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The Top 20 Hard Rock And Metal Albums Of 2023

The Top 20 Hard Rock And Metal Albums Of 2023

2023 had some really good hard rock and metal albums released if you know where to look and listen. The hard rock and metal scene is littered with new bands that seemingly appear out of thin air, only to fade to obscurity in favor of what might be the next big thing. The bands on this list created albums that are both memorable and stand up to repeat listening as solid rock and metal releases in 2023.

# 1

Listen To New Overkill Song "The Surgeon"

Overkill – Scorched

One of the best metal releases in years by any band period. Overkill is the AC/DC of thrash metal!  Scorched delivers in all areas. 38 years after their first album, these guys still bring the heat with Scorched. Overkill probably didn’t set out to prove they still have the fire after all these years, but that’s exactly what they’ve done with “Scorched”. This is how it’s done. A full-on, old-school metal assault with an extra punch in the teeth for good measure.

# 2

Listen To First Song From New Metal Church Album "Congregation Of Annihilation"

Metal Church – Congregation Of Annihilation

After reuniting with vocalist Mike Howe back in 2015 and releasing two critically acclaimed albums XI (2016) and Damned If You Do (2018), the band looked to be back and better than ever, but tragically, Mike Howe took his own life in 2021 and it looked like Metal Church might be done for good. Rising like a Phoenix from the ashes, Metal Church returned with new singer Mark Lopes, and the album “Congregation Of Annihilation” is an incredible album and returns to the classic sound of Metal Church’s early years. 

# 3

Extreme – Six

Extreme returned in 2023 with the album “Six” and it’s an interesting mix of a modern touch with the classic sound the band is known for.  Of course, former Van Halen vocalist Gary Cherone is no slouch, but the real star of this album is the guitar playing of Nuno Bettencourt who simply shreds on much of this album.

# 4

K.K.’s Priest – The Sinner Rides Again

Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing and former Priest vocalist Tim “Ripper Owens return with a second album that’s far more satisfying than their first outing. With great tracks like “Sons Of The Sentinel”, “One More Shot At Glory” and “The Sinner Rides Gain”, it seems K.K. and company have finally hit their stride. If you were a fan of the Judas Priest albums with Owens or “Painkiller”, you’ll get your money’s worth with this one.

# 5

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons – Kings Of The Asylum

While Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons released their first album in 2017, guitarist Phil Campbell has an 80s metal pedigree unlike most others.  Campbell was the guitarist for the almighty Motorhead from 1984 to 2015 until Lemmy’s death when Motorhead disbanded.  80s metal and hard rock fans should absolutely love Campbell’s albums and this brand new album “Kings Of The Asylum” is nothing short of greatness in a straight-ahead, in-your-face rock album.

# 6

DEATH METAL LEGENDS OBITUARY ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM 'DYING OF EVERYTHING'

Obituary – Dying Of Everything

One of only two death metal bands on this list, Obituary started in 1989 and has gotten only better over the years. The band gets labeled as death metal, but has a lot more in their arsenal with shades of doom metal and thrash sprinkled throughout their sound. “Dying Of Everything” is a critically acclaimed album and rightfully so. Check it out if you want something just a little heavier.

# 7

Watch The Video For Dokken's Song "The Fugitive" From New Album "Heaven Comes Down"

Dokken – Heaven Comes Down

Don and the band have returned triumphant with one of the best albums Dokken has released since “Back For The Attack”. Like many fans, I grew up listening to the classic lineup of Dokken, but let’s give credit where it’s due. This lineup kills it musically. “Heaven Comes Down” was a long time in the making, but absolutely worth the wait.

# 8

Metallica – 72 Seasons

What can you say…Metallica after …And Justice For All, you either like them or hate them. Those who consider the band sellouts will probably still feel that way, but 72 Seasons seems like an attempt for the band to reclaim some of their old sounds and riffs, even if they can’t quite get there.  This album seems a little closer to old-school Metallica to me, but it’s also nowhere near anything as good as the early years of the band.

# 9

Watch Brand New Winger Video For "Proud Desperado"!

Winger – Seven

2023 sees Winger return with a pretty heavy album compared to some of their previous outings and it’s a nice surprise to see them go that route since ballads and radio-friendly songs were what made them a household name in the 80s, to begin with. Reb Beach is one of the most underrated hard rock guitarists out there and he gets a chance to rock a little harder on this album.

#10

Listen To Brand New L.A. Guns Song "You Betray" From Upcoming Album Black Diamonds

L.A. Guns – Black Diamonds

L.A. Guns just keeps cranking out album after album in recent years that shows the band experiment a little with new sounds while retaining that familiar sound that the combo of Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis are known for.  Black Diamonds is a solid album that should please fans of the band and appeal to fans of the 80s hard rock era.

#11

Check Out The First Song By New SuperGroup Elegant Weapons Featuring Members Of Judas Priest, Accept, Rainbow, And Pantera

Elegant Weapons – Horns For A Halo

This supergroup featuring Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest), Scott Travis (Judas Priest), Ronnie Romero (Rainbow), and Rex Brown (Pantera) released their debut album “Horns For A Halo” and it’s a solid effort with an 80s metal sound that should still resonate with modern metal fans as well.

#12

Steve Vai – Vai/Gash

If you’re used to Steve Vai’s instrumental solo albums, this is a nice change of pace as this has more of a full band sound with vocals provided by Vai’s late friend Johnny ‘Gash’ Sombrotto. Both guys were passionate about motorcycles and the entire biker culture. Vai wanted to produce an album that fit that culture. Recorded back in 1990, the album sat on the shelf for all of these years until finally seeing release in 2023. It’s quite different from Vai’s usual eclectic outings.

#13

WOLFGANG VAN HALEN’S MAMMOTH WVH RELEASES NEW VIDEO

Mammoth WVH – Mammoth II

Back for his second album release, the prodigal son of Edward Van Halen has returned with an even better album than his debut. No, it doesn’t sound like classic Van Halen, but Wolf is carving his own path as a musician and doing a damn fine job of it. If you listen you can hear flashes of his Dad’s guitar style sprinkled throughout but it’s solid modern hard rock that makes no apologies.

#14

VANDENBERG Return With New Album “SIN”

Vandenberg – Sin

Adrian Vandenberg returns with only his second new Vandenberg album since the 80s.  Former Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Mats Leven provides the vocals this time out. David Coverdale hasn’t released a new Whitesnake since 2018, and if you’re missing that sound, this album is very reminiscent of that sound. And why not, Adrian Vandenberg was a big part of Whitesnake and their sound for many years.

#15

Doro – Conqueress: Forever Proud And Strong

One of the hardest-working rockers in the metal realm, male or female, is Doro Pesch. The woman seems to never sleep and when she does it’s gotta be about metal. This new album is straight-up metal goodness with a guest appearance by the Metal God himself, Rob Halford. From beginning to end, it’s an album of headbanging goodness with classic tracks like “Time For Justice” and “I Will Prevail”.

#16

Buckcherry – Vol. 10

For the most part, Buckcherry has been reliable in releasing good-quality hard rock albums on a fairly consistent basis. They are one of the few bands that still do the record an album/tour relentlessly/repeat cycle and their latest album Vol.10 is a really solid effort. Songs like “This and That” and “Good Time” remind me a lot of Aerosmith. The band seems to be rekindling the same fire from their debut album on Vol. 10 and it made this one of the best albums of 2023.

#17

Watch New Cannibal Corpse Video For "Summoned for Sacrifice"

Cannibal Corpse – Chaos Horrific

If you like your metal like a hammer to the brain, you’ll love the new Cannibal Corpse album. The band has been aging like a fine wine, getting better with each album and Choas Horrific brings the fire once again. Brutal and powerful, these guys aren’t for the faint of heart, but this is some of the best extreme/death metal you’re likely to hear. If you don’t like this album, re-think calling yourself a metalhead.

#18

Filter To Release New Album "The Algorithm" Listen To New Song "Obliteration" Now!

Filter – The Algorithm

Filter is always creative with each album outing and their latest, “The Algorithm” is no exception to that rule. This album sees Richard Patrick really reaching for the stars with insightful lyrics, poignant topics, and some great new songs that push the envelope a little further with some really fresh and inventive music.

What Richard Patrick and company have been able to do on this album is nothing short of remarkable.

#19

KISS – Off The Soundboard: Poughkeepsie, New York 1984

While I haven’t been the biggest fan of KISS’ Off The Soundboard albums, this one is actually interesting, since it’s the only known live recording to feature guitarist Mark St. John. Animalize was a hit record for KISS and it was the only album to feature St. John because he developed reactive arthritis afterward that caused his hands and arms to swell, keeping him from being able to perform. So this one is a kind of a cool piece of Kiss history.

#20

Dirty Honey – Can’t Find The Brakes

Dirty Honey returns with their second album and it’s straight-up rock n’ roll. If you crossed AC/DC and Black Crowes you’d get something close to their sound. These guys are the real deal and unfortunately, they’re still flying under some people’s radar. Great retro-rock sounds that sound fresh and modern at the same time. Keep your eyes on these guys, they’re set to be a powerhouse.

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