Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Matt Bacon's top 10 of 2014

Well it's that time of year, the time where I get drunk alone in my bedroom and write about my favorite records of the year. This time around things weren't as clear cut as last year, metal (And music in general) seemed to be a lot more divided, and through all the exciting developments and concerts I saw, there were some records that really stuck out and proved to be true masterworks that will hopefully ring out for years to come. Of course these lists hardly ever work, my top records from 2013 and 2012 both didn't make my list, so y'know... there's that, but hey, at least it gives bands something to be proud of, and by god, do the bands on this list deserve it.

Stranger cover art
10. Cretin - Stranger
Holy shit is this record angry. Beyond that I'm not sure what to say. The bands first record in eight years, this is one of the most exciting pieces of grindcore madness that I have heard come out in a very long time. Cretin know how to put together a song, and with their macabre sense of humor and wonderfully demented choruses Stranger is all you could want from a grind album. These guys have put out something that simply takes the genre to a new level, and I desperately hope it's not eight years before their next record.

9. Alestorm - Sunset on The Golden Age
A perennial favorite, I was originally not going to put this record on my top 10, and then I realized that I know all the words on this record which kind of forces me to put it here. Far too enjoyable, Alestorm have always put out music that makes me smile. This record will capture your imagination and guide you on a journey over the waves. They understand what they want to do, and no other band in the world is even close to imitating them. The most diverse record yet from these pirate metal masters, I'm excited for what the future holds for these guys.

8. Gridlink - Longhena
I didn't think 2014 would see me putting two grindcore releases in my top ten, but here we are. Packed with emotion and wonderfully fast, this twenty one minute masterpiece is going to stay as a landmark for the genre for years to come. Proof of the eternal glory of this band, few records have excited me this year as much as this latest release from Gridlink. A grind record that has acoustic parts (I shit you not) this album never fails to capture the imagination and it's so goddamn short that you can spin it three times without getting tired or oversaturated, truly an album for the ages.

7. Revocation - Deathless
What always gets me about Revocation is that not only are they putting out a release every year at this point, but also, these albums, without fail make it into a lot of people top 10 lists. Clearly these guys are doing something very right. Perhaps the defining heavy act of the 2010's I can literally find no fault with this record. Evolving on previous ideas and always wonderfully heavy, Deathless is proof that there is still a lot to be said in death metal and Revocation are perhaps the worlds primary pioneers in the genre right now.

Death Mask cover art
6. Lord Mantis - Death Mask
I had the honor of meeting Charlie Fell at Housecore this year and it was truly an honor. The thing that struck me though, is that as cool as he is, Charlie Fell is a really fucked up dude, and that's kind of what makes his music so good. Lord Mantis have done something truly magnificent and extremely demented with Death Mask the sort of thing that critics will be puzzling over for years to come. Determined to fuck you up, Lord Mantis may be essentially over now, but it had a magical and fucking twisted run.

5. Supercharger - Broken Hearts And Fallaparts
This album has literally everything I love about rock and roll. With completely perfect production, awesome riffs and huge choruses I am fairly convinced that it is impossible to hate this record. Broken Hearts And Fallaparts is just way too much fun to listen too and proves that rock and roll isn't dead. This album has stayed in heavy rotation for me throughout the year and I wish more people found out about this band, because by God they could very well save the genre I owe my very career and life to.

Insanity Alert cover art
4. Insanity Alert - Insanity Alert
When I describe Insanity Alert to my friends, which I do all the time because I fucking LOVE this band, I call them 'more Municipal Waste than Municipal Waste" These guys are fast and fun, the sort of thrashmageddon that only true devotees to the genre can understand. Self referential and filled with jokes about metal and comic books fans of party thrash will immediately fall in love with this album, it's the sort of thrash release I've always wanted. Years in the making, I don't see how Insanity Alert could ever top this.

3. Agalloch - The Serpent and the Sphere
There are two types of people in this world. People who like Agalloch and people who I don't like. This record is absolutely stellar and every metalhead (And many non metalheads) should be able to appreciate what this band is all about. A truly majestic release, The Serpent and the Sphere never fails to capture my imagination and keep me going through the hard times. This album is proof of the constant evolution of Agalloch and leaves me hungrier than ever to see them live, something that will hopefully happen within the next year.

2. Yob - Clearing the Path to Ascend
Yob, one syllable, yet so much meaning. Clearing the Path to Ascend will capture your imagination and leave you in awe. An album seemingly destined for vinyl this is one of the most powerful and touching doom release I have ever heard and almost certainly Yob's best yet. Yob understand the human condition and Clearing the Path to Ascend deals directly with that. As you 'wake up' and come to terms with the masterwork that is Clearing the Path to Ascend it's hard to fall back into reality. This album takes you on a journey you don't want to end.

1. Cynic -Kindly Bent To Free Us
I actually have to be careful when I choose to listen to this record because it invariably makes me cry. I first heard this record back in 2013 at the release party, and since then I knew that this album was going to be truly special. Cynic are the true lords of prog, and this is perhaps their most honest record yet. Kindly Bent To Free Us shows the world a band who are on top of their game and seemingly destined to dominate the prog world. Beautifully emotional and endlessly thought provoking, for me at least this is Cynics best record, and one I will never forget.

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