Holy shit, it’s December again??? I really need to lay off huffing rubber cement and crawl out of my parents’ basement once in a while because this year went way too fast. I probably missed out on a bunch of good shit, but here we go anyway with the Top 10 Metal Albums of 2014!
10. Job For A Cowboy – “Sun Eater”
I always ignored Job For A Cowboy because dorky deathcore kids wear their shirts. Plus their name is really easy to make fun of (“Hand” Job For A Cowboy! Get it?!?! HAND JOB??!?!!!?) Luckily I gave this one a spin, because Job For A Cowboy has really turned around from bland deathcore into creative tech death territory. My one minor complaint is the lame album cover. Megadeth can toss in Vic on every album cover and I’m down with it, but these guys could stand to switch up the “Lady Justice Holding Up A Skull” motif a little.
9. Origin – “Omnipresent”
I’m a huge poser. I’ve had an Origin sticker on my guitar case since I was like 16, yet I’d never actually listened to them until I saw them live a few months back. Not only do these guys kick ass on stage, I ran into them the next day at Walgreens and they’re super cool dudes. Plus they did a sweet wall of death even though there was like 15 people at the show. The album itself is a lot of brutal shredding and blast beats, plus they have a crazy space anus made out of body parts on the cover. What more do you need?
8.Mutilation Rites – “Harbinger”
I’ve never been to Brooklyn, NY, but from what I’ve read it’s mainly twiggy hipsters sipping coffee and listening to folk music while they swap stories about beard growth. Imagine my surprise and delight when I learned that Brooklyn managed to produce something as absolutely hateful as Mutilation Rites. Double up on your Zoloft prescription because Harbinger is some seriously bleak metal. The cover is ugly as hell and so is the music, and that’s a good thing.
7. Agalloch – “The Serpent and the Sphere”
If you want the ultimate soundtrack to a rainy day, it’s time to bust out some Agalloch. This makes a lot of sense since they’re from Portland and it rains for 9 months straight and then you want to kill yourself because everybody is an asshole from lack of vitamin D. Anyway, even though all the kvlt NSBM dudes I knew in Portland would kick my ass for saying this, The Serpent and the Sphere is a great album. Bonus: your girlfriend probably won’t hate Agalloch as much as the rest of the shit on this list.
6. Revocation – “Deathless”
Even though Revocation may never beat their masterpiece EP “Teratogenesis”, they did beat last year’s slightly weaker self-titled album with Deathless. Revocation is so good that I even managed to get my buddy Nate listening to them, and he doesn’t give a shit about metal. The only thing that sucks is there’s a lot of studio magic involved with the “clean” singing and they can’t really do the clean stuff live. Revocation can definitely shred and Deathless is a strong showing well worth checking out.
Fav song: Deathless
Ask mom: for some allowance money so you can buy Revocation merch
5. Beyond Creation – “Earthborn Evolution”
Holy crap, what a lucky find! I’d never even heard of Beyond Creation before, but they played the same show with Origin and I was completely blown away. Do you like fretless bass? How about weird 8 string guitars with non-parallel frets? If you answered “hell yes”, you’ll love Beyond Creation’s astounding tech death. Not only that, I went to ask their guitarist if they’re on Spotify and he only speaks Canadian so I just bought a shirt instead. Long story short, go listen to Beyond Creation.
4. Exmortus – “Slave To The Sword”
Another great opening act that I’d never heard of! I went to see Destruction and Exmortus totally stole the show. Everybody was sitting around bored as shit after a mediocre opening act, and Exmortus absolutely blew the show out of the water even though they were the second band. Exmortus have both shred and stage presence down to a science, and they have a blast while they’re doing it. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a band have so much fun, and I got lucky enough to see Exmortus headline a second show a week later. These guys are on the must-see list, and Slave To The Sword is a high-energy shredfest that’ll get you pumped up. Plus, check out that album cover! Is that not some badass Conan The Barbarian shit or what?!? I should’ve bought a shirt.
3. Sabaton – “Heroes”
Ok, I’ll admit that Heroes isn’t Sabaton’s finest hour, especially after their superb 2012 album Carolus Rex. However, something kept me coming back to this album over and over again. I’ve been jamming Heroes nonstop since it came out. Maybe it’s because Sabaton is probably one of the top 10 most fun live acts I’ve ever seen, but I absolutely love their brand of cheesy, fun, history-lesson-disguised-as-metal. In any case, Sabaton’s newest album (minus one weak ballad-ish song) is fun to listen to and great lifting music.
2. Fallujah – “The Flesh Prevails”
The Flesh Prevails’ mastering job is oddly crappy (what’s with the crazy volume and clipping?) but dem’ jams, man! I don’t know how I slept on this album for so long, because the songwriting is incredible. There’s a weird combination of brutality and accessibility, and even a few of my non-metal friends have commented “hey, I kinda like this”. Fallujah jams blast beats together with soaring, atmospheric melodies and somehow it not only works but exceeds. I absolutely love the beautiful album art too. Don’t miss this one!
1. Artificial Brain – “Labyrinth Constellation”
I’m not gonna lie. I’d be into Artificial Brain even if they sucked ass purely because of the album cover. Skull robots with gun hands fighting gigantic space bugs? Love it already! Combining the best aspects of bands like Gorguts and Demilich, Artificial Brain somehow makes murky, filthy death metal not only listenable but catchy. I found myself jamming Labyrinth Constellation seven or eight times in a row and had to make myself quit before I got burnt out. Turns out burnout isn’t even a worry because I’m still listening to this album almost daily 10 months later. I can’t promise anything, but there’s about a 99.998732% chance that if you listen to Artificial Brain you will immediately transport through a space wormhole, have machinery integrated into your flesh a la The Borg and get drafted into an intergalactic pest control service, so you pretty much need to listen to this album immediately.
Some Other Stuff I Liked:
Twitch of the Death Nerve – “A New Code of Morality”
Behemoth – “The Satanist”
Sun Worship – “Elder Giants”
Goatwhore – “Constricting Rage of the Merciless”
Body Count – “Manslaughter”
Iron Reagan – “The Tyranny of Will”
Cannabis Corpse – “From Wisdom To Baked”
Insomnium – “Shadows of the Dying Sun”
Goofy Album Cover That’s Somehow Totally Awesome
Party Cannon – “Partied In Half”
What are your favorite albums of the year? Tell me your secrets in the comments section.
Read next: The Top Metal Albums of 2013