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!

11. Issues – “Issues”
released: February 18, 2014
label: Rise Records
genre: Metalcore, Post-Hardcore, Nu-Metal
by: Henry Kaldre

The Skinny: I, Henry, would like to nominate Issues’ debut full-length album, appropriated entitled Issues, as best album of 2014. Issues is the perfect blend of “nu-metal” and “metalcore” with a top roast of hip-hop. Tyler Carter’s voice makes me question my sexuality, and Michael Bohn’s screams remind me that if I, “Talk shit, you, [in this case me] mean nothing.” With a bounce that won’t stop and vocal hooks that remind me that metal can be beautiful, “Issues”: 1. Universe: 0. Swerve.

12. Machine Head – “Bloodstone & Diamonds”
released: November 7, 2014
label: Nuclear Blast
genre: Groove Metal, Thrash Metal
by: Bruce Moore

The Skinny: There were quite a few top notch metal records released this year and it was difficult to nail down my favorite of the year; however, if forced to choose, I would have to say Machine Head’s Bloodstone & Diamonds. For me, this record has all of the necessary ingredients of a killer metal disc; it is heavy-as-hell, has varied tempos and arrangements, and really just kicks ass from top to bottom. This album has been part of my daily metal intake since its release a few months ago.

13. Mastodon – “Once More ‘Round The Sun”
released: June 24, 2014
label: Reprise Records
genre: Progressive Metal, Sludge Metal
by: Simon Douglass

The Skinny: I am going to nominate Once More ‘Round The Sun, and here’s why…. Mastodon have an uncanny ability to produce vastly different sounding albums that remain unmistakably Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun being another wonderful example. As they step further into the world of Prog they somehow become more accessible at the same time. This release is not only my album of the year, but has every chance of being Mastodon’s defining moment.

14. Sanctuary – “The Year the Sun Died”
released: October 14, 2014
label: Century Media
genre: Heavy Metal
by: Charlie Steffens

The Skinny: The return of Sanctuary with their new album is certainly one of 2014’s most noteworthy comebacks, especially for those who love grimly-seasoned thrash metal. The Year the Sun Died is a record for the intelligent, yet dimly-lit mind. Vocalist Warrel Dane sounds as good as he did during the early years of Sanctuary, belting out doomsday anthems of depth, weight, and sweet despair. Nevermore heads: you gotta hear this one! The doomy, guitar-rich sound and well-crafted arrangements are the antithesis of screaming metalcore. “Exitium (Anthem of the Living)” is horrific, one of the highest compliments you can pay a band of this genre. The last song, a cover of The Doors’ classic “Waiting for the Sun,” does the Lizard King proud.

15. Skindred – “Kill the Power”
released: January 27, 2014
label: BMG
genre: Alternative Metal, Reggae Rock, Electronic Rock
by: Damian FitzGerald

The Skinny: These guys are an amazing example of British rock, and with each album they continue to demonstrate their ability to churn out their unique mix of rock, metal, and reggae. With Kill the Power they have added more material to their bank of crowd-pleasers including opener “Kill the Power” and new audience favourite, “Ninja.” Frontman Benji Webb really is a lyrical genius. The Welshman always give the crowd exactly what they want and now leads them in performing the Newport helicopter, which put simply, consists of a sea of fans swinging t-shirts, hoodies or anything they can above their heads. So what makes this album special? Well, Skindred record and play music for the purist of reasons, the love of the music, and not the financial benefits.

16. Slipknot – “.5: The Gray Chapter”
released: October 17, 2014
label: Roadrunner
genre: Heavy Metal, Alternative Metal
by: Aaron Willschick

The Skinny: My favorite album of 2014 goes to Slipknot for their comeback record, Vol. 5: The Gray Chapter. To say that this album was highly-anticipated would be an understatement. It came six years after the band’s last record All Hope Is Gone, and it is the first release since the death of founding member and bassist, Paul Gray. As the album title indicates, much of it acts as a tribute to Gray, with him being referred to indirectly several times throughout the course of the fourteen tracks. The Gray Chapter has an interesting tone to it, as it is both extremely angry-sounding, mixed through with sad and remorseful moments. The album illustrates just how severely Gray’s death affected the band, but it never sounds forced or as if the band is simply going through the motions to cash in. Not every song is top notch, but there are a number of excellent ones, including the intro track “XIX,” “The Negative One,” “Custer,” and Slipknot absolutely kills it on lead single “The Devil In I.” Overall a great comeback from a great band!.

17. Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators – “World on Fire”
released: September 16, 2014
label: Dik Hayd International
genre: Rock, Hard Rock
by: Marina DiBatisata

The Skinny: This album made it onto my top albums of the year. It definitely has a sentimental note for me as Slash was one of the last concerts my brother and I saw together before he passed away. I’ve always been a fan of Slash and the Conspirators and with good reason, SLASH! Their first single “World on Fire” won most airplay this year and with good reason, I think the band is really coming together as a group on this album. Having kept Myles Kennedy on the vox and legendary Canadian bass thrasher Todd Kerns (Age of Electric), Canadian drummer Brent Fitz and notable young touring guitarist Frank Sidoris, the band has such an infused chemistry its quite awesome. Slash stays true to Slash and that’s what keeps him awesome in my books. Myles Kennedy has such an interesting voice with its 4 octave vocal range, it’s no wonder he can carry an album so well. Notable tracks to check out: “Bent to Fly”, “Automatic Overdrive”, “Safari Inn” and obviously their first single “World on Fire”. Viva la guitar solo!

18. Vanity Draws Blood – “I Witness”
released: January 28, 2014
label: Self-released
genre: Metal, Metalcore
by: Erin Large

The Skinny: I’ve spent the last year in a sea of exceptionally talented up-and-coming bands and have been immersed in a world of new sounds and talent, however this was an easy decision to make. The reason this metalcore/Post-hardcore album is in my top 20 and indeed one of my favourite releases of 2014 is because it has stuck with me from the second I heard the parallelled screams of their two vocalists, the haunting guitar melodies, sickeningly brutal bass drops and of course their (now no longer) drummer’s clean vocals. Since I was introduced to this album it has held a firm, solid place on my playlist and upon seeing the band live for the first time it gave me even more reason to keep it there. Their lyrics especially are far more superior than the generic recycled crap we usually hear day in day out which makes it all the more enticing when listening to it.

19. Witch Mountain – “Mobile of Angels”
released: December 10, 2014
label: Profound Lore Records
genre: Doom, Metal, Blues
by: Curtis Dewar

The Skinny: Mobile of Angels took me by surprise. While I have always liked Witch Mountain, their latest album is their best yet – 5 tracks of crushingly heavy doom that stands head and shoulders above their past (excellent) releases. Highly recommended, not just for doom fans, but for anyone into the heavier end of the music spectrum.

20. Wounds – “Die Young”
released: November 24, 2014
label: Razor & Tie
genre: Rock, Hard Rock
by: Brooke Taylor

The Skinny: I loved the shit out of Wounds’ Die Young (maybe I have a thing for albums with something about death in the title?). This album is dope, I always get super-amped up when it comes on when I shuffle my iPod. They have a style that is recognizable from the very first note, which can be hard to find these days. I think Wounds are really going to blow up in 2015, after the release of Die Young and all of the touring they did over the last year. My biggest fuck up in 2014 was not seeing them when they hit Toronto. Come back, you bastards! I WANT TO LOVE YOU!!!

*Be sure to check out PART 1 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.