My Most Favorite Albums of 2014
As usual, the year ends and a wise-ass tries to convince you of the x number of best *insert anything*. Thus, without further ado, I shall put on my wise-ass hat and pretend to be the ultimate connoisseur of music. Ah well…
10. Coldplay — Ghost Stories
A new album from Coldplay is by default met with universal critical acclaim and a lot of fans fainting in unison. This was supposed to be no different, but sadly the slightly techno-ish nature and a lack of the signature “Coldplay” sound divided opinions. Still, Chris Martin and co. are awesome even when they lack their usual awesomeness.
9. Seether — Isolate and Medicate
Seether’s latest album isn’t that heavy. In fact, it sounds tad “mainstream” if I have to be honest. That being said, this album is friggin’ catchy. The riffs will hook you like a Sardine, and the lyrics are, in usual Seether fashion, angsty and edgy.
“You’re key to my disaster!”
8. Of Mice & Men — Restoring Force
Of Mice & Men changed their sound a lot with “Restoring Force”, and boy did it work wonders! From yet another metalcore act, they now stand out with this release. It still sounds a bit repetitive at times, but the breakdowns are epic, the new vocal style a revelation and thus a overall better album.
7. Slipknot — .5: The Gray Chapter
I’m disappointed that Slipknot’s latest effort hasn’t topped my rankings. It had everything: the hype, the hiatus, the brooding tension that something great is en route. Sadly I was hit hard when the album finally dropped. No, it’s not bad per se. It’s just that I wanted a Slipknot epic, not a slightly heavier Stone Sour album. The songs just lack that extra bit of heaviness. Perhaps it was too much to ask another “Subliminal Verses”. #sigh
6. Pianos Become the Teeth — Keep You
This is the first (and only) Pianos Become the Teeth album that I’ve heard. Apparently they used to be a screamo band, but this album doesn’t feature any screaming at all. It is one of the most soothing albums I’ve heard in a long while. The songs just flow into one another, and between the dreamy vocals and the exquisite guitar-work (with rather understated yet prominent drums) this is a must listen.
5. Anathema — Distant Satellites
The transition of Anathema from a death-doom act to a progressive-rock band across the ten albums is still something I find hard to believe. Distant Satellites, in usual Anathema fashion, is rather different from their 2012 epic Weather Systems. Anathema’s obsession to experiment with their sound has paid dividends yet again, thus making it one of the highlight albums of the year.
4. Chevelle — La Gargola
Chevelle is, in my not so humble opinion, one of the most underrated bands around. La Gargola is their second best album till date (Wonder What’s Next was/is just too good). The sound is unique to Chevelle, yet it’s unlike their previous efforts. Pete Loeffler is as imperial as ever, and tracks like “An Island” is classic Chevelle. Sheer awesomeness.
3. Machine Head — Bloodstone & Diamonds
Phil Demmel and Rob Flynn is back and once again they’re melting people’s faces with their trademark double-guitar solos. The opener “Now We Die” is an absolute stunner, and it’s just the beginning. This album is worth listening if only for the solos, and yet it’s so much more than that. A headbanger’s delight.
2. Nothing More (Eponymous)
I haven’t heard of Nothing More even 4 months back. Now I can’t wait to listen what they bring out next. This album is the best rock album I’ve heard this year. Period. The lyrics deserve a special mention too. Songs like “Christ Copyright” and “Mr. MTV” reminds me of the good ol’ Rage Against the Machines with their lyrical theme(s). Overstatement? Listen for yourself:
*insert drum-rolls* *preferably played by Travis Barker*
1. Damien Rice — My Favourite Faded Fantasy
Damien Rice is an acquired taste. Some might find his songs too slow and boring, and they have their case. For the others though, Damien Rice is anything but bland. Each track of My Favourite Faded Fantasy is so intricately layered that listening five or six times is barely scratching the surface. Damien Rice took eight years to bring out this one, and the wait’s been worth it. The shimmering vocals, the solemn strums of guitars and the occasional violin stand out, but listen closely and you’ll hear harmonium, chimes and apparently even a tin-whistle.
So understated, yet so beautiful. The album of the year for me.
Once again, I’ve only covered the albums I’ve listened to. While some will mention *enter random Indie-rock album* deserves to be at no. x, I doubt it’ll change the list much. Then again, who knows really?