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01.01.15 2014 - Voivod's Random Best Of Pt. II01.01.15 2014 - Voivod's Random Best Of Pt. I
12.31.13 2013 - Voivod's Random Best Of List12.24.12 2012 - Voivod's Random Best Of List

2014 - Voivod's Random Best Of Pt. II

The second part of the list of albums I digged in 2014. The album order follows the official release date.
Melana Chasmata

3.7 - Deprived of the element of surprise the debut had by default, Melana Chasmata sounds less spontaneous and probably not as good. However, going through the thrash metal outbursts or the goth/doom metal droning is still a mesmerizing experience, while gazing at H.R. Giger's otherworldly art. On Another note, the band seems to rely much less on the all-time-classic Celtic Frost groove ("Altar of Deceit" stands as the sole token in that respect).
Paradise Freaks

3.5 - A soothing dream/ambient pop album for meditation and introspection... Stream:
3Goetic Equivalent
Goetic Equivalent

4.0 - Avant garde black metal has received a handful of different renditions during the '00s and the '10s, but one of its most distinct currents is the kind of black metal Mayhem, Thorns, Satyricon, Ved Buens Ende and Dodheimsgard introduced to the world during the turn of the millenium. To that end, Greece's oddly named Goetic Equivalent have done an awesome job with their self-titled debut album. The nihilistic vocals, the tech rhythm section (although it is a drum machine, it is an extremely well programmed one. Think of Meshuggah's excellent work in Catch 33, with all analogies accounted for), the intense yet precise riffing, the bitter melodies, they all fit the bill very very well. Stream: http://goeticequivalent.bandcamp.com
4Lost Society
Terror Hungry

3.7 - Highly energetic, semi-technical, the sophomore Lost Society album is, without a doubt, a thrash metal jam that fans of the genre should pay attention to. The album's only flaw is the abundance of tracks that assess it as somewhat derivative in terms of domestic abuse. It will slay in live concerts, though.

3.7 - This band and album just came out of nowhere, as far as adventurous thrash metal anno 2014 goes. Song arrangements blend tech thrash with '80s metal, top notch lead guitar shredding, prog rock, even ambient (check the album closer!!). On another note, this album has BY FAR the best sound production I've heard IN A VERY LONG time!!! FINALLY, a band that has not given in the homogenized/compressed/plastic dictatorship of today's metal productions, plus I don't think that Reek had such a big budget at their disposal in order to do such an excellent job. Stream: http://reekofficial.bandcamp.com/album/necrogenesis
6Infest (SRB)
Cold Blood War

3.5 - Over the years, death/thrash metal was becoming more and more of a relic, but judging from this year's yield, the genre is anything but. One of the most recent cases in point is the Serbian outfit Infest and its fourth observation Cold Blood War. Although it's nothing new under the sun, the utter intensity of every album number (more than) compensates for the album's derivative character. Stream - http://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/cold-blood-war
7Villagers of Ioannina City

3.6 - The successful interplay between desert/post rock and the folk music of Greece's Epirus region is what makes Riza such as great album. That been said though, most songs are similar in structure, the album relies almost exclusively on the inherent melodies of the aforementioned Greek tradition, with the band's own character being suppressed to the brink of non-existence. Stream: http://vicband.bandcamp.com/album/riza
8Steel Panther
All You Can Eat

4.0 - It's been ages since glam rock/metal was THIS effective.... SUNSET STRIP GLAMSTERZ NOT DEAD.- Stream: http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLFuipLA1g-UO7Y4wH-4d9c0ZNTLgZCJ64&v=khp1JLUbblQ
For Bidens

3.8 - Although I'm not aware of the band's past efforts, For Bidens inclines me to say that this is where everything truly begins for Greece's W.E.B.. Band has an utterly convincing penchant for blending extreme (as in thrash/death/black, not in that particular order) metal, fantastic industrial synths, goth rock, elements from classical music (the sopranos of the album are excellent), even some folk. Some (but few nonetheless) of the introduced ideas don't work well in the arrangements, the clean vocals in "Malaise" and the clean male vocals in general could be better, but W.E.B. are just a few turns away from creating even better music in releases to come. Stream: http://www.metalhammer.gr/2014-01-18-10-42-36/news-2/5167-w-e-b-album-for-bidens
10Gamma Ray
Empire of the Undead

3.4 - Gamma Ray seldom disappoint and this album is anything but... That being said, I'm digging the new Edguy album a tad more. Stream: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOmUKmHMjS3u2ISTLjeRGq-SF88dlWccY
11The Graviators

4.0 - On their third observation, Swedes The Graviators have outed an excellent album of '70s doom/hard rock, with serious groove, psychedelic, blues and progressive rock leanings spicing things further. Easily among the best albums of 2014 in the said genres.

4.0 - This awesome EP will really work for all those (yours truly included) who yearn for the return of industrial metal behemoths such as Norway's Red Harvest. See, in Traveller Khonsu (also from Norway, featuring members of Keep of Kalessin) deliver some frenetic/technical death/black - think of Red Harvest, Thorns, later era Mayhem etc - metal combined with inventive and dystopic electronic music patterns. Contrary to tracks 2-4, the album opener/closer revolves exclusively around electronic music, which are properly sustained by the excellent sound production. The awesome cover to Bjork's "Army of One" may be the highlight of the EP, I can't have enough of it. Stream: http://khonsu.bandcamp.com
Имена на стене (Name on the Wall)

3.5 - In their third observation, Finnish doomsters KYPCK (Russian for Kursk) are revisiting the simple but terribly effective style of their debut, and while Name On The Wall has a good replay value overall, it falls short on the aspect of truly memorable songs. That's a shame, because as far as KYPCK go, Sami Loppaka's vocal work herein is easily his best yet. Stream: http://www.inferno.fi/uutiset/kypck-ennusti-ukrainan-kriisin-synkalla-tuomionjulistuksellaan-uusi-albumi-kuunneltavissa-ennakkoon/
14Jake Bowman
Leftöver Kanye

3.5 - I'm not a casual fan of Kanye West or Leftover Crack, but I think that Jake Bowman's mashup album was worth the time invested by the man in realizing it. Opening track "Homeo-Power" absolutely kills and it should be jammed hard at avant-garde hip-hop joints around the globe. The rest of the album is enjoyable overall, although I have to admit that ska and hip-hop do not fully mix. Stream: http://noisey.vice.com/blog/kanye-west-and-crustpunk-leftover-kanye-mashup-album
15Morbus Chron

3.5 - This album is an interesting experiment in the sense that Morbus Chron try to blend psychedelic/'70s rock with the repugnant death metal of outfits such as Autopsy. That being said, the album isn't as varied as people present it to be (the band's guitarist has said while being interviewed, that he knows about 5-6 riffs on the guitar and that's readily evident on the album). Moreover, a good portion of the songs are too loose-structured, and drag too long for their own good. Still, Morbus Chron's sophomore album deserves to be jammed from time to time, at least.

4.0 - What we have here is a little prog rock gem from (where else?) Sweden. An instrumental band by default, Agusa use subtle (if not generic) melodies and rhythms so as to introduce themselves and their listeners to their intimate and atmospheric jams... Which in contrast, have a genuinely spontaneous way of development through the course of time. Awesome hammond improvisations are mixed with rhythm electro-acoustic guitars playing spacey or classic prog rock themes in the rear, while the lead guitars give out the epic feeling classic rock is much renowned for. Stream: http://agusaband.bandcamp.com/releases
17Empire of the Moon

3.5 - Greek black metal outfit Empire of the Moon has made a great start with Πανσέληνος (Greek for "Full Moon"). Band balances between the majestic/atmospheric/ritualistic and the totally primitive side of the genre, and packs a promise for better music in the future. Stream/"name your price" download: http://empireofthemoon.bandcamp.com/album/-

3.5 - An intriguing album from an intriguing band, Kalaboogie lies in between ambient, gothic, noise, industrial, ritual/electronic music and post-punk. The album is best experienced during the night. Stream: http://soundcloud.com/handdrawndracula/sets/doomsquad-lp
19Shattered Hope
Waters Of Lethe

3.7 - On their second album, Shattered Hope move towards the funeral end of death/doom metal and cast their heavy shadow upon us. Every fan of the said genre should give this album a listen, at least. Stream: http://shatteredhope.bandcamp.com/album/waters-of-lethe
Dawn of the New Centurian

3.7 - Hatriot deliver some killer "Exodus" thrash metal on their sophomore album. Excellent sound production (although it could sound coarser/dirtier), Steve "Zetro" Souza's vocals are always appealing, the lead guitars are almost shredding, and the riffs are solid, at least. On several occasions, the album reminded me a lot of Heathen's latest album, which is excellent. On another note, the lyrics are really good, for example in the album opening cut, and the shout "Free Pussy Riot" towards the end of "Superkillafragsadisticactsaresoatrocious" may become anthemic, should more people pay attention to the track.
The Search Goes On

3.5 - Since their beginning, Sweden's Kamchatka were always regarded as a legitimate source of vintage blues/hard rock and their latest album The Search Goes On continues that way in the sense that the outfit talks it like it walks it. Stream: http://www.revolvermag.com/news/exclusive-kamchatka-stream-new-album-the-search-goes-on.html
22Artificial Brain
Labyrinth Constellation

3.6 - Somewhere in between outfits such as Gorguts and/or Bolzer, Artificial Brain give their own take on how transcendental death metal should sound. Although they stand a few steps lower than the latest offerings of both aforementioned outfits, Artificial Brain do a pretty good job with their own material. Stream: http://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/labyrinth-constellation
23Slough Feg
Digital Resistance

3.7 - More than anything, Digital Resistance brings in mind the hard rocking metal works and days of late '70s/early '80s and outfits such as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. The familiarity and warmth of the music herein, along with Scalzi's characteristic vocals, make for yet another essential Slough Feg album.
Necronomic Warfare

4.1 - Death metal fans look for old Obituary in this year's Obituary, whereas they should merely get a hold of this awesome band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Moreover, TrenchRot can be seen as an effective painkiller for the unease caused by the prolonged absence of outfits such as Bolt Thrower. Crushing groove, apt musicianship, analogue sound production, what more can anyone ask from death metal these days? Stream: http://trenchrotdeathmetal.bandcamp.com/album/necronomic-warfare
Tasting the Tears

3.5 - Since the release of Blackenday in 2007, Italian metal veterans Eldritch have strived for making their music interesting again, and Taste The Tears is a decisive step in the right direction. The album is markedly better than its predecessor, first of all in terms of the ultra-heavy sound production. Musically speaking, band has adopted a modern atmospheric/groove/thrash metal hybrid (with traces of prog metal lying in the rear), which is combined with fantastic and really well thought dark/goth keyboards. Regardless of the tempo, all the songs transmit a certain melancholy, also ascribed to Terrence Holler's vocals (which are improved with respect to Gaia's Legacy, yet they are nowhere near his best moments in the '90s) and lyrics which revolve around personal matters. First half of the album is better than second one, however Taste The Tears flows nicely overall.
26The Gorlons
The Gorlons

4.0 - Fantastic album; The Gorlons have taken the swirling rock n' roll of the '60s, totally fuzzed it out, and slipstreamed in it the level of intensity that will get you off your chair and make you resonate (even headbang!) with their Hammond-driven groove. That being said, there some calmer, psychedelic portions of the album have some "alien" (post rock?) elements. Favorite track: Dirty. Stream/"name your price" download: http://thegorlons.bandcamp.com/album/the-gorlons
Solens Vemod

3.7 - I'm not so much into depressive post-/black metal, but the debut album of these Swedes has enough merit to make me visit it frequently from time to time, and search for equally good/representative material in the same vein. Stream: http://nasheim.bandcamp.com/
Picturing a Sense of Loss

3.7 - Not the biggest fan of post/black metal, but I have to admit that Deadwood have their way of exploiting the dynamics of the genre for their own benefit. Their recipe (the same found in bands like Entropia) works well, but nevertheless it's exactly the same in each and every song. For some reason and imho, a more lo-fi/coarse sound (and I'm talking about bands like Oranssi Pazuzu) would grant the band more character. Stream: http://deadwoodvoid.bandcamp.com/
29Yumi Zouma
Yumi Zouma

3.5 - Random work from dream pop acts such as this one works perfectly for me as intermission from my usual (metal) music rotation. Stream: http://www.spin.com/articles/yumi-zouma-ep-self-titled-stream-cascine/
30Grand Magus
Triumph and Power

3.5 - The new Grand Magus album brings about the "same ol' same ol'" dilemma; When (almost) all is said and done, is it possible for a classic metal act such as Grand Magus to come up with fresh material? The answer for Triumph and Power is a definitive yes, should the album be played loud, and I'm looking forward to catch the band live.
The Satanist

3.5 - The Satanist is Behemoth's first attempt at becoming more than just an awesome Polish death metal band. While the album is great overall, it's obvious that the band needs more time and work to lead the new elements into better music.

3.5 - The third Woodsman album has some really trippy and fluent psychedelic/post rock at display, a perfect soundtrack for the crack of each new dawn or the "small" hours of every night... Stream: http://woodsmanman.bandcamp.com/album/woodsman
33Shrapnel (UK)
The Virus Conspires

3.8 - Going about every aspect of adventurous thrash on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Shrapnel have crafted an album worthy of attention by the genre's fan base. Stream: http://candlelightrecordsusa.bandcamp.com/album/the-virus-conspires
United We Stand Together We Fall

4.0 - In between tech speed/thrash metal outfits such as Toxik and Watchtower, Skeptor's debut album rips skulls, while it attempts raising a voice of its own. On another note, the album title/concept are among the most intelligent, bitter and cynical I have recently come across... Stream: http://stormspell.bandcamp.com/album/united-we-stand-together-we-fall

3.5 - The 6th Kampfar offering should be embraced from those yearning for the old Enslaved material (Below The Lights-era and back). My personal favourites from the album are "Mylder", "Swarm Norvegicus" and "Our Hounds, Our Legion".
Tartarus: The Darkest Realm

3.6 - With the concept of their debut album revolving around cursed personalities of the Greek mythology, North Carolina based Dang are offering a badass piece of heavy rock on their debut album and one that will make everybody's foot banging the floor during a live concert. Stream: http://www.terrorizer.com/news/streams/stream-dangs-new-album-tartarus-darkest-realm-exclusively-terrorizer/
37Basement Torture Killings
A Night of Brutal Torture

3.6 - Not particularly memorable ("Kill For Satan" is an exception), kind of repetitive, but totally entertaining and ideal for non-stop pit moshing, the sophomore Basement Torture Killings album is, above all, a masterclass on how grind and tech death metal should be sound engineered. The sound of the drums and their patterns, in particular, are a delightful experience. On the same page with the last Carcass album in terms of intensity, only this one is more complex and grind-ish. As for the gore/splatter references and the vocals, they are reminiscent of Necroticism... and that's only a good thing.
38Red Spektor
Red Spektor

3.6 - What's a display here is badass retro hard rock with traces of stoner rock. The wah-wah guitars are all over the place, the sound production is on par with the adopted music style, and the groove is relentless at places. Stream: http://red-spektor.bandcamp.com/
39Burial Hordes

3.7 - On the same page with the best offerings of outfits such as Bathory, Mayhem, Grave Miasma, Bolzer and the like, Incendium is nothing short of high impact Hellenic death/black metal. The super-heavy doom metal intermissions placed in between the blastbeat inferno, are letting the album and its audience catch some breathers before dwelling anew to the chaos. Stream: http://hellthrasherproductions.bandcamp.com/album/incendium
40This Is Nowhere
Turn On, Tune Down, Drop D

4.0 - This is the best fuzzed out/psychedelic/haze-like stoner rock you haven't heard yet from the land of the Greek gods. Amazing, totally loose and nebulous jams are blended with Glenn Danzig/Martin Gore-like vocal invocations, so as to make for a tremendously mesmerizing listen. Favorite tracks: "Theme For Bootsy", "Moondub". Stream: http://thisisnowhere.bandcamp.com/album/turn-on-tune-down-drop-d

3.7 - Aenaon have left their mark on 2014 with a markedly better sophomore album, compared to its predecessor. Song writing has become more concrete, the music is tense throughout, while the non-metal passages - blues, jazz etc. - are better incorporated in the album's main avant-garde, black metal body. In result, what we are given is an album of great replay value. Sound production wise, the guitars have adopted a custom "fuzzy" sound that works well in giving the album a special character, yet it detracts some edge from the actual riffs. Favorite track: Der Mude Tod.
42The Vintage Caravan

3.5 - This Icelandic power trio offers some legitimate vintage hard n' heavy rock on its sophomore album, and there's really no wonder as to why Nuclear Blast has signed the band. The three 19-year-old dudes have a bright future ahead of them, should they play their cards right. Stream: http://thevintagecaravan.bandcamp.com/album/voyage

3.5 - Greece's stoner rock outfit Lizardia stepped into 2014 with a great self-titled debut album, an album which often flees from its core incentive towards the blues and old fashioned psychedelia. It's kind of weird that this band and album didn't receive more attention within Greece, because the album has been adequately brought to the light by foreign media. Stream: http://lizardia.bandcamp.com/
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