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Top 10 Albums of 2014

While we look forward to some of the exciting albums coming out in 2015, it's also good to take a look back at what we've enjoyed this year. Here are my picks - what are yours?

10. In This Moment - Black Widow

In This Moment's Maria Brink loves to challenge perceptions of what women in metal can be, and this album is a great example of that. Killer singles like Sex Metal Barbie, Sick Like Me and Big Bad Wolf dominate the record. 

9. Amberian Dawn - Magic Forest

After reinventing their sound with new singer Capri, Amberian Dawn are sure to see more success. This fun and catchy dose of power metal is reminiscent of Nightwish. Check out the lead single, also titled Magic Forest and opener Cherish My Memory for a taster.

8. Amaranthe - Massive Addictive

You don't get much more fun and catchy than the poptastic Amaranthe. This album lives up to its title, with tons of upbeat tracks to give you motivation. Digital World and title track Massive Addictive are particular highlights.

7. Eluveitie - Origins

Eluveitie have outdone themselves with this beautiful record. Fans of the more melodic side of things will enjoy Anna Murphy's vocals on Call of the Mountains and Vianna, while those who like things heavier might like the brilliant King and Celtos.

6. Xandria - Sacrificium

Many questioned if Xandria could better their stellar Neverworld's End, but Sacrificium certainly at least equals it. New vocalist Dianne Van Giersbergen has a wonderful voice (even better live!). If you're not hooked by the epic opening title track, try the singles Nightfall and Dreamkeeper.

5. Within Temptation - Hydra

Although it has prompted many differences of opinion, Hydra is nonetheless one of the biggest hits of the year. In this record, Within Temptation try on all the different heads they can manage - whether it's metal, rock, pop or even rap. Whether they're successful or not is down to opinion, but tracks like Paradise (What About Us?) and Tell Me Why are a must-listen.

4. Delain - The Human Contradiction

With this album Delain were finally given the creative freedom that they've craved, and it totally paid off. This is quite possibly the best music the band have produced - heavier and darker whilst never losing their melodic roots. And there's a welcome return by Marco Hietala! To get a feel for this record, try Your Body is a Battleground and The Tragedy of the Commons

3. Lacuna Coil - Broken Crown Halo

This one is a grower, but now one I can't stop listening to. Broken Crown Halo brings Lacuna Coil back to top form. Strong lyrics and passion-infused music are what really sells this one - plus it's nice to see the band trying out some orchestral elements as well. Nothing Stands In Our Way is a great anthem, and there's also some more poignant and moving tracks like Victims and One Cold Day.

2. Epica - The Quantum Enigma

You may be surprised to see this in the number 2 spot. Almost universally acclaimed as the album of the year by many symphonic fans, it is certainly one of the best you will ever listen to. The compositions are excellent, buoyed up by great sound quality and mixing. The Quantum Enigma is inescapable - if you enjoy this genre, you need to give it a try. Check out The Fifth Guardian/Chemical Insomnia and Natural Corruption.

1. Tuomas Holopainen - The Life and Times of Scrooge

For me, there was no other choice for album of the year. I never could have predicted that I could feel so much love for a record about a cartoon duck... But The Life and Times of Scrooge simply has something that transcends music. It paints you a story with sound, creating a truly beautiful and unique adventure. This is a testament to Tuomas Holopainen's skill as a composer.

The best way to listen to this album is to play it all the way through headphones, preferably with no other distractions, to experience how emotional and evocative it is. To begin with, though, Cold Heart of the Klondike and The Last Sled are a great place to start.


I don't usually love full albums (just bits and pieces of each), so I never bother making a list of best albums at the end of the year because there are so few that I find especially worthy. My list would go like this:

3. Aftermath - Amy Lee
2. Hydra - Within Temptation
1. The Quantum Enigma - Epica

Unfortunately I didn't get around to hearing Xandria's Sacrificium, but from the three songs from it I did hear, I think I'll end up loving it. Hopefully I can get around to listening to it soon.


I think I'm a bit of a mix! With some bands I love to listen to the full albums and find it weird listening to the songs out of contexts. With others I just pick my favourite songs and put them in my playlist.

I've not yet listened to Aftermath. What's it like? I didn't know what to expect as it's a soundtrack.


Epica would also be my number 2 album of the year, & fantastic that after so many years a band can come up with some of their best tracks yet.

That comment also applies to my favourite album, Dressed in Voices, by Mostly Autumn. After the best part of 15 years, to come up with an album that good can only bode well for the next 15 years too & it showcases Olivia's voice brilliantly.
Number 3 probably Humble Sky by Bleech. Their first album was near perfect & the follow up little different.
Tuomas's albumn was a really nice surprise though bearing in mind the subject matter would normally put me off straight away!


My personal opinion is that Hydra is one of the very worst albums to come out of 2014 (so so so bitterly disappointing), and I am very pleased that Tuomas has got Scrooge McDuck out of his system to return to Nightwish with full-force next year; definitely wasn't for me. For sure The Quantum Enigma is this year's best record for me, and Amaranthe's Massive Addictive not far behind! x


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