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Tales from the Jugular

Staff Awards for 2014!

By: Eric Compton, Frank Hill, Greg Watson, David Loveless, Brad Caplan, Nate Turpin, Troy Cole, T. Ray Verteramo, Vinaya Saksena  |  Published: Jan 02, 2015

We've gathered up our thoughts on the hard rock/metal releases of 2014! Even if you really don't G.A.F. what any of our opinions are, there are so many releases put out in this age of do-it-yourself creation that you may see names you missed, older bands you forgot existed or unknowns to look up and sample. It's all about getting the word out and supporting the music!


ERIC COMPTON


1. Iced Earth - 'Plagues of Babylon'
2. Machine Head - 'Bloodstones & Diamonds'
3. Grave Digger - 'Return of the Reaper'
4. Fozzy - 'Do you Wanna start a War?'
5. Motorjesus - 'Electric Revelation'
6. Sea - 'Sea'
7. Primal Fear - 'Delivering the Black'
8. Chainfist - 'Scarred'
9. Accept - 'Blind Rage'
10. October 31 - 'Bury the Hatchet'
11. Vader - 'Tibi Et Igni'
12. In Flames - 'Siren Charms'
13. Bloody Hammers - 'New Southern'
14. Anti-Mortem - 'New Southern'
15. Crystal Eyes - 'Killer'
16. Sabaton - 'Heroes'
17. War of Ages - 'Supreme Chaos'
18. Sunless Sky - 'Firebreather'
19. Saint Rebel - 'Saint Rebel'
20. Loudblast - 'Burial Ground'

Best Show
Iced Earth/Sabaton/Revamp - House of Blues, Orlando, FL
Rob Zombie - Welcome to Rockville, Jacksonville, FL

Biggest Disappointment
Edguy - 'Space Police'
Arch Enemy - 'War Eternal'

Biggest Surprise
Megadeth losing Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover


FRANK HILL


Crimson Shadows - Kings Among Men
Kissin Dynamite - Megalomania
Triosphere - The Heart of the Matter
A Sound Of Thunder - The Lesser Key Of Solomon
Kobra And The Lotus - High Priestess
StoneWire - When the Crow Flies
Chainfist - Scarred
Sea - Sea
Alestorm - Sunset on the Golden Age
Ronnie James Dio - This Is Your Life
Messiah's Kiss - Get Your Bulls Out!
Born of Fire - Dead Winter Sun
Zero Down - No Limit to the Evil
Hellion - Karma's A Bitch
The Unguided - Fragile Immortality
Audrey Horne - Pure Heavy
Saint Rebel - Saint Rebel
Crobot -Something Supernatural
Downslave - Black List (EP)
Butcher Babies - Uncovered (EP)

Great Singles to Chew On:
Mastadon - The Motherload
Alestorm - Drink
Audrey Horne - High and Dry
Edguy - Rock Me Amadeus
Godsmack - 1000hp
Sea - Eyes Of Sedona
Crimson Shadows - Freedom and Salvation
Crobot - Queen of the Light
Accept - Stampede
Stary Olsa - One (Metallica cover)
Kissin Dynamite - Fireflies
Kobra And The Lotus - Lost In The Shadows
Black Spiders - Teenage Knife Gang
Automag - Bad Motherfucker
Iced Earth - Plagues Of Babylon
A Sound Of Thunder - Udoroth
Born of Fire - When Hope Dies
Hellion - Hell Has No Fury
Mexican Apelord - The Misadventures of Black Jesus
Lou Siffer and the Howling Demons - C.T.A.F.H.

Surprise Release: ACDC - Rock or Bust, Babymetal - Babymetal

Top Non-Metal:
Old Crow Medicine Show - Remedy
Johnny Cash - Out Among the Stars
Corb Lund - Counterfeit Blues
Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
Black Keys - Turn Blue
Robert Ellis - The Lights from the Chemical Plant
Willie Nelson - Band of Brothers


GREG WATSON


1. Opeth-Pale Communion
2. Chainfist-Scarred
3. Edge of Haze-Illumine
4. Aphyxion-Earth Entangled
5. Architects-Lost Forever/Lost Together
6. Iced Earth-Plagues of Babylon
7. Behemoth-The Satanist
8. Decapitated-Blood Mantra
9. Savage Messiah-Fateful Dark
10. Striker-City of Gold
11. BabyMetal-BabyMetal
12. Den Saakaldte-Kappitel, Vol. 2: Faen I Helvete
13. Nightmare-The Aftermath
14. Shrapnel-The Virus Conspires
15. Bloodshot Dawn-Demons

Worst Album: Steel Panther-All You Can Eat
Biggest Disappointment: Judas Priest-Redeemer of Souls
In Memoriam: Dave Brockie H.R. Giger Wayne Static


DAVID LOVELESS


Dirge - Hyperion
Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire
Job For A Cowboy - Sun Eater
The Mire - Glass Cathederals
Architects - Lost Forever // Lost Together
Dark Fortress - Venereal Dawn
Schammasch - Contradiction
Sanctuary - The Year The Sun Died
Mayhem - Esoteric Warfare
Triptykon - Melana Chasmata
Goatwhore - Constricting Rage Of The Merciless
Dir En Grey - Arche
Menace - Impact Velocity
Malrun - Two Thrones
The Contortionist - Language

FAVORITE NON-METAL RELEASES OF 2014:
1. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - Dust
2. Anathema - Distant Satellites
3. Blueneck - King Nine
4. Opeth - Pale Communion
5. Aeges - Above & Down Below
6. Nocturnal Poisoning - Doomgrass


ANTHONY BURKE


Iced Earth - Plagues of Babylon
Babymetal - Babymetal
Dysnomia - Dysnomia
Die No More - Elected Evil
Hellyeah - Blood for Blood
Sister Sin - Black Lotus
Iron Savior - Rise of the Hero
Elvenking - The Pagan Manifesto
Primal Fear - Delivering the Black
Arch Enemy - War Eternal

Biggest Disappointments
Slipknot - .5: The Gray Chapter
Godsmack - 1000hp


BRAD CAPLAN


1  Black Label Society - Catacombs of the Black Vatican
2    Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways
3    Scar Symmetry - The Singularity (Phase I - Neohumanity)
4    Judas Priest - Redeemer of Souls
5    SlipKnot - .5: The Gray Chapter
6    Godsmack - 1000hp
7    Slash (w/Myles Kennedy) - World on Fire
8    Devin Townsend - Z2 (Blue Sky and Dark Matters)
9    Linkin Park - The Hunting Party
10    Sonata Arctica - Pariah's Child
11    Triosphere - The Heart of the Matter
12    Opeth - Pale Communion
13    Arch Enemy - War Eternal
14    Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun
15    Within Temptation - Hydra
16    Night Ranger - High Road
17    Ayreon - The Theory of Everything
18    Vanden Plas - Chronicles of the Immortals-Netherworld (Path 1)
19    Sixx: A.M. - Modern Vintage
20    HellYeah - Blood For Blood
21    In Flames - Siren Charms

Overall, it was an excellent year for metal and hard rock. It was good to see four of my favorite bands return to form or come back from the dead (Judas Priest, SlipKnot; Linkin Park and Godsmack). While I did miss Angela’s vocals on the new Arch Enemy, those guys are so talented that they still put together a great album with Alissa White-Gluz on vocals. Many rock fans are getting tired of Dave Grohl, but I really enjoyed the HBO documentary and the Sonic Highways album. At least there is one band getting some attention from the rock world. I loved the new album from Zakk Wylde/Black Label Society. I have no issue with him putting really hard rockers on the same album with acoustic tunes/ballads. While I have not been a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, his show in April was one of the musical highlights of the year for sure. I had a hard time with the new Opeth album. They remain one of my all-time favorite bands, but I wish Mikael would rediscover his metal DNA. I predict that is what we will see on their next album.


NATE TURPIN


GodFlesh - Decline and Fall
Vermin Womb - Permanence
Varathron - Untrodden Corridors of Hades
Lantlos - Melting Sun
Echoes Of Yul - Tether

Surprise Find Of The Year: Vermin Womb - Permanence
Biggest Disappointment: Khold - Til Endes


TROY COLE


Triptykon – Melana Chasmata
Exmortus – Slave to the Sword
Starkill – Virus Of The Mind
Behemoth – The Satanist
Vallenfyre – Splinters
Conquering Dystopia – Conquering Dystopia
Grand Magus - Triumph and Power
Savage Messiah - The Fateful Dark
Sanctuary - The Year the Sun Died
Machine Head - Bloodstone & Diamonds


T. RAY VERTERAMO


1. CHRISTOPHER LEE – “Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing”
(Because Christopher fucking Lee, that’s why.)
2.   DARK FORTRESS – “Venereal Dawn”(Entrancing)
3.   SCHAMMASCH – “Contradiction” (Divine)
4.   BEHEMOTH – “The Satanist” (Powerful)
5.   EXODUS – “Blood In, Blood Out” (Brutal)
6.   ANAAL NATHRAKH – “Desideratum” (Vicious)
7.   KRANK – “Empowerment” (Fun)
8.   TRIPTYKON – “Melana Chasmata” (Decadant)
9.   NUX VOMICA – “Nux Vomica” (Enriching)
10. NASHEIM – “Solens Vemod” (Delicious)

BEST EXPLOITATION
:
Ronnie James Dio Tribute, “This Is Your Life”
MOST BEWILDERING: Babymetal, “Babymetal”
MOST DISAPPOINTING: Judas Priest, “Redeemer of Souls”
MOST SURPRISING: Dark Fortress, “Venereal Dawn”
WORST ALBUM COVER ART: Anything with entrails. (It’s getting old, people).
WORST RELEASE: Godsmack, “1000 HP”


VINAYA SAKSENA


1. Cynic: Kindly Bent to Free Us
2. Opeth: Pale Communion
3. Corrosion of Conformity: IX
4. Death Penalty: Death Penalty
5. Black Book Lodge: Tundra
6. Menace: Impact Velocity
7. Ancient Wisdom: Sacrificial
8. Ideamen: Schemata
9. Protean Collective: The Red and the Grey
10. The Oath: The Oath
11. Mastodon: Once More 'Round the Sun
12. Liv Kristine: Vervain
13. Panzer: Send Them All to Hell
14. Bloodbath: Grand Morbid Funeral
15. New Jacobin Club: Soldiers of the Mark / Audrey Horne: Pure Heavy (tie)

2014 was a tough year for me to assess, metal-wise, but not because I didn't find anything I liked. Overall, I found lots and lots of competent and even quite admirable releases in various genres, but only a handful that truly stood out as something that would have a lasting impact. So, my list is a tribute to those releases, as well as some that I simply found really enjoyable despite not being game-changers in any way. Because of the number of strong releases out this year, there are numerous bands whose works I respected and enjoyed but didn't rate as favorites, particularly in various extreme genres (examples: Behemoth and my fellow New Englanders Revocation). So, as in past years, my list is in VERY rough, ever-changing order of preference, as of press time.

Non-Metal or Metal-Related Favorites:
Bent Knee: Shiny Eyed Babies
John Wesley: Disconnect
Anette Olzon: Shine

New talent to watch: Beastmilk, KXM, Black Trip, Spiders, Saturn (Sweden), Philm

Cool live shows seen:
Cynic, Lesser Key, Reign of Kindo, Protean Collective at Brighton Music
Hall, Allston, MA
Opeth, In Flames, Red Fang at the Palladium, Worcester, MA
Pentagram, Bang, Kings Destroy at the MET, Pawtucket, RI
Pain of Salvation, Van Gough, Protean Collective at the Middle East,
Cambridge, MA

Biggest disappointment: The Oath releasing one of the most badass albums of
the year- and then promptly disbanding. WTF, ladies? Oh, well. At least the
core members each appear to be doing worthwhile stuff on their own.

Looking forward to: The debut of former Ozzy guitarist Joe Holmes' new band
Farmikos. And while it probably won't be all that "metal" in nature, Steven
Wilson's upcoming album looks to be amazing!




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RANDOM ACTS OF METAL
. Anvil. Nightwish
. Scanner. Slipknot
. Vehemence. Chaingunn
. Disturbed. Twisted Tower Dire
. Warhorse. Advent
. October 31. Circle of Nero
. Evolution. Thunderbolt
. Victory. Axenstar
. Savatage. Thunderstone
. Halloween. Fraise
. Wicked Sensation. Probot
. Deivos. Secret Sphere
. Iron Savior. Fairyland
. Neverland. Evanescence
. downBleed. Skyfire
. Jorn. Gary Moore
. Zaius. Hatework
. Destructor. Joey Belladonna
. Bonfire. After Forever
. Saxon. Dio
. Otep. Katagory V
. Valume Nob. Jungle Rot
. Conquestador. Mirror of Deception
. Anger. Karmakanic
. Twisted Sister. Azrael's Bane
. The Apocalyptic Riders. The Mighty Nimbus
. Strikelight. Cemetary
. Antares. Novembers Doom
. Pure Inc. Magica
. Axel Rudi Pell. Debris Inc.
. Strapping Young Lad. Burden Of Grief
. Slumber. God Among Insects
. Communic. Gaia
. Thor. Love Forsaken
. Resurrecturis. Sheavy
. Peccatum. The Absence
. Phantom X. Damnation
. Dechrist. Even X
. Avulsed. Vanquished
. Nocturnal Rites. Mental Care Foundation
. Southern Black Sand. Blackmore's Night
. Intronaut. Steep
. Clawfinger. Vore
. Phoenix Mourning. Cataract
. 8th Sin. Michael Orlando
. Before Silence. Swashbuckle
. Amon Amarth. Skid Row
. Shadows Within. The Finals
. Thy Majestie. Venom
. Lordi. Escape The Fate
. Extium. Hardcore Superstar
. Southern Gentleman. Lord Belial
. Necrophobic. Zyklon
. Satariel. Hacride
. Katrina Johansson. Warner Drive
. Funeral. Sworn Enemy
. Pathology. Ost Est Ima
. Demonic Symphony. To-Mera
. Kreator. Embalming Theatre
. Virgin Black. Deadsea
. Cursed. Papa Roach
. Nasty Idols. Eighteen Wheels Burning
. Dark Castle