Metal Insider Contributor Zach Shaw’s Top 10 of 2014

Posted by on December 9, 2014

mastodon1. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun

Brann Dailor previously described Mastodon’s sixth album to us as a “mover and shaker,” a fitting soundtrack for a summer bash in the woods. Well, you’d be hard press to find a more fitting description for Once More ‘Round The Sun than that. Whether you’re listening to it with a group of friends over a round of beers or by yourself during a morning commute to work, Once More ‘Round The Sun has the magical ability to place you in the most amazing mood. If you don’t find yourself air drumming to “The Mothership,” singing along at top volume to the chorus of ‘High Road,” or chanting aloud Hey ho, let’s fucking go at the end of “Aunt Lisa,” then you may be cold-hearted, soulless bastard immune to joy. A stand-out from the album for me though is the album’s title track, showcasing how Mastodon has grown tremendously in the vocals department (while also displaying sick Iron Maiden meets Thin Lizzy riffs). As a whole, Once More ‘Round The Sun shows that even as Mastodon musically mature, they can still melt faces and kick ass in the studio.

Key Track: “Aunt Lisa”


Honorary Mentions:

Revocation – Deathless

This is an album that captures the right amount of technicality and brutality, with even a hint of melody. It’s proof that with each new album, Revocation further solidifies its leading role in death metal’s future.


Menace – Impact Velocity

I doubt anyone anticipated a member of grindcore legends Napalm Death to release a project leaning more towards industrial prog rock influences. Yet Mitch Harris succeeds with Menace’s debut release, crafting hard to forget anthems like “I Live With Your Ghost” and “Malicious Code”.


Opeth – A Pale Communion

The bad news: Opeth still haven’t gone back to its brutal death metal roots. The good news: A Pale Communion is an immense improvement from the lackluster Heritage. And dare I say it, but this album might be proof that modern prog rock can still be heavy.


Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls

After trying their hand at making a concept album with the lackluster Nostradamus, the metal gods are back in true form with Redeemer Of Souls. Anyone afraid that Judas Priest couldn’t deliver the goods withoutK. K. Downing need not worry, as Richie Faulkner proves he can handle the type of shredding fans come to expect from the metal legends. If this does end up being their last album, Judas Priest would definitely be leaving on a high note.


Exodus – Blood In, Blood Out

Steve “Zetro” Souza had a lot to prove on his first album with Exodus in ten years (and even he knew it). Thankfully, Zetro and Exodus deliver an album worthy to be included among  the Bay Area thrash legends’ renowned catalog.


Body Count – Manslaughter

Talk shit… get shot! That’s all you really need to say…


Wings Denied – Mirrors For A Prince

The fact that THE Jamie King helped record this album should interest you enough into giving Mirrors For A Prince a listen. Furthermore, this album proves that Wings Denied has massive potential to dominate the future progressive metal scene.


Darkest Hour – Darkest Hour

“… if it’s not dangerous and it’s not crazy, then it’s not fucking interesting,” guitarist Mike Schleibaum declared to us during an interview. Well, Darkest Hour’s self-titled album is damn fucking interesting. While possibly their most melodic offering to date, it still carries the technicality and edge that fans have come to love from Darkest Hour, proving that they’re still dangerous after all these years.


Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways

Ok, so this isn’t a metal record in any regards (in fact, while Wasting Light might have been Dave Grohl and company’s heaviest effort to date, Sonic Highways has more country influences to it). Yet somehow, Foo Fighters offer yet another album metal heads can at least appreciate. Sure, “Something From Nothing” is essentially a funky rip off of “Holy Diver”… but it’s a funky rip off that still rocks.


Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World

Like Foo Fighters, Death From Above 1979’s sophomore effort isn’t metal in any regards. Yet The Physical World is loud, thrashy and downright catchy enough for even the trvest of metal heads to appreciate.


Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – World On Fire

I never expected to hear myself say this: but this might be the best album Slash has recorded in a very long time (and I’m saying that as a Velvet Revolver and Slash’s Snakepit fan)! It’s simply a damn good rock record, with Slash in top form and Myles Kennedy belting his ass off.

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Categorised in: Best of 2014, News, Top 10