I usually don’t go for the popular “half way best of” lists but this year has been an absolute marvel of new metal (and a couple non metal) releases that they must be shared.
If you’re not into metal you are truly missing out on some of the most captivating music being created today. The current crop of bands aren’t satisfied with settling for “been there done that” and without catering to the watered down masses or ideals of what music should sound like they are truly free in their creation and experimentation. Some bands succeed, some fail but at least there are people making this music and trying. The enveloped has been pushed beyond the point of ever being able to be sealed again and if this year doesn’t go down as a hallmark year for metal music, I would be surprised. Metal music is the one form of entertainment that consistently amazes me by it’s quality, it’s dedication, it’s perseverance and it’s ability to blow my mind at every turn. I want to hear great, amazing metal albums and I want to absorb them, take them in and cherish them but I also can’t wait for the next album to blow that album out of the water. This happens commonly with metal music and this year alone it has been like a rabid plague of brilliance.
So far this year I’ve listened to over 100 new releases spanning almost the entire gamut of metal. Even with that many releases there are genres I don’t get into, proving just how vast the metal landscape is and ensuring there is something there for anybody. Every time I hear somebody say something like “music is no good anymore” or “what happened to music” or even “metal music is stagnant,” I just shake my head in disbelief. There are countless bands, labels and writers in metal, toiling endlessly to bring something amazing to the table. Great music isn’t dead or gone and there are bands nowadays I would hold higher then any of the long favored “classics.” Metal is larger then you know and it’s abundant with quality, art, creativity and inspiration. So with that I give you just a sampling of what THIS YEAR ALONE has provided.
1. Saor – Aura
This may be because it’s the freshest of the bunch seeing as I only got it this week, but it was near the top of my highly anticipated albums for this year. It doesn’t disappoint. It’s an amazingly beautiful, transcendent black metal album. You haven’t heard music like this before. It’s completely incredible with every note striking a brilliant resonance and instantly captured my mind.
2. Falls of Rauros/Panopticon – Split
Two of my favorite current black metal bands came together this year to produce this jaw dropping split release. Panopticon produced my all time favorite black metal album with his previously released Kentucky album, taking black metal and making it a beast all of his own design. Falls of Rauros are making incredible American black metal, saturated with melody, beauty, nature and ferocity. These bands are both leagues ahead of their contemporaries and coming together for a single release is mesmerizing. On top of that, both of these bands have new albums coming out this year. See what I mean?
3. Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall
This album is determined to crush your head in. Dead Congregation have crafted the death metal album to beat this year, and based on this that is going to be almost a Herculean effort. I hope somebody is up to the task, but until then this album is a masterwork of death metal.
4. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata
Never count an old dog out. After ending Celtic Frost, Tom Warrior struck out with Triptykon taking Celtic Frost’s final album Monotheist and continuing the heavy, doomy, crushing sound of it. This is their second release as Triptykon and it’s insanely amazing. When people say heavy they aren’t even coming close to what heavy means on this album. It’s almost soul crushing in it’s weight, in its despair and in it’s presence.
5. Nux Vomica – Nux Vomica
Last year, Agrimonia’s Rites of Separation place highly on my best of list and was one of the most enthralling releases of 2014. Nux Vomica continue that crusted up, melodic, epic, doom, black metal sound with their second release. It’s backed to the gills with intensity, serene moments of pure beauty and crushing melody that completely overtakes your senses.
I figured since it’s only half way through and my end of year list is top ten that the halfway mark would be top five. This list will most likely be different by the time the end of the year comes as there are still a ton of great bands releasing new stuff over the next six months. Even though I only listed out five albums here, there are still a ton of other albums that could have easily found there way into this list and are worth your ears time, without question.
Waldgeflüster – Meine Fessein
Nasheim – Solens Vemod
Yellow Eyes – The Desert Mourns
Sargeist – Feeding the Crawling Shadows
Trap Them – Blissfucker
Alcest – Shelter
Drudkh/Winterfylleth – Thousands of Moons Ago/ The Gates
Grand Magus – Triumph and Power
Grue – Casualties of the Psychic Wars
Avichi – Catharsis Absolute
Corpsessed – Abysmal Thresholds
Woods of Desolation – As the Stars
Kreigsmaschine – Enemy of Man
Morbus Chron – Sweven
Ered Wethrin – Tides of War
Rauhnåcht – Urzeitgeist
Teitanblood – Death
Chuck Ragan – Till Midnight
Sun Worship – Elder Giants
Fluisteraars – Dromers
Cara Neir – The Overwatch EP
Cormorant – Earth Diver
Skogen – I Döden
Old Wainds – Nordraum
Woman is the Earth – Depths
Enthroned – Sovereigns
Autopsy – Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves
Russian Red – Agent Cooper
The Oath – The Oath
Thantifaxath – Sacred White Noise
The Great Old Ones – Tekeli-Li
Lantlôs – Melting Sun
Merkaba – Bones of the Sacred Forest
Infestus – The Reflecting Void
Freedom Call – Beyond
Noisem/Occultist – Split
Ifing – Against This Weald
High Spirits – You Are Here
Portrait – Crossroads
Noneuclid – Metatheosis
Caïnan Dawn – Thavmial
Dust Moth – Dragon Mouth
Hour of Penance – Regicide
Vallenfyre – Splinters
Aurvandil – Thrones
Various – One and All Together, For Home
Torrid Husk – Caesious
Blood and Sun – White Storms Fall
Casualties of Cool – Casualties of Cool
Castle – Under Siege
Ainulindalë – Nevrast
Hoth – Oathbreaker
Black Monolith – Passenger
Ahamkara – The Embers of the Stars
Vader – Tibi et Igni
Master’s Hammer – Vagus Vetus
Diocletian – Gesundrian
Forest of Tygers – Bruises EP
Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare
Anathema – Distant Satellites
Fucked Up – Glass Boys
That’s a lot. Consider it a small sample of what the world of metal has to offer. Try any one of these bands out. Try two of them out. Just give it a listen, share it when it blows your mind and take a chance on something new. It won’t hurt you.
Stay Creepy My Friends!