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Best Metal Album of 2014 – 4th Annual Loudwire Music Awards

2014 Metal Albums
Loudwire

With 2014 in the books, it’s time to look back at the metal albums which defined the year. In this category of the 4th Annual Loudwire Music Awards, we’re giving you the power to vote for your best metal album of 2014.

Taken from our picks for the 20 Best Metal Albums of 2014, this poll features a wide array of metal styles. No matter your preferred brand of metal, there was something extraordinary to offer any metalhead in 2014. Vote in the poll at the bottom of this post.


Agalloch, 'The Serpent and the Sphere'
Profound Lore

‘The Serpent & the Sphere’

Agalloch

 

 

The sheer quality of Agalloch‘s fifth full-length is stunning. This album is heavy in a unique way — a quiet way. Beautiful acoustic guitar parts surround John Haughm’s harsh whispers, while tracks like ‘The Astral Dialogue’ nail a more familiar metal sound.

 

Metal Blade
Metal Blade

‘Elements of the Infinite’

Allegaeon

 

 

Craftsmanship was the key for Allegaeon‘s third studio album, ‘Elements of the Infinite.’ The album is likely Allegaeon’s best work so far, and we’ll likely see more great things from the band’s new lineup in the future.

 

At the Gates At War With Reality
Century Media

‘At War With Reality’

At the Gates

 

 

At the Gates returned in 2014 with their first studio album in 19 years, ‘At War With Reality.’ The raw qualities of ‘At War With Reality’ endeared fans to the album immediately, as did At the Gates’ unique approach to a fresh throwback.

 

Behemoth, 'The Satanist'
Metal Blade

‘The Satanist’

Behemoth

 

 

As metal gets heavier, it becomes more difficult to create a truly evil sounding album, but Behemoth‘s ‘The Satanist’ is straight from hell, raising goosebumps up until its brilliant finale, ‘O Father O Satan O Sun!’. The disc is a masterpiece from beginning to end, with absolutely no filler to be skipped over.

 

Cynic, 'Kindly Bent to Free Us'
Season of Mist

‘Kindly Bent to Free Us’

Cynic

 

 

Cynic‘s ‘Kindly Bent to Free Us’ has proven to be polarizing, as it’s a fair departure from both ‘Focus’ and ‘Traced in Air. The ayahuasca trip that is ‘Kindly Bent to Free Us’ is full of inventive compositional peaks, such as ‘The Lion’s Roar,’ ‘Infinite Shapes’ and ‘Gitanjali.’

 

Every Time I Die, 'From Parts Unknown'
Epitaph

‘From Parts Unknown’

Every Time I Die

 

 

Every Time I Die‘s ‘From Parts Unknown’ is a 30-minute punch in the mouth. The record captures ETID’s unwavering aggression, but comes from a place of fun, as well.

 

Exodus Blood In Blood Out

‘Blood In, Blood Out’

Exodus

 

 

Gems such as ‘Collateral Damage,’ the album’s title track and ‘Salt the Wound,’ the last of which features guest guitar work from Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, confirm Exodus‘ ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ as an essential 2014 record.

 

Insomnium, 'Shadows of the Dying Sun'
Century Media

‘Shadows of the Dying Sun’

Insomnium

 

 

Insomnium scream triumph throughout their sixth studio album, ‘Shadows of the Dying Sun.’ To call Insomnium “melodic” just doesn’t give the band enough credit. The atmosphere throughout is almost folk-like while filling ‘Shadows of the Dying Sun’ with enough ambience to reach every horizon.

 

Judas Priest, 'Redeemer of Souls'
Epic

‘Redeemer of Souls’

Judas Priest

 

 

Epic tracks such as ‘Halls of Valhalla’ and ‘Sword of Damocles’ are sure to become new fan favorites, and ‘Beginning of the End’ is expertly written and truly envelops the listener in its soft embrace. Judas Priest reign supreme once again!

 

Machine Head Bloodstone and Diamonds
Nuclear Blast

‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’

Machine Head

 

 

While maintaining the band’s familiar sound, Machine Head‘s ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ is also challenging and progressive at the same time. Few tracks on the disc fall under the four-minute mark, but Machine Head fans wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Mastodon, 'Once More Round the Sun'
Reprise

‘Once More ‘Round the Sun’

Mastodon

 

 

The album is light on the riffs, but heavy on the hooks. Vocally, ‘Once More ‘Round the Sun’ could be called the band’s best effort to date, as Troy Sanders, Brent Hinds and Brann Dailor attack each vocal line with confidence and character. Plus, Mastodon‘s stellar musicianship remains extremely impressive throughout each cut.

 

Misery Index, 'The Killing Gods'
Season of Mist

‘The Killing Gods’

Misery Index

 

 

Misery Index‘s fifth full-length, ‘The Killing Gods,’ is yet another strong piece of the band’s impressively brutal and consistent. The album is almost bipolar in nature, switching from calm to ultra-violent in the recording’s first half, but from there on, it’s all pulverizing.

 

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

‘Pale Communion’

Opeth

 

 

‘Pale Communion’ explores the heavy progressive rock elements covered in ‘Heritage,’ takes a page from ‘Damnation’ and injects brand new dynamics into Opeth’s vast sonic library.

 

Nuclear Blast
Nuclear Blast

‘White Devil Armory’

Overkill

 

 

The way Overkill can keep classic thrash fresh is astonishing, as monster tracks such as ‘Armorist’ and ‘Bitter Pill’ unapologetically prove. Vocalist Bobby Blitz is as sharp as ever, while guitarist Dave Linsk brings the heavy as one of thrash’s most valuable shredders.

 

Profound Lore
Profound Lore

‘Foundations of Burden’

Pallbearer

 

 

While trudging along at a snail’s pace, Pallbearer keep their music progressive and immersive with ‘Foundations of Burden.’ The band’s multilayered vocals separates itself from the doom pack, creating a more beautiful, hypnotizing listen.

 

Septicflesh, 'Titan'
Season of Mist / Prosthetic

‘Titan’

Septicflesh

 

 

Through many twists and turns, Septicflesh remain grounded during ‘Titan,’ featuring some of the most evil guttural vocals ever put to tape, a hair-raisingly creepy children’s choir, cinematic themes and a level of sophistication above any symphonic death metal act.

 

Slipknot, '.5: The Gray Chapter'
Roadrunner

‘.5: The Gray Chapter’

Slipknot

 

 

With ‘.5: The Gray Chapter,’ Slipknot captured lightning in a bottle, re-energizing the band’s rabid fan base. Featuring standout tracks such as ‘The Negative One,’ ‘Sarcastrophe’ and ‘The Devil in I,’ the album taps into hate once again in a fresh and exciting way.

 

Triptykon - Melana Chasmata
Century Media Records

‘Melana Chasmata’

Triptykon

 

 

Triptykon‘s ‘Melana Chasmata’ boasts unique spoken-word vocals, huge production, crushing guitars and ripping solos. The album delivers a gothic edge to doom and death metal, truly at its best when listened to in full rather than picking out single tracks.

 

Vader, 'Tibi et Igni'
Nuclear Blast

‘Tibi et Igni’

Vader

 

 

Vader understand their sound, but unlike many of their contemporaries, Vader can stick to their roots and still create exciting death metal with plenty of huge leads and addictive vocal hooks. ‘Triumph of Death’ anyone?

 

Neurot
Neurot

‘Clearing the Path to Ascend’

Yob

 

 

With some great exposure under Yob’s belt, the band unleashed ‘Clearing the Path to Ascend’ this year, earning praise once again from the metal community. Looking for some deep, deep, deep doom? Yob is your answer.

 

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