TovH’s Best of 2014: Howard Dean, Christian Molenaar, 365 Days of Horror, Simon Pheonix, Sarah Lafayette, Paris Hilton & McNulty

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Today we’ve a giant fuck-all of a list extravaganza featuring the talents of our very own Howard Dean, 365 Days of Horror, Simon Pheonix, Sarah Lafayette, Detective McNulty, Christian Molenaar, and Paris Hilton

Howard Dean

I won’t even pretend that I listened to the same amount of new releases in 2014 as some of the Toilet’s most prolific Bandcamping and Spotifying hooligans. Howard Dean is old school, a purist and idealist at heart. I believe in hard work, the joys/horrors of capitalism, good food, family, sick ass riffage, and the inevitability of a wrenching, isolated, and personal death that is uniquely our own whether we like it or not (thanks, Heidegger!). As such, I buy and listen to albums on physical formats, and I spend the majority of my time working, doing things for my family, and contemplating the horrifying potential of a boundless and inclusive perdition we will all cower before, working out our eternity in fear and trembling.

10. LvcifyreSun Eater
The best album released this year named Sun Eater, Lvcifyre’s sophomore album was released way back in January, and it found its way into my collection soon thereafter. Browsing the Dark Descent webstore, I stumbled upon this album, did some research, and purchased it. Great success! This is one scary ass album—a black/death metal amalgam in the vein of Grave Miasma, Angelcorpse, and Pseudogod (but uglier). Massive, blasting, and cavernous extreme metal. This album made up for the disappointment that was Impetuous Ritual’s new album.

9. Hoth Oathbreaker
I didn’t want to like this band or this album. I’m not a Star Wars fan, dislike gimmicks, and expected a steaming pile of gimmicky Star Wars shit to which Han Solo-costumed fanboys would perversely fondle themselves with toy lightsabers. But holy fuck was I ever wrong. Intrigued by stellar reviews, I ordered the CD. I was pleased beyond expression. This is a great album, an icy blend of melodic black and death metal, like the marriage of Dissection with the better parts of Necrophobic. I found myself reaching for this album again and again, choosing it over other albums I in theory should have preferred. But you can’t beat solid songwriting, atmosphere, and well placed melody.

8. SacrocurseUnholier Master
I must credit the ToH’s resident Bandcamp Czar and purveyor of grind madness Tyree for introducing this band and this album to me. Sacrocurse are a two-piece black/death/war metal band from Mexico that plays balls out, blasty, and bestial metal—the stuff Howard Dean eats for breakfast (but not really, I like oatmeal with maple syrup). Unholier Master is their debut full length, and motherfucker, is it ever awesome. One of my most played albums this year, I blasted this cvnt during my morning commute more times than I can count. What sets Unholier Master apart from other bestial/war metal albums is the absolutely perfect production—this album has a full, sharp sound, a far cry from the typical muffled, tinny sound to which a lot of albums fall victim.

7. MidnightNo Mercy for Mayhem
Easily the most fun metal album released in 2014. If you are familiar with Midnight, you know what to expect. Nothing much has changed since Satanic Royalty—main man Athenar is still writing and playing ripping, no fucks given black/speed metal. And my fuck is it ever sweet (and dirty). I think most fans of metal, no matter their preferred style, subgenre, or era, can find something to love about this album. “Evil Like a Knife” is one of the best songs released this year.

6. Blut Aus NordMemoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry
I’ve said quite enough about this album already. It should be apparent why I love it, why I continue to regard it highly, and why it will always have a spot on my shelf. The Memoria Vetusta series is BAN at their best and most evocative.

5. DrownedIdola Specus
This was the mighty year of death metal. More great death metal was released this year than I can remember. That excellent releases from Incantation, Artificial Brain, Vampire, and Calm Hatchery didn’t make my list says a lot. Drowned’s Idola Specus was a much anticipated debut album in the death metal underground, and this sonofabitch delivered in every way. Drunk on anticipation from 2006’s demo Viscera Terrae, I waited patiently for this album. And I am more than pleased. Dark, occult death metal for fans of Necros Christos, Bolzer, and Weapon. Headbanging tremolos and thrashing beats mixed with churning, dirge-like doom section—a recipe for success in the Howard Dean camp. Byahs abound!

4. HorrendousEcydisis
One of HD’s biggest and best surprises of 2014 was this little ditty called Ecydisis, a slightly progressive and psychedelic odyssey by the American band Horrendous, an album that brings its listeners to the fringes of death metal and back again. For purists who might run at the first mention of “progressive” or “psychedelic,” I say this: listen to this album. I don’t care if the very thought of “progressive” makes you run to your panic room with the specter of Mikael Akerfeldt at your heels. Listen to this album. I don’t consider myself a huge fan of progressive metal, but this album floored me. Because it’s more than that. It is death metal at its core, experimental and ethereal in its form, and fucking awesome music in its proverbial soul. Riffs, guitar leads, and even instrumental interludes—this album is the total fucking package.

3. AbigorLeytmotif Luzifer
I honestly wasn’t expecting a lot from this album. When it was announced, I gave the press release a cursory read, laughed a bit at some of the ridiculous language and fan comments (as I am wont to do with a lot of bands), and buried it beneath a million other things in my mind. I then saw the cover and the packaging for the album—a gorgeous A5 digipack with stunning artwork. My interest piqued a bit, but I was still skeptical. See, I have been a bit underwhelmed by Abigor’s recent avant-garde/electronic/industrial attempts. Albums like Fractal Possession and Time is the Sulphur in the Veins of the Saint have their moments, but they are clouded by this sense of irregularity and identity crisis. They just weren’t that enjoyable, especially compared to Abigor’s early output, which is stunning and classic black metal. I finally gave into my curiosity and ordered the album. Upon first listen, I was floored. The riffs! They’ve returned! And this actually feels like a collection of organized songs, a movement of music working together with a common goal! No random electronic disco beats, industrial noise, or other nonsense! Black metal! Angular, dissonant black metal, perhaps, but black metal! This is not a return to their roots completely. This is still dissonant, forward marching Abigor with a sound a la Deathspell Omega, Funeral Mist, and Dodecahedron. This is ugly and at times hard to consume. But it sounds like black metal again, and for this, I am thankful. As an album, Leytmotif Luzifer held me in rapt, mesmerized wonder. I felt like I was along for a ride, being brought somewhere and told a story. This is the Abigor I love.

2. Dead CongregationPromulgation of the Fall
In 2014, I’ve spoken more words about this album and this band than any other. It should not be surprising to any Toilet regular that Howard Dean loves these Greek death metal titans. In fact, it’s probably more surprising to regulars that this album isn’t in the next spot. I interviewed Dead Congregation’s frontman, A.V., for the ToH back in October. I also saw the band play live later that month. I adore Dead Congregation. Their debut, Graves of the Archangels, is a landmark album, and the keystone to the modern OSDM/”pure” death metal revival. Their follow up, this year’s amazing Promulgation of the Fall, is so good that it’s hard to imagine this band or any other band topping it. Dead Congregation is a band—not unlike their ancestors and close relatives Morbid Angel, Incantation, and Immolation—that will sit bronzed and immortalized in the annals of death metal, a measuring stick and point of comparison for future death metal acts. Combining a surge of raw energy with morbid aesthetics and kickass songwriting—the unholy trio that birthed death metal out of thrash and made the genre what it is today—Promulgation of the Fall is the complete album.

1. TeitanbloodDeath
This album is everything I love about heavy metal fermented into one massive, ugly, and enjoyable package. I’ve been excited about this album since it was first cryptically announced on Norma Evangelium Diaboli’s spartan and ominous website back in January. NED is one of my favorite labels, and I routinely check their website (even though only two or three updates are posted in an entire year). I preordered the simply yet aptly titled Death from The Ajna Offensive (NED’s North American contact), and waited (not so) patiently until it was released in March. In my mailbox, I soon received this goliath of a black/death metal album, bedecked in its simple but terrific black and white cover. And even though it is an extremely hard album to digest (over 68 minutes of brutal, unrelenting madness), it was love at first listen. And it was a pure affection. It never wore off. It only grew. As the year has barreled along in its maddening brevity, Teitanblood’s Death has grown from a 2014 album I greatly enjoyed to the album I enjoyed most. Teitanblood has taken the formula of brutal, chaotic black/death metal, infused it with a deeper, more complete aesthetic and atmosphere, and written an album that is as memorable as it is punishing. Byah^infinity.

Honorable Mentions:
DiocletianGesundrian

VaderTibi Et Igni

SinmaraAphotic Womb


365 Days of Horror

The Atlas MothThe Old Believer
Menace RuineVenus Armata
Dog Fashion DiscoSweet Nothings
InsomniumShadows of the Dying Sun
Monster MagnetMilking the Stars
OpethPale Communion
Kayo DotCoffins of Io
MastodonOnce More Round The Sun
WretchedCannibal
Scar SymmetryThe Singularity

Honorable mentions:
BabymetalBabymetal
PsychostickRevenge Of The Vengeance


Simon Pheonix

Greetings citizens. Do you know what the definition of insanity is? Most people would tell you that it’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Others would say it’s yours truly. Both of these answers are correct. But the other definition would be trying to narrow down all of the excellent musical releases of 2014 into a list of ten. There was a ridiculous amount of good music, metal and otherwise, that came out this year. I killed at least five subordinates with my bare hands from the stress of this monumental task. But after much compromise and spent bullets, it is done. Here then are the ten albums (and three extras) that impressed this criminal mastermind in 2014.

HORRENDOUSEcdysis
There are many bands out there these days aping the OSDM sound. Many of them good, a lot of them not so much. Three new jacks in particular have been pushing the boundaries of the genre while maintaining the begotten spirit of what it’s all about. Two of those exalted bands, Tribulation and Morbus Chron, put forth valiant efforts. But at times, for me at least, it is difficult to still label them death metal. With their second full length Ecdysis, Horrendous maintains that balance between strange and brutal and comes out on top this year as the third band in this sinister trinity. The Chills was a great album, but this is truly something special. I already explained the intricacies of why this album rules in my review, so I’ll simply restate this: This record lives up to the meaning behind its title. I’m aware that I’ve used that phrase a tad too many on this list, but it really doesn’t ring more true than it does here. It uses melody and expert songwriting to transform some standard worship of the old guard into something even more terrifying. One thing I woefully forgot to mention in that review, something that they share in common with Stargazer, is the incredible basswork. Whether a result of production or of simply the talents of the four stringers, this oft forgotten instrument of metal gets its time to shine on both albums. This is more than just another death metal record, this is the start of a new movement. While people from the early 90’s talk about classic albums such as Altars of Madness, From an Everflowing Stream, or Storm of the Lights Bane with a tone of awe and wonder on their lips, those of us born too late can finally understand what they are going on about. Because now we have an album that I guarantee will be talked about in the same vein as those three in a decade or two. For now though, it sits proudly upon the throne of skulls and rotting viscera as my AOTY.

STARGAZERA Merging to the Boundless
Note to bands: Releasing your album after Thanksgiving is a very good way to get yourself banned from my year end list. Unless, in this case, that album is really really good. In fact, the only reason this record is not #1 is because it was released so late in the year, which is an absolute shame. With “A Merging…”, Stargazer have crawled out of the unspeakable depths where they have lingered for four years to unleash madness upon the world, and in doing so have out-teched, out-progged and out-skronked danm near every band of that ilk out there. Majestic, challenging and brutal songwriting wrapped up in a neat 37 minute blackened death package. No filler, no bullshit. Bands like Born of Osiris and Artificial Brain (sorry Edward) wish they could make a song like “The Grand Equalizer”. An 10+ minute opus of odd effects laden riffing, quiet passages that would make Paul Masdival say “not bad.”, and dat bass courtesy of The Great Righteous Destroyer. A powerful testament of a record proving that the passage of time in silence means nothing when you have the raw talent to come back and explode minds.

 DOMAINS – Sinister Ceremonies
Boasting some of the eeriest vocals this side of old school David Vincent, and an equally haunting guitar tone and leads, this trio of Spainards crafted ten tracks of experiencing an uncomfortably close proximity to the abyss in audio form. While Dead Congregation and Diocletian seek to bludgeon you into nothingness with pure evil force, Domains are more into haunting your deepest recesses and making you crave some semblance of light and shelter, and finding none. It is fitting that instrumental “Laybirinth of Incense” cuts to the sounds of endless rainfall in its middle mark, as by then the hopelessness has consumed you and all you can do is collapse in a puddle of your tears and despair.

AKROBATIKBuilt to Last
Run the Jewels 2 was loved by a lot of people, including many on this here blog. And justifiably so. It’s an incredible Island of a hip hop record in sea filled with wack garbage. But for my blood encaked money, my hip hop record of the Year belongs to the third full length from Boston rhymesayer Akrobatik. Coming back from a near fatal heart attack and seven year hiatus of touring and lecturing in schools, Mr. Bridgeman drops a jewel of his own that shines more than any bling obsessed rapper can hope to obtain. From talking about college misadventures (Campus Invasion) to detailing the aforementioned near death experience (Alive), to telling of a bleak future in which man is near extinct and only his memories stored in virtual data remain (Who Am I featuring fellow Beantown spitter Mr.Lif), Cactus AK uses the power of pure lyrical skill to spin many a tale and prove that he holds true to the album title. In a world of fickle rappers and even more fickle rap fans hopping on the latest dance trend or catchy hook, as a wise man said once, always bet on Ak.

DIOCLETIAN Gesundrian
Do you hear that? The horrifying screams and clanging of metal? That is the sounds of war approaching your pathetic little city, set to leave nothing but blood and ruin in your wake. From the rolling dirge of Cleaved Asunder, shit just explodes and doesn’t let up. This slab of pure militaristic violence shares the honor with one other record on this list of converting me into a fan of the band. Of all the bestial bands out there, Diocletian wasn’t really on my radar. But then this monster of a record came out and I just had to revisit their past output. A choice I certainly don’t regret. Along with Unholier Master by Sarcocurse, this record proves how dangerous war metal can truly be when combined with beefy production and more reigned in songwriting. Sometimes structure can kick your teeth in just as well as hateful chaotic noise.

SEA OLEENAShallow
Throughout the past two months I had been devising plans to steal Sea Oleena mastermind Charlotte Loseth’s voice on some Ursula shit. Then I would harness it as a powerful tool to lure my enemies into a false sense of peace and security before laying onto them with various bullets and knives, leaving their ruined corpses laying in the dirt with her airy vocals being the last thing they hear as the void claims their worthless selves. Sadly I know no black magic with which to perform this out of body thievery so I will have to settle for being enveloped in that warm voice. Sounding like Azure Ray at their dreamy best but with even more melancholy to share, Sea Oleena’s haunting folk musings are the perfect soundtrack to ponder about sadness, love, and all of the other things we obsess and kill ourselves over. Seriously though, if one album on my list could be legitimately described as beautiful, this would be it. Mucho gracias to our Lord of Grind Tyree for putting me on to this woman and her music.

DEAD CONGREGATIONProgulmation of the Fall
Evil as fuck death metal honed to a razor’s edge. Considering how epically punishing Graves of the Archangels was, it should be no surprise to anyone that the Greek quartet managed to craft what many (myself included) are considering to be another death metal masterpiece. Everyone’s favorite political badass Howard Dean can (and on his list probably will) go into better detail than I can about how wonderful this album is, so I will simply say this; Serpentskin will show you what true terror and fear is as filtered through one of the most vicious grooves this side of Failures for Gods. Byah indeed.

ETERNAL KHANA Poisoned Pslam
Rhode Island blackened doomsters Eternal Khan make good on the promise they showed on the A Primitive History EP. This truly is the sound of impending doom, corrupted gods, and inevitable bloodshed, heightened by some of my favorite vocals currently in metal. The Tower is one of my favorite songs of this year, and frankly it should be yours too.

NIDSANG Into the Womb of Dissolving Flames
This year saw many impressive black metal releases from Blut Aus Nord, Simmara, Thantifaxah and others. But this was the one that for this criminal mastermind truly conveyed a sense of pure menace. Slightly eastern sounding riffs merges into traditional second wave riffing and creepy atmosphere all around. This is one you will wander through your local park or woods at 3 in the morning blasting at full volume. Just try to keep your wits about you, lest you get devoured by whatever is hiding behind that collection of bushes.

SKINFLINTNyemba
I may have mentioned this before, but I love when metal and other forms of music so familiar to us red blooded Americans is interpreted by other cultures you might not expect to pick up on it. Africa in particular has a rich history and hundreds of epic tales and folklore that remain tragically untapped by metal. Hailing from the farmland dominated Southern African country of Botswana, Skinflint take the traditional guitar work, melody, and “up the irons” vibe of Maiden, distill it to its purest essence, and blend it with stories of ancient gods and the rituals of their country. This is their third full length and, having played in Sweden and other locales, this trio is starting to gain momentum in the vast and crowded world of metal and are showing no signs of slowing down. I hope in my lifetime to see them rock the crowd in one of New York’s excellent venues like St. Vitus. They have a long ways to go, but hopefully Skinflint can open the floodgates for more bands from the motherland (in countries not named South Africa) to florish. In the meantime enjoy this collection of bluesy trad metal goodness. HAIL.

Honorable  Mentions

INNSMOUTHConsumed by Elder Sign

MEKAAL HASAN BANDAndholan

QuestionDoomed Passages


Sarah Lafayette

AcceptBlind Rage
Primal FearDelivering the Black
FalconerBlack Moon Rising
Mike LePondSilent Assassins
AngraSecret Garden
A Sound of ThunderThe Lesser Key of Solomon
MindMazeBack from the Edge
Judas PriestRedeemer of Souls
Hammerfall(r)Evolution
LoudnessThe Sun Will Rise Again


Jimmy McNulty

Abysmal DawnObsolescence
Lazer/WulfThe Beast of Left and Right
GridlinkLonghena
Misery IndexThe Killing Gods
Bloodshot DawnDemons
StargazerA Merging to the Boundless
Black Crown InitiateWreckage of Stars
FallujahThe Flesh Prevails
SockwebWerewolf
ManesBe All End All

Honorable Mentions:
Artificial BrainLabyrinth Constellation
Dead CongregationPromulgation of the Fall
Cannibal CorpseA Skeletal Domain


Christian Molenaar

Khun Narin – Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band (Innovative Leisure)
Hard-hitting long-form psychedelia from the year’s most interesting find. FFO: Selda Bağcan, Demon Fuzz, Fela Kuti

Nadja – Queller (Essence Music)
The most emotionally riveting album of the year and Baker and Buckareff’s best yet. FFO: Menace Ruine, Horseback, The Angelic Process

Dutch-E-Germ – In.Rak.Dust (UNO)
Trippy, trappy, catchy quasi-hip-hop with just a hint of melancholy to balance out the dark humor. The album Aphex Twin, Kanye and Death Grips all wish they made. FFO: Venetian Snares, Thug Entrancer, Autechre

Ritual Chamber – Pit of Tentacled Screams (self-released)
Murky, unintelligible death metal from the American Grave Miasma. FFO: Portal, Sonne Adam, Sulphur Aeon

Colin Webster/Andrew Lisle/Alex Ward – Red Kite (Raw Tonk)
While 2014 wasn’t the banner year for free improv that 2013 was, a few gems made their way into heavy rotation; this was one. FFO: Peter Evans, Mary Halvorson, trve skronk

Sea of Bones – The Earth Wants Us Dead (self-released)
Never has a less fitting cover been chosen for an album. A monolithic slab of unrelenting, subtly psychedelic sludge. FFO: Blizzard at Sea, Neurosis, Buzzov*en

Battle Trance – Palace of Wind (New Amsterdam)
Warm, inviting tones building into nigh-impenetrable walls of carefully nuanced sound. Four of the absolute best in the game. FFO: Colin Stetson, John Butcher, Mats Gustafsson

Musk Ox – Woodfall (self-released)
At once both “classical” and undeniably modern, Woodfall’s sound is truly timeless. FFO: Ulver, Agalloch, Solstafir

Brandon Seabrook – Sylphid Vitalizers (New Atlantis)
Complex, densely orchestrated banjo and guitar shred from the utter master. FFO: Eugene Chadbourne, Sonny Sharrock, various Mick Barr projects

Burial Hex – The Hierophant (Handmade Birds)
Clay Ruby’s final Burial Hex album is a pensive meditation on death through instrumentation and songs structures that can only be described as “unorthodox.” FFO: Kinit Her, Kayo Dot, Circle of Ouroborus


Paris Hilton

10. ExodusBlood In, Blood Out
I like this ablum, but I’m not crazy about it either. Exodus’ last two releases, The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A and The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit B were so modern, cutting-edge, and heavy. I was excited to hear what Exodus would do with this new, fresh sound and with Zetro returning to the fold. What we got instead was a tired, run of the mill thrash album that we’ve all heard a billion times. As a run of the mill thrash album, however, it is serviceable. It delivers a fast, thrashy sound that you would expect from Exodus. The riffs on Honor Killings are unfuckablewith, as well.

9. Cannibal Corpse A Skeletal Domain
Heavy. Crushing. Angry. Unforgiving. Enough of describing my ex though, let’s talk about A Skeletal Domain by death metal legends Cannibal Corpse. The only major change in this release from other CC releases is that they have gone from producer Erik Rutan to Mark Lewis. Other than that, it is anything and everything you expect from a Cannibal Corpse album. In the unlikely event you haven’t heard it already, you know exactly what it sounds like. Next.

8. Marty FriedmanInferno
Dave Mustaine is nuttier than squirrel shit. I know it, you know it, and your grandma knows it (how’s that adorable coffin-dodger doing by the way? Tell her I say hi!). I believe that is the reason why Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover left Megadeth. He probably wanted another Super Collider, they wanted to make music that isn’t Anvil-tier. I mention this because there is a lot of speculation now about whether Friedman will return to Megadeth. Again, it is unlikely because Mustaine will be having none of that shit and Friedman is off living his otaku dreams. This album shows off what Friedman could bring back to Megadeth; extremely catchy riffs, incredible leads, and metal songwriting that actually sounds metal songs.

7. Revocation Deathless III
It’s fucking Revocation. ‘nuff said!

6. Job For a CowboySun Eater
I have to admit. I was more of a Job For A Cowboy fan when they were more deathcore. Whatever your stance is on deathcore (to you staunch IMNs out there, it’s not fucking 2006. You can admit you like deathcore), Embedded and Entombment of A Machine were undeniably heavy fucking tunes. That being said, I am still a big fan of Job For A Cowboy because they have never stuck to one sound. They aren’t afraid to take risks, to confine themselves to pander to whiny nerds, and push the envelope. Sun Eater felt more brooding and atmospheric than its predecessor, March To Global Enslavement. If this album is any representation of JFAC’s evolving sound, I am excited to see where they evolve to next!

5. GoatwhoreConstricting Rage of The Merciless
I understand that Bememoth’s The Satanist is going to be on a lot of Top 10 lists this year, both on the Toilet and on other metal sites. That being said, I find Behemoth unbelievably fucking boring. A blackened death release that didn’t put me to sleep was Goatwhore’s Constricting Rage of The Merciless. This album is my favorite Goatwhore release so far; it is dark and doomy, yet fast and thrashy. The production of this album is the cleanest I’ve heard on a Goatwhore release, which is always a major plus for audiophiles like me.

4. Killer Be KilledKiller Be Killed
This power group that appeared out of seemingly nowhere impressed the Hell out of me. When I hear that a “supergroup” is being formed, I am highly skeptical. Most supergroups either have too many chefs in the kitchen, or have their heads so far up their asses they could wear themselves as hats. I have never been so happy to have been proven wrong. This album is unnecessarily heavy with Cavalera’s vocals and guitar work, yet seem together flawlessly with catchy pop-rock hooks that even nonmetallers can enjoy.

3. OverkillWhite Devil Armoury
I’ve always had a soft spot for Overkill. In contrast to the refined sound of Periphery, Overkill has always sounded like 6 sleazeballs with ratty clothes and $250 between them taking their aggression out on their instruments. I’ve always considered Overkill to be better than Testament in both songwriting ability and heaviness, and this album is a… testament… to that. And hey, at least these guys are fucking selling novelty shares to The Armorist.

2. Ne ObliviscarisCitadel
Australians have always been famous for their awesome accents, bodacious beach babes, and facing certain death on a daily basis. Who knew that such an incredible progressive black metal band could come from the same environment? I’ve loved Ne Obliviscaris since their Forget Not EP and they seem to just improve with every album. The songs within this album are so atmospheric I still get chills listening to Citadel. An improving following and production values combined with the undeniable talent of this band means I cannot see anyone forgetting Ne Obliviscaris for quite a while.

1. PeripheryClear EP
Periphery’s Clear EP is my favorite metal release of 2k14. The Periphery crew really show off their songwriting abilities with this release, which is the reason why this is my favorite album of the year. The songwriting of this EP is light years ahead of anything I’ve heard in a long time. Combined with the heavy riffs, catchy pop hooks, and production so polished it’s almost unhealthy and you’ve got yourself one Hell of an EP.

Honorable Mentions
Taylor Swift 1989
Let me be clear here. I fucking hate Taylor Swift. Fuck Taylor Swift and fuck this album. That being said, the tunes contained within this album are so goddamn catchy, have such advanced production even by pop standards, and are written so goddamn well that I have to appreciate this album for what it is; a goddamn pop masterpiece. When an artist is able to make a hater admit that, they gotta be doing something right.
Iced Earth – Plagues of Babylon
Dark Tranquility – A Memory Construct

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