ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Crobot – Something Supernatural
I literally struggled for months as to who really put out the better album 2014 and it was a damn close call. I’m talking bunk chads in Florida close. I have never had a more difficult time but in the end, Crobot reigned supreme with their latest release Something Supernatural. When these guys first sent me a very humble email back in 2012 asking to give them listen, after doing so I just knew I was hearing something pretty fucking magical. Two years later and with a new and improved rhythm section, Crobot returned and released an album that had not one single skippable track.
Song for song, it’s a solid, facemelting goulash of everything I love about hard rock music. If I could take all my favorite bands and throw them into a blender, I’d have Crobot and that is why Something Supernatural lives up to it’s name. It defies all genre barriers,its cosmically stellar, and It’s fucking unreal just how great this album is. This is a much deserved album of the year award to a band to exceeded even the high expectations I had set for them two years ago. Bravo beardos. Bravo.
Blues Pills – Blues Pills
Coming in so close to the album of the year is Blues Pills long awaited self titled debut. After three EP releases, 2014 finally saw the release of this stellar platter of blues infused psychedelic hard rock n’ roll. Elin Larsson and Company delivered re-worked versions of songs from their indie EP release along with a stellar run of newer songs such as “High Class Woman”, “No Hope Left for Me”, and “Ain’t No Change.” Blues Pills hit the scene hard with this album and it is one the most powerful and most moving releases I have heard in some time. This is the album that solidified Blues Pills as a strong, upstanding band that has me excited to see what the future will bring us from them.
Vindicator – Sleeping with Evil
Ohio thrashes Vindicator have made the list once again with an EP release that blew my mind. Top notch production, over the top thrash guitar solos, vocals that will rip the top of your head off and make you think, and songs that even Dave Mustaine would wish he wrote is what this release is all about. What I really love about this EP is that this really shows significant growth for Vindicator while they storm forward in their fight to preserve classic thrash metal. With bands like Vindicator, I feel confident that the metal I grew up with and the metal that I still love is alive, well, and kicking ass.
Riotgod – Driven Rise
After a stellar debut, Riotgod put out their 2nd album Invisible Empire which really didn’t do a whole lot for me. It was a good album but boy, lemme tell you, Riotgod returned to form with Driven Rise sounding more focused and determined than ever. This album grabbed me even more so than their debut with a set of songs that showed diversity yet maintained a level of cohesion. The songs are just so fucking good and Mark Sunshine is without a doubt one of my favorite modern metal singers. This album was just a pleasant surprise and reminded me to not lose faith in my favorite bands even when they do something at some point I don’t love. This album is sweet redemption for sure.
The Oath – The Oath
2014 was the year of occult rock/metal for the Brainfart. When I first heard The Oath I knew right away I was hearing a new favorite band. Lead singer Johanna Sadonis with her sultry, smokey vocals leads this band delivering song after song of just in your face awesomeness that pulls from classic NWOBHM bands with just a hint of Motorhead attitude in there for good measure. Unfortunately, The Oath left us as quick as they came to us when they disbanded shortly after the release of this kick ass debut album. The Oath did in one album what many can’t do in a career so if anything they should be proud of leaving behind such a monumental release.
Kyng – Burn the Serum
Kyng returned in a huge way with the follow up to their awesome Trampled Sun debut and let me just tell you that it’s like night and day. As good as Trampled Sun was artistically, it just didn’t capture the band’s true essence. Burn the Serum truly captures Kyng and everything they are about. Eddie Veliz’s sonic guitar playing and soulful vocals backed by one of the best fucking rhythm sections (Tony Casteneda and Pepe Clarke) is captured in all it’s live glory on this album and let’s not forget the quality of the songs. This is a band that cut their teeth on the road and grew to be a juggernaut of a band which is totally evident by just hearing the title track. Kyng really nailed the fuck out if with this album and it’s shit like this that makes me psyched to be a fan of a band.
Anubis Gate – Horizons
Anubis Gate’s last album was so fucking good that I had my fingers crossed that they would follow it up with something just as great. Well, they totally exceeded my expectations but putting out an album that completely surpassed its predecessor by a light year. Once again, Anubis Gate has delivered progressive metal that is full of passion, feel, and soul (the last two things are sadly lost in many progressive bands) and the voice of singer/bassist Henrik Fevre once again solidifies his position as another favorite singer of mine. The album is diverse, beautifully produced, and full of songs that create a truly unique listening experience.
Saturn – Ascending
The minute I heard “So, You Chosen Death” I just stood up from my desk in shock as to what I was hearing. Yet again, I was hearing one of my new favorite bands. Hailing from Sweden, Saturn pulls from the old school NWOBHM bands channeling classic UFO, Iron Maiden, and Diamondhead just to name a few. They do all of this and manage to forge a sound all their own without sounding like a dull carbon copy of the bands they wear on their sleeves. The album as a whole is kick ass from start to finish and it’s definitely one that gets multiple plays in my stereo. Saturn is a band that I have very high hopes for and with this debut album I have to say that they completely knocked it out of the fucking park.
Iron Reagan – Tyranny of Will
Just when I didn’t think I could love Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste vocalist) any more, here he comes with not only an amazing new band but one of my favorite fucking albums of the year. With songs ranging from 0:20 long to about 3 minutes long, Tyranny of Will is an old school, in your face, skate thrash masterpiece. It goes by so fucking fast that if you leave the room to take a shit you’ve missed ½ the album. Tyranny of Will is an album made by guys my age who remember what real thrash metal is all about and they did it perfectly and I can’t forget that “Miserable Failure” is without a doubt one of the best fucking metal songs I heard all year. This is definitely an album that should be in the collection of every old school metal fanatic. Own this album, see this band live, and thank me later.
Exodus – Blood In, Blood Out
I literally passed on even giving this album a listen because I had already made it up in my mind that it just wouldn’t be good. I kind of felt that Exodus reuniting with former vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza would be taking a step backwards but once I put all bias aside and gave this album a listen, I totally saw the light. Yes, Exodus did take a step back but only to grab Zetro and step back into place with him and make what I consider to be the best album they’ve made since Fabulous Disaster. The songs are full of that classic Exodus sound with just enough modern touch to it to keep the band sounding like a truly relevant band in these modern metal times. Blood In, Blood Out is an album that exceeded any and all expectations I had for this album and has very rightfully earned it’s place as not just a great metal album but one of the beset metal albums I heard in 2014. Well played fellas. Well played.
King Diamond – Dreams of Horror
You’re probably thinking that it’s weird that a “Best of” album made my list but fuck you. This is my site and I can do what the fuck I want. Finally, a Best of compilation spanning the career of King Diamond has made it’s way into my life and it made my little, black, metal heart just filled with glee. The songs on this collection have been completely remastered and tweaked from the original tapes and it’s amazing what King and guitarist Andy LaRoque did with these classic tracks. The songs sound so much fatter and the levels have been brought up and its’ amazing to hear just how well these songs hold up. This is a great gateway album for anyone who has ever been remotely curious about King Diamond and knows nothing of his career. This album is also a great collection us long time fans as it really does capture some of King’s greatest material and songs that are frequently featured in his live shows. This was just a great and unexpected surprise coming in so close to the end of the year and I couldn’t be happier with this album.