Liam’s Top Ten Albums of 2014

It’s that time again when we look back at all that’s happened in the year. 2014 brought us the return of S Club 7, a metal band headlining Glastonbury and a trend of throwing ice water over our heads but right now we’re going to look away from all that and focus on the music of 2014 and what I think are the best albums of the year.

the-gaslight-anthem-get-hurt-album-cover10 – The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
Returning with their fifth full studio album The Gaslight Anthem brought us Get Hurt. The Springsteen-inspired band continue to develop and impress. If you like your rock classically written with lyrics that paint a picture then this is the band for you.

In my opinion Get Hurt is not their best work (The 59 Sound takes that honour) and the fact it took me a while to get into the album is why I still love it. A good mix of slow-paced haunting songs and upbeat faster numbers offer a variety and shows that the band have strong musical talents. I still think this band are destined for big things and a big commercial success is just around the corner. Perhaps on the next album…

sonic-syndicate-self-titled-album-cover-20149 – Sonic Syndicate – Sonic Syndicate
I detailed why I loved this album in an earlier review and I just had to include it in my top 10 of the year.

2014 was the comeback year for this Swedish metal core outfit and a big line up change didn’t hamper things as the band produced their most mature album to date. Heavy music and big sing a long choruses are all over this album and really worth a listen. Should be much bigger than they are. Check out the brilliant ‘Long Road Home’ as an example of the great songs this album offers.

foo-fighters-sonic-highways-album-cover8 – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
One of the biggest bands in the world returned with fantastic new material this year. It was always going to be a big ask to beat its predecessor Wasting Light and this comes close but doesn’t out do it.

I love that this album only has eight songs, and they are eight brilliant songs. ‘ something from nothing’ shows the band really open up (especially with the Dio Holy Diver inspired breakdown) well ‘congregation’ and ‘In the clear’ are classic Foo’s tracks. Dave Grohl’s domination of the music world continues, and I bow down to him.

ac-dc-rock-or-bust-album-cover7 – AC/DC – Rock Or Bust
One of the most iconic rock bands in the world returned to the studio this year to give us Rock or Bust.

The band have overcome founding member Malcolm Young’s illness and departure from the band as well as drummer Phi Rudd’s alleged criminal activities to deliver another classic album. With AC/DC you get what you expect and that’s not a bad thing at all. If this is the band’s last album than it’s a good way to go out.

crazy-lixx-album-cover6 – Crazy Lixx – Crazy Lixx
Swedish sleaze rockers Crazy Lixx unleashed this self-titled album and best work to date in late 2014.

What we have is an album for those who like their rock dirty and classic sounding with a modern twist. So many of the songs are very catchy and you will be singing along after just a few listens. A real gem is the re-recording of live favourite ‘Heroes Are Forever’ from their first album, though if you’re pushed for time then check out ‘Hell Raising Women’.

sixx-am-modern vintage5 – Sixx A:M- Modern Vintage
Motley Crüe bass player Nikki Sixx took time away from the band’s farewell tour to release his other band’s third album.

Sixx A:M’s first two albums were both soundtracks to Nikki’s first two books and both much darker, where as Modern Vintage offers more of a rock n roll vibe. Singer James Michael once again shows off his amazing vocal talents which can only be compared to Muse frontman Matt Bellamy terms of style. Sixx A:M sound like a band on this album and not a side project. Perhaps it’ll be Nikki’s main focus in a year or so?

slipknot-5-the-gray-chapter-album-cover4 – Slipknot – .5 The Gray Chapter
Slipknot have had some tough, dark times over the last few years and channelled all that to produce their first album since 2008.

This album is dark. This album is heavy. This album is angry. But that’s what we love about Slipknot. There is nothing outstanding or revolutionary here but it is still brilliant. ‘Custer’ is sure to become a live favourite, ‘The Devil In Eye’ is hauntingly brilliant and ‘Skeptic’ sounds like it’s from the band’s early days. It’s good to have them back.

slash-world-on-fire-album-cover3 – Slash – World on Fire
The living legend that is Slash brought us his third solo album in 2014, and this is one for the guitar lovers.

As you would expect, Slash’s brilliance is all over this album. As on his earlier release ‘Apocalyptic Love’ Alter Bridge frontman Miles Kennedy lends his talents on vocal duty. This man’s singing gets better and better with every album he releases (and lets be honest, he sings the Gn’R classics as good as, if not better than Axl live). Stand out tracks are ‘World on Fire’ and ‘Automatic Overdrive’. You can read a full review of World On Fire here.

HEAT- tearing down the walls2 – H.E.A.T. – Tearing Down The Walls
Former Eurovision Song Contest finalist H.E.A.T deliver their fourth and best album to date in 2014. Classic AOR rock with a Scandinavian edge.

Trying to pick a favourite song from this album is difficult, everything just flows well and sounds so good. Take Journey-sounding ballads and make them bigger and louder! The band admitted they went for a different writing approach for this album and it definitely paid off. Look out for a live in London album release in late 2014/early 2015 taken from their biggest UK tour to date.


1 – Confess – Jail
H.E.A.T. almost took the top spot, but it’s their countryman who just clinched it. This list was so hard to do – to chop down all the albums of they year down to 10 took a lot of deliberating but the top spot had to go to this. With every listen I still love it more and more.

I love sleaze and glam metal and Confess do it well. Take Guns N Roses, mix it with some Buckcherry and Hardcore Superstar and throw in some Murderdolls and you get Confess. ‘Jail’ is just such a great album. The first few songs ‘Relationshit’, ‘Scream’ and ‘Pay Before You Go’ flow so well and gets heads banging and fists pumping for the rest of the album. The album closes with a cover of Tina Turner’s ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ and it’s extremely well done.

Check this album out below, you won’t be disappointed. I for one can’t wait to see where they go from here.

Liam O'Donnell
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