This month's Top 20 is stuffed with specialty titles released in time for the holiday season. These include an expanded edition of Eric Clapton's Unplugged, The Best of Nickelback: Volume 1, The Jimi Hendrix Experience live at the Miami Pop Festival, The Killers' Direct Hits, the Seether anthology 2002-2013 and Joni Mitchell's The Studio Albums: 1968-1979.
Just as noteworthy is brand new music from Five Finger Death Punch and Jake Bugg. The former's Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell: Volume 2 picks up where Volume 1 left off, with the boys raging about their ability to take no crap from nobody. Volume 2 might be even heavier, in fact. And since both excellent volumes were released this year, the argument can be made that Five Finger have become hard rock's most important act. Equally impressive is Bugg's sophomore effort, Shangri La. As on his self-titled debut, the Shangri-la the young British troubadour chronicles is the grimy Clifton streets that weaned him. This kid is seriously talented -- and angst-ridden.
Last but not least, Rush have just unleashed a live document of their globe-spanning Clockwork Angels tour (2012 through '13). It sounds amazing, of course. But what's truly mind-blowing is the power trio's uncanny agelessness. Rush continue to bring the rock, and they continue to bring it hard!