5. Babymetal – Self Titled.
A Japanese metal band… fronted by three girls of whom the average age is 15. Disaster? More like awesome. More like Babymetal headlining arenas awesome. These girls hadn’t even heard of metal until their record label came together and had the idea to mix J pop (which is exactly what you think it is), with heavy metal. In this day in age, I wouldn’t even consider that much of a risk granted that there is a sub-genre for every genre imaginable. In all honesty, this record is tasteful and disgustingly catchy. The group sings in Japanese, which is probably the only record label risk, but hey if Rammstein can conquer American arenas, than it’s just a matter of time that BabyMetal catches on. They already sold out there American debut performance at the end of July at the Fonda, so these girls might have something here. Epic breakdowns, guitar riffs for days, and hip hop interludes? Do yourself a favor and check out their single “Megistune”, and take it from there. 7/10
4. Mastodon – “Once More ‘Round the Sun”
For starters, Mastodon’s “Crack the Skye” is a masterpiece. An unadulterated masterpiece… that will shine brighter than 90% of any metal record that’s thrown out into our generation. That being said, they need to constantly re-set the bar high, and they give one hell of an effort on their 6th record. Filled with its fair share of intricacies and psychedelic nuances, this record exceeds in musicianship, but seems like it’s a bit lackluster in vocal melodies. The album, however, does not disappoint. Its various moods take you on a journey; one you would like to stay on and hold on to for as long as you can, just because it seems a tad bit better than reality. One thing Mastodon has gotten significantly better at is creating a mood. Dynamics plays a huge part in the record, and I’m sure it’s always been something the band takes seriously. I would say this record is worth checking out just because of the vibe it sets. Powerful, atmospheric, progressive metal for your soul. 7/10
3. Killer be Killed – Self Titled.
Killer be killed; the true definition of a metal super-group that has not gotten enough praise. Members of The Mars Volta, The Dillinger Escape Plan, ex-Sepultura-Soulfly-Cavalera Consipracy, and Mastodon collide to create a crushing, brutal beauty of a record with just enough hint of melody to keep you on your toes and make you craving more clean vocals. Finally, an album that’ll make you instantly flashback to your 14 year old self to look up tabs and start playing your favorite riffs. This is surely a record that has potential to influence the next generation of metal heads to pick up a guitar and start doodling, much like you would when you start drawing aimlessly with no purpose, then suddenly create something beautiful. Definitely looking forward to a nation-wide tour from Killer be Killed. 8/10
2. Nothing More – Self Titled
Nothing More’s debut record is more of a Rock record than a Metal record, but hits twice as hard as most metal records that have been released this year. Fresh from signing a 5 album record contract with Eleven Seven Music, Nothing More went full throttle with their debut record with a whopping 17 tracks of the most diverse types of rock n roll/art rock/alternative metal elements that will grace your ears. Soulful melodies, political innuendos, and some of the most epic choruses that will have you chanting on the freeway for weeks. All-in-all this record kicks your ass from start to finish. Is calling a rock record a fun record necessarily a bad thing? Cause this is what Rock ‘N roll is all about…stirring up that excitement from the album’s first single and diving into the record the second it’s released. This is one of those albums. Truly some of the best song-writing I’ve heard in a long time from a debut album. 9/10
1. Destiny Potato – “Lun”
This is a record that will probably stay on number 1 on my list, even after I hear the rest of what 2014 has to offer. The debut album by Serbian metal/pop mammoths Destiny Potato is the most unique collection of music I’ve heard in the past half-decade. Aleksandra Djelmas is the bands front-woman, and has the ability to do some amazing things with those vocal chords of hers. Alternating between stunningly beautiful melodies/harmonies and intense growls; this record is almost a mix between straight up pop meets djent metal…a perfect medium between Paramore and Periphery. Songs like “House of Lies”, a ballad that clearly plays on the emotions of the listener and is noticeably comparable to Adele, acts as the polar opposite to tracks like “Addict” and “Blue Sun” which are full-fledged metal tunes with diverse time signatures. You won’t be able to head bang to several of these riffs -- it just won’t happen. This album bleeds of creativity and breathes new life into the genre of both rock and pop. It tears down the boundaries of what is possible and what is, or has been commercially acceptable. On top of all this, the vocal melodies will drift in your mind and linger for years to come. “Lun” is complete and utter catchiness with brilliant song-writing that’s worth any pop/metal fans attention. 10/10