As for Michael’s question of “what are we talking about when we talk about metal”, I know this is a cop-out, but…I just know it when I hear it!
Well, eight of my top eleven are on this list, albeit in very different spots in most cases (I’m honestly stunned to see Triptykon so low!). I’ve tried and tried to get into both the Nux Vomica and Horrendous albums, but for whatever reason, it just isn’t happening (I think the vocals are what’s killing Horrendous for me, which is strange since I don’t usually have a problem with harsh vox, but in this case I just find them really grating). For me this was the year of Panopticon – I wasn’t a huge fan of Kentucky, I thought it was an interesting idea that wasn’t executed all that well, so I wasn’t really anticipating the new one, and was completely blown away by the huge leap they (or he, I guess) made. The metal and Appalachian elements mesh so much better this time, but most importantly the songs are just incredible. Anyway, my list looks like this:
3. Sivyj Yar
4. At The Gates
6. Alunah – Awakening the Forest
7. Woods of Desolation
9. Crimson Shadows – Kings Among Men
11. Death Penalty – s/t
Wow. I mean, I can’t say I’m surprised, but still, that’s an even worse list than usual. Someone call Jack Black and tell him to start clearing space on his awards shelf…
“It’s kinda like leaving Arcade Fire off a year end list for indie releases…you simply can’t leave a band like that off your top 40, can you?” – blochead, I would argue that you can leave ANY band off your list, regardless of their stature/reputation/etc, if you don’t think their latest work measures up to their previous standards, or to other albums released that same year (I personally wouldn’t have any problem with Arcade Fire being left off an indie rock list, only because I can’t stand AF, but I digress…). Not necessarily referring specifically to this Blut Aus Nord situation, but just in general, I don’t think any album should be guaranteed a place on a year-end list just because the band is considered “important” or whatever you want to call it.
I think you nailed it with your “more traditional” comment – the new album isn’t as original or groundbreaking as some of their past work, so it doesn’t feel as “special”, which is why I think Decibel left it off their list. I’m not personally a big BAN fan, so it won’t be on my list, but that’s just a matter of personal taste as opposed to artistic merit – I’m not a professional critic (obviously). I was certainly surprised to see Decibel omit it.
I’d say the Decibel list is really good overall, although I’m definitely surprised to see Machine Head and Mastodon on there – I’m a fan of both bands, but in both cases I don’t think their 2014 albums are their best work by any means. MH at #12 especially is way too high – not that I don’t like the album, I do, but I don’t LOVE it, certainly not one of the best of the year IMO. Definitely a few glaring omissions too.
Well, there goes my afternoon…
Metallica are one of my all-time favourite bands, I think there are some great songs from the Load/Reload era, but man, do I ever hate “Fuel”. I don’t know why they insist on playing it all the time, arguably the worst song in their entire discography.
Sorry, don’t mean to pick on you Wesley, I just hate how there’s always so much whining in the AOTW comments section, all the “how dare you not pick MY favourite album!” comments get old fast. (Also, I have a wife and twins, you know us married dudes with kids have to stick together).
Yeah, I only like music writers who agree with everything I like! And get off my lawn!
(Seriously though, “things that teenagers love”? Settle down there, Grandpa Simpson. You can like radio pop, but “married dudes with kids” can’t? Sorry, wrong).