Thumbs up: +4
Just an organized list of my favorite albums of the year, in order of most liked, onward.

Fairly slow start to 2014 regarding albums that attracted my attention. Looking forward to the second half of the year, with Devin Townsend, Mors Principium Est, Ghost Brigade, The Acacia Strain, The Duskfall(!), AT THE GATES(!!) and Bloodbath (scratch that; Nick Holmes?? Really?!?) all slated to release new stuff.

Note: How I rate albums has little to do with the order of this list. Obviously, I'm not going to give an album a low rating and include it (anything I rate below an "8" gets left out), but there's a sense of semblance, regardless. Also, just because I give a rating of 8+ doesn't mean I will include it. An album can be good and be something I don't care to listen to more than a few times.

Created by: b0000mst1ck | 25.06.2014

1. Insomnium - Shadows Of The Dying Sun
Melodic Death - Easily their best release since Above The Weeping World. This album lands in my top spot because, frankly, it surprised the hell out of me, and is exactly what I've been waiting for since 2006. The addition of Markus Vanhala was the best decision these guys could have made, and it's apparent from beginning to end.
2. Mastodon - Once More 'Round The Sun
Progressive Stoner - There are few bands out there that can experiment with their sound as much as Mastodon, yet maintain an exceptional balance between quality and variety. Once More 'Round The Sun is further proof of that.
3. Septicflesh - Titan
Symphonic Death - I won't lie, I expected a bit more from Septicflesh this time around. It's almost as if they attempted to push certain symphonic passages to the forefront, when it wasn't at all necessary. As a whole, Titan couldn't have been much better; conversely, it could've been MUCH worse.
4. Xerath - III
Symphonic Math Metal - In my opinion, III is exactly how many attempts it took Xerath to realize their full potential. Although certain songs tend to wander more than necessary, none of them get lost in the process.
5. Words Of Farewell - The Black Wild Yonder
Melodic Death - This album was difficult to rank, and may move up/down before I'm finished with this list. On one hand, this album is a desperately needed breath of fresh air forced into the melodeath landscape. On the other hand, the keyboards are unnecessarily overwhelming at times. The atmospheric touch it adds is a nicely added texture, but that's about it.
6. The Acacia Strain - Coma Witch
Deathcore - After replacing both guitarists (one of which being a founding member and driving creative force of the band), and replacing them with two guitarists whom I thought to be lackluster, I assumed this album would be a wash. Wrong again. The new members add a nuance to the music that wasn't present before; lingering undertones and more body to their sound. Plus, the 28-minute long track, The Observer, is a complete step outside of their normal work; a sludge-ish take on their otherwise typical sound. Seven albums in, and they've yet to disappoint me.
7. Helevorn - Compassion Forlorn
8. Allegaeon - Elements Of The Infinite
Technical Death - It takes a lot for me to gain interest in a tech death band, but Allegaeon has what it takes. The mixture of technicality and melody in this album is the perfect formula for me to truly enjoy it. Fantastic musicianship, crisp production, and arguably their best release to date.
9. Orbit Culture - In Media Res
Gothenburg/Melodic Death/Groove - These Swedes definitely know what they're doing, and they aren't afraid to show it. Think early-Scar Symmetry, without keyboards and clean vocals, and add the right amount of groove. For an unsigned band, these guys are way ahead of the curve.
10. Earthship - Withered
Sludge/Stoner/Post - This is good stuff, right here. A very good mixture of sludge, stoner and post-metal. Only problem is, it starts out strong and ends on a low note. Still, it's obvious Earthship have a lot of potential.
11. Horn Of The Rhino - Summoning Deliverance
12. Within The Ruins - Phenomena
Progressive Deathcore
13. Herder - Gods
14. Novembers Doom - Bled White
Melodic Death/Doom
15. Pallbearer - Foundations Of Burden
16. Conan - Blood Eagle
17. Monuments - The Amanuensis
Math Metal/Djent
18. The Atlas Moth - The Old Believer
19. Hark - Crystalline
20. Dirge - Hyperion
Atmospheric Sludge/Doom
21. Mechina - Xenon
Industrial Death

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by b0000mst1ck ]

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