2014 is now “last year”. Let that sink in as we get our schedules restarted and refueled for the year to come. It was impossible to expect anyone to encompass every single release during 2014, a crazy year for metal where every day seemed to push the bar a little higher. During the inevitable rush of posts, some albums got lost along the way. We’ll be doing our best to correct the error and present to you over the coming few weeks reviews for albums that we missed. Who cares if they’re “so last year”? Some of them are simply brilliant and no better example exists than Rishloo‘s Living As Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth. As far as progressive metal goes, it came along right at the end of the year in order to smash all expectations and standards.
Let’s keep it brief, okay folks? This is the second part of our Top 50, Album of the Year list. At the end, you’ll find our Top 10, while tomorrow we’ll have individual staff members’ top 10 lists and our Outliers section: albums that were placed on individual top 10’s but didn’t make the Top 50 list.
The albums you’ll find here were ones that had broad consensus among our large group of staff writers and editors as truly excellent representations of the worlds of metal and other heavy music this year. No doubt you’ll find things to quibble with, but we’re proud of this list and the entries therein.
If you haven’t yet, check out Part I of this list, listing numbers 50 to 26. Alright, OK, no more words. Let’s get to it!
It is with a grave heart that we write Isaiah “Ikey” Owens, founding member of The Mars Volta and keyboard play for Jack White passed away yesterday from an apparent heart attack. A representative confirmed the cause of death a few hours after the news struck. We send our thoughts and condolences to his family and friends and hope they know no more sorrow.
So we had a lot of fun last week posting some of the last.fm 3×3 collages of what we’re really listening to. We’ll get a prog metal celeb’s take after the jump.
Do you sometimes wish that The Mars Volta hadn’t gone completely off the deep end? Do you find you crave that heady mix of blues, rock and metal? Is Stolas‘s Living Creatures worn out from replays? Look no further than Eidola for your math rock with a tinge of the blues, swing with a few screams thrown in or just general aural insanity. Mixing all these elements, the band’s The Great Glass Elephant is a demanding listen, but one which rewards the avid listener. You can listen to the whole thing right here after the jump!
In case you aren’t familiar with recent developments, Killer Be Killed — featuring Soulfly‘s Max Cavalera, The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s Greg Puciato, Mastodon‘s Troy Sanders, and former The Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch — actually lives up to its “supergroup” status, measuring up to be the sum of its parts. I said as much in my review over at Metalsucks, concluding that their debut album is “a proper culmination of influences that represents each member’s artistic lineage and talents in a manner that does each legacy act justice.” In short, the album doesn’t suck. We’re closer to Down than Hellyeah on the metal supergroup spectrum here.
When a band goes quiet, it can mean one of two things: The band has dissipated and just hasn’t alerted their fans to the fact, or, they are working on something rather large. Closure in Moscow did the latter, and now, we have the psychedelic and theatrical Pink Lemonade. Backed by a massive crowd funding campaign, this album represents what the band truly wanted to do as a follow up to 2009’s First Temple. If you were anticipating the band to rest on their laurels for this release, you will be sorely disappointed, but hopefully you’d be incredibly pleased. This isn’t your dad’s Closure in Moscow record, and it never wanted to be.
Well that didn’t last very long. After what was a kind of an awkward end to the psychedelic voyage that was The Mars Volta, various sources found Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López at odds with each other. So it’s surprising to see them together again so soon, this time in Antemasque, alongside previous Mars Volta drummer David Elitch (also at work with Killer Be Killed) and Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist Flea.
Yes, Killer Be Killed, that’s the supergroup featuring current and ex-members of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Soulfly, Mastodon and The Mars Volta. Naturally the hype train was in full swing when the first details of this project began to emerge, but, more often than not, supergroups tend to add up to something much different than simply the sum of their parts. So, what exactly does the music say about Killer Be Killed?
01. The Wrecking Ball Unchained
02. Shadow Deserts
03. Blood Maker
[Brutal Panda Records]
Encountering a wild animal, your breath catches in your throat. A million possibilities flash inside your head, racing to find the right reaction and save yourself. As the animal growls, you realize that now is not the time for decisions, but for guttural reaction. Your chest constricts painfully in anticipation. That constriction of your chest is Blood Maker by Wild Throne. It’s feral, primal and drips a strange, sexual magnetism. Relying on fuzzy guitars, bottomless bass, and frantic drums, Blood Maker reaches into your heart and gives it a rough, glorifying squeeze.