The Best Black Metal Album

1.  Mayhem - Esoteric Warfare 193
2.  Aenaon - Extance 150
3.  The Great Old Ones - Tekeli-li 108
4.  Emptiness - Nothing But The Whole 60
5.  Infestus - The Reflecting Void 47
6.  Schammasch - Contradiction 44
7.  Sivyj Yar - From The Dead Villages' Darkness 27
8.  Nasheim - Solens Vemod 26
9.  Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry (write-in vote) 13
10.  Plebeian Grandstand - Lowgazers 12
  Darkspace - Dark Space III I (write-in vote) 12
12.  Odraza - Esperalem Tkane 10
Total votes:
770




Aenaon - Extance

Strangely accessible yet confronting, it's with a progressive bent that Extance stood out in a year of black metal. We listened and learned of its normalcy whilst discovering its peculiar antics in bold brass and wildy varied vocalisation, as the experience turns downright strange with unpredictable abandon. Like an individual at the brink of insanity, its orthodoxy is tempered by clear signs of eccentricity. Odd black metal, but clearly comprehensible.

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Emptiness - Nothing But The Whole

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Belgium's Emptiness have successfully crafted an album that boldly challenges ideas of black/death metal fusion with Nothing But The Whole. Combining the crunchy riffs, drum patterns, and vocals of death metal with the eerie, trancelike atmosphere of black metal, this album's ensnaring aesthetic and sense of stylistic ambiguity makes it one of the well composed of 2014, and indeed, possibly the best of the band's career.

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Infestus - The Reflecting Void

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The 90s are long gone, folks. Let us turn the page and embrace what our beloved black metal cult has become. Since its unholy dawn, Infestus has unleashed upon us consistently solid material that remains traditional yet paradoxically modern. With The Reflecting Void, Infestus has not only written another great chapter, but also set a standard for other one-man-bands to follow. This is an example of what modern black metal is and should be.

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Mayhem - Esoteric Warfare

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Let it never be said that Mayhem couldn't write something deeply, deeply unsettling. Esoteric Warfare is full of almost indescribable horror, from the utterly inhuman vocalizations squelched out by Attlia to the subterranean riffs. Following up the perturbations of Ordo Ad Chao after seven years, the eldritch emissaries of extirpation have produced yet another bone-chilling collection of wicked tracks, laid out with all the atonal melodies and demonic theatrics this world can handle.

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Nasheim - Solens Vemod

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Clocking in at over 1,000 years of bitter torment, Nasheim's stellar debut treats us to a good, hard slog through the marshlands of utter darkness. Sometimes it's plodding through a vast sea of infinite-sounding riffs and tortured vocals; other times, it's furiously racing through a maelstrom of biting bleakness. These four tracks seem to last forever as they envelop you slowly in the forlorn atmosphere of Nasheim's melancholy existence.

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Odraza - Esperalem Tkane

Odraza in English means "disgust" and that's probably the first thing that comes to your mind after looking at that cover art. But at the same time, there's something enthralling that intrigues. Same with the music, furious beats are mixed with the slower, progressive in their nature, sections that won't leave you bored even for a second. The lyrics are full of bitterness, alcoholic intoxication is an everyday reality in this squalid world. A sad but true story, and a milestone on the already impressive Polish scene.

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Plebeian Grandstand - Lowgazers

Anyone would be called insane and be instantly locked-up in an asylum if they ever asked for something more tortured than Deathspell Omega to listen to. But apparently, some French people thought there would be an audience for that, decided to form a band, and added more malaise to the highly dissonant black metal sound we all know and cherish with their psychotic screams and unexpected rhythm changes. Ah, the sweet sound of your own soul tearing itself apart... Plebeian Grandstand, you didn't find your audience, you created it.

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Schammasch - Contradiction

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Contradiction is the best illustration of the famous Aristotelian maxim: "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts". Drawing inspiration from the milestone works of Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, Triptykon and Behemoth, Schammasch offered us the most refined, complex and yet immersive piece of death-infused orthodox black metal of this year.

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Sivyj Yar - From The Dead Villages' Darkness

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From Russia with love, Sivyj Yar greeted us with an outstanding example of putting atmosphere into black metal. You probably won't find anything that matched this album in doing so last year. While From The Dead Villages' Darkness is kept rather short, it appears as a journey through beautiful soundscapes and all characteristics that define the term atmospheric black metal. Out of many great examples of pagan music in the Slavic countries, this one-man project manages to stand out like a mountain. There is almost no chance you will regret listening to this.

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The Great Old Ones - Tekeli-li

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With the glory days of French black metal titans Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega behind us, a new wave of bands in the country's scene now seeks to carve a name for themselves, and The Great Old Ones stand at the forefront of it. Returning in triumph, their sophomore effort Tekeli-li cements their status as worthy carriers of the torch. Retaining the same rawness and excellent atmosphere of the band's debut, but with a more polished and all enveloping production, the second chapter in these Lovecraftian metallers' saga can only be summed up in one word: potent.

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