Kevin's Top 15 Albums of 2014
What more is there to say outside of "I really liked these albums"?
I've never been what anyone would consider a huge Obituary fan. Never have been, though it's curious how many of their records I own, how many times I've interviewed them and the number of times I've seen them live. Heck, fans would be jealous. To me, they're like that uber-reliable, dependable force that's always there and you never miss it until it's gone. I know I'd miss "Deny You" and "Violence" though, as they are two of the best songs written by anyone this past year.
Godflesh has been one of my favourite bands since I was a young whipper-snapper obsessively telling anyone who'd listen about how they were the best band on Earache (mostly because I didn't like or understand grindcore at first – weird, huh?). And when one of your favourite bands puts out a killer record after a long layoff, it's like Kyle Kinane says,"the world's an all right place."
Yeah, so it's not cool for us ear-to-the-ground, underground dweller types to like Mastodon because they're a major label act and all that hooey. But fuck it. It wouldn't matter if Once More 'Round the Sun came out on Warner, Relapse or Basement Fist Fucker Records, the songs are progressive hard rock classics. If terrestrial radio had a collective set of cojones, Mastodon would be five times as big as they (and the luscious derrieres in "The Motherload" video) are.
See Obituary. Replace Obituary with Behemoth. Replace "Deny You" and "Violence" with "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" and "O Father, O Satan, O Sun!"
For years, Goatwhore has always had all the ingredients that comprise top-notch metal. Add to, or refine, it with some of the best blackened NWOBHM you'll ever hear in "FBS" and "Baring Teeth for Revolt" along with some choice bass playing by James Harvey and there you go: more awesome-ness.
If there's a band out there on the doom/sludge/slow crawl/etc. side of things who can keep their tunes as hummable and catchy as these Baton Rouge misanthropes can even when the clock ticks well past the ten-minute mark, then I don't know who they are.
There continues to be a non-stop parade of Swedish death metal being foisted upon the public like overblown analysis gets foisted upon anyone who dares watch football with the sound on. This my favourite Swedish death release of 2014 because, simply, it's the best Swedish death metal release of 2014.
For years, Floor wrote great songs and put out great releases. For years, they didn't have the backing of a record company who could get them in the face of greater numbers of people who would appreciate those great songs and great releases. Now, with Season of Mist steering the ship, so many people have been heard saying, "This is what i've been missing all these years?! Fuck me."
Kyuss-like stoner rock from the rainforests of Brazil, they said. Admittedly, my sceptics alarm went off like a motherfucker. Then, I listened and was quickly converted. Actually, I was probably all-in once I saw the video for "Hurricane," but I had to spin the rest of the record to make sure. I'm sure.
I'm a long time fan of Martyrdod. Elddop drove my fanboy-status to greater depths with its pushing of the D-beat/crust boundaries with some excellent use of traditional song structures and melodies that, like your mom, just don't quit.
Before guitarist and chief song writer Takafumi Matsubara contracted a brain infection that has pretty much placed his entire guitar playing future in jeopardy, it was decided that trying to manage a band with members spread around the US and Japan was too much. Longhena was already announced as the final Gridlink album and they didn't just go out with a bang, but set off an unstable neutron bomb under a munitions factory coated in high-octane gasoline. With violin kisses.
Angular noise rock played by a German duo, they said. Admittedly, my sceptics alarm went off like a motherfucker. Then, I listened and was quickly converted. Actually, I just discovered and watched their video for "White Nights" but I've been all-in since before the album was officially released last February.
To be honest, until Ruining Lives, I hadn't listened to much Prong since the "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck" days. Even still, it took a while for this one to click. In the end, I was rewarded with an awesome, front-to-back consistent collection of some of the best songs Tommy Victor has ever written. And when you think he wrote and recorded this essentially by himself and with a record company deadline looming…good lord.
Raw Power has been one of my favourite bands since I was 13 years old and wasn't getting beaten up for being a longhair going to punk and hardcore shows, probably for the simple fact I was 13 years old and even the drunkest scumbag punk rocker has some standard about whose ass he's going to kick. Tired and Furious continues their ongoing tinkering with the line between screaming solo metal and hardcore punk, and features some of the tastiest bass playing around. 30 years and not only are they still screaming, but they keep managing to churn out classic hardcore.
Much like most classic Metallica, Slayer, Raw Power, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mr. Bungle, Minor Threat (and so on…) albums, I can sing, hum or whatever La Fin Absolute du Monde from beginning to end. That's gotta mean something, doesn't it?
Very Honourable Mentions:
Full of Hell and Merzbow – Full of Hell and Merzbow
Lost Society – Terror Hungry
Equilibrium – Erdentempel
Kong – Stern
Voices – London
Overkill – White Devil Armory
Cripple Bastards – Nero in Metastasi
We are the Damned – Doomvirate
The Atlas Moth – The Old Believer
Panopticon – Roads to the North