Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 10 Metal & Hardcore Albums

7. Cult Leader
Nothing For Us Here
(Deathwish Inc.)

Gaza's messy breakup in 2013, stemming from allegations of rape, had three-quarters of the Salt Lake City outfit deciding to start anew, revealing in a press release ahead of their debut EP as Cult Leader that: "We once were another band, and now we're a better one." It's an apt statement from the crew, with their Nothing For Us Here release torching the past with a virulent and thrillingly violent six-song cycle stringing together noise-scored screaming sessions, entrails-tossing grind and decayed imagery.

The band puts on a chaotic clinic, from the viciously delivered, calculator crunching rhythm shifts of high speed detonations like "Flightless Birds" and "Skin Crawler" to the bitumen-dripping licks of saddened sludge ballad "Driftwood." Accentuating the black ooze sensation of the sonics, Anthony Lucero's haunted howls are a darkened journey through distrust, self-loathing, anger and frustration.

Their mission statement is screamed succinctly on the record's beatless, electro-jolt soundscape "God's Lonely Children": "We turn our backs on our burning homes. There's nothing for us here. Move on." Having salted the earth with Nothing For Us Here, Cult Leader have proclaimed themselves an oppressive new force metal fans need to follow. (Gregory Adams)