Unlistenable Racket End Of Year Special – The Best Punk, Hardcore and Metal of 2014

2014 saw a bunch of bands record some music. Some of it was shit, some of it was excellent. Here’s a list I done which features 20 of the best ones. Have a look with your eyes.


1. Pianos Become The Teeth – Keep You (Epitaph Records)

No, I wouldn’t have thought so either. That hectic screamo nonsense is dialled right down and replaced with gentle melancholic rock with the effect being simply breathtaking. Low-key, elegant and comprising of all the feels.


2. The Banner – Greying (Good Fight Music)

New Jersey’s finest return to reclaim their crown and deliver a surprisingly complex record. Gigantic mosh rubs shoulders with gothic synth-pop and the result is a brave and nuanced set of tracks; caressing with one hand, smashing your face in with the other.


3. Aphex Twin – Syro (Warp Records)

Ok, so there’s not a guitar in sight, but Richard D James’ new record under his most famous pseudonym was the only LP released this year that almost caused me to hyperventilate when it was announced. He doesn’t sound all that different, but it further cements his position as the godfather of bleeps, bloops and head-fuck electronic music


4. Artificial Brain – Labyrinth Constelation (Profound Lore Records)

Still as bewildering, after countless repeat listens, as when it was first released back at the start of the year. Progressive, inter-dimensional death metal that, through exquisite songwriting, is as keen to explore brief glimpses of hope as it is guttural horror. Plus, you can’t fuck with that album art.


5. Seizures – The Sanity Universal (Melotov Records / Sun Terrace Records)

Handily re-released this year to allow me to include it in another Best Of list. This is galactic, peerless metalcore which shows off more ideas than you’ve had hot dinners and sets the new standard to beat. And then beats it itself. And then sets it again.


6. Lord Mantis – Death Mask (Profound Lore)

Quite simply the most viciously nihilistic, hateful and self destructive record that I’ve heard all year. A truly grim and disturbing experience which, if you let it, will certainly take you to places that you absolutely didn’t want to go. Charlie Fell’s lyrics and the cover art by Jef Whitehead sparked countless controversies, but the fact remains that this is one hell of a powerful record. I need a wash.


7. Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World (Last Gang / Warner Bros.)

Oh, DFA1979 how we’ve missed you. With your silly elephant artwork and your filthy bass riffs that sound like actual sex. Don’t stay away too long this time, yeah?


8. The Flex – Wild Stabs In The Dark (Milk Run Records)

These LS4 lads had a good year; a mammoth USA tour with Violent Reaction and a subsequent signing to Lockin’ Out Records are just rewards for being one of England’s finest punk bands. If you’re wanting a no-bullshit 80’s hardcore record that’s dripping in contempt and sounds like total chaos in the streets, look no further.


9. Dads – I’ll Be The Tornado (6131 Records)

Twinkly basement emo duo re-emerge with a new record that displays a remarkable leap forward in every aspect. Shambolic heartbreak of the highest caliber that manages, somehow, to be low-key but enormous. Now, excuse me because I seem to have something in my eye.


10. Eyehategod – self titled (Century Media / Housecore / Daymare)

On their first LP since 2000’s Confederacy Of Ruined Lives, the reigning kings of Southern sludge return with a record that wears every ounce of pain that those years have wrought on its sleeve. Eyehategod are simply untouchable when it comes to this shit; as heavy as a box of steel cocks and grimmer than a mass grave. After all that they’ve been through, praise whatever god might exist that they’re still putting out music.


11. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal Records)

Hey, calling the rest of hip hop – you can go home now. You’re done. For as long as Killer Mike and El P are creating records like this, you might as well sit this one out. Packed with such an amount of dizzying wordplay and brain-melting production that it blows everything else of its kind out of the water. Lean, mean and endlessly creative. And they gave it away for free.


12. Code Orange – I Am King (Deathwish)

Expertly combining ignorant beatdowns (even some of their beatdowns have beatdowns) with haunting melody and progressive song structures, King proved that Code Orange aren’t running out of ideas any time soon. Some people remain sniffy about this band, which boggles my tiny mind. Forward thinking metalcore for the sensitive generation.


13. Cholera – Plagiarised Hope (COF Records)

Perfectly encapsulating the misery of rain-soaked England, Cholera are the soundtrack to ruin; to lost hope; to dead ends. In other words, they’re as heavy as all fuck and will burn through your speakers like acid. Months after it’s release, I can barely make it a day without listening to ‘Anonymous‘. That horrific air raid siren at the end haunts my dreams. Oh, and the beatdown during ‘Raped‘ will knock your teeth out. Oh Christ, just listen to it.


14. Breaking Point – Set To Burn (Carry The Weight Records)

Every bit as captivating on record as they are on stage, Breaking Point are that rare hardcore band that can create a full length record and still hold your attention. There’s no filler, no half-assin, just pure, unfiltered, inventive straight edge hardcore; delivered like a brick to the chin. Also, BxP have been at the wheel now for 5 years, which, considering the life span of most UKHC bands, makes them old-timers. Not bad, grandads.


15. Primitive Man / Hexis (Halo Of Flies Records)

Two of the heaviest bands in the world team up to provide two tracks of monolithic hatred. Hexis’ contribution is the aural embodiment of actual hell on earth while Primitve Man sound like being beaten to death by gorillas in slow motion. Oof.


16. Cold World – How The Gods Chill (Deathwish)

Cold World quite obviously don’t give a shit what year it is. How The Gods Chill, their first LP in 6 years, sees them continue to be the very best at combining hip-hop and NYC-style hardcore like it never went out of fashion. And when they do it aswell as this? I can’t complain. There’s so much bounce on this record that you could get travel sick listening to it, not to mention an enormous amount of heart and soul to underline the swagger. Confidence boosting hardcore.


17. Every Time I Die – Parts Unknown (Epitaph)

Who’d have thought they still had an album in them as brazenly aggressive as this? All those fans (me included) who stood by Every Time I Die while they were busy inserting banjos into metal have been rewarded with a monster of a record; a true sequel to their seminal Hot Damn LP from 2003.


18. The Body / Thou collaboration – Released From Love (Vinyl Rites)

Misery. Abject, unwavering misery. Pure and simple. Which is to be expected when two bands, each individually known for creating harrowing, unflinching sludge metal, get together and start jamming. You will not be laughing

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19. Idylls – Prayer For Terrene (Tapes Of A Neon God)

If Prayer For Terrene, Idylls’ second LP, consisted only of its opening track it would still make this list. ‘Lied To‘ reaches what feels like the crescendo after about 90 seconds and continues to punish your senses for another 6 minutes. It’s astonishing stuff and completely exhausting in the best way possible. Thing is, that’s only the beginning, and Idylls take you on rollercoaster ride that packs in ferocious punk, howling noise and, of course, some saxophones. powerful. Powerful.


20. The Melvins – Hold It In (Ipecac)

After covering the Butthole Surfers song ‘Graveyard‘ while giving away free ice cream to kids in Chicago’s Humboldt Park last year (no, seriously), The Melvins mark their 31st year as a band by teaming up with Butthole members Paul Leary and JD Pinkus to create a record that is as weird and wonderful as you’d expect. No oddball stone is left unturned as they take in creepy pop, knuckle dragging sludge, whimsical stoner and vocoder-driven 70’s prog. Here’s to The Melvins’ next 3 records, which they’ll have probably released by the time you’ve read this sentence.


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About Nathan Bean

Tyrant/ Editor Nathan is a 'former member of...' numerous mediocre punk bands and internet gobshite and has been involved in the United Kingdom hardcore scene since the mid 90's. Now retired from active duty he spends his time writing about gaming, movies, music and comics, shouting at the television and threatening to start another band.