2014 was a year not of reviewing and critiquing but of absorbing and enjoying all the great music that came out this year. Some of my favourite bands, some new promising ones and some bands that I should have been listening to before put out great records this year. So without further ado, here are my top 10 albums in no particular order, perhaps except The Amanuensis.
Monuments – The Amanuensis Putting this album first on this list was quite an easy thing to do. This album was a huge leap, not just for Monuments, but for the whole modern metal scene too. Perfect song structures, the grooviest riffs that I’ve heard in a while, top notch guitar tones and excellent vocals made The Amanuensis the best modern prog album the year.
The Contortionist – Language The Contortionist are progressive metal in the true sense of the phrase. With Language, they have truly outdone themselves, pushing the boundaries of progressive metal to very interesting places.
Architects – Lost Forever//Lost Together I have nothing but love for Architects. Big fan of Hollow Crown and Daybreaker. This album has all the elements of their signature sound – the melodic and heavy riffs, impressive drums and unique vocals but they have upped the ante on the jumpiness and catchiness this time. The production was incredible too, the guitar tone especially is insane. I had said back in March that they’ll easily make this list and here they are.
Animals As Leaders – The Joy of Motion
You cannot talk about pushing the boundaries without giving Animals As Leaders a courteous mention. The Joy of Motion was the perfect balance of impeccable musicianship and enjoyability, technicality and laidback-ness, highs and lows, slow and fast…you get the drift.
Decapitated – Blood Mantra This album by the death metal legends took me back to their 2006’s Organic Hallucinosis which is probably my favourite death metal record. Blood Mantra showcases the band at their best. It is fast, groovy, thrashy and hardcore, making the listener feel exactly how they want them to feel. But the most important trait of all, it was extremely fun to listen to this album.
The Ghost Inside – Dear Youth The Ghost Inside are known emissaries of the melodic hardcore scene. This album is pretty much the same as their previous Get What You Give but has more dynamics and a central lyrical theme. Nothing ground breaking but still an inspiring record.
Erra – Moments of Clarity Erra are the most honest and hardworking musicians that are on their way to the big stage. Masters of progressive metalcore, Erra released the Moments of Clarity EP through Sumerian Records. The EP is the Erra that we love but heavier, more melodic and more cohesive.
PVRIS – White Noise A band from the Rise Records roster on a top 10 list! But PVRIS deserve it. A really new band with a really, really fresh pop-rock sound. I was hooked on their music since their single ‘St. Patrick’ came out in the middle of this year followed by White Noise in early November. The music is catchy yet dark and frontwoman Lyndsey Gunnulfsen packs a mean punch.
Rise Against – The Black Market I blasted the heck out of this album in my car this year. This was my first Rise Against album that I listened to and appreciated fully. Rise Against are huge, I didn’t know they sold their albums in the millions. But nonetheless, this was definitely one of my favourites of this year. A very polished sound, great song structures, catchy guitar parts and genuine vocals with society-questioning and anti-establishment lyrics make The Black Market an easy top 10.
Aborted – The Necrotic Manifesto I adore death metal when the songs are short, sweet and groovy. This album is just that. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their brand of death metal with elements of thrash and grind and enjoyed the gory imagery even more. The guitar solos are also great and this is coming from a guy who isn’t a big fan of them. Anyway, COFFIN UPON COFFIN.