Jeffrey Allee’s Top 10 2014 Album picks
The end of another year is upon us and the Metalholic staff is working diligently to compile its Top 50 list for 2014. Individual tastes are as varied as the many sub-genres our beloved metal can conceive of. So with that while we engage in our ritual of creating the big list, our staffers have compiled their own individual Top 10 lists of which this is one. Enjoy!
Slug and sludge unit to create Slugdge, a musical project that most may see as a joke or parody of some sort. Nope, not in the slightest. Slugdge is the real deal when it comes to the music; fusing blackened death with a progressive sludge edge not heard often in the metal realm. Some have compared this to Mastodon to some degree and similar bands of the vein, but I find these guys to be in a league of their own. When I feel the need to worship to our gastropod overlords, I spin this a few times to pay homage.
Think of melodic death metal, black metal, and symphonic and orchestral elements all put together. This combination is named Hollow and they really surprised me with this amazing album of theirs. Mordrake contains the best elements of the aforementioned qualities. Hopefully this record will cause a take off in their popularity. There aren’t many bands that match the potentiality of this project. Keep an eye out for more from these fellows.
Finally some tech death that doesn’t lose its way halfway into the first track. Beyond Creation show consistency in their technicality and intelligent songwriting, showing that they aren’t mindless guitar players looking to score a few minutes of fame. Every track contains intense and tight configurations that don’t lose the listener but keep them interested enough to keep going. This is especially true within the bass aspect of the band. Holy. Crap. Beyond Creation are helping in setting the bar for the future of the sub-genre.
Doom influenced death metal will always catch my attention, especially when constructed by the mind of Incantation. Dirges of Elysium takes you on a journey through the underworld, wandering through the depths of Hell in search of escape and solace. Prepare yourself when you listen to this record, as it does not hold back and won’t listen to your cries when it drags you deeper and deeper into darkness.
Fallujah really surprised me with this one. The Flesh Prevails is an atmospheric work of art, flowing in between the spectrums of absolutely beautiful ambient creations to crushing and unworldly undercurrents. This style pours itself like it could be the soundtrack to a cataclysmic event you’d find in a Michael Bay film.
Symphonic death metal giants keep the momentum rolling with one of their most cohesive and powerful works yet. The orchestral compositions, death metal harshness, and epic choruses give this album an extensive edge when compared to the likes of others in the sub-genre. Septicflesh remain as the kings of their craft and it looks like they won’t be leaving that title any time soon.
This is some modern progressive metal at its finest. Illumine is one of the better concept albums that I’ve heard in quite a while, taking the listener through different sceneries and feelings fluidly throughout. Although it doesn’t contain the harshness of death or black metal that most fans may be looking for, it definitely has the punch. I can’t recommend this enough.
“The music is dedicated to departed ones, loved ones who now are no longer amongst us.” This is the soundtrack to your grief, despair, and any other associated emotion that deals with the loss of those close to you. Compared to the other choices on my list, Doliu is by far the most spiritual and moving.
Dark ambient and funeral doom collide in this magnificent display. This follows their previous album, Canto III, which I regarded as my album of the year for 2013. This one came close to taking the crown for this year as well, but its release took place in the latter part of the year and had just about enough time to digest to reach up this high on the list. Even so, Eye of Solitude create an above average piece yet again that showcases their emotional songwriting and ferocious sound.
If you’re looking for some new atmospheric black metal that incorporates Celtic atmospheres layered in between post-rock influences, look no further. Saor demonstrates one of the most interesting releases of the year, bringing power and elegance to the forefront with deep, hollowed vocals and the implementation of intricate drums (played by Austin Lunn of Panopticon, who also released a record this year that came close to reaching into my top 10). This is one of the few albums that has stuck with me since its release and will continue to do so for a long time.