Rakesh’s Top 10 albums of 2014
Compiling a Top 10 list of your favorite metal albums of the year is supremely exhilarating, yet remarkably frustrating. What makes this task even more difficult is if god forbid, you seek a second opinion! The hours spent debating on which band should come before which is endless and often does not end well. It’s the number one reason for broken friendships and divorces in the metal community . This year especially, was a monster when it came to kick ass metal releases. I can’t seem to remember there being a lull in terms of awesome albums throughout the year. Needless to say, I have lost count of the number of times I have re-ordered my list after revisiting the albums again. Every time I go through the list, I find myself adding a band or changing the positions. Anyways, before digressing further, I present to you my list for the Top Ten Metal albums of 2014.
Metalcore if done right produces some of the most power packed and high-octane sounds across the genre. Unearth’s album Watchers of Rule was simply beyond hard-hitting metal. Listening to it gave birth to cataclysmic thoughts in my head and all I wanted to do was to stomp everything in my sight. Such is the relentless aggression that by the end of it, I was comforting my thoroughly roughed up eardrums. I fell in love with the melodic guitar lines wonderfully woven into the fabric of djenty rhythm sections and shaped by some awesome gut thumping drum work.
Thanatos successfully kept their extreme metal legacy intact with the release of their sixth full length album – Global Purification. It delivers a vicious tsunami of million-chugs-per-second death-thrash riffage and an unrelenting drum attack over supremely powerful black metal style vocals that would make your necks beg for mercy. I loved Yuri Rinkel’s work on the drums especially his deafening snare hits over an unceasing double bass overdose throughout the album. Thanatos manages to hit that sweet spot of melody and belligerence and carve out a mean monster, but one that has a heart and soul.
Theorized released their debut album titled Psychosphere and delivered an eclectic thrash metal sound that combines old school raw aggression with modern progressive elements. The album sucks you into the vortex it creates thanks to some amazing drum work by Yash Kumar and some frenetic guitar riffs by Ankit Suryakanth and Madhav Ayachit (also on vocals). Theorized speak of a world torn apart by war and genetic mutations and successfully paint a picture of the approaching doomsday with the sound they created on the album.
Scribe have been tagged as Hardcore, Metalcore, Post-Hardcore, Experimental and what not, but what they play can only be described as “ScribeCore”. Their unique brand of music that incorporates influences from the 90s era of the Indian mainstream music industry (Bollywood) is truly something unreal. Hail Mogambo is their third full length album and is a sequel to the monstrous second album – Mark of Teja. Simply put, Hail Mogambo is “craziness” packed into 13 tracks which you cannot take sitting down. The band incorporates an incredible mix of vocal styles including motor mouth rapping, crazy beat-boxing, guttural growls, high screams and clean vocals layered over meaty 7 string groove laden riffage and frantic poly rhythmic drumming over a milieu of EDM! Listening to Hail Mogambo was fun!
When was the last time you listened to an album that made you feel that Metal is indeed the sound of the Devil? There aren’t many bands these days which evoke that kind of a visceral response but I thought Septic Flesh totally nailed it with Titan. Listening to this album made me nervous and edgy, thanks to the band’s supremely haunting compositions. The epic string arrangements sound primitive and gloomy yet melodic and beautiful. I got lost in the exquisite symphonic arrangements before getting violently shoved back to reality by some bone crushing blackened death metal unleashed by the band.
It’s difficult to make a Top 10 list of your favorite metal albums and keep Cannibal Corpse out of it. Especially, when they bludgeon your cochlea with their unrelenting death metal assault in A Skeletal Domain. Not deviating much from their usual sound, yet incorporating subtle differences in terms of technicality, groove and a cleaner production, Cannibal Corpse give us a heady mix of groove and brutality and serrate it with some sharp atonal thrashy solos. They don’t disappoint one bit, but then again, have they ever disappointed us in their 16 years of existence?
Behemoth made us wait for five long years but The Satanist not only quenched that thirst but also made me drunk with its somber atmospherics, at times ferocious and at times, beautifully melancholic. Nergal’s volcanic vocals coupled with some meticulously crafted riffs and Inferno’s intense drum work make The Satanist easily one of the strongest releases of the year. The dense arrangements intricately packed together unravel in front of you like a mystery on multiple listens and completely sucks you in, demanding your full attention.
Decapitated serves us a lethal and a damn addictive cocktail in the form of Blood Mantra. Many have been complaining about them not being technical enough on this album; but not me. For me, they hit that sweet spot of speed, technicality and groove consistently on this album. Michael Lysejko’s unrelenting drum work and Waclaw Kieltyka’s thick wall of crunchy distorted riffage pierced by Rafal Piotrowsky’s thunderous vocals complete this death metal masterpiece.
Exodus gave us a supremely fierce and an immensely catchy thrash metal album which made me fall in love with them all over again. Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza makes an emphatic comeback in this vigorously paced paragon of old school thrash metal, modernized only in production. Gary Holt belts out one monstrous riff after another like a well-oiled riff machine and helps it chug along its way. No other album got me to head bang as much as I did to this album the whole year. It’s pure adrenaline for a thrasher.
Bhayanak Maut’s third album titled Man is one sickeningly disturbing masterpiece. The band also package a 118 page journal along with the album which contains 12 creepy short stories which would make you scrunch your nose with disgust as you read through them. They successfully translate that into a sonic experience which hurls the listener bang in the middle of the track’s plot. Their sound is corrosive, full of groovy aggression and the twin guttural vocal attack elevates the intensity exponentially. This takes the number one spot for me because of the amount of detail that has gone into this album and the manner in which it transported me into their disturbing world.