As 2014 comes to a close, join us at ChristCore.net as we list our choices for top releases of the year. From movies to music, read our other articles such as my Top 10 Movies of 2014 and Bryce’s Mostly Terrible choices! Here is my list of top albums of the year, starting from #10…
A short record that cuts to the heart lyrically, Hell on Earth makes the list as one of the standout releases of the year. A Feast For Kings gained some traction earlier in the year with this release, but their momentum was caught off guard with the sudden death of their frontman and friend, Eric Gentry. Hell on Earth combines the best aspects of metalcore and hardcore with commanding vocals from Gentry that remind me of Ryan Kirby from Fit For A King.
What’s most interesting about this debut is the use of electronically added notes in the background, behind the music. These additions often carry the melody throughout the record, and they affirm Forevermore’s innovative creation. That, coupled with their djent-like rhythms and guitar leads, shows there aren’t many dull moments on Telos. The drums are also specific to the Forevermore sound, often sounding off-beat and abnormal. The album name Telos is Greek for “purpose, end, or goal,” and I feel that Forevermore reaches theirs with this record. From the ashes of previous endeavors, Kramer Lowe (vocals, ex-Onward to Olympas), and the rest of Forevermore, clearly shows their promise and potential.
It’s refreshing to hear the amount of catchy songs on Rebel Revive, and by that I mean all of them. Each track will leave you with a melodic chorus or impressively intricate guitar riff stuck in your head. There are also a substantial number of guest vocalists on the album, including: Tyler Carter (Issues), DEV, Garret Rapp (The Color Morale), and Phil Druyor (I Am Abomination/Nativ). Jamie’s Elsewhere has managed to move on, and produce a great album, despite the loss of Aaron Pauley. I definitely recommend this album to fans of Crown the Empire, and We Came As Romans.
Caleb Schomo (former Attack Attack!) brings his talents to new heights in Beartooth’s latest record, Disgusting. You’ll find various influences from rock, hardcore, punk, and metalcore throughout this album. Needless to say, with this combination of sounds, Disgusting takes some surprising twists and turns that even I didn’t see coming. From start to finish, you’ll be engulfed into the album and will have their music stuck in your head for days.
One of the more redeeming qualities about Darkness Divided is their unwavering commitment to authentic music. Whereas many other bands are relying more and more heavily on technology for interesting tunes, Darkness Divided remains founded on insane guitar riffs and powerful vocals. The band does use some added effects, but only to their advantage, and are never used to carry a song. This foundation maintains its intrigue through the fusion of various genres including metal, metalcore, and hardcore. Songs like “Withering Kingdom,” and “The Hands That Bled” highlight one of the band’s greatest asset: Sebastian Elizondo. With his recent addition into Darkness Divided, the band gained a formidable vocalist that has produced, in my opinion, some of 2014’s best melodies.
Their distinct sound is unlike any other due to the combination of groove and metal in their songs; With their newest effort No Sleep, Volumes has brought out both of those qualities to a fuller extent in each song and capitalizes on Micheal Barr’s hidden talent. There aren’t any dull moments on this release, and I believe listeners will be thoroughly satisfied when its over.
PVRIS made history as a Rise Records artist due to being the first and only female-fronted band signed to the label. As their debut album, White Noise shows off the band’s talents and promising future. Lyndsey Gunnulfsen (“Lynn Gunn”, vocals) is the real gem whose passionate voice rouses the singer in us all. Her vocals mesh seamlessly with every song and plunge the listener into the emotions of each word.
Overall, White Noise is a great debut for this rising artist. The majority of the album is a nonstop ride of haunting melodies and holds a certain nostalgia factor.
Issues has always proven to be a vocally driven band, combining elements of pop and metal. I was surprised to also hear guitar sections that reminded me of bands such as After The Burial and Atreyu. That just goes to show how diverse this band actually is, and how surprised you may be while listening to this release. Songs like “Stingray Affliction” and “The Settlement” hit heavy, while others like “Late” are more beat-driven and showcase Carter’s vocal abilities. That being said, this album is enthralling and will have you singing along quite a bit. Using influences from the metalcore scene and pop, Issues has put their best foot forward in creating something truly unique.
Honestly, from listening to the singles, I was not expecting much from this album. However, I will be the first to admit that my assumptions were wrong. Slave to Nothing will surely prove to be the band’s boldest and biggest leap toward (more) success. After multiple listens, I come away with a sense rebirth from these Dallas-based musicians. Though they’ve changed core members, Fit For a King continues to reinvent themselves and the boundaries of their genre. If you’re a fan of bands like Sylar, Those Who Fear, and For Today, pick up Slave to Nothing on iTunes and at local music stores near you!
Finally, my number one choice for album of the year goes to the talented musicians in Nothing More. Though they’ve independently released this record prior to 2014, Nothing More put out perhaps the most impressive release of the year. With a combination of powerful vocals and intense musicianship, this self-titled album is a hark back to classic hard rock artists while incorporating various modern influences. Nothing More’s live performance is only rivaled by few, and the same intensity captured on the record is only amplified by the passion of these four men. Nothing More is my top choice for the best album of 2014 and I recommend that you check these guys out if you haven’t already.
What albums did you like from 2014? Comment down below!