My 10 Favorite*
*(in alphabetical order)
Baptists - Bloodmines
This album has gotten a lot of negative reviews and press complaining that it fell flat in comparison to their debut, Bushcraft. While I agree that this album doesn't come close to the brilliance that Bushcraft was, Bloodmines certainly does not suck. In fact, songs like Vistas, Festered, and Calling are some of my favorites that they've written to date. Nick Yacyshyn also continues to establish himself as one of the best drummers in the heavy music realm with his incredibly technical and speedy delivery.
Every Time I Die - From Parts Unknown
These guys have always been hit and miss with me. I loved Gutter Phenomenon, didn't like The Big Dirty as much; I loved New Junk Aesthetic, but didn't like Ex Lives. It seems like every other album lacked from the previous. By that thinking and reasoning, I should love this new one... and I do. The band also did themselves a favor by enlisting the services of the best producer in the metal scene, Kurt Ballou. The end result is a well produced, technically solid release that does not disappoint.
Enabler - La Fin Absolute Du Monte
Their release "All Hail The Void" narrowly missed my cut for the top ten in 2012. This year brought us their follow up full length. Although not as strong as their previous release, this 3-piece from Milwaukee sure knows how to melt faces with their blend of fast pissed off hardcore, punk, metal. Highly recommended for fans of bands such as Converge and All Pigs Must Die.
Generation of Vipers - Coffin Wisdom
This was probably my favorite release of 2014. This band fucking slays!!! If you're not familiar with these guys, they play an awesome mix of post-metal and sludge with riffs and rhythms that hit so hard, you'll be picking your teeth up off the floor. If you're into heavy music with growling vocals, chugging dark riffage, and pounding drum rhythms, do yourself a favor and get this album.
Helms Alee - Sleepwalking Sailors
This band has gotten better with every album in my opinion. Their debut Night Terrors was great, their follow up Weatherhead was even better and made my top ten in 2011. This year, the band releases their best album to date. Great heavy, sludgy song-writing with 3 part, male/female vocal harmonies. I've also said it before and I'll say it again, Hozoji Matheson-margullis is my favorite female drummer and she keeps getting better. She's got some serious chops on this album.
Minus the Bear - Lost Loves
I wasn't expecting this album to be this good let alone to crack the exclusive top ten. Don't get me wrong, I love me some MTB, but their last few releases have not lived up to the greatness of their earlier releases. Lost Loves brings back those elements of technical finger tapping and complex song-writing that hooked me in the first place. This album puts to the wayside the simplified and mainstreamed sound of the last few releases and returns the band to their earlier sound that put them on the map.
Mursa - MRSA
Here's my curveball in the top ten. This album was a gem of a find while cursing around on Bandcamp one day. This 3-piece band of youngsters from Portland, Oregon solidified their spot in the top ten with an album chalked full of crushing, heavy, sludgy goodness. Looking for that new metal band that no one has ever heard of? Than look no further than these guys. Check it out for yourself, you won't be letdown http://mursa.bandcamp.com
Run With The Hunted - The Sieve and The Sand
This was another random discovery while poking around on Bandcamp. Run With The Hunted play a blend of high energy, pissed off, chaotic, hardcore punk that would be a welcome sound in the toughest of mosh pits. I have a hard time not pumping my fists while listening to this album at an ungodly volume. This could easily be the soundtrack to a massive street brawl or neighborhood riot.
Steaksauce Mustache - The Almighty Aardvoctomalark!
After years of playing shows, and numerous line-up changes, my hometown Grants Pass, Oregon's own Steaksauce Mustache finally released their debut full length album via Bandcamp. This album is highly recommended for any fans of early The Dillinger Escape Plan, Norma Jean, The Chariot, and Arsonists Get All The Girls. Check it our for yourself, name your price @ http://steaksaucemustache.bandcamp.com/releases
United Nations - The Next Four Years
It was a long 4 year wait since their epic EP Never Mind the Bombings, Here's Your Six Figures, but it was well worth the wait. This supergroup featuring members of Thursday, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, Pianos Become the Teeth, and one of my favorite drummers Ben Koller of Converge, Mutoid Man & All Pigs Must Die to name a few, delivers an all out assault on their second full length album. I can only hope it won't take another 4 long years before we'll from this awesome band again.
*(Not quite top ten)
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - IX
Not my favorite album of theirs, but really good nonetheless. these guys really can't do no wrong in my book.
Audrey Fall - Mitau
Really great instrumental, post-rock, post-metal album from this 4-piece band from Latvia.
Barrows - Red Giant
This Los Angeles instrumental, post-rock, post-metal caught my attention with their 2011 release, Imprecari Island. This release is just as memorable. Check out for yourself, both releases are name your price @ https://barrowstheband.bandcamp.com
Dirt Cannon - Tough Love
Superb post-hardcore, metalcore album from a band obviously heavily influenced by bands such as Every Time I Die, He Is Legend and Cancer Bats. Regardless, I really enjoyed this one.
Ire Wolves - The Ascetic
Very solid debut from this 3-piece post-metal band from Duluth, MN. Recommended for fans of Isis, Cult of Luna or Mouth of the Architect. Find out, name your price, here http://irewolves.bandcamp.com/releases
Jack And The Bearded Fisherman - Minor Noise
Don't let their kinda foolish name deter you. This French post-hardcore, rock band narrowly escaped my top ten in 2011 with their Places To Hide album. They did the same thing in 2014 with this release too.
Kerretta - Pirohia
I've love everything this instrumental, post-rock band has released to date, and this album is no exception.
La Mar - Tides
Great progressive, instrumental, post-rock band from Caracas, Venezuela. I listened to this one a lot.
Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun
I believe that I mentioned it before that I've came to terms with the fact that gone are the days of the Remission/Leviathan era Mastodon and that they've molded their sound into something different. With that said, I do love me some Mastodon. This album is catchy as hell and it grew on me quite a bit.
Minerva Superduty - Minerva Superduty
Anyone who knows me and my musical taste knows that I'm a sucker for a great instrumental band. This was probably my favorite album without vocals in 2014. I couldn't get enough of it. Not to mention they made it a name your price @ http://minervasuperduty.bandcamp.com
Nero Di Marte - Derivae
Awesome technical progressive metal album from this 4-piece band hailing from Bologna, Italy. Recommended for fans of Gojira, Neurosis, and Tool.
Oceanic - Origin
When this progressive, instrumental, post-metal band from Halifax, Nova Scotia locks into one of their many complex and off-time rhythms, it gives me goosebumps. Very solid debut album.
Good, not great*
Akela -Akela (Hardcore, Post-Metal)
Alaskan - Despair, Erosion, Loss (Post-Metal, Sludge)
Alinda - Comets' Tails (Post-Rock)
Allochiria - Omonoia (Post-Metal)
Aminals - Dead Air (Hardcore)
Amniac - Infinite (Sludge)
Amouth - Awaken (Post-Metal)
Antethic - Origin (Instrumental, Post-Rock)
Appollonia - Dull Parade (Post-Hardcore, Post-Metal, Alt Metal)
As We Draw - Mirages (Post-Metal, Hardcore)
Astralia - Atlas (Instrumental Rock)
Attic - Seasons (Hardcore, Death Metal, Progressive)
Bear the Mammoth - Yamadori (Post-Rock)
Becoming The Lion - Automa (Instrumental Rock)
Beware of Safety - Lotusville (Instrumental, Post-Rock)
Bird Eater - Dead Mothers Make The Sun Set (Chaotic Hardcore, Sludge)
Body Hound - Rhombus Now (Progressive, Math, Instrumental Rock)
Brontide - Artery (Post-Hardcore)
Carne - Ville Morgue (Noise Rock, Post-Hardcore, Sludge)
Challenger Deep - Irreversible (Post-Metal)
Clover - Vultures (Hardcore)
Cold Blue Mountain - Old Blood (Post-Metal)
Comrades - Safekeeper (Instrumental Rock)
Cotidal - Lunar Day (Post-Metal)
Deaf Eyes - Deaf Eyes (Instrumental Metal)
Direwolves - Aegri Somnia (Hardcore)
Earthship - Withered (Sludge, Post-Metal)
Echoes and Signals - V (Instrumental Rock)
Escapethecult - All You Want To (Progressive Rock)
Exalt - Pale Light - (Hardcore)
Father Figure - Heavy Meddlers (Progressive, Jazz, Instrumental)
Giza - I Am The Ocean, I Am The Sea (Instrumental, Sludge, Stoner)
Gunfight Fever - Gunfight Fever (Instrumental Metal)
Gust - Gust (Hardcore)
HawkMoth - Calamitas (Instrumental, Post-Metal)
Herod - They Were None (Post-Metal, Sludge)
Huldra - Black Tides (Post-Metal, Sludge)
Ilenkus - The Crossing (Hardcore)
Ilydaen - The Crossing (Instrumental, Post-Rock)
In The Presence of Wolves - Thalassas (Progressive, Post-Hardcore)
Jakob - Sines (Post-Rock)
Key of Solomon - Exile (Progressive, Instrumental Metal)
LANDS - Misanthropy (Post-Metal)
Lost in the Riots - Move On, Make Trails (Instrumental Rock)
Mantar - Death By Burning (Post-Metal, Sludge)
Marasme - De Ilums I Ombres (Post-Hardcore, Hardcore)
The Mercury Tree - Countenance (Progressive, Indie Rock)
Moanaa - Descent (Post-Metal, Sludge)
Mongrels - Gnawed Bones (Hardcore)
Moutheater - Passing Key (Noise Rock)
N.Tesla - Lux Manifesto (Post-Metal, Sludge)
Old Man Gloom - Ape Of God (Post-Metal, Sludge)
Pet Slimmers of the Year - Fragments Of Uniforms (Instrumental Rock)
Redwood Hill - Collider (Sludge)
The Return South - The Return South (Instrumental Rock)
Ritual Mess - Vile Art (Noise Rock)
Rodha - Welter Through The Ashes (Post-Metal, Sludge)
The Samuel Jackson Five - Seasons In The Hum (Instrumental, Post-Rock)
Save Us From Archon - Thereafter (Math, Instrumental Rock)
Show Me A Dinosaur - Dust (Instrumental, Post-Rock)
Slugdge - Gastronomicon (Hardcore, Sludge)
Sora Shima - You Are Surrounded (Post-Rock)
Telepathy - 12 Areas (Instrumental Metal)
Terraforma - Creatures (Instrumental Rock)
Terronaut - (Instrumental Rock, Post-Metal)
These Are My Tombs - Morphosis (Instrumental, Post-Rock)
Torrential Downpour - Truth Knowledge Vision (Hardcore)
TotorRo - Home Alone (Instrumental Rock)
Trade in a Temple - Obsession (Instrumental Metal)
Trudger - Dormiveglia (Hardcore, Sludge)
Tsima - Shatter (Post-Metal)
Watered - Some Are Born Into The Endless Night (Instrumental Rock)
Yarn Of Norna - Ronové (Post-Metal)
Yoma - Approaching Silence (Post-Metal)
Giant Squid - Minoans
I've really enjoyed everything this band had released up to this point. This album fell flat to their previous work. I found it kind of boring and uninventive for their standards.
He Is Legend - Heavy Fruit
This makes me really sad that I have to put this one in the disappointment list. I just could not get into this one at all. After about song 4, it just drags and never picks back up to the intensity that they're know for.
Maybeshewill - Fair Youth
A big letdown of a release from one of my favorite cinematic instrumental rock bands. Nothing really grabbed me enough to stay interested in this album.
This Will Destroy You - Another Language
For a little time there, I though this band would battle Explosions In The Sky for the throne of best instrumental and climactic band. But, in my opinion, this band peaked with their debut EP, Young Mountain. Every album since then has gotten less and less interesting.
Young and in the Way - When Life Comes To Death
I was really hoping they would have built on the momentum from their last 3 releases. But this one feels a step in the opposite direction to me.
Well I think that about wraps it up for 2014. It may seem like I listened to a ton of albums (which I did) but as you might notice, I didn't really have that much to say about the majority of them. All in all, I think this was a pretty down year as a whole as far as great albums goes. It was actually fairly difficult determining my favorite ten.
As always, your comments, suggestions, two cents, and hate mail is more than welcome. If you feel I missed the mark on something, for sure let me know. It won't hurt my feelings.