avengedsevenfoldthestage7) Avenged Sevenfold, The Stage (Capitol)

Fans disappointed with Avenged Sevenfold’s attempt to recreate Metallica’s The Black Album 2013 album Hail To The King will be pleased (or at least relieved) upon hearing The Stage. Everything fans like me loved about City Of Evil, the self-titled album and Nightmare are back and fully captured on this record, while new drummer Brooks Wackerman proves he’s a perfect fit in the band.

Track Pick: “Creating God”


megadethdystopiacover6) Megadeth, Dystopia (Tradecraft/uME)

After 2013’s disappointing Super Collider, it’s nice to hear a truly kick-ass Megadeth album. Dystopia has plenty of shredding and Dave Mustaine’s gritty voice, but you could argue it’s Chris Adler’s drumming that helped the band capture a reinvigorated sound.

Track Pick: “Lying In State”


killswitchengageincarnate5) Killswitch Engage, Incarnate (Roadrunner)

The fire Jesse Leach reignited in Killswith Engage upon his return and with 2013’s Disarm The Descent is still at full blaze on Incarnate. Leach is in top form on songs like “Cut Me Loose,” and songs like “Hate By Design” capture guitarists Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel at their riff-tastic best.

Track Pick: “Hate By Design”