Top 12: Best Metal Albums Of 2014

behemoth 2014

Alright, Yellers! I’ve spent this year ferociously kicking and screaming in the cauldron of fantastic heavy metal albums released this year. There have been plenty of bands I had never heard of before this year and plenty of bands that I was anticipating a solid release from since last year. This is my first six months of writing for the magazine and for this list I wanted to try to separate an entire genre from my normal top 10 lists. For me, the term “metal” encompasses plenty of other sub genres, including: hardcore/metalcore, black metal, doom metal, death metal, progressive metal, grind, sludge, and thrash metal. This leaves a lot of bands that get swept into these genres whether by choice or not. The term metal is extremely subjective these days. Also, remember this is partially my opinion and partially me spending the last few days reading hundreds of reviews and listening to an immense amount of music over and over. Needless to say, these 12 albums stuck with me all year and will (hopefully) stick with me for the next 10 years.

Without further delay, here is the list, the Top 12: Best Metal Albums of 2014.

No.12 Wovenhand – Refractory Obdurate

wovenhand - refractory obdurate
This is a list of 12 because I was having trouble talking about all of my favorite metal albums I listened to this year, and honestly this album brought me a lot of joy and fun over the year. Stylistically, this album is not as heavy as any of the others on this list, but it still has its moments. From the breakdown at the end of “Masonic Youth” to the emotional progression of “The Refractory,” moments like these on Refractory Obdurate never went unnoticed and that is why it stuck with me.

No.11 Lord Mantis – Death Mask

lord mantis - Death Mask
Incorporating sludge into a band’s repertoire is not an easy task. Take a listen to Code Orange’s LP from this year, and you can hear that it sounds forced and it’s not exactly the best example of sludge. Lord Mantis, however, take the idea and slam it through the headphones and into listener’s mind, horrifying and torturing individuals with their approach to metal. The atmosphere is creepy, the vocals are wretched, and the instrumentals are massive.

No.10 Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain

Cannibal Corpse - A Skeletal Domain
A Skeletal Domain is exactly what I wanted this band to release this year. The production, mixing, and mastering all sound huge and that really helps me enjoy the album that much more. Choosing to go with a more modern producer was a definite step in the right direction for this 26-year-old band. They show no signs of slowing down soon either. I also had a chance to interview guitarist Rob Barrett, which was a highlight for me this year.

No.9 Unearth – Watchers Of Rule

unearth - watchers of rule
If anyone ever asked me about my favorite metalcore bands, Unearth would definitely be on the top of my list. Hell, I am not even a fan of the chug heavy bands these days, but I think the way Unearth tinge their music with thrash metal style influences, especially in their vast solos, gives their music an edge over bands like August Burns Red or Killswitch Engage. Add that this new album is an absolute banger with catchy chugs and wonderful production that is not overdone, and it makes for a nice spot in this list.

No.8 Botanist – VI: Flora

Botanist - VI Flora
On my own personal list, this album is ranked higher, and rightfully so because this album is aesthetically beautiful. I do not think many other bands are taking black metal to such a new realm. Using hammered dulcimers to substitute for guitars is one innovation that no one else is grasping onto. What makes Flora stand out is the light-hearted presence of the melodies, quickly turning into wretched melodies but still with that light tone. Absolutely wonderful.

No.7 Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails

Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails
I can understand a lot of the backlash this album received by many with the mushy/muffled sound. This is due to the mastering and the massive amounts of atmosphere that this band tried to incorporate into their style of music. Regardless of all that, the instrumentals on this record are class acts. Mix that with dynamic technical death riffs/drum patterns alternating across the entirety of this beast and it makes for a fun and interstellar-esque experience.

Find out what else is on Yell! Magazine’s list of the best metal albums of 2014 after the jump…

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