WHATTUP SHIT HEADS!!! Fashionably late as always, your boy Wulf is back in the motherfuckin house to bring you his list of the top 10 metal albums of 2014 like every other goofy metal blog and website out there this time of year…
As a bonus, I also heard some albums, that, while not exactly “metal”, still are worth mentioning (you’ll see what I mean later).
As a quick note, I’d also like to mention that Judge Dredd kind of called it way back in 2010 with the whole post-death metal thing. Read his post, and then also check out all the stuff that’s been catching a lot of attention lately (Morbus Chron, Artificial Brain, Tribulation, the return of Gorguts, etc.). Hell, even Job for a Cowboy is starting to get more “out there” in terms of experimentation (their latest album, “Sun Eater”, was actually pretty good!)! It’s going to be interesting to see where all of this goes.
Anyway, while I wouldn’t say it was a strong year for metal as a whole, a lot of great stuff still came out! I’m still not too sure about the order of my albums, but whatever, they’re all really good!! Enjoy!!
10. “As the Stars” – Woods of Desolation
I’m honestly surprised this wasn’t on Judge Dredd’s Top 10!! For fans of sad, shoegazing, beautiful, longing, haunting, Graduation Day black metal (I believe Mark of the Beast came up with that one)…you can’t go wrong with this one! Australia’s answer to early Alcest (think “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde”), Woods of Desolation is a one-man band (D.), except for this album the band is also rounded out by Vlad (from Drudkh) on drums, Balam (from Pestilential Shadows) on bass, and Old (ex-Wardaemonic) on mournful, tortured vokills. Beautiful, but depressing stuff. Fans of early Alcest, Svarti Loghin, Deafheaven, Nontinuum, etc.
You can listen to this album here.
Everyone’s been losing their shit over this album, but honestly I think it’s kind of overrated. That being said, it’s still really good!! Lots of beautiful, icy melodies this time around (“Paien” might be one of my favorite black metal songs of all time!) to go along with the typical winding, twisting, meandering Blut aus Nord-ness that his fans are used to at this point. Also, I don’t care what anyone says, I’ve suspected that BaN has been using programmed drums for many years now (I’m not even sure if W.D. Feld or GhÖst are even real people, but I could be wrong), so this album finally including an obviously real (and extremely talented drummer, Thorns) is a breath of fresh air and matches the album’s style perfectly. This album takes a few listens to really get into because the tracks are so labyrinthine, but I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you’ve only heard Blut aus Nord’s more recent albums (which tend to be more weird and vaguely industrial-ish). You can listen to the album for free here.
Although the first track kind of sounds like early 2000s melodic death/metalcore for some reason (think As I Lay Dying), overall this album is great! I remember a long time ago I was talking with my buddy Brad (see Accursed Wound) about folk metal, and he was curious as to if there were any folk metal bands out there that only incorporated American folk (as opposed to 99% of the rest of the folk metal bands out there which are pretty European folk-based, even the ones from the United States!). At the time the only thing I could really think of were bands like Agalloch (eh…not really), Across Tundras (not really metal), and maybe some others that didn’t really fit the bill. Little did I know that sure enough, there was an up-and-coming black metal band that would be exactly what we were looking for!
Panopticon seems to have come out of nowhere, exploding onto the USBM scene with their killer breakthrough album “Kentucky” in 2012 (really should have been on my “Best of 2012” list, but for whatever reason it wasn’t). Anyway, I can’t believe it took Austin Lunn only 2 years to come out with this album as well, given that he’s the only member (handling like 9 instruments on this record, organizing the guest appearances, recording, writing lyrics, artwork, etc.), PLUS also being involved in like 3 or 4 other bands as well. Incredibly impressive, especially considering that this album is really good!
Anyway, if you’re interested in listening to some bluegrass/Americana-infused melodic death/black metal, then by all means check this record out! Some tracks are even just straight up bluegrass! Perfect for drinking beer or whiskey with some friends, warming up around a wood burning stove on a bleak winter evening! You can even listen to it for free here!
4. “Engineering the Void” – Soreption
As a general rule, I think tech-death is pretty fucking boring. Guitars endlessly noodling around, wimpy drums clicking around and being clever, bland vocals, I hate all that shit. So why am I into Soreption, with a boring metal band name, cheesy art that looks like it was selected from a stock power metal album cover generator, and has a lot of the characteristics that I just said I hated?
3. “Follow the Black Smoke” – Earth Rot
Besides putting out my favorite metal music video of the year (see below), I was completely blown away by these dudes when I saw them open for Dark Tranquillity in Seoul early in 2014. Similar to Pestilential Shadows (see below), this is another Australian metal supergroup comprised of Perth underground death/black metal scene vets that came together to obliterate us with their potent blend of death/grind with a healthy dose of black metal and sludge/groove. Sounds kind of weird eh? They honestly remind me of a more black metal influenced Blood Duster for some reason… great riffs that make you want to get really fucking drunk and headbang (at least, that’s what I did when I saw them live), plus an obvious sense of humor underlying it all. Just kind of depends on the song, as the band’s mood definitely changes a lot over the course of the record (just compare “Black Tears” with “Stares of Semipiternity”). This is a killer band, a really fun album, and I’m honestly still surprised they aren’t signed yet (unless that’s what they’re going for)!! If you’re into death metal, black metal, or grindcore check these dudes out!! You can listen to the whole album for free here.
1. “Ephemeral” – Pestilential Shadows