Sean Harris Picks His Top 20, Part 2

Our writer in Vancouver counts down his favorite releases of 2014

Skeletal DomainSkeletal Domain

Skeletal Domain

The countdown continues.

What makes your Top 20 of 2014?

10. Nader Sadek’s The Malefic: Chapter 3

Nader Sadek has basically formed every metal heads wet dream. Four songs of absolute pure metal brutality, the name power alone is enough to sell records. It won’t be hard to sell this one at all as it’s completely free as an insert in Decibel magazine. How many albums can boast the likes of Flo Mounier, Travis Ryan, Rune Eriksen, Alex Webster, Andreas Kisser and Bobby Koelble among others? My head exploded when I heard the music too.

Favorite Track: “Deformed By Incision” — Metal. That’s all I have to say.

9. Job For A Cowboy’s Sun Eater

The pace is the highest point of this album. It can be slow and fast at times but the more progressive touch is very welcomed. The riffs, speed, vocals and solos are all there but it’s what Job For A Cowboy did that was a little outside of their comfort zone makes this record a true standout.

Favorite Track: “Sun of Nihility” — The groove is off the charts good on this track.

8. Archspire’s The Lucid Collective

Another Vancouver metal titan, Archspire are breaking barriers everyday with their brand of tech death. I’m happy to say the dudes in this band are rad as hell and the sheer technical prowess they possess is mind boggling. The drumming is about as fast as you can get, the guitar musicianship is the definition of insanity and the vocals are Tech N9ne like in the speed department. You won’t hear a faster metal vocalist than Oli Peters.

Favorite Track: “Fathom Infinite Depth” — Listen to the vocal intro. I dare you to not drop your jaw in amazement.

7. Killer Be Killed’s self-titled debut

One of the finest “supergroups” out there today alongside Conquering Dystopia. When you get parts of Mastodon, Soulfly, Dillinger Escape Plan and The Mars Volta in the same room, brilliance is sure to follow. Some all star groups have been complete and utter failures but this one fires on all cylinders. Major props to Troy Sanders, Max Cavalera, Greg Puciato and Dave Elitch.

Favorite Track: “Snakes Of Jehovah” — Who knew Greg Puciato could kill it on guitar too?

6. Exodus’ Blood In, Blood Out

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t go anywhere without my Exodus hoodie on. I might have to buy a new one with the Blood In, Blood Out album art on it. I dug Rob Dukes quite a bit but it just feels right again with Steve “Zetro” Souza behind the mic. “FedExodus” always “Delivers.” I’m sorry that was terrible.

Favorite Track: “Blood In, Blood Out” — Souza brings down the gauntlet in this track and it’s great to hear that trademark shriek again.

5. At The Gates’ At War With Reality

Ahead of the pack is a bit of an understatement when it comes to At The Gates. Nineteen years was the wait since Slaughter Of The Soul and it was well worth it. Tomas Lindberg never lost his luster in the ripping vocals department and the riffs, oh the riffs, are so goddamn tasty. Just like Carcass last year, At The Gates never stopped clenching on to the iron fist grip they have on metal.

Favorite Track: “At War With Reality” — As I said before, Tomas Fucking Lindberg!

4. Aborted’s The Necrotic Manifesto

The finest in death metal, Aborted have made something truly special here. They basically improved on everything they’ve done prior and made it even heavier. The subject matter is superb and there is hit after hit all the way through this release. They’ve been on top for almost twenty years and it’s chalked up to their ridiculous ability and their sheer ferocity. Go see em live, you’re in for a treat.

Favorite Track: “Cenobites” — Probably the best album closer of 2014.

3. Devin Townsend Project’s Z2

When I saw Devy live last month, I was hoping they would play the gamut of their newest effort. They did and I proceeded to wet myself. Z2 is quite possibly Devin’s finest hour as the double album perfectly amalgamates everything that is great with his project. We’ve been all clamoring for another Ziltoid album and it’s even better than the first. The songs are super catchy and it definitely challenges Strapping Young Lad as Townsend’s best work to date.

Favorite Track: “March of The Poozers” — It’s what you would expect from the project; great song and riff writing and Devin’s trademark voice, owning all.

2. Revocation’s Deathless

What can I possibly say about this band? They’re the best thrash act to come around in ten years and that’s saying something. Dave Davidson is a virtuoso to end all virtuoso’s and they’re about the closest you can get to matching the awesomeness of Death and Chuck Schuldiner. There’s an old school feel to them and yet they feel right being around in this day and age. The riffs are some of the absolute best ever, the musicianship is pure mayhem and people love bands who care so much about the output of great sounding instrumentation. They also have the Gene Hoglan stamp of approval, among many others.

Favorite Track: “Madness Opus” — The twin guitar magic hits you like a mac truck. Riffs. So many riffs that are so refreshing.

1. Cannibal Corpse’s A Skeletal Domain

Revocation gave a really good push for the top spot but Cannibal Corpse was just a little too much to overcome. The boys from Buffalo are not to be fucked with, still. After so many years, they refuse to relinquish their title of death metal’s absolute best. They have still yet to make an album that can be even remotely considered bad and Corpsegrinder proves every time out, there’s no one in the same stratosphere as him and Travis Ryan.

Favorite Track: “Kill Or Become” — I like chainsaws. I like it when peoples heads are cut off by them. I like it when George Fisher yells this to me.

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