Favorite Albums of 2014

Going through the albums I listened to from the year used to be one of my favorite things. I got to rediscover all of my favorite albums by listening to them one more time before making a year end list. Each year this has gotten harder and harder, because I’ve listened to more and more. I kept track of everything in a text file and at this moment is 54 albums long.

It would be completely unreasonable to go through all of those again. This means that as a first pass I go off of memory which is a little unfair. I can certainly throw out many immediately that I recall being terrible, but I know there were some great things I don’t remember all that well.

In any event, all that is to say that I could be overlooking something. Instead of doing a “Top 10” or some artificial number, I’m going to list as many as I thought were excellent as I recall.

My list in alphabetical order:

Amogh Symphony – Vectorscan
Artificial Brain – Labyrinth Constellation
Coffinworm – IV.I.VIII
Lord Mantis – Death Mask
Sammath – Godless Arrogance
Stimpy Lockjaw – Stimpy Lockjaw
Serdce – Timelessness
Thantifaxath – Sacred White Noise

Comments:
I think Artificial Brain is one of the ones I’d call attention to. It is really easy to forget this released, since it has been a whole year. But I still come back to it when I’m in the mood. The Serdce continues to impress me (except for those few cringeworthy parts). That album does prog right.

Honorable Mentions:

Jute Gyte – Vast Chains (for its daring into microtonality)
Clément Belio – Contrast
Winterfylleth – The Divination of Antiquity

Comments:
The Belio has a fantastic amount of variety and some excellent composing/playing. Unfortunately, it got a bit djenty for too extended periods of time for me to truly love it. The Winterfylleth reminds me a little of Deafheaven’s Sunbather but less pretentious/indie rock and more black metal.

Stuff I claimed to like in the review, but am confused about on the most recent listen:

Archspire – Lucid Collective

Comments:
Just one is not too bad.

To Get:

Old Man Gloom – The Ape of God (I can’t believe I missed this release)
Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry (I’ve been waiting for Google to get this one, but still waiting)
Black Crown Initiate – The Wreckage of Stars

Too Much Hype:

Behemoth – The Satanist
Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us
Origin – Omnipresent
Panopticon – Roads to the North

Let me know if my list is similar to yours and I’ve missed something.

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6 thoughts on “Favorite Albums of 2014

  1. Tim says:

    When it first came out, I probably would have added the new Mastodon album to the “Too Much Hype” column, but the more I listen to it, the more it grows on me. There are some cool grooves and riffs and the drums are exactly what they need to be, whether it’s driving the music forward or adding ambiance. It’s a good album, but it’s just not something I feel a connection with beyond some head bobbing and singing along in the car.

    Black Crown Initiate’s new album is awesome. It’s not really anything that pushes boundaries to see what sort of weird shit a metal band can throw into a song, it’s more like they’re trying their hand at different styles of metal – they go from some progressive death metal to tech death in the vein of Archspire or Spawn of Possession to post metal that would make Isis proud. There aren’t any jazzy interludes or bluegrass breakdowns, but the songs are very well written and display the dynamic abilities of the band.

    Last, Locktender’s Rodin is something that I’ve been listening to at least a couple of times a week since it came out. I know it’s on your list of suggestions, but I figured I’d mention it here since it’s definitely in my top 5 favorites of the year. It starts off with a 20min epic about the story behind Rodin’s statue “The Burghers of Calais” that slowly, patiently grows in volume and intensity until a very raw, emotional climax. I know it’s a very common style, but I feel like the tones and production of the music really set them apart from a standard “slow build to emotional apex” set-up. I’m really loving this band. The music sounds so delicate yet raw and unrestrained.

  2. Tim says:

    Also, if you get a chance, you should check out the new Son of Aurelius album. It’s pretty much straight prog/melodic death metal, but their vocalist has one of the most amazing voices I’ve heard in a while (he’s also the vocalist for Inanimate Existence). It’s a pretty long album at about 73min, so if you want to sample them first, I would listen to Coloring the Soul and Long Ago. They’re two of my favorite songs from the album and I feel they showcase their abilities pretty well.

    Coloring the Soul:

    Long Ago:

  3. Daniel says:

    Dead Congregation’s Promulgation of the Fall is great.

  4. david says:

    Appart from Sammath, the best were probably reissues of Massacra and Cenotaph, hehe.

    Blaspherian compilation of demos from the mid-2000s were also released and sounded great.

    Desecresy’s 2014 album weighs heavy on my mind.

    PS. What do you think of this opinion:
    http://www.deathmetal.org/article/how-to-kick-metal-into-overdrive/

  5. Ryan says:

    Glad to see Serdce mentioned here. 🙂 Their sound might be what you’d get if DT were more patient and had death metal influences (not a knock on DT, of course).

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