AllMusic 2014 Year In Review

Favorite Metal Albums -

Reliability was the name of the game in metal this year, with genre stalwarts like Behemoth, Crowbar and Mastodon delivering strong, true to form albums. Mainstream acts including Slipknot, Machine Head and Chevelle found ways to push forward, while more left-field bands like Cynic, Earth, Thou and Pallbearer waved their respective underground flags.
Rock or Bust

AC/DC

Rock or Bust

Excellent, economical no-frills rock & roll record from the unbreakable AC/DC.

Elements of the Infinite

Allegaeon

Elements of the Infinite

Colorado-based melodic death metal outfit Allegaeon make a creative breakthrough on their vigorous third album.

The Satanist

Behemoth

The Satanist

A revitalized album from the Polish death metal stalwarts.

Beyond Thule

Blue Snaggletooth

Beyond Thule

Tight, hard-grooving, fantasy-infused stoner rock from this Michigan four-piece who fly high on their second album.

Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry

Blut aus Nord

Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry

The third volume in this ongoing series, 18 years or so after the first, is the most musically ambitious and sonically adventurous yet.

Triunity

Blut aus Nord / P.H.O.B.O.S.

Triunity

Split EP from two very different extreme French bands reveals the blackened bridge between them.

Noise

Boris

Noise

This always mercurial band ties together its muses, jumping nicely from dream pop to drone metal to screamo.

La Gárgola

Chevelle

La Gárgola

Chevelle's partnership with Tool and Isis producer Joe Barresi continues to pay dividends on the band's seventh album, La Gárgola.

Symmetry in Black

Crowbar

Symmetry in Black

The New Orleans sludge heroes' tenth album is a more brooding but no less heavy entry in the band's punishing discography.

Kindly Bent to Free Us

Cynic

Kindly Bent to Free Us

Cynic continue to distance themselves from their early death metal leanings with an album of drifting and approachable prog rock.

Primitive and Deadly

Earth

Primitive and Deadly

The band delivers heaviness and melody on this bleak , sublime set with guest vocals form Mark Lanegan and Rabia Shaheen Qazi.

Still Life Moving Fast

Empress AD

Still Life Moving Fast

An evocative, brutal, wily, and occasionally wistful set of post-hardcore-, prog-metal-, and ambient pop-fueled confections.

The Turn of the Tides

Empyrium

The Turn of the Tides

The iconoclastic German "folk-metal" band are unbound by genre on their first new studio recording in 12 years.

From Parts Unknown

Every Time I Die

From Parts Unknown

A scorching set of punk-metal malevolence that somehow manages to be both relentlessly kinetic and imposingly muscular.

The Flesh Prevails

Fallujah

The Flesh Prevails

This San Francisco quartet up the creative ante, and deliver not only their finest record, but perhaps a game changer for metal.

Oblation

Floor

Oblation

The legendary Floor reunite on Oblation, an album of heavy drone-pop that more than lives up to the band's stellar debut.

Constricting Rage of the Merciless

Goatwhore

Constricting Rage of the Merciless

Six albums in, the bayou-based black metal outfit is so dialed in that there may as well be nobody listening.

A World Lit Only by Fire

Godflesh

A World Lit Only by Fire

Godflesh return with their first album in 13 years with the devastating and minimal A World Lit Only by Fire.

Enfant Terrible

Hedvig Mollestad Trio

Enfant Terrible

On their third outing the Norwegian trio explore hard rock more aggressively than ever before, but maintain their ties to electric jazz.

Sleepwalking Sailors

Helms Alee

Sleepwalking Sailors

Helms Alee deliver an impressive fusion of jangly rock and sludgy metal on their third album.

Ancient Astronauts

Holy Mountain

Ancient Astronauts

Thunderous sophomore release from these Scottish hard rockers is cosmic and brutally heavy at the same time.

Last Fair Day Gone Night

Katatonia

Last Fair Day Gone Night

This four-disc package contains two audio discs drawn from the 2011 London performances and two DVDs, including a feature-length biography.

Krokofant

Krokofant

Krokofant

This Norse sax-guitar-drums power trio delivers an exciting debut that walks the line between electric jazz, prog rock, and metal.

Bloodstone & Diamonds

Machine Head

Bloodstone & Diamonds

After three years and personnel changes, these Bay Area metallers deliver a provocative, musically and sonically ambitious set.

Elddop

Martyrdöd

Elddop

On its fifth -- and best -- full-length, the Swedish d-beat crustpunks keep the aggression level high while expanding their sonic reach.

Once More 'Round the Sun

Mastodon

Once More 'Round the Sun

The band moves deliberately toward hard rock with more crafted songwriting and hooks, but keeps their bag of enormous riffs intact

Rays of Darkness

Mono

Rays of Darkness

Sans strings and piano, the Japanese quartet unveil welcome, more sinister sonic aspects on their companion to The Last Dawn.

The Living Ever Mourn

Nightfell

The Living Ever Mourn

Members of His Hero Is Gone and Aldebaran tackle grim and gloomy death-doom on their debut outing.

Bled White [LP]

Novembers Doom

Bled White [LP]

On its ninth effort, the Chicago band sums its musical history while pushing ever forward in a dark, aggressive, dynamic set.

Foundations of Burden

Pallbearer

Foundations of Burden

The sophomore album by this Arkansas doom quartet reveals no slump. It builds on their successful debut and surpasses it creatively.

Roads to the North

Panopticon

Roads to the North

Brilliant and unexpectedly successful merger of blazing black metal and traditional Appalachian instrumentation.

II: Void Worship

Pilgrim

II: Void Worship

Pilgrim revive the stark, glacial doom of bands like Candlemass on their second album, II: Void Worship.

The Fateful Dark

Savage Messiah

The Fateful Dark

Another seductively wild ride from one of heavy metal's last bands of purists.

Give 'Em Hell

Sebastian Bach

Give 'Em Hell

The Skid Row singer comes back fast and furious on this album, featuring Guns N' Roses' Duff McKagan on bass.

Disguised Vultures

Sister

Disguised Vultures

A 40-minute bar fight soundtrack that offers up classic Sunset Strip sleaze metal with a Viking-punk twist.

Modern Vintage

Sixx:A.M.

Modern Vintage

Nikki Sixx's band moves away from darkness and into light with this stomping, glammy hard rock LP.

.5: The Gray Chapter

Slipknot

.5: The Gray Chapter

Slipknot deliver an emotional tribute to a fallen friend with their fifth studio album.

Digital Resistance

Slough Feg

Digital Resistance

So meaty, melodic, and spilling over with Iron Maiden "guitarmonies" that it may as well have been released on cassette.

I Shall Die Here

The Body

I Shall Die Here

The Body collaborate with the Haxan Cloak on I Shall Die Here, an album of challenging sonic terror that looks to redefine doom.

Dear Youth

The Ghost Inside

Dear Youth

Tightly wound, muscular, old-school screamo blasts of aggression with a punk-metal center.

Bless Off

The Shrine

Bless Off

The Shrine dig into the early days of punk and metal for inspiration on their reckless sophomore outing, Bless Off.

Heathen

Thou

Heathen

Thou return from a relatively slow period with an album of crushing doom with a warm shoegaze center.

Endless Nothing

Torch Runner

Endless Nothing

Torch Runner's devastating third album proves that when it comes to catharsis, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Kaleidoscope

Transatlantic

Kaleidoscope

Supergroup offers up another steaming plate of mammoth, meaty, and majestic, haters-be-damned prog rock goodness.

A Tribute to Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life

Various Artists

A Tribute to Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life

A fitting tribute to a heavy metal legend from friends, family, and (famous) fans.

Then It All Came Down

Wrekmeister Harmonies

Then It All Came Down

JR Robinson and his large collective deliver a powerful new work that combines ambient, metal vanguard composition, and drones.