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The Staff's Top Picks of 2014

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*** Please CLICK HERE to vote for YOUR favorite album of the year !***


(Click on each writer's name below to go directly to his list.)

Summarized List Of The Top 50 CDs, From All Of The SoT Staff

Peter Pardo
Mike Popke
Jon Neudorf
Steven Reid
Murat Batmaz
Scott Jessup
Carl Sederholm
Dean Pedley
Ryan Good
Mark Davies
Butch Jones
Simon Bray
Jeff Ballew
Nicholas Franco
Mark Johnson




Peter Pardo


Overall, it's been a great year for music once again. Though it seemed that classic metal, retro hard rock, and prog outdid extreme metal this year (in my opinion anyway) there was still some killer music across all genres here in 2014. Though I listened to HUNDREDS of new releases this year, there are still many that I did not get to, including some higher profile releases, so apologies to any deserving bands who are absent from this list and did not make the cut.

1. Judas Priest : Redeemer of Souls - (The Metal Gods are back! Best comeback, best album…period!)
2. Opeth : Pale Communion - (Opeth's transition to full on prog is complete)
3. Accept : Blind Rage - (Kick ass metal album, three albums in with Turnillo and all are winners)
4. Uriah Heep : Outsider - (No signs of the Heep machine slowing down!)
5. Primal Fear : Delivering the Black - (Best power metal band on the planet)
6. Primordial : Where Greater Men Have Fallen - (Irish veterans keep getting better)
7. California Breed : California Breed - (Glenn Hughes & Co. rise from the BCC ashes)
8. Exodus : Blood In Blood Out - (Zetro back where he belongs…a thrash classic)
9. Blues Pills : Blues Pills - (incredible '70s styled blues/hard rock album from these youngsters)
10. AC/DC : Rock or Bust - (so much fun-it's AC/DC after all!)
11. Mastodon : Once More 'Round the Sun - (combines their more accessible sounds with the prog metal)
12. Braindance : Master of Disguise - (a welcome return from the NY purveyors of metallic dark wave)
13. Ne Obliviscaris : Citadel - (enchanting progressive & classical extreme metal)
14. Anathema : Distant Satellites - (another wonderful release from these UK mood rockers)
15. Evergrey : Hymns for the Broken - (the Swedish gothic prog metal band are back big time)
16. Transatlantic : Kaleidoscope - (prog supergroup impresses yet again!)
17. The Graviators : Motherload - (classic doom & stoner metal doesn't get much better than this)
18. Vanden Plas : Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld - (German prog metal act wins again)
19. Scar Symmetry : The Singularity - (Phase 1-Neohumanity - never a dull moment with these guys!)
20. Brainstorm : Firesoul - (just another great album from this always dependable power metal act)
21. Cannibal Corpse : A Skeletal Domain - (tech-death metal at its best!)
22. Vader : Tibi Et Igni - (Poland's death metal titans once again deliver the goods!)
23. Laura Casale : Now is Where You Are - (gorgeous prog/pop release from this talented artist)
24. Glass Hammer : Ode to Echo - (Tennessee prog veterans once again give us a top notch album)
25. At the Gates : At War With Reality - (another fantastic comeback this year-the return of the Gothenburg melodic death metal legends!)

And Rounding out my Top 100 of 2014:
26. Lucifer Was : DiesGrows
27. The Vintage Caravan : The Voyage
28. My Brother the Wind : Once There Was a Time When Time and Space Were One
29. Rival Sons : The Great Western Valkyrie
30. IQ : The Road of Bones
31. Sanctuary : The Year the Sun Died
32. Decapitated : Blood Mantra
33. 1349 : Massive Cauldron of Chaos
34. Mr. Big : ...The Stories We Could Tell
35. Nazareth : Rock 'n' Roll Telephone
36. Iced Earth : Plagues of Babylon
37. Supernal Endgame : Touch the Sky, Volume II
38. Threshold : For the Journey
39. Zodiac : Sonic Child
40. Three Seasons : Grow
41. Pink Floyd : The Endless River
42. Magnum : Escape From the Shadow Garden
43. Happy Family : Minimal Gods
44. Illuvatar : From the Silence Saga - Sagacity
45. Flying Colors : Second Nature Voyager - Sagacity
46. Night Ranger : High Road
47. Ace Frehley : Space Invader
48. Riot Horse : This is Who We Are
49. The Socks : The Socks
50. Heliopolis : City of the Sun
51. Kamchatka : The Search Goes On
52. Mayhem : Esoteric Warfare
53. Black Crown Initiate : The Wreckage of Stars
54. Winterfylleth : The Divination of Antiquity
55. Bloodbath : Grand Morbid Funeral
56. Slough Feg : Digital Resistance
57. Distorted Harmony : Chain Reaction
58. Lonely Kamel : Shit City
59. Story of a Life : Story of a Life
60. Corrosion of Conformity : IX
61. Red Zone Rider : Red Zone Rider
62. Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell : Check 'em Before You Wreck 'em
63. The D Project : Making Sense
64. Mad Artwork : I Still Breathe
65. Down : Down IV - Part II
66. Behemoth : The Satanist
67. Dread Sovereign : All Hell's Martyrs
68. Greenleaf : Trails and Passes
69. Dewa Budjana : Surya Namaskar
70. Fozzy : Do You Wanna Start a War?
71. While Heaven Wept : Suspended At Aphelion
72. Steel Prophet : Omniscient
73. Electric Wizard : Time to Die
74. Belphegor : Conjuring the Dead
75. The Golden Grass : The Golden Grass
76. Mount Salem : Endless
77. Malpractice : Turning Tides
78. Apostle of Solitude : Of Woe and Wounds
79. Death Penalty : Death Penalty
80. Mausoleum Gate : Mausoleum Gate
81. Joe Bonamassa : Different Shades of Blue
82. Cynic : Kindly Bent to Free Us
83. Sahg : Delusions of Grandeur
84. Jex Thoth : Blood Moon Rise
85. Riot V : Unleash the Fire
86. Black Stone Cherry : Magic Mountain
87. Brimstone Coven : Brimstone Coven
88. Rocket Scientists : Supernatural Highways
89. Allen/Lande : The Great Divide
90. Mike Keneally : You Must Be This Tall
91. Aborted : The Necrotic Manifesto
92. Witch Mountain : Mobile of Angels
93. Kruk : Before
94. Pretty Maids : Louder Than Ever
95. Wishbone Ash : Blue Horizons
96. Divine Ascension : Liberator
97. Insomnium : Shadows of the Dying Sun
98. Novembers Doom : Bled White
99. Crowbar : Symmetry in Black
100. Red Dragon Cartel : Red Dragon Cartel

Reissues/Remasters:
Manilla Road-Mystification
Orchid-The Zodiac Sessions
Death-Leprosy
Renaissance-Scheherazade and Other Stories
Alice Cooper-Billion Dollar Babies
Led Zeppelin-Houses of the Holy
Led Zeppelin-IV
Led Zeppelin-I
Led Zeppelin-II
Led Zeppelin-III
Mike Keneally & Beer for Dolphins-Sluggo
Shotgun-Dallasian Rock
Emperor-In the Nightside Eclipse
Poobah-US Rock
Heart-Magazine
Brand X-Missing Period
Manilla Road-Out of the Abyss
Pale Divine- Cemetery Earth
Mystic Siva-Mystic Siva
Dave Greenslade- Cactus Choir

Live Albums
Queen : Live at the Rainbow 74
Marbin : The Third Set
Deep Purple : Graz 1975
Satan : Trial of Fire - Live in North America
Brand X : Live at the Roxy LA
Steve Hillage : Rainbow 77
Sweet : Level Headed Tour Rehearsals 1977
The Allman Brothers Band : Play All Night Live at the Beacon Theatre 1992
Little Feat : Live in Holland 1976
Stray : Live in Japan 2013
Deep Purple : Live in California 74
Gary Moore : Live at Bush Hall 2007
Todd Rundgren and Utopia : Live at the Electric Ballroom
Whitesnake : Live in 1984 - Back to the Bone
Status Quo : The Frantic Four's Final Fling, Live at the Dublin 02 Arena
Heart : Fanatic Live From Caesers Colosseum
The Move : Live at the Fillmore 1969
Blackberry Smoke: Leave a Scar : Live in North Carolina
Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian : Hamburg '72
Frogg Cafe : Admiral's Picks, Volume 1

Best Live Concerts 2014
Pentagram/Bang/Blood Ceremony-Gramercy Theater, NYC
Dream Theater-Hammersmith Ballroom, NYC
Primal Fear-Stage 48, NYC
Kansas-Bergen Performing Arts Center, NJ
Boston/Cheap Trick-Bethel Woods, NY
Pat Travers Band-Brian's Backyard BBQ, NY
Queen + Adam Lambert-Izod Center, NJ
Deep Purple-Bergen Performing Arts Center, NJ
Nik Turner's Hawkwind-Webster Hall, NY
Journey/Steve Miller Band-Bethel Woods, NY
Peter Frampton/Doobie Brothers-Bethel Woods, NY
Yes-Radio City Music Hall, NYC
Marshall Tucker Band-Tarrytown Music Hall, NY
KISS/Def Leppard-Montage Mountain, PA



Mike Popke


Best of 2014

1. Enchant : The Great Divide
2. Neal Morse : Songs from November
3. Evergrey : Hymns for the Broken
4. Tim Bowness : Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
5. Winger : Better Days Coming
6. Knight Area : Hyperdrive
7. Ian Anderson : Homo Erraticus
8. Supernal Endgame : Touch the Sky-Volume II
9. Opeth : Pale Communion
10. Lynch Mob : Sun Red Sun
11. Threshold : For the Journey
12. Rocket Scientists : Refuel
13. Flying Colors : Second Nature
14. Vanishing Point : Distant Is the Sun
15. Silent Force : Rising From the Ashes
16. Allen*Lande : The Great Divide
17. Within Temptation : Hydra
18. Devin Townsend : Z2
19. Tyson Leslie : Train Wrecks, Havoc & Heartbreak
20. Team Data Amplifier : Replicant Eyes

Best Reissues/Live Albums of 2014
1. Mob Rules : Timekeeper 20th Anniversary Box
2. Toto : 35th Anniversary-Live in Poland
3. Transatlantic : KaLIVEoscope
4. W.E.T. : One Live-In Stockholm
5. Steve Hackett : Genesis Revisited-Live at The Royal Albert Hall
6. Steven Wilson : Cover Version
7. Lillian Axe : One Night in the Temple
8. Within Temptation : Let Us Burn
9. Various Artists : Real World 25
10. Tiles : Off the Floor 02

Alternate Best of 2014
1. Sam Llanas : The Whole Night Thru
2. Umphrey's McGee : Similar Skin
3. Tenth Avenue North : Cathedrals
4. Neil Diamond : Melody Road
5. Eg Kight : A New Day

Alternate Best of 2014 Reissues/Live
1. Bon Jovi : New Jersey (Super Deluxe Edition)
2. Jars of Clay : 20
3. CSNY : 1974
4. R.E.M. : Unplugged-The Complete Sessions 1991/2001
5. Wilco : Alpha Mike Foxtrot-Rare Tracks 1994-2014



Jon Neudorf


Best of 2014

These are my favourite releases from what has been another outstanding year in progressive rock:

Heliopolis : City of the Sun - (An album of superb craftsmanship and musicianship. My favourite of the year.)
The Samurai of Prog : The Imperial Hotel - (The entire package is stunning. An absolute must for fans of classic symphonic prog.)
Opeth : Pale Communion - (I personally love the 'new' Opeth and this is one of their strongest albums to date.)
Strattman : The Lie of the Beholder - (Progressive rock that your friend may actually like. Great album.)
Majestic : Epsilon 2 - (My favourite Majestic release so far. A must for fans of classic/spacey progressive rock.)
Anubis Gate : Horizons - (One of the best progressive metal albums of the year.)
Vanden Plas : Chronicles of the Immortals Netherworld [path one] - (The German progressive metal band has seldom disappointed and their latest continues that trend.)
Supernal Endgame : Touch The Sky - Volume II - (Another uplifting, delightfully crafted album in the grand tradition of classic '70s prog.)
Nick Magnus : n'monix - (A delightful symphonic prog album from the veteran keyboardist.)
Glass Hammer : Ode To Echo - (Another major opus from one of the most consistent progressive rock bands in recent times.)
Lunatic Soul : Walking on a Flashlight Beam - (The Riverside front man delivers another outstanding release.)
Mastodon : Once More 'Round The Sun - (An aural assault of heavy riffs and melodic hooks and I love it.)
Iluvatar : From The Silence - (One of the nicest surprises of the year, especially after such a long absence.)
Tiles : Off The Floor 02 - (A highly energetic performance from a very classy band.)
Epica : The Quantum Enigma - (Another heavy, epic release from the Netherlands.)
Matt Stevens : Lucid - (One of the best instrumental albums of the year.)
Druckfarben : Second Sound - (An excellent sophomore effort from this up and coming Canadian band.)
Necromonkey : A Glimpse Of Possible Endings - (A masterful slice of eclectic prog.)
Seven Impale : City Of The Sun - (The Norwegian band's first album is a major achievement and just a joy to listen to.)
Proud Peasant : Flight - (Three epic instrumental tracks. What's not to like?)
Majestic : Epsilon 1 - (The first of two albums in 2014 and it's a beauty.)
MoeTar : Entropy of the Century - (A refreshing ride into the quirkier realm of art rock.)
Gong : I See You - (As diverse an album you will hear this year.)
Farpoint : Paint The Dark - (Melodic and accessible progressive rock that will have you hitting the repeat button.)
Cross : Da Capo - (One of the most melodic progressive rock albums you will hear this year.)
Ian Anderson : Homo Erraticus - (A very enjoyable and dare I say 'Tull' sounding album from Mr. Anderson.)
PHI : Now The Waves Of Sound Remain - (Top quality progressive rock from Austria.)
Monarch Trail : Skye - (Excellent symphonic/neo prog from Canada.)
Quantum Fantay : Terragaia - (Delightful space driven prog from Belgium.)
Tinkicker : The Cup of the Lord and the Wine of Demons - (The Denmark quintet have delivered their most melodic album to date.)
Anton Roolaart : The Plight of Lady Oona - (Mellow symphonic prog doesn't get much better than this.)
Margin : Psychedelic Teatime - (A must for fans of Pink Floyd.)
Oceans Of Night : Midnight Rising - (Classy metal from the first song to the last.)
Times Up : Sea of Schemes - (A change in direction and another excellent release from the UK proggers.)
Neal Morse : Songs From November - (An uplifting and highly enjoyable pop album from Mr. Morse.)



Steven Reid


BEST OF 2014

1. Within Temptation : Hydra - (The transition from Symph Metal hopefuls to Rock superstars is complete)
2. Enchant : The Great Divide - (Superb return from much missed Prog Rockers)
3. Tim Bowness : Abandoned Dancehall Dreams - (No-Man man hits the heights without Steven Wilson by his side - quite stunning)
4. Vanden Plas : Chronicles Of The Immortals - Netherworld - (Another Prog Metal masterpiece from VP)
5. Anette Olzon : Shine - (Olzon puts Nightwish behind her with an album somewhere between Kate Bush, Pop and Rock)
6. Threshold : For The Journey - (UK Prog Metallers simply keep getting better and better)
7. IQ : The Road Of Bones - (One of the best albums these UK veterans of Prog have produced)
8. Dave Bainbridge : Celestial Fire - (Iona mainman stands proud on this fiery, folky, Yes like solo outing)
9. Audrey Horne : Pure Heavy - (Another rompingly good blast of Heavy Rock goodness from the Horne!)
10. Riot V : Unleash The Fire - (A stunning comeback from US Power Metal outfit - Mark Reale would be proud)
11. Bjorn Riis : Lullabies In A Car Crash - (Superbly pitched, Porcupine Tree/Pink Floyd like fare from Airbag guitarist)
12. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers : Hypnotic Eye - (Petty and his 'Breakers near their best)
13. The Dowling Poole : Bleak Strategies - (Madmen make melodic mayhem magnificence)
14. Slash ft Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators : World On Fire - (It's too lengthy, but Slash releases his best post GnR songs to date)
15. The Scintilla Project : The Hybrid - (Balance Of Power men and Saxon's Biff Byford combine to great effect)
16. Saga : Sagacity - (A slow burner but well worth the effort from these Melodic Prog mainstays)
17. Bernie Marsden : Shine - (An unexpectedly wonderful return from Rockin' Blues guitar man)
18. John Wesley : Disconnect - (Porcupine Tree sideman provides his strongest, most eclectic solo offering)
19. The Tea Party : The Ocean At The End - (The TP return with a surprising blast of Led Zep homage)
20. Smash Fashion : Big Cat Love - (Simply the best 70 Rock album released in 2014 - retrotastic)
21. Transatlantic : Kaleidoscope
22. Never Awake : Underground - (The best Prog Metal debut of the year)
23. Accept : Blind Rage - (German veteran's resurgence continues apace)
24. Nightingale : Retribution - (A fantastic mix of Prog, Rock and AOR - and how it works!)
25. Gandalf's Fist : A Forest Of Fey - (A quick-fire, sure footed return from expansive Prog Rock duo expanded into a band)
26. Work Of Art : Framework - (The best pure AOR release of the year)
27. Uriah Heep : Outsider - (The blueprint is the same and so are the results. Classic Rock excellence)
28. The Pineapple Thief : Magnolia - (Shorter songs, less Prog, but still captivating)
29. Casualties Of Cool : Casualties Of Cool - (Devin Townsend goes Ambient Country. Wacky and wonderful)
30. Gazpacho : Demon - (Melancholic, introspective and involving - Progressive? Yes. Prog? Well…)
31. Sectu : Nefarious - (Extreme Metal at its scintillating, threatening best)
32. BlackWolf : The Hunt - (Making huge waves in the UK Rock scene, this debut lives up to expectations)
33. Skyscraper : Elevation - (Lee Small does AOR, now there's a good idea!)
34. Absolva : Anthems Of The Dead - (Simply the best UK Metal album of the year)
35. Winger : Better Days Comin' - (One time whipping boys confound their critics - again!)
36. In Faith : There's A Storm Coming - (UK AOR/MHR newbies hit the heights with thrilling debut)
37. Evergrey : Hymns For The Broken - (How can doom and gloom be so much fun? Prog melancholia)
38. Soldierfield : Catharsis - (Hard hitting full length Metal debut from UK newcomers)
39. Tony Spinner : Earth Music For Aliens - (Guitar led Hard Rock with US Blues Grooves to die for)
40. American Mafia : Rock 'n' Roll Hit Machine - (Never a better titled album than this)
41. Lazuli : Tant Que l'Herbe Grasse - (Enigmatic French tribal Prog, if there's such a thing - and there is)
42. Big Elf : Into The Maelstrom - (Madness abounds in this groovefest of psychedelic Prog)
43. The Answer : New Horizon - (Northern Ireland's masters of the Bluesy riff hit the heights)
44. Halcyon Way : Conquer - (Searing modern Metal that relies on melody to make its mark)
45. Iced Earth : Plagues Of Babylon - (Traditional pedal to the Metal goodness from underrated US riffmasters)
46. Arabs In Aspic : Pictures In A Dream - (Heavy Rock, Prog and so much more collide superbly)
47. RPWL : Wanted - (German Progsters (yes they are) go conceptual and they're in the story!)
48. H.e.a.t. : Tearing Down The Walls - (UK Melodic Rockers bring the energy of their live show to disc)
49. Red Dragon Cartel : Red Dragon Cartel - (Jake E Lee returns with eclectic, classy display)
50. Magnum : Escape From The Shadow Garden - (How do these UK Pompsters keep up this standard?)
51. Fahran : Chasing Hours - (Another UK Hard Rock outfit delivers a debut of serious intent)
52. Pocket Size : Exposed Undercurrents
53. Black Stone Cherry : Magic Mountain
54. Crazy Lixx : Crazy Lixx
55. Lucifer Was : DiesGrows
56. In Progress : North Atlantic Echoes
57. Sparzanza : Circle
58. Elephants Of Scotland : Execute And Breathe
59. D'Accord : III
60. Strattman : The Lie Of The Beholder
61. JPL : MMXIV
62. Toxic Smile : 7
63. Kaukasus : I
64. Mr : Big …The Stories We Could Tell
65. Modest Midget : Crysis
66. Confess : Jail
67. House Of Lords : Precious Metal
68. Triptykon : Melana Chasmata
69. From Hell : Ascent From Hell
70. Pete Shoulder : Feathers And Rain
71. Tesla : Simplicity
72. FM : Futurama
73. Progstone : Out From There
74. The Brew : Control
75. Toseland : Renegade
76. Anubis Gate : Horizons
77. Martyr De Mona : Impera
78. Killer Be Killed : Killer Be Killed
79. Joe Bonamassa : Different Shade Of Blue
80. Ace Frehley : Space Invader
81. Dawn : Darker
82. Angels Or Kings : Kings Of Nowhere
83. Mother Road : Drive
84. Adventure : Caught In The Web
85. Wishbone Ash : Blue Horizon
86. Bullfrog : Clearwater
87. Ginger Wildheart : Albion
88. Down N Outz : …The Further Adventures Of
89. Fem : Sulla Bolla Di Sadono
90. Black Blitz : Louder Than Thunder
91. TDW : Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To
92. Gamma Ray : Empire Of The Undead
93. The Treatment : Running With The Dogs
94. CJ Wildheart : Mable
95. Pymlico : Guiding Light
96. Judas Priest : Redeemer Of Souls
97. Massive : Full Throttle
98. Adrenaline Mob : Men Of Honor
99. Cage The Gods : Badlands
100. Carl Verheyen : Mustang Run

EPs
1. Loveblast : Hard Liquor In Big Glasses
2. Galahad : Mein Herz Brennt
3. Glamour Of The Kill : After Hours
4. Peter Frampton : Hummingbird In A Box
5. New Model Army : Between Wine And Blood
6. Farenheit : Origins
7. Hogarth | Barbieri : Arclight
8. Galahad : Seize The Day
9. Electric Mary : The Last Hope
10. Galahad : Guardian Angel
11. Stephen Chesney ft Robert Mason : Annuit Coeptis
12. Jonas Lindberg : The Other Side
13. Hydrogen : Break The Chains
14. Voodoo Six : Lead Me On
15. The Dead Daisies : Face I Love
16. Lynam : Halfway To Hell
17. Patti Russo : XO!!
18. Avatarium : All I Want
19. Skid Row : Rise Of The Damnation Army : United World Rebellion Chapter 2
20. Tempt : Under My Skin

Reissues/Rerecorded/Box Sets
1. Arena : Contagion Max
2. Jimmy Barnes : Hindsight
3. Status Quo : Aquostic (Stripped Bare)
4. Girlschool : The Bronze Years (first four albums)
5. Powerwolf : The History Of Heresy Part I
6. Mob Rules : Timekeeper 20th Anniversary Box
7. Joe Satriani : The Complete Studio Recordings
8. 21 Guns : Nothings Real
9. The Moody Blues : The Magnificent Moodies 2CD 50th Anniversary Edition
10. Def Leppard : Slang (2CD)
11. It Bites : Whole New World - The Virgin Albums 1986-1991
12. Dan Reed Network : Anthology
13. Steven Wilson : Cover Versions
14. Newman : Newman
15. Alan Parsons Project : The Complete Albums Collection
16. Powerwolf : The History Of Heresy Part II
17. Kiss : Love Gun (2CD)
18. Mike + The Mechanics : The Living Years (2 CD)
19. Terraplane : Black & White
20. Cold Sweat : Cold Sweat

Live Albums
1. WET : One Live In Stockholm
2. Heart : Fanatic Live From Caesars Colosseum
3. Whitesnake : Live In '84 Back To The Bone
4. Marillion : A Sunday Night Beneath The Rain
5. Transatlantic : KaLIVEoscope
6. Lillian Axe : One Night In The Temple
7. Touchstone : Live Inside Outside
8. Stryper : Live At The Whiskey
9. Saxon : St. George's Day Sacrifice - Live In Manchester
10. Wildhearts : Rock City Vs The Wildhearts

Live Act
Hell
Heaven And Earth
Lazuli
Within Temptation
Foreigner
The Von Hertzen Brothers
Moon Safari
Slash ft Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators
The Answer
Fish
Joe Elliott's Down N Outz
Andy McKee
The Eagles
Chris Glen And The Outfit
Riverside
Voodoo Six
Votum
Mike + The Mechanics
Marillion
The Wildhearts
Vega
Saxon
Chris Rea
Eureka Machines
Fahran



Murat Batmaz


Best of 2014

1. Musk Ox : Woodfall
2. Opeth : Pale Communion
3. Agalloch : The Serpent & the Sphere
4. Nightingale : Retribution
5. Ne Obliviscaris : Citadel
5. Sanctuary : The Year the Sun Died
6. Haken : Restoration
7. Gazpacho : Demon
8. Mike Tramp : Museum
9. Threshold : For the Journey
10. Blut Aus Nord : Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry



Scott Jessup


Best of 2014

Despite all the doom and gloom we read about there was no shortage of albums in 2014 from past and new bands. I could have done another extensive list but I decided to keep it down to my standouts. Besides album releases I found both Max Cavalera's "My Bloody Roots" and Michael Sweet's "Honestly" to be good reading material.

1. Opeth : Pale Communion
2. Voyager : V
3. Vanden Plas : Chronicles Of The Immortals – Netherworld (Path 1)
4. Exodus : Blood In, Blood Out
5. Threshold : For The Journey
6. Scar Symmetry : The Singularity, Phase 1 : Neohumanity
7. Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins : Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins
8. Mastodon : Once More 'Round The Sun
9. Epica : The Quantum Enigma
10. Adamantra : Act II : Silent Narratives
11. Judas Priest : Redeemer Of Souls
12. Killer Be Killed : Killer Be Killed
13. Sanctuary : The Year The Sun Died
14. Haness Grossmann : The Radical Covenant
15. Iced Earth : Plagues Of Babylon
16. Overkill : White Devil Armory
17. Mayan : Antagonise
18. Stork : Broken Pieces
19. Aeon Zen : Ephemera
20. Anubis Gate: Horizons
21. Alestorm : Sunset Of The Golden Age
22. Ancient Bards : A New Dawn Ending
23. Xandrai : Sacrificium
24. Primial Fear : Delivering The Black
25. Vanishing Point : Distant Is The Sun
26. Evergrey : Hymns For The Broken
27. Marty Friedman : Inferno
28. Amberian Dawn : Magic Forest
29. Diabulus In Musica : Argia
30. Majesty Of Revival : Iron Gods
31. Edguy : Space Police
32. Vital Science : Imaginations On The Subject Of Infinity
33. Brainstorm : Firesoul
34. Machine Head : Bloodstone & Diamonds
35. Sinbreed : Shadows
36. Malpractice : Turning Tides
37. Animals As Leaders : The Joy Of Motion
38. Enchant : The Great Divide
39. Hemina : Nebulae
40. Amaze Knight : The Key



Carl Sederholm


Best of 2014

1. Conan : Blood Eagle
2. Inanimate Existence : A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement
3. Job for a Cowboy : Sun Eater
4. Godhunter / Secrets of the Sky : Ghosts
5. Black Anvil : Hail Death
6. Cannabis Corpse : From Wisdom to Baked
7. Lionize : Jetpack Soundtrack
8. Orange Goblin : Back from the Abyss
9. Gravehill : Death Curse
10. Fallujah : The Flesh Prevails
11. Pallbearer : Foundations of Burden
12. The King is Blind : The Deficiencies of Man
13. The Kennedy Veil : Trinity of Falsehood
14. Misery Index : The Killling Gods
15. Gory Blister : The Fifth Fury
16. Mastodon : Once More 'Round the Sun
17. Agalloch : The Serpent and the Sphere
18. Godhunter : City of Dust
19. Cannabis Corpse / Ghoul : Splatterhash Split
20. Usnea : Random Cosmic Violence
21. Inter Arma : The Cavern
22. Deathkings : Destroyer
23. Hod : Book of the Worm
24. Nothing : Guilty of Everything
25. Wizard Rifle : Here in the Deadlights



Dean Pedley


Top Albums of 2014

The Cadillac Three : Tennessee Mojo
Rival Sons : Great Western Valkyrie
AC/DC : Rock Or Bust
The Pretty Reckless : Going To Hell
Blues Pills : Blues Pills
Opeth : Pale Communion
Pink Floyd : The Endless River
Judas Priest : Redeemer Of Souls
Magnum : Escape From The Shadow Garden
Bruce Springsteen : High Hopes
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers : Hypnotic Eye
Mastodon : Once More 'Round The Sun
Kobra & The Lotus : High Priestess
John Illsey : Testing The Water
California Breed : California Breed

Best Live Album
Blackberry Smoke : Leave A Scar: Live In North Carolina

Best Box Set
Nils Lofgren : Face The Music

Best Re-issue
The Moody Blues : The Magnificent Moodies

Top Gigs
The Cadillac Three @ Oobleck, Birmingham
Eagles @ LG Arena, Birmingham
Blackberry Smoke @ Institute, Birmingham
Kate Bush 'Before The Dawn' @ Event Apollo, London
Steve Hackett 'Genesis Extended' @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham
The Cadillac Three @ Sonisphere, Knebworth
Status Quo 'Frantic Four' @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton
Camel @ Town Hall, Birmingham
Metallica @ Sonisphere, Knebworth
Dream Theater @ Sonisphere, Knebworth
Molly Hatchet @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Fish @ HRH Prog, Pwellhi
Tyketto @ HRH AOR, Pwellhi
Airbourne @ Sonisphere, Knebworth
Yes @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham



Ryan Good


Best of 2014

The Contortionist : Language
Beyond Creation : Earthbound Evolution
Serdce : Timelessness
Intervals : A Voice Within
Animals as Leaders : Joy of Motion
Devin Townsend Project : Z2
Opeth : Pale Communion
Revocation : Deathless
Enchant : The Great Divide
Black Crown Initiate : The Wreckage of Stars



Mark Davies


Best of 2014

2014 has truly been a stunning year for album releases, from new bands and the more established acts. So here we go, my top 15 albums for 2014 (the ones I've actually got around to listen to!)

1. Nothing More : Nothing More
2. Rival Sons : The Great Western Valkyrie
3. Black Book Lodge : Tundra
3. Devin Townsend Project : Z2
4. Blues Pills : Blues Pills
5. Massive : Full Throttle
6. The Brew : Control
7. Skindred : Kill The Power
8. Blackberry Smoke : The Whippoorwill (UK 2014 Release)
9. The Cadillac Three : Tennessee Mojo
10. Massive Wagons : Fight The System
11. Machine Head : Bloodstone & Diamonds
12. Foo Fighters : Sonic Highways
13. Crobot : Something Supernatural
14. Red Dragon Cartel : Red Dragon Cartel
15. Planet Of Zeus : Vigilante



Butch Jones


Best of 2014

1. Rival Sons : Great Western Valkyrie
2. Foo Fighters : Sonic Highways
3. Accept : Blind Rage
4. California Breed : California Breed
5. Gojira : Les Enfants Sauvages
6. Teramaze : Esoteric Symbolism
7. Orange Goblin : Back From The Abyss
8. Motorjesus : Electric Revolution
9. Royal Blood : Royal Blood
10. Opeth : Pale Communion
11. Meshuggah : The Ophidian Trek



Simon Bray


Best of 2014

1. Bloodbound : Stormborn
2. Jimmy Barnes : Hindsight
3. The Quireboys : Black Eyed Sons
4. Iron Savior : Rise of the Hero
5. Hammerfall : (r)Evolution
6. Edguy : Space Police - Defenders Of The Crown
7. Black Stone Cherry : Magic Mountain
8. Magnum : Escape From The Shadow Garden
9. Overland : Epic
10. AC/DC : Rock or Bust
11. Babymetal : Babymetal
12. DragonForce : Maximum Overload
13. Pink Floyd : The Endless River
14. Freedom Call : Ages of Light
15. Bruce Springsteen : High Hopes
16. Eric Clapton & Friends : The Breeze - An Appreciation Of JJ Cale
17. Delain : the Human Contradiction
18. Evergrey : Hymns for the Broken
19. Skinny Molly : Here for a Good Time
20. Work of Art : Framework
21. Primal Fear : Delivering the Black
22. Threshold : For the Journey
23. Bailey : Long Way Down
24. Crazy Lixx : Crazy Lixx
25. Neil Young : A Letter Home
26. Audrey Horne : Pure Heavy
27. Lordi : Scare Force One
28. Dalton : Pit Stop
29. Steel Panther : All You Can Eat
30. Fozzy : Do You Want to Start a War
31. Alestorm : Sunset on the Golden Age
32. Stream of Passion : A War of Our Own
33. Harem Scarem : Thirteen
34. Grave Digger : Return of the Reaper
35. Moonland feat : Lenna Kuurmaa
36. House of Lords : Precious Metal
37. Hell in the Club : Devil on my Shoulder
38. Unisonic : Light of Dawn
39. Brother Firetribe : Diamond in the Firepit
40. Liv Kristine : Vervain
41. Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band : Black Power Flower
42. Metsatöll : Karjajuht
43. Vega : Stereo Messiah
44. Harmony : Theatre of Redemption
45. Elvenking : The Pagan Manifesto
46. Knight Area : Hyperdrive
47. Axel Rudi Pell : Into the Storm
48. Astral Doors : Notes From the Shadows
49. Emigrate : Silent So Long
50. Falconer : Light of Dawn



Jeff Ballew


Top 20 of 2014

IQ : The Road of Bones
Distorted Harmony : Chain Reaction
Opeth : Pale Communion
Anubis Gate : Horizons
Insomnium : Shadows of the Dying Sun
Fallujah : The Flesh Prevails
Ne Obliviscaris : Citadel
Meadows End : The Sufferwell
Misery Index : The Killing Gods
Behemoth : The Satanist
Decembre Noir : A Discouraged Believer
Vanden Plas : Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld (Part 1)
Evergrey : Hymns for the Broken
Ghost Brigade : IV: One With the Storm
Perfect Beings : Perfect Beings
Cynic : Kindly Bent to Free Us
Beyond Creation : Earthborn Evolution
Vanishing Point : Distant is the Sun
Transatlantic : Kaleidoscope
Shroud of Despondency : Tied to a Dying Animal



Nicholas Franco


Best of 2014

1. PRIMORDIAL : Where Greater Men Have Fallen
2. SOLSTAFIR : Otta
3. DAWNBRINGER : Night of the Hammer
4. ANATHEMA : Distant Satellites
5. SLOUGH FEG : Digital Resistance
6. INSOMNIUM : Shadows Of The Dying Sun
7. PANOPTICON : Roads To The North
8. WALDGEFLUSTER : Meine Fesseln
9. WOLVHAMMER : Clawing Into Black Sun
10. 1349 : Massive Cauldron of Chaos
11. KAMPFAR : Djevelmakt
12. EINHERJER : For Oss, Av Oss
13. BEHEMOTH : The Satanist
14. WINTERFYLLETH : The Divination of Antiquity
15. SANCTUARY : The Year The Sun Died
16. WOLVES OF AVALON : Boudicca's Last Stand
17. PALLBEARER : Foundations of Burden
18. MORTALS : Cursed To See The Future
19. BASTARD SAPLING : Instinct Is Forever
20. IRON REAGAN : Tyranny Of Will



Mark Johnson


Best CDs of 2014 – Top Fourteen

U2 : Songs of Innocence - (Surprise! They created one of their best albums and then gave it away to the world. Thanks. Proof that the older, stronger bands can still make music that is both inspiring and innovative. Best album from an established group in a very long time.)
United Progressive Fraternity : Fall in Love with the World - (Thanks Mark and the band for including my voice on the title track. One of the best progressive albums in recent years and further proof there will be innovative music after Unitopia. Steve Hackett, Jon Anderson, and more surprises to come. Can't wait. They're already working on album II.)
Lake Street Dive : Bad Self Portraits - (Racheal is my singer of the year. No one even came close. So glad to find another new band in a year which did not produce many surprises.)
Voiciano : Everflow - (Sabine sounds as good as ever…if not better with piano and acoustic guitar support. Arjen's surprise participation was an added bonus.)
Kaipa : Sattyg - (The best pure progressive album of the year. This band is perfectly consistent with top ten level albums.)
Phillip Phillips : Behind the Light - (One of the best new artists I heard this year.)
Michael Stanley : The Job - (Another solid album for one of my birth town favorites. Michael also is proof that the more established bands can still make intriguing music.)
Laura Casale : Now is Where You Are - (A lifetime in the preparation and Laura unleashed her best.)
Henta Ellis : Beautiful Creation - (Henta's second album is even more profound than her first…if that was even possible.)
Flaming Row : Mirage - A Portrait of Figures - (The best pure prog/metal album of the year for me. Arjen's inclusion helped make this one of the best.)
Ume : Monuments - (The first album I reviewed this year. One of the best. They are also hard at work on their next.)
Majestic : Epsilon I & II - (Jeff continues his extraordinary talent of finding artists and creating sounds that are out of this world.)
Proud Peasant : Flight - (Another new band I discovered and want to hear more of in the future. They have an innovative way of melding the past with the present.)
Stream of Passion : A War of Our Own - (Good album with a hint to the past. If only all of the songs would have been as perfect as "For You".)

Best New Artists of 2013
United Progressive Fraternity
Lake Street Dive
Voiciano
Laura Casale
Lana del Rey
Imagine Dragons
Phillip Phillips
Spoon
Head and the Heart
Paolo Nutini
Proud Peasant
Forever Still
Best Comebacks
United Progressive Fraternity : Unitopia may be gone but the progressive fraternity has grown.

Best Individual Performances

Best Vocalist
Rachael Price : Lake Street Dive - My favorite new vocalist.

Best Lead Guitarist
Steve Hackett/Matt Williams : United Progressive Fraternity

Best Keyboardist
Hans Lundin : Yes, Kaipa is back and as good as ever.

Best Bassist
Daniel Mash - United Progressive Fraternity :

Best Drummer
Dave Hopgood : United Progressive Fraternity

Best Album Artwork
Ed Unitsky : United Progressive Fraternity - Fall in Love with the World

Favorite Songs
Voiciano : "Everflow"
United Progressive Fraternity : "Fall in Love with the World"
Lana del Rey : "West Coast"
Voiciano : "Island of the Gods"
Head and the Heart : "Let's Be Still"
Lake Street Dive : "Rental Love", "Stop Your Crying", "Seventeen", "You Go Down Smooth", and "What about Me"
Paolo Nutini : "Let Me Down Easy"
Imagine Dragons : "I Bet My Life"
Boy and Bear : "Southern Sun"
David Gray : "Back in the World"
Tame Impala : "Elephant"
Stream of Passion : "For You"
Phillip Phillips : "Raging Fire", "Searchlight", and "Alive Again"

Top 10 Movies of 2013
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies : Sad to see it end. Excellent trilogy.
Hunger Games: Mocking Jay I : Great…but too short. Looking forward to the conclusion next year.
Divergent : I'm hooked.



Summarized List Of The Top 50 CDs, From All Of The SoT Staff


1. Opeth : Pale Communion
2. Threshold : For The Journey
3. Evergrey : Hymns for the Broken
4. Vanden Plas : Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld (Part 1)
5. Mastodon : Once More 'Round The Sun
6. Rival Sons : The Great Western Valkyrie
7. Enchant : The Great Divide
8. Misery Index : The Killling Gods
9. Sanctuary : The Year The Sun Died
10. Magnum : Escape From The Shadow Garden
11. Judas Priest : Redeemer Of Souls
12. California Breed : California Breed
13. Blues Pills : Blues Pills
14. Devin Townsend Project : Z2
15. AC/DC : Rock Or Bust
16. Ne Obliviscaris : Citadel
17. Accept : Blind Rage
18. Majestic : Epsilon I & II
19. IQ : The Road of Bones
20. Transatlantic : Kaleidoscope
21. Vanishing Point : Distant is the Sun
22. Primial Fear : Delivering The Black
23. Pink Floyd : The Endless River
24. Supernal Endgame : Touch the Sky-Volume II
25. Flying Colors : Second Nature
26. Behemoth : The Satanist
27. Iced Earth : Plagues Of Babylon
28. Anubis Gate : Horizons
29. Primordial : Where Greater Men Have Fallen
30. Tim Bowness : Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
31. Exodus : Blood In, Blood Out
32. Insomnium : Shadows Of The Dying Sun
33. Foo Fighters : Sonic Highways
34. Beyond Creation : Earthbound Evolution
35. Orange Goblin : Back From The Abyss
36. The Cadillac Three : Tennessee Mojo
37. Anathema : Distant Satellites
38. Within Temptation : Hydra
39. Neal Morse : Songs From November
40. Agalloch : The Serpent and the Sphere
41. Fallujah : The Flesh Prevails
42. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers : Hypnotic Eye
43. Bruce Springsteen : High Hopes
44. Ian Anderson : Homo Erraticus
45. Proud Peasant : Flight
46. Scar Symmetry : The Singularity
47. Epica : The Quantum Enigma
48. Nightingale : Retribution
49. Pallbearer : Foundations of Burden
50. Laura Casale : Now is Where You Are

  

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