Dec 072015

PopMatters 80 best


PopMatters is a popular culture web site with broad coverage of music, film, television, books, comics, software and video games — you name it. Its articles get picked up regularly by the mainstream media, and it claims a readership of more than 1 million unique visitors per month. In other words, it fits the profile of “big platform” web sites whose lists of the year’s best metal we usually re-post here at NCS as part of our own LISTMANIA series — for the entertainment value of seeing what the great unwashed masses are being told is the year’s best metal.

Today, PopMatters published its list of “The 80 Best Albums of 2014″. In past years they’ve published a separate list of the year’s Best Metal Albums, and I assume they will this year, too. But in case they don’t, I thought I’d share the metal albums that appeared on their “80 Best” list (which crosses all genres) and identify where they appeared, by number ranking. I mean, it was painful for me to go through all 80 names and sort these out, so I’m damned well going to share my work product.

I did include a couple of artists whose music isn’t metal because they have other connections to the genre — Chelsea Wolfe, because she seems to be widely recognized among metalheads as metal in spirit, if not in sound, and Steven Wilson, for what I assume will be obvious reasons. I will get some debate about including Prurient as well; I admit I may have been straining because otherwise the pickings are so slim.

Anyway, if you subtract those three, the PopMatters list of 80 really only includes four undeniably metal albums. The real shocker for me was seeing Bell Witch — right alongside Iron Maiden. To be clear, that was a very pleasant shock.


To see the entire list, go here (and in case you’re wondering, Kendrick Lamar got album of the year(:


55.  Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls

54.  Bell Witch – Four Phantoms

53.  Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss

49.  Prurient – Frozen Niagara Falls

36.  Deafheaven – New Bermuda

33.  Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic

27.  Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.



  1. Aww, is that Sufjan in the middle? What a guy. I love him. Haha. That album is a crusher too. Sheesh.

    • Some non metal faves of the year:

      Sufjan – Carrie & Lowell
      Dungen – Allas Sak
      Battles – La Di Da Di
      Deerhunter – Fading Frontier
      Diat – Positive Energy

      I think thats it. I rarely listened to anything beyond metal. But I listened to those 5 a bunch.

  2. I agree with… one of those albums.

    Though it should be higher…

    Maybe even… top 10?

    Also, mandatory:

    “Gorguts put out the best METAL album this year – don’t deny it. Stop trying to be different – you’re only appealing to hipsters. Have fun with that. I thought i’d found a credible metal music site to frequent. Apparently not – laters!”

  3. It’s funny that Prurient album is getting so much love regardless of genre coverage, as it was admittedly one of his weaker efforts (despite tremendous hype around it).

  4. Interesing choices 🙂
    I’m still trying to complete the second half of my list. Too many awesu albums were released this year!

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