Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rock and Metal Temple Top Ten Albums of 2014

1. Exmortus-“Slave to the Sword”

Amazing lead guitar playing, creative instrumental compositions and plenty of heavy bone crushing songs. The band takes technicality to an unbelievable level, especially with their instrumental version of Beethoven’s, “Moonlight Sonata (Act 3).” The whole album is exciting and the music is extremely passionate. Saw them play live this year too and they sounded just as good live as they do on the album. I hope to see more great passionate metal releases from these guys in the future. So raise your battle axes and swords to Exmortus for they are my number one album of the year!

2. Protestant-“In Thy Name”

You can call them crust punk with a black metal edge, but I simply call them fierce unapologetic musicians who know how to make extreme music. When I was first sent this album to review, I did not expect to hear such an extreme furious sound. The drums and guitars never seem to slow down, and when the band does alter the tempo the music still maintains a heavy face kicking attitude. From the beginning track, “Vengeance,” to the last hard hitting piece, “Delusion,” the band takes listeners on an extreme emotional roller coaster.

3. Rude-“Soul Recall”

Old school death metal music played by an up and coming band from Oakland, CA. The album sounds like it could have been released around the the same time as Pestilence’s, “Testimony of the Ancients,” or Morbid Angel’s, “Alters of Madness.” Agonizing vocals mixed with brutal guitar compositions and thunderous double bass drums for the entire duration. If you wish you could have been alive during that old school death metal period, listen to “Soul Recall,” and it will be like taking a time machine...a brutal death metal time machine that is. 

4. Accept-“Blind Rage”

The iconic German metal band shows no signs of stopping and they just keep charging forward. All three albums with Mark Tornillo have been unbelievably solid, but this one in my opinion is the best yet. Wolf Hoffmann is a brilliant guitar player with such a dynamic style. Also, the songwriting was top notch from the start of the album to the end. Do a new album with original singer UDO? Hey, as long as Mark is singing in Accept I could care less if UDO returns.

5. Mastercastle-“Enfer”

Italy’s Mastercastle surprised me this year because, I had not heard of them before this year yet they have been around for a decent amount of time. Then again, I am very picky with my Power Metal. Overall, I really liked the blend of neo-classical metal with straight forward hard rock. The music was not overwhelming like most power metal music and the songs allowed the singer to use her voice to its full potential. Her emotional tone definitely caught my attention and it is one reason they are on this list.

6. Obituary-“Inked in Blood

The old school Florida death metal legends delivered. After about five years and a little help from a kickstarter fund, they got their stuff together and put out one brutal release. John Tardy’s vocals are still haunting as ever and whole band maintains that unforgiving death metal presentation. No signs of hanging it up and playing croquette at the old folks home for these guys.

7. Overkill-“White Devil Armory”

Whenever the New Jersey thrash icons put out an album I know they will not let me down. Compared to their fellow thrashers in the Big 4(Megadeth and Metallica mainly), these guys never strayed too far away from the thrash blueprint. Overkill is what I like to call your working mans thrash, and this album is a perfect example. Killer riffs, fierce vocals from Bobby and most important, mosh forming tunes that would knock down a house. Better strengthen the foundation when listening to this album.

8. Exodus-“Blood in Blood Out”

At first when news came out that Steve Souza would be singing on this album, there were some mixed feelings from the Exodus camp. However, I knew the guys would deliver a solid release and I think they damn well did with this album. The album is just nonstop brutal thrash metal that can be appreciated by all the old and new metal fans alike. Compared to Metallica, Exodus doesn't need to make movies to show how badass they are...they let the music do the talking.

9. Triptykon-“Melana Chasmata”

Personally I am not a huge Celtic Frost fan that worships ever note Tom G. Warrior comes up with, but I will say that the new music he creates with Triptykon is amazing. I really enjoyed the chilling musical atmospheres along with the dark melodic progressions. The songwriting contains such strong emotional expression and the whole release is very powerful. 

10. Innsmouth-“The Shadow Over Innsmouth”

Technical death metal dudes from Denmark who demonstrated great skill and composed awesome technical death metal. Also, they wrote a song about my favorite H.P. Lovecraft story, “The Colour Out of Space.” Overall, a solid release that I thought stood out from most bands in the genre.

Honorable Mentions that almost got in:
Ghoul “Hang Ten” (really not a full-length album, but I was going to maybe let it slide)
Gamma Ray “Empire of the Undead”
Eyehategod “Self-titled”

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