In 2007, I stumbled upon an album titled The Blackening. At the time, I was trying to expand my metal palette beyond the likes of Iron Maiden and Metallica. So, I gave it a shot, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Then Machine Head somehow topped that album with 2011’s Unto The Locust after a long four-year wait. And now, in 2014, the band has outdone themselves yet again with Bloodstone & Diamonds, a record that ranges from ragingly heavy to hauntingly melodic, continuously changing things up to stay fresh while still sounding like Machine Head. Every track is a winner on here and is a combination of everything I love not only about the band, but of the metal genre as a whole.
Behemoth, The Satanist (Metal Blade)
Behemoth make a triumphant return with arguably the best death metal album of the year.
Black Crown Initiate, A Wreckage of Stars (eOne)
Sometimes, a band is all hype. This is not one of those bands. A Wreckage of Stars is one monster of a debut and I can’t wait to see where the band goes next.
Falloch, This Island, Our Funeral (Candlelight)
This technically hasn’t come out in the US yet, but it’s a solid atmospherical listen nonetheless.
Earth, Primitive and Deadly (Southern Lord)
This droning, evil psychedelic trip punctuated by excellent vocals has won me over as a fan of Earth.
Ne Obliviscaris, Citadel (Season of Mist)
Progressive death metal with a violin player. There’s nothing about that I don’t love.