Best of 2014

So, here it is, and this year... Instead of 20, I’m doing 50!  Why?  Well, if there’s more than 20 albums in a year worth mentioning, then I’ll mention them.  I think the reason the list is this long is that I’ve had so much thrown at me this year, from all the reviews I’ve done, so most of is rock and metal, with a few exceptions.  It’s been a great 2014 for music and I only hope there’s enough to do a bigger list next year!  

If you look through the list and don’t see your favourite album then there’s maybe a couple of reasons for that.  1. I didn’t like it as much as you  2. I just didn’t listen to it. I’ve had so many to listen the pick 50 was a challenge in itself.  Remember, this is all my opinion, and most of what I say is crap anyway!  So, without further adieu,  My Top 50 albums of 2014.  

50. Steel Panther - All You Can Eat

Released: April 2014

Record Label: Open E Entertainment, Kobalt

Songs To Download: Gloyhole, Gangband at the Old Folks Home

This is a massively entertaining album and one I loved going back to it all year.

49. The Black Circles - Hold On

Released: May 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: Driving Blind, Hold On, Don’t Talk Shit

This is the kinda blues you hear in a small nightclub in the middle of nowhere, in the dead of night. The kinda music that makes you think “god, the guys in this bar are the next big thing” and that’s what I thought when I first heard The Black Circles.  In all honesty this is a cracking album.  When I discovered these guys in October, when they supported Virgil and the Accelerators, it was an absolute blast.  The Warrington based blues trio have a lot of fun riffs, killer solos and such a great energy, it’s no wonder why this album always kept popping up here and there ever since.  It was definitely a good one to have on my playlist this year.

48. Dissolutes - Brutal Theatre

Released: 2013 (Cheating, a bit)

Label: Fifa Records

Songs To Download:  Devils In The Details, Beggars Belief

Genuinely fun and interesting music from the Irish lads!

47. Ethereal - Pendular

Released: November 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: Glorification of Idiocy, Citadel of Sorrow

This album is great, it’s heavy and has that chaotic overtone that any metalcore band needs.  There’s a specific tune that won me over called “Glorification of Idiocy” that alone get’s this album on the list the rest just fell into place, great album and well worth checking out.

46. Scandelion - Nonsense

Released: January 2014

Record Label: Self released

Songs To Download: My Darkest Thoughts, Die...Or Die (Your Choice)

Heavy! Ha!  That’s not even the word.  This rip-roaring record should be in every metalhead’s collection, in my opinion.  Nonsense is a powerful record with a lot to say.  I was blown away when I listened to it, from the moment I first put it on to now.  Solid riffs and unforgettable melodies infect this album, I sorely regret missing their headline set at Valkyrian Festival this year.  A mistake I won’t be repeating!  Good album, pick it up.

45. Beartooth - Disgusting

Released: June 2014

Record Label: Red Bull Records

Songs To Download: I Have a Problem, Beaten In Lips  

To be perfectly honest, I was never a big fan of Attack Attack! (US), they just seemed silly.  However when Caleb Shomo unveiled his new band Beartooth this year with their debut album “Disgusting”, I definitely took notice.  This album is just insane and serves as one of the better examples of the “hardcore punk” genre this year.  With fun melodies broken up with hardcore breakdowns all with themes of drink, drugs and abuse.  It’s something to take a listen to if you ask me.

44. Shrapnel - The Virus Conspires

Released: February 2014

Record Label: Candlelight Records

Songs To Download: Pseudocommando, Red Terror

This is just straight up, pure as anything, thrash metal with a lot of kick to it.  Shrapnel have become one of my personal stand out bands of my year, seeing them at Hammerfest , in March, and supporting Destruction, in September.  The Virus Conspires shows some amazing skill and creativity from the Norwich lads.  There are some belting riffs and the drum beats are just enough to make your head spin!  It’s sounds like a classic thrash album but with enough new ideas to keep it current. Overall it’s a good effort.

43. The Wolf and The Lion - Symptoms

Released: November 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: Bandages, Hand of Applause

Deeply passionate and beautiful album, with intricate, thought-provoking lyrics.

42. Fahran - Chasing Hours

Released: August 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: I Heard A Joke Once, Cased In Steel, Some Kind Of Family

So I was quite hyped for this album.  After discovering Fahran, I became kind of a mark for them and I ended up pledging to their “Pledge Music” campaign for their new record, “Chasing Hours”.  The campaign was a success and a few months later this was posted through my letter box and I have to say it’s 100% decent.  It’s not fantastic but I’ll still put it in this list.  There are some seriously great old school style riffs and they just have a very contagious energy that’s hard not to get soaked up in.  This album was worth what I paid into the project, and you can probably find it at a decent price now.  If you’re a fan of that pleasant sounding “radio rock” sound, Fahran will be worth your time.

41. Hellyeah - Blood for Blood

Released: May 2014

Record Label: Eleven Seven Music

Songs To Download: Moth, Demons In the Dirt, DMF

A darker more intense album for Vinnie Paul’s southern rockers this year.  Blood For Blood conjures up an intense whirlwind of heavy riffs and dark melodies.

40. Marmozets - The Weird and Wonderful

Released: September 2014

Record Label: Roadrunner Records

Songs To Download: Born Young And Free, Move Shake Hide, Vibetech

Massively enjoyable record.  I’ve loved these guys for years, I thought they were going in more in the direction of “pop-punk”. However it’s actually filled with broken riff patterns, intense energy and some seriously heavy tunes.  I thought they were going to be just another pop band but Marmozets have turned out to be a great experimental punk band, with songs like “Vibetech” and “Born Young and Free” you can quickly decide if they’re for you.  However since I only picked up the full album a few weeks ago, I can’t really put it any higher than 40.

39. Amaranthe - Massive Addictive

Released: October 2014

Record Label: Spinefarm Records

Songs To Download: Drop Dead Cynical, An Ordinary Abnormality, Digital World

The Swedish power metallers are back with an impressive effort, though not as good as “The Nexus” I still loved it.

38. Black Label Society - Catacombs of the Black Vatican

Released: April 2014

Record Label: Mascot Records

Songs To Download: Scars, Heart of Darkness

Zakk Wylde and his band of berzerkers return to form with a storm of a record.  This is honestly one of the best albums from them in years, in my opinion.  I’ve honestly loved going back to this album every time I’ve put it on this year and I’m sure I’ll have a few more listens in 2015 as well. The solos, the riffs, the pure headbanging tunes have been awesome!   

37. The Blackout - Wolves EP

Released: October 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: Liars, Hold On

Although it’s sad that they’re breaking up and they final tour is next year.  The Blackout have left us a great parting gift in the form of this EP.  Made through the power of crowdfunding, the fans can truly be proud of this one.  This is the biggest sounding music to come from the band since their 2009 effort “The Best in Town”.  All the songs are big and bold and really show off what the band can do.  After a disappointing effort with “Start The Party”, the fans should be happy with “Wolves”, I know I am.

36. Joe Bonamassa - Different Shades of Blue

Released: September 2014

Record Label: J&R Records

Songs To Download: Living on the Moon, Love Ain't a Love Song, I Gave Up Everything for You, 'Cept the Blues

The big guy of blues comes back with yet another album.  Different Shades Of Blue is the 11th solo album from Joe and it’s pretty much the same as his last few.  Great production and writing and still very fun to listen to.  However, it lacks the energy and spirit of his earlier work.  Still with the addition of a brass section on this album, to liven things up a bit, and Joe does feel like he’s coming out of his shell a little.  If you’ve missed the last few “Joe” albums, make sure you get this one.

35. Arch Enemy - War Eternal

Released: June 2014

Record Label: Century Media

Songs To Download: As the Pages Burn, Avalanche

Losing this most commanding frontwoman ever might deter some bands from going on.  However when that same frontwoman hand picks her replacement, it  helps a little.  So, Alissa White-Gluz comes in to the Arch Enemy picture.  After the last few AE albums I was starting to lose interest.  To me, they were becoming quite “samey”.  Alissa was the right fire to light under the band to create a newer sounding, more interesting Arch Enemy.  This album is way more melodic and diverse than previous efforts.  War Eternal definitely found a good place with me this year with lots of brutal riff and well executed solos, accompanied with fantastic vocals from Alissa, this was just what AE needed to get back in the current picture of Heavy Metal.

34. Edguy - Space Police - Defenders of The Crown

Released: January 2014

Record Label: Nuclear Blast

Songs To Download: Rock Me Amadeus (Falco cover), Do Me Like a Caveman, Love Tyger

Tobias Sammet does it again.  Amazing sound for a new album.

33. Rise Against - The Black Market

Released: July 2014

Record Label: DGC, Interscope

Songs To Download: Tragedy + Time, Methadone, The Eco-Terrorist in Me

Another win for the political punk rockers.  Their new album is something that really is worth listening to.  True it’s not really a punk album.  The band have changed, they’ve matured and see longevity in their sound.  After their last album “Endgame” people may have noticed that they were going more toward an “alt. rock” sort of sound.  Well, this is the culmination of that.  It’s a good thing as well.  It makes the band sound more whole and they’re able to get away with sounds they couldn’t have done as a punk band.  Their political messages don’t get lost in the music either so what the fans love about them hasn’t gone, just moved to a bigger sounding platform.  Give it a listen.

32. Anathema - Distant Satellites

Released: June 2014

Record Label: Kscope

Songs The Download: The Lost Song, Part 2, Take Shelter

I’ll admit it, I love this album.  I thought there was was no way in hell that Anathema would top “Weather Systems”.  Well, I’ll admit with a smile that I was wrong… dead wrong.  Distant Satellites is a beautiful sounding, well put together record. With the highlight for me personally being the brilliantly atmospheric “The Lost Song Pt 2”.  After seeing them in Manchester I was completely sold on this record.  Just one fantastic sound.

31. Limb - Limb

Released: August 2014

Record Label: New Heavy Sounds

Songs To Download: Eternal Psalm Pt II, LXXXVI

RIFFS!  So many great riffs, holy god these guys praise at the altar of the riff (quote Dom from Black Moth).  You want to make a debut album... Well here’s one hell of a way to make your introduction.  I discovered them when they supported Black Moth on tour this year.  Needless to say I was rather impressed with Limb.  It sound like Black Sabbath and Pantera had a baby and told it to rock as hard as it could.  That’s Limb for you, need I say more.

30. Alwaid - Lacus Somniorum

Released: March 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: Hei! Aa-Shanta ‘Nygh, In The Darkness of Daylight

An unbelievably fun and bouncy symphonic metal album.  These French metallers turned my head this year with one stellar performance at Valkyrian Festival and one hell of a record.  This album is just wonderful to listen to.  From it’s beautiful use of imagery to the fantastic music that oozes from the instruments.  Not much to say as I’m just getting into it but it already more than worthy of my number 30 spot.

29. Liv Kristine - Vervain

Released: October: 2014

Record Label: Napalm Records

Songs To Download: Stronghold of Angels, Elucidation

Liv steps away from Leaves Eyes once again to deliver another brilliant solo album.  Vervain has many a great moments on it and none shook the foundations of the genre more than her duet with metal icon Doro Pesch on the song “Stronghold of Angels”.  There are other great songs on this album that just make it worth the listen from start to finish.  The use of the synth on this album is worth noting too, it just creates the enchanting atmosphere that keeps you engrossed in the lyrics that paint beautiful imagery.  Listen to this album with as little distraction as possible and have fun.

28. Rainbowdragoneyes - The Secret Mirror

Released: August 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: Fortress Ov Frost, The Rift, The Blade Chose Me

When I first heard this guy (Yes, it’s just 1 guy)  with Alestorm this year.  I wasn’t impressed.  I don’t know maybe I wasn’t drunk enough.  To be honest, I only bought his album “The Secret Mirror” because it came in a cool Game Boy styled box and it was a cassette, and I never pass up the opportunity to get music on a cassette.  When I put this album on, I think I had it on repeat for about 3 days, I just wanted to play every game in the NES library… Twice.  This album is so much fun if you’re a gamer you’ll like it, if you’re a metalhead-gamer you should love it!  

27. Pip Mountjoy - Ursus Arctos

Released: July 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: The Killing Kind, Riverbed

Fantastic young singer-songwriter, she was in my head from the moment I saw her support Ryan Adams in Manchester.  With well executed and relatable music Pip’s voice has this warmth and her music has a depth way beyond her years.  I bought all of a EP’s after the gig and Ursus Arctos is interesting and shares her thoughts and ideas in an enjoyable way.  I look forward to getting to see her again live.

26. Crooked Lizard - Ink

Released: July 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: I Wish I Knew, Cheeky Fly, Motormouth

Massively enjoyable album that’s easy to have fun to.  The Yorkshire based blues rock band Crooked Lizard brought a smile to my face with this album.  Lots of fun upbeat tunes mixed with some solemn introspective songs.  I have definitely become a fan of these guys and will continue to have my eye on them.  If anyone wants a new blues rock band to check out, may I recommend Crooked Lizard.

25. Alestorm - Sunset on the Golden Age

Released: August 2014

Record Label: Napalm Records

Songs To Download: 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena), Mead from Hell, Surf Squid Warfare, Drink

The pirates are back with their silly brand of pirate humour and heavy metal to match.  It’s funny in itself, that it’s taken them 4 albums to come up with a song called “Walk The Plank” but beggars can’t be choosers I suppose. With more songs about drinking and quests, fighting monster and hangovers, how can you not love them.  This album has, what I feel to be, a more rounded feel to it.  Alestorm don’t show any sign of slowing down or that they’re running out of ideas for songs, which so many people said they would after only 1 album.  Check it out, it might be the treasure you’re looking for.

24. Epica - The Quantum Enigma

Released: May 2014

Record Label:  Nuclear Blast

Songs To Download: Chemical Insomnia, The Quantum Enigma - Kingdom of Heaven Part II

This is by far the most complete sounding album from Epica. It just sounds stronger and has more of a presence to it than their last few outings.  The Quantum Enigma stands out not just as a great Epica album but as one of the defining albums of the symphonic metal genre. With massive sounding choral sections, catchy melodies and heavy headbanging moment. Epica must have ticked all of their bases when making this one.  

23. Cadaveria - Silence

Released: November 2014

Record Label: Scarlet Records

Songs To Download: Existence, Loneliness, Carnival of Doom

A dark, heavy album with lots to enjoy.  

22. Kobra and the Lotus - High Priestess

Released: June 2014

Record Label: Titan Media

Songs To Download: Warhorse, I Am, I Am, Battle of Faith

This is another great album, and an amazing follow up to their self-titled album from 2012.  Kobra has a great presence and the album really does everything it can to show off her vocals.  Especially on tracks such as “Soldier”, “Warhorse” and the title track”High Priestess”.  The music is well executed and feels like an old school heavy metal album from the NWOBHM era.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this one over the course of the year and I feel a few more listens aren’t too far on the horizon.

21. Ex Libris - Medea

Released: January 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: Daughter of Corinth, A Mother’s Lament

Another album I put money to, this was as part of their crowd funding campaign on indiegogo.  The Dutch progressive symphonic metal band’s second album “Medea” was the first album I got in 2014 and let me tell you now, it’s no slouch.  I’ve really enjoyed myself with this record this year.  It’s a concept album about the Greek tragedy of Medea and Jason, and every part of this album does what it needs to.  All the emotion, pain and heartbreak of the story, is in the sounds and lyrics of this record.  Dianne Van Giersbergen’s vocals are supreme and the rest of the bands contributions accompany it well.  Unfortunately the band has been through some turmoil this year but they do claim they will make a new album, so I will look forward to that.  In the mean time this should tide you over.

20. Tantric - Blue Room Archives

Released: September 2014

Record Label: Pavement Records

Songs To Download: Nothing At All, Cynical

If you know me personally, on any level, you should know that my one of my favourite, if not all time favourite, bands is Tantric.  Hugo Ferreira, just writes these amazing melodies and tunes that just stick in your head.  Well they brought out a B-Sides album this year, yep an album just full of old/new material that’s never been used and some remixes, and it made number 20 on my list.  Yep  I love the band so much that an album full of stuff that wasn’t good enough to be on any of the real albums, is good enough to be on a top 50 of the year.  If that doesn’t scream fanboy I don’t know what does.  Anyway listen to their actual albums, if you like the sound, then come back and listen to this one.

19. Divided We Fall - Dreamcrusher

Released: May 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: Escaping Wonderland, Dreamcrusher

Dreamcrusher is an awesome album and I think I was a little harsh on it in my review for Valkyrian Music.  So in that case, you could definitely say it’s a grower, maybe not to everyone but to me at least.  I don’t know, the more I listened to it the more I’ve enjoyed it.  Songs like “The Ship has Sailed”, “Escaping Wonderland” and “Dreamcrusher”  have been on my playlist constantly and the rest of the album is jam packed full of great songs just like them. I’m really looking forward to anything that comes next when it comes to them.  I think you guys should be amped too.

18. Shear - Katharsis

Released: March 2014

Record Label: Lifeforce Records

Songs To Download: Heaven into Hell, Last Warning

I don’t think there’s much more I can say about this… It’s excellent!  

17. Spiders - Shake Electric

Released: November 2014

Record Label: Crusher Records

Songs To Download: Mad Dog, Bleeding Heart, War of the World

Even though I discovered them late in 2014, they quickly shot up through the ranks of my opinion.  When I’m listening to your album about 20 times in 1 day, I think it’s safe to say I like it.  These old school style rockers have made an auditorily interesting bonanza, with slick production and fun moments, like the harmonica solo at the end of “Shake Electric” for one.  Genuinely go get this album!  

16. Omnia - Earth Warrior

Released: April 2014

Record Label: PaganScum Records

Songs To Download: Mutant Monkey, Kokopelli, Black House

An odd discovery of the year, but one I’ve loved entirely.  Omnia’s “Earth Warrior”  has just been one of these fun albums that’s good to stick on and relax, in fact it’s pretty much been my soundtrack to writing reviews and general work this year.  Their music just wraps you up in a new world fantasy and excitement.  It also means I’ve been listening to songs with instruments I wouldn’t have in my usual playlisted songs.  Such as didgeridoos and harps, to be honest it’s a nice contract to the norm.  “Earth Warrior” is an easily enjoyable record, with fun sounds and a mix of culture and genres, very much worth the listen, wouldn’t you say?

15. Sick Puppies - Connect

Released: 2013 (Released in the UK, March 2014)

Record Label:  Capitol

Songs To Download: Gunfight, Walking Away, There’s No Going Back

The Aussie rockers expanded their horizons this year with something that sounded quite different to their previous material, and I think it worked.  More easy-listening and less harshness to the production went a long way for them.

14. Twelve Gauge - All ln

Released: April 2014

Record Label: Self Released

Songs To Download: Hell In The Morning, Lose Control, Rollin’

Brilliant new band with a great debut, lot of potential for growth and new ideas.

14. Grand Magus - Triumph and Power

Released: January 2014

Record Label: Nuclear Blast

Songs To Download: Steel vs Steel, The Hammer Will Bite, On Hooves of Gold

One from very early in the year, but still the bearded gods of battle metal return with a powerful commanding album.  Triumph and Power is one hell of an album, the production is tight and the performance of every song is well thought out and hits the exacted mark needed.  Truly from the opening of “On Hooves Of Gold” to the the end of “The Hammer Will Bite” this album just keeps you hooked.  I never felt at any time the need to skip a track.  For a band consisting of only 3 members they have such a heavy tone and it never feels like too much.  It’s a great metal record and a must for 2014, can’t say much more than that.

12. Within Temptation - Hydra

Released: January 2014

Record Label:  Nuclear Blast, Dramatico, BMG, Universal Music

Songs To Download: Paradise (What About Us?), Silver Moonlight, Covered By Roses

This was probably the album I was most hyped for, going in to 2014.  As it was supposed to come out in 2013.  I finally got it and I will say I wasn’t a fan at first.  However, once I got this on vinyl it all made sense, this is one big sounding record.  Some of the oldschool WT fans may not approve and I can certainly understand why, but for me, the songs with collaborations work well but when it’s just Within Temptation, it feels well thought out and powerful.  I think the band show great presence on this record, and when have it on full blast with a good sound system this is one hell of an album to blast.

11. Orange Goblin - Back From The Abyss

Released: October 2014

Record Label: Candlelight Records

Songs To Download: Demon Blues, Bloodzilla, Heavy Lies The Crown

This one seriously monstrous album.  From the moment I first blasted this it was like my head was being filled with these amazing sounds.

10. Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

Released: September 2014

Record Label: Pax AM

Songs To Download: Kim, Trouble, I Just Might

I’ve always been a fan of Ryan Adams, the god to the alternate music lovers.  He’s made some excellent records over the years and his self-titled album from this year is no exception.  This is an exquisite album.  Full of amazing songs that carry some hefty weight.  Songs that inspire and have great message to them.  Songs that fill you with emotion and have great meaning.  I can’t actually tell how much I’ve loved this album this year.  Songs such as “Kim”, “My Wrecking Ball” and “Trouble” have been the soundtrack to my late 2014.  It all came together with seeing him at the Manchester Albert Hall, and hearing these songs live felt amazing.

9. Sabaton - Heroes

Released: May 2014

Record Label:  Nuclear Blast

Songs To Download: Inmate 4859, The Ballad Of Bull, Soldier Of 3 Armies

A big, bombastic record that is absolutely relentless with big soaring vocals and catchy riffs.  Ever since I first put it on this has been an album worth revisiting throughout year.  Everytime I stick this record on I just feel like I need to do something or just shout the lyrics as loud as I could.  I’ve had some weird looks on the bus for that this year.  It’s genuinely just fun to listen to, no other reason needed to have it in the top 10 really.

8. Babymetal - Babymetal

Released: February 2014 (Japan Only. July for the rest of the world)

Record Label: BMD Fox Records

Songs To Download: Megitsune, Akatsuki, Uki Uki Midnight, Iine!

Yes, I’m putting this album here, go buy your knives and pitchforks.  I think this is a fun album.  It’s got some seriously good tunes that are catchy and interesting, interesting enough for me to actually look up the meaning of the lyrics.  There are catchy songs, heavy songs and silly weird songs that just put a smile on my face.  Anytime I’ve felt somewhat down this year this album has raised my spirits.   If you have listened to this, and from what I’ve seen most of you have, and decided it’s not for you, then fine.  However, I still recommend this to people and I’m finding they’re getting a bigger fan base all the time.  By the way, my favourite song on the record is “Uki Uki Midnight”.

7. Cavorts - Got Your Brass

Released: October 2014

Record Label: Distort Records

Songs To Download: Put Down The Hammer, Kicks and Strikes

This is a majorly good album.  In fact I think riff-based hardcore punk should become more of a thing, when executed right it’s really good.  Such as the case with Cavorts.  These punk rockers have gone from the usual punk method of just hitting your guitars and drums until noise comes out to creating some well thought out riffs and rhythm patterns.  Their debut “Got Your Brass”  has great tunes and mixes that with interesting imagery and ideas. However, this is only the second best debut of the year, but still bloody good music.

6. Steak - Slab City

Released: September 2014

Record Label: Napalm Records

Songs To Download: Pisser, Rising

I present to you my favourite debut album of the year.  From the guys at Steak.  Slab City is one amazing piece of work. I’ve had my eye on them for the longest time and now that their talent has bled into a debut album, to be honest I couldn’t be more satisfied with it.  The album has a grainy distorted tone to it and the songs are just so easy to get lost in.  The riffs are excellent like I’ve said, riffs, riffs, fuzz and more riffs that’s what this album has going for it, and to be honest it’s all it needs.  I won’t go as far to say that this the best stoner rock album or anything like that.  However it has a charm that only a band like Steak could deliver.  I look forward to seeing them live in the near future and to any new music that may occur.  

5. Delain - The Human Contradiction

Released: April 2014

Record Label: Napalm Records

Songs To Download: Tell Me, Mechanist, Stardust, Army of Dolls

I love it.  That is all really.  Delain have gone to 11 with this album.  Everything has been upped from their previous material.  As songwriters they’ve gone from strength to strength.  As performers they’ve exceeded themselves, in a big way.  “The Human Contradiction” is just one hell of an album.  There really is no big reason why it’s number 5 on my list other than I love it.  End of story.

4. Stream of Passion - A War Of Our Own

Released: April 2014

Record Label: PIAS/Rough Trade

Songs To Download: Delirio, Autophobia, Monster, A War of Our Own

This is the last album on the list that I pledged money to in some form of crowd funding campaign, and I’m happy I did.  This album completely exceeded my expectations and I think it went above and beyond for the band too.  I can’t find one person who’s had a bad thing to say about it.  The delivery is good, the production is excellent, the songs themselves have explored  deep issues that the band wanted to express.  I’ve actually cryed for some of these songs, they’re that damn good.  Genuinely do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy of this record.

3. Corrosion of Conformity - IX

Released: June 2014

Record Label: Candlelight Records

Songs To Download: Trucker, Tarquinius Superbus, Denmark Vesey

What can I say about Corrosion of Conformity, they’re one of my all time favourite bands, they have written some of the best music ever made, and look! They made another album.  Since the moment I knew about  IX, I wanted to listen to it and when I got it I don’t think I listened to anything else for about a month.  There were a few nitpicky problems I had with this album but nothing that ruined it.  IX has been so much fun to listen to this year,  from Woody Weatherman’s insane guitar skill, to Mike Dean’s heavy bass parts, to Reed Mullin’s thrashing drum work.  This album just sounded complete.  Great band, great album.

2. Black Moth - Condemned To Hope

Released: September 2014

Record Label: New Heavy Sounds

Songs To Download: White Lies, The Undead King of Rock n Roll, Tumbleweave

OK, the big decider on who was going to be number 1, and unfortunately there can only be 1 number 1.  So, at number 2 is Black Moth with Condemned To Hope.  I was so happy when I finally got to listen to this album in full, it far surpasses their first album whilst at the same time doesn’t leave it irrelevant.  The riffs are well composed and it just feels a like a full sound.  It was one of the few albums I got on 3 separate formats this year: vinyl, CD and MP3 and it does sound very good on all three (though it does genuinely does sound awesome on vinyl). What else can I say it’s good!  So listen to it!

1.Joanne Shaw Taylor - The Dirty Truth

Released: September 2014

Record Label: Axehouse Music

Songs To Download: Mud, Honey, Tried, Tested and True, The Dirty Truth, Wrecking Ball

So Joanne Shaw Taylor resides at my number 1 spot this year but why?  Well The only thing it has over the Black Moth album, is that I’m able to recommend this record to pretty much every single person that I meet.  I think there is something on this album for everyone.  The riffs, the solos, the melodies, the harmonies.  From soft ballads to big and roaring tunes. Joanne has an amazing talent, not just for being able to play guitar like a 50 year old who spent their life in suffering, but also for being 100% relatable.  At the end of the day, I don’t care who you are, if you open your mind, there is something on this album that will make you feel something.  That is the very essence of a timeless album, it doesn’t have to be note for note perfect, it just has to be understandable.  That is why this album is my number 1.

Yep, and that’s it!  I hope you enjoyed and might have even found something new!  See you in 2015!