ManintheBox
User

Reviews 4
Approval 100%

Soundoffs 185
News Articles 2
Band Edits + Tags 19
Album Edits 14

Album Ratings 382
Objectivity 79%

Last Active 11-29-13 2:18 am
Joined 03-17-11

Forum Posts 1
Review Comments 874

 Lists
01.01.15 The Best Of 2014 In Metal12.03.14 Metal Of 2014 And Give Me Recs
01.01.14 The Best Of 2013 In Metal 12.05.13 Metal Of 2013 \m/ And Give Me Recs
04.16.13 21 Most Influential Metal Albums Of The02.21.13 Rec me recent Metal Debut Albums \m/!!!
01.06.13 The Best Metal Of 201211.01.12 Holy Shit!! 2012
09.18.12 Bands With The Coolest Evolution \m/! 08.27.12 The Faceless Ranked
07.12.12 Finally a good Metal list \m/!!!!!!!!!05.07.12 What Does Each Rating Mean For You??
04.28.12 I Be Death Metalin \m/!!!!!!!03.22.12 Albums Only You Consider Classic??
03.01.12 Got Band Teas?02.16.12 Death Metal Vs. Black Metal
01.29.12 Holy Epic Fucking Jams Batman!!!12.22.11 Albums To Die For
More »

The Best Of 2014 In Metal

2014 was another amazing year in the world of heavy metal music, a world which rseems to be ever revolving and pushing boundaries. Honestly it was hard to keep up rwith some of the quality albums that rwere put out this year. So this list is basically rthe best I could do to summarize my 2014 listening rexperience in only 25 albums.
25Darkest Era
Severance


Darkest Era ? Severance: This album came as quite a surprise to me, since I had always
written these guys off as being a second rate stuck in the confines of typical folk and heavy
metal tropes. Well, as of Severance I can say that these Ire landers are truly running wild
within these parameters. The songs found on this release are epic yet not cheesy and pay
enough tribute to the classic purveyors of this cult heavy metal sound while still being
memorable. This album doesn?t stray at all from this formula though however said formula
epic it may be. This limits the albums scope a little bit shackling it to this top #25 spot. Still
this release is an epic emotionally impactful listen and definitely a reason to keep Darkest Era
on your musical radar. Rating: 4.0
24Goatwhore
Constricting Rage of the Merciless


Goatwhore has always been one of those bands that I?ve always liked but never quite loved.
This was mainly due to their ACDC style of approach to the already somewhat crowded group
of bands toying with blackened satanic inspired sounds. I?m very excited to say that on their
newest album ?Constricting Rage of the Merciless? Goatwhore finally break out of the pack to
assume a position at the forefront of Blackened style metal in general. This is mainly due to
these NOLA-nites not only perfecting their usual sound but also experimenting a little bit.
?Cold Earth Consumed in Dying Flesh? plays around with a crushing doom influence and is a
true highlight of the album while opener ?Poisonous Existence in Reawakening? might be the
best song Goatwhore has ever written. Rating: 4.1
23Bolzer
SOMA


Bolzer continues their reign over the kvlt like world of underground extreme metal in 2014
due to a sensational appearance at MDF (which I regrettably missed) but also largely in part
to this astounding EP which brings to the table black and death metal as well as something
special in the song writing department. While neither of the two tracks on this release quite
measure up to the amazing songs found on their previous EP ?Aura? Steppes and the
behemoth ?Labyrinthian Graves? are quite an impressive example of Bolzer?s ability to
combine typical metal influences with psychedelic elements. Believe me, there?s a reason this
18 minute EP is on a list filled with hour long full lengths. Rating: 4.1
22A Hill to Die Upon
Holy Despair


This album by up and coming blasphemous blackened death metallers A Hill to Die Upon is
essentially Behemoth light, but believe they practically over shadow their forbearers on this
release. Each track roars by with a darkened fury possessed by all great black metal bands
while at the same time crushing and memorable death metal riffage pounds its way into the
listener?s brain. This means that while the album has a whole isn?t necessarily original it
definitely is memorable. The release is even made more memorable when A Hill to Die Upon
branch out from the typical Blackened death influences such as on ?O Death?. Holy Despair
definitely serves as a sacrilegious statement of purpose to a slightly overcrowded scene which
demands the attention of death and black metal fans everywhere. Rating: 4.1
21Midnight
No Mercy for Mayhem


This year I enjoyed a fair amount of dark and overly serious releases. So it was a quite a
pleasant surprise to find this insanely fun hard rockin? album among the other darkened grim
releases of 2014. The many 80s first wave of black metal clich?s serve as great counter
programming to the aforementioned ?serious? metal releases. But believe me with amazing
anthems such as Try Suicide, the Final Rape of Night, and Woman of Flame this release
quickly shifted from being just a fun album to take my mind of things to an album I basically
jammed nonstop. Midnight do nothing more than salute the legends of old, but they do it with
such a unique brash attitude and penchant for catchy song writing you just have to love them.
Rating: 4.1
20Agalloch
The Serpent and the Sphere


I hate to say it, but Agalloch disappointed me with this release. A band that released such
amazingly unique genre defining efforts such as ?Pale Folklore? and ??The Mantle? seemingly
merely copies themselves on this release while not really treading any new ground. Still the
fact that this so called disappointment is still in the top 20 on my year end list is a testament
to just how good Agalloch are. Tracks like ?Dark Matter Gods? and ?Vales Beyond Dimension?
are epic beyond compare while Plateau of Ages truly sends the album off in a post rock
infused kind of style truly befitting of this band. So in the end is it a misstep for these black
metal legends? Yes. But does Agalloch miss a beat in the process? I?d say no. Rating: 4.2
19Beyond Creation
Earthborn Evolution


Technical death metal has recently become a convoluted genre due in part to the number of
bands in the scene with similar sounds as well as to the somewhat monotonous music these
bands play. I?m excited to say that the next three bands on this list show that it is possible
for modern tech death to break out of the mold of excessive technicality just for the sake of
technicality. Beyond creation did so by harkening back to the technical releases of old with a
superb production, a jazzy feel, and the best bass performance of the year. Some of the songs
start to blend together towards the end, but as soon as track nine, Theatrical Delirium, rolls
around with its jazz like guitar performance you know you?ve experienced a pretty awesome
album. The bass performance in the title track alone puts this on the map. Rating: 4.2
18Fallujah
The Flesh Prevails


The second tech death album of the three, was another slight disappointment for my year.
Last year with the release of their EP ?Nomadic?, Fallujah seemed poised to take technical
death metal and even death metal in general into a new daring direction with beautifully
atmospheric and emotionally impactful music. I guess on Flesh Prevails they deliver on this
initial promise, but not without a few bugs in the machine. The main thing that held this
album back from being a master work would have to be the overly compact production which
really goes against what Fallujah were going for with this album. Everything feels tethered to
earth instead of free to roam the soundscape as it should. The album does drag on a couple
of tracks as well. Still, this is a truly amazing release which is about as ambitious as one can
get and on tracks like Levitated, Alone with You/Allure one can see just exactly what these
youngsters were going for and respect them all the more for basically achieving it. Rating: 4.2
17Artificial Brain
Labyrinth Constellation


Holy fucking shit?this album will melt your brain and then replace it with a high tech android
super computer. This right here, is definitely my tech death album of the year and like the
Fallujah album sees the boundaries of the genre being pushed to new extremes. Unlike the
Fallujah release though, these extremes are a lot darker and messed up. Labyrinth
Constellations zooms past like some kind of trip through space, and not the optimistic bright
Star Trek kind of trip but one where you?re on an aged working class vessel with one of Ridley
Scott?s Aliens and of course, no one can hear you scream. Admittedly this album does start to
sound samey towards the end, but it?s worth it for the psychedelic infused outro to Absorbing
Black Ignition alone. Rating: 4.2
16Revocation
Deathless


I don?t know how these Bostonians do it. This is the third year in a row they?ve made it onto
my year end list (Last year they reached the lofty seventh spot) and if Deathless is any
indication, they?re not slowing down anytime soon. Deathless shows Revocation stream lining
their sound in the death metal direction even more. This has made the song writing tighter
and more cohesive. Sadly gone are the days of crazy experimentation (such as utilizing a
banjo or a horn section), but they?ve made way for crushing songs that are still quite capable
of jamming like a mother fucker, just check out Labyrinth of Eyes or United Helotry. Also a
quick shout out to Madness Opus which is one of the best tracks released this year. Rating:
4.2
15Yob
Clearing the Path to Ascend


Clearing the Path to Ascend: This year I can also say that I?ve officially found the awe
inspiring soul crushing power of doom. Yob was one of the bands that helped me wake up to
this slow meandering style of metal. And I?d say on the surface this album, is just your
typical monolithic doom release. All the songs are longer than the ten minute mark and
feature riffs that could crush an elephant. It?s only when closing track Marrow plays that you
can see the true genius behind this album that helps to separate it from the pack of other
albums released this year. Marrow makes the three tracks the marched before it seem like
the long lasting suffering before the ultimate catharsis of Marrow hits you with its innate
beauty. ?It?s time to wake up.? Rating: 4.2
14Whispered
Shogunate Macabre


This was one of my first loves of 2014. Insanely gripping melodic death metal with lyrics
entirely about the honor of Samurais, and some amazing eastern folk instrumentation added
in for good measure is what this album has to offer. Seriously, it?s as amazing as it sounds.
Every single track is an epic slice of shogun infused fury and with insanely catchy tracks like
Hold the Sword and One Man?s Burden you?ll keep coming back. It?s truly on the ballad esque
Lady of the Wind that these samurai shine though. It?s an emotionally impactful epic the rises
above the rest of an album as an example of what this band can truly be capable of. I look
forward to seeing this potential fully realized, but for now amazing albums like this one are
more than enough from these Finlanders. Rating: 4.2
13Morbus Chron
Sweven


Morbus Chron were one of two bands this year that showed that this new wave of OSDM bands
are not just here to pay tribute to the classic acts of the 90s (The other was Horrendous who
released the amazing Ecdysis) but also here to break entirely new ground in the world of
death. I don?t think anyone could have anticipated just how crazy an album Sweven ended up
being, but this release went about as far from its old school roots as it could without
completely abandoning them. A crazy psychedelic trip into abstract melodies with a classic
Swedish death metal back drop is about the best description I can come up for this album.
Sometimes the ambition on this release far exceeds practicality which is why the album
wasn?t quite able to breach the top 10. Still with Sweven, Morbus Chron show that they?re a
band with an artistic vision far beyond the realm of death metal. Rating: 4.3
12 Mastodon
Once More 'Round the Sun


After the slight misstep that was the Hunter, the Mastodudes are once again back on my year
end list. Believe me though, they?re not back on here because they compromised their
creative vision. Nope, these dudes from Atlanta stuck it out down the path of sludge and
progressive inspired hard rock into the realm of the unknown. In doing so, they?ve created by
far the catchiest album of the year. Songs like The Motherload and Ember City have been
stuck in my head for weeks at a time. This is not the Mastodon that recorded Leviathan or
even Crack the Skye and I think that as of this album, everyone is ok with that. Rating: 4.3
11Bongripper
Miserable


Holy fucking shit?this album is a journey into self-loathing and misery that continues to unfurl
with each subsequent listen. Throughout this three song, hour long affair, Bongripper take a
minimalistic approach to Doom that on first listen can seem tedious and under developed. But
the more time you put into this record the more it hypnotizes you with its monolithic drums,
spine pulverizing bass and guitar tone, and approach to long drawn out song writing. This is
when tracks begin to hook you, like the insane groove in the beginning of Descent or the trace
amounts of stoner melody that?s seen on Into Ruin. All around Miserable truly lives up to its
name sake and helped me realize that slower can often be better. Rating: 4.3
10Dead Congregation
Promulgation of the Fall


Dead Congregation literally eviscerated, pummeled, demolished (any descriptive verb for
reeking insane amounts of destruction can be inserted here) this year. Literally all it takes to
eliminate any doubts about the brutality and quality of this album are the first two snare hits
that open Only Ash Remains. After that, it?s all over: your back and neck have been crumbled
into a fine powder, your ears bleed by the pint, and you?re mentally floored by the amount of
destruction being caused before you. For 40 straight minutes this goes on with only an
occasional dissonant harmony to let up the onslaught. Thanks to this album, I would call
these Greeks death metal masters and place them among the echelon of acts like Immolation,
Incantation, Morbid Angel, and Autopsy. Just jam to some of the riffs heard in tracks like
Serpentskin and Nigredo and tell me that doesn?t immediately place them among the ranks of
legends. Rating: 4.4
9Noctomb
Obulus for Charon


This is probably the least well known band on this list, which is a shame because as you can
tell by their placement on said list they are pretty damned good. Noctomb are a local act
from Raleigh NC that I can only describe as being a blackened sludge band that has a fixation
on jaw droppingly groovy and catchy riffs. What this young three piece ends up with on their
debut ?Obulus for Charon? though, is a sound all their own and one of the most unique albums
of 2014. Just jam to riff laden tracks like the title track or Soulrot and tell me if any signed
acts on big labels possess song writing that good. You can tell these guys have some room to
grow, but with a starting platform this good you can for sure say that success is what lies
around the corner. Hopefully in 2015 these guys get the exposure they deserve. Rating: 4.4
8Black Anvil
Hail Death


I quite literally have no idea where an album like this came from. I always considered the
dudes in Black Anvil a straight forward solid as fuck thrashy black metal act, so when I played
this album for the first time and heard the many influences scattered across its hour plus run
time I was floored. The band somehow incorporates hardcore shouts, progressive song
structures, amazing classic rock guitar solos, and even a catchy chorus here or there among
the foreboding black metal atmospheres and the fast thrashy riffage found throughout. The
fact that they?re able to incorporate all of these influences seamlessly into one congruent
sound further cements the outright talent of the men in this band. Though it does run a little
on the long side ?Hail Death? is quite an ambitious album that pays off in spades or in this
case, Pentagrams. Rating: 4.4
7Temple of Void
Of Terror and the Supernatural


I had basically finalized the top albums of this list when these doomy deathsters from Detroit
came out of nowhere and crashed the party. It kind of made my job a tad harder but believe
me, it was worth moving stuff around to squeeze in this gem of a doom death hybrid. ?Of
Terror..? moves along at an unstoppable pace with slow but never boring or not pulverizing
riffs. The death metal energy is all here, right along with that doom metal somber doom
melodies that soar over the heavy destruction occurring beneath. Jam to tracks like Savage
Howl or Exanimate Gaze and you can easily see that this is the perfect merging of these two
styles. And when the truly go completely funeral doom on closer Bargain in Death it definitely
shows that even on their debut album these guys are masters of their craft. Definitely watch
for these guys in the future. Rating: 4.5
6Saor
Aura


This is definitely my winner for most epic album of 2014. ?Aura? transports your metal addled
brain to the highlands of Ireland themselves. It?s barely past dawn, and there?s a deep mist
rolling in over the green mossy hills. If you strain your hears you can hear the faint sound of
bagpipes off in the distance. This is the picture ?Aura? paints in hour long run time. It does
this by utilizing folk melodies and many different folk instruments that feel most natural along
the more abrasive black metal sections. The fact that this all came from the mind of one man,
makes it all the more impressive. Also a quick shout out to Austin Lunn of Panopticon for
putting in an absolutely thundering drum performance here. The production though, serves as
a double edged sword, on one hand it compacts the album making it harder to hear the
beautiful folk elements at times but on the other it also helps to nail down the highland like
atmosphere of the album. When all of these elements are combined, you?re given the best
black metal album of 2014 and an album to listen to whenever an epic soundtrack is needed.
Rating: 4.5
5Insomnium
Shadows of the Dying Sun


Finally made it to the top five \m/!! ?Shadows of the Dying Sun? sees Insomnium further
perfect their unique style of philosophical melodeath and take it into new realms of beautiful
atmospheres. Seriously, this one of those albums where it?s best appreciated by walking
through nature or something metal like that and just focusing on all the soaring melodies and
the atmospheres they create. The song writing itself is another highlight and in the end
makes the album what it is. From front to back every song is memorable and possesses a
unique identity. This Is partly due to the successful incorporation of clean singing throughout
the album. This trait takes tracks like Lost to Night, The Promethean Song, and the title track
to the next level and make them huge highlights. This also makes tracks where they stick to
their melodic death metal guns all the more powerful, like the epic anthem Black Heart
Rebellion or the lead single Ephemeral. Rating: 4.6
4Lord Mantis
Death Mask


This album is kind of a departure from the beauty of the previous couple albums on this list.
And when I say departure, I mean the antithesis. For this is what Death Mask is, the farthest
thing from beauty: pure ugliness and self-loathing projected into the form of music. This
album?s sound can only be described as sludgy blackened doom with a hint of industrial
influence, and Lord Mantis utilizes every filthy aspect of these genres to craft the horror that
is Death Mask. Tracks like the title track and Possession Prayer somehow simultaneously
make your blood boil with rage but also make you squirm in uncomfortable fear. It?s been
awhile since an album has been able to capture such hostile emotions (The most memorable
release to do so would have to be NIN?s Downward Spiral). The magnitude of depravity found
on this album is then increased even more by closer Three Crosses use of post metal like
beauty to seek redemption after the sins committed earlier during this release. This album is
a disgusting filthy abomination against all that is good in this world, and I fucking love every
second of it. Rating: 4.7
3Triptykon
Melana Chasmata


The trend of dark depressing albums continues with Triptykon?s sophomore effort titled Melana
Chasmata. This Greek phrase translates to ?Chasms as black as ink? and is definitely more
than fitting for the pits of darkness found buried in this album. The legend Tom G. Warrior
has crafted a sound that combines the darkest aspects of thrash, black, and death all into a
doom metal back bone. The results are one of the more crushing albums to be released this
year. And when you add the depressing weight of the lyrics to the mix this is definitely the
most spiritually crushing album of the year. The album wouldn?t be what it is though without
the sprinkling of softer more atmospheric tracks among all the self-destruction. Songs like
Boleskin House, Aurorae, and the insanely beautiful closer Waiting give Chasmata that extra
push it needed to reach the top three on this list, Add this beauty with the pitch black
darkness of tracks like In the Sleep of Death, Tree of Suffering Souls, and Black Snow and
you have a true dark force to be reckoned with. Rating: 4.7
2Behemoth
The Satanist


This was the definitive metal album of 2015 as far as I?m concerned (I didn?t say personal
favorite though!). It captured everyone?s attention with shit tons of hype before it was even
released with stories such as Nergal?s battle with Leukemia and the band controversy between
the band and their home country of Poland concerning their ability to create such Satanic
music. What furthered cemented this album as popular album of the year is that the music
found on this track actually surpassed all of this hype that was built up around it. And after
listening to this release, it?s not hard to see why. On the Satanist, Behemoth abandons all
that made them a tedious band on previous releases and craft and emotive album I can only
describe as gospel like. Seriously, due to tracks like the insanely catchy Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
and the epic as fuck closer O Father O Satan O Sun, the band sounds like they?re trying to
emulate a higher power (I?ll let you guess who that power is). Instrumentally the band hits it
out of the park as well, with amazing guitar work on tracks like Amen, Ben Sahar, and most
notable Messe Noire which possesses probably the best guitar solo of the year. In the end
The Satanist deserves all the praise it has received and maybe should even have some more
on the side. Rating: 4.8
1Pallbearer
Foundations of Burden


Finally after almost four thousand words I?ve reached the end of this journey through 2014 in
metal. Damn this shit was exhausting but definitely worth it. And waiting at the end of this
journey like an old friend is Foundations of Burden. And that?s in the end what separates it
from the rest of the albums on this list, it was an album that I kept going back too (and still
am.. guess what I?m jamming to as I type this) regardless of mood or metal craving.
Foundations was just always there with its dependable doomy groove, beautiful atmospherics,
crushing guitar riffs, and somber lyrical themes. I?ve been able to emotionally connect to this
album more than any other released this year. Contained on these six sprawling tracks is a
unique non aggressive yet still heavy riffing style that truly captured where I was in 2014.
The beautiful soaring vocal performance from Brett Campbell also continues to hammer in the
utter sadness displayed and emotions on display in this release. These feelings of despair
evolve throughout the album ranging from the aggressiveness found during the middle of
Worlds Apart to the almost triumphant realization that one can move on from despair found on
best song of the year Ghost I Used to Be. Then on closer Vanished this feeling of absolute
despair disappears quietly into the night. This is a decidedly un-metal end but for this album
which transcends genre tags it is most fitting. So in the end due to its substance over style,
its unique approach to doom metal, and its emotionally charged instrumentation Pallbearer
claims its rightful spot as album of the year 2015. Rating: 5.0
Show/Add Comments (18)

FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy