Ladies and gentlemen, it is all over. If you’re reading this it means you survived yet another Christmas! Congratulations! So after you’ve fully awakened from your food coma, kicked your in-laws out of the house and recovered from your massive hangover(s), we can move on to the next annual topic; the end-year review! In many ways, this year was once again an amazing and important year for metal. If you’ve been checking out other top 10 metal lists or whatever, you can see that not one list is the same, making me realize I missed a big chunk of releases. Now, with my own list I’m gonna prove all those naysayers (claiming 2014 was boring and depressing) wrong. I had to do a lot of cutting and editing to narrow it down to the 15 EP’s and 10 albums you see here now. Yeah I cheated a little. While the later months EXPLODED with more great releases than any human being could have predicted, in hindsight the year didn’t go quite the way I expected, for one thing 2014 had a very slow start compared to last year (which was kinda slow too), most of my favorite albums come from the last three months. Some albums I thought would define 2014 for me never even saw the light of day (Gift Giver, Feign, Demolisher, A Memoria Brooded, Tormentor Absolute). The last minute delay of Bodysnatcher‘s EP did NOT help either (still really looking forward to that one). Also, you won’t be seeing some significant releases you probably expected to be on here (Sidious, Behemoth, Slipknot, Suicide Silence, Exotype), or some other critically acclaimed albums that I sadly didn’t give the attention they deserved or still need to grow on me (Martyr Defiled, Villains, Whitechapel, The Holy Guile). Like always, I decided to place the focus on the type of music I love and LISTENED to the most; the type with massive amounts of heavy breakdowns and unrelenting anger in it! You have no idea how happy I am that my favorite type of music is still going so strong, and it shows no signs of dying anytime soon (Déjà vu?). Aside from NT, Blogspots like Chugcore really helped me getting the most out of my moshing needs, placing all the good stuff on one blog for me to find later on saved me a lot of trouble, feels just like the good old days again! A year without some nasty ass music to mellow me out and keep me from going insane would feel as useless as having a computer without internet.
Oh..and one more little thing I would like to add: IT HAS HAPPENED! my prediction of the down-tempo style blowing up like mad came true!!! Sorry haters, you can go suck a dick! =D
Starting things off with a crusty grindcore band. Inspired by bands such as Nails and containing members from Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, Vermin Womb takes no prisoners. Their debut EP perforates your eardrums to shit with an unstoppable/constant wall of lacerating noise. Permanence is about as raw and punishing as it can get.
You like traditional beatdown hardcore with no useless additives or sub-genres mixed in? Good, then check out Pop Culture! No-bullshit, straight-to-the-fucking-point hardcore with more venom and spite than you body has room for! DO IT NOW.
These gentlemen really stepped up their game with this new EP. When you first listen to it you will quickly realize that Dealey Plaza is not just some King Conquer clone anymore. Provoke the Human is a hard-hitting deathcore beast with a fresh new sound that proves the band still has MUCH more to give. Looking at the latest single Two Wolves and a new album in the making, I wouldn’t be surprised that 2015 is going to be their year.
In my opinion, Animal can best be described as a secret rape baby made by Sworn In and Villains (not sure who did the raping though). Instinct is a merciless debut effort with plenty of angry, demented and psychotic lyrics to fill your (soon to be) bleeding earholes, all delivered to you by some bone-melting vocals of course.
Ever wondered what Satan himself could be listening to? Consider that question answered now. Or no, Hollow is so demonic that it resides in the hidden 10th circle of Hell and even Satan would be all like ”yo fuck this shit”. It’s hard to not get an evil grin on your face when listening to the bleak guitar shreddage and high pitched screams of agony. Hollow is exactly what the title implies; a demoralizing listening experience that will consume your soul and leave a lifeless corpse in its place.
Fans of Prime Meridian will fucking LOVE Introvert, they released their debut EP just yesterday. This brand new band is the brainchild of Prime Meridian’s Eric Fletcher (responsible for all those insane instrumentals on Dialogues) and none other than NT’s very own Connor Welsh! The listener can expect a plethora of chaotic guitar/bass abuse, frantic lyrics and (of course) maniacal screaming. Basically Abjection is 13 minutes of stinging/brooding insanity exploding in your face. This is not your average hardcore/metal influenced with down-tempo, I’m not sure what to call it actually. In any case, it is sure to tickle your fancy. Connor can be real proud of this one, I don’t think even he predicted that the final product would be this good. Another one of those late December releases that will fuck your shit over; Introvert hits all the nails on their heads (with a massive sledgehammer). Hope these dudes will release more music like this in the future, Introvert sounds far too tasty for a one-time deal.
The band claims Dark Matter as their debut EP, but looking at the whopping 30 minutes of runtime (I consider that a lot for an EP nowadays), they could easily call it a full-length album and no one would even dare to think otherwise. The funny thing is that the same can be said about EVERY aspect of this release; you simply can’t place Dark Matter into a definitive genre or style. There are so much different influences and things going on that labeling is a waste of your time. Rather, you should just let this EP do its thing and be fucking impressed by it afterwards! Then listen to it again! Honestly, just go to their Bandcamp and purchase Dark Matter right fucking now! It’s the best 5 bucks you can spend for amazing music with an impressive runtime and lots of replayability.
Misery has become one of my favorite morning jams during the weekdays. what better way to start your working day than with some crunchy grooves and some very mean (Gift Giver-esque) lyrics? Just be careful you don’t overdo it and go on a fucking murder spree instead. Misery knows how to get you to see nothing but black, and has become an everyday must, just like coffee.
When this evil creation of Russian engineering was unleashed upon the unsuspecting world, I was certain it would be crowned EP of the Year. Sadly, even I couldn’t predict it would be overshadowed. However, this does NOT mean you can afford to ignore it now and miss out on an eviscerating listening experience, not one band does it quite like Shivers. Their unique take on traditional styles (only the filthiest and angriest styles, all grinded together) spawned a memorable debut for anyone who wants it raw and ruthless but also wants something different. Check my review for more details.
If Spite is mean, and Animal is angry, then Verbera must be FURIOUS. Headless got under my skin and slowly crawled its way on this list. This shit gets you pumped like mad every time, regardless of what you might be doing. If you’re feeling pissed and require some angry music to get you even more pissed (and possibly kill a motherfucker or three), look no further than this very impressive debut.
Traitors is a ridiculously heavy down-tempo/deathcore band that plays polka and indie pop-rock music with a little dubstep thrown in. Their self-titled debut was written on acoustic guitar and the vocals are enhanced by Auto-Tune. Their easy listening ”Disney” sound and instant accessibility for music lovers of all ages is the reason why so many bands followed in their footsteps at the beginning of 2014. Like their Black Tongue brothers, the name Traitors has become synonymous with the down-tempo genre itself.
Beyond the Aftermath is the obligatory speaker buster, much like last year’s Submissioner. Sure, the same could be said for any other release you see on this page, but I get the feeling the production on Dead has been specifically designed for just that purpose. If you’re looking for the downright HEAVIEST release of 2014, Dead is your safest bet. The whole neighborhood will hate you with a passion for listening to this. Dead gives you the incentive to crank it up until the inhuman down-tempo breakdowns and bass drops are creating a massive gravitational vortex that mercilessly pulverizes everything (including you) in its vicinity.
If you dig Beyond the Aftermath at all, you also NEED to check out Predators. Predators (unfortunately) is still the most underappreciated release of 2014 and I can’t understand why. The music found on this debut EP is so massive and demoralizing that the Earth itself stops spinning while listening to it! These guys deserve so much more than the 100+ likes they currently have on their Facebook page. I’m real happy to have discovered this well-hidden gem (thanks Chugcore)! Predators now sits proudly amongst my other regular jams. Read more about it here.
Still one of the biggest players after last year’s debut Falsifier. Didn’t think it was possible, but Born Hanged actually has a MUCH thicker/darker sound than its predecessor. In fact, the band liked this new production so much that they decided to re-record the old songs too. Born Hanged has an unrivalled, asphyxiating atmosphere and of course some very dark lyrics to go along with that, making it an immediate favorite for every fan of the genre.
Like so many other bands this year, Continent decided to jump on the down-tempo train for their new release, making Wasteland their slowest and heaviest release to date. However, they pulled this off so well that most similar bands are left far behind in a cloud of dust while Continent keeps laying waste to everything in sight. Wasteland is straightforward, aggressive and quite possibly has THE SICKEST production I have ever heard with music like this. This is simply pure fucking destruction captured in audio form, and it makes me feel all fuzzy inside.
´´This is murder music!´´-Chad (Squ1DDoS)
EP of the Year
Hope you have a set of high-quality speakers for this one bitches! This EP is SO damn repulsive that you will ask yourself if you should even be listening to it! Truly a HUGE improvement over their older work, you can’t compare it with any of that. It’s bloody raw, heavy², butchering, nightmarish, and it will prove to be too much for most mortals who dare listen to it. I’m not trying to be funny here, it really is all that, so thick and meaty you will get a heart attack instantly. Chamber of Malice uses a ”who gives a fuck we’ll just record the heaviest shit possible” production with an odd but extremely satisfying fusion of slam death and hard/deathcore. You’re guaranteed to have a memorable New Years Blowout (literally) when you bring this disgusting whore with you to the party, ZEROTWENTYEIGHTHATE brings the beef and explodes in your ears harder than any fireworks ever could. Brutal deathcore releases of this caliber are extremely rare, only coming once every few years. THIS is what I’m always after and THIS is exactly what the metal world needs more of; morally questionable music that pushes the boundaries of metal genres to new extremes. Are you man enough to embrace it?
”The last time I encountered a deathcore project that was almost too heavy for me was when I discovered deathcore in the first place. ZeroTwentyEightHate invokes that same intense fascination and addiction to the unbelievably brutal—a figurative shiny new toy syndrome as it applies to music.” -Connor (Eccentricism)
Honorable Mentions: Dawning of the Inferno – Purification, Beyond Exile – Immortal, Accursed Kingdom – Indoctrinated Race, Enterprise Earth – 23, Far From Nothing – Reject
I don’t know shit about this band. The only thing I do know is that their full length album Letters to No One is surprisingly fucking good and has had it fair share of plays from me throughout the year. Expect to be treated to plenty of groovy guitar shreddage, addictive vocals and a fuckload of guest spots thrown in. Why release a four song/ten minute EP when you can impress your (future) fans with a full-length debut right from the start? It’s all about first impressions after all, and Letters to No One impressed me indeed. If only Illuminator would continue to make more music.
Underground deathcore albums are also plentiful in 2014, so much so that I couldn’t choose just one entry for the ninth spot on this list. Walking Dead on Broadway focusses on a crushing atmosphere while Pathos Departure (read my review here) is a massive groove/breakdown-fest from start to finish. Need some tunes to get you active or feeling the need to just break some shit? Then these two relentless deathcore releases are undoubtedly worthy of your time and attention.
Another one of those amazing releases that surprised me, I never thought that the new album from Adaliah would be THIS good, or that it would end up in my end-year list. Not only is it one of the best albums you can hear this year, it’s also the best album the band has EVER released. If you like rock-fucking-solid metalcore (not the guilty pleasure kind), an endless supply of harsh hardcore vocals and real, relatable lyrics, Shedding Skin definitely is a must-listen.
Do you really need an explanation for this one? I mean c’mon it’s fucking TAS! Still doing what they do best, bringing you the hate in a delicious, somewhat cheesy way. Haters of their last album Death is the Only Mortal that didn’t even bother listening to this new one need to reconsider; Coma Witch takes a different approach. No more songs littered with the monotone (djenty) chugs, but instead a more demoralizing, sludgy sound. Basically this album is a mix between all their best albums. The Dead Walk, Continent and some hints of Wormwood can all be heard on here, probably in an attempt to please some of the older fans. Coma Witch is different while staying close to its true roots. TAS is giving you two CD’s with this, with a bonus disc consisting of just one song that has a runtime close to 30 minutes. No it’s not Tactical Nuke II, (that would be one hell of a troll though, haha) but it is something YOU need to hear and judge for yourself.
Acrania is slamming brutal death metal/core at its finest. Unlike most similar ”pots and pans” bands that are all over the fucking place, this one actually has a real focussed and ferocious instrumental sound going for it. As good as the punishing instrumentals can be however, that’s not Acrania’s main attraction, that would be its vocalist. Luke Griffin is arguably the best vocalist currently out there for this type of music. When Griffin gets in the mood he spurts out entire dictionaries with lightning fast speeds, all while sounding like some possessed madman. Expect Totalitarian Dystopia on many end-year lists like this one, it’s just that damn good. The world of slam death will never be the same again.
When these Australian heavyweights released Servitude back in 2011, I figured they had already reached their maximum potential, that album ensured them a spot in the collection of every technical death metal/core enthusiast. I’m shocked to say that the new full-length Tyrant makes Servitude seem like nothing more than a rough demo, at best. Tyrant really does feel like an alien invasion from a species far superior (and far more unforgiving) than our own. Prepare to be subjected to a 24-string assault of inconceivable technicality and unforgiving anger, but also an immersive atmosphere that will keep you coming back for more. It should come as no surprise that this latest effort has been given the Album of the Year award by many fans.
Now this is what I call chugcore! No, I’m not talking about the blog and no, definitely not meant as an insult either. InVoker gives a new definition to the name with their impeccable fusion of bouncing beatdown and crushing deathcore, even putting most of their respective influences to absolute shame. The hard work and devotion behind this band really shows here, and this probably won’t be their last release either. Clearly InVoker is the type of band that exactly knows what the fuck they want from making music. Invoker’s music always forces you off your lazy ass and whether you want to or not, you WILL fuck shit up as a result. When I first heard their single Digression back in January I knew this one would be something great. This is the type of music that first comes to mind when you need fast and spine-imploding music to brighten your day. Death is Inevitable urges you to keep turning that volume up until the breaking point. InVoker makes me feel like a fat kid in a candy shop, with unlimited money.
People who know Beacons, know that they play a distinct style of metalcore that has all the good and none of the bad. They released a 4-song EP last year that I already consider to be perfect besides the fact that it is waaay too short. With the release of Dead Thoughts you can finally stop replaying the ironically named Endless and exchange it for 40 minutes of equally addicting new material you can’t afford to miss out on. When Beacons announced a full length release I was excited to hear for myself if they could pull off (and maintain) that same form of perfection for an entire full-length runtime, and I’m happy to say that they have done just that (even if the wait for this album seemed painfully long). Dead Thoughts takes the best parts from the Adaliah and Invoker albums and combines all that with its own unique energetic/heavy vibe that you won’t find anywhere else. Like all good music you just have to hear this for yourself, at least once. Beacons has done it again; this release pushes the traditional metalcore/hardcore/whatthefuckever sound to a new level. It’s catchy, crushing and has massive replay value.
Known for bringing monumental amounts of raw heaviness to the listener, Sever the King evolved their sound to form a more diverse beast with their second release called Outbreak. It’s not JUST heavy anymore, it’s also atmospherical, technical and immersive as fuck. Listening to the album from start to finish is going to leave you broken and overwhelmed, Outbreak is an immense being that is impossible to ignore once you provoked its wrath. If you thought deathcore was becoming stale and boring, you obviously haven’t heard this one yet.
Album of the Year
Yeah I know, you saw this one coming right? After all, I did give their previous album To the Perfect Form of Modern Species a rating of 12/10; an unrealistic and ridiculous score that doesn’t make any sense, exactly like Dysphoria’s otherworldly music. Between the second and this third release I still haven’t heard anything else that even comes CLOSE to this level of controlled insanity. With a better production and an even more focussed/perfected sound than ever before, you can rest assured that you will get your moneys worth with The Apogee. This year had some AMAZING albums that pushed the genre of heavy music to the next level in many ways, but Dysphoria still remains several cuts above that.
Honorable mentions: Boris the Blade – The Human Hive, Barrier – Eventide, I Am Revenge – Red Gold, Carnifex – Die Without Hope, Triumph Over Shipwreck – Forever, Ending.
The year isn’t over yet! Traitors will release a brand new single on the 29th and a band called Outlaw (ex-members from Demolisher and Villains) has a debut EP waiting for you on the same date!
I don’t wanna sound like the goddamn weather man or something but my predictions for the start of next year are very positive, January 2015 already has some real promising albums coming your way (Ingested, The Last Ten Seconds of Life, Bodysnatcher, Xibalba).
Hope you enjoyed this list, have a good one!