Thumbs up: +20
It's 2014. So yeah. Top 10-20 is currently in flux as I re-listen more acutely to my favorite albums of the year to put the proverbial bow on 2014. Now is the time to toss me recommendations of what I may have missed this year. Thanks metal friends!

Created by: Neachy | 22.01.2014

1. The Great Old Ones - Tekeli-Li
(9.5) (Post-Black) TGOO have emerged to join the elite of French metal. What is created here is as haunting as it is magnificent.
2. Vanhelgd - Relics of Sulphur Salvation
(9) (Death) The riffs. Bow to the fucking riffs, pleb.
3. Impetuous Ritual - Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence
(9) Avant-Garde Death
4. Rishloo - Living As Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth
(9) (Progressive/Alternative) I had almost forgotten that I could enjoy progressive metal so much until I heard this album. Loved it on my first listen and love it more with each subsequent listen.
5. Dead Congregation - Promulgation of the Fall
(9) Death
6. Emptiness - Nothing But The Whole
(8.5) (Blackened Death) The riffs on this album are fantastic but I think it's the mood conveyed that really won me over. The band doesn't seem overly concerned with being 'heavy' or showing off in a technical way. Excellent pacing, use of distortion and growled vocals.
7. Infestus - The Reflecting Void
(8.5) (Atmospheric Black) An amazing, varied album. Emotional, progressive, almost jazzy passages meld seamlessly with some of the best black metal riffs I've heard.
8. Yob - Clearing The Path To Ascend
(8.5) (Stoner/Psychedelic Doom) This album would be a solid 9 if I didn't dislike the first ten minutes of the track 'Marrow' so much. The rest of the album is satisfyingly heavy and hypnotizingly psychedelic.
9. Coffinworm - IV.I.VIII
(8.5) (Blackened Sludge/Doom) Coffinworm creates an ominous and vitriolic sound here. There's a good amount of variation in the songwriting so despite an often trudging pace, it never feels monotonous. The vocals vary between deep, chesty growls and ear-ripping, vein-bulging, throat destroying screams.
10. Mayhem - Esoteric Warfare
(8.5) (Black) Mayhem always meets or exceeds expectations. This band is still at the top of their game after 25+ years. A rarity in extreme metal.
11. Epistasis - Light Through Dead Glass
(8) (Experimental Black) "Amy Mills's ghastly scream drifts vaporously behind those twisted, lurching grooves and blackened blasts, often trading off with the gorgeously ghostly sound of her trumpet bleating in the darkness, strains of spectral jazziness echoing through the depths beneath the band's complex, metallic assault." Though it clocks in at less than 30 minutes this album packs a dissonant punch.
12. Eden Circus - Marula
(8) Progressive/Post/Alternative
13. Schammasch - Contradiction
(8) (Avant-Garde Black) No DsO this year? No problem! These former Behemoth worshippers have seemingly taken the next logical step in DsO's discography for them. I say this mostly in jest, as Schammasch has put a new twist on the orthodox black metal formula, slowing down the tempo and nearly going progressive at times.
14. Slugdge - Gastronomicon
(8) (Blackened Death) Fantastic record. Thought it started off a bit slow with the first two or three tracks. "The Sound of Mucus" really caught my attention and I was hooked from there.
15. Thaw - Earth Ground
(8) (Black/Post/Doom/Sludge/Noise) Just a heavy genre defying punch to the gut.
16. Chaos Moon - Resurrection Extract
(8) (Atmospheric Black) The densely layered, heavily distorted guitar takes center stage on most of the tracks. The vocals are fantastic. The percussion is buried in the mix for the majority of the album.
17. ION - ION
(8) (Ambient Post-Black) This band out of San Francisco combines a psychedelic ambient atmosphere with post-black sounds to create something spacious and hard hitting.
18. Plebeian Grandstand - Lowgazers
(8) Blackened Hardcore
19. Saor - Aura
(8) (Atmospheric Blackened Celtic Folk) This album was amazing the first couple times I heard it. After a while, with all the tin whistle I began to feel like Celion Dion was going to start singing.
20. Spectral Lore - III
(8) (Ambient Black) This is very much a progressive metal album. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more than Sentinel. Not as avant-garde sounding but feels more like a single album rather than the way the 30 minute ambient track was tacked onto the end of Sentinel. III manages to be relaxing at points but even at over 80 minutes, is never boring.
21. Skáphe - Skáphe
(8) (Ambient Black) This release was revealed to be another project of Alex Poole of Chaos Moon, Esoterica and Krieg fame. He seems to be channeling Mories with the filthy sound and texture of this black metal.
22. Lethian Dreams - Red Silence Lodge
(8) (Atmospheric Doom) Quite a beautiful female-fronted doom album with post-metal tendencies.
23. Dirge - Hyperion
(8) (Post-Sludge) Dirge sits at the top of the modern post metal genre in my opinion. This album solidifies that. Heavy passages that hit you bluntly like a baseball bat compliment brooding industrial parts that let your mind wander.
24. Fluisteraars - Dromers
(8) (Atmospheric Black) Fans of Drudkh and Agalloch should enjoy this debut album out of The Netherlands. Very melodic with rock sensibilities.
25. Horrendous - Ecdysis
(8) (Death) Leans toward the progressive realm of death metal. A bit too thrashy for my taste but still a fun record to listen to. Plus, that cover art...
26. Atomikylä - Erkale
(8) (Psychedelic Drone Doom) I read Dark Buddha Rising and Orannsi Pazuzu and was very intrigued to hear this. This might be better than anything done in either of those bands.
27. Phobocosm - Deprived
(8) Blackened Death
28. Execration - Morbid Dimensions
(8) Death
29. Corpsessed - Abysmal Thresholds
(8) (Death) Very strong, mid-paced album. Don't care much for the production but the performance is terrific.
30. Blut Aus Nord - Triunity [Split]
(8) Industrial Black/Doom
31. Terra Tenebrosa - V.I.T.R.I.O.L. - Purging The Tunnels
(8) Extreme Avant-Garde/Ambient
32. Gnaw Their Tongues - Dyodyo Asema [Collaboration]
(8) Experimental Blackened Sludge/Noise/Drone
33. Svartidauði - The Synthesis of Whore and Beast
(8) Black
34. Mannveira - Von Er Eitur
(8) Black
35. Nidsang - Into The Womb of Dissolving Flames
(7.5) Black
36. Minthe - Bleakly, Providence
(7.5) (Atmospheric/Ambient/Post Black) Very slow paced as far as percussion is concerned (for black metal). Vocals are similar to Lurker of Chalice. An omnipresent wall of guitar distortion suffocates bleak melodies. The production gives the feeling of being immersed in the sound as if it were an ocean.
37. Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith
(7.5) Atmospheric Black
38. Black Autumn - Losing The Sun
(7.5) Post-Black
39. Nasheim - Solens Vemod
(7.5) Atmospheric Black
40. Agalloch - The Serpent & The Sphere
(7.5) (Atmospheric Blackened Doom/Folk) I found the first 13 or so minutes of this album to be quite boring and unremarkable. However, starting with the track Dark Matter Gods, Agalloch managed to win me over yet again.
41. Blut aus Nord - Debemur Morti
(7.5) (Industrial Black) Nothing mind-blowing or unexpected here. Three very good tracks to add to Blut aus Nord's stellar discography.
42. Sun Worship - Elder Giants
(7.5) (Pagan Black) Heavy WITTR influence is immediately noticeable. I would say this album is slightly more riff oriented than most of WITTR's work though. Album is pay what you want on Bandcamp and is well worth a listen.
43. Nero Di Marte - Derivae
(7.5) (Extreme Progressive) Wasn't expecting to like this. Definitely caught me off guard. Vocals can get pretty annoying but not to the point of ruining the overall vibe. Monotony of overall sound kept this album from being rated higher.
44. Dephosphorus - Ravenous Solemnity
(7.5) (Black/Grindcore) Lots of twists and turns throughout. Very full, crisp production. Vocals often remind me of early Burzum.
45. Grey Widow - I
(7.5) (Blackened Sludge/Stoner Doom) Their bandcamp page says it best: "Nihilistic putrid fuckin hatred". Just a fantastically ugly record.
46. Monolord - Empress Rising
(7.5) Stoner Doom
47. Darkspace - Dark Space III I
(7.5) Ambient Black
48. Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden
(7.5) Doom
49. Mastodon - Once More 'Round The Sun
(7.5) (Progressive Stoner) Mastodon have regained my respect with this album. So much more effort in every aspect on this one as compared to The Hunter.
50. sleepmakeswaves - Love of Cartography
(7.5) Instrumental Post-Rock
51. Tombs - Savage Gold
(7.5) (Blackened Post-Sludge) I've more or less felt the same about every release by these guys: enjoyable album/sound and very well performed but not something that draws me back for repeat listens.
52. Bölzer - Soma
(7.5) Death
53. Cloak of Altering - Plague Beasts
(7.5) Avant-Garde Black
54. Noctem - Exilium
(7.5) (Melodic Black/Death/Thrash) Many parts are too thrash for my taste but plenty of intense/heavy black metal sections make this thing well worth a few listens.
55. Doctor Livingstone - Contemptus Saeculi
(7.5) (Blackened Hardcore Punk) These Frenchmen use a mix of blackened and punk vocals. The bass is louder in the mix than the guitars most of the time. Almost dips into grindcore territory at times.
56. Jute Gyte - Vast Chains
(7.5) (Experimental Black/Doom) Insane. If you like De Magia Veterum there's a good chance this might interest you.
57. Sordide - La France a peur
(7.5) (Black) Third track "Gloire" is one of my favorite tracks of the year.
58. Petrychor - Makrokosmos
(7.5) Ambient Space Black with touches of Folk and Industrial
59. Indian - From All Purity
(7.5) (Blackened Sludge/Doom) Despite the absolutely filthy tone and production, the vocals are the stand-out here. To me, Indian is going for a very similar sound to Coffinworm but where the latter manages to keep things interesting by changing pace often enough, many parts of From All Purity lapse into boring chugga chugga riffing for too long. I enjoy the vocals just as much as (maybe even a little more than) Coffinworm. It seems the vocalist is putting everything he has into this recording, combining black metal and hardcore vocal techniques to let loose something truly bloodcurdling.
60. Morbus Chron - Sweven
(7.5) (Progressive Death) Think Death meets early King Crimson.
61. Thou - Heathen
(7.5) Sludge/Doom
62. Triptykon - Melana Chasmata
(7) (Blackened Thrash/Death) Try your hardest not to headbang throughout this. You won't be able to control yourself.
63. Nightbringer - Ego Dominus Tuus
(7) Orthodox Black
64. Sinmara - Aphotic Womb
(7) Orthodox Black
65. Skogen - I Döden
(7) (Atmospheric Pagan Black) Well done with some folksy parts sprinkled in but not original enough to shine through the crowd of the genre.
66. Artificial Brain - Labyrinth Constellation
(7) Sci-Fi Tech Death
67. Alraune - The Process of Self-Immolation
(7) USBM
68. Lantlôs - Melting Sun
(7) Post-Rock/Shoegaze
69. Panopticon - Roads To The North
(7) USBM/Americana
70. Paramnesia - Paramnesia
(7) (Atmospheric Black) More or less typical wall-of-sound aesthetics with shrieked vocals buried in the mix. Good overall sound.
71. Taurus - No/Thing
(7) Avant-Garde/Psychedelic Sludge
72. Botanist - VI: Flora
(7) Experimental Black
73. Myrkur - Myrkur
(7) Post-Black
74. Taake - Stridens Hus
(7) Black
75. Fides Inversa - Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans
(7) Orthodox Black
76. Hark - Crystalline
(7) Stoner Sludge
77. Monarch - Sabbracadaver
(7) Drone Doom
78. Blut aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry
(7) Atmospheric Black
79. Ascension - The Dead of The World
(7) Black
80. Thy Darkened Shade - Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet
(7) Orthodox Black
81. Rintrah - Salt of the Earth
(7) Psychedelic Stoner
82. Woods of Desolation - As The Stars
(7) (Atmospheric/Depressive Black) Mid-paced drums, tremolo melodies and wretched vocals. As formulaic as an atmospheric black metal album can be. Well performed but nothing special.
83. Graveborne - Through The Window of The Night
(7) (Black) Good riffs and whatnot but entirely forgettable.
84. Tortorum - Katabasis
(7) Black
85. Abysmal Dawn - Obsolescence
(7) Death
86. Bastard Sapling - Instinct Is Forever
(7) USBM
87. Winterfylleth - The Divination of Antiquity
(7) Pagan Black
88. Nachtmystium - The World We Left Behind
(7) USBM
89. Hoth - Oathbreaker
(7) (Epic Melodic Black) This band out of Seattle is to Star Wars what Summoning is to LOTR. This album seems to tell the story of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. I don't really care for the vocals.
90. Hexis - Abalam
(7) (Blackened Hardcore) Hexis pulls no punches in the vein of Nails. A little more substance to grab onto here though.
91. Aenaon - Extance
(7) (Blackened Progressive/Avant-Garde) The incorporation of unorthodox instruments such as the saxophone and harmonica was not needed. Vocals are average. Other than that, pretty good album.
92. Fäulnis - Snuff // Hiroshima
(7) (Black) Sounds more akin to Swedish black metal than their German origin. Also has a depressive vibe to it. Lyrics are in German.
93. Mutilation Rites - Harbinger
(6.5) USBM/Crust
94. Krieg - Transient
(6.5) USBM
95. Falls Of Rauros - Believe In No Coming Shore
(6.5) Atmospheric Black/Neofolk
96. Usnea - Random Cosmic Violence
(6.5) Doom/Sludge
97. Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails
(6.5) Tech Death/Shoegaze
98. Cold Body Radiation - A Clear Path
(6.5) Post-Rock/Shoegaze
99. Belphegor - Conjuring The Dead
(6.5) Blackened Death
100. Wolvhammer - Clawing Into Black Sun
(6.5) Blackened Sludge
101. Lord Mantis - Death Mask
(6.5) Blackened Sludge
102. The Atlas Moth - The Old Believer
(6.5) Psychedelic Stoner
103. Abigor - Leytmotif Luzifer - The 7 Temptations Of Man
(6.5) Black
104. Auroch - Taman Shud
(6.5) (Blackened Brutal Death) Absolutely love the artwork. The music kinda sucks though. Unfortunate.
105. Black Anvil - Hail Death
(6.5) Blackened Thrash
106. Dol Kruug - Eat Me
(6.5) Electronic Tech Death
107. Mars Red Sky - Stranded In Arcadia
(6.5) (Stoner) Falsetto vocals and overly simplistic heavy, fuzzed out riffs.
108. Woland - Hyperion
(6.5) (Technical/Groove/Post-Black/Djent) Blackened vocals, groove thrash guitars, djenty bass and lots of double bass drums. Comes together very well at points. Falls flat at others.
109. A Dying God - Anthems To Ascension
(6.5) (Black/Grindcore) Pretty standard sound despite the intriguing lyrical themes.
110. Voices - London
(6) Experimental Black/Death
111. Wolves In The Throne Room - Celestite
(6) (Ambient) Uhhh no.
112. Bongripper - Miserable
(6) (Instrumental Stoner Doom) Boring as fuck. Almost as if they simply wanted to troll their fans.
113. Thantifaxath - Sacred White Noise
(6) Ambient Black
114. 1349 - Massive Cauldron of Chaos
(6) Black
115. Behemoth - The Satanist
(6) Death
116. Crib45 - Marching Through The Borderlines
(6) Atmospheric Sludge
117. Stigmhate - Zodacare Od Zodameranu
(6) Black
118. Ceremonial Castings - Cthulhu
(6) Black
119. Twilight - III: Beneath Trident's Tomb
(6) USBM
120. Conan - Blood Eagle
(6) Stoner Doom
121. Redwood Hill - Collider
(6) Post-Black/Sludge/Alternative
122. Ill Omen - Enthroning The Bonds of Abhorrence
(6) (Occult Black) Trudging and bland.
123. Oruga - Blackened Souls
(6) Stoner Sludge
124. Avichi - Catharsis Absolute
(6) (Black) Bland and mediocre. Nothing really stands out.
125. Opeth - Pale Communion
(5) Prog
126. Hail Spirit Noir - Oi Magoi
(5) (Blackened Prog/Psychedelia) As much as I loved HSN's first album this one missed the mark for me. They dipped too far into the nostalgic sound of old psychedelia the way Opeth did on Heritage and Oranssi Pazuzu did on Valonieu. I may listen to it again later in the year to see if it hits me differently but for now it sits firmly in the 'disappointment' category.
127. Benighted - Carnivore Sublime
(5) Deathgrind
128. Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io
(5) Avant-Garde
129. Akroma - La Cène
(5) Symphonic Black
130. Harakiri For The Sky - Aokigahara
(4) (Blackgaze) Black metal meets emo slathered in shoegaze. I guess this trend isn't going away.
131. Alcest - Shelter
(4) Shoegaze

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Neachy ]


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tea[m]ster - 09.02.2014 at 18:50  
Lol. we almost have the same summary for WoD...I swear i didn't copy ! Too funny!!
Neachy - 13.02.2014 at 23:54  
Written by tea[m]ster on 09.02.2014 at 18:50

Lol. we almost have the same summary for WoD...I swear i didn't copy ! Too funny!!

You seem to have enjoyed it a lot more than I did though. Your comparison to Fen is pretty fitting as well... Are you looking forward to the new Dirge album as much as I am?
Alex Fenger - 25.02.2014 at 05:41  
As usual your list will probably be the only "year list" I keep track of, so I'm interested in what you think of the new; Shattered Hope, Nadja, Alkerdeel/Gnaw Their Tongues, Blut Aus Nord, and Slough Feg.
Neachy - 26.02.2014 at 00:09  
Written by Alex Fenger on 25.02.2014 at 05:41

As usual your list will probably be the only "year list" I keep track of, so I'm interested in what you think of the new; Shattered Hope, Nadja, Alkerdeel/Gnaw Their Tongues, Blut Aus Nord, and Slough Feg.

I've been really busy the past few months with work and school so my ability to keep up with new releases has suffered a bit. But I'll be back at full capacity in a couple months.I will be sure to check the three of those I've yet to hear (Shattered Hope, Nadja and Slough Feg) and re-listen to the other two for the list. I enjoyed them the first time I heard them but I kind of pushed them aside because they aren't full-lengths.
Diverge - 09.03.2014 at 02:28  
I really need to check out Coffinworm. Thanks for the reminder.
mz - 09.03.2014 at 02:35  
Written by Diverge on 09.03.2014 at 02:28

I really need to check out Coffinworm. Thanks for the reminder.

Just listened to it tonight for a couple of times. It's even better than their debut. I think you'll like their new record.
Alex Fenger - 11.08.2014 at 22:36  
The new Epistasis is up there in my "AsOTY" list. Phenomenal. Thanks for inadvertently reminding me to listen to it
Alex Fenger - 15.08.2014 at 20:11  
Two things you need to throw on this list would be Merkabah and Profetus
mz - 16.08.2014 at 00:27  
I wonder what you think about Impetuous Ritual - Unholy Congregation Of Hypocritical Ambivalence, Mortals- Cursed To See The Future , Skáphe - Skáphe , Los Random - Pidanoma , Howls Of Ebb - Vigils Of The 3rd Eye , Domains - Sinister Ceremonies, Bast - Spectres.
Lit. - 16.08.2014 at 03:21  
You also need some Goatwhore, brother.
tea[m]ster - 22.08.2014 at 03:47  
Thanks to you, I checked out Chaos Moon...and I am glad I did. Wow, huge surprise...and thanks for the rec.
Alex Fenger - 08.10.2014 at 16:26  
This is one of the few lists on MS I actually check up on rather than just looking at once. I still need to check out Fluisteraars and Jute Gyte
Alex Fenger - 10.11.2014 at 20:49  
You should definitely get around to listening to Ecdysis by Horrendous. That album is absolutely fantastic, and easily my favorite death metal album of the year
Neachy - 10.11.2014 at 21:12  
Written by Alex Fenger on 10.11.2014 at 20:49

You should definitely get around to listening to Ecdysis by Horrendous. That album is absolutely fantastic, and easily my favorite death metal album of the year

I will definitely do that. Been listening to the Ape of God albums today and have been pretty impressed. Have you checked this out?:
Alex Fenger - 10.11.2014 at 22:39  
Written by Neachy on 10.11.2014 at 21:12

I will definitely do that. Been listening to the Ape of God albums today and have been pretty impressed. Have you checked this out?:

I've been meaning to check out tAoG albums, but now I'm listening to that Mispyrming you linked and it sounds fucking AWESOME! More Icelandic BM showing the modern bands how it's done. Thanks for the rec.

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