Elliot’s Top Ten Most Bestest Albums of 2014 Ever
The touching story of a moronic man-child who leaves everything to the last minute, including most of 2014
“A masterpiece, this review is so good that I might wank on to it”
- Roger Ebert (via the grave)
“Why isn’t this man president of the world?”
- Vladimir Putin
“5 star review, I’m going to name all thirteen of my children after this man”
- The Editor of The Guardian Who I Forgot The Name Of
So, 2014 has come to a close and I forgot to do something. Oh yeah, listen to albums. Whoopsie. “Ell, aren’t you a music reviewer?”, I hear you cry. That is beside the point. Shut up.
So for the past month or so, I’ve essentially scoured the internet for albums I’ve missed and the opinions of other people (who are usually wronger than me). So now I can pretend I did my job.
“Why, wasn’t 2014 a great year for music!” I exclaim loudly to my computer, before remembering I have to type it out for Quigs and Chris to receive the message. “Meh”, they reply. Or so I assume BECAUSE I NEVER TALK TO THOSE GUYS. Fuckin suits. Smash the establishment!
Shadows of the Dying Sun
25th April 2014, Century Media
Let’s cut the shit and just say it: every Insomnium album sounds the same. They’re like Amon Amarth with depression and without the hard-on for viking fairy tales. This album is no different. It sounds just as we would expect an Insomnium album to sound. It’s your usual “Sad Metal” with some little weedly weedly guitar bits occasionally and some guy growling; “EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE, I’M GOING TO CRY, LET ME TELL YOU HOW SAD I AM” or something similar.
“Hang on a sec, Ell, this is on your top 10 list!”. Yes, yes, I know. I’m getting really tired of these interruptions, metaphorical embodiment of my subconscious need to clarify what most reviewers do normally.
While this is the exact same shit, repackaged and redistributed, it’s…better. Above The Weeping World was the album that got me into Insomnium, but every album since then has presented itself as a dull sequel, kind of like The Crow II. Or Speed II. Shadows of The Dying Sun is more of a good sequel, like LOTR: The Two Towers or Die Hard II. It doesn’t do anything new, but you know what? Sometimes you need a band to beat the dead horse for as long as it can. Amon Amarth get away with it. And they’re shi-
17th June 2014, Blood Music
“Holy shit, it’s something that’s not metal. Elliot, I am so proud of you for expanding your musical horizons and branching out into other genres, much to the dismay of your thirteen year old self with the horrible haircut, pudgey face and ripped Cannibal Corpse t-shirt!”
Yeah, yeah, all right, subconscious, this isn’t your review.
I’ve been a fan of Perturbator since a friend of mine posted the Sexualiser EP on Facebook. Since then, I have listened to the Parisian Regent of Retro-futurism at least once every couple of days. Usually, I listen to that entire EP. Then I listen to this album. It’s not as good as the EP, but it’s the next best thing. I am a fan of electronic music. I even like Skrillex. Fuck you, fight me. I understand it’s just random noise flung at your face like digital shit from a particularly energetic virtual chimp, but that’s the appeal. It’s like listening to Arnold Schwarzenegger have a stroke. I listen to fucking slam, I like things that are barely more than noise.
Perturbator is not like Skrillex, though. It’s like listening to the soundtrack to a Terminator film, with hints of Vangelis. It thematically envisions 80s action movies which depict the fictional future, with the technology they had in the physical past. Hence the term Retro-futuristic, which isn’t as much of an oxymoron as I first thought. As a massive fan of sci-fi in general, particularly of 80s and 90s sci-fi, this was something I could get behind. Whether it’s your thing or not, I’m glad that someone is doing this.
Black Crown Initiate
The Wreckage of Stars
30th September 2014, E1 Entertainment
These guys steal the prog metal album of the year for me. It was a powerfully heavy album with incredible clean sections and an admirably dynamic atmosphere. The vocal style has a unique twang to it that sets it apart from any other progressive death metal bands that have released material this year. The riffs are impeccable and complement the soundscapes and themes that this album lays out. Outside of it’s genre, it holds a degree of innovation and creativity that would allow most metal fans to enjoy it.
A Skeletal Domain
16th September 2014, Metal Blade
Congratulations to Cannibal Corpse for making me give a fuck about Cannibal Corpse again. The last album by these guys that I truly enjoyed was Kill (which is my favourite one). A Skeletal Domain is a return to form. It feels like this should have been the follow up to Kill, in the way that it is very similar thematically. Yeah I know every song is about killing stuff, I mean musical themes. God, do I have to explain everything. This album is packed with powerful riffs and brutal vocal hooks, reminding us of why Cannibal Corpse are undeniably one of the pinnacles of the genre.
Also the bit in “Kill Or Become” that’s all like “FIRE UP THE CHAINSAW! Reeehdeeehweeehdeeehweeehdeeereeehdeeeh CUT THEIR FUCKING HEADS OFF!” is just fuckin’ savage.
14th February 2014, Season of Mist
“Carnivore Sublime certainly ticks all the boxes required for a top tier death metal album. It has all-encompassing aggression, unrelenting brutality, powerful instrumentals, face-fucking groove, undefeatable vocals and versatility enough that you don’t find yourself getting bored at any point during the release’s whole forty minutes.”
- Some smelly Scottish wanker, several months ago
This is a really good album. However, I can’t be fucked writing it all again so just click on this convenient link and find out for yourself what I thought about it. It made number 6 on my year end list so it’s at least decent, eh?
Job For A Cowboy
11th November 2014, Metal Blade
Job For A Cowboy are a fairly divisive band. I have several friends who scoff at the name. Then, when I’m blasting this album, they’re like “Wow, who are those guys, they’re really good!” and I’m all like “YEAH, DICKHEAD, THAT’S JOB FOR A COWBOY”. They have long since left the majority of their scenecore roots behind, only retaining some of the better deathcore influences and a healthy helping of pure death metal. To call these guys deathcore now would be a gross misrepresentation.
This album has everything a death metal album requires. Riffs. Brutal hooks. Savage heaviness. It has progressive influences that emerge occasionally, but it’s clear that the JFAC guys reach back and pull inspiration from Death, Morbid Angel and Decapitated. These guys have been unfairly stigmatised by death metal fans (I have personally witnessed them booed off-stage) and I seriously hope that this inaccurate prejudice against them begins to disappear. They’ve certainly earned it.
The Birthday Massacre
11th November 2014, Metropolis Records
Yup. I loved this album. More than I loved Cannibal Corpse. More than I loved a bunch of metal albums this year.
I can’t compliment The Birthday Massacre enough. They feel like they should be a guilty pleasure band, however I don’t feel guilty about listening to them because they’re fucking excellent. Every album is fantastic, however this is arguably their best (with Walking With Strangers being on par with this one, in my humble-but-right opinion). As you can tell with my earlier inclusion of Perturbator, I like the 80s sound. I feel an astounding amount of nostalgia for a decade that I wasn’t even alive for. I see it as a kind of delayed nostalgia, as I’m sure I experienced a lot of 80s culture in the 90s via my family. The Birthday Massacre (as well as Perturbator) play into that delayed nostalgia for me. However, the merits of this band are not solely stapled to their 80s style. Their songwriting is impeccable, with catchy hooks and interesting themes portrayed in a fairly unique way. Sure, it’s a bit gothy. So what? Stop being so prejudiced. I thought we covered this in the JFAC section?
The Flesh Prevails
22nd July 2014, Unique Leader Records
For the majority of the year, this was my number 1 album. It’s just bad luck for the Fallujah guys that they were usurped mere weeks (and in this case, hours, as I changed my top album literally a few hours ago) before I wrote this article. After partying with those guys at their Glasgow date with Dying Fetus and Goatwhore, I’m sure they won’t be too displeased with a number 3 slot. After all, at this point in the list, these albums are all very close.
26th October 2014, Independent
This is the album that was deposed from the number 1 slot mere hours before this article was written. There are so many intricate, unbelievably technical riffs on this album. It’s refreshing to hear a melodic death metal album with a degree of innovation to it.
I was a huge fan of melodeath in my early teen years and I witnessed the melodic death metal explosion in the mid-2000s, with hundreds of new melodeath bands bouncing all over the places. AND THEY ALL SOUNDED THE FUCKING SAME. They probably even had the same album covers, recycled with different logos and a shitty effect. Demons is an example of a melodic death metal album with a clear direction (that isn’t just ripping off In Flames, Soilwork, Dark Tranquility or Children of Bodom, with everything in between). It’s unique, with memorable songs and a high replayability factor. This is the album that I’ve listened to the most this year.
Yeah I know it only came out a few months ago, but I’ve been playing it quite often. Almost daily, actually. Especially “Unified“. There’s a riff in that song that’s all like DUN DUDUN DUN DUN and then it does this big mad run thing and it’s all like widdydiddyweedlydeedlywehdoowehdoowehdoodoodoo and it’s pretty excellent.
This one wins the “Riffs of the Year” award, that I also just made up. In fact, have a listen:
24th October 2014, Metal Blade Records
This album beat Demons only earlier on today. I was looking through my iTunes records and I discovered that, since I got the album exactly a month ago, I have listened to it 30 times. I had listened to Demons all the way through only 28 times (though I listened to Unified almost 40 times). This is an album that you have to listen to from start to finish. Also it’s fucking batshit, tits-mental.
The best thing about Anal Ass Shark is that they’re fuckin’ nuts. This album is no different. From the get-go, we’re hit with ridiculous riffs, blastbeats from hell and vocals that make even the most depraved deviant blush. The Birmingham blackened-death-grind duo have outdone themselves, as I personally think this is their best effort yet (with Eschaton being on par, though we’ll see how I feel after 30 more listens). Desideratum is like being fucked in the face with a chainsaw. It’s like deepthroating an elephants dick. Only the dick has nails sticking out of it. It’s like doing a cannonball onto telephone pole and riding it all the way down. It’s like riding a bicycle without a seat forever. It’s hard to describe. Go and listen. Trust me.
Ne Obliviscaris – Citadel
Primus - Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble
Archspire – Lucid Collective
Beyond Creation – Earthborn Evolution
Gorgasm – Destined to Violate