I thought I might surprise myself with my selection of metal albums of the year, and I certainly did. My jazz and prog rock lists are much as I expected them to be; not so my metal list. This may be the first year this century that there’s no symphonic metal among my favourite albums. It may also be my first list this century that isn’t dominated by prog metal. Death seems to be my flavour of the year, with black metal also coming to the fore.
Before I plonk my top albums onto the page, I must make two other Best Of awards for 2014.
There’s a healthy, deathly flavour to my penultimate metal favourites of 2014. Who would have thought death could bring such joy to anyone? My prog and jazz runners-up are both in conceptual counterpoint to the metal. I reckon that’s also healthy.
Have I mentioned how health-conscious I am? I exercise as little as possible. In that way I spare myself from exposure to injury or an accelerated pulse rate. Your heart can beat only so many times before it wears out, you know.
As I’ve mentioned to the other Metal State writers, I’m already planning a short article for the end of January or thereabouts on Overlooked Gems of 2014. Although I’m happy with my lists so far, I’ve seen other lists that include albums I want to know better. In addition, there have been a couple of solid releases in the short time since I started posting my Best Of.
When it comes to my Very Best Of, however – including today’s posts – I wouldn’t change or add anything. I’ve done enough of that already while I was sorting out my favourites.
It’s been quite fascinating to see the picks of 2014 by two colleagues at Metal State, first RiffRaff (Matt), then WarpRider (Reggie). We didn’t consult each other about our lists. We did expect that we’d each by touched more deeply than the others by certain types of metal. When Irmelinis (Mik the SuperSwede) posts her selection, I’ve no doubt her list will be as different as the lists posted by us blokes/guys/fellows/chaps/dudes.
This makes me (ChristopherMammal, aka Old Fart) feel very warm inside. When I was a young man, you either liked metal or you didn’t. There were only two types to choose from initially, heavy metal or doom metal, and they were pretty much the same thing anyway back then. Now there are as many genres and sub-genres of metal as there are member states of the United Nations. Long may the Metal Universe continue to expand.
It was a mistake for me to expect it would be easier to rank the albums in the top half of my selection because I play them more often. If anything it was more challenging than extracting a Top 30 from all the excellent releases of 2014, and that was just in the metal section. The task was no easier when it came to choosing my top prog and jazz.
I know this sounds like a dreadful cliché, but all the albums in my three lists are winners. First, however…
It’s still the weekend in some places. I’m still where I was yesterday, in the Metal State vaults where we store ancient vinyl albums. Yesterday I went back to 1970. Today I’ve travelled even farther back, to my #1 album of 1969.
When most people ponder on who their favourite vocalists might be, they don’t usually consider Roger Daltrey of The Who because they hadn’t been born yet when “Pinball Wizard” was released. To us wizened and wise ones, Daltrey was one of the best. The Who was one of the best bands. Mind you, back then there were only about a dozen really superb bands.
The song is about the deaf, dumb and blind kid who somehow became a pinball wizard, and that was without any help from Hogwarts.