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Undiscovered gems: Top 10 off the radar Hard Rock albums of 2013

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Every year there are a number of fantastic albums that seem to slip beneath the radar of the average music fan. 2013 has proven to be no different. There have been some amazing rock releases this year from the new Alter Bridge and Five Finger Death Punch to Black Sabbath and Stone Sour to Motorhead and Queens of the Stone Age. What follows will be a list of some of the lesser known but equally, if not more so impressive rock releases of the year.

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Each year when putting this list together, rather than go by critical opinion, reader input, or even album sales, I go by which albums I returned to throughout the year and which songs seemed to become terminally implanted in my gray matter.

Let us begin this list with an Honorable Mention, which goes to Pennsylvania's extraordinary quartet, Halestorm. This year, while soaring high on hit single after hit single from their stunning 2012 sophomore release, "The Strange Case of...", the band found time to record its second EP of cover songs. "ReAniMate 2.0: The CoVeRs eP". Much like the first EP, 2.0 finds the band tuning up fresh renditions of classic songs spanning the 60s to the present. This time around, Lzzy Hale (vocals, guitar) Arejay Hale (drums), Joe Hottinger (guitars) and Josh Smith (bass) tackle the likes of Marilyn Manson, Pat Benatar, Fleetwood Mac, and AC/DC. There is a decimating cover of Judas Priest's "Dissident Aggressor", but it is the band's HALEacious take on Daft Punk's summer techno-pop smash, "Get Lucky" that takes this over the top. Much as Halestorm did with Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance", Lzzy and Co. took a current hit for an energized, revamped rock and roll celebration, kicking out a song more powerful than the original.

If not for the fact that it is an EP of cover tracks, this would be on The List proper.

Click the photos above to see the rest of The List.

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