Here you go then, the one you’ve all been waiting for. My top gigs and records of 2014. I’ve had a gig filled year travelling up and down the country for CackBlabbath and I’ve heard a lot of cool bands that I would never have come across if I didn’t have a habit of hanging around the smaller stages at festivals. With line-ups already being announced for 2015’s festivals it’s time to reflect on what really made my 2014 a good one:
As usual, ten albums is very hard to narrow down, but here goes…
The Top Albums of 2014 according to ME:
10. The Wildhearts : Earth Vs Rock City
9. Opeth : Pale Communion
8. Conan : Blood Eagle
7. Prong : Ruining Lives
6. Exodus : Blood in, Blood out.
I wasn’t quite sure about this one at first, I thought they’d missed the mark again but… with a bit of rearrangement and chopping out a couple of tracks you can make yourself a pretty fine album. We’ve been spoilt with Machine Head tours this year and it looks like we’re very much still in a rich vein as MH fans.
4. Down IV Part II
Okay not an album but nearly there, isn’t it? Wicked stuff. A nastier and rougher around the edges piece of work than the last one.
3. Killer Be Killed : Killer Be Killed
Amazing to hear what came out of all these contrasting musicians coming together. KBK seemed to get overlooked as soon as the Mastodon album came out, but I thought this was far more exciting. Looking forward to this coming to the live scene…
2. EyeHateGod : EyeHateGod
So cool to have EHG back making new music, this was well worth the wait, it’s up there with their best. The kings of sludge remain at the top… except for…
1. Hang The Bastard : Sex in the Seventh Circle
I decided this was my album of the year as soon as I put it on. Heavy, fresh and brutal. This one just knocked my socks off like nothing else this year.
I’m still hurting from the summer festivals so they must have been good!
Top 10 Gigs of 2014
10. Lamb Of God : Leeds O2 Academy
LOG whipped up an awesome crowd on a cold January Monday night, a little different from warmth of the Bloodstock performance the previous summer, but as intense as ever.
9. Therapy? : Nottingham Rock City
‘Troublegum’ played in its entirety, brilliant. One of the great albums of my school days played out in my favourite venue in the world.
Again, my favourite venue and my favourite band too. Just not as good as the previous years anniversary tour to deserve loftier rankings.
7. Phil Anselmo & the Illegals : Hellfest
Hellfest was great, this was just one highlight of many. It’s not Hellfest without big Phil.
6. Anthrax : Sonisphere (Among The Living set)
The tent was rammed and this was what 2/3 of Team CB were looking forward to most from the whole weekend at Sonisphere, it didn’t disappoint.
5. Machine Head : Rescue Rooms
First night of the intimate UK clubs shows, it was about a million degrees and just fantastic to see this band up real close instead of miles away on a festival stage.
4. Prong : Bloodstock
The best performance from an awesome Bloodstock festival. Just one of those moments when everything clicks into place.
Not the first or last time I’d see this tour and setlist recently but this one seemed a bit more special than the rest. Up the Irons.
2. Acid King : Hellfest
I’ve never managed to see Acid King before for one reason or another, but when in Hellfest… Well worth the wait!
1. Monster Magnet : Hellfest
I’ve never seen Monster Magnet rip through a set like that before. After the laid back ‘Last Patrol’ tour from February, this gig went off like a bomb. On paper, following Clutch was a nightmare billing, but in reality they coped with that and more to deliver the best Monster Magnet show I’ve ever seen and my gig of the year.
So that’s a wrap apart from stuff I’m looking forward to in 2015 like a new Acid king album, hopefully Hellfest again, maybe Desert Fest and we might be able some squeeze in some KISS!