I could start by calling this the “Close, But No Cigar” list, but as i’ve already eluded too in the opening introduction to the “Damn, I’m Supposed To Love This” list, the quality of releases this year has been fantastic, and so these mentioned below either just missed out on being included on Jason’s Top 15 (coming soon!) or he felt they needed an honorable mention.
In no particular order…
Benighted – “Carnivore Sublime” (Feb 2014)
This French outfit reminded me why i love Grindcore (Its not pure Grind, more of a Death-Grind hybrid) and when its done its done right, it can stand up proud amongst its Death Metal brethren, instead of being overlooked as the genre so often is. “Carnivore Sublime” was a really strong release for 2014, and one that I’ve returned to on many occasion.
Body Count – “Manslaughter” (June 2014)
Its been some years since Ice T’s mob released a full album and its fair to say that I’ve genuinly missed them being around. Once mistaken for something of a novelty band, “Manslaughter” shows the Thrash-Hardcore-Crossover-Scene just how important this band are, and always have been. Yes, it has a few “Palm/Face” moments in terms of subject matter & lyrics, but come on, no one would have been expecting “highbrow” here, right? That said, “Get a Job” and “Enter the Darkside” offer insights to modern American life, while “Back to Rehab”, “Manslaughter”, “Pop Bubble” (featuring Jamie Jasta by the way…) and “B*tch in the Pit” have entertained me no end! Oh, and its well worth picking it up just for the fantastic cover of Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized”. Big FUN!
Mastodon – “Once More ‘Round the Sun” (June 2014)
In my original review of “Once More ‘Round the Sun”, i couldn’t really come to any sort of clear conclusion of whether i liked the album or not. Now with the benefit of hindsight, “Once More…” has found its place in my playlist this year, and more often than i expected. I’m sticking with my original thoughts though – this isn’t a great Mastodon record, but it is a good one.
Vintersorg – “Naturbal” (June 2014)
Having always followed and enjoyed Vintersorg’s output, it was likely this was to hit my Top 15, but it just got edged out last minute. For the uninitiated, “Naturbal” melds accessible Black Metal with very strong folk elements, but its Andreas Hedlund’s exceptional vocal performance that’s the real star here. His ability to mix the raw with the clean is something to behold. The band have also found a great production on “Naturbal” which goes some way to highlight the heavier orchestration. A perfect Autumn evening album to get lost in.
The Haunted – “Exit Wounds” (Sept 2014)
With what seems to be a constantly revolving door of band members, especially the vocalists, it was difficult to assume what “Exit Wounds” was going to sound like ahead of its release, but with Marco Aro back on vocals and Ola Englund now shredding, “Exit Wounds” revisits the band’s style around the “…Made Me Do It” or “One Kill Wonder” era, and that’s just fine with me. Brutal thrash that pulls no punches and leaves a mess akin to the album’s title.
Decapitated – “Blood Mantra” (Sept 2014)
“Return to form” – a tricky statement to quantify and one that’s often overused, but it does seem very fitting to describe this latest release from Poland’s most unfortunate band. Their previous album, “Carnival is Forever” was quite lacking, but given its proceeding circumstances we can forgive them, and so here we have a few new members and a clear, renewed vigor and a band flexing its muscles.
Sleep of Monsters – “Produces Reason” (Nov 2014)
Way back in 1999, i stumbled across “King Fear” by a little known Finnish band called Babylon Whores and with it, the discovery of a somewhat unique blend of Gothic Rock ‘n’ Roll. The band were put on hiatus in 2006, but vocalist Ike Vil went on to form Sleep of Monsters and therefore continued in a similar vein. Big riffs, lovable choruses and an individual vocal style all make for some great listening. One of my favourite discoveries this year and expect a full review soon.
REVIEW BY: Jason
Jason’s Top 15 – Part 1