2013 ruled so hard, and 2014 kinda…didn’t. Oh, sure, there were some great records released, but there was an awful lot of half-arsed middle-of-the-road stuff and even more garbage. Why does everyone love Issues? Maybe it’s just me. Ah well, 2015 is almost upon us (where the heck did the year go?) and all those bands that made 2013 so awesome are due for another release. Oh, and Tool might finally release their new one. That’d be nice.
Anyway, without further rambling, here’s my take on 2014.
10. The Room Colored Charlatan – Primitives
9. Anathema – Distant Satellites
8. Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together
7. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun
6. Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed
The Amity Affliction is bigger than God. I’m still not entirely sure how or when that happened. Perhaps it has to do with their singalongs being more contagious than ebola (which isn’t actually that contagious) or the fact that Ahren Stringer’s voice is the only thing prettier than he himself. Maybe it’s Joel Birch’s disturbingly open lyrics regarding his struggles with suicide and depression. Whatever it is, they’re killing it everywhere right now. Hop on the bandwagon now, lest you get left behind.
There are a few wobbly moments (i.e. “Skeptic” and “The One That Kills the Least”), but the overall package is worth the sticker price. “AOV” is a groove-laden riff fest, “Killpop” is the new generation’s “Gently,” and “Custer” makes “Surfacing” look like a god damn nursery rhyme. It may not be their best record, but it’s probably their most complete one.
All these new bands think they’re ripping off As I Lay Dying (still too soon to bring them into this), but they’re actually ripping off At The Gates. They’re really old. Like, so old. Put it this way: someone turning twenty next year will have been born after they released Slaughter Of The Soul. AWWR isn’t as feral or vicious as SOTS, but it’s far more measured and mature, and, as a result, an infinitely more dangerous beast. So many horns, man. So many horns.
Spencer Chamberlain lost everything after Underoath broke up. Seriously, Google it. A tree fell on his (uninsured) car, he was basically homeless for a month, and at one point he emptied his savings account to buy a $2 cheeseburger because he hadn’t eaten in a week. Rock bottom is where all the greatest music comes from (look at Roy Orbison), though, and Broken Compass is something truly special. Equal parts torturous anguish and righteous fury, Broken Compass is Spencer Chamberlain at his peak.
That’s no guitar you hear jamming those choice riffs; that’s a bass guitar, and it solves the problem that all two-piece bands face – the sound is tinnier than a garden shed roof. Royal Blood got around that and the result is simply staggering. “Little Monster” and “Out Of The Black” are still great, but they’re upstaged by the new material. “Ten Tonne Skeleton” is a deceptively simple five-chord song that funks right the hell out of the building, while “Loose Change” has the sexiest beat ever.
Most Anticipated: Tool. It’s coming, man. I can feel it.