It’s that time of the year where all the big music magazines, various labels and bands have collated their lists for their respective favourite albums of the year and it’s always interesting to see what has made their individual list and I thought, why not give it a go myself? Especially with 2014 being one of the best and biggest years for rock and metal music, trying to create a personal list that I was thoroughly satisfied with took me weeks and weeks, listening to all my favourite albums of the year and thinking which was better proved to be such a difficult task. Nevertheless, I’ve finally got my list together and here it is!! My countdown from 10-1 talking about each album and then another list with some albums that didn’t make the list but nonetheless are fantastic albums from 2014.
10) Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown
I have to admit, before hearing the new ETID record, I wasn’t familiar with the band at all. I heard a lot of great things about them, but I’d never really heard much. However, I remember watching the video for Thirst thinking it was one of the funniest music videos to be made, and that track in particular smashes the listener right in the face. Listening to the album made me dig into their vast discography and all their records prove they are easily one of the most consistent bands in the history of rock music. Produced by Kurt Ballou, guitarist for Converge, this album is just pure, unadulterated, heavy punk-n-roll, it’s kickass.
9) Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds
I absolutely adore Machine Head. One of my favourite bands of all time, I have loved everything they’ve done and this album solidifies Machine Head as one of the greatest and most important heavy metal bands of all time. When I first listened to this record, I honestly felt that it was much more expansive and more adventurous than anything they’ve ever done before. Whilst it’s not my favourite Machine Head album, certainly in my top 3 though, songs like Killers and Kings, Night Of The Long Knives, Game Over and my personal favourite Ghost Will Haunt My Bones just show that Machine Head are a truly special and consistent metal band with songs that are just built for the live environment.
8) Suicide Silence – You Can’t Stop Me
When I first ever heard Suicide Silence, I think I was around 14 and I watched the video of Unanswered and I remember being terrified thinking how can something be this heavy, it was ridiculous (in a good way!). This album was obviously the first SS album since the passing of vocalist Mitch Lucker (RIP), and with Eddie Hermida on board, Suicide Silence, to me, have created an album that is just heavy grooves, balls-to-the-wall, pure face-crushing metal.
7) Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed
Amazing super-groups nowadays are quite hard to come by. However, Killed Be Killed released an incredible album and for a long time, I really thought this would be higher in my top 10 list. Featuing Troy from Mastodon, Greg from The Dillinger Escape Plan, Dave Elitch ex-Mars Volta and the legendary Max Cavalera, the band have beautifully blended all the elements of their existing bands and produced an absolute beauty of a debut record.
6) Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter
I wanted this album to be higher purely for the fact that it’s Slipknot but still, Slipknot have released a landmark record with .5: The Gray Chapter. Please check out my post that I did back in August about what I wanted for the new Slipknot album and see whether all those things came into fruition. For me, they absolutely did and some of the riffs of this album are some of the best riffs, not just from Slipknot, but over the entire course of metal. The Negative One, for example, is absolutely crushing and songs like Custer, Sarcastrophe, AOV etc are all absolutely massive metal anthems. What makes this record stand out from their other albums is the fact that Slipknot are still expanding their sound and still not afraid to do whatever they want. Obviously a lot of people will compare this album to Stone Sour due to amount of clean singing (which to me, is just lazy criticism frankly) and will ignore the fact that Slipknot have produced a record that brings all the best things about Slipknot but introduces a subtle brand new element to their sound at the same time.
5) Royal Blood – Royal Blood
When I saw Royal Blood at Download 2014, I was absolutely blown away. The fact that so much racquet (and damn good racquet, I might add) was being created by just two individuals shows a hell of a lot, but not only that, their tunes sounded absolutely monolithic. For me, the album is justified proof that rock music is well and truly alive in 2014, the debut from Royal Blood feels like a revolutionary album, one which will be influence many upcoming bands to push and demolish the boundaries like what Royal Blood have done. With a Foo Fighters support slot at Wembley and a whole US tour with the rock legends, the biggest and the best is still to come from Royal Blood.
4) KING 810 – Memoirs Of A Murderer
Without a doubt, one of, if not, the most important album to be associated with metal in recent time. Important in the sense that this album takes the elements of your typical hard-hitting, memorable metal album but brings in an entirely different, unique perspective. KING 810 are either loved or unjustifiably hated and this album presents an entirely sinister side and proves that metal isn’t just a one-dimensional genre, and whatever you think about the band’s story and their history and where they grew up in Flint, Michigan, whilst those factors are certainly significant influences on the record, the music itself is without a doubt the golden part of this album, it’s everything a metal band should sound like in terms of sound, songwriting and production also. If you’re going to the Slipknot tour in January, get there early and catch King 810 because I guarantee you, they will melt your face off.
3) Marmozets – The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets
Where do I even start with this record?! I remember seeing Marmozets open up for Young Guns in Cardiff back in 2012 and just wasn’t sure what to make of them. In the best way possible, their sound was a collection of so many influences from the likes of Refused, The Dillinger Escape Plan, At The Drive-In etc, mashed together, thrown into a cauldron as they presented a sound that I had never heard of before. Fast forward 2 years and I’m seeing them absolutely destroy the Pepsi Max stage at Download 2014 with what I can only describe as a chaotic live experience, just unbelievable. As a result, I was awaiting the debut Marmozets record with a lot of excitement and with songs like Born Young and Free, Why Do You Hate Me?, Move, Shake, Hide etc. Marmozets have set their path for a monumental career in a big way. With the band being signed to Roadrunner also, if there’s any justice in the world, Marmozets will be huge and deservedly so.
2) Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together
This was so close to being my number one, but nonetheless, Architects are at number 2 and the fact that this isn’t even my favourite Architects record speaks volumes. I have loved everything Architects have ever done, even ‘The Here and Now’ which I think is significantly overlooked and after getting into them when they released ‘Hollow Crown’ in 2009, Architects have remained one of my all-time favourite bands and I would even go as far to say that they are my favourite British band of any form of rock/metal, they are absolutely incredible. With Lost Forever // Lost Together, Architects have created not just an amazing record, but a special one. I feel as if this record will have just as much influence as Hollow Crown, which for me, was a revolution in terms of modern metal especially in the UK. The songwriting and their sound just gets better and better and even more huge with every record and Sam Carter’s voice is just as powerful and stronger than ever before, listen to the chorus to C.A.N.C.E.R, for example, and just see for yourself!
1) Beartooth – Disgusting
So here it is. 2014 has been one of those years that has produced some of the finest albums in the history of rock music. But none of them have come close to this one, Disgusting from Beartooth. What compromises as an Album of the Year for me? Well, a lot of things: the songs are amazing, well-written songs, catchy choruses, amazing production etc. Whilst Disgusting is all of those things and more, this album has something unique that the rest of my list doesn’t. Every time I listen to this record, it reminds me of growing up, it reminds me of the present, it reminds me of what’s going to happen in the near future. Disgusting is one of those albums where I will listen back in 5, 10, 20 years and I remember absolutely everything that I have associated with that record. The melodies, the harmonies and the sheer breadth of sound-scope of this album are the most memorable things for me. The way I feel about Beartooth is kind of the same way I think about when I discovered letlive. and when I heard Fake History thinking that no record is going to top this and give me an incredible feeling every time I listen to it, well, Beartooth have done just that. Songs like The Lines, I Have A Problem, Body Bag, Beaten In Lips, Dead, One More and my personal favourite In Between sound ferocious, glorious and fresh, this is an album which deserves to be worshiped and deserves to be influential.
And finally, here’s some more albums that didn’t quite make the list but are still amazing!!
Behemoth – The Satanist
Upon A Burning Body – The World Is My Enemy Now
Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun
Miss May I – Rise Of The Lion
Feed The Rhino – The Sorrow and The Sound
Neck Deep – Wishful Thinking
Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – World On Fire
Mallory Knox – Asymmetry
Bury Tomorrow – Runes
Lower Than Atlantis – Lower Than Atlantis
Steel Panther – All You Can Eat
Black Veil Brides – Black Veil Brides
You Me At Six – Cavalier Youth