Unlike everyone else, we waited until 2014 was actually over to recount our favorite albums. It’s been a great year for extreme music with a healthy amount of excellent releases. We saw the return of legends in GODFLESH and AT THE GATES as well as welcome returns from long recording breaks in BEHEMOTH and MAYHEM. And who can deny the GHOST B.C.-like popularity explosion of Japan’s BABYMETAL? Crazy shit. Metal is certainly a diverse genre.
For 2014, the APESHIT goons did not have any unanimous or semi-unanimous album of the year (i.e. 2013’s CARCASS‘ Surgical Steel). But MAYHEM, BLOODBATH, GODFLESH, and TRYPTIKON were near consensus picks. Sorry, ENTOMBED A.D. didn’t make it here.
dr.park’s top albums:
1. SÓLSTAFIR – Ótta (Season of Mist)
You don’t write an album as good as Svartir Sandir and then follow it up with a clunker. Instead, our favorite Icelandic band have taken off to new heights with Ótta. What a soulful masterpiece. [Read our full review]
2. PRIMORDIAL – Where Greater Men Have Fallen (Metal Blade Records)
Whenever PRIMORDIAL releases an album, it’s basically presumed that it’ll be one of the year’s best. Where Greater Men Have Fallen is no exception. Another triumph and a reminder that most other metal is meaningless and trivial.
3. NADER SADEK – The Malefic: Chapter III (self released)
You may not know this but NADER SADEK are the new MORBID ANGEL. We have not heard this kind of unique, powerful, and creative death metal since MA‘s prime. And the dream line-up has the kind of sinergy and cohesive vision that most all-star bands lack.
4. POSTHUM – The Northern Black Ritual (Indie Recordings)
There has been a crop of 3rd and 4th rate black metal bands that have emerged since the dust settled with the Scandinavian black metal explosion, who inexplicably been given great praise by other media outlets. Well, Norway’s POSTHUM show the posers how atmospheric and compelling black metal is done right.
5. VADER – Tibi et Igni (Nuclear Blast)
VADER at their best = one of the bands in the world. Tibi et Igni is the band on fire. So damn good. The guitar solos are epic. Doc (R.I.P.) would be proud of the drum performance. [Read our full review]
6. CANNABIS CORPSE – From Wisdom to Baked (Season of Mist)
Yes, we know CANNIBAL CORPSE released a new one this year. However, CANNABIS CORPSE are so damn good that they could easily supplant their heroes. From Wisdom to Baked‘s hooks will never leave your memory. Seriously. [Read our full review]
7. TRIPTYKON – Melana Chasmata (Century Media Records)
True darkness expressed through extreme metal is a pure and beautiful thing. TRIPTYKON are blazing new trails for others to follow. The spirit of CELTIC FROST of lives on. [Read our full review]
8. STAROFASH – Ghouleh (Mnemosyne Productions)
Heidi S. Tveitan continues to amaze with each release. Ghouleh is the soundtrack to a dream-like state of consciousness that is simply beautiful. The electronic-based sound is a nice change of pace from the live instrument foundation of Lakhesis. [Read our full review]
9. MAYHEM – Esoteric Warfare (Season of Mist)
It’s a near impossible feat to write a follow up to a masterpiece such as Ordo Ad Chao. However, MAYHEM got as close as they could. They continue their avant garde black metal ways and make most others sound elementary.
10. BLOODY HAMMERS – Under Satan’s Sun (Napalm Records)
BLOODY HAMMERS are great songwriters in the vein of SENTENCED, mid-era PARADISE LOST, and early DANZIG. So good in fact that I wish Under Satan’s Sun was a double album. [Read our full review]
YAITW – When Life Comes to Death (Deathwish Inc.)
BLOODBATH – Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville)
RISE OF THE NORTH STAR – Welcame (Nuclear Blast)
THE HAUNTED – Exit Wounds (Century Media Records) [Read our full review]
ANAAL NATHRAKH – Desideratum (Metal Blade Records)
big johnson’s top 10:
1. THE HAUNTED – Exit Wounds (Century Media Records)
Marco Aro returns and so does THE HAUNTED’s thrash attack! Exit Wounds almost makes me forget about the uninspired and boring last few albums. The last album, Unseen, much like Load, Cold Lake, etc. is god awful, but since Exit Wounds rules so much, I’ll forgive them now. [Read our full review]
2. BLOODBATH – Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville)
While I agree with the fan sentiment that Nick Holmes’ vocals are a bit weak on the album, he does bring some fresh air and change of pace to the typical “brutal” vocals that one would expect for a BLOODBATH record. The music is phenomenal, and the doomy, death metal pace really works well with Holmes’ haunting and depressing vocals.
3. NADER SADEK – The Malefic: Chapter III (self released)
Nader Sadek’s project once again brings on some excellent musicianship and brutality. This super short, but amazing disc demonstrates how drum wizardry, bass proficiency, guitar mastery, and brutal vocals can mesh into one godly EP. Of course Flo Mounier (CRYPTOPSY) crushes, but Alex Webster (CANNIBAL CORPSE) and Martin Rygiel (ex-DECAPITATED) both pound the bass lines, and ex-DEATH guitar wiz Bobby Koelble, along with riff master Rune Eriksen (ex-MAYHEM) certainly keep the NADER SADEK project in top form, as we expect it to be.
4. VADER – Tibi et Igni (Nuclear Blast)
With the extensive catalog VADER has, one would think that mastermind/frontman Piotr would run out of ideas…but Tibi et Igni is godly! Thrashy, brutal, and catchy, I can’t stop listening to this album! [Read our full review]
5. CANNABIS CORPSE – From Wisdom to Baked (Season of Mist)
The student has now become the master…CANNABIS CORPSE is a joke band, but the music is far from a joke. Once a blatant CANNIBAL CORPSE ripoff, CANNABIS have developed and budded (pun intended) into a much more interesting, brutal, and catchier band than CANNIBAL. [Read our full review]
6. PRIMORDIAL – Where Greater Men Have Fallen (Metal Blade Records)
No frills here, you know what to expect. A+ vocals, choruses, mid paced guitar/drum combos, and epic, doomy tracks.
7. AT THE GATES – At War With Reality (Century Media Records)
Slaughter of the Soul will never be topped, but At War With Reality will keep us calm and enjoy the AT THE GATES we now know today. Many bands who reform fail miserably at their attempts of a new album, but more recently, CARCASS, and now AT THE GATES can proudly say that they have released great comeback/reformation albums.
8. MAYHEM – Esoteric Warfare (Season of Mist)
With the loss of their main songwriter, Blasphemer, MAYHEM’s new axeman, Teloch, had the major task of writing a MAYHEM-worthy album. For the most part, he succeeded in emulating Blasphemer’s strange timing and discordant riffing style. While not as abrasive as Ordo Ad Chao, Attila once again delivers a disturbing performance, while Hellhammer does his thing by destroying the skins with technique and flair, and at the same time, keeping the integrity of black metal art.
9. BEHEMOTH – The Satanist (Metal Blade Records)
As with most BEHEMOTH albums, if it weren’t for blast master Inferno, I would rate this album a lot lower. There are some killer tracks for sure, and some duds as well, but Inferno’s drumming always makes it interesting. [Read full review]
10. ARCH ENEMY – War Eternal (Century Media Records)
While I absolutely loathe the “female fronted band” label, theatrics, false messages, metal clichés of one of the most mainstream “extreme” bands today, I can’t deny that there are some catchy-as-hell tracks on War Eternal, not to mention that Michael Amott also writes some brilliant hooks and leads that keep me from dismissing this band forever. [Read full review]
BEYOND CREATION – Earthborn Evolution (Season of Mist)
TRIPTYKON – Melana Chasmata (Century Media)
roycifer’s top albums:
MR. TWIN SISTER – Mr. Twin Sister (Twin Group)
THE BUG – Angels and Devils (Ninja Tune)
GOAT – Commune (Sub Pop)
FEVER THE GHOST – Crab in Honey (Heavenly Recordings, Complicated Game, Lolipop Records, Swell Swann)
JEFFERTITTI’S NILE – The Electric Hour (Beyond Beyond is Beyond, Lolipop Records)
OH LAND – Earth Sick (Tusk or Tooth)
SLEEPER – August 2014 Mix (Sleeper)
GODFLESH – Decline & Fall (Avalanche Recordings)FOIE GRAS – Held (FOIE GRAS)
SEA OLEENA – Shallow (Lefse Records)
shady rajah’s top albums:
1. THOU – Heathen (Gilead Media/Vendetta/Howling Mine)
2. EYEHATEGOD – s/t (Housecore Records)
3. MONARCH – Sabbracadaver (Profound Lore Records)
4. GODFLESH – A World Lit Only by Fire (Avalanche Recordings)
5. ELECTRIC WIZARD – Time to Die (Spinefarm Records)
6. TRYPTIKON – Melana Chasmata (Century Media Records)
7. AC/DC – Rock or Bust (Columbia Records)
8. EXODUS – Blood in, Blood Out (Nuclear Blast Records)
9. EMMA RUTH RUNDLE – Some Heavy Ocean (Sargent House Records)
10. LANA DEL REY – Ultraviolence (UMG Recordings)
Oscar Martinez’s top 10:
1. EXODUS – Blood in, Blood Out (Nuclear Blast Records)
2. MØ – No Mythologies to Follow (Chess Club/RCA Victor)
3. DECAPITATED – Blood Mantra (Nuclear Blast Records)
4. BLOODBATH – Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville)
5. LANA DEL REY – Ultraviolence (UMG Recordings)
6. MAYHEM – Esoteric Warfare (Season of Mist)
7. CRUCIFIED BARBARA – Into the Red (Despotz Records)
8. THE HAUNTED – Exit Wounds (Century Media Records) [Read our full review]
9. AT THE GATES – At War With Reality (Century Media Records)
10. BLUES PILLS – Blues Pills (Nuclear Blast Records)
Brandon Stratton AKA rawknrollchef13’s top 10:
1. TRYPTIKON – Melana Chasmata (Century Media Records)
Few albums evoke emotion out of me these days. TRYPTIKON have come back with an album as beautiful as it is bleak. Its gripped my soul and hasn’t let go. And that means it’s the best of the year for me. [Read our full review]
2. ANATHEMA – Distant Satellites (Kscope)
ANATHEMA have been a favorite of mine for years. from the beginning these guys have evolved and keep it fresh and yet still amaze. Distant Satellites has a more electronic feel and for me a bit more of the dark melancholy these guys are known for. It’s no Weather Systems but still rad none the less.
3. MIDNIGHT – No Mercy for Mayhem (Hells Headbangers)
How can you not love this band. Its as if VENOM and MOTORHEAD had a dirty night of passion and MIDNIGHT turned out to be their love child. It’s so good.
4. BLOODBATH – Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville)
I seriously don’t know why this record is getting such bad reviews. I know it’s mostly about Nick Holmes‘ monotone growl and choice to lead the band but in my opinion, they never sounded better. A bit more melodic but still heavy and Swedish as fuck. I’m a sucker for that Swedish shit.
5. INCANTATION – Dirges of Elysium (Listenable Records)
One of the originals and still one of the best. With so many trying to sound like INCANTATION these days, they needed to prove why they are the champs of the low-fi brutal death metal crunch, and they proved it with flying colors. So many memorable tracks; I still find myself loving this record more and more.
6. CENTINEX – Redeeming Filth (Agonia Records)
This seems to have flown in under the radar which is a shame. CENTINEX put out many memorable Swedish Death Metal gems before breaking up and starting other bands; most notably, DEMONICAL which is awesome in their own right. This record sees them pumping out Swede style metal of the highest caliber and like mentioned before, I’m a sucker for it.
7. VALLENFYRE – Splinters (Century Media Records)
Heavy and menacing as fuck. Most people lump this into the Old school death metal category but I think its much more than that. Old school tinges with modern flair. It’s awesome.
8. AUTOPSY – Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves (Peaceville Records)
Evil and filthy as always. AUTOPSY never disappoints and this album proves it.
9. ABYSMAL TORMENT – Cultivate the Apostate (Willowtip Records)
Groovy and brutal as all hell. These dudes from Malta no how to throw down some top notch death metal. The hooks will have you going for days.
10. DEATH WOLF – III Ostergotland (Century Media Records)
As this just came out I’m still taking it all in. Much different than their previous album but still just as strong. Seems like the DANZIG element has been used a lot less and more of an atmospheric almost doom feel starts this record. Followed by some hardcore and straight up metal jams. I love it and as I listen more, I’ll continue to enjoy all it has to offer.