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|A Year In Metal, 2014: Volume I|
2014 has been a weird year for me. I haven't listened to music in the same rway that I usually do, which may be for the better. Therefore I don't feel like rI should do a typical end of the year write up. Instead I will dole out some of rthe better metal records this year. It's been a constant for me throughout r2014 and it's been a great year overall music wise. So without further ado:
At first this folk black metal band seemed kind of cheesy, indicative of the silly flutes
at the beginning of "Children of the Mist," but what evolves is something truly special.
These Scottish guys pay tribute to their beautiful country by invoking their rich Celtic
heritage. It feels genuine and heartfelt and stands tall amongst most releases this
|2|| ||Blut Aus Nord|
Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry
Riffs, riffs, and more Riffs. Blut Aus Nord can't really do anything wrong and this
glorious record calls to mind their fastest most aggressive black metal. It's rich,
fierce, and perfectly composed. "Saturnian Poetry" is standout for the band as well as
metal in 2014.
|3||Wreck and Reference|
I want everyone to want to talk about this record as much as I do. I've seen it
described as "the future sound of metal" and while that may be some major
hyperbole, it's an interesting thought. While Opeth and Baroness talk about taking
metal into a different direction, Wreck and Reference do it better and more poignantly
than anyone else. Instead of stripping away the overt heaviness, the band adds
emotional weight and trims some of the harshness and noise. What is left is one of
the most affecting records of the year, featuring "heaviness" not in noise but in
Sinmara hail from Iceland, bringing an oppressively dark and dreary form of black
metal with them. The scathing riffs contained here rival most bands, with an
atmosphere that is pitch perfect.
Promulgation of the Fall
"Promulgation of the Fall" mat be THE death metal album of the year. Yeah it's been
talked about a lot when people discuss the death of, well death metal, but it couldn't
be more off the point. Deep, groovy, and featuring the best production of any album
this year (yeah I said it), the band's latest is a triumph. It's a beautiful combination
of old and new with a fun darkness that gives it enough character to stand out.
Primitive and Deadly
"Primitive and Deadly" represents a change. With their eighth album Earth buck their
trend and give us a glorious piece of psychedelic drone which emphasizes lyrical
content and euphoric voids. It's a huge, murky album but full of warmth and light.
Seeing this band live was a treat. Their charming blend of sludge and pop is ever
present here, with the band refusing to lose a step during their hiatus. Fun and
quirky, Floor are back and better than ever.
I Shall Die Here
I just love The Body. Harsh electronics crammed into a thick sludge is the best way
to describe their latest, "I Shall Die Here." It's an ugly and jagged mess of weird
sounds and horrifying melodies that somehow works. However, it's the imagery that
really seals the deal. The album and art and videos all have a retro-outer space feel
to them, making it all seem like a soundtrack to "2001: A Space Odyssey" written by
Unfortunately "war metal" is sort of a thing. Fortunately, "Gesundrian" is a cool and
fun death metal record that is appropriately fast, heavy, and over quickly giving you
the feeling of being punched in the gut.
"Musta Seremonia" came out a long time ago, and while I'd like to say that the death
metal band hasn't missed a beat, that wouldn't be the case. Actually, they really
haven't missed a beat so much as they've changed their tune completely. Bringing
their doom elements to the forefront, "Ulvaja" is a different kind of beast. It's murky
and inky and absolutely refreshing.
Spinning last year's "Das Tor" during a lonely, cold day while the snow raged outside was a perfect musical experience. So
lacking such an expressive and affecting record this year was disappointing. Thankfully Darkspace return at just the right time,
dropping "III I," an abrasive dark ambient black metal record that stands tall next to everything the band has released thus far.
With a grating production and ear splitting riffs, the record seems like a sure fire hit. However, underneath this is a
sophisticated album whose members have a keen ear for their music. Each moments is filled to the brim is emotional weight.
Bold, beautiful, and one of a kind, "III I" is an absolute metal contender of the year.
This album is exactly as the cover art suggests and that....that's totally fine.
"Heathen" is sludgy, doomy perfection. It's no wonder why Thou keep popping up on end of the year lists, because "Heathen" is
as close to a masterpiece as they come. Crushing and densely layered cords ebb and flow with some of the thickest sounding
bass around. But its in the moments of clarity that the band shines, as the restraint is just as powerful as the unrelenting force.
On a side note, it's amazing to see an album seen as traditionally unwelcoming being embraced by music publications from
Pitchfork to Metalsucks. It's indicative of the changing climate in metal as attitudes are being altered in favor of musical
Okay, all I really hear with "The Satanist" is Behemoth. Yeah that's fine, but it isn't like "The Satanist" is a holy grail amongst
the bands..decent catalogue. It makes this list, however, because it is probably the most important metal record this year. A
runaway success matched only by the next album on the list, "The Satanist" has been embraced by just about everyone. With a
Metacritic score of 92 it's up their with some of the most widely celebrated albums EVER. That's right, Behemoth have not only
made their biggest album, but also one of this biggest albums of 2014.
Yet for the same reason with Thou, it's nice to see it get embraced even if it's just a slightly better Behemoth album.
Here's another black-ish metal record popping up on several end of the year lists. And while it is yet another album whose hype I
don't really get, it's deserving of praise for its diversity. "Melana Chasmata" never sticks with one style for too long, so doom and
death intermingle with black and gothic metal frequently. It's a quirky, heavy album that is sure to be talked about for a good long
"Worship Death" is loud. It's loud, fast, mean, hateful, and heavy. It's a death metal record that has no reason for existence other
than to be really, really loud, fast, mean, hateful, and heavy. It's a dumb and fun listen for those who need a pick me up.
"Origins" is a really interesting Celtic melodeath record. I would write more but that will pretty much tell you if it's you thing or
Sacred White Noise
Thantifaxath are a pretty neat band on paper. Writing emotionally draining black metal, the band burst onto the scene while
riding the coat tails of Deafheaven's success. I really wanted to like this better than I did. Truly, I tried. And it wasn't the
gimmicky anonymity that the band employs, what with the cloaks and hoods and the like. It's simply a sophomoric black metal
album with a superbly unimpressive production that severs each member from the band and makes everyone stand out
distinctly. There is no atmosphere that isn't contrived, nor is there anything really of merit. It's black metal by a band that just
discovered black metal and created by people who have no idea what they are doing. The riffs are devoid of anything special
and the themes of depression and isolation have been done to death. Wait why am I even including this again?
As a self proclaimed Boris superfan,"Noise" is everything I wanted....but not more. While I love the oppressively heavy atmosphere
and chunky guitar, "Noise" doesn't do much outside of the typical "heavy Boris" formula. But honestly, I eat it up anyway. Boris
do thick, heavy metal better than anyone else. It's deep and droning and full of memorable moments. Even a miss for this band is
still a winner.
Picturing a Sense of Loss
It's 2014 and it's the year after "Sunbather." While I liked "Sunbather" quite a lot, I really wish that it would not have had the
legacy that it does. Arguably the biggest metal record of last year and possibly of the last several years, Deafheaven's
sophomore record left an indelible mark on just about everyone. No we do not need another "Sunbather." Name dropping should
not have the effect that it does, but this year I've noticed a disturbing trend. Either bands are quick to cash in on Deafheaven's
success, or people need to realize that there were a lot of records like "Sunbather" before said album was released.
I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here other than to quit comparing every band to "Sunbather" like it's the new blueprint for
|1 & 2 are fantastic. 4 sounds interesting.|
|good list. saor is my favourite black metal release.
12,14 and 15 are also great!
also: your skooma hits man. |
|I put my opinion into more of these than I should have. I just wanted to have an unbiased, comprehensive list of metal albums this year. Oh well.|
|nice list, such an amazing year for metal.|
based on these albums you may also enjoy the new panopticon and falls of rauros if you haven't heard them.
|14 and 15 are fantastic|
|That description for 18 man. Fuck you just broke my heart.|
|Outstanding list and well written! #3 and #8 are absolute stunners!|
|You're supposed to sing the praises of 18!|
|2 is definitely one of my faves. snox rec'd me 4 and i have it on my itunes but haven't listened to it yet. it seems like i'm in for a real treat with that one|
|Nice list. I fucking hated 8, I just didn't get it at all|
|sweet, lots of good picks on here! gonna check 16.|
|A blend of sludge and pop in 7? Now THAT I need to hear.|
(I only listened to Sunbather once. I can't remember any of it.)
|can't believe how overlooked 8 was this year|
the body made a bold move in sound and i thought it would've garnered some higher praise or notice
|I agree. I have only seen it pop up in one other place. So haunting and scathingly heavy.|
|"Unfortunately "war metal" is sort of a thing."|
Nah, it's fortunate the term exists so I can continue tracking down the most extreme black/death bands with ease.
|list needs execreation and morbus chron |
|that autopsy record|
|8 is massive |
|1 is meh |
|1 is actually pretty good, i was never huge on folk/black metal but Saor do a sweet job. |
|check the old man gloom records xeno|
|Awesome list. Check out the new Swallowed and Emptiness records if you already haven't. 2 of the most morbid releases of the year.|
|For the next part needs epica, exodus, ne obliviscaris and more|
|Check out the new Swallowed and Emptiness , based on the list you'd really enjoy them.|
Keen to check out 3, 8 and 16. Great list
|Great list man, 14 and 17 will definitely be on my year end list with 13 possibly making an appearance too. This list was a cool idea too.|
|Did you listen to Woods of Desolation or just not think highly of it? I've listened to two records on your list and have a ton of catching up to do, but Woods of Desolation stood out as my AotY for sounding bigger and brighter than Deafheaven.|
|Yeah Woods of Desolation was definitely a great record and I thought pretty highly of it. This is just a bit of what I've heard though, so I will definitely get to it.|
|3 sounds interesting - I've been looking for more metal that is "heavy" in the way you described. Will check it out later today!|
|You may like it then! Not heavy in the traditional sense but that's what makes it so evocative. |
|Saor is one dude. I would agree on 5 but it might be just below the new Horrendous record. Also Triptykon don't really have any black metal elements; just Tom Warrior.|
|Check spectral lore and morbus chron if you haven't. I need to listen to 3 finally|
|good list man. Saor is so good. 1,5,12,13 will make my list, I really like the slugdge record too. Has a bit of everything. Solid list.|