It’s been a good year for metal, atmospheric black metal in particular I’d say. And this has been the first full year I’ve written reviews for Metal-Rules and The Independent Voice Ezine and the London Metal Monthly. Therefore I have decided to pay tribute to this good year by ranking the top 40 metal albums that have stuck with me in that time.
Ladies and gentlemen and third gender, I give you the first half of the Top 40 Metal Albums of 2014.
40. Methedras – System Subversion
This is pretty middle-of-the-road Thrash Metal and hasn’t much replay value unless you’re looking for something heavy to work out to at the gym. It has rhythm but not quite the upbeat jolliness of a typical Euro-Thrash release
39. Centinex – Redeeming Filth
A nice comeback from some 90s veterans of Swedish Death Metal. Not all comeback albums cash in on a cult following like these guys have certainly proven.
38. Job For A Cowboy – Sun Eater
I’ve never been a huge fan of these guys but they’ve redeemed themselves in the last decade from their awful Deathcore roots. But now it seems their tech-death days are reaching that mid-period where they’ll be seeing albums just pass them by until they do something radical and unexpected to reform their fandom.
37. Cepheide – De Silence Et De Suie
A nice debut of French black metal. It has potential but didn’t blow my mind, so I’ll look forward to the next release to see if Cepheide have got it in them to rival the sounds of Anorexia Nervosa or Deathspell Omega.
36. Frozen Ocean – The Dyson Swarm
Atmospheric Black Metal delivered with aplom and a science fiction twist. However it contains barely any vocals so don’t expect much if you’re looking for something satanic or subversive.
35. Aghor – Necrolivonica
A nice mix of old school death metal and hardcore punk and d-beat without falling into the dreadful ‘core scene’. But don’t expect great vocals as the band can’t quite decide if a death growl or a punk rock shout is best for their tunes.
34. Decapitated – Blood Mantra
The Polish veterans return with their sixth symphony of technical death metal. It has its fair mix of grindcore and some slam and bits and pieces of progression so give it a shot if you like your death metal complex.
33. Winterfylleth – The Divination of Antiquity
The forefathers of English Heritage Black Metal give us their fourth canto on the days of pre-christian England. It is both anguish laden and ethereal so give it a shot if you want something like Burzum with more celtic themes.
32. Oraculum – Sorcery of the Damned
Chile is making a name for itself on the global metal circuit. Expect much anger and anti-religious vibes from these new guys.
31. As Light Dies – The Love Album Vol. 1
Ever wondered what a Vincent Price film put to music is like? Well here’s your answer, coming all the way from Spain.
30. Ghost Brigade – IV: One With The Storm
A band who claim to be ‘genreless’ and have made a good attempt with fusing stoner metal with progressive rock and doom metal ballads.
29. Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare
The Norwegian veterans have really changed since their De Mystiris Dom Sathanas days, and their mid-period of avant-garde gave them a whole new sound. This sound is still evident on this new release but some bits of the old days still break through. It’s enjoyable but not as mind blowing as the earlier stuff. Nice though if you like arthouse cinema and black magic.
28. Vardan – Enjoy of Deep Sadness
I’ve never been really into the Depressive Suicidal Black Metal scene, but this French group have given us a good first release that might see them rival Forgotten Tomb if they take the right route.
27. 1349 – Massive Cauldron of Chaos
I’ve been a fan of these guys for over 5 years and they still have that chaotic insanity that got me into them in the first place. This release is just as raw and bitter and misanthropic as the last few albums. A good move from a band who’ve really come into their own.
26. Dark Fortress – Venereal Dawn
If you like themes of the occult or the escapades of Alistair Crowley, the German veterans will supply you with enough tunes laden with unholy choirs of backing vocalists to make your evening as melancholic as you desire.
25. Spectral Haze – I.E.V.: Transmuted Nebula Remains
The ultimate in Stoner Metal. A good mix of the progressive and the marijuana induced vibes of psychedelic rock. This band will put Norway on the map for more metal genres than just black in years to come.
24. Carcass – Surgical Remission
If you enjoyed the Deathgrind fathers’ recent comeback album, you’ll like this. Every deleted track that didn’t make it to Surgical Steel has been compiled here in a listing that has Carcass written all over it. Nice and putrid as anything Jeff Walker can deliver.
23. Enthroned – Sovereigns
The Belgian flagship gives us enough power and grimness to say that 21 years on the road has been good for their evil occultist rituals.
22. Necrophor – The Eye of Terror
The first demo from a band who know how to fuse death metal and rock n roll. They rival Vreid and Six Feet Under and I bet they’ll be leading the way with their first studio outing.
21. Psychotic Gardening – Hymnosis
Canada really has a lot to offer in the form of experimental black metal. These lads take themes of anxiety, mental illness, psychosis and neurotic anguish and give it the angriest and most haunting sound you can imagine for such topics. This album isn’t all fast or all slow, it has good pacing like a well edited movie.
I’ll see you on New Year’s Eve for the final 20 albums.