There's no doubt that headbangers enjoyed another banner year in 2014. Though there were many tragic losses, from unexpected reunions to comeback albums, these last 12 months proved to be successful for many established, and up-and-coming metal bands from various sub genres.
Through it all, we've been keeping track of our favorites and the bands that surprised us the most.This was not an easy list to compile, but we now present our year-end list of the 10 Best Metal Albums of 2014.10.Yob, Clearing the Path to Ascend Oregon-based stoner doom-metal band Yob released Clearing the Path to Ascend in 2014, to fans and critics who almost unanimously came up with positive reviews and support. Taking equal parts Sleep, Black Sabbath, Candlemass, and Trouble, this band also adds extra elements of slower, dronier music that contains super long songs; thunderous, smashing drums; and riffs and bass lines that show stamina and string snapping speed. The album's four songs give listeners a psychedelic, atmospheric, even spiritual type of stoner metal vibe, with intros that are ethereal and provide just the right build-up, making listeners question their reality through the music. This album is an hour's worth of dark, yet beautiful and intricate, yet experimental doom metal, that will put you make you zone out and get lost within their wall of sound. 9.Behemoth, The Satanist The Satanist is a very heavy, dark, and evil record, one that is majestic and triumphant in sound, musical flow, song structure, and presentation. This Polish death metal band's career was almost cut short when lead singer and guitarist Nergal was diagnosed with Leukemia. After a full recovery, this album proves beyond a doubt that even a brush with death isn't enough to slow down this extreme metal band. With a sound heavily based in technical, sometimes-experimental death metal, Behemoth has come across as larger than life both on record and in concert. The Satanist is evil sounding, with walls of malevolent passages and eerie epic interludes, but the powerful distorted guitars, guttural evil vocals, and crushing drums are what make this album sound and function like a well oiled piece of machinery. Behemoth has never been a band to compromise its sound or be pigeonholed into any genre of metal, from the group's eagerly days a blackened death metal band, to later more thrash influenced albums, The Satanist is a well balanced mix of epic extreme metal.
See also: The 10 Best Prog Metal Bands [page]8.Eyehategod, Eyehategod With a career that has included devastation from hurricanes, depression, tragedies, drug addiction, and even death, Eyehategod is a resilient heavy metal band from New Orleans, known for their slower, sludgy sound, a Southern-influenced, doomy, stoner metal mix of equal parts Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Trouble, Black Flag, and the Melvins that many newer bands emulate, but none can replicate. Eyehategod's disturbing career began over two decades ago and continues on despite the lineup changes over the years and recent passing of longtime drummer Joey LaCaze, who died in 2010. This record is a tribute to LaCaze, whose place behind the drums was filled in by Aaron Hill. With songs like "Robitussin and Rejection," "Quitters Offense," "Medicine Noose," and "Worthless Rescue," Eyehategod's self-titled release brings fans a fresher approach to the classic dark, abrasive, caustic, fast, yet slower sound from their early albums. 7. Exodus, Blood In, Blood Out This is the veteran SF Bay Area thrash band's 10th studio album, and the first to feature former vocalist Steve Souza since 2004. Souza replaced singer Rob Dukes, who had an eight-year run with the band. Blood In, Blood Out offers listeners a fresh yet old school approach to thrash that brings solid, fast, thumping heavy riffs, with sharp drums and bass, and a classic speed metal vibe that the band held in the mid to late '80s. With thrash metal guitar mastermind Gary Holt leading the way, Blood In Blood Out is 10 tracks, and 61 minutes of thrash metal mayhem, that will incite circle pits and head banging anywhere it is played loud. Metallica's Kirk Hammet ha a guest guitar solo on the song "Salt the Wound," and the song "BTK" features Chuck Billy from Testament.
See also: The 10 Best Heavy Metal Bass Players [page]6.At the Gates, At War With Reality This is the fifth album by this Swedish death metal band, and the first release since the band's seminal 1995 offering Slaughter of the Soul. This album might not immediately become hailed as a classic, but as time goes on, it will show that the band never lost any of its strength aggression or influence. With a clear, and detailed plan of execution, this album is thunderous and fast from the onslaught. After several listens, one might discover why so many younger American metal core bands worship At the Gates. With the mild doses of black metal and thrash, alongside the transcendent guitar playing and anguished vocals of Tomas Lindberg, this record captures the band at its best and most recent incarnation. 5.Mastodon, Once More 'Round the Sun Atlanta-based Metallic rockers Mastodon have made an album that is both up beat, and focused on the theme of death, and the chaotic events in life, represented by the passing of one year. The music is all over the place, with some songs sounding more commercial and oriented toward hard rock, with several catchy hit songs, but Mastodon also never disappoint their hardcore fans by experimenting with different sounds and styles. Dual vocal styles by all members of the band, as well as the sped up jazzy drumming and avant-garde sound of the guitars all make this record memorable. This record is a good mix between fast and slow, chaotic and organized, upbeat yet cathartic. Songs like "High Road." "Chimes at Midnight," and the single, "The Motherload," all exemplify why Mastodon's Mars Volta-meets heavy metal puts the band in a league of its own among other hard rock/heavy metal bands.
See also: The10 Best Industrial Bands [page]4.Machine Head, Bloodstones and Diamonds Machine Head's eighth album is its most successful to date, hitting number 21 on the Billboard Charts, the first week it was released in November on Nuclear Blast. The band features guitarist Phil Demmel, drummer Dave McClain, and is led by vocalist and guitarist Rob Flynn. On Bloodstones and Diamonds, Machine Head is musically on fire, even though this is the first record not featuring founding bassist Adam Duce, who was replaced by Jared MacEachern. The boundaries of groove metal, thrash, and hard rock is what Machine Head do best, and this album is full of track after track of epic, well written metal songs. With just over an hour of music divided among 12 songs, this album shreds from start to finish, and if full of musical dexterity and precision. 3.Abysmal Dawn, Obsolescence This is the fourth album from this L.A.-based death metal band and showcases the band's talent and skills as musicians, in terms of songwriting ability, timing, brutality, speed, endurance, and power. This is what death metal should sound like. With a brutal, guttural vocal presence, Abysmal Dawn is led by guitarist/vocalist Charles Elliot, who formed the band in 2003. Obsolescence is an album that throws listeners with a severe ear drum bashing dose of death metal laced with thrash and black metal, for 48 minutes, and this is a very loud, intense album but lyrically it is very dystopian and pessimistic about the future of humanity. Still, Obsolescence is Abysmal Dawn's finest work to date, matching the ferocity of their heroes like Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Deicide, and DEATH (all of whom Abysmal Dawn has toured with). The kicker of this album is the final song, a cover of "Night's Blood" by the Satanic Swedish black metal band Dissection.
See also: The 10 Best Viking Metal Bands [page]2.Slipknot -.5:The Gray Chapter This is Slipknot's fifth album overall, first album without original drummer Joey Jordisson and the late bassist Paul Gray. Despite the absence of these two pivotal members, Slipknot is on fire musically, and sound stunning on record and in a live setting. With nine masked mad men, including a DJ, sampler two percussionists, Slipknot's chaos onstage is represented well in this album. You can hear all the elements that go into making each song.
Corey Taylor is not only a great singer but a great lyricist, and his range and duality as a vocalist put him at the top of along with many others, as one of hard rocks/heavy metal's best. Listeners should be able to tell that some of the songs on this record are angry, fast, and extreme and come from a dark, heartfelt place, while in contrast parts of songs are beautiful and haunting. This record for Slipknot represents a comeback from what might have destroyed other bands. This album is both menacing and melodic and further cements Slipknot's place in heavy metal's lineage. The band was even nominated for a Grammy Award for the album's single "The Negative One."1. Cannibal Corpse, A Skeletal Domain This is the 13th album from these godfathers of death metal and all things gore: vocalist George Corpse grinder Fisher and guitarists Pat O'Brien and Rob Barret, with drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz and bassist Alex Webster. This record is darker and more evil sounding, with sinister sounding riffs, vocals, bass lines, and blast beats at an inhuman speed. This record, like most of Cannibal Corpse's catalog, is not for the faint of heart. With grisly tales of mangled corpses, gruesome, violent murder scenes, and other brutal, horrid songs such as "High Velocity Impact Splatter," "Ice Pick Lobotomy," and "Asphyxiate to Resuscitate," the band has reached a new level of extremity and are only getting faster with age. This album definitely shows why Cannibal Corpse is an internationally renowned band and is the best at playing this form of extreme metal. Because of the blood-soaked musical legacy of Cannibal Corpse, death metal, as an art form and musical sub genre, will never die.