The hard rock music genre continued to reach new heights in 2013. It can be argued that this time period is as good as any that the genre has ever experienced. Many of the top hard rock bands in the world released new music during the year, which made it incredibly difficult to narrow down the Top 52 Hard Rock Songs of 2013.
To give the Hard Rock Daddy audience the greatest possible variety of music, the decision was made to feature only one song per album. However, two bands, Five Finger Death Punch and Stone Sour, each released incredible double albums, which is why they both have two songs featured on the list.
Many of the songs on the list were heard throughout the year on SiriusXM’s Octane, however, the list also features a handful of tracks from hard rock artists that don’t fit Octane’s format, or are still flying somewhat under the radar.
The Top 52 Songs of 2013 featured on the playlist below can also be found on the Hard Rock Daddy Network (HRD’s YouTube channel). Click on the hyperlinked songs below the playlist to read the full Hard Rock Daddy Reviews that were featured on the site during the year.
 “Addicted To Pain” – ALTER BRIDGE
The first single off of Alter Bridge’s long-awaited album, Fortress, gets your blood pumping from the first riff and never lets up. The infectiously melodic guitar and driving rhythm perfectly set the tone for Myles Kennedy’s brilliant vocals. In a day and age where heavy guitars often go hand-in-hand with guttural growls, Kennedy’s vocals take you on a journey back in time to the heyday of 80’s heavy metal, while still remaining current.
Many bands start out heavy and then mellow over the course of time. Alter Bridge has taken the opposite approach. Fortress is not only the band’s heaviest album to date; it is one of the heaviest hard rock albums to be released this year. The dual guitars of Mark Tremonti and Kennedy featured on Fortress are as good as it gets in hard rock today.
The aptly named band “bridges” the gap between modern-day hard rock and classic 80’s heavy metal in a way that few, if any, in the genre can match.
Releasing singles from a concept album is often times challenging because the isolated songs lose their context. Stone Sour made things twice as challenging when they decided to release House Of Gold and Bones as a rare double album. That being said, even without the context, “Tired” is quite simply one of the best hard rock songs of the year.
It’s no surprise that the song has spent several weeks atop the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown. You don’t need to know who the Mad Chameleon is to appreciate what “Tired” has to offer…pure hard rock with a great melody and Corey Taylor’s stellar vocals.
 “Lift Me Up” – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH (w/ Rob Halford)
What do you get when two generations of “metal gods” sing together? One of the most original, classic, hard rock songs for the ages! Rob Halford and Ivan Moody have a unique way of channeling rage into uplifting hard rock anthems that inspire rather than incite.
Like Stone Sour, Five Finger Death Punch’s The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side Of Hell is a rare double album. “Lift Me Up” was the first single to be released, and it was an instant hit with hard rock music fans, dominating the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for an extended period of time.
 “Stardust” – GEMINI SYNDROME
Hauntingly mesmerizing, aggressively melodic and cryptically thought-provoking, “Stardust” is one of the rare songs that gets better with each listen. Frontman, Aaron Nordstrom, describes himself as the messenger of Gemini Syndrome – a student of philosophy, religion, martial arts, semantics, psychology and all things beautiful. Not surprisingly, his lyrics reflect an intellect that is not commonly displayed in the hard rock genre, however, songs like “Stardust” still appeal to the masses. Fans of Five Finger Death Punch will be instant fans of Gemini Syndrome.
Many people have an almost paralyzing fear of dying. Those who don’t are usually very religious people who believe that they are going to a better place. Although Black Veil Brides is not thought of as a religious band, the lyrics to “In The End” offer a spiritual insight into the reality that we all must face eventually.
Influenced by 80’s hard rock acts like Motley Crue, KISS and others, Black Veil Brides could easily have been a huge success a generation ago. With shredding guitar solos and a big chorus, “In The End” is a modern-day version of 80’s heavy metal.
 “I’ll Follow You” – SHINEDOWN
Shinedown is one of the most unique bands in hard rock today, mixing aggressive, high-energy melodic songs with power ballads like “I’ll Follow You” seamlessly. The only explanation for this song being vastly underrated is that power ballads are a rare commodity in this day and age.
Brent Smith’s vocals on the verses of “I’ll Follow You” are reminiscent of classic Elton John, which makes the song something of an outlier within the hard rock genre. However, fans who appreciate outstanding vocals will agree that this song stands out as one of the best of the year.
 “Battle Born” – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
Five Finger Death Punch is sitting on top of the world in the eyes of most fans. They are arguably the defining hard rock band of this generation, but perception and reality do not always go hand-in-hand. Now more than ever, bands must spend most of their life on the road to make a living in the music business. To fans, it may seem like a life of glamor, but to the bands, it is an exhausting way of life.
“Battle Born” offers a unique, inside perspective into the reality of life as a rock star. Whereas many of FFDP’s songs are filled with rage, “Battle Born” is more introspective, showcasing Moody’s melodic vocals sans guttural, angst-ridden growls.
 “Lola Montez” – VOLBEAT
On the surface, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies sounds like a cool name for an album. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find out that the songs on the album are about characters that lived in the 19th century. Never before has a history lesson been so informative and entertaining at the same time.
“Lola Montez” features the sound of Michael Paulsen’s one-of-a-kind voice, and Volbeat’s catchy, melodic sound. The song is about a stripper who used her charms to captivate men for personal gain. Unlike traditional hard rock songs about strippers, Volbeat tackles the subject matter in a much more cerebral manner, with a song that will undoubtedly get stuck in your head…but in a good way.
All That Remains has been around longer than people may realize. Ever since their formation in 1998, the band has prided itself on staying true to their music and letting the chips fall where they may, which explains their propensity to create albums filled with songs of varying styles.
Frontman, Phil Labonte, is opinionated and outspoken when it comes to politics. By his own admission, he likes to start trouble. Not exactly the kind of guy you expect to write a pining love song.
“What If I Was Nothing” shows that Labonte does, in fact, have a vulnerable side. The slow, moody verses lead into anthemic, arena-style choruses. Oli Herbert makes the guitar sing during his solo. Fans of Slash’s style will appreciate Herbert’s contribution on one of the best hard rock love songs to be released in recent memory.
 “Supermegadubstep” – RA
The longest song title on the Top 52 Songs of 2013 ironically comes from the band with only two letters in its name. The band, whose name is derived from the Egyptian sun god, has been around since the 1990’s, but has managed to fly under the radar for the most part.
“Supermegadubstep” is a dynamic song with unexpected changes, transitioning from crunching power chords and heavy guitar harmonies to sparse guitar parts that are reminiscent of “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. If you haven’t discovered Ra yet, “Supermegadubstep” is a good place to start.
 “Hail To The King” – AVENGED SEVENFOLD
The title track off of Avenged Sevenfold’s long-awaited sixth studio album has been a dominant force atop the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for good reason. One of the best albums of the year, “Hail To The King” received harsh criticism from some of A7X’s fellow hard rock brethren for sounding too derivative. While the influences of bands like Metallica are certainly evident, the distinct A7X sound, with M Shadows on vocals is as good as ever. A7X was the only band this year to have two songs on the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown in the same week (“Hail To The King” & “Shepherd Of Fire”).
 “Remember Me” – EMPHATIC
The first single off of Emphatic’s aptly titled album, Another Life, showcases Justin McCain’s ability to write catchy, melodic songs while exhibiting his guitar virtuosity. After a tragic accident left original lead singer, Patrick Wilson, with a fractured larynx, Emphatic suffered a huge setback. With new singer, Toryn Green (formerly of Fuel), the band is poised to continue its once stunted progress. You may not have known them before, but after you listen to “Remember Me,” you will not soon forget this up-and-coming band.
 “Deal With The Devil” – POP EVIL
Another song that has dominated the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown throughout the year, “Deal With The Devil” shows the diversity of Pop Evil’s music. The song, while still featuring the band’s signature melodic sound, shows the more aggressive side of the band that, at times, will remind you of Alice In Chains.
David Draiman (Disturbed) probably had no idea how prophetic he was when writing “Vilify.” The iconic frontman, and his other Disturbed bandmates, were “vilified” by many fans for taking a break from the band to work on side projects. Draiman already embodied rage with his vocal delivery and strong opinions, so one can only imagine what his next offering will be after dealing with absurd ridicule from so-called fans. Dramain’s ability to deliver lyrics like – “fuck you all and let every minute be a reminder of how you let it all come crashing down” – makes him stand out amongst all other hard rock singers of this generation. In true Spinal Tap fashion, it is recommended to turn it up to eleven when listening to “Vilify.”
The opening riff of Stone Sour’s “Do Me A Favor” will remind punk rock fans of The Clash’s classic song, “London Calling” (a song that Corey Taylor performed acoustically). The rest of the song shows the range that has elevated Taylor into the upper echelon of hard rock singers today. Not many can vacillate between smooth vocals and angst-ridden growls as seamlessly as Taylor. Both “Do Me A Favor” and “Tired” have spent several weeks in the #1 position on the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown.
 “Warrior” – EVAN’S BLUE
A piano cadenza, cryptically moving poetic lyrics and a heart-pumping crescendo make “Warrior” a truly unique hard rock song. As an independent artist, Evans Blue has the luxury of creating songs that don’t necessarily fit into any genre. “Warrior” is a prime example of what can be achieved when a song is written from the heart. Dan Chandler’s delivery of haunting verses and powerfully defiant choruses is perfectly complimented by Vlad Tanaskovic’s tasteful guitar solo.
 “That Day” – NONPOINT
Songs mean different things to different people. “That Day” is one of the most powerful, emotion-filled songs of the year that deals with anger and loss. Elias Soriano perfectly captures the emotion of the song, and makes you feel his pain. While the lyrics of “That Day” tell a specific story, the chorus by itself can invoke different emotions for different people…
“All I have is the memories of every single word you said…every single word you said. I remember that day, everything changed. I remember that day, that image never fades away. I remember that day. Something died inside of me.”
Click on the song title above to read a personal story about the meaning of “That Day.”
The opening of the lyric video for “Immortal” states…
“This song is dedicated to the men and women of the United States armed services and their families for their incalculable sacrifices made on behalf of this great country.”
The music of “Immortal” is as powerful as the message conveyed within the song. Listening to the song, you get the impression that this is more than just an homage to the U.S. armed forces; it seems personal. The passion with which the song is delivered creates an air of defiance to all of those who dare to take on our soldiers, or fail to appreciate the sacrifices that they make on a daily basis.
It’s no surprise that a band whose biggest hits revolve around sex and drugs (“Crazy Bitch” & “Lit Up”), would write another classic song about one of the seven deadly sins. Buckcherry is all about high energy rock and roll, so “Gluttony” is right in their wheelhouse. Josh Todd sings about subjects that the politically correct may look at as taboo, with unabashed, unapologetic fervor. He is a true rock star in every sense of the word, harkening back to the days where debauchery and rock stardom were inseparable.
 “Favorite Sin” – JACKYL
Like Buckcherry, Jackyl’s take on sin produced one of the best songs of the year. Long before Josh Todd and Buckcherry made their mark on the hard rock scene, Jesse James Dupree and Jackyl made people stand up and take notice when the charismatic frontman turned a chainsaw into a musical instrument on the band’s first hit, “The Lumberjack.” It is a testament to the band’s talent that they still continue to make relevant music to this day, not an easy feat for a band whose career launched shortly before Nirvana turned the hard rock world upside down.
The younger generation of hard rock music fans may think of Full Throttle Saloon when Dupree’s name is mentioned, but make no mistake, his entire empire is built on the fact that he is simply one of the best frontmen to ever grace the stage.
If you like “Favorite Sin,” you should definitely go back and discover everything that Jackyl has put out through the years.
21 – 30
 “Bullets In The Sky” – MILLION DOLLAR RELOAD
 “Temper Temper” – BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE
 “Burn It Down” – MINDSET EVOLUTION
 “Paradise (What About Us)” – WITHIN TEMPTATION
 “High Road” – THREE DAYS GRACE
 “Light Up The Sky” – THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH
 “Where Did The Angels Go?” – PAPA ROACH
 “God Is Dead?” – BLACK SABBATH
 “Save Me” – HINDER
 “She Likes The Ladies” – LONGREEF
31 – 40
 “One Finger And A Fist” – DROWNING POOL
 “You’re Insane” – ESCAPE THE FATE
 “Sick Of It” – SKILLET
 “More Than Fate” – EYE EMPIRE
 “The End Of You And I” – ANOTHER LOST YEAR
 “Rebel Soul” – KID ROCK
 “Picture Perfect” – SEVENDUST
 “First Of The Last” – FIGHT OR FLIGHT
 “Cry Sister” – ROYAL BLISS
 “Solid Ground” – TOM KEIFER
 “Get Lucky” – HALESTORM
 “Revelation” – STRYPER
 “Remember” – 3 YEARS HOLLOW
 “Die For You” – OTHERWISE
 “The Death Of Me” – ASKING ALEXANDRIA
 “Born To Rise” – REDLIGHT KING
 “Alpha King” – REV THEORY
 “New Disorder” – CHARMING LIARS
 “Just One Gun” – MADLIFE
 “My Demons” – STARSET
 “Love The Way You Hate Me” – LIKE A STORM
[52[ “There’s No Going Back” – SICK PUPPIES