As 2014 draws to a close, we come to the end of yet another stellar year for releases. After 2013 brought us a slew of modern classics such as Bring Me The Horizon’s Sempiternal and Letlive.’s world beating The Blackest Beautiful, can this year give us anything to match the dizzying heights of the year before it? I’ve compiled a list of ten albums that I think could do the job…
10. Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown
This is a pretty late addition to my list. When I first heard the record, I wasn’t blown away. But I think that might be my favourite aspect of it. It respects the listener, giving you something totally new each time, and through that I really gained appreciation for the album. The riffs heard here are ferocious, an album fuelled by pure venom. Keith Buckley unleashed his inner demons on this record, and it shows. The result is an aggressive barrage of beautiful hatred, that’ll only get better with each listen.
9. Lower Than Atlantis – Lower Than Atlantis
Lower Than Atlantis have produced three superb, near perfect albums in their bafflingly short career. From Far Q to Changing Tune, it was clear these boys weren’t slowing down any time soon. While the latest release is a drastic departure from their signature sound to a more radio-friendly style, Mike Deuce proves he can still write songs that’ll stick in your head for days to come. It’s not quite the game changer Changing Tune was before it, but it’s still a damn good album that you need to hear.
8. Crosses – Crosses
I’ll be honest, when I first heard Chino Morino’s first EP, I wasn’t too keen. How stupid I was. After I downloaded the set of EP’s and gave them the time they deserve, I was blown away. The album is no different. A cerebral treat, the album is both relaxing and haunting, digging it’s way into your subconscious and giving you something to really contemplate. It’s a departure from the Deftones front-man’s day job, but a very welcome one. It might stick out like a sore thumb on this list, but surely that’s testament to it’s power.
7. Destrage – Are You Kidding Me? No.
Destrage came as a huge surprise to me. I’d never heard of them before this year, so you can imagine my delight when I came across the single My Green Neighbour, a track from this album. The bands expert understanding of catchy choruses married with brutal guitar work and pummelling drums, as well as vocalist Paolo Colavolpe’s sporadic crooning make this an album you can’t afford to miss.
6. Behemoth – The Satanist
After years of a truly painful struggle, Behemoth returned to give what could possibly be their best album yet. Worries of Nergal’s cancer affecting the group’s power were smashed when The Satanist was released early this year. A truly bleak experience, the album introduces elements into the band’s sound that not even the most loyal fan could expect, such as the use of a horn section on the album’s leading track Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel. There’s no doubt this album deserves to be higher on this list, and for a lot of people, it will be. As someone who rarely dabbles in the genre, the fact this album has had such an impact on me really speaks volumes of it’s quality.
5. THE HELL – Groovehammer
Last year, THE HELL released their fantastic album It’s The Motherfucking Hell You Dick for free via Bandcamp. Since then, the band have been getting bigger and bigger, and better and better. This year’s Groovehammer is a tongue in cheek delight, with some genuinely brilliant guitar-work and novel use of two-stringed instruments. The lyrics made me laugh out loud in public on several occasions, and the riffs have staying power that takes some serious beating. Add that the album is as short as a car journey, and you have a perfect bite sized chunk of fun.
4. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In The End
I’m a massive Weezer fan, and I can admit we’ve been thrown around a lot for the last ten years. But for those loyal to the band, this album’s made everything worth it. While it isn’t the Blue/Pinkerton amalgamation they promised (let’s face it, it never will be), it’s a brilliant piece of evidence that Rivers and co are still capable of writing some truly seminal material. Catchy choruses, clever, awkward lyrics and interesting riffs. I think I speak for us all when I say, welcome back Weezer.
3. Neck Deep – Wishful Thinking
Much like Weezer’s 2014 release, Neck Deep have restored my faith that good pop punk still exists. I’d grown tired of the generic, monotone sound blaring from rock radio over the past few years, and whilst I’d grown out of my love for the genre, Neck Deep are a reminder that it still exists and man, is it brilliant. At time of writing, I’ve listened to the album at least twice today, and that’s been a constant for the last few months. If you have any love for pop punk, or faith in short, catchy songs that never leave your brain, pick this up. I’m desperate for more already.
2. Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter
Speaking of unexpected, wow. Like many of my generation, I grew up on Slipknot. They were the first band I truly idolised, and one of the first albums I can remember buying is Iowa in Virgin Megastores years ago. The death of Paul Gray hit hard, and with the departure of Joey Jordison, I was concerned about the quality of the album. Whilst I had no doubt the band were still capable of writing a masterpiece, the worry was there. Then, out of nowhere, the band released The Negative One. The song was a true game changer, and one of the best songs Slipknot had written in years. Then, along comes The Devil In I, a divider, but for me another fantastic song. I was more excited about Slipknot than I had been since 2008’s All Hope Is Gone, but this album smashes it out of the water, and to some extent even Vol. 3. If you ever had any faith in Slipknot, you owe it to yourself to go out and pick this up, and I can’t wait for their Wembley date in January for the band to reassert themselves as the kings of their genre.
1. Mongol Horde – Mongol Horde
Wow. I, like many other sane people out there, am a pretty big Frank Turner fan. Admittedly, it was only recently that I got into his back catalogue, but I love it. However, I had heard of Mongol Horde a year or two ago, when they released Casual Threats From The Weekend Hardmen, a throwback to true hardcore that made me really happy. By 2014, I had forgotten about their existance. When I saw on Amazon that an album had come out, I jumped at it. At first, it took me a few listens to really get the sound. But when it clicked, it snapped. The raw energy on display is breathtaking, with Frank’s desperately rasping vocals assaulting your senses with every word. Everything about the album just oozes anger and pure, heartfelt sentiment. It may be an odd choice, but it’s the best album I’ve heard all year. I urge you to listen to it, as soon as possible.
So, that’s 2014 all finished with albums. However, there are a few honourable mentions I’d like to make, albums that I’d have loved to fit into this list.
Feed The Rhino – The Sorrow And The Sound
Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
Krokodil – Nachash
Look out for upcoming reviews of Slipknot’s .5: The Gray Chapter and several game reviews in the next month, as well as more top tens. Have a great day!