It’s that time of year again. As 2014 draws to a close, we check in with the Metal Insider staff to see what new albums got them the most excited. For the past year, Anthony Maisano has been sporadically posting his “Today in Metal,” spotlighting an album that came out on that day and reviewing it. Now it’s time for him to take stock of what came out this year in metal, so here are his 10 favorite albums of 2014.
10) Below, Across the Dark River
This was the debut album by a Swedish doom metal band. Below takes the style of bands like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus and puts their own twist on it in a way that is still recognizable, but still very different from the other bands. It’s much more vocally focused than riff focused, in my opinion, although there are still plenty of great riffs. Doom metal bands don’t get that much recognition anymore, so I’m really hoping Below’s partnership with Metal Blade will give them success in the future. This debut was solid, but the band could only get better from here.
Key Track: “Trapped Under Ground”
9) Slough Feg, Digital Resistance
Slough Feg has always put out strange but interesting material. This one was really no different. I was a bit disappointed that this album dialed back on the technically strong, heavy work of their past, but that still didn’t stop this record from being a TON of fun. “Magic Hooligan” is one of the top tracks of this year that really just gets stuck in my head after one listen. Sometimes you don’t need the heaviest or most technical record. Sometimes you just need a fun one.
Key Track: “Magic Hooligan”
8. Overkill – White Devil Armory
This amazes nearly every metal fan I meet but…I’m not as huge of a thrash fan as most metal people I meet. That being said, Overkill has always been one of my favorites of the genre. They have always done thrash like I feel it should be done; balls to the walls, and completely off the page, out of control. Bobby Ellsworth’s vocals add so much to the band. This album really kept that formula going. While I think this record was slightly less consistent than The Electric Age, it was still a really good record.
Key Track: “Freedom Rings”