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The 10 Best Hard Rock/ Metal Albums of 2014

And, so ends another amazing year for hard rock and heavy metal music. In many ways, this is always one of the hardest lists for me to do. I listen to so many different kinds of metal and so many bands, that whittling it down to just ten and putting them in order, no less, is extremely difficult (and more than positive to cause controversy among my readers). So many great bands, both new and old, put out some of their best, if not their absolute best work, yet, this year. Anyway, let the countdown (and, of course, arguing amongst you) begin now!

10. Carnifex- Die Without Hope- I have to say that when I first heard Carnifex, on their debut album, I didn't think much of them. They weren't bad, but didn't really catch my attention. I thought they were just OK. As time passed though, the band developed and grew. And, low and behold they release their best album yet. Die Without Hope is a deathcore masterpiece, and as such, one of the best in the sub-genre. Brutal, pissed-off, hateful, and filled with aggressiveness to spare. This one of the best albums released this year to fuel a truly savage moshpit. What works so well here is that, yes there are breakdowns. But, that isn't the only reliance of the album. There are some wonderful bits of melody that accompany the savageness, as well as genuine musicianship. I am very excited to see where the band goes from here!

9. Machine Head- Bloodstone& Diamonds- Machine Head continue to release one modern classic after another. I honestly don't think any sane metalhead with discernible taste will argue that the last two albums before this one aren't classics. And, guess what? This one is even better than Unto the Locust! And, it's one of those album that just gets better with each and every listening. Technically sound, with a great mix of the melodic and totally adrenalinizied heaviness, as well as some of my favorite lyrics of the year, is this groove metal at its very finest. 

8. Slipknot- .5 The Gray Chapter- After the passing of bassist and founding member Paul Gray and the departure of drummer extraordinaire Joey Jordison, my expectations for the next Slipknot album were very low. So imagine my surprise, when I hear this album, and it's not only amazing, but ranks among their finest work, ever. It's the perfect mix of both their more melodic work and their heavier and more vicious output. Some of my favorite tracks of the year come from here, including one of the catchiest yet definitely ass kicking singles of the year in "The Devil in I". Plus, the album also serves as a loving tribute to Gray. In all, another classic from a band that has given us many.

7. Job For A Cowboy- Sun Eater- One band that just gets better and better with each every one of their releases, is this one. The album before this, Demonocarcy, was a huge leap in quality for the band. But, I never expected them to reach this optimum level and manage to give us a top 10 of the year album! A technically amazing and complex mixture of brutal death metal and progressively complex songs, this is a band that has grown and matured so much, since their now long gone deathcore days. A perfect example of band that is the future of metal living up that moniker.

6. Suicide Silence- You Can't Stop Me- Like Slipknot, this is a band that I questioned their decision to keep going after the loss of a founding member. Perhaps, I questioned it even more here, as Mitch Lucker was one of most important and beloved figures in deathcore. Well, low and behold, the addition of their new signer, Eddie Hermida has worked excellently for them. They have put one of the very best albums of their career, and in doing so have given us a new subgenre classic. Groove filled, angry, and sure to get you pumped YCSM is this band at their very best. And, considering they are one of the founding fathers of this kind of metal, it is saying a lot. Throw in guest appearances by the respective signers of Cannibal Corpse and Dillinger Escape Plan, and you have one of the most exciting metal albums of the entire year.

5. At The Gates- At War with Reality- Much like last year's release by Carcass, Surgical Steel, these masters of melodic death metal, hadn't put out a release in many a year. But, while, a part of me was hesitant of it, I was very excited for it. And, when I heard that they were going, I got excited hoping that they would give us the type of musicianship that made Slaughter of the Soul a genre defining classic. And, well, man did they ever deliver, just that! And, then some!! Here is the very definition of an album that gets better with each listening. They have made the kind of melodic death metal album that many others strive for but few achieve. This is, I predict, an album that will be looked upon as a classic in the years to come.

4. The Pretty Reckless- Going to Hell- Taylor Momsen already showed much maturity and genuine talent in the band's debut, Light Me Up, a few years back. Well, on their second release they got even better, giving us what is effectively the best hard rock album of the year. Rebellious, smart, hard rocking, and, at times, heartfelt and beautiful, TPR prove that they are a force to be reckoned with. This album has some of the catchiest songs we heard the entire year, like the title track, "Going Down", and "Absolution", the later being perhaps the best rock song written this year. Also further proving her maturity there is a song with anti-gun message in "Why'd You Bring a Shotgun to the Party?" or a deeply dark look into child abuse in "Sweet Things". You tell me of another rock album achieved this all that this year!

3. Triptykon- Melana Chasmata- As dark and bleak of a quality album as you are likely to have heard this year, Melana Chasmata immerses you it's black as fuck atmosphere. Tom Warrior makes his most recent band's second release even better than the album that preceded it (Eparstera Daimones). With long, complex, moody, and crushing music, this one stands head over shoulders of any band even remotely like this. This is a supreme recording of dark and gloomy blackened doom metal that will please the blackest depths of your soul.

2. Whitechapel- Our Endless War- The best deathcore, or any kind of "core", album of the year is also one of the finest releases of the subgenre ever. Whitechapel, without an argument one of the absolute best bands of this kind, has crafted a mature and aurally pleasing album that is way beyond what most of bands like this do in their entire career. Crushing, angry, violent, brutal, and savage, this is this year's definitive soundtrack to an ass whooping. The album hooks you with it's bouncing groove, crushes you with it's heaviness, then delivers multiple death blows with it's utter vicious. Songs like the title track, "The Saw Is the Law", "Let Me Burn", and the dark, brooding, and explosive track, "Digg's Road" rank among the most pummeling, yet completely catchy songs of the entire year.

1. Behemoth- The Satanist- After lead singer/ guitarist/ founding member Nergal won his battle with leukemia, his blackened death metal act came back with their finest release, yet. Which considering the quality of the all the albums they put out before this is saying a fucking lot! Crushing, dark, evil, and heavy music combine with the band's always present Satanic and blasphemous lyrics. There is a continuous feeling of suffocating darkness and ungodly bleakness and anti-christian anger that combine with music that is alternately fast and furious and/ or slow and pounding. Most of the songs on the album of an average length, save for the gloriously evil album closer that is the final track "O Father O Satan O Sun!". Said song is quite simply put the best song written about Lucifer released the entire year. All hail the mighty Behemoth!

Honorable Mentions:
AC/DC- Rock or Bust
Body Count- Manslaughter
Monuments- The Amanuensis
Devil You Know- The Beauty of Destruction

Sister Sin- Black Lotus 
Crosses (++++)- S/T
Godflesh- World Lit Only by Fire



The 10 Best Movies of 2014

What a year for movies this has been, especially for geekcentric films!! There were so many quality horror and sci-fi movies that got released, from the low budget to big studio films. Marvel continues to produce some of the finest genre films out there, as two of their best movies make this list and rank among the finest superhero films, ever. As a horror and comic-book fan, I found a couple of movies to obsesses over, in particular the ones that made this list. But, in the end, you will see that the best film of the year, isn't a genre film, but... well just read on.

10. All Cheerleaders Die- This sexy, gory, fun, and funny horror comedy has everything I want in a movie and more. Lucky McKee, this time teaming up with co-writer and co-director Chris Siverston, strikes gold again. For more of my thoughts on it, here is my review of it: http://themastergio.blogspot.com/2014/09/all-cheerleaders-die.html

9. Return to 'Nuke Em High Vol. 1- The next flick on my list is also a horror-comedy. And, it is even gorier and funnier than the aforementioned one. In fact, it is Troma's finest movie in a long time and, to me, the best comedy of the year. Of course, I dislike most comedies, but you get my drift. Here is my full review of this one: http://themastergio.blogspot.com/2014/01/return-to-nuke-em-high-volume-1-2013.html

8. The Babadook- The single scariest film of the year is this chilling and, actually quite moving, horror flick from Australia. It's that countries best release, IMHO, in ages. Featuring flawless performances from its two leads Essie Davis and little Noah Wiseman, it really manages to make you run a gauntlet of emotions, not unlike their characters. Writer/ director Jennifer Kent builds tension slowly but steadily, all the while never leaving the heart of it. Some have complained about the ending, but if you go into this looking for a monster movie, I suggest you go else. Instead prepare for the most nerve shredding psychological horror movie in recent memory.

7. Veronica Mars: The Movie- The first non-horror movie on this list is this excellent continuation of one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Here is proof that fandom can get a movie made. What started as pipedream, grew into maniac fan support (Lord knows, I tweeted for it to be made many a times), and eventually, a successful Kick Starter campaign which ended up funding the movie. It is a pure delight for fellow fans of the intelligent and sometimes underrated TV show. I was having massive marshmallow-gasms through out the whole the movie. As, with the show, the writing is fun and smart and the acting is great. The gorgeous Kristen Bell is just so awesome in this role, that it just reminded me why I used to have the biggest crush on her. And, this movie just brought back my obsession with the show. I don't know if non-fans of the series will love it as much, but they should still find it to be a solid, well acted, and excellently written mystery/ thriller.

6. Captain America: The Winter Solider- Leave it to Marvel to improve on the solid first film and make a sequel that may well be the one of the best, if not the best (it's hard to choose between this one and The Dark Knight) superhero sequel, ever made. The movie plays like a jacked up spy thriller, with ass kicking and thrilling action scenes galore. In the Winter Solider, we also have Marvel's best villain in a movie, since Loki. The script has a few moments of predictability (mostly doing with the survival of a certain character), but such flaws are out weighed by it's stronger suits like the dissolving of S.H.I.E.L.D. Shit, it even succeeded in making Falcon be cool and a total badass!  

5. Starry Eyes- Like the first movie on this list, this is another tag team horror flick, though this one is played nerve shredding and serious. But, let us not mince any further words here, this is the year's best horror film, a bloody, smart, and wholly captivating movie of pure intensity. My full review is here: http://themastergio.blogspot.com/2014/12/starry-eyes-2014-review.html

4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes- This another sequel that totally tops it's original. While, the first film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is a solid sci-fi movie, this takes that one and just tramples it. It gives us one of the finest and smartest science fiction sequels ever. The flawless FX mix perfectly with an intelligent and thought provoking script, one that in ways most big budget, studio genre films can't even dream of being. Andy Serkis and Toby Kebbell, both give amazing performances as the two opposing apes.

3. The Raid 2- This might just be the year of the superior sequel. But, this movie had the hardest movie to beat in its original. The first movie was one of the best martial arts movies, ever made. A brutal ass kicker if ever there was one. And, when I saw how long this one was, I became concerned with how much fun it would be. But, in the end my concerns were utterly destroyed. Here is a movie that despite its length, just works. The plot is enthralling and sucks you in, and the action scenes are jaw dropping and utterly brutal. Some of the most vicious gore of the year is featured here, far surpassing many a horror film. By the time it was over my adrenaline was on overdrive. No doubt about, this is the badass motherfucker of the year!

2. Guardians of the Galaxy- Who would have thought the second best movie of the year, and the second best Marvel (or any other superhero) movie ever would be based on D level superheroes. A fun script, lively acting, and wonderfully imaginative film making gave us one of the best sci-fi movies in many a moon. In some ways, this is a modern day Star Wars coupled with a superhero movie. So fucking good is it that it makes a fuckin racoon with a machine gun and living tree creature, with limited vocabulary, the best heroic characters in any movie released this year. Think about that for a minute! From the opening scene to the final scene featuring one of the oddest Marvel heroes, this fucker was the very definition of spectacularly made fun. And, it was one movie that I didn't think anyone could top until I saw...

1. Gone Girl- My fucking God, what a fucking movie!!! David Fincher's second best movie (Seven remains his masterpiece) is a jaw droppng ingeniously twisted mystery/ thriller. It has what is without a shadow of a doubt the script of the year, as Gillian Flynn adopts her own novel of the same name. It never fails to shock and surprise, yet totally hold your attention. The acting from everyone is perfect, in fact, Ben Affleck gives his best performance ever. But, in the end, it's the beautiful Rosamund Pike who is just the very definition of amazing. She is actress of the year, here, kiddies. Who would have thought that one of the most beautiful Bond girls, who was in the worst Bond film, ever (Die Another Day) had it in her to bring it to this level of perfection? I have since become obsessed with this film. I can't stop thinking about it. But, to say anything more would ruin it. All, I can say is see this: if you have not seen this fucker, see it as soon as you can. And, heed my words, this is true cinematic perfection. 


The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 6: 20-11

First and foremost I want to wish, to those who celebrate it, a very Merry Christmas! And, to everyone else, may you have a very happy holiday season. Anyways, here is my Christmas gift to all of you, the next to last part of my yearly list of the hottest babes of the year!

20. Rachel Skarsten (last year #21)- The blonde stunner who plays Tamsin on Lost Girl continues to not only make us fall for her, but her character has turned into one of the show's most absolutely fascinating ones. It will be interesting to see what they do with her on this, the show's final season. 

19. Julia Ann (new)- One of the most beautiful busty blondes to ever grace the porn world, the MILFy Ms. Julia Ann was featured in a very cool layout in Penthouse magazine that combined her beauty with the super cool artwork of Bill Plympton for this year's Dec issue. They both talked to me about it at NYCC, back in Oct.

18. Natalie Dormer (new)- The hottest babe, IMHO, in a show FULL of hot babes, Game of Thrones, Ms. Dormer is a vision of breathtaking beauty to behold. She also played the most interesting recurring character on Elementary, in Irene Adler. But, it's her role as the tattooed, half head shaven, badass Cressida that really made me fall insanely in love with her!

17. Raven Rockette (new)- One of my personal favorite babes in porn right now, this sexy girls only performer is also one of the coolest chicks to ever be involved with the adult business. She posts some of the coolest pics and tweets in all of social media and is hot as fuck in any of her onscreen performances. I got to meet her first at AEE and then interview her at Exxxotica AC, both this year. I can say that honest to God, she is one of the most awesome and smart girls that you will ever meet!

16. Catherine Corcoran (new)- The beautiful star of the single funniest, most over-the-top, and gory fun movie of the year, Return to Class of Nuke Em High Vol. 1, is also a complete sweetie in person. I got the pleasure to meet her twice, first at Tromadance and, then a couple of times at NYCC this year. She is really so awesome in person and so great in her role, that I hope we get to see more of her and soon! 

15. Aste Paredes (new)- This stunning brunette played the lesbian lover to the above mentioned Ms. Corcoran's character in Return to Nuke Em High Vol. 1 (and the upcoming volume 2) and is on her way to be the next major league scream queen. She has a lot of kick ass upcoming projects, all of which she discussed in my interview that I had with her at NYCC back in Oct. Aside, from being beautiful, she is also a true fan of horror films, very intelligent, and a real pleasure to talk to.

14. Zoie Palmer (last year #18)- This past season of Lost Girl showed that there were definitely some difficult times in the world of doccubus (the lesbian relationship between Palmer's character of Laura, a doctor, and Bo, a succubus), but at the same time Palmer showed off an even sexier side of herself, as her character looked the hottest and most beautiful ever, in a couple of key episodes. So, it is most definitely not all a loss!!

13. Anna Silk (last year #17)- And, speaking of Bo, dear God is Anna Silk one of the hottest women on TV or what?! I swear to fucking God, I am so pissed off that Lost Girl ends this season, but Silk has been giving us such an amazing and complex performance, which she continued with this past season and is sure to do so in the coming final one, that we at least have that to be grateful for. 

12. Allie Haze (last year #13)- The gorgeous and sweet Ms. Haze made major news in the porn world, when she finally did anal in Allie. With a hot butt like hers, it should come as no surprise to anyone that this had all of the adult world and it's and her fans buzzing (and probably doing "other" things as well!)!

11. Katharine Isabelle (last year #26)- Rising higher up on the list, this Canadian hottie looked stunning as hell in See No Evil 2, the Soska Sisters superior sequel to the Kane starring slasher vehicle, of the same name. Isabelle's character might have been my favorite one in the entire movie. She was certainly the sexiest, as showed to have an interest in serial killers, even dead ones. They turn her on sexually. Hey, we all have our fetishes right? So don't judge her! Hahahaha!


The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 5: 30-21 

The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 4: 40-31
The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 3: 50-41 
The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 2: 60-51 
The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 1: 70-61 


The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 5: 30-21

30. Kristen May (new)- The beautiful and super talented current signer of alt-hard rock band Flyleaf is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet in a band. The band put out their best album since their debut with her in Between the Stars this year. Her amazing voice is complemented by her extremely sweet and fan friendly personality. Seeing the band live (my first that I ever had) with her fronting the band, made for one of biggest highlights this year, for me, as was meeting her and the rest of Flyleaf, and getting my pic taken with her. Kristen is also truly gorgeous, but it's that beauty combined with everything else that I mentioned that makes her one of my favorite babes in all of hard rock/ metal.

29. Katrina Bowden (new)- As the objective of Paz de la Huerta's obsession in Nurse 3D, this stunning blonde with a KILLER ass captivated hearts in the highly enjoyable, erotic horror/ thriller.

28. Paz de la Huerta (new)- Speaking of Nurse 3D, its' beautiful title villainess and lead actress, Paz de la Huerta smoldered the screen, in what may have been THE sexiest performance in a horror film, all year! Her AMAZING body coupled with her full frontal nudity and playing a lesbian character, albeit an insane one, made for the kind of cinematic moments that served to make one feel very, er, "inspired" feeling if you know what I mean!  

27. Emma Anazi (new)- The gorgeous and ubber talented bass player of alt-metal band, Sick Puppies, is one of the best and most rocking bass players, ever in rock. And, this stunning half-Asian beauty is even more beautiful in person. She also puts on one fuck of a performance live. This was very much proven at Revolver's Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock show in NYC, earlier this year.

26. Brittney Palmer (last year 29)- Still the most beautiful woman involved with MMA, in any manner, this gorgeous blonde, UFC ring girl shines, even if the fight, itself, is a snoozer.

25. Jessica Cameron (last year 27)- This stunning and multifaceted blonde, scream queen continues to garner more and more of a following within in the horror community. She remains a goddess with a true love for the horror genre, and her continuous involvement with it, particularly on social media, makes sure she always holds your heart. Currently promoting the shit of her film-making project, #KillThePA, which has to be one of the most exciting, coolest, and innovative things I've seen done in the horror genre in ages! As, this project rolls on, expect her place on the list to continue to rise! 

24. Eva Green (last year ranked 2011- 49)- One of the most beautiful women in the history of the world, Ms. Green returns to the list thanks two movie roles: 300: Rise of an Empire and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and most of all thanks to her performance in the excellent horror series Penny Dreadful. In that one, she gave not only one of my favorite roles of her, but one of the finest performances in any horror TV series, this year.

23. Draven Star (last year 22)- This beautiful and sweet Burning Angel girl is a stunner and a highlight of any con she is at or movie she is in. This year she got a boob job and looks amazing as ever!

22. Riae Suicide (new)- I am not even gonna mince words, this blue-haired, Italian goddess is quite possibly the most beautiful girl to have ever have been a Suicide Girl. Absolutely breathtaking, even when she is fully clothed I am completed captivated by her. Quite simply put there are are few women who I enjoy seeing post pics on social media more than her! 

21. Chelan Simmons (new)- Perhaps the hottest blonde to be in a slasher movie this year, See No Evil 2's gorgeous Ms. Simmons totally stole my heart in that film anytime she was onscreen. Horror fans may recall that she was also in Final Destination 3 some years back. I hope she continues to grace our beloved genre!

The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 4: 40-31
The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 3: 50-41 
The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 2: 60-51 
The 70 Hottest Babes of 2014, pt. 1: 70-61