Not With A Whimper, But With A Bang – Heavy Blog Is Heavy’s Albums Of The Year 2014 – Part II

monuments The Amanuensis10) Monuments – The Amanuensis

Monuments may likely be one of the few bands in existence where people will forever prefer the sophomore album to the debut. This is thanks in part to the addition to vocalist Chris Barretto, who expanded the group’s sonic palette to include powerfully haunting vocal hooks that ensured repeated spins. The mystique of The Amanuensis makes for a listen that is captivating on a technical level, but also doesn’t shy away from appealing to pop sensibilities. Between the bouncing grooves and Barretto’s voice, Monuments’ The Amanuensis may be the closest thing possible to metal’s answer to Michael Jackson (an influence that the band proudly wear on their sleeves), and believe it or not, we’re all better off for it. (Jimmy Rowe)

 

aborted the necrotic manifesto9) Aborted – The Necrotic Manifesto

Aborted is one of those bands that found a style and stuck with it. However, over time, that sound has manifested (hue) itself into a fierce force of nature that is determined to make your ears drip with the goodness that is Aborted death metal. This album is a blistering journey into the deepest depths of all things doom, gloom, and gore. Guest appearances from the likes of Vincent Bennett from The Acacia Strain only enhance the demonic and brutal message this album conveyed to us. The band just seem to get better with age, like a fine wine, and The Necrotic Manifesto is surely one of the band’s best, if not the best album the band has ever released. In the end, the band only has one message for us: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; make it faster, louder, and heavier. (Spencer Snitl)

 

archspire the lucid collective8) Archspire – The Lucid Collective

Technical prowess and melody are often perceived at being odds with each other. Archspire’s The Lucid Collective scoffs at that notion, and shows that you can be very melodic even at breakneck speeds. Blazing fast guitar sweeps, gravity blasts and frantic vocals are Archspire’s thing, and they do their thing very well here. The thing that sets them apart from a lot of their peers is that they know how to write songs that aren’t just endless chromatic notes – their songs are full of catchy hooks and memorable lines. And they know when to slow it down and add some groove to their songs. Archspire may not be reinventing the wheel here, but they’re taking what has already been done and laughing at how far behind everyone else is. Since the music is simultaneously so oblique and accessible, it always feels fresh – constantly noticing new things while being swept away by the hooks and furiously nodding to the blast beat grooves. Archspire are very self-aware musically, and their embracing of the genre’s idiosyncrasies and playing along with them is what makes this album so great. (Noyan Tokgozoglu)

 

destrage-areyoukiddingmeno7) Destrage – Are You Kidding Me? No.

To be honest, I don’t particularly recall how I ended up stumbling onto the Are You Kidding Me? No. full album stream shortly before its release. I do, however, vividly remember how the monstrous opening riff of ‘Hosts, Rifles & Coke’ exploded through my ears like a runaway 18-wheeler the first time I heard it – and it seems that no amount of successive listens have done anything to lessen that effect. Steamroller riffs abound, while impeccably precise tapping figures and catchy vocal lines jump to-and-fro as Destrage unleash their tightly-plotted assault on the listener on top of a mathematically precise rhythm section. Every good thing modern progressive metal has to offer is jam-packed within the album’s ten tracks (one of which features an extended mariachi band section, no less) yet it remains focused, awe-inspiring, and full of personality throughout. All things considered, Are You Kidding Me? No. strikes an impossibly fine balance between relentless technicality and somewhat self-aware silliness, making for one of the best – and most fun – records of 2014. (Ahmed Hasan)

 

sleepmakeswaves love of cartography6) sleepmakeswaves – Love of Cartography

Aussie post-rockers sleepmakeswaves had already firmly established themselves as a band to watch with their majestic debut full-length …And So We Destroyed Everything. Mixing elements of ambience, electronics, and soaring exploration, the band possessed a sound that was refreshing in a sea of generic gloom and predictable crescendos. Expectations were certainly high for their sophomore effort, Love of Cartography, and somehow the band managed to exceed pretty much all of those by finding an entire new level of sonic bliss to their sound. There is really no other way to describe tracks like ‘Perfect Detonator,‘Great Northern,’ and ‘Something Like Avalanches’ as anything other than pure sonic bliss. It’s the kind of music that immediately invigorates and makes you want to do great things. That isn’t to say that the album is all light fare though. ‘Emergent’ and ‘The Stars are Stigmata’ are dark, mysterious, and thrilling, and closer ‘Your Time Will Come Again’ matches the more serene moments of their earlier work before blowing the lid off in the final climax. Their freewheeling energy is absolutely contagious, making it the perfect soundtrack to your next big adventure, whether it’s out in the vast Australian expanses or right in your own backyard. (Nick Cusworth)

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