If you haven’t gotten to these records yet, ask Santa or Krampus, or whomever you get presents from during the Saturnalia season, for them. Or just Spotify that shit. Do whatever you want, but these are my favorite albums of 2014.
First, a quick and catty SPOILER ALERT: Babymetal isn’t anywhere close to being on my list. If you think it should be, go to MetalSucks, where it is proudly #1 on head-editor Vince Neilstein’s list because j-pop is the most brutal subgenre of metal. If Babymetal ends up on a top albums list from any columnist on GSA, I will find the nearest hardcore dancing pit, walk into it, and just stand there, until I have been bludgeoned to death by morons.
10. Yob’s Clearing the Path to Ascend
This isn’t your typical doom album. It’s certainly fuzzily saturated and heavy, but it’s not focused on negativity or fantastic horror. Yob is unique because it’s one of a few bands that presents metal in an uplifting, inspiring format that comes off as profound and not hokey. If you’re one of those guys that likes to sync up albums with movies, this one would compliment a nature documentary about mammoths or some other massive, elephantine creature. Big sound for a big creature.
9. Iron Reagan’s The Tyranny of Will
This band is a breath of fresh air in the collapsing lungs of punk. These guys make writing insane songs seem so effortless. They’ve cranked out over 50 furious songs since just 2012, 25 of which display the true power of the riff on Tyranny. See this band live, by the way — they own hard.
8. Misery Index’s The Killing Gods
Adam Jarvis can slam some drums, man. He’s got an innate sense of knowing precisely when to blast, when to groove, and those snare fills are ferocious. That’s my favorite part of this latest installment into the discography of Misery Index. Although it’s really tech-y death metal, there are some songs on The Killing Gods that sound like hardcore punk jams, making the record interestingly balanced out. There’s also a sick cover of “Thieves of the New World Order” by Ministry on it, and it’s pretty effing rad, even for non-Ministry fans like me.
7. Destrage’s Are You Kidding Me? No.
Have you wondered what Protest the Hero and Dillinger Escape Plan would sound like if they were in the same band? Opeth didn’t put out a shit album this year, but screw Opeth, Are You Kidding Me? No. is prog record of the year. This is a spastic, superlatively intricate piece of music that maintains a strong rock n’ roll backbone.
6. Year of the Goat’s The Key and the Gate
Swedish purveyors of throwback doom metal released this EP and it’s pretty tasty. Three guitarists make for some sick harmonies. Mellow jams about Satan and death and stuff are always welcome. Perfect for fans of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Angel Witch, and Black Sabbath.
5. At the Gates’ At War with Reality
I’m late to jump on the At the Gates train. I was kinda like 6 years old when Slaughter of the Soul came out, so cut me some slack. At War with Reality is a great melo-death album. They’ve still got it, even though I didn’t know they had it to begin with, and they put out a killer album that will be relevant for a long ass time. They also get a million points for having awesome, surrealistic album art.
4. Ethereal Riffian’s Aeonian
I wrote about this a while ago for the Under the Radar column. Yob+Tool+Sleep+throat singing+Gregorian Chant=this album.
3. Tombs’ Savage Gold
This album is practically tribal. The soundscape is strapped to a bone-shattering rhythm section. I have a feeling the bleak, permeating cold of New York really had an effect on the structure of this record. It really is a savage one.
2. Revocation’s Deathless
Revocation is just starting to piss me off. How can one band not suck so hard? Especially after releasing stellar record after stellar record every year since 2009 (except 2010, I believe)? It’s practically a metal band tradition: a band can at most put out three good albums and the ones beyond that ALWAYS SUCK. Deathless is Revocation’s best offering yet, so I’m just angrily baffled at how they seem to be defying the three album rule in a mathematical way where their awesomeness increases at a proportional magnitude to the typical metal band’s suckitude-level spike. IT’S NOT SCIENTIFICALLY SOUND, REVOCATION. WHY ARE YOU SO GOOD AT THIS STAGE IN YOUR CAREERS?
1. Ringworm’s Hammer of the Witch
I heard the first song on this album after I got it in March and immediately thought, “Goddamn, I think I’m listening to the album of the year.” Turns out I was. This album kicked my ass harder and more frequently than any other one. It’s so good that whenever people who are just getting into metal or hardcore ask me for recommendations, this has become as frequent a recommendation as Reign in Blood, Fuck the System, and The Great Southern Trendkill. And the album art? Mother of God, it’s as unbelievably mesmerizing as the title track is destructive and headbang-worthy.
If by any chance any of these records got stuck in my truck’s cd player and I had to listen to just that album for the rest of my truck’s measly life, I wouldn’t be entirely pissed. 2014 was good for metal. Let us know what your favorites are in the comments
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