|Sputnik, Like Noplace Is There|
2014 ranked. Some of these I didn't get round to listening as much as I should have.
The Virtuous Purge
Blackened Death Metal:
Pretty monotonous but if you?re looking for some mind-numbingly heavy death metal then this
is worth a listen.
Rooms of the House
This is pretty chilled and has its moments here and there but it pales in comparison to their
first two, so on that count it?s a bit of a disappointment. It seems they?ve lost their fire that
once made them so renowned.
This is pleasant I guess. I actually really liked this at first but it grew off me a bit for
Lamentations of the Flesh
Old school-style death metal in the vain of Swedish bands like Entombed and Dismember with
a slightly more melodic edge. This isn?t exactly a goldmine of amazing riffs and it doesn?t
really do anything to ?reinvent the wheel? but it?s a pretty solid record overall with some
noticeable parts scattered throughout. A decent listen if you?re looking for some new ?old
Abhorrence of the Unborn
This has some really cool parts scattered throughout but kind of feels monotonous by the end,
worth a listen though if you're an old school death metal enthusiast.
From All Purity
This record is absolutely unrelenting. There?s absolutely no letup from the crushing, gigantic
riffs and wretched vocals throughout the entirety of the album. Can feel overbearing and a bit
direct sometimes but pretty good nonetheless.
Some parts of this I love and some parts I hate. For example, Eternal Rains is such a brilliant
album opener and Cusp of Eternity is a hard grower too. However Goblin and River just do
nothing for me at all. It?s a good album but could have been so much better.
Eternal Rains Will Come
A pretty chill record with some heavy moments here and there. Can become very repetitve
and dull sometimes.
This is pretty standard thrash. The music itself is good but the modern day production makes
everything sound a little bit flat. That said, there are some real good moments on here and
the guitarwork is impressive overall.
The Serpent and the Sphere
A big disappointment given how awesome Marrow and Faustian were, and this lacks the knack
for brilliant songwriting that Agalloch have developed. However, there are some real
atmospheric moments here which save this from being a dud.
The Astral Dialogue
Blackened Death Metal:
This is reeeeeaally evil-sounding and creates a really dark atmosphere. There?s not an awful
lot of interesting individual riffs and can become fairly tedious but it?s a solid record.
Orchestrating the Apocalypse
Looking at the cover art, I was expecting something really overly polished for some reason
but this is kinda the opposite. I also had no idea this was Steve Tucker?s band. There?s some
cool riffs here and there but nothing too fancy, and the snare is waaaaay too high in the mix.
Atmospheric Sludge Metal:
Honestly I had no idea what genre this falls into so I?ve taken a guess but I?d say it?s
somewhere in between sludge and black metal. Some pretty atmospheric parts here and there
that contrast fairly nicely with the heavier parts, although this record does lose my attention
I Forget Where We Were
I?ve always had a slight soft spot for this guy cause he grew up near me, and I think this
record is better than his debut, of which I wasn?t huge on. This is definitely darker and slightly
End of the Affair
Redescubriendo el Invierno...
Atmospheric Black Metal/Folk:
Atmospheric black metal with a very strong folk influence. This is a cool listen and puts me
into a trancelike state, but can be a little long-winded.
Not much you can say about a record that?s only 4 minutes long. Goes hard.
Pretty cool record with good production and a dark atmosphere, which is accentuated by the
numerous acoustic interludes throughout. Fairly boring in places though. Pretty long for an EP
Some old school-sounding prog that takes heavy influence from 70s bands without sounding
like rip offs. A little cheesy and overblown in places.
Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves
Pretty much a no-frills, straight up death metal record. I haven?t checked out their newer
stuff, their most recent album I?ve listened to being Mental Funeral so I can?t really comment
on their progress as a band overall, however this felt like their old stuff with new-sounding
production. Solid listen.
|81||Basement Torture Killings|
A Night of Brutal Torture
This kinda straddles the line between standard death metal and grind. Some tasty riffs
scattered throughout this.
Tibi Et Igni
Another solid addition to a pretty popular discography. The riffing styles are top notch on this
although the production is a little too clean for my liking and I?m not a huge fan of the vocals
|79||Monument of Misanthropy|
Brutal Death Metal:
Fairly typical BDM album with some awesome shrieks from the vocalist.
Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence
This record is an absolute monster. I really wasn?t sure about this at first because after all
this is basically just a huge wall of noise, but once I got more used to it I realised how much
of an effect this has on me when I listen to it. Caverncore taken to its absolute limit.
Against This Weald
Black Metal/Folk Metal:
Some pretty nice blackened folk metal. Songwriting is adventurous (two of the three songs
reaching well over 10 minutes) and this sounds slightly more pessimistic than most other
blackened folk bands so don?t go expecting something Windir-sounding.
We all know the famous saying, ?never judge a book by its cover?. Unfortunately I did that
somewhat with this record, as the brilliant album artwork lead me to expect something a lot
more atmospheric than this. That said, this is more than a worthy addition to the collection of
any post metal fan.
This guy is hella talented and the guitarwork on here is awesome but if you?ve ever heard a
modern day progressive metal album before then you know what to expect with this.
Despair, Erosion, Loss
A pretty hard-hitting post-metal/sludge release that doesn?t do too much to differ from the
genre but is still pretty crushing and heavy. Free on Bandcamp so definitely take a listen if
Bon Iver-esque indie folk. There?s not a lot of material on this but this is really promising and
I?ll definitely check out an LP if it comes out.
This was an infuriating album in some respects. The music itself is right up my street with its
dark, brooding atmosphere in true Finnish style, but the production is terrible, and not the
?good? type of bad production which makes everything sound raw and gritty. Hopefully this will
get a remaster some day because the music itself is really superb.
Behold the Son of Plagues
This has pretty clean production for a black metal record but I feel that it?s a brilliant starter
for people who want to get into black metal but can?t look past the common production values.
Very overlooked and awesome cover art too.
Just release a full length already jeez.
Wasn?t really a huge fan of this for most of the year, but with repeated listens this has grown
on me. With strong female vocals and a soft use of the piano, as well as other more ?classical?
sounding instruments, the songwriting on here is really good, with a strong knack for writing
effortless key changes.
Blackened Death Metal:
I?ve surprisingly never listened to Behemoth before this album so this was my first taste of
the Polish band. There are some parts here that are surprisingly catchy, and although this isn?t
anything special, this has enough fist-pumping moments to make me want to check out their
other stuff in the new year.
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
|67||Thee Silver Mount Zion|
Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything
This is nothing like the only other record I?ve checked out by these guys (He Has Left Us?),
and I think it?s fair to say this has somewhat of a punk ethos. I didn?t really like this all that
much at first but there?s something quite magnetic about this album that I can?t put my finger
on, that has meant it has grown on me over time. The triumphantly beautiful ?What We Loved
Was Not Enough? is probably my song of the year.
What We Loved Was Not Enough
|66||Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate)|
You Will Eventually Be Forgotten
This is a cool album but considerably worse than their debut. Instrumentally I think this is
really good but there?s something about Keith?s vocals that are cringeworthy on here, even for
his standards. I think it?s the polished approach he takes on this, it just doesn?t suit the music
as well. Still though, this brings the feels in places.
It's So Much Darker When a Light Goes Out Than it Would Have Been if it Had Never Shone
From Wisdom to Baked
In hindsight, it was obvious that I was to like this band. Their guitar tone and riffing style is
textbook Cannibal Corpse (as I guessed by their name) and although they?re obviously not as
good as the band they pay homage to, this is still a great listen.
Technical Death Metal:
I was a big fan of Beyond Creation?s debut but there?s something about this that feels slightly
inferior to it. I think the band is tighter here and the songwriting is more focussed but there?s
less highlights than on the debut. There?s not many things on here that make me think ?wow?
like on The Aura.
Some pretty cool post hardcore/screamo with veeeeeeeeeeery subtle blues influences here
and there. Production leaves a little to be desired though.
Bloodstone and Diamonds
Although a great record in its own right, this is no where near the level of their last two
albums for me. A lot of fat could have been trimmed off this and there?s times where the
record feels a little directionless, but that said, there?s still plenty on here to keep Machine
Head fans happy.
Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones
This was the first record I checked out this year and it?s pretty awesome. Has a very crushing
yet psychedelic feel to it.
Progressive Black Metal:
This is a pretty hard record to categorise because there is a very wide range of styles used
here, including black metal, sludge metal and progressive metal. I wasn?t as mad on this as
everyone else seemed to be on here when this first came out but this is still a really good
record with some hard-hitting riffs and amazing production.
A very lush album with interesting textures and dynamics. Sounds exactly like the title would
Progressive Death Metal:
This has gained great acclaim on this site and overall so I don?t need to say too much about it.
This is another album I didn?t really get as much as everyone else seemed to but it?s still a
great listen with a lot of weird sounding riffs and great vocals.
Pale Blue Light
The vocalist of this band is so goddamn passionate; his vocals on the end of ?Rent? give me
serious goosebumps. This album is melancholy and just totally pissed off in places, if a bit
lacking in the production side somewhat.
This has received fuck loads of attention since its release and I think that its a tad overrated
but nevertheless still a great album, and very different to what Dark Descent Records usually
|55||A Sense of Gravity|
If the rest of this album was as good as Stormborn then this would be my album of the year.
It isn?t however, and there are quite a few unmemorable moments here and there. However,
this is still a really fun record to jam, and manages to avoid the mindset of mindless wankery
that a lot of prog metal bands fall into. Although this album is insanlely technical, it feels a lot
more tasteful and well-crafted than their counterparts.
Relics of Sulphur Salvation
Imagine if Dismember made music that had slightly more of a doom influence, and this is
what it?d sound like. Rules.
|53||Old Man Gloom|
The Ape of God I
2014 wasn?t a great year for sludge metal in my opinion, so this was somewhat of a relief for
me. Some bone-crunching riffs here and awesome, thick production that makes everything
sound absolutely crushing.
|52||Woods of Desolation|
As the Stars
Some pretty cool black metal. This is basically a 35 minute wall of sound that sounds heavy
yet oddly warm and inviting. Drums are a little too low in the mix, however.
Whatever you think of this record, there is no denying that this is truly intriguing. Having said
this, it does tend to lose me every now and again due to its experimental nature, but if you
want something really unconventional to listen to then this is for you. Insane percussion on
Doom Metal/Gothic Metal:
I really loved the macabre, gothic atmosphere on this, and the fact that it didn?t seem
confined to any particular genre. However, I think it dragged on a little too long for my liking.
Had this as a 4 originally but had to downgrade to a 3.5, however it?s still an awesome record.
Tree of Suffocating Souls
Blackened Death Metal:
This is an absolutely furious record, and you pretty much know what to expect just looking at
the cover art. Not many death metal bands can achieve this level of genuine ferocity.
Beast Atop the Trapezoid
A great hardcore record with some absolutely monstrous grooves. This is yet another band I?d
heard of but never checked out so this was a great introduction to them.
I Depend, I Control
|47||The War on Drugs|
Lost in the Dream
The soundtrack to a hazy summer?s day. The songwriting on this is brilliant, and the guitar
tone is one of the lushest on display for this year.
Under the Pressure
Wilt and Rise
After the cult following this band gained with their EP ?Clarity?, I was pretty excited for this
release. This is definitely more polished than the aforementioned EP, and while they?re not
exactly doing anything new in this current climate of post-hardcore/screamo bands, this is still
an impassioned performance from all members of the band well worthy of a listen if you?re
into the genre.
I was so stoked for this considering that earlier this year I?d gotten into Eyehategod big time,
so this was an album I almost literally could not wait for. I think the modern-day production
on this doesn?t really suit the band that much, however there?s some tasty riffs on this thing
and it?s basically Eyehategod doing what they do best so props.
Parish Motel Sickness
Technical Death Metal:
I didn?t really feel this as much as a lot of people seemed to, but I still appreciate this as a
great record. If you haven?t heard this then you shouldn?t expect anything particular orthodox
when you do listen to it. The whole record has a real alien-like feel to it, with some really
odd-sounding riffs and seriously deep growls.
A Skeletal Domain
This is a Cannibal Corpse record.
An incredibly groovy stoner metal album. Some of the riffs on here are so bluesy and the
guitar tone is perfect for this type of music.
Picturing a Sense of Loss
The cover for this was very enticing so I checked this out almost purely based on that. This
record is a lot less dark than the cover suggests, instead taking a far more melodic and often
Consumed by Elder Sign
Blackened Death Metal:
This record is absolute filth. The guitar tone on this is so thick and grimey and just suits the
aesthetic of the music so well.
Melodic Death/Power Metal:
This is one of the most interesting metal albums of the year in my opinion. It?s an awesome
melodic death metal record with a huge power metal vibe and eastern folk influences too;
hell, a saxophone even makes its way into here at some point. The guitarwork is definitely the
highlight of this record.
|38||We All Die (Laughing)|
I?ve put this down as avant-garde because I don?t know what fucking genre this is actually in
so that?s my closest guess. This is a very ambitious record/song which sounds so dark and
intense in places but simultaneously beautiful as well.
Melodic/Technical Death Metal:
This album is all about the leadwork. As much as I think the rhythm section is great, the solos
on here just completely steal the show. I admittedly haven?t listened to this as much as I
should have because it was a late discovery but this will probably end up being a 4 soon.
An interesting split with some extremely beautiful moments throughout. Another record which
I haven?t listened to as much as I should have but that I can see bumping up to a 4 on more
Sacred White Noise
Another brilliant Dark Descent release, this is one of the most morbid, nightmarish black
metal records I have ever heard. The riffs and vocals on this are truly warped and induce an
atmosphere of absolute terror.
Lake of Solace
Atmospheric Black Metal:
First LP from this band who seemed to get a fair amount of attention on here after their EP a
few years ago. I was so close to giving this a 4 but there?s just something missing and I don?t
quite know what. There?s some really gorgeous parts of this record, such as the last two songs
which are simple acoustic ballads. I would compare this to Alcest without the shoegaze.
|33||Old Man Gloom|
The Ape of God II
If the blunt, hard-hitting approach of The Ape of God I was comparable to a sledge hammer
then this record could be compared to a strappado due to its more drawn out and prolonged
nature. The songwriting on here is a lot more advanced than the first record, creating a
denser and even more crushing atmosphere.
Lies We Live
An insanely heavy grindcore record with awesome female vocals and some pounding, ?jagged?
riffs. Feels like being hit by a shit ton of bricks.
|31||Tiny Moving Parts|
Some really good emo here with the trademark twinkly guitars. Checked them out after their
split with Old Gray.
Yeah this band is basically a complete Left Hand Path rip off but some of the riffs here are so
goddamn awesome. Great vocalist too, would definitely recommend this for fans of the old
school Swedish sound.
This is a record that has a real nostalgic element to it and I can?t quite put my finger on how.
The opening sample, taken from Stand By Me, is a great summary of the overall feeling this
|28||Old Gray/Tiny Moving Parts|
On this split there are two different styles of emo that manage to sound really good together.
Old Gray?s side brings the feels whereas TMP?s side manages to sound really catchy and
|27|| ||Modern Baseball|
You?re Gonna Miss It All
This album is just hella fun. Goofy as shit but if you can appreciate that it?s all done in good
humour then it?s easy to realise just how catchy this is.
Broken Cash Machine
Blackened Death Metal:
One of the filthiest records of 2014, the sludge, black and death metal influences on this are
pretty much all in equal measure.
Brutal Death Metal:
I find BDM pretty insipid in general but this record is different. The riffs are are insanely
technical and the percussion is equally suited. Manages to strike the balance between
technicality yet not being over-indulgent.
Atmospheric Black Metal:
This is some really cool, cosmic-sounding black metal. Production on this is fantastic and the
songwriting is pretty good too. Kind of sounds like Spectral Lore in places but with more
wretched vocals and far superior production.
Pretty much the bleakest record on the list, or one of them anyway. This is just one of many
great releases on Dark Descent Records this year.
This is a pretty hard album to describe as it draws on a wide range of death metal subgenres,
but whatever it is, I like it. Some crazy Flo Mounier-esque percussion here too, and at just
under half an hour long, this is very accessible.
Keaton Henson has become one of my favourite artists in the space of a year, with his debut
album resonating so deeply that it?s become one of my favourite albums of all time. With this
record he took a surprise twist away from his sombre acoustic jams into a more neo-classical
roots, utilising the piano and cello. This album is entirely instrumental, which meant that my
favourite aspect of his music - his heartbreaking and sorrowful lyrics - wouldn?t be present, so
this album could easily have been a dud. However, what came out was a subtly beautiful
album well worthy of acclaim. I don?t like it as much as ?Dear? but it edges ?Birthdays? in my
Pretty simple sludge/progressive/post/whatever metal but very effective. Very easy to digest
as a whole, and definitely works better as a whole album. Some major groove going on in
|19||Ricky Eat Acid|
Three Love Songs
As I?m pretty new to the ambient genre, I didn?t really know what I was gonna get here, but
this puts me in such a tranquil mood every time I listen to it. I find this is actually pretty
varied in places, especially the more lively nature of ?In My Dreams We?re Almost Touching?.
|18||Pianos Become the Teeth|
Although I loved Durfey?s vocal style on their first two albums (the very aspect that drew me
into this band in the first place), I still feel this is an excellent album, and possibly even better
than Old Pride. The vocal delivery on this isn?t anything special but there?s a subtlety to the
delivery, as well as the lyrics, that makes this album very poignant. It?s a shame the second
half isn?t quite as good as the first half.
The Flesh Prevails
Technical Death Metal:
This is definitely one of the most interesting metal listens of the year for me. There are a few
minor production issues, compression being one of them, but the songwriting here is fantastic
and the record gives off a real ethereal feel.
My Favourite Faded Fantasy
The anticipation for this album on my part and the worldwide audience as a whole was crazy,
and this didn?t disappoint. I feel that this finds mid-ground between the lamenting nature of O
and the accessibility of 9, with more emphasis on the whole band instead of just Rice himself.
Although there are a couple songs on here that do nothing for me, the ones that do hit
reeeeeally damn hard.
Atmospheric Black/Blackened Folk Metal:
The Celtic style of black metal is something that is really hit and miss for me, but luckily this
album was a huge hit. The atmosphere here doesn?t feel contrived in the slightest, and if the
production was evened out a bit, this could be an easy 4.5.
Blackened Death Metal:
Honestly, I didn?t hear the sludge in this at all. That said, this is a totally awesome record with
some superb, filthy riffs and wretched vocal performance, as well as a couple melodic
moments here and there too.
I was pleasantly surprised by this album. Although this is fairly cliched, there?s something
about Ledges that stands out above the rest of the folky-singer/songwriters this year. I feel it
straddles on the edge of the intricacy of indie folk and the catchiness of pop music.
Poor Man's Son
Promulgation of the Fall
Although I did have this down as a 4.5 for the first couple months this grew off me ever so
slightly. However, this is still an excellent record, and I find this so easy to get immersed in
compared to other death metal albums. Very apocalyptic vibe here with some awesome doom
Only Ashes Remain
|11||Maveth / Embrace of Thorns|
A Plague Through the Heavens
Blackened Death Metal
I came into this with high expectations given how much of a Maveth fanboy I am, and this
definitely delivered. As I wrote in my review for this, I felt Maveth?s dizzying and more
drawn-out approach complemented Embrace of Thorn?s blunt and forceful style perfectly.
Definitely an overlooked record within the metal strata for this year.
The Call of the Lord I
Such an easy album to listen to yet very unconventional. This just feels so apocalyptic and
melancholy, and the avant-garde nature of the vocals complement the manic cello passages
I?d heard pretty negative things about this band before I listened to Deathless so naturally I
was a little apprehensive. However I went into this with an open mind and I was hella
impressed. The energy and technicality in this album is impressive to say the least, and the
crisp modern-day production helps accentuate the guitarwork in such a way that not many
thrash metal bands get right in this day and age.
A Debt Owed to the Grave
When Last We Met
Post Rock/Post Metal:
This is some really good post rock that has some really heavy moments, perhaps tilting it
slightly towards Pelican-esque post metal. Some of the build ups on here are fantastic, and it?s
pretty accessible for its genre too.
Everything Was Burning
Living as Ghosts With Buildings as Teeth
This is a double-edged sword for me. The first half of this album is 5-worthy (and I don?t give
out 5s that easily) and if the second half were as good this would be my AOTY. Sadly, the
second half doesn?t produce the same feeling for me as the first half, so this misses out on my
top 5 for inconsistency reasons. That said, this is an amazing record in places and I?m so glad
A brilliant neofolk album that manages to sound huge without using any electronic
instruments. The arrangements here are beautiful and the cellos and violins give this a real
tasteful edge. This was something I was keen to check out after finding out that one of the
member?s had performed the acoustic interludes on Agalloch?s release this year, and it
sounded exactly how I expected it to.
Part IV: Above the Clouds
Atmospheric Black Metal:
I put off checking this for a long time due to its lengthy runtime but I am so glad I got round
to listening to this. This is easily my favourite black metal album this year, and it?s sooooo
close to a 4.5 for me (it will probably end up being one in the new year as I feel like it?s going
to keep getting better with each listen). The first couple tracks are nothing all that special but
the rest of the album is gorgeous.
Drifting Through Moss and Ancient Stone
This is leaps and bounds above Portal of I. The songwriting here is much more coherent and
concise (despite the song lengths still being long) and the clean vocals are so much better. At
just over forty minutes long, this is far easier to listen to than their debut, and the actual
content is better too. Brilliant musicianship on display here.
Painters of the Tempest (Part II)
I?d never heard of Grouper before this album, and I checked this out based on the album
cover. Expecting something black metal-based based on the cover alone, I have to say this
surprised me a lot, but over time this has grown on me more and more. The simplicity of this
album is what makes it special, and Liz Harris? tender vocals and delicate lyrics are a perfect
match for the often-solemn piano that accompanies them.
I came into this album not expecting all that much but man was I wrong. Other than Citadel,
this was the only album from this year that blew me away the first time I heard it, and it
continues to impress me more and more with every listen. Brilliant post-metal here, with very
simply-yet-effective riffs, yet very ambitious songwriting. One of the most sorrowful albums
of the year.
The Man With the Broken Nose
Home, Like Noplace Is There
Although this isn?t anything new or original, this is the album that I connected with the most
from this year. As radiant as it is morose, this record covers all parts of the emotional
spectrum. The brilliant songwriting and genuinely heartfelt lyrics produce what is my favourite
album of 2014. This is a record I can see staying with me for a very long time.
An Introduction to the Album