The year 2012 turned out to be a strong one for rock albums. We saw the highly anticipated return of '90s favorites Soundgarden, the continued brilliance of acts like Deftones and Stone Sour, the emergence of females in hard rock courtesy of Halestorm and Dead Sara, among others, to go along with memorable releases from a number of other rock acts. Unfortunately, all of our favorite albums couldn't make this list, but after much debate among our entire staff, we've come up with our official picks for the best rock albums of the year. If metal is more your speed, don't worry, we've got a separate list for you headbangers. But for now, strap in and turn it up, as we count down the 10 Best Rock Albums of 2012:

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    'Dark Adrenaline'

    Lacuna Coil

    Lacuna Coil's 'Dark Adrenaline' album, released early on in 2012, finds the band rediscovering their gothic roots while expanding their sound in the process. 'Trip the Darkness' was a dark sounding gem off the record, and the song got an extra boost when a remix by Dillinger Escape Plan's Ben Weinman appeared on the 'Underworld: Awakening' soundtrack. 'Fire' showed off a more radio-friendly side, while 'End of Time' served as the band's late year ballad. The disc also included an interesting cover of R.E.M.'s 'Losing My Religion.'

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    'King Animal'


    The promise of Soundgarden's 2009 reunion was finally realized in 2012, as the band released their 'King Animal' album in November. The grunge goliath's first new album since 1996 proves that Soundgarden are still on top of their game. 'Been Away Too Long' became a major hit at radio, while tracks like 'Non-State Actor' and 'Worse Dreams' generated plenty of buzz in advance of the album. Chris Cornell's voice is as strong as ever, and the full band feels as though they haven't lost a step. Welcome back, Soundgarden, and kudos for delivering one of the 10 best rock albums of 2012.

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    Shinedown had a tough task in matching the success of 2008's 'The Sound of Madness,' but they succeeded in cranking out another hits-filled collection with 'Amaryllis,' certainly showing that there is no slowing down this juggernaut. Both 'Bully' and 'Unity' took the band back to the top of the charts. And the group got great mileage out of 'Enemies' and 'I'll Follow You,' making for a very successful 2012. Look for the output to continue, with the single 'Miracle' lined up to hit radio in early 2013.

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    'Born Villain'

    Marilyn Manson

    For longtime fans of Marilyn Manson, 'Born Villain' provided a much welcome creative resurgence. The lead single 'No Reflection' was just the sort of gritty-meets-groovy rocker that the singer built his career upon, and 'Slo-Mo-Tion' and 'Overneath the Path of Mystery' show the true depth of the record. In addition, Manson got some notice for including the bonus cover of 'You're So Vain' with his longtime pal Johnny Depp.

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    Serj Tankian

    The man of many musical inspirations, System of a Down singer Serj Tankian found his latest solo disc embracing rock, punk and new wave, among other genres. 'Harakiri' earns its spot as one of the 10 best rock albums of 2012 by delivering socially-minded statements through infectious songs. 'Figure It Out' is an in-your-face track that pulls no punches, while 'Cornucopia' showcases Tankian's versatile talents as a musician. But the standout cut just might be the title track, which features a chorus as catchy as any in System of a Down's catalog.

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    'The Strange Case of ...'


    Halestorm went from being the "next big rock band" to fulfilling that prophecy with 'The Strange Case Of…' The group rocketed up the charts in early 2012 with the single 'Love Bites … So Do I' and the attitude that Lzzy Hale provided set the tone for the rest of the disc. They enjoyed crossover pop success with 'Here's to Us,' but once again embraced their hard-rock fans with the scorching track 'I Miss the Misery,' which shows off Hale at her belting best.

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    'Yellow & Green'


    Baroness may not get as much attention as some of the bigger names on this list, but the band delivered one of the best front-to-back efforts of 2012. The two-disc collection 'Yellow & Green' features such standout tracks as 'March to the Sea,' 'Take My Bones Away' and 'Board Up the House.' Unfortunately, the band wasn't able to support the album as much as they has planned, as a terrifying bus crash led to major injuries and kept Baroness off the road for much of the year.

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    'Dead Sara'

    Dead Sara

    Looking for the next big rock band? It's worth a look at Dead Sara and their self-titled breakout album. The group garnered notice for their single 'Weatherman,' which features Emily Armstrong's powerhouse vocals and some terrific guitar work from Siouxsie Medley, but the disc as a whole is great. Second single 'We Are What You Say' is another notable track, while songs like the chilling ballads 'Dear Love' and 'Sorry for It All' should deserve a longer look in 2013.

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    'House of Gold & Bones, Pt. 1'

    Stone Sour

    You can't have a Best Rock Albums of 2012 list without Stone Sour's ambitious record 'House of Gold & Bones, Part 1.' Singer Corey Taylor got things rolling with the double-single 'Gone Sovereign' and 'Absolute Zero,' both of which set a hard-driving tone for the disc. Meanwhile, 'Taciturn' shows that the band can hit hard even when not rocking out at 11, providing one of the more moving songs on the record. We have no doubt that 'House of Gold & Bones,' with the second half of the double album coming next year, will play a major role in 2013.

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    'Koi No Yokan'


    Deftones have found their creative rebound in recent years, and they're making sure to pounce while it's going good. Fresh off the critically acclaimed 'Diamond Eyes' album, the band continues to rock at the top of their game. 'Koi No Yokan' hits on all cylinders with cuts like the single 'Tempest,' and standout tracks 'Leathers,' 'Poltergeist' and 'Rosemary.' With the disc just arriving in mid-November, it looks as though Deftones will have plenty to celebrate over the next year - starting with being named Loudwire's Best Rock Album of 2012.

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