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Friday, December 26, 2014

The 10 Best Metal Albums of 2014

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 3:40 AM

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When the world's most beloved grindcore band slows down, they slow waaaaay down. The first song on this album is actually longer than "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda"; an impressive feat from a band whose previous work consists of 38-song albums with tracks under half a minute. Some guy somewhere in a jean vest is going to disagree with me, but Pig Destroyer just put out the best doom-metal release of the year.


4. MORBUS CHRON - SWEVEN (Century Media)

If you're a metalhead, Sweden was probably one of the things you said you were thankful for last month as you ate your turkey. Amongst the gifts they've given the rest of the world are Bathory, Meshuggah, Entombed, Amon Amarth, Dissection and now Morbus Chron. The band doesn't stick to the rules of any specific sub-genre, but with roots in prog, death and black-metal it has created a unique and expansive world all its own. The songs are cinematic and wandering and the production is dense, with an old-school thickness. The vocalist kind of sounds like Chuck Schuldiner, which only helps things. This is maybe the most intriguing and creative metal album of the year, and I predict great things in this band's future. Thanks again, Sweden.


3. LANTLOS - MELTING SUN (Prophecy Productions)

It only took four albums for Germany's Lantlos to connect the dots between rip-roaring black metal and '90s alternative rock. Melting Sun is pure Hum worship. Its that fourth Failure album that was never released. Its Jesu as a live band, without electronics. You could probably put it on in the car with your mom and she'd be cool with it. Some metal fans might be let down by the clean vocals and lack of aggression, as they similarly were to Cave In releasing Jupiter years back, but the album is still quite heavy and driving, and the songwriting is well thought out and memorable.



The artwork and overall vibe of this album feels like something you'd find in a Criterion Collection DVD case. It's a challenging record that may not be for everyone, but worth the pay off once you open your ears and sink into its mind-bending bleakness. Elements of black metal and prog-rock are present, but these three nameless Canadians have definitely created their own dark beast with this album. It's perfect for a year as futuristic sounding as 2014, like what some sci-fi writer in 1994 would imagine metal would be like in twenty years.


1. GODFLESH - A WORLD LIT ONLY BY FIRE (Avalanche Recordings)

The heaviest band in the world just reunited and made its first new music in thirteen years. Yeah, this is a no-brainer for number one. This music crushes buildings. It flattens planets. It shoves a little girl down in the mud and take her bike and sets it on fire. Godflesh is just two guys and a drum machine; the music is straightforward and simple, and the lyrics are stripped-down and direct. The lack of bells and whistles is part of what makes the band so effective. It's like getting your ass kicked by a 400 pound wrestler who, instead of wearing some fancy costume, is just pissed off and butt ass naked. (Also check out the excellent four-song Decline and Fall EP released just months earlier.)


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