It’s that time of year again. As 2014 draws to a close, we check in with the Metal Insider staff to see what new albums got them the most excited. First up is Zach Shaw with his top 10…

Holy crap, is it already the end of another year?! Damn… well, while I’m still trying to figure out where the hell this year went, I do remember all of the killer albums that came out in 2014. From comebacks to debuts, it was a damn good year for metal in the new music category. So let’s cut to the chase, and check out which albums made it into my top ten (along with eleven albums that almost made the list) below.



machineheadbloodstone10. Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds

Ok, this might seem like an odd way to start off a Top 10 favorite albums of the year list, but I have to be honest: my love for Machine Head has been worn thin lately. I admit it’s mainly because of Robb Flynn and the band’s tendency lately to overshare (hey, sometimes less is more). However, that doesn’t change the fact that Machine Head have delivered another stellar album. Surprisingly the band’s punk roots shine through songs like “Killers & Kings” and “Game Over.” However, songs like “Night Of Long Knives” and “Now We Die” capture what Machine Head does best; write epic and technical anthems.

Key Track: “Night Of Long Knives”


arch enemy war eternal9. Arch Enemy – War Eternal

There’s no denying that Michael Amott is a genius at crafting brutal yet melodic riffs. So unsurprisingly, Amott succeeds again with Arch Enemy’s War Eternal. And though half the fun of Arch Enemy is hearing Michael shred with his brother Christopher, guitarist Nick Cordle does more than fine filling in (even though he recently parted ways with the band). Yet those weren’t the biggest shoes left to be filled in Arch Enemy. That tough job went to Alissa White-Gluz, who proves that she is a worthy successor to singer Angela Gossow. If there was any doubt that Arch Enemy could continue on with Alissa at the helm, simply listen to songs like “Down To Nothing” and “Stolen Life.”

Key Track: “Down To Nothing”


at the gates_At War With Reality_6008. At The Gates – At War With Reality

I don’t think anyone could’ve handled the notion of At The Gates’ first album in almost 20 years being anything less than spectacular. Thankfully, the Swedish pioneers delivered the goods and made the long wait for a new album well worth it. To say that At War With Reality is a stellar follow up to Slaughter Of The Soul might sound like a cop out, but is genuinely true. The face-melting riffs and solos heard in songs like “The Circular Ruins” and “The Head Of the Hydra” are worthy additions to At The Gates’ catalogue, a legacy that’s influence so many metal and hardcore bands despite the years apart.

Key Track: “The Head Of the Hydra”