The 10 Best Heavy Metal Albums of 2014

The 10 Best Heavy Metal Albums of 2014
Photo by Samantha Muljat

By Jason Roche

Just when we think there is nowhere left to explore in the world of metal, a flood of excellent releases both reinforce what we already love about the genre, and push the boundaries of what we know it to be. Below, we celebrate the top 10 heavy metal albums of 2014 that accomplished both of the above for us.

10. Mantar

Death by Burning

This German punk-metal duo goes full blast on its dirty din and manages to pull it off with just a guitar and a set of drums. The lack of bass does not detract from their mighty roar. Guitarist/vocalist Hanno excels at balancing his blackened punk screams with groove-laden riffage that occasionally gives off a desert-rock vibe. The phrase "Satanic Kyuss" will likely come to mind as the listener balances the urge to tap their toes and go full-tilt headbang.

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9. Cretin

Stranger

It's been eight years since the last release from this Bay Area grindcore outfit. Band leader Marissa Martinez -- formerly Dan Martinez -- underwent gender reassignment in the time since, but its time to go back to paying attention to the grimy filth of their music. Cretin's brand of grind has always had an air of beautiful ugliness to it, and the break just amplified it more. Lyrically and musically, they continue to go to the delightfully dark places that won over die-hard grindheads on previous works.

8. Triptykon

Melana Chasmata

The opening track on this latest volley from Celtic Frost mastermind Thomas Gabriel Fischer -- aka "Tom Warrior" -- is titled "Tree of Suffocating Souls." The word "suffocating" can be applied to the entire album, a deeply layered opus that consumes the listener in a rich world of avant-garde metallic darkness. Fischer's trademark barks and obscenely thick production help keep the journey on the rails, but there is no light or room to breathe once subsumed in the aura he creates.



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