It’s been a rather busy week or so, but things are starting to calm down a little bit, though I know real life is going to kick me in the pants again when we roll into 2015. I did have enough free time today to get caught up on reading Bloggy Xmas and Listmas posts and decided on another list to contribute to the event. There were times in the past when I basically contributed to Listmas without knowing it existed, in that I used to make “best of ___” lists at the end of the year, usually having to deal with games, movies or music, or my more personal year in review type posts. So here we are at the end of 2014, and I already did my favorite games in one of the recent episodes of Couch Podtatoes. I didn’t really see many movies (in the theater) this year so we’ll skip that (though I did make a nice list of horror movies back in October), so that leaves music. I’m not a huge consumer of music like I was in years past, I honestly only care about certain genres and certain artists. I don’t need to buy new albums each week because there aren’t as many coming out that I care about. Punk has pretty much died, Country is super popular in the main stream and I hate that shit, I don’t like most Rap, so Metal and Dubstep seem to be what I gravitate to the most these days. Weird combination I supposed, but to me Dubstep is the Metal of the Electronic music world, so it makes sense in my mind. Anyway, here’s my list, the Top 5 Metal albums of 2014:
5. Pentakill – Smite And Ignite
This album was impressive for being based off of fictional characters from a video game, having lyrics and song titles that reflected the lore of that game, yet still be accessible enough for the masses, and acceptable enough for Metal enthusiasts like me. Long story short, for being a cheesy concept album, the artists who were involved in making the music clearly understood what makes a good metal album, channelling Danzig, Black Sabbath, and other now-classic metal acts, yet kept a modern feel with some sound effects and electronic instrumental tracks. The vocals are all clean, so there’s not gruff growling or raspy screeching, but I can still dig it. It probably helps that I really enjoy League of Legends, but I think the average layman could also enjoy the album. Plus, it was given away for free from Riot, so how can you complain?
4. Unearth – Watchers of Rule
Unearth has been together for a long time, and have put out many albums. For a Metalcore group, they always managed to change their albums up a bit and show off a bit of their other influences. I rather enjoyed their first few albums, but at some point I moved on to more extreme metal genres and sort of forgot they existed. I always ended up finding out when they had a couple of new albums out and would get caught up, but I haven’t listened to them religiously in probably close to ten years (when III: In The Eyes of Fire released I couldn’t stop listening to that disc). I wasn’t too fond of a couple albums, but Watchers of Rule makes me a believer again. There are some nice grungy metal core tracks, there are some that actually have almost a death metal feel, and there are variances in the singer’s vocals that keep things fresh. If you’ve never listened to Unearth before, this is a good place to start (though I still recommend the above referenced album).
3. Whitechapel – Our Endless War
Admittedly I didn’t start listening to Whitechapel anywhere near their start. The first time I actually heard them was during the Summer Slaughter tour in 2011, at the House of Blues in San Diego. I was there to see The Black Dahlia Murder, and WC played right before them. I liked what I heard, and investigated further from there. It was their self-titled album that I enjoyed the best, and this is the first album to come out since then. It is a bit different from the S/T, in that some of the tracks are a slower tempo but they still have the gritty vocals and musical stylings that I enjoy.
2. Misery Index – The Killing Gods
It was a hard choice between this album and the one that I eventually picked for the number one spot. I’d put both on equal footing, as both are bands that I would consider favorites of mine (this list would be longer or different had some of my other faves released albums this year). Despite feeling like both albums deserve the top spot, lists such as these have to have some semblance of order. So Misery Index hadn’t released an album in a few years, and there were rumors of a break up, but they did eventually start talking about working on a new album, and it finally released earlier this year. It’s full of bangers, and their pure death metal style is right up my alley. I love the vocals, I love the tempo, I love the solos, I love this album. I still think Heirs to Thievery and Traitors are right up there with this album, but new stuff always has that “new shiny” appeal, and that’s why this album is so high up the list.
1. Revocation – Deathless
Revocation has been a busy band since forming in 2009. Four full albums plus a shredding EP in 5 years is unprecedented, particularly when you consider the lead guitarist is also the vocalist and has been voted as one of the best guitarists of all time. I love everything about this band, and this album is awesome. I can’t really rank their albums either, as they tend to all be fantastic, none really better than the others. It’s as if they have come out in a single stream of consciousness, were recorded, broken up, and set to a staggered release schedule. Really, there are differences between the albums, but they are all distinctly Revocation, and that’s never a bad thing. If you enjoy death metal, thrash, and gritty yet easy to understand vocals, you’ll love Revocation. I know I do.
#metal #listmas2014 #music #top5