Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best of 2014: songs

As usual, this year has brought us a fair share of great metal music, making it hard for me to cut down 100+ songs to 50 for this list. But it is done, and I am now ready to show you what songs from 2014 are most listening worthy. Enjoy.

50. When I Remake The World (A Key Flaw) - Steel Prophet
49. Waldschrein - Equilibrium
48. End of Days - Aenimus
47. Essence (feat. Whitfield Crane) - Sight of Emptiness
46. Midnight Meditation - The Vintage Caravan
45. End of Days - Engel
44. Flesh For Flies - Rigor Mortis
43. Is It So Hard To Be You? - Besserbitch
42. Crescent - Animals As Leaders
41. Dying Breed - Accept
40. River - Opeth
39. Wo Es Dich Gibt - Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
38. Something Different - Godsmack
37. Hell Funeral - Grave Digger
36. Beyond - Freedom Call
35. The Fire - Evergrey
34. One Night In December - Primal Fear
33. Infection - Lacuna Coil
32. The Devil In I - Slipknot
31. Sing To Me - Delain
30. Hector's Hymn - HammerFall
29. A Mind Insane - Devil You Know
28. The Box - Threshold
27. Tower of Lies - Axel Rudi Pell
26. Dreamlike Perceptions - Júlio Stotz
25. InSect - Persuader
So what if Jens Carlsson sounds a lot like Blind Guardian singer Hansi Kürsch? He still kicks ass, and so does the rest of Persuader in the song "InSect". A powerful attack where their ammunition is speed, strong singing and frenetic drumming. Nice work Blind Gua... I mean Persuader.

24. Dangerous (feat. Howard Jones) - Within Temptation
Dangerous is not quite as good as "Paradise (What About Us?)", but that song was in last year's list. Anyway, it is still a kick ass song that will get you pumped up with its speed and catchy chorus. Former Killswitch Engage singer Howard Jones does a nice guest appearance.

23. Megitsune - BABYMETAL
I know what you are thinking. Why the hell is this song in the top 25? The simple answer is that I just can't get enough of the groove in this song. I have no idea what they are singing about and I know the whole image is not so metal, but it is catchy as hell and the death metal break down is just marvelous. So kawaii.

22. Bruce Campbell - Psychostick
Bruce Campbell may not be the biggest actor in the world, but he does have the coolest chin of them all. And now, he has the coolest tribute song of them all. Psychostick's love for Bruce really comes out in this amazing little piece. And yes, I would love to live in Bruce Campbellville with 8000 Bruce Campbells.

21. To Kill A Man - Crucified Barbara
This song contains the best lyrics of the year, singing about the urge to kill after seeing your sister being abused by men. And since the song is sung by an all female band, the message comes out even stronger. Still get the shivers from the strength of Mia Coldheart's vocals.

20. Trend Killer - The Haunted
Seeing The Haunted in good old thrash form is fantastic. "Exit Wounds" was a much better album than I anticipated and the track "Trend Killer" was the icing on the cake. It is a fantastic steam roller that takes you back to the time where The Haunted was the kings of the death thrash metal scene, a place they might take back if they continue down this road.

19. Mask Machine - Flying Colors
Mike Portnoy have been quite busy since he left Dream Theater, but this is the only project in which he has been involved in that has succeeded somewhat. "Mask Machine" is a groovy rock tune where Muse meets Dream Theater in a surprisingly cool combo. And yes, Mike himself is playing some sweet beats in this one.

18. The Second Stone - Epica
I was unsure of where Epica stood, if they ever would get back to the fantastic quality they had some time ago. One listen to "The Second Stone", and all those doubts were gone. The song structure is fantastic without being overly catchy and Simone Simons sings beautifully as usual.

17. O Father O Satan O Sun! - Behemoth
The Polish death metal legends Behemoth came back in full force with "The Satanist", and the track "O Father O Satan O Sun!" was the ultimate testimony of that. With a rock steady tempo and a fully focused determination, the band delivers a punch of demonic proportions. This song would even make the devil scared and excited at the same time.

16. Halls of Valhalla - Judas Priest
The men that make Judas Priest are pretty old, something that is showing in "Redeemer of Souls". Fortunately, there is one song that show off what they once were. "Halls of Valhalla" is that nice mix of "Painkiller" and "Defenders of The Faith" that makes you shiver from excitement. A ball buster that has the power of Mjölnir and the experience of Odin. Amazing solo.

15. The Road of Bones - IQ
The mood in this song is fragile, beautiful and neck hair rising, and the delicate musicianship makes the song even better. IQ have really hit the head on the nail with the title track from "The Road of Bones". And that ending... THAT ending is just so good that it is ridiculous. Amazing track, despite being slightly too long.

14. In Kingdoms of Rain - Words of Farewell
This is one of those songs that seem to go on half the speed, not because it have to, but because it want to, and tries to show off some amazing musicality instead of just laying down the most technical beats the band can handle. A soothing piece that everyone can enjoy in serenity. God, I wish there were more songs like "In Kingdoms of Rain".

13. Godmaker - Vanden Plas
Feels weird to pick a Vanden Plas song that is not very progressive, but I cannot overlook the awesomeness this song brings. "Godmaker" has one of the best riffs made this year and the singer Andy Kuntz does a fantastic job in bringing this song to life.

12. A Triptych Journey - Rise of Avernus
Being one of the more interesting newcomers this year, Rise of Avernus came and impressed me with its smooth progressive goth sound. "A Triptych Journey" is... well, a journey that you can look back at and relive with a smile. I am expecting great things from this Australian band in the future.

11. Black Rainbow - The Oath
Great old school metal that mixes sweet riffs and all female power. The gloomy, almost scary mood goes perfect with the production that is just as dirty as it should be with this type of music. It is a big shame that the band has already called it quits after only one full length release.

10. Reaching For The Stars - Allen/Lande
Timo Tolkki has not had a fun time since he left Stratovarius, but he did some killer song writing for Russell Allen and Jorn Lande in their project Allen/Lande. "Reaching For The Stars" is just a typical, epic mid tempo power metal song that reaches its destination thanks to Allen's fantastic voice. And the solo from Tolkki is nice as well.

9. Steal Away The Light - Triosphere
Triosphere deliver so much power in "Steal Away The Light" that it is overflowing your mind. The drive and force they come at you is really impressive, but they also impress with some fine technicality in both riffs and solos. Probably one of the more underrated performances this year.

8. World On Fire - Slash
Slash has just been spitting out songs left and right since he started his solo band, but the quantity does contain some quality. The fast and catchy "World On Fire" mixes excellent singing from Myles Kennedy with frenetic Slash riffing. This bromance is indeed one of the nicer once in the rock world.

7. The Motherload - Mastodon
Yes, this is probably the most commercial song the band has ever released, but that comes as no surprise since it is so catchy that even the most grumpy metal lovers can't stop singing to it. And with those typical Brann Dailor drum beats and the psychedelic Mastodon sound mixed into it, it just cannot go wrong, even with that mindfuck of a music video.

6. Howl From The Coffin - Vampire
This kind of music never gets outdated, and Vampire is showing that in impeccable style. The darkness, speed and riffing in "Howl From The Coffin" is insane, making the band look like they have been in the business for over 20 years. Old school metal will always rule, no matter what year it is.

5a. Fallout - Devin Townsend Project
5b. Ziltoid Goes Home - Devin Townsend Project
I could not decide which one of these two fantastic songs from "Z²" were the superior one. Coming from each part of the double album, "Fallout" and "Ziltoid Goes Home" works as the perfect polar opposites, showing the wide range of Devin. One being a fast, catchy pop metal tune while the other being a angry, heavy metal song with an epic chorus. Gotta love that diversity.

4. Thales - Mechina
Mechina opened up 2014 with an amazing industrial death metal assault that has the strength of an asteroid barrage, and the biggest one of the bunch is "Thales". With super fast blast beats and an apocalyptic choir, "Thales" impresses the listener with its ultra heavy impact. I now know what I will be playing when judgement day strikes upon us.

3. The Divulgence Act - Teramaze
This was one of the bigger surprises this year since I had no idea who Teramaze were before listening to "Esoteric Symbolism". "The Divulgence Act" is just how a want a heavy progressive tune to sound like. Epic, melodic and extremely well crafted. The Australians are really showing off some progressive goodness that no one should miss out on.

2. The Grand Circle - Novembers Doom
This doom piece is so dark and so beautiful at the same time, making one scratch your head, wondering how that even can make sense. But when you listen to "The Grand Circle", everything just clicks. The gloomy singing, the simple guitar riffs, and the double bass beat that just seems like it can continue on forever more. Just a nice master piece of doom metal.

1. Never Like This (A Dream) - Anubis Gate
I have had this song stuck in my head ever since I first heard it this summer. Such an amazing track with awesome musicianship, a ultra catchy chorus, and a structure that is simple, but oh so effective. Just one of many proofs that the progressive metal scene has had a great year. Also, do not forget to listen to the track "A Dream Within A Dream" from the same album, a longer, more progressive continuation of this song. Good job lads!

Honorable mentions: The Realms of Baba Yaga - Edguy, Black Hole Halo - Sonic Syndicate, Magic Knight's Destiny - Lord Symphony, Echo - Outtrigger, Sign of The Warrior - Skull fist

Only one list left, doubtful if I will get it done before 2015 settles in, but I will try. Also, let me know your thoughts over this list and tell me about your favourite songs of 2014 in the comment section below or tell me on Twitter (@FATGreviews).

Stay metal
Robert "Sharkruisher" Andersson

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