2014 was a good year for Dallas metal. While it wasn't as prolific as years past, the Dallas metal scene's output still possessed a depth of quality. Death metal, thrash, hardcore-punk-influenced metal, heavy metal and sludge were all represented by this year's class of Dallas metal releases. Some could be forgiven for thinking this was a down year for Dallas metal; three of these five albums were released in October or later. That being the case, there were a lot of late entrants into the best albums of 2014 discussion in Dallas metal, from both established and lesser known bands. In the end, this year's class illustrates the diversity of the Dallas metal scene.
Barring Teeth - Ghost Chorus Among the Ruins
Released just before Thanksgiving on Willowtip Records, Ghost Chorus Among the Ruins is every bit as technical as it is interesting. The band's personnel, featuring former members of Man is Mostly Water, the Broadcast Sea and Between the Buried and Me, have spent their music careers building up to the developed nuance that is displayed on this latest album. Some of the sound scapes created on Ghost work to create a more uncomfortable atmosphere for listeners. The band's desire to create such atmospheres shows their experience better than any musical talent could (of which the band is loaded to the brim with). Make no mistake about it, Ghost is not a standard metal album. It is just as much Universe Zero as it is Ulcerate.
Kaliya - Kaliya
After a bit of a dormant period and some lineup changes, Kaliya has returned to the game with the release of their self-titled offering in late November. The band's members all boast backgrounds from the hardcore punk, metalcore, grindcore and death metal scenes. On Kaliya, the band members' experiences come to the forefront as their past is amalgamated into the record's finished sound. The record has the trademarks of a variety of genres: It has guttural death metal vocals, grindcore blast beats, metalcore breakdowns and hardcore punk verse patterns. With this latest effort, Kaliya looks to be turning the corner into a new era.
Mothership - Mothership II
2014 Dallas Observer Music Awards' Best Metal Act Mothership released their second album, Mothership II, to a great deal of fanfare late this year. II incorporates elements of heavy metal, hard rock, and even some of doom. The finished product is an album that displays the Juett Brothers', along with drummer Judge Smith, ongoing development as songwriters and musicians. If II is a sign of things to come for the relatively young, but already accomplished, Mothership the future is looking very bright for them.
Rigor Mortis - Slaves To The Grave
As legendary as thrash band Rigor Mortis has become within the metal community in Dallas, it is hard to believe that until October of this year they only had two full-length releases to their name. With Slaves to the Grave, the band releases their first album since 1991. While the album is not exactly what Rigor Mortis used to be, the band does show that they have aged well and haven't missed a beat. Rather than deviate and try something new, the band set out to write a Rigor Mortis album and in this regard, they were successful in their goal. The result is an album that can stand proudly next to its predecessors.
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Terminator 2 - Grueling and Worthless
Denton's Terminator 2 released their latest EP back in May. Grueling and Worthless is a continuation of the sludge sound the band made a name with back in 2012 on their debut full-length, Part 1. Grueling is everything you could hope for from a sludge record. It is grating and punishing. The measure of a good sludge album is the measure of physical demand it places on the listener. To this point, Grueling is an excellent sludge album. On the Gulf Coast, a place where sludge has made its name as one of metal's most beloved subgenres, it is good to know that Terminator 2 has made Denton a place where good sludge can be found.
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