2014 was another exciting year for metal, offering some amazing music from all ends of the metal spectrum. From avant-garde to thrash to extreme to doom to death metal, the songs below stood out among the rest of the pack in a year rich with standout metal tunes.

Below are the nominees for the Best Metal Songs of 2014 in the 4th Annual Loudwire Music Awards, and it's up to you to pick your favorite track in the poll at the bottom of this post.

  • 1

    'Celestial Effigy'

    Agalloch

    On 'Celestial Effigy,' Agalloch maintain a blackened and bleak style while frontman John Haughm haunts the tune with his harsh whispers.

  • 2

    'Heavy Bough'

    Alunah

    This piece of doom psychedelia is a slow burn which becomes increasingly hypnotic as Alunah frontwoman Soph Day begins her calm vocal approach. The rest of 'Heavy Bough' is carried by a solid instrumental foundation reminiscent of classic Black Sabbath, though the song consistently maintains its own identity.

  • 3

    'War Eternal'

    Arch Enemy

    After iconic vocalist Angela Gossow stepped down from Arch Enemy, fans questioned whether Agonist frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz could fill Gossow's shoes. White-Gluz answered with 'War Eternal,' the title track of Arch Enemy's ninth album.

  • 4

    'Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer'

    Behemoth

    'Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer' sounds purely evil. Behemoth frontman Nergal's calls to Satan are chilling, while heavy percussion and atmospheric guitar paint a grim soundscape.

  • 5

    'True Hallucination Speak'

    Cynic

    From elite musicianship and composition to awe-inspiring vocals and beautiful atmosphere, 'True Hallucination Speak' is proof that Cynic still belong on progressive metal's upper-most shelf.

  • 6

    'We Knew Him Well'

    Down

    'We Knew Him Well' is pure NOLA sludge. Philip Anselmo's vocals are dirty as hell while the instrumental section of Down trudge along with a groove-heavy backdrop. Anselmo has plenty of room to move around vocally in 'We Knew Him Well,' and the Pantera legend uses that space to his full advantage.

  • 7

    'Salt the Wound'

    Exodus

    Take Exodus and add in returning singer Steve 'Zetro' Souza plus a guest spot from Metallica guitarist (and founding Exodus member) Kirk Hammett, and you get a combination destined for thrash greatness. The solid guitar lead driving 'Salt the Wound' adds even more dimension, guarding the purity of California thrash while keeping the sound fresh.

  • 8

    'Baring Teeth for Revolt'

    Goatwhore

    On 'Baring Teeth for Revolt,' Goatwhore guitarist Sammy Duet offers an old-school riff over battlecry lyrics like, "We are coming to taste their blood / We are coming defile their gods," belted out by Ben Falgoust.

  • 9

    'While We Sleep'

    Insomnium

    There are a lot of dynamics at work within Insomnium's music, and a perfect example of this is 'While We Sleep.' The band utilize masterful harmonies, painting a gloomy soundscape around death metal gutturals and metalcore riffing.

  • 10

    'Halls of Valhalla'

    Judas Priest

    'Halls of Valhalla' showcases soaring vocals from Rob Halford, reinvigorated guitar work thanks in part to Richie Faulkner and phenomenal songwriting. 'Valhalla' is truly where Judas Priest belong.

  • 11

    'Chimes at Midnight'

    Mastodon

    As always, Mastodon deliver a big riff with ‘Chimes at Midnight,’ which carries over into the song’s verses. A slower melodic riff also keeps the song on course, bookending ‘Chimes’ with transcendental upheaval.

  • 12

    'Cusp of Eternity' 

    Opeth

    The band's constant stylistic shifts throw off certain sects of fans, but Opeth's sonic spirit comes in many forms. Akerfeldt explores new realms of his clean singing style in 'Cusp of Eternity,' projecting forcefully with a fresh and gripping cadence.

  • 13

    'Armorist'

    Overkill

    Overkill's 'Armorist' pulls no punches as vocalist Bobby Blitz commands, "Fight, fight, fight like ya never did fight before!" 'Armorist' is just another piece of Overkill's massive comeback, which has allowed fans of all ages to discover new and exciting thrash.

  • 14

    'Order of Dracul'

    Septicflesh

    The Greek symphonic death metallers are constantly outdoing themselves when creating epic compositions. Utilizing the brilliant Prague Philharmonic, Septicflesh's 'Order of Dracul' is heavier than hell, yet tremendously sophisticated.

  • 15

    'Implode'

    Slayer

    Slayer premiered 'Implode' at the 2014 Revolver Golden Gods Awards in what was largely thought to be the show's high point. Even when performed after immortal Slayer anthems 'South of Heaven' and 'War Ensemble,' 'Implode' sounded strong, fitting in snugly as the final piece of Slayer's three-song set.

  • 16

    'The Negative One'

    Slipknot

    Reminiscent of 'Iowa,' Corey Taylor spews forth his hate-filled vocals on 'The Negative One' while the mystery man who replaced drummer Joey Jordison was able to capture the percussive spirit of Slipknot brilliantly. You want pissed-off Slipknot? Here it is, maggots.

  • 17

    'Gloryhole' 

    Steel Panther

    'Gloryhole' is everything you want in a Steel Panther side-splitter. Guitarist Satchel leads the song with a powerful riff while singer Michael Starr unapologetically delivers lines such as "I'm going to the gloryhole / Gonna f--- it with all my might."

  • 18

    'Boleskine House'

    Triptykon

    The entire 'Melana Chasmata' album is great from start to finish, but 'Boleskine House' is the Triptykon track that will suck you deep into the record. That bass tone! Disgustingly brilliant.

  • 19

    'Triumph of Death'

    Vader

    From Vader's 'Tibi et Igni' album, 'Triumph of Death' is ridiculously catchy as frontman Piotr 'Peter' Wiwczarek grunts out, "To the grave / To the grave / Still marching on," before dueling guitars unleash fret-melting insanity.

  • 20

    'Tessellation' 

    With Our Arms to the Sun

    With ‘Tessellation,’ With Our Arms to the Sun flesh out a long and progressive intro before mellowing out with atmospheric synth and captivating vocal harmonies.