2013 was an exceptional year when it came to metal releases. The amazing albums put out by Atlantean Kodex, Borrowed Time, Procession, Satan and Ravensire, to name only the best of the bunch, are records I will return to as long as I listen to heavy metal. Taking nothing away from the best releases of the 2014, this year, has not been as exciting when it comes to new releases. At least when we’re talking about full lenght releases. In fact, only two or three albums from my list from 2014 would have made it to last year’s list.
The list below doesn’t necessary tell everything about what went on during the past year. In my opinion, some of the very best releases were EPs or even demos, and if I was to include these, the list would have looked quite different. Australia’s Tarot released no less than three demos. While my fave is probably the second one, “Dying Daze”, all of them were outstanding, showcasing a band that were shaping and perfecting their style along the way. Read my interview with Will here: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/08/07/tarot-not-another-mystery-band/
Staying in Australia, and staying on Heavy Chains, Outcast released an incredible self titled EP with four songs recalling the best of the NWOBHM and the so called post-NWOBHM. Read my interview with Chris Fong here: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/09/08/outcast-good-things-come-to-those-who-wait/
Another incredibly strong release was Demon Bitch and their demo tape “Death Is Hanging…”, a recording that in some ways reminded me of Borrowed Time’s excellent self titled debut from last year. Read my interview with Logon and Mars here: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/07/18/demon-bitch-we-love-heavy-metal/
Strong candidates, just outside the list:
Noble Beast, October 31, Revenge (Col), Cross Vault, Hyborian Steel, Kenn Nardi, Skelator and Solitary Sabreed.
Cobra “To Hell” (Austral Holocaust/Van)
This album might have ended up higher on the list, hadn’t it been released so early in 2014. Regardless of release date, this is a mighty fine slab of pure and honest, working class heavy metal.Read the interview I did with Nito Mejia here: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/03/09/cobra-venomous-heavy-metal/
Primordial ”Where Greater Men Have…”(Metal Blade)
Very few bands have been as consistent as Primordial over the last decade. “Where Greater Men Have Fallen”, is not their best one, but it’s still filled with the unique, emotional, dark and powerful Primordial-sound.
Portrait “Crossroads” (Metal Blade)
With their third strike, Sweden’s Portrait delivered their most diverse and intriguing album to date. Dark heavy metal with better vocals than on their last album. Read the interview I did with Christian Lindell here: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/04/21/portrait-not-dead-yet/
Dark Forest “The Awakening” (Cruz Del Sur)
Catchy as hell, but never cheesy. Melodic and slightly melancholic heavy metal with immense guitar work.Read the interview I did with Christian Horton here: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/01/16/dark-forest-nature-as-inspiration/
Nocturnal ”Storming Evil” (High Roller)
Thrash metal album of the year, and about the only album in the genre I really enjoyed. Really savage stuff with some intense and razor sharp riffing. Read the interview I did with Avenger here: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/03/05/nocturnal-unholy-thrash/
Slough Feg ”Digital Resistance” (Metal Blade)
In my opinion, their best one for a while. Some new twists and turns, for instance in the inredible “Habeas Corpsus” and interesting lyrics as always from Scalzi. Read the interview I did with Mike here: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/02/12/slough-feg-the-war-against-technology/
“Riot “Unleash The Fire” (SPV)
“Immortal Soul” was okay, but this one blows it away with ease. With “Take Me Back” it also features one of my five favorite songs released in 2014. Read the interview I did with Don Van Stavern here: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/10/21/the-fifth-chapter/
Falconer ”Black Moon Rising” (Metal Blade)
I know the band isnt’t the most popular around here, but I’ve had a weak spot for these guys ever since the incredible debut back in 2001. The combination of Stefan Weinerhall’s songwriting and Mathias Blad’s unique voice, make “Black Moon Rising”, one of the band’s best albums. Did a long and interesting interview for Scream Magazine, but haven’t translated it into English. Sorry!
Darkest Era ”Severance” (Cruz Del Sur)
It’s been awesome following these musicians since their early days together in Nemesis. They have never looked back and improved with each and every release. The best thing is that I feel the band will continue to progress. Brilliant album! Read the interview I did with Ade Mulgrew: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/06/09/darkest-era-this-or-death/
Battleroar ”Blood Of Legends” (Cruz Del Sur)
Incredible compositions and Gerrit P. Mutz’ best vocal performance ever. “Valkyries Above Us” might be the best song released in 2014. Read the interview I did with Kostas Tzortzis: https://metalsquadron.com/2014/04/15/battleroarthe-swords-are-drawn/