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Writers Picks 2014 – Part 3


And so we come to the end. 2014 was a cracking year for music, and these are just a few of our own personal favourites from it.

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

If you missed Part 2, you can find it here.

Take some time to find these albums and listen to them. We hope you’ll find them as rewarding as we did. Til next year!

Danny Angus

ST37 – ‘I’m Not Good’

The album that slipped through Pariah Child’s fingers just as Cleopatra Records discovered its psychedelic delights! Easily my favourite record by the Texan lunatics since they were released from The Insect Hospital ten years ago, this album refines and expands upon their gift for infectious groove and outer space travel.

Blood Farmers- ‘Headless Eyes’

After nineteen years of deathly slumber, old Hellhound underdogs crawled up through the earth with deadly intent! This is a timeless incarnation of who the band was and the spirits that continue to haunt them…

Mortalicum – ‘Tears From The Grave’

Unexpected classic from the Swedish power trio, the album is loaded with Maryland sensibility, passion and soul. Real songs that demand repeated spins.

Earthling Society – ‘England Have My Bones’

Never knowing quite what to expect, this laidback platter has an earthier enveloping sheen than its spacey Zodiak predecessor. Laird leads us into bliss once again.

Seven That Spells – ‘The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: IO’

Their reputation for wild acid-fried psych swirls before them and this second part of the trilogy forms another layer of cosmic delight, accelerating, mutating and warping minds.

Earl Grey

Mayhem – ‘Esoteric Warfare’

It says much about how metal is nowadays that when one of its most institutional bands releases a new album, not a great deal of notice is taken.

So it was with ‘Esoteric Warfare’ – it just didnt get the praise it should have, at least not loudly enough. What at first sounded like an obvious follow up to the magisterial ‘Ordo Ad Chao’ revealed with repeat listening a dark and contorted record full of the same kind of dark energy as that prior hate-bomb.

Could anyone, in truth, tell the difference between Teloch and the departed Blasphemer on guitar? I wouldnt say so. And Hellhammer’s drums were as punishingly intense as they’ve ever been. Make sure not to overlook it.

Voices – ‘London’

This album as well was somewhat overlooked, which is a surprise considering it was Akercocke in all but name. Continuing the darkly sexual and grinding urban themes of Akercocke’s key songwriters, the record attempted to be a portrait of a city through the eyes of its deviant inhabitants – making blastbeat laden post-black/death metal along the way.

Frequently reminding of She Said Destroy among other experimentalists, it was atmospheric and challenging, as well as being chock full of superb riffs. Perhaps for the eggheadbangers, but an amazing record nonetheless.

Skalmold – ‘Med Vaettum’

This was folk metal done with raw power. The pace and aggression on this record are absolutely inpsiring, and Skalmold have a grasp of melody that few of their peers will ever get near. Just hear the punishing battery in ‘Meo Fuglum’ off this album and you’ll be utterly swept away by it. This band are pure metal through and through, with nothing sullying the mix, and are all the more atmospheric for it. I cant recommend this album highly enough.

Nightsatan – ‘Original Sound Track’

This one was just fun, and there’s no arguing with it. The band may have some silly affectations, but you can’t deny the seriousness with which they pay total homage to 80s dark synth from the best movies of your childhood. Like Terminator, Blade Runner and Tron. It wasnt just the authenticity of it all though. This was an album of real depth and mood, total atmosphere and lovingly crafted songs that stay in your head for weeks.

Xerath – ‘III’

I should have reviewed this during the year more fully, but didnt get round to it. A real mistake as it happens, because like Evile, everyone should basically be forced to at least take stock of what Xerath have to offer.

This was everything and the kitchen sink style metal – smashing the groove of Pantera into the hugeness of Dimmu Borgir. Normally you’d say that was an appalling mismatch, and normally you’d be right. But Xerath somehow made it work, and the quality of the lead guitar is enough to make you weak at the knees. A very high calibre piece of metal indeed.

Kevin Jacob

Yob – ‘Clearing The Path To Ascend’

This is doom of the most profound variety, and these Oregan boys have yet again come up with the goods in 2014. They are so exquisitly consistant that any recorded material in the pipeline is almost a banker in terms of quality. ‘Nothing to Win’ is a highlight in a highlight reel of tracks. Blackened, yet accessible, yet another triumph from M.S and pals.

Panopticon – ‘Roads To The North’

Ah yes. The most pleasant and charming of surprises from this year that is about to become extinct. An idea, which on paper would leave most sighing and moving quickly on, that is to say, ‘Redneck Reels’ and ferocious, chaotic BM in beautiful harmony makes this album a winner every day of the week.

The aristocratic southern fiddle flicks and grandiose bluegrass arrangements are so authentic and aching that to some extent the BM passages are what provide a lower heart rate relief.

Hickory, pastoral, dusty and violent. Austin Lunn has managed to bring you the tundra and the mesa in this tremendous release.

Winterfylleth – ‘The Divination Of Antiquity’

Another band with a lot to live up to, this majestic, riff driven album of mountain tops and valleys deep has done the business again for these Britons, whose music is augmented spectacularly by their attention to detail and inspiration from the dark mists of the distant past.

Long, meandering tracks of screeching, abrasive metal, the atmospheric riffing of which can immerse the listener in seas of emotive attention.

Excellent.

Primordial – ‘Where Greater Men Have Fallen’

Coming on the heels of an iffy(by Primordial’s standards) release, this album has remedied almost all of the complaints directed at it’s predecessor. Vast, ambitious and infectious, it more than holds it’s own as whole given the attention generated by the video package which accompanied it.

Not immediately brilliant, like so many others, it only reveals it’s excellence if given time to brew and ripen. The closing track is one of the most rousing coda’s you’ll hear in this or any other year. Superb.


3 Comments
  1. You mentioned Yob twice 😮

  2. Aah apologies, based on reviewers, my mistake :p Neat choice of albums of this year in three parts

  3. Kieronunsilence Says:

    Mastodon – ‘Once More Round The Sun’ is in the space for the Mortalicum album.

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