10. Screaming Females- Ugly
Sure, there were a lot of great metal/hard rock releases this year, but if you want pure, bombastic guitar wizardry, you can't go wrong with Screaming Females. The Jersey band have been around for a few albums, but they're starting to get more buzz thanks to recent tours with indie punk mainstays like Against Me! and Titus Andronicus. Front woman Marissa Paternoster may be a quiet, reserved presence offstage (and barely taller than her guitar), but she turns into a vicious, fretboard-shredding beast at showtime. Their new album, Ugly
, is their tightest as a band. Paternoster's riffs are tethered to reality by some excellent rhythm work, and this especially shows on songs like "Doom 84." This is also their catchiest and most accessible record yet (though Paternoster's vocals are definitely an acquired taste), and Steve Albini's production is crisp as ever, but the record does suffer a bit from a lack of focus: 14 tracks is a bit much for an album like this. Still, if you're looking for a new guitar hero, you could do a lot worse.
Key Tracks: "It All Means Nothing,"