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10.18.18 Tom Waits Ranked08.21.18 Kentucky ain't so bad.
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03.28.15 Creepy/haunting records.02.18.15 Recs For Albums Like These?
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2014's 100 Best Albums
1Trophy Scars
Holy Vacants

Trophy Scars is one of the most consistent and breathtaking bands of the 21st century with a
back catalog containing records that are each more beautiful and impressive than the last.
Holy Vacants is the crown jewels their discography and the perfect storm that combines
gripping storytelling and dark, intelligently paced music with the greatest of ease. Somewhere
between the best of Tom Waits and Fear Before this is not only the best album of the year, it's
the best album of the decade (so far). 5/5
2Casualties of Cool
Casualties of Cool

Devin Townsend is an eclectic fellow, with a handful of distinctly unique projects he juggles
simultaneously whether it be in his industrial/death metal outfit Strapping Young Lad or the
aptly named Devin Townsend Project among others, but they are almost always rooted in
some form of metal music. Casualties of Cool ditches the progressive and industrial past of
Townsend and flings him into uncharted waters both for himself and music as a whole. For the
life of me I can't think of a single record I've ever heard that sounds quite like this
bastardized amalgamation of country, ambient and folk, and yet is sounds strangely familiar.
Just as the album artwork suggest, this record sounds haunted, like a ghost coming over the
FM waves on a dreary, foggy night. 5/5
3Run The Jewels
Run the Jewels 2

Killer Mike and EL-P got this fool in Love Again. Run The Jewels 2 is a rare occurrence of
lightning striking twice in the same place. Their debut album last year was a kick to the teeth
of the hip-hop industry with complicated beats, dark sarcasm and impressive flows from two
emcees who by all accounts should be long past their prime both of whom are now just a year
away from being 40. Not ones to be satisfied with knocking the hip-hop world on its collective
ass once, Jamie and Mikey came back a short 15 months later with an album that was not
only as good as its predecessor, it was better in many respects, that's word to pimp. 4.8/5
4Sun Kil Moon

The most intimate record of the year from resident slowcore founder sad-sack Mark Kozelek.
Benji is an album that delivers honest, emotional lyrics on a wide array of dark topics ranging
from Mark's own mortality, to the fear of his mother's impending death, to simply spewing his
reactions in regards to the Newtown shooting and the death of serial killer Richard Ramirez.
Rarely will you ever come across a record as open, vulnerable and introspective as this one,
and even more scarce is a record that is half as good as Benji. 4.8/5
Be All End All

Ulver and Dodheimsgard made leaving black metal proper fashionable in the 90's with other
acts like Arcturus and Solefald following on their heels not long after in the early 2000's. One
of the lesser known bands to take a similar path was Manes who in 2003 abandoned many of
their black metal principles with the avantgarde masterpiece that was Vilosophe. In the
decade that has since passed, Manes has been pretty quiet with a few sub-par releases and
some relatively large lulls in between material at times. However, this year they have
produced something truly special recaptures some of the things that made Vilosophe so great
and challenging on Be All End All. 4.7/5
6The Smith Street Band
Throw Me In The River

Wil Wagner is one of the most endearing lyricists and vocalists of the decade, delivering top
shelf self-aware, often melancholy, cathartic folk-punk jams. If Throw Me In The River proves
anything, it's that this Melbourne band is seemingly incapable of making a misstep and that
each record gets better than the one before it. Songs like the opening Something I Can Hold
In My Hands and mid-record monster The Arrogance of the Drunk Pedestrian are impeccable
tracks full of personal struggle and depression that are sure to endure for years to come.
Picturing a Sense of Loss

This debut record from German post-black metal group Deadwood is a contender for the best
and most profound record crafted yet in this young genre that hits all the right notes on both
the post-rock and black metal ends of the spectrum while blending them seamlessly and
intertwining their strengths flawlessly. It's a true oxymoron of a record that is both cold and
warm, distant yet personal, and bleak yet full of hope. 4.5/5
8White Lung
Deep Fantasy

The most dangerous sounding record of the year comes from a group that you'd least expect
on the surface, a band comprised of 75% women from Vancouver, Canada. Deep Fantasy
embodies all of the right aspects of punk rock from intensity to attitude and everything in-
between all while injecting their sound with some twinkly, frantic and buzzing noise rock
elements. Lead lady Mish Way has a real dark vocal performance that ranges from the gothic
to the hardcore on this record that really shines and makes this their best output yet. The
song I Believe You hits harder than nearly anything this year. 4.5/5
9Taylor Swift

Caught somewhere between country and pop for most of her career, Taylor Swift has been a
mainstream staple artist for the better part of a decade now despite being only (nearly) 25
years old. Swift has finally fully embraced the pop side of her music with 1989 and by
dropping the dead weight country elements created the best album of her career and the best
record pop music has seen in quite some time. Pop music almost by definition these days
aims to create little else aside from flashy hit singles and as a result packs records full of
filler material. However that's not the case here as 1989 is packed full of great tunes from
front to back that makes for a enjoyable, fun listen with a ton of replay value so long as the
elite underground music fan in you can get the stick out of your ass. 4.5/5

Jazz/hip-hop hybrid trio BADBADNOTGOOD have finally struck gold on their third full length
after being so close twice before, creating the most cohesive and best full-listen record of
their short career while dropping the covers and creating something completely their own this
time around. Rainy day soundtrack tunes like the opener Triangle and Differently, Still stand
up beautifully against the more hip-hop inspired tracks like Can't Leave The Night and
Confessions. 4.5/5
11The Twilight Sad
Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave

Rarely does a band make their best record over a decade into the existence, but Nobody
Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave serves as an exception to that rules. This
Scottish slice of shoegaze laden post-punk is one of the most melancholy, dreary, moody
albums of the year and despite that (or rather because of it) it's truly glorious. 4.4/5

Pup's self-titled debut record is the most fun album of the 2014, as well as the most
infectiously catchy (notwithstanding Ms. Swift's 1989 of course). This is 35 minutes of sing-
along worthy punk anthems that you can't get help but get lost in and absorb the energy of.

Jakob has been one of the most celebrated underground post-rock groups of the 21st century,
and also one of the most dependable. Sines is yet another chapter in their unwavering and
impressive catalog. After an 8 year gap in releases one may have expected Jakob to lose their
footing slightly but they sound as good as ever, maybe even better. 4.4/5
14Nero Di Marte

Italian post-metal group Nero Di Marte started out on their debut album last year with a bit
more of a technical death metal flair that delved into being a little too overindulgent for its
own good at times while still being a really decent chuck of heavy music. On their sophomore
attempt they show a more refined and restrained kind of darkness that is all encompassing
through the entire record. Whereas most post-metal band let up on the heavier elements of
their sound occasionally, Nero Di Marte is more unrelenting with their sonic assault and
Derivae is all the better because of it. 4.4/5
15Execration (NOR)
Morbid Dimensions

Morbid Dimensions is a curious oddity of a death metal album. On one hand it has strong old-
school influence in many ways, but it ventures down progressive and somewhat psychedelic
avenues at times making for a confusing and debilitating listen but also a very rewarding one.
16Thievery Corporation

Saudade is admittedly my only exposure to this trip-hop group who has been around for the
better part of two decades now, but this record is every bit as soothing as it is entrancing.
What's so gripping about this release is that there are a handful of different languages being
used on this record making this feel like an extended vacation through the most relaxing
secret spots around Europe. 4.4/5
17Ne Obliviscaris

Every bit as good as Ne Obliviscaris' preceding debut album, Citadel is a progressive metal
paragon that contains some of the very best songwriting the genre has to offer excelling in
both musicianship and actually being well...progressive. The manage to craft some excellent
multifarious tunes that run the gamut from soft, acoustic, stringed passages to full steam
ahead blocks of fiercely technical metal. 4.3/5
Guilty of Everything

Channeling the best of groups like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive while putting a modern
spin with more pristine production, Philadelphia shoegazers Nothing create a strong debut
album that is as affecting during its dense, noisy areas as it is with its softer reverb drenched
moments. 4.3/5
19Hail Mary Mallon

Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic make huge strides here with an album that trumps this project's
prior release in every way possible. It's hard to not compare this record to Run The Jewels 2
in some respects as they are both centered around and created by two prolific hip-hop duos
that are well respected on their own coming together for something bigger. These two play off
of each other very well, use strange humor to their advantage and Aesop Rock's lyricism and
wordplay is as clever as ever. 4.3/5
Refractory Obdurate

David Eugene is a man of consistency. From the early days of 16 Horsepower to his present
day output with Wovenhand, he's never made a bad record. Refractory Obdurate sees him
making yet another great record, not his greatest, but still a solid alt-country-folk album filled
with poignant lyrics and combining new elements of world music at times that makes for a
really interesting listen. Obdurate Obscura may just be one of my favorite tunes of the year.
21Damien Rice
My Favourite Faded Fantasy

I've only recently become acquainted with Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice's music, who
plays a unique blend of indie-rock and folk music that is both portentous and stirring. He's
most critically acclaimed for his 2003 debut record O, but his most recent effort is the album
that has really won me over. 4.3/5
Dangerous Days

The most fun you'll have this year with an electronic record, Dangerous Days is a wild ride
through a brightly lit neon Tron-esque world. 4.2/5
To Be Kind

Swans is as Swans does, making yet another worthy contribution to their incredible
discography and pushing ever further into new and unsettling territory, but we'd expect
nothing less from Gira and company at this point. 4.2/5
Random Cosmic Violence

Random Cosmic Violence if the more structured sonic cousin of a Khanate record. It's evil, it's
crushingly tortured and slow, and it's about as unnerving as it gets. 4.2/5

Morowe may be the first band that incorporates the danger that is characteristic of black
metal to the post-black metal realm. This isn't a soft, inviting or bright release, S is bleak,
dense and is ultimately one of the more unique albums of the year and within its sub-genre.
Wazne may just be the coolest metal track you hear all year. 4.2/5
A World Lit Only by Fire

The return album of industrial-sludge titans Godflesh is also the best record they've written
since Streetcleaner. It's a punishing offering that bears all of the hallmarks of their trademark
sound with somewhat more modern production values. That BASS though, my god. 4.2/5
27This Wild Life

Kevin Jordan does what Dallas Green hasn't been able to for quite some time, which would be
writing an acoustic indie-folk-pop record this is catchy with vocals and lyrics that aren't a total
snoozefest. This debut record from this duo shows some real promise, hopefully they don't go
the same boring route as City & Colour did in the future. 4.1/5
28Angel Du$t

A rager of a punk/hardcore album that is over as quick as it started with a run-time of under
15 minutes. A.D. has a ton of replay value no frills and no filler. Standout tracks like Let It
Rot, Pacify Me and Stepping Stone have been on repeat for me all year. 4.1/5

Folk driven black metal can be one of two things - extremely pretentious and corny, or epic
and beautiful. Saor managed to create a record that falls squarely into the latter of the two
categories here with an excellent and massive sounding record that is gorgeous and powerful
in every way. 4.1/5
30Ben Howard
I Forget Where We Were

Yet another group of modern indie-folk greats, Ben Howard and band from England lay down
another record that is just as warm and genuine as their debut from 2011. 4/5
Sacred White Noise

Eerie, unsettling and complex are the three words that best define this debut album from
experimental black metal outfit Thantifaxath. It doesn't quite sound like anything else, but it
will definitely please fans of the Blut AUs Nord/Deathspell Omega camp. 4/5
Lost In Life

The best hardcore album of the year, Lost in Life is mosh heavy and riff-centric NYHC that
never lets up. 4/5
Nothing but the Whole

Somewhat occult and ritualistic in nature, the fourth studio album from Emptiness is a great
slab of death/doom metal that even has some industrial leanings at times and also features a
clean guitar tone that feels like it wouldn't be out of place on a shoegaze record. Nothing but
the Whole is odd in all of the right ways. 4/5
34The Hotelier
Home, Like NoPlace Is There

Emo tinged pop-punk is something that has been done to death for the last few years, and it
almost always ends poorly. However, The Hotelier manages to make this sound fresh once
again, breathing life and emotion into a relatively dead style. Your Deep Rest is one of the
best tracks of the year, if you don't get goosebumps during it you're without a soul. 4/5
Ego Dominus Tuus

A top contender for most sinister and evil record of the year would have to be this hideous
creation from Nightbringer. Their fourth and best record is a journey through the depths of
hell that feels as dangerous as it is suffocating. Dense, dark and dismal. 4/5
36Flying Lotus
You're Dead!

It says a lot about an artist when their second weakest full length album is still extremely
great. You're Dead! may not be up to snuff with the near perfection of the last few efforts
from Flying Lotus, but it's damn good anyway and shows him being as experimental as ever.
Melting Sun

Like fellow post-black metallers Alcest, Lantlos has abandoned nearly everything "metal"
about them on their most recent release striving fro beauty rather than intensity, and it works
extremely well on Melting Sun (much more than it did on the lackluster Shelter). 4/5
38Kayo Dot
Coffins on Io

Toby Driver is one of the best and most innovate figures in the music world, always exploring
new ground and seemingly never failing with the execution of fresh concepts. Coffins on Io is
yet another sample of his success with the groups foray into spaced out, 80's worship, and
genre bending excellence. Each time I listen to this record I like it more, so really this could
eventually find its way much higher up this list. 4/5

If Nightbringer's most recent effort is the most evil sounding of the year, Swallowed debut
album is right on its heels. Pulverizing death/doom that has an oppressive and suffocating
atmosphere with an interesting vocal performance. 4/5
40Spectral Lore

The one man progressive black metal machine that is Spectral Lore seems to be firing on all
cylinders at this point, putting out the strongest effort yet that showcases the best of what
black metal has to offer and expands on it an array of different directions that all work very
well to varying degrees. The nearly 90 minute run-time makes this an exhausting listen
though and this could have easily been just as good of a record if a third of it was chopped
off. 4/5
41Old Man Gloom
The Ape of God I

Really, this entry is for both parts one and two as I consider them two halves of the same
whole (hell, I'll even throw in the "fake" album for good measure). This is another chunk of
ambitious, lengthy sludge that satisfies the soul and possibly their best since Zozobra. 4/5
42Harakiri for the Sky

It has been a good year for post-black metal, with releases from genre mainstays like Lantlos,
Woods of Desolation and Alcest (despite their most recent effort being a failure on many
levels) as well as solid attempts from relative newcomers like Deadwood and now Harakiri for
the Sky. Aokigahara is their second full length record and it's a tremendous musical
experience. The vocals lean almost towards a hardcore sound most of the time and feel
slightly out of place and the album sounds slightly over-produced, but notwithstanding those
small complaints, this is an excellent record. 4/5
43Musk Ox

Beautiful instrumental neofolk with some seriously lengthy tunes, two of which clock in at over
the 17 minute mark. There's great use of both the cello and violin throughout this record,
adding some gorgeous textures and layers to the acoustic guitar work. It's not quite as good
as the material from genre peers such as Vali or Tenhi as the playing feels a bit too rigid and
lacking emotion at times, but it's still a completely worthwhile listen with plenty of replay
value. 3.9/5
The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets

Have you ever caught yourself wondering what Paramore might have sounded like with a little
more energy and a better band to back up Hayley Williams? No? Me neither, but the result is
actually really great. 3.9/5
45Kairon; IRSE!

A cup of post-rock, two tablespoons of shoegaze and a dash of alt-rock is the recipe here for
the second album by these relative newcomers from Finland. Beautiful, psychedelic tinged
stuff, well worth a listen or ten. This should be higher up my list most likely. 3.9/5
46The Black Keys
Turn Blue

Turn Blue is the The Black Keys' most poorly received album to date by a large margin, but it
doesn't even close to deserving the hate it gets whatsoever. It's another great album from the
vanguards of modern blues-rock revival. 3.8/5
My Dead Ocean

2014 really had a wealth of great post-black metal records, Russian group Lauxnos' debut
being no exception. Their mid-paced brand of moody and melancholic music is another great
record to add to this budding genre. 3.8/5
48Tiny Moving Parts
Pleasant Living

Pleasant Living is a cool little cluster of twinkly emo tunes that takes what made their
previous record so great and ramps it up even more. There are plenty of satisfying math-y
guitar leads and basement show sing-along lyrics strewn across this short 33 minute album.
49Morbus Chron

Somewhat reminiscent of last years grand return record from Gorguts, Sweven takes death
metal and puts a psychedelic twist on it while still remaining quite technical and volatile. This
record is a bit of a grower as I find a bit more love for it with each new listen, so this too like
the Kayo Dot record may rightfully hold a higher spot in the future. 3.8/5
Dark Space III I

Darkspace is a group that has yet to make a wrong move, and their newest release Dark
Space III I shows them succeeding again with their signature blend of dark ambient
soundscapes and black metal. 3.8/5
51 Full Of Hell and Merzbow
Full Of Hell & Merzbow

This one sounds exactly like what you'd expect - the noisy hardcore/grind aural assault from
Full of Hell and the strange, other- worldliness of Merzbow...smashed together. 3.8/5
52Code Orange
I Am King

Mosh-heaven. I Am King is the heaviest metalcore record to come out since Martyr AD called
it quits. Tracks like My World and Unclean Spirit are some of meanest tracks made this year.
53We All Die (Laughing)

Thoughtscanning is a singular 33 minute track that serves up some of the best genre-bending
metal in recent history that touches on elements of doom, post-rock, black metal and beyond
with some really nice ideas musically that has an especially good vocal performance that
ranges from haunting black metal shrieks to Mike Patton-ish at times. 3.7/5
54Echoes and Signals

The third album from this interesting Russian post-rock trio is a great listen that starts off a
bit slow initially but really hits it stride towards the end of the second track and keeps getting
better as it goes. 3.7/5
55Mare Cognitum
Phobos Monolith

Mare Cognitum is a one man black metal band that is continuously evolving and improving,
most notably so with this 2014 effort, Phobos Monolith. It's easily his strongest work yet, with
powerful, epic, lengthy tracks. There's nothing entirely unique on this record, but it's done
damn well. 3.7/5
56La Dispute
Rooms of the House

While Rooms of the House is easily La Dispute's poorest output thus far, it's still got a ton of
charm and some great lyrics. Jordan Dreyer sounds as miserable as ever, and I love him for
that, but the music itself fell a little flat for me here despite there being a handful of great
moments. 3.7/5
57Echoes (UK)
The Pursuit

The Pursuit will go down as the most under-appreciated record of the year for me. While
flawed in certain areas, specifically vocally speaking, this debut record is an extremely
promising sample of what may be to come from this young post-metal/hardcore act. 3.7/5
Where Greater Men Have Fallen

The newest drop from Primordial doesn't quite match their former glory on records like To The
Nameless Dead or The Gathering Wilderness, but it's a noticeable step up from their 2011
effort and a step back in the right direction. 3.6/5
59Mimicking Birds

Oregon indie-folk rockers Mimicking Birds take a step backwards on their sophomore record,
albeit an extremely slight one, while still managing to make a very enjoyable and somber
experience. This does feel a little more expansive and ambitious than the debut album, but
that loss of intimacy is what hinders it somewhat. 3.6/5
Bloom and Breathe

After a few pretty good EP's a couple of years rolling around in the New Jersey underground,
Gates manages to write a great album breaking them into a bigger audience with more
mature songwriting and just better all around musicianship. Bloom and Breathe is an emo
record wrapped in a reverb-soaked post-rock blanket, it's a really pretty listen, but a lot of it
is fairly forgettable unfortunately. 3.6/5
61Submotion Orchestra

The extremely dependable Submotion Orchestra have created yet another sturdy trip-hop/dub
record that is a soothing and artsy. It's not as gripping as their debut record, but Alium is still
a great album. 3.6/5
62White Suns

Abrasive, noisy, disquieting and downright ugly, Totem is a challenging noise-rock record that
rewards the patient and dedicated listener. It's an exercise in extremity, both aurally and in
terms of songwriting - if you're looking for structure and something soothing, look elsewhere,
very far in the other direction. 3.6/5

Technical/progressive death metal act Adimiron released their strongest material yet this year
on Timelapse and at times sound fairly reminiscent of Gojira. Complex rhythms abound mixed
with powerful semi-clean vocals make for a killer listen. 3.6/5
64Single Mothers
Negative Qualities

Frenetic punk outfit Single Mothers put out an unbridled record filled with snarky lyrics, noisy
riffs and a boatload of energy. 3.6/5
65Low Roar

Somber, sad indie/folk with some weighty lyrics that feels a little too weary and sleepy for its
own good sometimes despite being truly great in some moments, specifically on tracks like
I'm Leaving and Dreamer. 3.5/5
Melana Chasmata

Mixing together elements of doom, death and black metal, Triptykon craft an extraordinarily
dark and plodding record that gets better each time I listen to it. This is yet another record
that could easily find itself climbing the ladder to a higher spot eventually. 3.5/5
67Dead Congregation
Promulgation of the Fall

Easily one of the top-tier forerunners of old-school death metal revival acts, Dead
Congregation does the job better than nearly anyone while infusing some doom metal
elements into their sound as well making them just as punishing at full speed as they are at a
crawl. Their sophomore effort isn't quite the masterpiece it's hailed as, but it's still quite good.
68 Modern Baseball
You're Gonna Miss It All

They're whiny, they're nasally, they're the archetype of adolescence in the emo meets
pop/punk sphere at the moment, and they're also rather talented. This is an honest and fun
record full of catchy choruses. 3.5/5
69Dope Body

Lifer is a noisy alt-rock record that has a ton of energy and attitude. Hired Gun is easily one of
the most fun tracks of 2014 with its frantic harmonic riffs and punk-rock leanings. 3.5/5
70 Solstafir

Emotional blackened post-rock all sung in the Icelandic tongue. It's pretty and it's bleak, but it
left me wanting a bit more out of it as well. 3.4/5
Hollow Ponds

I've heard a fair amount of comparisons relating this band and this record to Brand New, but I
just don't hear it at all except for on the song Flame Exchange. It's an indie/folk record with
strange instrumentation at times, and it's fairly ear-bending but ultimately feels like its
missing something. A worthwhile listen. 3.4/5

Yet another side project from Chino Moreno of the Deftones (his fourth I believe?) and yet
another good record under his belt. Crosses is a bit more Gothic and electronic in approach
than a Deftones record would be and makes this a worthwhile venture away from his primary
act. Bitches Brew is an incredible tune that needs to be heard. 3.4/5
Orvam: A Song for Home

Progressive metal these days is in dire need of bands that are actually well..progressive. Need
is in part an answer to that plea for something actually interesting and challenging to present
itself to a stale genre. They throw a LOT of ideas at the wall here, and a bunch of them stick,
but a handful of them are duds as well. 3.4/5
74Devin Townsend Project

An ambitious double album that follows in the footsteps of much of his recent work on the first
disc and doesn't reveal Ziltoid until the second disc. Once Ziltoid is present, it's an all-out
comedic epic musical a great and fun ride through the weird and wonderful imagination of
Devin Townsend. 3.4/5
75The Great Old Ones

Tekeli-Li is a record that is very sludgy, post-metal influenced black metal that has a few
great moments but misses the mark a few times with some slightly dull passages that are
strewn about. 3.3/5
76Freddie Gibbs and Madlib

Almost anything Madlib has had a hand in has been excellent, so this is worth checking out on
that merit alone. However, this may be the weakest record he's been a part of, which is
saying something being that it's still quite good. Freddie Gibbs just isn't strong enough of an
artist to carry an hour long album. He has a few cool verses, the features are decent and
there are some solid tracks here, but overall it's fairly underwhelming. 3.3/5
77Plebeian Grandstand

Lowgazers is a record that aims to kick your teeth in from the moment it begins, and it
definitely succeeds in that respect. However, Plebeian Grandstand proves to be kind of a one
trick pony here with their brand of dissonant, hyperspeed vitriol transitioning in and out of
slow dark ambient passages and back again. That trend repeats for most of the record and
there isn't enough diversity to warrant a higher spot in the list. 3.3/5
Carrion Skies

Fen is a group that has always been on the cusp of crafting something excellent, but they
never quite manage to follow through and execute their ideas that well. Carrion Skies is by far
their best achievement thus far, but hey still haven't quite found that perfect recipe yet.
They're going to blow everyone away one day, but that day still has yet to come. 3.2/5
From All Purity

From All Purity is a disgustingly heavy, grueling, vile chunk of sludgy doom metal, but it gets
a little tired with its persistent tone and pace being stuck in one speed over the course of
nearly the full record. 3.2/5
Against This Weald

Yet another worthwhile piece of folk-y black metal was dropped this year from the Michigan
group Ifing. The group doesn't do much to distinguish themselves from the pack of groups like
Saor and Winterfylleth that also put out records this year, but they do it well enough to
warrant some attention at least a few spins of their debut album. 3.2/5
81...Of Sinking Ships
The Amaranthine Sea

...Of Sinking Ships is the moniker of solo post-rock artist Chad Waldrup formerly of Hopesfall.
It's paint-by-numbers kind of stuff that is nice enough to listen to, but something a bit more
challenging would be welcome once and a while. If you want to just space out, relax and kill
an hour, listening to this would be a good way to do it. 3.2/5
82Eden Circus

Put Tool and the Deftones in a blender with a shot of post-rock thrown in for good measure
and this is close to what you'd get. There are a few extraordinary moments on this album
especially the penultimate track Her Lovely Hands Upon The Black Earth, but it fails to truly
impress as a whole. 3.2/5

Imaginative album title isn't it? Death is the second full length from old-school death metal
revivalist Teitanblood and it's certainly better than their preceding release, but it still doesn't
manage to do anything different within the genre, or at least different enough to warrant
placing them on a pedestal. 3.1/5

This one slipped by completely undetected this year, but it's a cool chunk of forward thinking
psychedelic stoner rock. The title track is an absolutely terrific jam, and there are a handful of
others that are really great as well, but it's scattered about through a bunch of tracks worth
skipping. 3.1/5
85Woods of Desolation
As the Stars

As the Stars is yet another competent post-black metal album from 2014, but its allure has
worn off on me over the year as better records came into the fold and stepped forward
throughout the year. 3.1/5
VI: Flora

VI: Flora is a black metal album with a gimmick, trading in traditional electric guitars for a
hammered dulcimer. The result is interesting at first, but it wears thin after a few tracks and
when you realize that's all this one man band has up his sleeve, it get's tired fairly quickly.
Foundations of Burden

Taking the crown for the most over-hyped and overrated group in the realm of heavy music is
the psychedelic doom outfit Pallbearer, with Deafheaven taking a close second. There's no
denying that Pallbearer is a capable group of musicians and decent band, but that's about as
much praise as I can give them. Foundations of Burden is just "good", no more no less. 3/5
88The Hold Steady
Teeth Dreams

I'm way out of the loop with this band as I've never heard anything else from their 5 other full
lengths spanning over a decade of material. However, despite my ignorance to their back
catalog I quite enjoy a few of the songs on this slab of Gaslight Anthem-ish alt. rock even if I
have no clue how it stacks up to their previous work. 3/5
King Nine

Electronic influenced ambient/post-rock outfit Blueneck produces a middle of the road record
this year with a soft and emotive performance that is pleasing enough but still leaves plenty of
room for improvement. 3/5
90 Lux Occulta

After a 13 year absence, Lux Occulta resurfaces, drops basically every ounce of metal music
from their sound and delivers the candidate for the absolute strangest record of the year.
Kolysanki is a harrowing and hallucinogenic trip through hell that includes everything from
polka to industrial but dropping the death metal aspects completely from them sound is a
serious step backwards. 3/5
91Have Mercy
A Place Of Our Own

This is yet another album that might deserve a better place on this list. A Place of Our Own is
the second album from Maryland emo/indie-rock group Have Mercy. The vocal performance is
especially inspired and emotive which feels eerily reminiscent of Jason Lancaster at times
(albeit slightly better). 3/5
92Aphex Twin

Richard D. James is back after a long absence and his returns sees him doing what he does
best. He doesn't really reinvent himself or redefine the genre of experimental
ambient/electronic music he helped create for once, but instead works on refining and
revisiting a sound he's been unplugged from for quite some time with marginal success. 3/5
93Gardens (USA)
Death In The Family

Gardens is a Chicago based post-hardcore/alt-rock group that just released their debut record
about two weeks ago in late November, but I've already taken a liking to their sound, even if
it's somewhat derivative and unoriginal. 3/5
94Menace Ruine
Venus Armata

Drone saturated black/doom hybrid group Menace Ruine craft a ritualistic and eerie album
here that is one of their weaker releases that doesn't quite capture the magic of past records
like The Die Is Cast. 3/5
Pretty Low

Pretty Low is a pissed off hardcore record with plenty of intensity and stamina which is half
killer and half filler. 3/5

Smoothly blended instrumental jazz and post-rock that is wonderfully inviting and
tranquilizing. It deserves a higher spot on this list, but honestly I just don't want to throw this
up into the 40's and move everything down a spot. 4/5
Distant Satellites

There's nothing here that is challenging or new for Anathema, which is disappointing
considering they were once a group that prided themselves on being innovative, but it's still a
nice listen that is vocally very satisfying and has a bunch of pretty guitar melodies despite
being a fairly forgettable affair. 3/5
98Ghost Brigade
IV - One with the Storm

Ghost Brigade's newest offering is yet another record filled with great tracks, but they are
such obvious plagiarists of Katatonia's sound that it really hurts the way I feel about their
music and I can't see giving something this unoriginal any more than this score despite it
being a great record. 3/5

Revocation is one of the most beloved artists of the new school of technical death metal, but
they haven't been able to really craft a solid album worth listening to all of the way through
until this year. Deathless is definitely a good effort with tons of great riffs, excellent
production and tight musicianship but it's still lacking in originality and sounds like yet another
mechanized release in a genre dying for some feeling in their songs. 3/5
III - Hear Me, O' Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs

Crushing and foul death metal/funeral doom crossbreeds Encoffination certainly are capable of
conjuring up a terrifying atmosphere on their third full length attempt, but there's not much
else to be said of this record. It's reminiscent of early Shape of Despair in that the content is
definitely good, but it gets stale after 30 minutes or so. 3/5
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