. An all around consistent work with no filler or skip buttons.
14. MISSION OF ONE - Hostile To The Gospel
Vocalist and bassist Chris Dickens continues to walk a fine line between blues based hard rock and straightforward heavy metal on finest Mission of One release. For those into the Rez Band meets Stonefuze meets Thieves & Liars type sound.
15. STRYPER - Second Coming
Quality re-record project made up of songs from the groups first three albums. It features stronger production values and contributions form all four original members.
Best re-issues of 2013:
1. THEOCRACY - Theocracy
Re-mixed and re-mastered Theocracy self-titled debut with programmed drums replaced by Theocracy drummer Shawn Benson. An excellent introduction to the groups ‘epic melodic power metal with progressive overtones’ based sound.
2. LEVITICUS - The Strongest Power
A widely regarded Christian metal classic re-mastered (by guitarist Bjorn Stigsson) and featuring original ‘Deborah & Barak’ artwork. Second album from Swedish power trio joins aspects of melodic, power and traditional metal.
3. LORDIAN GUARD - Anthology
Double disc re-release of both Lordian Guard albums, Lordian Guard (1995) and Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God (1997). Epic song structures and medieval flavorings help set Lordian Guard apart.
4. GIDEON’S ARMY - Warriors Of Love
Second album from Bay Area commercial hard rock outfit re-mastered and made available for first time since mid-eighties. For those into Guardian, Novella, Idle Cure and Daniel Band.
5. BRIDE - Lost Reels I, II & III
A 3 CD set of Bride songs either never previously released or demo versions of song it would later re-record. Made up mostly of late eighties to late nineties based material.
6. BRIDE - Skin For Skin
Originally a 2006 release but re-mastered & re-issued with altered album artwork. SFS represents a throwback to Bride’s eighties and early nineties eras.