Metal Mark’s Top Twenty Metal Albums Of 2014!

2014 ended up being one of the best years for metal in recent memory. You had the return of legends, a new breed of bands securing the future of our scene, and much more. No matter what genre of metal you enjoy, this year was packed full of albums that will live on for many years to come. Earlier this week we shared the “Top Album” lists from Sam Roon, Jason from IKILLYA, Jamie Lee and Jason Zins, and now it’s my turn! As hard as it was to break it down to twenty albums, somehow I did it, and you can see my choices below! Now bring on 2015!


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#20. Black Crown Initiate – “The Wreckage Of Stars”

I may have been a little late to the Black Crown Initiate buzz, but holy shit, consider me hooked. “The Wreckage Of Stars” is a beautiful blend of extreme metal styles, and throw in their impressive live show, and you have the ingredients for a band we will be seeing for a long time in the future. “The Wreckage Of Stars” only hints to the talents of this band, so stay tuned for future material, because minds will be blown.

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#19. Opeth – “Pale Communion”

No screaming? No problem. Opeth‘s “Pale Communion” is a progressive metal fan’s dream come true. They continue to take chances in evolving their sound, and although it’s nowhere near as heavy as their past material, the songwriting is still masterful, and they still have a sound that is all their own. If “Pale Communion” is a hint of what’s to come in the future, consider me stoked.

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#18. Goatwhore – “Constricting Rage of the Merciless”

Goatwhore is one of those bands in our scene that can do no wrong in my mind. They continue to evolve their unique sound, and with the live recording on “Constricting Rage of the Merciless,” they got the raw sound that we all know so well from their insane live shows. Plus, the riffs are just relentless. Hell, Goatwhore is relentless, and “Constricting Rage of the Merciless” just adds another piece to their incredible discography. If you want your neck broken, buy this now.

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#17. Bloodbath – “Grand Morbid Funeral”

One word; RIFFS. Although Nick Holmes does a great job as the new vocalist for this legendary band, the music of this record is what truly makes it so special. The riffs, the drums, the solos, it’s all there in classic Bloodbath form. There’s still a part of me that misses Mikael Åkerfeldt, which drops it to #17, but “Grand Morbid Funeral” is still punishing enough to make my list!

#16. Mastodon – “Once More ‘Round The Sun”

This is pretty much a given at this point. Anytime Mastodon releases a new album, it’s automatically inserted into my favorites of the year. Predictable? Maybe, but can you blame me? With each new record, they push the boundaries of their sound to insane levels, and have created a genre all of their own. The new songs may be catchier than their previous stuff, but it’s still an exceptional record that deserves it’s due.

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#15. Cavalera Conspiracy – “Pandemonium”

Why aren’t more people talking about the new Cavalera Conspiracy album? “Pandemonium” brings Max and Igor back to their thrash roots, and it’s the most brutal thing they’ve done since their Sepultura days. It’s a non-stop attack of intense metal, that only they can pull off correctly. The brothers of doom never fail to impress, and “Pandemonium” is just another gem in their catalog.

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#14. Abysmal Dawn – “Obsolescence”

I’ve said numerous times on this site that Abysmal Dawn is one of the most underrated bands in our scene, and “Obsolescence” just gives me another point to that argument. They’ve taken their classic death metal sound, added in more technical moments, yet kept the brutality at an all time high, and it’s sensational. They are the definition of modern death metal to me, so if that’s your thing, “Obsolescence” is for you.

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#13. Triptykon – “Melana Chasmata”

I won’t lie and say I’ve always been a fan of Triptykon, but “Melana Chasmata” blew my fucking mind. It’s dark, soft, punishing, creative, and frighteningly beautiful, all wrapped in one album. Everyone told me to give it a listen, and a month later I realized that I hadn’t listened to anything else. So that says it all.

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#12. Decapitated – “Blood Mantra”

Blood Mantra” has received mixed reactions from Decapitated fans, but in my opinion, it’s ridiculously intense. They’ve taken their signature sound, adding in some maturity to their songwriting, and created a monster record that you can really listen to from start to finish. They continue to impress with each and every new release, so I’m already counting down until the next one!

#11. Tombs – “Savage Gold”

Tombs is a band I’ve only been into for less than five years, but have quickly become one of my favorites in the scene. After hearing 2011’s “Path of Totality,” I thought they couldn’t possibly top it, but they have. “Savage Gold” is one the most well crafted albums I’ve heard in years, and solidifies them as a powerhouse. You can seriously lose yourself in their sound, and for me, that’s priceless. This is one I HIGHLY suggest picking up!

#10. Agalloch – “The Serpent & The Sphere”

I’ve come to believe that Agalloch is not from this planet. Every time they release new music, you expect it to be good, but then it absolutely blows you away. Why they aren’t one of the biggest bands in the world is beyond me. This new album is just another example of perfection from these guys, and I don’t really know what else to say. They truly leave me speechless.

#9. Black Anvil – “Hail Death”

From talking to these guys around Brooklyn I knew I was in for something special, but had no idea that it was going to take over my daily playlist as it has. Black Anvil has taken their sound to a whole new level, and have released a masterful collection of songs with “Hail Death.” From start to finish, it’s a breathtaking ride, and only leaves you wanting more in the end. For fans of all things evil and heavy, this is a must have for 2014.

#8. Exmortus – “Slave To The Sword”

Holy fucking head bang! When “Slave To The Sword” hit my speakers, I could not believe what I was hearing. Their style of thrash metal incorporates incredibly technical riffs, blistering solos, and a thundering rythym section, and I absolutely can’t get enough of it. Throw in that they are one of the best live acts I’ve seen in a long time, and I’m going to be hooked on Exmortus for a while. This is the future of thrash metal!

#7. EYEHATEGOD – “Self-titled”

We had to wait over a decade, but EYEHATEGOD returned to the scene with an absolutely dirty and disgustingly heavy album this year. This record incorporates all that we loved about this band and more. The riffs, the screams, the power, it’s all there at a powerful level. This is a record that people will be talking about for a long time. It’s that fucking good.

#6 Killer Be Killed – “Self-titled”

Killer Be Killed was a project that’s been talked about for years, but finally came together for a massive release. Max Cavalera, Greg Puciato, Dave Elitch and Troy Sanders joined forces for an album packed full of punishing riffs, catchy choruses, and brutal breakdowns, and it’s absolutely brilliant from start to finish. It truly exceeded all expectations.

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#5. Job For A Cowboy – “Sun Eater”

I’ve been a long time fan of Job For A Cowboy, but even I was left speechless after my first listen to their new record. “Sun Eater” brings a whole new atmospheric sound to their already brutal music, and with their new members, the direction of the new material is beyond impressive. Either way you look at it, this is their finest record yet, and definitely secures them a strong future in our scene.

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#4. Judas Priest – “Redeemer Of Souls”

Judas Priest could retire and live the rest of their days as immortals in our mind, but that’s just not who they are. They love heavy metal with all of their hearts, and with “Redeemer Of Souls,” they returned to their roots, and truly created a heavy metal masterpiece. Throw in Richie Faulkner‘s input and new energy that he brings to the group, and Judas Priest is more determined than ever to create new heavy metal music, and for fans everywhere, it’s the best news ever.

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#3. Revocation – “Deathless”

The great Revocation unleashed “Deathless” to the world in October, and holy shit it rules! “Deathless” is nothing short of another masterpiece from these guys, and only adds to my opinion of Revocation being the future of metal. It’s almost frightening how much better they get with each record, but for a die hard fan like myself, it’s absolutely AWESOME! There is no stopping this insanely talented band!

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#2 At The Gates – “At War With Reality”

Easily the most anticipated album of 2014, At The Gates returned with a MONSTER release for metal fans this year. “At War With Reality” is a full attack of their classic sound, mixed in with new techniques, and it’s absolutely perfect! We had to wait almost twenty years for this record, but it’s an instant classic in my mind, and one I’ll be blasting for many, many years to come!

#1. Behemoth – “The Satanist”

With all the hype around the new Behemoth album, you knew it was going to be good. Except for the band, no one had any idea that it was going to be this intense. From the first track to the last, it’s one of the most driven and passionate releases that I’ve ever heard in my life. Ever. Nergal and company have transformed into giants of the scene, and now they have their masterpiece underneath their belt. This record is violent, honest, focused and has a strength unlike anything I’ve heard in a while. To put it simply, “The Satanist” is an instant classic. GET IT.


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