Josh’s favourite records of 2014!
On reflecting upon 2014, it feels as though I haven’t immersed myself as deeply in listening and searching for music as I have in the past few years, but I witnessed some truly inspirational live performances from Russian Circles, Neurosis, deafheaven, Aversions Crown and Deftones. It’s been a great pleasure to join The Monolith team and I can’t wait to be more active in 2015.
Towards the end of the year, one album in particular got me more excited about heavy music than I have been for a very long time; it reignited the fire and passion that had been for some reason slowly smouldering out. This is the music that moved and inspired me this year. A massive thanks to the bands in my list for sharing their art with us!
Job For A Cowboy
I’m not afraid to admit I loved Doom when it first came out – death metal elitists most likely hated it and wrote JFAC off forever due to the resulting saturation of deathcore wannabees trying to emulate them. Silly elitists!
Sun Eater is by far the most enjoyable musical release I have heard in a very long time; Nick Schendzielos’ bass grooves rank alongside some of my favourite ever recorded bass performances and just keep me coming back for more and more. Jonny’s vocals are the best they’ve ever sounded, there’s riffs for days, and Danny Walker’s drum performance is a masterclass in technicality and groove.
Sun Eater has majestically knocked something out of my top ten all time list! Outstanding.
Guilty Of Everything
This album was my favourite of the year (until Sun Eater came out). Fuzzy in all the right places, with beautifully melodic and dreamy passages that leave you in a daze for days.
Guilty of Everything has a nostalgic feel without being ashamedly derivative; an excellent debut album that holds plenty of promise for the future if kids pay more attention to bands of this calibre and substance.
Yet another solid effort from one of the best post-metal bands in the world. Robin Urbino’s vocals are some of the most powerful in the genre, and the rhythm section is tighter than your sister’s jeans.
Glass Cathedrals isn’t self-indulgent. Passages don’t wind on for 4 minutes, creating 9 minute songs; they’re tight and purposeful – a lesson in songwriting that could and should be put into practice by a lot of post-insert-genre-here bands.
With Glass Cathedrals, The Mire have added to an already impressive catalogue that should be the envy of most other bands in the post world.
This is deathcore done right! Aversions Crown have me frothing on a genre that is usually one I avoid like I would a scabby, foaming-at-the-mouth crack whore.
These AustrAliens have perfected their craft to the point where they can’t be faulted – they are an especially massive live spectacle to behold. Aversions are heading back to Europe in January to decimate all in their path, so be sure to check them out if they roll through your town.
An unnervingly ghastly beast of an album. With Abalam, Hexis were able to evoke in the listener a sense of someone lurking just out of sight, a slightly uneasy sensation but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. This is a darkly aggressive collection of black metal with a hint of hardcore; an experience suited to headphones in the dark, or more likely live if you are lucky enough to live anywhere other than Australia!
Sealed Within The Walls
A refreshingly diverse take on aggressive modern metal, Sealed Within The Walls contains some very clever song writing, especially in the vocal arrangements, and production that allows each instrument to sit nicely together aurally. Gritty and uncompromising to the end, let’s hope there is more of the same to come in the near future from Canaya.
Once More ‘Round The Sun
Can they do no wrong? Many ‘fans’ believe they can and have for the past couple of records – “Make another Remission!” they ignorantly exclaim.
Here’s an idea; if you wanna hear Remission, go and press play in iTunes/Spotify/yourcdplayer etc.
Keeping with the proggy feel of the past few records, Once More ‘Round The Sun is another exercise in high-quality songwriting and musicianship that we have come to expect from Mastodon.
Just as it happened with Nothing, Whirr pulled me away from the heavier spectrum of music I usually listen to and dealt me a beautiful blow. Dem floaty harmonies did it again!
The split release ‘Whirr & Nothing’ built on the strength of Sway and cemented Whirr as a new favourite – fuzz, layered harmonies, driving drums and great compositions ftw!
Emma Ruth Rundle
Some Heavy Ocean
From the impressive roster of Sargeant House (deafheaven, Russian Circles, Chelsea Wolfe et al.) and breaking away solo from Red Sparowes, Marriages and The Nocturnes, Emma Ruth Rundle‘s Some Heavy Ocean allows another reprieve from the heavy-heavy. Emma’s sublimely eloquent vocal passages combine with folky guitars and twinkling soundscapes to whisk you away to a melancholic oasis for 37 minutes. A stunningly haunting work of art.
A re-visit to Breeder last month re-affirmed what drew me to it in the first place – there’s a nod or 2 to At The Drive-In in places and some spaced-out jams that have groove and flow in abundance.
Flourishes of psychedelia give it a retro feel/vibe in parts but not in the Tame Impala sense – there’s enough present-day scope in the production to keep Breeder from sounding too old-hat/try-hard.
Thomas Giles – Modern Noise
Aphex Twin – Syro
Drawers – Drawers
Bitter Lungs – Bitter Lungs
Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt/Jxckxlz – Split
Helms Alee - Sleepwalking Sailors
Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed
Tombs – Savage Gold
Mutoid Man – Helium Head
Faith No More – Motherfucker.