20 Best Metal Albums of 2014

The year in heavy from Scott to Slipknot

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Slipknot, '.5: The Gray Chapter'
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18/20

18. Slipknot, '.5: The Gray Chapter'

Given that a significant portion of Slipknot's first four albums derived from the artistic and rhythmic partnership of bassist Paul Gray and drummer Joey Jordison, the odds of the masked metallers moving forward without them — Gray died of an overdose in 2010, Jordison was ousted from the band last year — seemed slim. And yet, the 'Knot still somehow came roaring back in 2014 with their first new album in six years, a set full of ferocious songs ("Skeptic," "The Negative One," "The Devil in I") that are lent depth by the more atmospheric, experimental and melodic tracks that surround them. A worthy addition to an uncompromising catalog and a deeply moving tribute to a fallen comrade. D.E.

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