9 December 2014

Chris J and his TOP TEN albums of 2014...

(Listen to the above tune and read EVERYTHING in the voice of for Radio One DJ Alan "Fluff" Freeman for best effect)

2014 has been a great year for music, and for the blog. The time has come for a rundown on what have been my personal Top Ten albums of the year. Remember, this is a personal list and some of the albums may have been scored lower on here than by myself. I'll try and include a quick summarisation of each album as well.

Anyhow, onwards we go...

10) Cavalera Conspiracy - Pandemonium.

After reuniting with his brother Igor after ten years apart in Cavalera Conspiracy, Max Cavalera and co are now onto their third album. The basic jist of it is that it sounds like modern day Soulfly with a far better drummer. More fluid, aggressive and better put together than Soulfly, this is a great album.

9) Electric Wizard - Time To Die.

Stoner metal was never my forte but this album is great! Like a soundtrack to a weed and bourbon induced nightmare (believe me, I've had both), this album leaves you in a state of shock. Heavy, lumbering and excellently well done.

8) Cannabis Corpse - From Wisdom To Baked.

Members of Municipal Waste playing weed-themed brutal death metal in a band that's better than the day-job? I'd buy that for a dollar! Admittedly, it's a one-trick-pony that's a flimsy pemise which runs out of steam pretty quickly but at least the music is good. Quality death metal, What's not to like?

7) Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire.

One of my favourite bands when growing up, Godflesh came back this year with their best album since "Songs Of Love And Hate". Slow, crushing and a much welcome return to form, this shows that the lads are well and truely back. Don't leave it so long next time!

6) Young Fathers - Dead.

Mercury Music Prize winners. A worthy album too. Mixing up world music and beats into a hip-hop format, it amazes the listener with it's cool beats, trippy melodies and raps which transend the usual topics of the genre. It's like they're trying to add more to the genre instead of relying on the usual subjects. This is without doubt the finest non-rock album I've heard all year, though in truth, it may very well be the only one...

5) Machine Head - Bloodstone & Diamonds.

This is the finest Machine Head album since Through The Ashes Of Empires. I never rated The Blackening and Unto The Locust as it seemed too much like the band were trying to prove a point by making each song about nine minutes long and containing at least ten riffs, like they're proving they're musically adept. If it were me, they'd go back to their vibrant groove-metal days of the early 90's but those days are gone now. This album takes the current formula, drops about two stone off it and injects a sense of urgency that will make this band relevent again. Bravo lads!

4) Exodus - Blood In Blood Out.

One of my favourite bands returns with a vocalist I never rated at all, all after parting ways with the previous vocalist, a man who'd made this band great again after they'd spent too long in the doldrums (Although to be fair, they'd spent pretty much their whole career there). Any scepticism was blown away by the first song as they'd managed to write songs which played to everyones strengths. I gave this too low a rating on the original blog as it's since grown on me. "Honor Killings" is still a very meatheadded song though.

3) Cannibal Corpse - A Skeletal Domain.

One of the best death metal bands in the world returns with another exercise in brutality. Not really much to say other than buy immediately.

2) The Haunted - Exit Wounds.

Like Soulfly, this band also had so much wasted potential. But they then go and release this. They're BACK! Sounding as good as they did on 2002's One Kill Wonder, this is a prime slice of thrash metal without having to resort to mid 80's revisionism. Reuniting with vocalist Marco Aro, who, for me, IS the voice of The Haunted, this is easily their best album in a long, long time.

1) Def Con One - II

This Newcastle metal band have been going for years and this is my album of the year. Packed to the gills with some heavy slices of top quality groove-metal, they proceed to stomp all over the listener. The thing with this album is that whilst it retains the essence of what made their first album Warface so good, they've also grown as writers too by incorporating more thrash elements. Great album.

So, there you go. These are my personal top ten albums of the year. I hope you enjoyed the list. Before I go, I would like to send out a honorary mention to...Nickelback for their latest album No Fixed Address. Yes, they're a distinctly 'vanilla' band who seem content to stick to a well strip-mined formula but, to be fair, they did it very well. I'll not become their biggest fan but I can appreciate they make a lot of people happy.


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