Best Metal Songs of 2014 (So Far)
The beginning of the year is often the most exciting time for new music. With 2013 in the books, it’s time for the musical landscape of 2014 to be shaped. Anticipated albums become new releases and we’re all given the opportunity to bask in the greatness gifted to us by metal’s greatest acts.
Keep an eye on this list throughout 2014, as we’ll be updating it constantly while the year progresses. From legends to underground acts waiting to blow up, we’re digging up our top choices for 2014, so check out the songs below and expose yourself to these metal gems.
See our take on the Best Metal Songs of 2014 (So Far) below!
Slayer will always sound like Slayer, but it's always refreshing when the pinnacle thrash band cranks out a track that feels timeless. 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. The band offered a free download of 'Implode' almost immediately after the Golden Gods gig, and we offer our thanks in return.
'We Knew Him Well'
After the awesome 'Down IV Part I - The Purple EP' in 2012, was there ever any doubt that its companion piece would be awesome too? From 'Down IV - Part II,' the new track '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.
'Edge of Darkness'
For those unfamiliar with Tombs, you're missing out on an essential 21st century metal act. Tombs have been building up their name steadily since forming in 2007 and have been receiving critical praise since releasing 'Winter Hours' in 2009. Tombs have only gotten better since, as evidenced in their sophomore full-length, 'Path of Totality,' and the upcoming studio effort 'Savage Gold.' As for the new track 'Edge of Darkness,' the track captivates instrumentally before the vocals of Mike Hill usher in an hypnotic post-metal gem.
Eyehategod's 2014 self-titled album is the requiem for longtime drummer Joey LaCaze. 'Eyehategod' is the band's first full-length album in 14 years, but it's been worth the wait. Kicking off the album is 'Agitation! Propaganda!,' which rushes fearlessly ahead to inject some groove-accompanied power-violence into listeners before building up the sludge later on. As for LaCaze, the drummer holds the track together with a serpentine grip, never allowing 'Agitation! Propaganda!' to get messy despite its menacing distortion and feedback.
Deep from the sewers of Washington D.C., the brutal death metallers of Gloom hit hard throughout their debut EP. Following a disgustingly experimental intro mimicking 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' by Richard Strauss, Gloom begin their sonic obliteration with 'Entity.' Though surprisingly dynamic at times, Gloom don't mess around. The band is apologetically heavy as 'Entity' plays through. So be warned, this is meant strictly for those searching out the planet's heaviest death metal.
The mighty Mastodon have returned and aim to make 2014 another pinnacle year in their history. From the upcoming album 'Once More 'Round the Sun,' Mastodon have gifted fans with 'High Road.' The song is a culmination of the band's entire history, opening with a big, crunchy riff focusing heavily on groove. Troy Sanders controls his clean yelling perfectly while drummer Brann Dailor narrates the chorus with a painfully catchy hook. 'High Road' is just as impressive instrumentally, with guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher further securing their spot as one of metal's most complete yin and yang duos.
'While We Sleep'
Finnish melodic death metallers Insomnium are welcome guests on our list for the work featured on their sixth studio album, 'Shadows of the Dying Sun.' 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. There's so much more to be said about Insomnium and their solid songwriting, but just hit play on 'While We Sleep' and allow yourself to drift away.
'Order of Dracul'
Septicflesh will release their latest masterpiece, 'Titan,' on June 24, and as fans know, the Greek symphonic death metallers are constantly outdoing themselves when creating epic compositions. One of these new accomplishments is 'Order of Dracul.' Utilizing the brilliant Prague Philharmonic, 'Order of Dracul' is heavier than hell, yet tremendously sophisticated.
Though Triptykon are incredibly gloomy and somewhat depressive, they still provide excitement in all the right ways. The entire 'Melana Chasmata' album is great from start to finish, but 'Boleskine House' is the track that will suck you deep into the record. That bass tone! Absolutely disgusting. 'Boleskine House' also features some stunning vocal work, mixing male and female sensibilities in a truly creepy, hypnotic way.
'Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel'
Poland's greatest blasphemers, Behemoth, hit 2014 early and with true brilliance via 'The Satanist.' The album has received massive acclaim and is an early contender for many 'Best of 2014' lists. 'Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel' is very different from what you'll hear as 'The Satanist' progresses past its first track, but the opening song is a perfect mood piece which sets up the beginning of 'The Satanist' luminously. Frontman Nergal also gives 'Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel' one of the most disgusting vocal performances of his career, gurgling with a blackened slime coating his throat.
'My Dying Time'
Zakk Wylde is back with Black Label Society's ninth studio album, 'Catacombs of the Black Vatican.' 'My Dying Time' was the first single released from the record, providing a strong launching point for the band's latest disc. Along with expected greatness on guitar, Zakk Wylde showcases his arguably underrated sense of soul in 'My Dying Time.' The track is also very reminiscent of Alice in Chains, as Wylde uses thick, multi-layered vocal harmonies throughout the choice cut.
'True Hallucination Speak'
It was tough choosing between 'True Hallucination Speak' and 'The Lion's Roar' to represent Cynic's masterful third full-length, 'Kindly Bent to Free Us.' Although 'The Lion's Roar' delivers a more memorable riff, 'THS' is a quintessential piece of Cynic's modern sound. From elite musicianship and composition, to awe-inspiring vocals and beautiful atmosphere, 'True Hallucination Speak' is all the proof you need that Cynic still belong on progressive metal's upper-most shelf.
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. Fans have responded very positively to 'War Eternal,' which has amassed a few million views on YouTube.
American cult metallers Agalloch aren't known to disappoint. The band has been consistent when garnering critical and fan acclaim for 15 years, and with the release of 'Celestial Effigy,' an extremely high bar has already been put in place by Agalloch before 'The Serpent & the Sphere' drops in May. The captivating cut maintains a blackened and bleak style while frontman John Haughm haunts the tune with his harsh whispers.
Steel Panther have brought heavy metal back once again, this time through a hole drilled inconspicuously into a bathroom stall. From the band's third album, 'All You Can Eat,' '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 don't wanna know / Who's sucking my c--k tonight / I'm going to the gloryhole / Gonna f--- it with all my might." The song's bridge is actually the track's high point, with anthemically beautiful vocal harmonies topping a perfect instrumental soundscape.
Straight out of Kurt Ballou's God City Studios, Trap Them have returned with a new album filled with audio terror. Though Trap Them stick to their usual formula of extreme hardcore with 'Salted Crypts,' the consistency is welcomed by fans, who will surely break the majority of their possessions once blasting Trap Them's fourth full-length, 'Blissf---er.' As vocalist Ryan McKenney told us not so long ago, "everybody is f---ed and you want to know different ways that people are f---ed."
'Hammer of the Witch'
Want to assault your ears with a truly dirty band? We mean mud filling up your every orifice while being buried alive dirty. Ringworm's 'Hammer of the Witch' will do the trick every time. 'Hammer of the Witch' melds extreme hardcore with death metal and ridiculous aggression. The track also comes off as extremely solid from base to peak, as Human Furnace shreds his vocal chords over a thrashy instrumental backdrop.
Hark is yet another underground band beginning to rise in 2014, and if people give a few seconds to take the Welsh act in, buzz will continue to develop. 'Palendromeda' is the opening track on the band's sophomore release, 'Crystalline.' Hark is tough to pin down genre-wise, but the band blends southern sludge, groove, '60s nuances and other characteristics into a solid brew. Keep your attention on this band -- big things may happen.