The Most Disappointing Records of 2014
It’s Christmas Eve. Are you excited for what Santa will bring you tomorrow? Too bad. You ain’t getting shit for Christmas.
2014 is almost in the books. We’ve celebrated the very best albums of the year with our writers, editors, community, and celebrity guests. We’ve picked the smelliest whiff of the year. All that’s left is crushing disappointment. What records left you a stanky bag of coal this year? Let us know below.
Cruel Hand – The Negatives
Lock & Key and Prying Eyes are two brilliantly catchy thrash-y hardcore records that you should listen to. With The Negatives, Cruel Hand made the baffling decision to abandon their signature sound to play dumbed down hard rock. Why??
Agalloch – The Serpent and The Sphere
At the beginning of the year, three things were 100% certain in my mind. One, I wasn’t going to adopt a stupid, obese cat. Two, I was going to save my money like a responsible adult. Three, Agalloch wouldn’t let me down. As it turns out, I really suck at predictions. Having spent a considerable amount of time fawning over everything they’ve ever released, and personally appraising Faustian Echoes (the EP directly preceding The Serpent and The Sphere) as some of their best work, this year’s bummer was as unexpected as it was disappointing. It’s certainly not the worst album on this list, but it’s meandering in a bad way and almost entirely devoid of the exceptional songcraft I’ve come to expect from the masters. “Plateau of Ages” is a decent post-rock song, but it’s not Agalloch. Even after a desperate number of repeated listens, The Serpent and The Sphere never gripped me. Coming from one of the most consistently gripping bands in modern metal, I just don’t know what happened.
Opeth – Pale Communion
Pale Communion by Opeth was my most disappointing album of the year. It isn’t that I don’t like some prog, but Akerfeldt tried a little too hard to emulate past bands. This album was totally safe, and it bored me to tears.
BABYMETAL – BABYMETAL
I forced myself to listen to it when it came out to see what was so fucking special about it. Turns out NOTHING, NOTHING IS SPECIAL AND IT SUCKS. Also, Starkill‘s Virus of the Mind. It was just so unexpectedly bland. The first single they dropped was amazing and then the rest of the album is just so oddly focused with clean vocals that just seem out of place and wrong.
Myrkur – Myrkur
What happens when labels hype a band with no substance or writing ability.
Septicflesh – Titan
I love this band but this was a really uninspired snoozefest.
Infinitum Obscure – Ascension to the Luminous Black
The album is kind of boring and meanders with too many dull atmospheric passages. None of the aggression or passion that they showed on the last two albums. Even worse was how they handled the release. It was supposed to come out on vinyl via Doomenta Records and CD via Deathgasm Records. IN AUGUST. It came out on vinyl in October. It STILL hasn’t come out on CD yet. There isn’t even any news of it on Deathgasm’s website. Has the band done anything about this like confront Deathgasm about it? Nothing. All they did was brush off their fans that kept asking about the album on Facebook like “The album may come out, or it may never come out. Tough titties for anyone who doesn’t have a record player. Buy our merch.”
The problem I have with this album is the exact same problem I have with Morbus Chron‘s Sweven; if you’re going to drastically alter your sound, you need to have the songwriting skills to back it up. The only two remotely interesting songs on the record are the sixth track “Voyage Into the Obsidian Seas Of Diuturnity”, and the closing track “Last Cognition, Vanishing”. The rest is just bleh.
Your Logic is Flushed
The Contortionist – Language
I should preface this by saying that I have never been a fan of this band. I saw them open for bands multiple times, when they were playing songs from their previous album, and I was moderately tolerant of their sound. There were multiple minute long stretches where I could leave, go get another beer from the bar, and go back to the show while they never broke from the same snooze inducing groove, but there were also some shining moments. I always thought “some day I will be a fan of this band once they cut all the bullshit.” But they didn’t. And alas, they are now headlining for bands that I would like to see. At least I can leave early.
365 Days of Horror
Cavalera Conspiracy – Pandemonium
Not really a disappointment since I didn’t expect much, but Cavalera Conspiracy’s “Pandemonium” is just no good. The bloom is definitely off the rose for the Max/Igor Cavalera reunion. Despite having the versatile (and criminally underrated) Marc Rizzo on guitars, “Pandemonium” is just a blur with zero catchiness or memorability. It’s straightforward to a fault and by the end, you can’t differentiate between the first and the last song. These facts are compounded when the two best and most memorable songs “Deus Ex Machina” and “Porra” are just bonus tracks.
Devin Townsend Project – Z2
Definitely Z2. I don’t consider myself a Devin fanboy, but the first Ziltoid record was such a surprisingly fun & unique offering it was hard not to create an attachment to it. Z2 bulldozes over its relatively simple predecessor with layer upon layer of choirs, choruses, reverb, choirs, synths, narrations and more choirs until the songs are an impossibly huge wall-of-Broadway-scifi-rock-opera-sound. And that’s not even counting the second (related? unrelated?) disc of the album. This was an opportunity to create a “Terminator 2” to the first record’s “Terminator.” Instead we got the Star Wars prequels.
Decapitated – Blood Mantra
I don’t hide the fact that I’m a huge Decapitated fanboy: Organic Hallucinosis is one of my favorite albums of all time, and although Carnival Is Forever is not nearly as good a record as its predecessor, I found it to be pretty enjoyable. So my expectations were high-ish for Blood Mantra; I think I haven’t been this disapointed by anything since I found out Santa wasn’t real. Vogg’s groove tendencies are as evident as ever on this album, but that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if the songs weren’t so horribly BORING. “Blindness” is 8 minutes of a third-rate Meshuggah riff over tom drumming. That’s literally all that happens for 8 minutes. Just, wow. The only song I think is worth anyone’s time is “The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation” (whatever that’s supposed to mean). The rest of the album is good, if you like Pantera mixed with Meshuggah and a heaping spoonful of DULL. Which you’re allowed to, by the way. Just keep it away from me.
Archspire – The Lucid Collective
A certain somebody said a lot of things about it on some blog I used to read…I listened and flushed, heartily.
Decapitated – Blood Mantra
I’m forever and ever a Decapitated fan. I’ve loved everything of theirs from Winds of Creation all the way through Carnival is Forever, so naturally I was expecting big things for Blood Mantra. While I didn’t think it was a bad record on the whole, it just wasn’t the Decapitated throat punch I’ve come to know and love from everyone’s favorite Poles. It pains me to say it, but it wasn’t what I hoped for from one of my longtime favorites, and that unfortunate truth hit me right in my blackened heart. However, Vogg was absolutely brilliant on this year’s Lux Occulta album, and I’ll still wear my Decapitated shirts with pride. And maybe a single teardrop.
Milk White Throat – Death of Beauty
Death Of Beauty by Milk White Throat was a big letdown. It was good, but their self-titled debut from a few years ago was one of the most powerful independent releases I’ve ever heard. It was an impeccably crafted and emotionally compelling prog-doom masterpiece. They lost their main vocalist/saxophonist though, who in my mind is among the greats like Travis Ryan and Devin Townsend. Their riffs also got less doomy and more like Coheed And Cambria-style modern prog. Perhaps unfairly, Death Of Beauty has been flushed in my disappointed tears. : (