Kodi McKinney’s Top 10 of 2014

Posted by on December 12, 2014

1) At the Gates, At War With Reality (Century Media)

It’s beyond nostalgia. At War With Reality may sound like At the Gates came back to Studio Fredman 6 months after recording Slaughter of the Soul and picked their guitars back up, but it’s somehow timeless. There is a real sense of propulsion here that’s not unlike SOTS, but more importantly, this album dusts off that sense of grasping at nothingness that every At the Gates record has conveyed perfectly. Even when it soars as it does in the title track’s solo, some sad weight pulls it back down to earth – and that’s a quality, an inherent Swedish-ness, that ATG’s legions of imitators have never been able to properly distill. Add in key ideas carrying over from the first two albums and Terminal Spirit Disease (yes, even the disorienting masterpiece The Red in the Sky is Ours) plus an occasional top-tier callback to The Haunted, and it’s clear that At the Gates are as gripping and vital in 2014 as they ever were. It’s easy to forget that no ATG album has ever been as accessible as you’d expect, even to the point that some songs might seem hook-less at first – so compared even to SOTS, the immediacy with which some of it comes barreling at you is beyond impressive. It’s not every year that the best metal records can be the ones that aren’t reinventing the wheel completely; however, this is the most complete representation of ATG that we’ve heard yet, and that was not at all what anyone was reasonably expecting.

Key track: “The Head Of The Hydra”

Honorable Mentions:

If I was making a top 20, 11-20 would look kind of like this:

Godflesh, A World Lit Only By Fire (Avalanche Recordings)
Trap Them, Blissfucker (Prosthetic)
Devin Townsend Project, Z2 (Inside Out)
Black Crown Initiate, The Wreckage of Stars (eOne)
Pallbearer, Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore)
Colombian Necktie, Twilight Upon Us (Self-released)
Krieg, Transient (Candlelight)
YOB, Clearing the Path to Ascend (Neurot)
Crowbar, Symmetry in Black (eOne)
Xerath, III (Candlelight)

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