Following on from the start of Rock Sins 2014 end of year awards a couple of days ago with Fran kicking things off (read her choices of the best and worst of 2014 here), our second installment comes from a new face here at Rock Sins. We are welcoming James Weaver to the Rock Sins family, and so let him loose on his view of the best and worst of 2014. Over to you James….
Album of the Year – Bury Tomorrow – Runes
2014 has seen some absolutely incredible records dropped this year and singling out just one record as the best has been incredibly difficult. After careful thought, Bury Tomorrow’s Runes tops the pile for me. From the monstrous opener ‘Man on Fire’ to the lovely balance of clean and harsh vocal balance on ‘The Torch’, Runes is one of metalcore’s strongest releases this year and sky-rockets Bury Tomorrow to one of Britain’s biggest exports in the alternative scene. More importantly, this record ultimately won me over and truly showed me just how talented the Southampton outfit are.
.5: The Gray Chapter – Slipknot
The Satanist – Behemoth
The Flesh Prevails – Fallujah
Song of the Year – While She Sleeps – New World Torture
If you go by While She Sleeps’ Facebook page you’d believe they are more of a merchandise brand rather than a band. With only one record under their belt, extensive touring and frontman Loz Taylor undergo throat surgery hindering any progress to new material, the release of ‘New World Torture’ at the latter end of 2014 exploded in the metalcore scene. The track showcased huge musical advancement for the band, with riffs set to unleash serious doses of whiplash and absolutely monstrous vocals. ‘New World Torture’ has ignited a new chapter in While She Sleeps’ career and it only builds anticipation for their second release, ‘Brainwashed’, set to be released early in 2015.
Stick To Your Guns – Nobody
Bring Me The Horizon – Drown
At The Gates – At War With Reality
Video of the Year – Suicide Silence – You Can’t Stop Me
Since the untimely death of Mitch Lucker, Suicide Silence were considered by many to be written off. However, 2014’s ‘You Can’t Stop Me’ proved the doubters wrong and the title track’s music video showcases that the band still contain the same aggression and musical quality with Eddie Hermida at the helm. As the walls close in the tomb the band are performing in, the fury of the track rages on and the video is laced with subtle humorous aspects; from the shocked looks of the band members to the surprise cameo of Jay (From Jay and Silent Bob) at the video’s closure. The mix of a standard deathcore music video mixed with this comedy strikes it out from the pack and therefore strikes my vote for video of the year.
While She Sleeps – Four Walls
Enter Shikari – The Last Garrison
Gig of the Year – Suicide Silence, Thy Art Is Murder, Fit For An Autopsy, Black Tongue – Manchester Academy 2
With a lineup catching the attention of anyone with a remote interest in heavy music, the Suicide Silence headlining tour was the instant standout for gig of the year. From start to finish, the entire gig was the equivalent of being continuously hit in the face with a sledgehammer. Black Tongue, one of the UK’s quickest growing deathcore bands, inciting large pits from the first bass drop whilst Thy Art Is Murder’s CJ McMahon’s incredible vocal range stunned the crowd. However, Suicide Silence ‘s performance showcased that the band are back with a vengeance. With a tight-knit performance and Eddie’s performance of the band’s earlier material sounding better than ever, it ultimately made for one incredible live performance that will forever be a highlight in my memory.
Parkway Drive – Manchester Academy
Impericon Festival – The Ritz, Manchester
Best Festival Performance – Avenged Sevenfold (Download 2014)
For best festival performance this ultimately came down to Megadeth at Bloodstock or Avenged Sevenfold at Download. In the end Avenged Sevenfold just nicked the crown, mainly because of the overwhelming expectations that had grown since they were announced as one of Download’s headliners. With a setlist covering the majority of the band’s records, accompanied by an impressive stage set up and pyrotechnic work, it really made for a spectacle to witness. The real highlight however was the performance of ‘Seize The Day’ that was sung in harmony by the mass crowd; it sent shivers down my spine and that will forever remain in my memory as one of the best songs I have witnessed live (You can read Rock Sins “official” take on that Avenged Sevenfold performance here).
Dying Fetus (Download)
Amon Amarth (Bloodstock)
Most Disappointing Album of the Year – In Flames – Siren Charms
In Flames’ eleventh studio record tops the list for the most disappointing record to be released this year. Unlike many records in the band’s back catalogue Siren Charms was an absolute bore fest from start to finish; there was simply nothing on that record that made an impression to me. To put it into perspective I listened to it from start to finish on a long bus journey and not one single song made a positive impact to my experience. It almost felt like the band didn’t even try to make an enjoyable record.
Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral
Rise Against – The Black Market
Band of the Year – Thy Art Is Murder
For a band that still hasn’t broken mainstream success, Thy Art Is Murder have established themselves incredibly well in the deathcore in 2014. From a European headlining run in January, to performing at Download Festival and then a supporting slot on the European tour with Suicide Silence that barely covers the extent Thy Art Is Murder have toured in 2014. The band state that they have performed around 342 shows in support of 2012’s ‘Hate’, and that itself is testament to the incredible work ethic and dedication the band have to their careers and ultimately their fans. On a personal experience of interviewing them twice, in January and in November, the band are incredibly down to earth and a pleasure to converse with. 2014 has been the year for this band, and 2015 can only promise even greater things.
Bring Me The Horizon
Best Musical Discovery – Grove Street Families
Every year my musical library seems to grow as emerging bands catch my attention. 2014 has been no different, with many bands becoming personal favourites over the course of the year. In particular, the best musical discovery I experienced this year was the talented and yet rather extraordinary hardcore act, Grove Street Families. As the name suggests, Grove Street Families are a Grand Theft Auto inspired hardcore band, with their two EP’s and song titles screaming influence from the popular video game franchise. As a gamer and a lover of hardcore music, this combination is absolutely brilliant and therefore Grove Street Families became an instant favourite of mine.
If you enjoyed James’ choices or if you want to discuss them with him you can catch him on Twitter at @Weaver321. Stay tuned for the next instalment of the Rock Sins 2014 end of year awards!