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Best Albums Of 2014

2014 was a decent if somewhat underwhelming year for music. That being said there were plenty of worthwhile releases this year (though no perfect albums) that should not be missed. Some minor and major disappointments include the new Iced Earth, Cynic, In Flames, Devin Townsend and Judas Priest. I do think some tracks from each of those releases are quite good but overall just don't love any of them. Several albums I wasn't really into earlier in the year have slowly become some of my favorites (Agalloch, Mastodon, Opeth). My favorite live album this year was Katatonia's Last Fair Day Gone Night. Best reissue is Ulver's Trolsk Sortmetall, followed closely by the Led Zeppelin reissues.
1Arch Enemy
War Eternal

I'm going to get shit on (literally) for this but what can I say. I think this is their
best album in a long time and I just really enjoy listening to it.
Favorite track:War Eternal
2Animals As Leaders
The Joy of Motion

This band continues to impress me. This one is a grower and has some of my
favorite tracks they've released to date.
Favorite track: Para Mexer

Beautiful album. I first listened to it while I visited France and it only added to the
Favorite track:Opale

This blew me away. Personally I enjoy it a lot more than The Mountain. It may just be an EP but it's one of the best I've heard.
Favorite track: Crystallised
Once More 'Round the Sun

Took awhile to sink in but I think it's a very solid album and the songwriting is more refined than The Hunter.
Favorite track: The Motherload
Pale Communion

I've been digesting this one regularly since it's release and it's possible it will move further up the list but as it stands, this is a great Opeth record. Sounds terrific live too.
Favorite track: Eternal Rains Will Come
The Serpent and the Sphere

For most of this year I've felt this was the absolute most disappointing release all year. Suddenly in the last month or so, the album opened up to me and I think it's tremendous. Perhaps flawed and definitely not what I expected after their near perfect previous album but still mesmerizing in a way only Agalloch can be.
Favorite track: Celestial Effigy
Distant Satellites

I'm a big fan of Anathema's work though I sometimes find that I love individual songs more than the full album. Even if there are tracks from Weather Systems and We're Here Because We're Here that are stronger, DS takes the cake as one of their most consistent releases. Weather Systems has probably the best 1st half of any Anathema album but the second half has some pacing issues. Distant Satellites has a beautiful simplicity to it and it flows really well.
Favorite track: Distant Satellites (listen to in surround sound or in Bose headphones)
9At the Gates
At War With Reality
Watchers of Rule
Hymns For the Broken
Flies to Flame
13Old Man Gloom
The Ape of God I
14Old Man Gloom
The Ape of God II
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