Greetings to all who stumble upon this depository of aural atrocity. I decided back at the beginning of 2014 to create this blog for the purpose of having a home to document musical discoveries and associated musings that were beyond the scope of my contributions to Cvlt Nation and RoomThirteen. The year found itself crammed full of fantastic new music from all over the globe, but my I found myself equally crammed with aeons of busy times that allowed me months of poor excuses for not typing a bleeding word onto these pages. Consequently, my proverbial new year’s resolution is to pack this blog full of musical goodness, whether it be stunning atmospheric beauty or filth-ridden sonic abhorrence. I’m already a week bloody late so I might as well start now and bash out a list of retrospective and top notch releases from 2014. Enjoy.
My top twenty outstanding releases of 2014. In some kind of rough order apart from number one, which is definitely number one as I listened to it loads and it’s bloody great.
20. Botanist – VI: Flora
One of the most intriguing albums I’ve heard this year. Lots of excellent ideas and experimentation, combining almost Jesu-like atmospherics with black metal to create a very unique sound.
19. Broken Note – Black Mirror
As long as the beats are hard and the music is edgy then electronic music has as much a place in my world as any other genre. This is great stuff.
18. Skáphe – Skáphe
Top notch, cavernous black metal with a name that invokes one of the grimmest deaths imaginable. Lovely stuff.
My full review: http://www.cvltnation.com/skaphe-skaphe-review-stream/
Further grim reading: http://www.theparanormalguide.com/blog/scaphism-the-boats
17. Woods Of Desolation – As The Stars
Woods Of Desolation are (is?) my favourite Australian thing since Blood Duster. Actually that’s a big fib – Sleepmakeswaves are also a favourite of mine. Anyway, this is another brilliant release from the one-man black metal project. As The Stars, just like the rest of the back catalogue, is intense, introspective, sorrowful and melancholic, but it’s so well done it makes me feel alive when I listen to it. I like WoD so much I have a patch of theirs sewn onto my sleeveless denim jacket. Yes I own one of those, big whoop, wanna fight about it?
16. The Body – I Shall Die Here
A lot has already been said about this release and a lot of people have summed it up better than I ever could. Dark, minimalist, experimental, essential. Well worth a listen.
15. Bohren & Der Club of Gore – Piano Nights
Fucking triumphant. Love this band. Noir jazz, doomjazz (what a great word), however you decide to describe them, this is one of their finest releases to date. Perfect midnight listening on dark, rainy nights with a glass of something strong. Combine with http://www.rainymood.com/ if precipitation fails.
14. Yob – Clearing The Path To Ascend
One of my favourite doomy releases this year. It’s appeared on a lot of lists and for good reason. This would undoubtedly be further up the list if I’d listened to it more than I have. Marrow is eighteen minutes of perfection.
13. The Mire – Glass Cathedrals
I’ve been following this lot since the (fortunately temporary) demise of Bossk, although Tom is no longer a part of this project. Volume I and Volume II are brilliant pieces of progressive / post- metal. Glass Cathedrals is even more brilliant.
12. 11 Paranoias – Stealing Fire From Heaven
Otherworldly doom featuring members and ex-members of various brilliant UK bands. Their Spectralbeastiaries EP ealier in 2014 was excellent, and to be honest I didn’t expect a full-length in the same year but arrive it did and disappoint it did not. Class.
11. Earth – Primitive and Deadly
The sound that Earth create has always been their own, and their back catalogue is supremely strong. As with Yob, I’ve not listened to it enough and it would probably be rated higher if I had. So far, so great though. (PS there’s a guitar lick in There Is A Serpent Coming that I’ve heard somewhere before and it’s bloody bugging me that I can’t place it. Answers on a postcard please).
10. Downfall of Gaia – Aeon Unveils The Thrones of Decay
Oof! Bleaker than bleak, denser than dense post- / atmospheric / black metal infused slabs of dark hardcore from the Germans. Probably their best release yet.
09. The Great Old Ones – Tekeli-Li
I’ve gotta hand it to the French, they keep on delivering when it comes to top quality heavy music. The Great Old Ones love Lovecraft; this much is obvious. I feel the same way, hence the name of this blog and all. This album is based around one of his longer stories (and finest moments) At The Mountains of Madness. It’s also another fantastic slab of atmospheric post-black metal (type thing) and is complemented by some equally fantastic artwork.
08. Lord Mantis – Death Mask
Pure venom emanates from this record and it’s a bloody joy to experience. This is so good I can even forgive the whole zombie boob / penis thing going on with the cover art.
07. Indian – From All Purity
The nastiest sludge-ridden beast I had the pleasure of listening to in 2014. Unrelenting and downtrodden to levels not many come close to.
06. Wovenhand – Refractory Obdurate
Wovenhand have only gone and signed to bleedin’ DEATHWISH RECORDS and instantly embraced the overdrive pedal, and the resulting album might just be the best thing Mr Edwards has done since 16 Horsepower.
05. Blueneck – King Nine
The beauty that Blueneck manage to conjure within their music never ceases to amaze. The seemingly effortless conglomeration of melancholia and uplifting melody, of vulnerability and boundless strength, combines with stunning songwriting to ensure King Nine is a definite highlight of 2014.
04. Monolord – Empress Rising
Empress Rising might not be the most forward-thinking doom album of 2014, but it’s certainly the most enjoyable and hedonistic. Downtuned to all fucking hell and more scuzz and fuzz than you could shake a scuzzy fuzzy stick at. THOSE RIFFS.
03. Godflesh – A World Lit Only By Fire
A huge, HUGE comeback album from Godflesh, who are once again spewing out industrialised fire and brimstone as if Streetcleaner wasn’t actually TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD. Prolific noise-monger Justin Broadrick sounds utterly at home being back in his old day job, partnering up once again with Ben Green to bring about another lesson in sonic annihilation. Hands down the most important release of 2014.
02. Fen – Carrion Skies
An absolute triumph of rich, emotive black metal, with a strength of songwriting to make this just about Fen’s strongest release so far. Winterfylleth’s ‘The Divination of Antiquity’ is certainly up there this year, but Fen continue to impress and outdo themselves once again, creating a hugely engaging and enjoyable listening experience.
01. Nadja – Queller
Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff have struck gold here – massively droney with ludicrous lashings of fuzz, and with a warmth that embraces the huge melodies to create an album that is bloody delightful to listen to. My album of the year. Extra props for the fantastic artwork.
Honourable mentions (there’s a few):
Bog Oak – A Treatise On Resurrection And The Afterlife
Keeper – MMXIV
Usnea – Random Cosmic Violence
IRN – Sewer Disease
Orange Goblin – Back From The Abyss
Mage – Last Orders
Corrupt Moral Altar – Mechanical Tides
Horsebastard – Giraffetermath
Hierophant – Peste
Kerbdog – Congregation
Talons – New Topographics
Body Count – Manslaughter
The Dwarves – Invented Rock & Roll
Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun
Code Orange – I Am King
Electric Wizard – Time To Die
Bongripper – Miserable
Holly Hunt – Prometheus
North – Metanoia
Grand Magus – Triumph And Power
Eyehategod – Eyehategod
Full Of Hell & Merzbow
Agalloch – The Serpent & the Sphere
Gridlink – Longhena
Hexis – Abalam
Coffinworm – IV.I.VIII
Thou – Heathen
Obliterations – Poison Everything
Veils – Unquestionable Appreciation Of Suffering
Conan – Blood Eagle
Musk Ox – Woodfall
Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Solstafir – Otta
Winterfylleth – The Divination of Antiquity
Darkspace – III I
Behemoth – The Satanist
Death Penalty – Death Penalty
Panopticon – Roads to the North
ACxDC – Antichrist Demoncore
Kampfar – Djevelmakt