Best Vocalist of 2014 – 4th Annual Loudwire Music Awards
All eyes typically gravitate front and center at a rock show and these vocalists more than deserved the attention in 2014. Which singers shined the brightest in 2014? There are masters of metal, hard rocking heroes and a few new powerful pipes populating this list.
Without a doubt, these 10 vocalists left their mark on the year that was, but who is most deserving of the title of the Best Vocalist of 2014? You get the chance to tell us by voting on the 4th Annual Loudwire Music Awards. So let’s get to it. Check out the nominees, then vote in the poll at the bottom of this post.
Opeth returned in a big way in 2014 and singer Mikael Akerfeldt was a large part of their success. The metal frontman continued to show that he can display a more melodic side of his vocals with the release of the band’s ‘Pale Communion’ album despite some fans calling for a return to his trademark gutterals.
He’s always provided the power in Linkin Park‘s dual-vocalist attack, but Chester Bennington bowled us over in 2014 with his ability to show off equal parts aggression and melody on the band’s ‘The Hunting Party’ album. Whether it be the determined sorrow of ‘Until It’s Gone,’ the melodic ‘Final Masquerade’ or the unbridled frenzy of ‘Guilty All the Same,’ Bennington belted with aplomb.
When Godsmack‘s Sully Erna implores you to “turn that s–t up louder” in the title track on ‘1000hp,’ the power of his vocals are undeniable. But that was just the beginning for the singer who showed off his range on the hauntingly powerful ‘Locked & Loaded,’ the aggressive ‘Generation Day’ and the melodic ‘Something Different.’
The “Metal God” is alive and well and belting as strong as ever on Judas Priest‘s ‘Redeemer of Souls’ disc. Rob Halford wows with the sinisterly aggressive ‘Dragonaut,’ hits some of those signature Halford notes on the ‘Redeemer of Souls’ title track and steps it up on the standout ‘Halls of Valhalla,’ not to mention his live performances were stellar in 2014.
As in recent years, Myles Kennedy pulled double duty. Alter Bridge‘s ‘Fortress’ disc and touring carried over into 2014, and his vocals on ‘Cry of Achilles’ certainly rate high. But a majority of the year was dedicated to Slash‘s band, where he brought the power to the ‘World on Fire’ title track, soul to the stellar ‘Bent to Fly’ and grit to ’30 Years to Life.’ Can this two-time defending champion hold onto the crown of Best Vocalist?
Chevelle‘s ‘La Gargola’ album provided plenty of bite and a good part of that came from frontman Pete Loeffler. He delivered the appropriate aggressive context to ‘Take Out the Gunman,’ offered a somewhat sinister vibe on ‘Hunter Eats Hunter’ and ramped up some angst-filled awesomeness on ‘An Island.’
The Pretty Reckless enjoyed a breakout year, and leading the way for the group was vocalist Taylor Momsen. Her sultry yet soulful swagger on ‘Heaven Knows’ propelled that single to the top of the charts, while her rasp-filled vocals on ‘Messed Up World’ were infectiously catchy. With a voice and stage presence that commands attention, Momsen showed she’s here to stay.
Metal icon Nergal was back with a force while fronting Behemoth in 2014. The band issued their stellar album ‘The Satanist,’ and Nergal’s guttural vocals got a big spotlight with the song ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel.’ He also provided a dominating presence over the brutal track ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ and commanded the stage on the Metal Alliance tour.
After showing his more melodic side with Stone Sour in 2013, Corey Taylor was back to bringing the brutality with Slipknot on their ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ album. With tracks like the Grammy-nominated ‘The Negative One’ and the hard-hitting ‘The Devil in I,’ Taylor and his Slipknot cohorts offered one of 2014’s most welcome returns.
A singer switch is often a difficult thing to overcome for most bands, but with Arch Enemy snagging The Agonist’s Alissa White-Gluz to take over for the retiring Angela Gossow, there was barely a beat missed. White-Gluz was more than up to the task in extending the band’s career with such standouts as ‘As the Pages Burn,’ ‘You Know My Name’ and the stellar ‘War Eternal’ album title track.