Tracks of 2014: Metal Gods

Our look back at the best tracks of the year continues with horn throwing and immense volume.

Slipknot - The Negative One The first single from the Iowa masked mob’s lauded .5: The Gray Chapter, and the first new music we’ve heard since the passing of Paul Gray and departure of Joey Jordison. Intense, visceral, and harking back to the early days with a no holds barred approach – the Knot are back.

Down - We Knew Him Well Doing away with albums again, Down released another EP this year (IV, Part II) and it’s another sludgey slab of riff heaven from the NOLA crew. With Anselmo’s distinctive vocals ploughing the headbangathon forward, it’s time to crack open the JD and scream along ‘til your throat gives out. Then try again.

Judas Priest - Dragonaut The opening track to Judas Priest’s seveteenth (yes, seventeen) studio album is everything any discerning heavy metaller could want. The iconic Rob Halford is still on top form with this steamroller of a track that forces you into air-grab mode. Plus it’s probably the best song about dragons you’ll hear all year – the Game Of Thrones crossover can’t be far away…

Orange GoblinThe Devil’s Whip The London boozehounds returned with the sensational Back From The Abyss full-length this year and it’s packed with Motorhead-y drinking anthems. Try not to listen to this fast-paced, fist-pumper near anything valuable as you’ll have thrown it through the nearest wall before the second chorus. Worth it, though.

MastodonHigh Road Mastodon’s latest effort Once More ‘Round The Sun made it to number ten in the UK album charts despite being proggier than their previous The Hunter LP. Nevertheless High Road is unashamedly Mastodon with its soaring, catchy choruses and infectious groove-laden riffs driving the music onward into battle – ideal for a metallic sing-song.

Electric WizardSadiowitch Turn the lights down low, stick a towel down by the door and skin up – Electric Wizard are here with their brand of fuzzed up doom metal. Singing from the Sabbath hymn sheet, there’s something genuinely unnerving and nightmarish about Sadiowitch’s lo-fi chugging that’ll leave you with aching neck muscles for weeks.

Skindred - Kill The Power One of the hardest working bands in British metal released their fifth opus at the beginning of 2014 and the title track is a call to arms from the coolest man in Wales (sorry Mr Jones). Packing a political punch and taking aim at the government, Kill The Power has the same dancey edge we’ve come to love from the ragga-metallers that is igniting mosh pits across the country.

Corrosion Of ConformityTarquinius Superbus Fans of solos, riffs and balls out heavy metal rejoice – Corrosion Of Conformity’s ninth LP (aptly titled IX) is your 2014 in a nutshell. The groove metal veterans snarling, beer chugging anthem – that sadly isn’t about the joys of public transport – is one to throw your horns up to and remind yourself just how good the terrible twosome of Woody Weatherman and Mike Dean is.

Devin Townsend ProjectRejoice Hevy Devy was hard at work this year creating not just the Casualties Of Cool debut album but the sensational double-disc Z2 record (protip: the second disc is very bonkers). Sounding like a sci-fi opera, opening track Rejoice is typical Devin, standing firmly on the progressive end of metal. Not your stereotypical metal track, but what else would you want from the man behind Ziltoid The Magnificent?

Kyng - Electric Halo One of the shining lights on this year’s Lords Of The Riff tour, Kyng are just that – bona fide riff-merchants, with killer beards to match. Powerful vocal harmonies and ripping solos will hopefully propel this band into the stratosphere as they’re one of the hottest properties in the trad-metal world. None of this screaming lark, just full force heavy metal.

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.