METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: TOP ALBUMS OF 2014

TOP ALBUMS OF THE YEAR:
In many ways, from positive to negative, this has been the best year of my life. And even the negative moments have really been positives in the end. This is my top 5 of 2014 and the mood of the music reflects it. From calm, to messy, to chaos, to confusion and ultimately to triumph. Here we go….

5) Devin Townsend – Casualties of Cool
Devin gone cool rockabilly. What? Yeah. This is one of the nicest road albums I’ve ever heard. Ditching huge and heavy for calm and twangy, Devin manages to make an ambient cowboy record and never strays from his formula of being Devin. A lot of atmosphere, a lot of delay but a lot of heart in this one.

4) Trap Them – Bl!$$F&^ker
One of the most gnarly, violent and complex bands in the hardcore scene, Trap Them has managed to slow down a bit on this effort, but retains much of the sickness we fell in love with on “Darker Handcraft”. The production on this badboy is thick as soup, where it feels as if the vocalist is buried under a collapsing bridge. Which isn’t a bad thing. The album has a claustrophobic feeling to it all and it adds to the overall tension of things. A crushing album to workout to as well. You’ll set PR’s all over the place to this one.

3) Anaal Nathrahnk – Desideratum
A violent mess. Electronics stabbing metal guitars stomping relentless drums crushing death defying vocals. One of the best kept secrets of the metal world cannot be a secret anymore. This latest effort will solidify them as one of the most creative metal bands working today.

2) Devin Townsend Project Z2 “Dark Matter” –
The second installment of the Ziltoid story. This time, Ziltoid and Capt. Spectacular team up to fight evil in the omniverse. What this album turns out to be is an hour of chaos and comedy. Chris Jericho (yes, THAT Chris Jericho) plays Capt. Spectacular. What more can I say? Well…lots. The arrangements are nothing short of Frank Zappa on more drugs than Frank Zappa ever did. The craftsmanship on the guitar work is a forest fire raging out of control. Choirs? Tons. Best part is that if you don’t dig on the prog-rock story time, Dev included a “raw” format of just the music. Which is something most musicians won’t do. The following track is very “Alien”-era Strapping Young Lad. Total inferno.

1) Devin Townsend Project Z2 “Sky Blue” –
There are so many epic moments on this album, Peter Jackson had to email Devin on how to use them to make his battle scenes bigger. Christopher Nolan dreams of how to make his movies this epic. Red Dwarfs going supernova are jealous of Devin Townsend’s universal choir. I could list this shit all day. Point is, NO ONE IS DOING SUPER HUMAN ROCK LIKE DEVIN TOWNSEND. Even as he’s a family man at 42 going on 43, sober and vegetarian, he’s still stretching his own limits. This is as real life as the Wyld Stallinz will ever be: uniting the world with huge positive metal. The choirs on “Fallout”, “Warrior” and “Universal Flame” are so huge, God can’t even. Why? I’ll tell ya why. Devin enlisted 2000 fans to record themselves singing and then morphed them into the largest choir ever recorded on a metal record.
The chorus of “Fallout” is impossible to not smile from ear to ear. Like you just conquered the world.
The chorus to “Warrior” makes me think I wanna grab a girl and kiss her in a rainstorm and fall in love in that moment.
The breakdown in “A New Reign” might be the heaviest moment of Devin’s career and musically, is the “moment of the year” for me. I listen to this and it makes me crumble into a million pieces, in a good way.
Only Devin. 3 albums. One year. NO ONE BUT DEVIN. Still king. Listen to the following tracks LOUD and I dare you not to feel in love with the world…

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