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Updated: Jan 12

Need something to look forward to this year? We've got you covered! All these beloved albums will be celebrating their ten year anniversaries in 2024, and, hopefully, we will see some amazing tour lineups in honor of them. Check out our favorites from a decade ago and share yours in the comments below:

RESTORING FORCE - OF MICE & MEN * voted by Allie Rose *

Restoring Force is the third studio album by the Costa Mesa, California rock group, Of Mice & Men, and the first full-length release to feature bassist and clean vocalist Aaron Pauley, a consistent member ten years later. The album was initially announced in November of 2013 through numerous publications, the album itself was fully completed by October 2013 and further wasn't officially published until January of 2014 through Rise Records. A follow-up to the album, Restoring Force: Full Circle, dropped in February of 2015, featuring four bonus tracks including an acoustic version of the hit single, "Feels Like Forever." The 2014 studio release was produced by longtime music engineer, David Bendeth, who began working for Epic Records in 1977, and mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound in New York City. Bendeth is sensationalized for his work with various rock and metal acts, his production style often involves a polished and impactful sound, which Restoring Force does not fall short of. In terms of production, Restoring Force marks a departure from Of Mice & Men's earlier work, showcasing a shift towards a more mainstream and accessible sound which Bendeth's crafted to come off radio-friendly. Through Restoring Force, Bendeth aimed to capture the intensity of the bands performance while also embracing their more melodic and dynamic approaches. Overall, David Bendeth's assistance throughout this album contributed massively to the band's evolution stylistically at that point in their careers and this album was most definitely a milestone in their journey musically.

The name "Restoring Force" is a reference to the band's previous album The Flood. The vocalist of Restoring Force, Austin Calile, explained "What happens after a disaster? What happens after 'The Floor'? You return to normal. You find balance again. That's what we felt like we were doing with this album. We wanted to record to bring equilibrium back to our band and music. We're letting everyone know we're here to stay. We're 'Restoring Force'." The cover of the album, a sea shell, is a visual representation of the return to equilibrium. In an interview, Restoring Force drummer Valentino Areteaga expresses "One of the main symbolic reasons for having the shell came from the idea of the Restoring Force helping regain the balance in a human. The cochlea, or inner ear, is the place where your equilibrium is maintained, and it is shaped like a shell." Conceptually to instrumentally, this album is an all around masterpiece and one of our favorites from a decade ago.



Unconditional is the celebrated fourth release of Denton, Texas metal-core staples Memphis May Fire. The album was released by Rise Records and further distributed by Fontana Distribution on March 25, 2014 with a deluxe edition dropping a little over a year later. The band announced the album in late 2013 before hopping on tour with The Word Alive, A Skylit Drive, Hands Like Houses, and Beartooth across the United States. In an Alternative Press interview discussing the album, the group claimed the release will "have more of a theatrical feel, as well as orchestral presence," in addition to "feel[ing] like a movie soundtrack from start to finish." In February of 2014, the first single, "No Ordinary Love," was streamed through Rise Records YouTube channel alongside the official track listing. This was soon after met with "Sleepless Nights" and then "Beneath The Skin" until finally, on March 13, 2014, Rise Records released a playlist of the full album on YouTube. Lead singer, Matty Mullins, jabbed "sometimes you gotta leak your own record," in response to the early release party 12 days prior to the marketed drop. The album addresses topics such as unconditional love and support, both from others and a higher power. The title Unconditional itself suggests a theme of unwavering commitment and acceptance while the lyrics address topics of faith, love, and personal struggle.

As the first single teased and the opening track to the album, "No Ordinary Love" immediately sets the tone of Unconditional, investigating a love story that goes beyond conventional expectations. Following the theme of the title, the song discusses the idea that love should be selfless, enduring, and capable of overcoming challenges; it sound be unconditional. As the final single leading up to the release date of Unconditional, "Beneath The Skin" explores themes of self-acceptance and inner strength, an unconditional love for yourself through embracing one's true self and finding strength beneath the surface. Overall, lyrically, the album encourages listeners to reflect on the nature of love, the challenges of self-acceptance, and the resilience that can be found by embracing one's true identity. Instrumentally, Unconditional showcases the band's signature post-hardcore sound, combining heavy elements with melodic and emotional components. Memphis May Fire are frequently noted for their heavy guitar riffs and intense drumming, nonetheless, Unconditional continues to enhance their musicality through aggressive instrumentation. Matty Mullin's powerhouse vocals truly standout throughout the tracks of Unconditional, he seamlessly transitions between clean, melodic singing and aggressive, screamed vocals, ultimately contributing to the emotional dynamics of the song. As the band's fourth release, longtime fans of the group can hear obvious enhancements in the bands production and thus overall sound. Unconditional was one of our favorite albums from the Warped Tour era and we are keeping our fingers tightly crossed that the band will return to stages for a ten year anniversary in 2024.



*voted by Klover*

Let The Ocean Take Me is the fourth studio album released by Australian post-hardcore band, The Amity Affliction. The album sought three separate release dates for it's worldwide debut through Roadrunner Records. This album also marks the last release featuring founding guitarist Troy Brady while also introducing new guitarist Dan Brown into the production. The album debuted at number 1 on the ARIA Charts, being the groups consecutive album to do so following 2012's Chasing Ghosts. Let The Ocean Take Me was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association for over 35,000 shipments sold just two weeks after its release in Australia. In addition to this, the album received a certified platinum status in December of 2015, not even a year after their June 2014 release date. In the United States alone, the album sold over 10,000 copies in it's first week, charting at number 31 on the Billboard 200.

Lyrically, the album delves into themes of mental health, personal struggles, and the impact of those challenges on individuals. The lyrics are deeply emotional, introspective, and often convey a sense of pain and vulnerability listeners have become attached to personally. The album begins with the heartfelt track "Pittsburgh," which serves as a metaphor for the emotional state of the singer. Pittsburgh, in this context, symbolizes a place of inner turmoil and darkness. The song addresses the feeling of being trapped in one's own mind, battling negative thoughts and mindsets. The lyrics hint at a sense of isolation, desperation, and longing for an escape. The Amity Affliction are known for being symbols of mental health awareness and "Pittsburgh" is an anthem of their support. The album closes off with "Give It All," a song that almost responds to "Pittsburgh" with its exploration of determination and resilience against life's challenges. The phrase "Give It All" suggests a commitment to putting forth one's maximum effort, regardless of the difficulties faced. All in all, this song encourages the idea of facing adversity head-on, giving everything one has to the pursuit of personal goals or in dealing with life's hardships and it is a fantastic anthem to end the listening experience with. Instrumentally, Let The Ocean Take Me features a blend of metal-core and post-hardcore tendencies, notably in their guitar sections. As a guitarist myself, I remember being captivated by the guitar tracks my first time hearing this release, the tracks incorporate all sorts of techniques including palm-muted chugging and arpeggios. Overall, the layered guitar textures in these songs are some of my all time favorites to play while jamming out with others. One of the hallmark traits of The Amity Affliction is Joel Birch's signature vocals, which combine harsh screams with melodic, often harmonized, clean runs, which can be heard throughout all the tracks of this album as he really cemented his authenticity with this release. The production of this album is stellar, brilliantly highlighting each instrumentalist while showcasing Birch's vocal talents. I could go on forever about how fantastic this album is but you will simply just have to listen to understand completely.



*voted by Kris Bartley*

Disgusting is the debut studio album from metalcore Ohio-natives, Beartooth. The breakout album was officially released to the public in June of 2014 through Red Bull Records and UNFD Records with the lead single "Beaten In Lips" coming out a month prior along with the album's pre-order. The album came a year after the bands debut EP Sick was released, written primarily by lead singer Calleb Shomo, who some might know from his previous group Attack Attack! For Shomo, he explained that the album was written to "get my head on straight. I'm not trying to write songs to change the world ... This band is just me being honest with myself. I put in a whole lot of effort and time and more honesty and emotion than I've ever put into a record." Much of the songs included on this album were written during Shomo's time with Attack Attack! where he's mentioned being in a darker place. Beartooth arose as Shomo's means of escapism and therapy, his love for the art of music shines through explicitly in this release where Shomo's lyrics seek to convey strong messages and overcome his own traumas. The title of the album was encouraged by Shomo's state of mind while writing this album, the brutal honesty and harsh relatability of the tracks has made Disgusting one of my all time favorites, and definitely one of the best from this past decade.

Being the whole creative force behind Disgusting, Calleb Shomo has received endless critical acclaim for Disgusting solely based on it's lyrical content. The first single teased to the public was "Beaten In Lips" which tackles the topic of child abuse, encouraging victims to "keep living loud and proud." The phrase "Beaten in Lips" can be interpreted as a metaphor for enduring pain and the silence that often accompanies it. Other tracks such as "Relapsing" and "I Have A Problem" deal with the struggles of alcoholism, an issue Shomo has publicly commented on before while being an advocate for sobriety. "I Have A Problem," while referencing alcohol abuse within the lyrics, is also a confession to Shomo's musical growth as he comments on the double-meaning depicting his experiences leaving Attack Attack! This album as a whole is a reflection on Shomo's personal experiences, it is laced with raw vulnerability and fans have fallen in love with this album off the sheer honesty it unravels.


*voted by Sky and Emily*

The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways is the second studio album by Texas-based metal-core band Crown The Empire. The album is the last concept album of the bands discography but an all time favorite of longtime fans. In January of 2014, it was announced, through Rise Records, that the band would be returning to the studio to begin the recording process of The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways. The album was officially released to the public in July of 2014 through Rise Records with production assistance from Dan Korneff. The album serves as a sequel to the band's debut album The Fallout and is the final concept album of the band's discography. The plot is set to be hundreds of years after the time frame of The Fallout in a dystopian future where listeners are following the storyline of a struggling group, "The Runaways," fight against a corrupt and oppressive government known as "The Resistance." The narrative of The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways is both a literal and metaphorical exploration of resistance against tyranny and the cost of fighting for freedom. The album combines a compelling storyline with Crown The Empire's metal-core sound, creative an immersive listening experience for fans of both concept albums and the metal-core genre.

With this being said, each and every song off the ten song track list follows the journey and further completes the storyline. The album begins with, "Initiation," most literally translating to the initiation of the protagonist, who joins "The Runaways" to fight against the oppressive regime. This follows with "Millennia," in which the protagonist discovers a diary that details the history of "The Runaways" and their fight against "The Resistance" over the millennia. Next comes "Machines," a track where the The Runaways encounter challenges and face the use of advanced technology by The Resistance. The storyline deepens within "The Wolves of Paris" as The Runaways experience betrayal, loss, and the harsh realities of their fight against The Resistance. "MNSTER" comes in with a theme of reflection as the protagonist looks back on their experiences and the sacrifices made in the fight against The Resistance. This reflection turns into "Second Thoughts" as doubt and internal conflict emerge within The Runaways, they begin to question their cause and the price they're paying for their rebellion. "Maniacal Me" continues with themes of reflection as the protagonist grapples with inner demons and struggles to maintain sanity in the face of adversity. The climax of the story hits in "Satellites (Act I): The Morning After," The Runaways face the consequences of their actions and the aftermath of their rebellion. The albums title track then proceeds by representing the culmination of The Runaways' struggle as they rise against The Resistance. The album concludes with "Bloodline," a song of The Runaways victory and establishment of order, free from the oppression of The Resistance. The relevance of The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways is just as significant ten years later as it was upon it's release in 2014, proving itself to be one of those albums that simply stand the test of time throughout generations. Crown the Empire are known for doing anniversary tours so we highly anticipate one for The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways and that is hands down something you won't want to miss being apart of.



*voted by Dustin Luttrell*

Reincarnate is the third studio album in the discography of Pennsylvania metal heads Motionless in White. The album hit streaming platforms on two separate dates for additional international streaming in September of 2014 via Fearless Records. Reincarnate is the final album of Motionless in White recorded under a deal with Fearless Records and was further produced by Chris Motionless himself with support from Dan Koreneff. The album marks the first release following the departure of the band's originating drummer, however, Chris Motionless commented exclusively on how this album establishes Motionless in White's consistency stylistically and was written with extensive time and effort dedicated to the production. Commercially, the album fared well with critics and listeners alike, selling 31,000 copies in its first week and charting at #9 on the Billboard Top 200, #1 Rock Album charts, and became the #1 Metal Album on iTunes for 2014. Reincarnate is 13 songs and sixty minutes of rebirth, self-discovery, and empowerment woven into hardcore metal.

Reincarnate showcases Motionless in White's signature blend of metalcore, industrial, and gothic influences through an aggressive sound, dark atmosphere, and impactful thematic content. The first single teasing the album, and additionally the title track, Reincarnate, welcomes listeners back into the typical Motionless in White experience sonically through heavy guitar riffs, intense vocals, and electronic elements, all characteristic of Motionless in White's authentic style. Altogether, this album is an exploration of Motionless in White's influences, offering a diverse sonic palette. As another guitar-heavy project, Reincarnate resonated with me from the moment I heard the debut single of the production. The album features prominent and aggressive guitar work, with intense riffs, chugging breakdowns, and melodic leads. The album maintains an invigorating balance between rhythmic power and melodic intricacies making this ultimately candy to the ear, especially for those using headphones. As always, Motionless in White experiments with electronic elements throughout this album, infusing an additional depth to their songs through synthesizers, electronic samples, and atmospheric effects. When heard in combination, the effects enhance the overall texture of the songs and add an industrial edge to the metal-core foundation. Even so, what makes this album a fan favorite, and to our list of 2014 favorites, is the production quality, which is simply lights-out phenomenal. Chris Motionless, the vocalist, is one of the leading forces in the production processes and his meticulous care shines through in this release especially. During the writing process, Chris Motionless mentioned his plan to focus on capturing the raw energy of the band's live performances, the mix allows each instrument and vocal element to be heard clearly as if it is echoing off the walls of a concert hall.


HOZIER - HOZIER *voted by Amber Frost*

Hozier is the debut studio album by Irish musician Hozier released in September 2014 through Island Records and Rubyworks Records. Prior to the albums official release, Hozier attracted listeners attention through his EPs Take Me to Church (2013) and From Eden (2014) which contained songs that were later included on the album. The production was completed by Hozier in collaboration with Rob Kirwan and has been described as blues, soul, and indie rock with elements of gospel, R&B, and folk music. The album has been praised for Hozier's songwriting and powerful vocal performance, it reached top ten positions in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and Greece with multiple songs charting in the top-50 of the Irish Singles Chart. "Take Me To Church" was additionally nominated for Song of the Year at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in 2015, Hozier, as a whole, was nominated for Top Rock Album at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards and International Album of the Year at the 2016 Juno Awards. Hozier won Best Album at the European Border Breakers Awards, a prize recognizing the achievements of international artists outside of their home country. As of 2019, the album has sold 972,000 copies and has earned 2.6 million equivalent album units in the United States.

Hozier is thirteen tracks and just under an hour long with every song being solely written by Hozier himself, except for "Someone New" which was co-written with his former girlfriend Sallay-Matu Garnett. Hozier initially began the writing process for the album after ending his first relationship, he mentions "a lot of recurring themes" throughout this album including dealing with "personal liberations - finding yourself, accepting yourself, and making sense of yourself" in attempts to be honest about "the more wonderful and awful things of your day-to-day." Hozier began writing the album as only a teenager, still living with his parents. The lead single, "Take Me To Church," was written in Hozier's parents' living room and later recorded in a "makeshift attic studio" alongside producer Rob Kirwan, providing this release with a sense of personality and intimacy. In the same fashion, "Cherry Wine" was recorded at five in the morning in an old, abandoned hotel with a caved-in roof and walls covered in graffiti, illuminating Hozier's dedication to each and every track. This is all to say, the entire release showcases the growth of Hozier throughout his musical journey and the extremes he endured to make a name in the industry. The personality and dedication of Hozier shines through in every aspect, even the cover artwork is a painting made by Hozier's mother, highlighting Hozier's sincerity and devotion to the music.


*voted by John Campise*

.5 The Gray Chapter is the fifth full-length from the 90's renowned American heavy metal band Slipknot. The album sought three different release dates internationally under Roadrunner Records and marked the return of Slipknot after six years of withholding from releasing new music. On this note, .5 The Gray Chapter introduces a new era of Slipknot, specifically internally: The album does not include the founding members bassist Paul Gray and drummer Joey Jordison but introduces original guitarist Donnie Steele on bass accompanied by Alessandro Venturella, as well as Jay Weinberg and Chris Fehn collectively on drums. The album received critical commercial success and acclaiming reviews, including three Grammy Nominations for "The Negative One" as Best Metal Performance, Best Rock Album for .5 The Gray Chapter, and again received nomination for Best Metal Performance a year later for the song "Custer." The entire album officially pleased the public in October of 2014, after the writing process began in late 2013, with the first release, "The Negative One," dropping in August with an accompanying music video. "The Devil in I" proceeded with another music video a few weeks later, this production hinting at the new lineup of Slipknot. "The Devil in I" instilled impatience in fans for the release of .5 The Gray Chapter as the scene became fixated on guessing the new members, and the unique masks, of Slipknot. .5 The Gray Chapter derives from the death of Paul Gray, the bands originating bassist, who passed in 2010 from a drug overdose. The album title pays homage to Gray who was the co-founder of Slipknot back in 1995.

.5 The Gray Chapter stands as the second studio album in Slipknot's discography to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200 albums chart, selling 132,000 copies in its first week with an excess14,188 sales in Australia. The album nestled at number one in Australia, Japan, Canada, Russia, and Switzerland with top 5 debuts in the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Austria, New Zealand, Mexico, Denmark, and Finland. As a tribute to the now deceased bassist, Paul Gray, the album focuses on themes of loss, grief, and the overall impact of Gray's death on the band, making this album personal and vulnerable in the most relatable, heartfelt way. The album kicks off with "XIX" which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album with it's somber, melancholic lyrics that are intended to reflect the mourning process. "The Devil in I" responds to "XIX" by depicting the fight Gray lost to, the song hones in on confronting one's inner demons and overcoming personal challenges while delving into facing internal struggles and the darker aspects of human nature. Halfway through the album, Slipknot hits us with "Goodbye," a heartbreaking, melodic and reflective song about saying farewell to a loved one. The song is a stark contrast to some of the heavier, more aggressive tracks encompassing this release but has intricate textures established through acoustic guitars and piano elements not frequently used in Slipknot tracks. The album ends with "If The Rain Is What You Want" which suggests a struggle in coping with the absence of a lost one. The rain is often used metaphorically in literature and music to represent sadness, sorrow, or a cleansing process, in this context, it is inferred the rain symbolizes the emotional turmoil and grief experienced by the band members in the aftermath of Paul Gray's tragic death. The chorus repeats the line "If the rain is what you want" which may suggest a resigned acceptance of the pain and emotional upheaval that comes with loss; The speaker acknowledges the inevitability of suffering and is ready to face it head-on. The lyrics also touch on themes of reflection and a desire for understanding, it hints at the longwinded grieving process where naturally we try to make sense of loss. The album brilliantly details a ongoing story, though a devastating one, that is relatable and digestible for listeners, even a decade later.



*voted by Ray McClure*

Black Widow, recorded in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the fifth studio album from the 2000's rock band In This Moment. The album was released on November 17, 2014 by Atlantic Records, marking the band's major-label debut and departure from Century Media Records. Black Widow came as a response to the band's 2012 success with their previous album, Blood. The band stated "we feel like we found something and want to stick the flag in the ground on top of that hill," however, fans and critics alike commented on how this album is "slicker and poppier" than In This Moment's previous releases. Regardless of the evolution in musical approaches, Black Widow was well received and debuted at number eight on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 36,000 copies, maintaining the bands highest chart entry. The album was further certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2022, moving 500,000 copies in the United States.

Black Widow is one of the most experimental albums of In This Moment's career, being known for it's theatrical and dark themes, both musically and visually. The album address many societal issues and themes while unraveling empowerment, sensuality, and the complexities of relationships. Maria Brink, the lead vocalist of In This Moment, has been a massive driving force behind the artistry of In This Moment, with Black Widow, Brink sought to exhibit not only the band's musical evolution but also embody her artistic vision. Black Widow draws inspiration from dark and seductive imagery, notably the symbolism of the black widow spider. The black widow, known for its predatory nature, becomes a metaphor for sensuality, strength, and the complexities of relationships throughout this release and can be heard referenced within songs and even seen on the album's artwork. Most of the music in Black Widow was written primarily by Maria Brink collaborating with In This Moment guitarist Chris Howorth. Their partnership on this album played a crucial role in shaping the musical and thematic direction as a whole, creating a distinctive blend of metal core, alternative metal, and industrial influences complimented by electronic elements, theatrical arrangements, and Maria Brink's versatile vocals. Musically, this album is fantastic, but what truly really solidified it's fame in the rock industry was Brink's live performances for Black Widow, which included extravagant stage setups and flashy costumes mashed together with her transcending vocals. If In This Moment decides to celebrate ten years of Black Widow on stages with fans, you can't even begin to imagine how fast we will be purchasing tickets to witness the Black Widow experience live all over again.


2014 FOREST HILLS DRIVE - J. COLE *voted by Eddie Myers*

2014 Forest Hills Drive is the third studio release from Germany-born, North Carolina-raised rapper J. Cole. The entirety of the album was released in December 2014 by ByStorm Entertainment, Columbia Records, Dreamville Records, and Roc Nation. The writing and recording process for 2014 Forest Hills Drive spanned over an entire year, with the production of the album being primarily handled by Cole himself. The album was officially announced three weeks before its release date and had very little marketing, with no singles or promotion taking place prior to its release. The album received massive critical acclaim for its ambitious concept, production, and lyrics, selling 350,000 copies in its first week and peaking at number one on the US Billboard 200. In less than a year, the album sold over one million copies in the United States alone and became certified platinum in the spring of 2019. In addition to this, the album won Album of the Year at the 2015 BET Hip Hop Awards and Top Rap Album at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. The album as a whole was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards while "Apparently" was also nominated for Best Rap Performance at the same event. The album's title is the address of a home in Fayetteville, North Carolina where Cole lived from his early youth until 2003 alongside his family. It was in this very home that Cole wrote some of his earliest songs and began to pursue a career as a musician.

2014 Forest Hills Drive is a sentimental album in J. Cole's discography, recounting his upbringing and the transition of leaving North Carolina for New York in search of fame; it battles with the transitions that were taken in order to find his success and fame within the music industry. The album name derives from Cole's childhood home which he re-purchased in 2014 and then put up on the market for an "extremely cheap" renting price in hopes that any struggling residents could use it to progress their lives, without having to worry about frequent moving, an experience Cole underwent due to financial struggles. In August of 2014, Cole released the first song off the album "Be Free" as a response to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, though the song was never initially intended to be on the album, it made the final cut over others with featured artists. Ultimately, "Be Free" was the perfect introduction to 2014 Forest Hills Drive which is remarkable for its introspective lyrics and vivid storytelling. J. Cole's extensive involvement in the production process is confessed continuously throughout the tracks, characterized by soulful and jazzy samples often featuring smooth melodies and laid-back rhythms. Despite being a rapper stylistically, Cole even brought in live instrumentation to fill the tracks, providing a warm and organic sound that's timeless through piano, guitars, and more. Building upon his evolution of rap elements, Cole further kept his drum beats throughout 2014 Forest Hills Drive relatively simplistic to enhance his storytelling, ultimately providing a more personal and intimate listening experience. Each beat seems carefully selected to amplify the narrative of the album, creating a cohesive and immersive musical journey. Notably, this album does not feature any guest appearances, allowing J. Cole to stand alone and showcase his storytelling and lyrical abilities without the influence of other artists.

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