Album Covers of the Year 2014
In contrast to modern patterns in music consumption comes our annual Album Covers of the Year feature, where, instead of forgetting album artwork even exists, we hyperextend ourselves to assert that it is an artform that is vitally connected to the spirit of the music. This feature, which is divided at times into thematic elements and at times into artistic medium, incorporates interviews with not only musicians, but also artists involved throughout the artistic process. We pride this list in being diverse and multi-faceted, as well as philosophically exploratory. See all of our entries from previous years or get started by choosing a category below. Happy travels through the artistic universe we've crafted for you.
You know, I've been sort of conflicted about the multiple directions metal has gone as of late -- none of which involve much of a focus on basic songcraft. It's probably just because I came of age back in the early '90s. Back then, loud rock bands threw a bit more vocal melody and track diversity onto their records, a lot of which has seemingly now been replaced by a monolithic blaaaargh of chugging riffs and white noise screamitude. I can't remember the last time I've walked away from seeing a new heavy band thinking, "Man, that song's going to be stuck in my head all day."

On the other hand, it's also been getting way more psychedelic, so there's that. Not that there's much songcraft on an album like The Valley Path, as that's kind of tough when there's only one song. See, it's for people with long attention spans – people who can eat an orange and feel like they're taking a trip through a citrus mountain.

Wow, this is tough review to write, as I'm typically a fan of unabashed mindfuckery. Here, I'm entirely conflicted. On one hand, listening to two straight records of pummeling guitar squall is certain to put you in an abnormal headspace, allowing channel demons psychically if that kind of thing suits...