Before we get to the actually good stuff, why not have a look and maybe laugh at some of the albums that have been less than excellent?
These are the albums of 2014 that I have been considerably disappointed by, for one reason or another.
A World Lit Only by Fire by Godflesh
I'm not really a big Godflesh fan, but I like Streetcleaner well enough and respect their influence in industrial metal, so I thought I would give the new album a try.
Unfortunately, this turned out to be just a really bland and boring album. Ten heavy and crushing tracks with pretty much nothing going on in them. There's no texture, no subtle melodies to break up the repetitiveness, nothing. Just ten songs which all sound practically the same.
Some of the riffs are pretty nice admittedly, but no matter how nice a riff, if you loop it for five minutes and then end the song without it progressing into anything I'm probably going to stop appreciating it at some point.
1000hp by Godsmack
Ok yeah, the title, the awful cover and it being Godsmack should be enough to deduce that the album isn't going to be very good. Thing is, I actually thought that their 2010 album, The Oracle, was really solid, and both Sully Erna and Shannon Larkin are very talented musicians who have the capacity to make something great if they actually used their talent (just look at Sully's solo album), so I had hopes that perhaps they would continue improving.
Nope. Why bother with that when you can just make some lazy generic radio rock?
I mean if the other clues weren't enough to glean what this album is like, it opens with the line "time to rewind back to 1995"...
Yeah, I'd really rather you didn't to be honest with you, Sully.
Triumph and Power by Grand Magus
I wasn't a big fan of their last album, The Hunt, which I thought just lacked the punch of their previous albums, but was hoping they would pick back up after that slight low point.
Unfortunately this ended up being just a generic heavy metal album with a bit of a power metal influence. Pretty much indistinguishable from the hundreds of other bands that do it.
Don't really have anything else to say about it. It's completely unremarkable.
Black Widow by In This Moment
Largely generic metalcore/alternative metal is not something I usually listen to, so you might wonder why I even had any expectations for the new In This Moment album in the first place. Well, while I really don't care for their first three albums, I was surprised to learn that their last one, Blood, was actually quite good. It was probably the biggest surprise of 2012 for me as far as albums I initially had no interest in are concerned.
Two of the band members left, which I guess made Blood more of a Maria Brink solo album, and it was actually much better for it. Thus, I was hoping that she would use her new found creative freedom to continue improving.
Instead, what we get is a return to the mediocrity of previous albums, with lyrics and themes that feel like a second rate Alice Cooper knock off. The best songs on this feel like they could have been cut from Blood for not being good enough. Who knows, maybe they were.
Redeemer of Souls by Judas Priest
The best thing I can say about this album is that it's mostly not nearly as bad as the two singles from it. Seriously, March of the *Danged* is just straight up awful. The production on it makes Rob Halford, one of the greatest voices in all of metal, sound like Ozzy Osbourne did on Black Sabbatth's 13. Except even worse if you can imagine such a thing.
As for the actual album, it feels like a cheap and tired imitation of Painkiller with none of the energy they had on that classic.
And now, for my biggest disappointment of the year:
The Undoing by Skold
This is the only album on this list which is not here because of it's musical content being subpar. I'm sure that the album is actually of high quality. No, the reason this album is on the list is because it doesn't exist.
Tim Skold announced this follow up to 2011's Anomie on the 17th of March, but only a week later made an announcement that "due to unforeseen developments [he has] chosen to cancel the scheduled release of the new Skold album".
I have no idea what happened, and I'm sure that he has very good reasons for the cancellation, but I am still extremely disappointed.
Tim is one of my favourite musicians and I adore both his solo work and his work with many other bands, such as KMFDM, so I'm always excited for something new by him. Anomie was his first solo album in over 15 years and an excellent display of all he has learned during that time, and I'm really hoping that he doesn't take another huge break from that project.
This also isn't the first time he canceled an album. Back in the early 2000's he was working on what was to be his second solo album, Disrupting the Orderly Routine of the Institution (great title). He made demos of six songs that were pretty much finished, and gave them to a handful of people he trusted looking for some feedback. Unfortunately the demos ended up getting leaked, and being understandably furious and disheartened, Tim scrapped the whole project. All that is left of it are the six songs which are now floating around on the internet, known as the Dead God EP.
A real shame that one person's total lack of respect for an artist's work deprived the rest of us of what would have likely been a great album.
Hopefully whatever problems arose will be resolved and The Undoing will see a release this year.
That does it for this list. Next I'll probably do an honourable mentions type thing, followed by my actual best of the year list.