It’s not like Rolling Stone necessarily has their finger on the pulse of heavy music. In fact, they famously trashed the first albums by both Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. So it’s not all that surprising that even though 2014 was a banner year for metal that only one album that’s remotely heavy wound up on the magazine’s Top 50 of 2014 list. That album is Yob’s Clearing the Path to Ascend. It’s a great choice, but it’s a little suspicious that the album came in at #50, almost as if the staff of the magazine felt they had to pay lip service to an underrepresented genre so they slid them in.
Some credit should be given to the magazine, however, for picking Yob. The four-track 62 minute-long album isn’t an easy listen, but a rewarding one, worshipping at the shrine of Neurosis, which is entirely appropriate given that the album, their seventh, is the first on Neurosis’ Scott Kelly’s Neurot Records. Yet in a year that featured albums from marquee metal acts (Judas Priest, Exodus, Slipknot, At the Gates) and critical darlings (Pallbearer, Electric Wizard), it’s a still a rather odd choice for inclusion. Then again, the magazine chose U2’s Songs of Innocence as their #1 album, which suggests that they’re still a little tone deaf.