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Ten metal bands to watch in 2014

Animals As Leaders are one of the ten metal bands to watch this year
Animals As Leaders are one of the ten metal bands to watch this year
Aaron Thackeray

Even though metal has smoked and drank its entire life, it will never die. This year, metal embarks on another era opening up the swinging saloon doors for new inebriated metal degenerates to steal the show. Below the radar, most of these metal bands have what it takes to break into the spotlight, all they need is a little radar love. Here are the ten metal bands to watch this year.

See also: The ten geekiest metal bands

10. Axeslasher Denver pizza and thrash metal lovers Axeslasher put out a killer album, Anthology of Terror, at the end of 2013 with very positive reviews from the underground metal world. With tongue-in-cheek titles like "Mark of the Pizzagram," Axeslasher vomited up a disgustingly brutal thrash album as sharp and gruesome as Jason Voorhee's machete and Freddy Krueger's claws.

9. Call of the Void The Boulder band Call of the Void signed to Relapse Records at the end of 2012 and then pounded out a furious album with an ill-omened titled Dragged Down A Dead End Path by the start of 2013. The band then turned around and premiered tracks and videos on sites like Pitchfork, Noisecreep and MetalSucks, and subsequently made four appearances at SXSW.

8. Unlocking the Truth Younger than a T-shirt, but older than a pair of socks, Unlocking the Truth kick it down with brutal old school metal while still attending school -- seventh grade. This Flatbush trio hit the web at the end of 2013 after New York's First Daughter Chiara de Blasio shocked metal media by stating that she enjoys listening to the raucous metal genre. The band plays instruments that look like little kids shuffling around in their parent's shoes, but in this case the heavy metal shoes fit and they should wear it.

7. Russian Circles Russian Circles goes down like high quality hard liquor, a filtered precision of progressive instrumental metal that floods the sensory system with intensity, making the listener more elated. Russian Circles may be more for a metal music buff than a casual listener, but you don't have to be a genius to understand what these smart rockers are doing. As instrumental metal music continues to grow stronger, so will this Chicago trio.

6. Power Trip Power Trip's Manifest Decimation was arguably one of the best thrash metal albums of 2013, melding together old school thrash metal with hardcore punk and a lo-fi recording, sounding like a long lost thrash album from the early '80s. As metal continues to change and evolve, this Dallas, Texas, band plays fast and hard with riffs that will make you want to rip off your ears and glue them to your speakers.

5. Code Orange Kids The Code Orange Kids have played shows with bands such as Anti-Flag and Every Time I Die and plan to start recording their sophomore album soon for release later this year. This follow-up album to the act's attention grabbing debut, Love is Love/Return to Dust, is said by the band to be heavier, weirder, and have a much more blended sound. With a solid album, the Code Orange Kids could take its first deep breath above the new pollution.

4. Islander Islander has toured with some easily recognizable bands like As I Lay Dying and Flyleaf, and is heading towards the mainland brimming with creativity and traits similar to Rage Against the Machine and Deftones. Newly signed to Victory Records, the South Carolina band plans on releasing a full-length follow-up to last years EP, Pains, this spring. Truly spreading their wings in the recording studio with this album could have the band soaring to greater heights.

3. Tombs Experimental metal band Tombs rolled over in the graves of the Brooklyn underground with Path of Totality in 2011, opening a well of emotion and strong roots of songwriting. With a band name mummified in death metal, the band has a style of music that strays away from the subgenre and can be described as a marbling of black, doom and sludge metal. Tombs will be working on a new release set to come out this spring and will be recording with Hate Eternal frontman/producer Erik Rutan.

2. Deafheaven Screaming for the hard of hearing, and the easy of hearing, Deafheaven's heart bleeding black metal ebbs and flows with buzzsaw screams, twitchy fingering, and blast beats that escape and seep into the trippy. Deafheaven's sophomore album Sunbather was arguably one of the best metal albums of 2013, searing and getting under the skin with raw confession, drama, and infectious melody.

1. Animals as Leaders Animals as Leaders are planning on tearing into the metal world this spring with their third album of mind-blowing instrumental prog metal. If guitar wild man Tosin Abasi and his pack of wolves produce anything like 2011's Weightless, instrumental metal could very well snag the harness of the mainstream metal limelight.

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