It’s that time of year again, you know, where we present you with a year-end wrap up of the best of the best releases. Sure, most other sites posted their Top List articles back in December, but hey, we actually wanted the year to end. And yes, we know, we’re missing this album, and that release, oh, and those guys… Well tough shit! Each one of our staff chose their fave and we compiled the selections, that’s this alphabetical list. What we, as a team, deem to be the 20 BEST Metal, Rock, Hardcore, Punk, etc. (LOUD MUSIC) albums 2014 had to offer!

01. Abaddon RD – “La Tragica Y Eterna Mutacion”
released: February 21, 2014
label: Self-released
genre: Heavy Metal
by: Ramon Martos

The Skinny: In a year with so many Metal heavyweights releasing new material, it was a veteran third world band the one that actually dared to bring something genuine and unpretentious to the table. We’re talking about Abaddon RD and their latest album La Tragica Y Eterna Mutacion. Stylistically speaking, this Dominican Republic-based quartet knows that its new recording is not pretending to reinvent the wheel. However, they give a splendid demonstration of metallic mayhem via a potent mix of traditional Thrash, Heavy, Death, Groove and sporadic experimental ambiances which impresses for its potency and utter honesty. Just listen to tracks like “Sargoth,” “Posideo De Maldad” and “Espectros” and you’ll get an overall idea of the intentions of this beast. Ah! and for those snobs that refuse to listen lyrics in Spanish, there’s an English version of “La Tragica Y Eterna Mutacion” coming on 2015.

02. Animals As Leaders – “The Joy of Motion”
released: March 24, 2014
label: Sumerian Records
genre: Progressive Instrumental Metal
by: Yumna Leghari

The Skinny: I nominate Animals As Leaders’ album The Joy of Motion. I believe the band really found their sound on this album, and was able to successfully blend into it the various elements they had been attempting to on previous releases. There were some line-up changes, and it really added to this recording’s writing process. I loved the use of electronica and how much more wild the guitar got on this one. It’s a fantastic listen and super-refreshing!

03. At The Gates – “At War With Reality”
released: October 28, 2014
label: Century Media Records
genre: Melodic Death Metal
by: Daniella Kohan

The Skinny: I nominate At The Gates’ colossal masterpiece, At War With Reality for 2014’s top album. Metal fans have waited almost two decades for this release release, and now I could not be more thrilled that At The Gates has reclaimed their rightful throne as Swedish death metal gods. At War With Reality, their first album in 20 long years, was well worth the grueling wait and is a testament to the tenacity and grit that allows this genre of music to persevere through generations.

04. Bayside – “Cult”
released: February 18, 2014
label: Hopeless Records
genre: Punk Rock, Alternative Rock
by: Justin Franco

The Skinny: I nominate Bayside’s Cult as my top album of 2014. Tracks like “You’re No Match” and “Stuttering” capture, respectively, the musicianship that sets Bayside apart from its peers and the lyrical mastery that vocalist Anthony Raneri exercises with every new release. Possessing all of the well-crafted lyricism and high energy of 2011’s Killing Time, it is the sort of album that I can (and did, and still do ten months after its release) listen to on repeat for weeks on end, screaming along with the words that magically capture how everyone ever has felt.

05. Cannibal Corpse – “A Skeletal Domain”
released: September 16, 2014
label: Metal Blade Records
genre: Death Metal
by: Graham Finney

The Skinny: Tough call on this one as there were so many solid albums issued over the last twelve months, but my choice for the year goes to A Skeletal Domain, the latest offering from American death metal titans, Cannibal Corpse. An unstoppable lesson in brutality, A Skeletal Domain sounds like a Cannibal Corpse album should, smells like a Cannibal Corpse album should, and looks like a Cannibal Corpse album should. Uncompromising, festering gore metal at its finest from the undisputed masters of the genre.

06. Comeback Kid – “Die Knowing”
released: March 4, 2014
label: Victory Records/Distort Entertainment
genre: Hardcore, Punk
by: Brooke Taylor

The Skinny: WHY, WHY!! why must I choose only one top album? This is cruel and unusual punishment. So, so many amazing albums happened this year… but my nostalgic and Canadian soul has to pick Comeback Kid’s Die Knowing as my top album. Those hosers know what’s up and they’ve been keeping it heavy and wicked awesome for over a decade. Those bastards got me into the hardcore scene and they’ll forever be dear to my heart. They also introduced me to some of the worst haircuts I’ve ever had in my life. Die Knowing fucking blew my socks off, and that ain’t easy to do, I wear sock suspenders (those exist, right?).

07. Confessions Of A Traitor – “Seasons”
released: August 1, 2014
label: Self-released
genre: Metal, Hardcore
by: Graham Finney

The Skinny: Not strictly an album, the debut release by Essex shredders Confessions Of A Traitor backs up the noticeable reputation the band are earning themselves with both the media and the UK metal scene. Packed full of breakdowns and pit-smashing metalcore, Seasons is the first chapter in the story of a band who have an exciting future ahead of them.

08. Flyleaf – “Between The Stars”
released: September 16, 2014
label: Loud & Proud
genre: Rock, Hard Rock, Alternative
by: Bobbi Kyle

The Skinny: I nominate Flyleaf’s Between The Stars for top album of 2014. This release was highly-anticipated by fans due to the sudden departure of vocalist, Lacey Sturm in 2012. Kristen May stepped in to replace Sturm, and the end result was truly magnetic! Between The Stars not only shows the talent each member has, but they used May’s amazing vocals to add a unique element to Flyleaf’s sound. Flyleaf is definitely moving in a new direction, and by no means is this a bad thing. Beloved vocalist Sturm left to concentrate on her own path. Now we need to embrace the new Flyleaf!

09. The Hell – “Groovehammer”
released: July 7, 2014
label: Prosthetic Records
genre: Hardcore, Hard Rock, Metal
by: Christopher Gonda

The Skinny: Clocking in at 3 seconds past 33 minutes, Groovehammer, the 13-song release from Watford, UK’s The Hell, has to be one of the most blatant, in-your-face, and absurdly heavy releases of the year. The album title alone is bang-on as the group hit you with a Thor’s hammer equivalent of groove-laden metallic hardcore. It is dirty-as-fuck, will leave grit in your teeth, put hair on your chest and, much like any heavy drug, leave you wanting… no, NEEDING more! As a weekly gym rat this album has single-handedly allowed me to accomplish superhuman feats of strength.

10. Intervals – “A Voice Within”
released: March 4, 2014
label: Basick Records
genre: Progressive Metal, Djent
by: Nathan Harlow

The Skinny: My nomination for the best album of 2014 is A Voice Within by Intervals, which is their first full-length featuring a vocalist. With its technically outstanding guitar work from Aaron Marshall and Lukas Guyader, mind-blowing polyrhythmic drum parts played by Djent legend Anup Sastry, and Mike Semesky’s beautifully melodic vocal lines, A Voice Within is a modern progressive metal masterpiece. The album flows tremendously and really takes the listener on a journey through thrashing riffs, soaring leads, and exquisite soundscapes. Album highlights are “Automaton,” “Atlas Hour” and “Siren Sound”.

*Be sure to check out PART 2 of our TOP 20 Albums of 2014 feature!

Publisher, CEO, and Co-Founder - Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.