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Critics' Choice 2014: The Year In Review

THROUGH HIGHS, LOWS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN, IT’S BEEN ANOTHER DIZZYING YEAR IN THE WORLD OF HAMMER. HERE’S WHAT WENT DOWN...

It was a year in which metal’s biggest band continued to break new ground while a hotly contested newcomer provided one of the most controversial albums of recent times. Oh, and something called Babymetal happened. Yes, 2014 has been a typically bonkers and brilliant 12 months for metal, so, without further ado, it’s time to cast an eye on the big talking points from the year that was. Oh, memories...

SHADES OF GRAY

Arguably the biggest story of the year has been the long-awaited return of Slipknot. Iowa’s finest had been bouncing around various festivals for a few years since the shocking loss of Paul Gray, but it was an album that we all wanted to hear. And, despite the additional setback of Joey Jordison leaving the fold late last year, the Des Moines heavyweights came up trumps. With new masks, new incarnations of Knotfest and some cracking new songs in their arsenal, the future suddenly looks very bright indeed for the most important metal band of recent times. Bring on that January tour.

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