Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gupta's Best of 2014 So Far

It's October, and you know what that means: we're halfway through the year! No, wait. That isn't right. This is just fluff text because I can't think of a joke to make light of the fact that my Best of 2014 So Far list is coming in 4 months late. Punchline.

List time! In no particular order:

Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

The 'Don is back! Their twerktastic new album is exactly what I hoped The Hunter would be. 'Round the Sun sounds like the natural extension of Crack the Skye, toning down the proggy breakouts and stepping up the addictive hooks and psychedelic spaciness.

Brann Dailor takes up majority of the vocal duties on this album, which is great because he's stepped up his singing game tenfold since The Hunter. While I don't consider 'Round the Sun to be better than Crack the Skye, Mastodon have definitely put out one of their best albums to date. Listen: The Motherload

Iron Reagan - The Tyranny of Will

For those of you who don't know, Iron Reagan is a hardcore supergroup featuring members of Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour and Mammoth Grinder. Ultimately, this is Municipal Waste with more of a punk sound and politically heavy lyricism, but just because they're more serious, doesn't mean they aren't as much fun. Listen: Miserable Failure

'68 - In Humor and Sadness

Rising immediately out of the ashes of The Chariot, Josh Scogin has paired up with drummer Michael McClellan (of no fame whatsoever) to drop some of the noisiest rock music of the year. The whole founding of the band was based on being the loudest duo, and considering Scogin's live set-up has him running through two guitar rigs and a bass rig, I think they've accomplished that stunningly.

Don't expect this to sound a lick like The Chariot, though. Black Keys meets Black Flag is the name of this album's game. Listen: Three Is A Crowd

Body Count - Manslaughter

First off, I non-ironically love Body Count. Ice-T may seem like the least likely frontman for a hardcore group, but between his time in this band and his outstanding performance in Leprechaun 5: In Da Hood, he's quickly become one of my favorite celebrities.

Manslaughter is exactly what you'd expect for Body Count in 2014. Caveman riffs, d-beats, and Ice yelling about murdering people in horrific ways. This album does take an uplifting turn, surprisingly, with songs like "Back to Rehab", and "Get a Job", and their covers of "99 Problems" and "Institutionalized" are A+. Listen: Talk Shit, Get Shot

Electric Wizard - Time to Die

The Wizard returns with the newest offering of hazy, fuzz filled, crushing doom. This time, things take a turn for the psychedelic with Jus, Liz and crew working with layers and layers of effect-ridden guitar tracks rather than simple, lumbering leviathan riffs. The end result is the same: your speakers will give you a contact high, and your walls will be shaking from the sheer heaviness of the sound.

Legalize drugs and murder. Listen: I Am Nothing

Gridlink - Longhena

 In my typical fashion, I'm going to quote myself because I'm lazy:

Longhena sets the bar to an impossibly high level for any band that plays this strain of grindcore. Chang's banshee vocals, Matsubara's rhythm playing that somehow fits under the category of "shred guitar" (not to mention his actual lead playing), Fajardo's accompanying drumming, the string sections, the interlude track, holy shit people, everything fits so nicely together that I honestly cannot find a weak point to this album. It even comes with a set of "karaoke versions" of the tracks for those of you who hate Jon Chang. Listen: Look To Windward

Earth - Primitive and Deadly

Dylan Carlson and co. have always had hit-or-miss releases as far as I'm concerned. While I love albums like The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull and Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method, their earlier drone material and their latest bland offerings don't quite enthrall me in the same capacity.

Primitive and Deadly seems to take a page out of Earth 2's heaviness, mix it with some of their mid-career cowboy riffage, and introduce some great guest vocals for an album that stirs up images of lonely foggy nights and smokey dive bars. Listen: From The Zodiacal Light

So there you have it. These albums have stood out to me so far this year, and I'm sure there'll be a couple of more albums to add to the list by year's end. God knows how pumped I am for the new At The Gates and Run The Jewels records; I'm certain both will end up on my big list.

What do you guys think? Do you like the albums I chose, or do you think my taste in music is utter shit (more likely the latter)? What were your favorite albums this year so far? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!

That's all for now, folks. Jeremy, I'll see you whenever.


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