Onto part two of my albums of the year countdown, where we shall go from number fifteen to number eleven. If for whatever reason you missed part one, shame on you, you can find it here.
Easily the most talked about album of the year, 2014 will be remembered as the year the metal community learnt all about Flint, Michigan. Depending on who you talk to, King 810‘s debut album is either a masterpiece or a big pile of shit. Personally, I stand somewhere in the middle. There is some brilliant moments on this album. Songs like “Fat Around the Heart” and the almost Nick Cave like “Take It” are special and point towards a songwriting ability that could make this band huge. At 16 tracks, it is maybe a little long, but that doesn’t hide the fact King 810 are well on course to be one of the biggest metal bands on the planet.
Number 14: Swans – To Be Kind
As others claim that the album is dying, it is hardly a surprise that a band like Swans would go the other way by, dropping one that is over two hours long. A winding, twisting, sonic experience, To Be Kind is an almost direct assault on the senses and is basically a massive fuck you to a world where attention spans are shrinking and pop music is exploding. There is no denying that the music scene is currently overwhelmed by identikit bands, presumably made in a factory somewhere and Swans stand as the antithesis of this. Sure, it’s maybe not the most accessible album of the year, but it is one that you can’t fail to have a response to.
Number 13: Beartooth – Disgusting
This year Beartooth made their way over to the UK for the first time and continued their rise in people’s minds as one of the best new metalcore bands on the block. Caleb Shomo has shed the image of Attack! Attack! and Disgusting is an aggressive blend of metalcore, that at times come closer to hardcore punk. It invokes bands like Every Time I Die and suggests that the future is very bright for these lads from Colombus, Ohio.
Number 12: Opeth – Pale Communion
Opeth have taken a lot of stick over their decision to move away from their death metal roots and embrace the progressive elements of their sound. A move that you could say culminated in this year’s, Pale Communion. I have to be honest and say that in the past Opeth have always been a band that I respected, but never loved. This album played a big part in changing that. There is no denying that this band can play and the swirling music that makes up this album takes in so many influences, that to name them all would be futile. A quick checklist however, will see everything from jazz to rock and roll rear their head. Metal? No. Bloody brilliant? Definitely.
Number 11: Blues Pills – Blues Pills
Blues Pills are yet another band on this list whose album is their first. They were also one that I have to admit I had absolutely no knowledge of at the start of the year. Their self titled debut is ten tracks of bluesy rock, that while never overtly complicated, is hugely listenable and incredibly well done. Elin Larsson’s vocals are intoxicating and their sound is closer to the likes of Led Zeppelin and Blue Cheer, than any obvious modern-day comparison. It’s a throwback album, but one that manages to feel fresh and exciting, if that is your kind of rock and roll, then it is one you do not want to have missed.