Here’s an entry full of opinions and barely any facts (if at all)… here’s my top 10 albums of 2014:
This was a good year for music; though not as amazing as 2013, there were some amazing releases that got me excited for several reasons!
This year’s list isn’t as diverse as they usually are, but I still compiled what got me off my shoes at any given time, so without further ado, let’s dive in!
10- Primus – …And The Chocolate Factory
What can I say about this… Willy Wonka is one of my favourite movies of all time and when Primus announced this release I felt like I had just found a golden ticket… It is everything you want and expect from an amazing band with little concern who decides to take on a movie soundtrack. They made it better. Also, the live show was pretty epic!
9- Pain of Salvation – Falling Home
Pain of Salvation went through a rough period last year after lead singer Daniel Gildenlow suffered severe health issues that forced him away from pretty much any activity for several months. So it was surprising that soon after his recovery, his first thought was to start touring and recording a new album.
Falling Home is an amazing experiment, acoustic versions of classic songs, covers and all around creativity; their cover of Holy Diver and the reinterpretation of Linoleum are two of the high points in the album for me, but there’s good music all over the place. I like to say that it sounds pretty and it’s well arranged.
8- Marty Friedman – Inferno
Marty Friedman is one of my favourite guitar players, which means every time he releases an album it will be in my top 10, end of story. However, even if I had no clue of who he was before I listened to Inferno, this album would still have made my top 10 easy because… wow! Every song is fresh and energetic, heavy riffs, extreme musicality and Friedman’s trademark exotic melodies. This album nears perfection.
7- Opeth – Pale Communion
As a progressive metal junkie and an avid extreme metal listener, I’d usually feel weird to admit that I wasn’t much of a fan of Opeth a few years ago, but things slowly changed after the release of Heritage (2011), when the Swedish band decided to follow different roads and took a more eclectic progressive rock approach that made my ears ‘salivate’ (I gotta get that checked…) In any case, Pale Communion continues on that line again resembling more a 70’s jazz/rock band than the doom metal band from the 2000’s. I approve.
6- Ne Obliviscaris – Citadel
Australian avant-garde metallers Ne Obliviscaris had already released a masterpiece years ago with Portal of I (2012), and they continued on that path this time around with Citadel. A strong album with all the elements that have made them one of the most followed bands of the last decade and delivering powerful chords, vocals, melodies and harmonies all in a beautiful yet frenetic manner. This one almost made it into my top 5, but it had some strong contenders ahead…
5- Cynic – Kindly Bent To Free Us
Cynic is one of my all time favourite bands, period. They had managed to find that perfect blend between technical progressive metal and the power and aggression of death metal, often described as “Dream Theater meets Death” So, at first, this new album seemed a little out of place for what it was. A much more mellow album generally speaking, but filled with astounding musicianship from start to finish. There isn’t a bad note throughout, end even though less aggressive than previous releases by the band, still as powerful yet more delicate than ever before. This one made it easy into my top 5.
4- Sólstafir – Ótta
Atmospheric awesome music. I think I ran out of adjetives to describe this band. Simple and powerful, slow tempos filled with intensity to the max. I can easily tell anyone that this band goes to eleven… Beautiful album, perfect flow, amazing listen…
3- A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
This list was lacking my usual share of cheesy eclectic prog rock, so here it is! Behold A.C.T. and their new record; filled with everything you’d like to hear from a limitless prog rock band, an overall concept and no general structures. This album could have easily taken the top spot because if it were vinyl, I would have worn it out already. Everything flows the way it should and the versatility shown by all musicians in the band is awe inspiring.
2- Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
It’s a Foo Fighters record, deal with it. It is amazing, not only because the music in it, but the way it was delivered. A musical journey made into a documentary about exploring American music’s roots. Dave Grohl has done it once again. Another true classic.
1- Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls
This is a band I never thought I’d be speaking of again. Angel of Retribution (2005), and Nostradamus (2008) were massive flops from a band that was in clear decay, so when Priest announced that KK Downing was not going to continue to play with the band, and furthermore a new album was on its way, I was rather curious to see what these old guys could come up with, recent history was not on their side.
As soon as the single was released, I got an instant feeling unlike anything from their previous attempts: “Painkiller has a match”, redeemer of souls has that slo pace of some of the epics in 1990’s masterpiece, but still managing to sound like a NEW priest album instead of a refried copy of something that once was.
The album’s release date was close to my birthday, so I gifted it to myself and put it on to celebrate. HOLY F&%@!! Definitely album of the year. Not only is one of Priest’s strongest albums ever, it is also the comeback of a band we all deemed dead long ago. Hats off to Judas Priest and Redeemer of Souls.