Here we are yet again. The end of another year, and the beginning of another list of things I like. To the metals…
It kind of feels weird to make this list. Some know that I'm the annoying guy that writes The Weekly Injection and doesn't mention a band you like because I'm the worst. However, as I prepared this list, I realized that I have gushed about almost every one of these albums to varying degrees already this year. I've kind of been filing those albums away and prepping this list all year.
I said it last year, and I'll say it again. I love making lists, so you'll spot a couple other lists below my album one just for kicks. Without further needless prefacing, here are my favorite 15 albums/EPs (because 10 seems too obvious?) of 2014.
15. The Contortionist – Language
I did a full review of this (that pissed a lot of people off despite my admiration of it), but in short I adore the addition of Michael Lessard to the band. He is one of the best voices in modern metal, and this is him at his peak. The quasi-djent music behind him also showcases the band at their best yet.
Check out: "Ebb & Flow"
14. Junius – Days of the Fallen Sun
This band is one of the most underrated forces in metal. This EP continues everything tht makes them wonderful. Heavy, gorgeous, entrancing, and emotive. It's a shame that this is just an EP, but I'm grateful for anything this band gives me.
Check out: "A Dark Day With Night"
13. Destrage – Are You Kidding Me? No.
This is a band that I unfortunately didn't hear much about. Hell, I didn't even catch them to mention them on the Weekly Injection. Oh well, glad I found them eventually. This record is what i imagine if Protest The Hero and The Dillinger Escape Plan collided and became Italian somehow.
Check out: "Destroy Create Transform Sublimate"
12. Boris – Noise
This marks the first band that I've already praised as being a favorite of the year. Boris is amazing in everything they do. This happens to be the pop/stoner metal that I prefer.
Check out: "Vanilla"
11. Nux Vomica – Nux Vomica
An odd but awesome doom/black metal hybrid band from Portland, Oregon. Long adventurous songs that envelop the listener with their beauty just before revealing the darkness beneath. So fucking great.
Check out: "Reeling"
10. Giant Squid – Minoans
I'm already on record saying that this is my favorite Giant Squid album. I expected this album to be good, but I was floored by just how good it was. If you've ever liked this band, or anything in their realm (Grayceon, Isis, etc), get this. Love this.
Check out: "Minoans"
9. Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds
I touched on this album recently, and I'll say it again so you won't have to bother with that pesky link there. While I do not think this is album is perfect (I think a few songs aren't good, actually), the good songs on here are amazing and more than make up for what I don't like. I respect them getting experimenting outside of what worked so well on The Blackening though.
Check out: "Now We Die"
8. Wild Throne – Blood Maker
Here's the second release I've already praised as a favorite of the year. Seriously though, I haven't heard anything like this band, I can only settle on calling them progressive stoner metal, but that's the tip of the iceberg that this band is. More please? Soon?
Check out: "The Wrecking Ball Unchained"
7. Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails
I said it in July and I'll say it again, "…this album is flawless and is an absolute game-changer." Their EP gave a taste of what was to come, but this expanded on the melodic death metal unlike anything else they presented with those three songs. While the rate of how often I'm playing these songs has declined, my campaigning for this band hasn't. Worth all of the hype.
Check out: "Levitation"
6. Mastodon – Once More Round The Sun
Mastodon is a bit of an old faithful for me. I know my taste, and I know the band well enough to know they'll be high in my heart always. Crack The Skye remains my absolute favorite, but this record is the perfect blend of Skye, The Hunter, and Blood Mountain. I'd say third in the overall oeuvre for me.
Check out: "Chimes At Midnight"
5. Inter Atma – The Cavern
Yes, this is an EP, and yes it is just one song. However, this song takes the listener to more places than almost every album on my list. I was not expecting to be so in love with one song like I am with "The Cavern." Forty-five minutes of pure sludgy/prog/melodic bliss.
Check out: "The Cavern"
4. Retinwaav – Movements
While I'm unaware of when this project's initial launch was, the influence of artists like Cloudkicker and Chon is undeniable. This album is similar to their aesthetic, but very different in the execution. Ben Sharp likes to play a riff for a while creating a trance in the listener, Kris S builds the same atmosphere and beauty but gets restless and whips back and forth between ideas and moods. So amazing. So much respect for this young project. Pay what you want for this beast here.
Check out: "Perennial"
3. Opeth – Pale Communion
Better than Heritage (Which wasn't bad at all), while being just as proggy. No death metal still, but the further Mikeal and the guys go in this direction, the more intrigued I become. Watershed and Ghost Reveries are still my favorites, but this one is a well executed attempt of the band's newer direction.
Check out: "Eternal Rains Will Come"
2. Ne Obliviscaris – Citadel
This was hard. I love this album. I can't stop listening to this album. This band is my favorite band of the last half-decade or so. Their violin infused blackened prog metal has been such an influence and a love of mine since I stumbled upon their demo. Citadel is the next logical step to follow their masterpiece Portal of I. This one was SOOOOOOOOOOOO close to being number 1.
Check out: All of it. Over and over and over.
1. Devin Townsend – Z2
1. Devin Townsend – Z2
This was probably my most anticipated release of the year. I couldn't rave about it fast enough. I've have the honor to interview Dev a few times over the years and every time, he's mentioned this album like he'd been relishing in the tease. There were big expectations, and none of mine were disappointed. Blue Sky is every bit as epic as Epicloud and Dark Matters is every bit as weird and proggy as Ziltoid. It just gets better with every listen too. Even the songs I wasn't into have grown on me. This plus Casualties of Cool made 2014 the year of Dev.
Check Out: Blue Sky, Dark Matters and Casualties of Cool
Honorable Mentions for what it's worth
Moab – Billow
Dog Fashion Disco – Sweet Nothings
Black Crown Initiate – The Wreckage of Stars
Super Massive Black Holes – Calculations of the Ancients
Gridlink – Longhene
Unbeing – Raptus
Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere
Thomas Giles – Modern Noise
Helms Alee – Sleepwalking Sailors
1. Beck – Morning Phase
2. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
3. William Fitzsimmons – Lions
4. Prince – Art Official Age
5. Mr. Gnome – The Heart of a Dark Star
6. RX Bandits – Gemini, Her Majesty
7. Boyfrndz – Breeder
8. Moonlit Wheat – Reckless Love
9. Michael Cera – true that
10. Thank You Scientist – Maps of Non-Existent Places
See y'all in 2015