's favourite releases of 2014: part 3


Which are the best djent releases of 2014?

Last week, we announced positions 20 through 4 in the top 20 releases of 2014. Today, we're announcing the top 3! We're also announcing the top 10 of freely downloadable releases of 2014. Once again, we want to thank everyone who participated and shared their favourites with us, as well as all the bands who put out tons of awesome music for us to enjoy!

In a few weeks' time, we'll also posting our editors' picks of 2014, to highlight some awesome albums that might have slipped under the radar. Stay tuned for that!

If you want to listen to listen to all of this awesome music on Spotify, site user hateom has you covered: check out his top 2014 Spotify playlist here! top 20 releases of 2014

Check out positions 20 through 11.
Check out positions 10 through 4.

20. The Ralph - Delimiter

20. Anup Sastry - Titan

20. Clément Belio - Contrast

20. Rings Of Saturn - Lugal Ki En

20. Sergey Golovin - Changes

19. Architects - Lost Forever // Lost Together

18. Alaya - Thrones

15. The Algorithm - Octopus4

15. Within The Ruins - Phenomena

15. Cloudkicker - Little Histories

12. The Helix Nebula - Meridian

12. Polyphia - Muse

12. Erra - Moments Of Clarity

11. Miroist - Curve

10. Stealing Axion - Aeons

9. Volumes - No Sleep

8. Periphery - Clear

7. Shokran - Supreme Truth

6. Destiny Potato - Lun

5. Intervals - A Voice Within

4. Skyharbor - Guiding Lights

3. The Contortionist - Language

Despite the departure of vocalist Jonathan Carpenter in March 2013, The Contortionist have continued along the path they set out on with 2012's 'Intrinsic'. On that album, the band's deathcore roots took a background role, and on 'Language' the story is no different. Instead, they focus on crafting beautiful and unusual melodies that wouldn't sound out of place on a Cynic album. The combination of influences from post-rock, jazz and prog create an ethereal atmosphere that is complemented very well by the lyrical content of the record. Don't be fooled by the dreamy sounds of 'The Source' that lead off the album, however: these guys can still be punishingly heavy when they want to be.

The vocal work is excellent: Michael Lessard demonstrates that he is a worthy successor - not that there was any doubt about this among those who were already familiar with his work in Last Chance To Reason. His style is also somewhat similar to Jonathan's, so he's unlikely to have estranged too many fans. Nevertheless, The Contortionist have always been a bit of a polarizing band, and with this release it's no different: 'Language' is not for everyone. For some it's too tame, for others the melodies are a little too far out there at times. But when you sit back and revel in the soundscapes the band have managed to create, these shortcomings are easily forgiven. - benanne

The Contortionist - Language: part metal, part prog, part post-rock, all atmosphere.

2. Monuments - The Amanuensis

In a sense, 'The Amanuensis' marks the meeting of the ways of two "unobvious giants" of the djent-cosmos. Monuments might not be as widely known as Periphery, but having roots going back to Fellsilent, maybe one of the first bands to distinctly play what we now would call "djent", they always were one of the forerunners of the movement. Chris Barretto, on the other hand, might not be as widely known as, say, Spencer Sotelo or Daniel Tompkins, but since his early days with Periphery, he has developed a highly recognizable vocal presence, which got its spotlight on Ever Forthright's well known debut album. And while there may have been the danger of those two crashing at those crossroads, the meeting of John Browne's undeniable breathless grooves and Chris Barretto's smooth, rhythmic vocal melodies turns out to be one of the most fortunate cases of merging trajectories one could think of.

While Browne's jumping and rumbling signature riffing underlines Barretto's mostly melodic vocals with a sense of urgency and immediacy, Barretto's pointed but calm delivery doesn't get entangled in them but adds a soothing flow. The product is a whole flood of melody driven groove that has you nodding to the ebb and flow of sprinting stresses and moody relaxation before you know it. Even though it all works in the confines of verse and chorus, you hardly ever get the idea these compositions lie in chains. And that says a lot about how well their elements harmonize and how intensely they drive each other. - GeN2Mo

Monuments - The Amanuensis: an infectiously groovin' showcase for a perfect match between experienced artists that manage to propel each other's work to new heights.

1. Animals As Leaders - The Joy Of Motion

With their third full-length work, Animals As Leaders have followed the musical direction of their debut release more closely, and have taken it to a new level. Compared to the band's sophomore album 'Weightless', experiments with jazz elements are not as common and pace of the music has been increased considerably. On 'The Joy of Motion' heavy, frantic riffs claim dominance on most of the tracks with all their vehemence.

However, that does not mean that the band decided to abandon all their melodic elements in favour of insane heaviness - not at all! The insane virtuosity of Tosin Abasi is still there, captivating listeners with intricate riff patterns and song structures. His solos are the icing on the cake of the album. Tosin and Javier Reyes, who has also showed himself to be an outstanding solo musician, create an impeccable musical palette of mesmerizing hues together, proving once again that the stretch of their imagination has no limits. Soft, mellow structures often stand out on their own, giving calm moments of respite for the listeners. It is hard to supply any adequate band comparisons for AAL, they have quite a unique style. A sped up Meshuggah with a generous dose of Steve Vai/Joe Satriani's virtuosity, maybe?

The complexity of the compositions is ever growing, which by no means makes the songs less catchy. Quite the opposite. Very often one can find oneself lost in time musing over the question of how is it possible to produce these incredible melodies. Heavy aggression and mellow passages entwine into a beautiful mixture which has no equals. To put it briefly, 'The Joy of Motion' has everything you would want from a great album: aggression, catchy tunes, outstanding musicianship… you name it! The only thing it doesn't have is vocals, but who needs vocals anyway? Clearly that's a sentiment shared by most of our readers - one does not get to be on top of the list for nothing, after all. - Clarity

Animals As Leaders - The Joy of Motion: an epic piece of art which takes you on a journey you are not likely to forget.

As promised, we also have a top 10 of freely downloadable releases for you! Check it out below. You can download each release for free (legally!) by clicking the green download button to the right. Releases that are available for streaming can also be listened to by clicking the red headphone silhouette .

If there are any releases on this list that you haven't heard yet, do yourself a favour and grab them now, it won't cost you anything! Enjoy! If you're looking for more free music to download, check out our extensive free downloads section. In a few weeks, we'll also be posting our editors' picks of 2014, which our bound to include a bunch of free releases as well. Stay tuned!

Note that many of the free download links are Bandcamp links. If the page says "name your price" this means you can enter $0 to download the release for free. Bandcamp may automatically switch these to paid downloads when the artist in question runs out of free download credits. Feel free to report any downloads that are no longer free in the comments, and we'll do our best to get you an alternative link! top 10 free releases of 2014

10. Shades Of Black - Ocean

10. Red Seas Fire - Confrontation

10. Tactus - T

9. The Jackals - Messenger

8. Misophonia - Vinctus

6. Sithu Aye - Pulse

6. Anup Sastry - Lion

4. The Ralph - Delimiter

4. Anup Sastry - Titan

3. Cloudkicker - Little Histories

2. Miroist - Curve

1. Shokran - Supreme Truth

Check out positions 20 through 11.
Check out positions 10 through 4.

Check out's favourite releases of 2013.
Check out's favourite releases of 2012.
Check out's favourite releases of 2011.
Check out's favourite releases of 2010.

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Excelent news! Thx man Laughing out loud No rush! I thought I might have missed it Smile

They are coming! We are working at a slower pace because we haven't been able to recruit a lot of new volunteers. Everyone is doing the best they can to keep up. Thanks for your patience!

Where is the promised "editors' picks of 2014"?

WOO! I could not agree more about The Joy Of Motion. Definitely my favorite this year.

@Voodoomed: wait, TesseracT will release their third this year

Nice to see Sithu make it somewhere at least.

While I do like it, I actually found the Amanuensis structurally redundant and noticeably repetitive. There are five or six songs that begin with a fade in, four or five songs that have a mid-verse that is prominently bass driven, it seems like only two metres and tempos are used throughout, and almost every song's chord progression involves the root finding its way to the minor sixth. The songs are all awesome on their own, but half of them all sound the same! Joy of Motion was my pick for #1 as well, though.

I always look forward to got-djent's end of the year poll and I wouldn't discount the results just because they may seem predictable. Sometimes I am very surprised by the results (even the ordering of the top 5, when I have a good feeling of what the top 5 will be).

I will say, though, that Dali Thundering Concept's album was in my personal top 3.

@Myc: Plastic Mind Frequencies was in our top 10 of free downloads last year!

@everyone: this is precisely why we do editors' picks every year. If you ask people to vote, of course it's going to be a popularity contest - it's the very definition of a popularity contest Smile We'll have some of the lesser-known awesome under-the-radar stuff to present to you in our editors' picks of 2014 in just a few weeks!

Be sure to check out all the cry babies in the comments below!

So many metal hipsters..... this is what happens in popularity contests guys. Its a popularity contest.

Celebrate the underdogs that did make it to this list.

"Eyes Wide Opium" is an awesome album and definitely got my vote. Unfortunately, I think some of the best stuff gets overlooked because it's new and people aren't aware of it. I felt the same way last year about "Plastic Mind Frequencies," which still appears to be off the radar (currently only 14 fans).

Rinse and repeat...

It's starting to get boring tbh, If AAL, Periphery, Monuments, tesseract, etc, release an album, you know they will top every ranking about prog-djent...

So you have "The Dali Thundering Concept" not even in TOP 20, really? But ofc AAL is number 1, yeah, because whatever Tosin Abasi does is gold and do not even dare saying they just released a "meh" album.

I haven't heard Periphery's new album yet, but it doesn't matter because ofc they will be Nº 1 this year. As usually.


There is no in top 20 piece of art Atmospheres.
But there is on the FIRST place AAL which album is absolutely boring for me...
Well, how many people, so many opinions..