Nov 282014


Happy Black Friday. We’re not selling anything and we have no discounts to offer. Instead, we want you to give us something.

We’ve reached a pivot-point in the year, with Thanksgiving now behind us here in the U.S. Now begins the countdown to the end of the year and the official commencement of the annual holiday season onslaught. In the world of metal, we’ll also start seeing more and more lists of the year’s best albums.

Back in 2009, when this site was just a few days old, I wrote a post about year-end lists and why people bother with them. The best reason still seems to be this: Reading someone else’s list of the albums they thought were best is a good way to discover music you missed and might like.

We don’t do an “official” NCS year-end “best albums” list. However, we publish the picks of each of our regular staff writers as well as a large group of guest writers (which we’ll start doing in December), and every year we also invite our readers to share their lists. If YOU have made your own list of the albums, EPs, or splits released in 2014 that you think are the best of what you’ve heard this year, we invite you to share it with us in the Comments section to this post. 

We don’t have any hard and fast rules about year-end lists. Your list doesn’t have to be a specific number — doesn’t have to be a “Top 10″ or “Top 20″ list, it could be a Top 2 list or a Top 15, or any other number.

And it doesn’t have to be a cross-genre list, i.e., the best of all metal you’ve heard this year.  It could be the best hardcore albums you heard, or the best death metal, or the best black metal, or the best grind, or the best folk metal, and on and on — pretty much whatever you want to do and feel comfortable doing, as long as it fits your definition of metal.

Don’t be shy, and don’t worry about being judged — if you haven’t figured it out already, it ain’t our style or the style of our commenters to ridicule what someone else thinks is great metal.

And if you don’t have a list ready yet, no sweat, because you can come back to this post whenever you like and add your list later — or comment on the lists others have posted. I’ll put a link to this post at the top right side of every page so people can find it quickly — look for the link to 2014 NCS READERS’ YEAR-END LISTS. That will make the comments to this post a collection point for “Best of” readers’ lists.

So start thinking and start commenting (please, and thank you).


  1. corbeaux says:

    I was trying to take the time to go through all the stuff I’ve heard this year and really do 2014 justice but that’s just not happening. Between working at work, working at home, and holidays with the family I can’t find enough time to clean the brain matter off the floor from the first time I listened to Teitanblood let alone make a decent stab at this but, fuck it whatever…

    Been a real death metal year for me…in particular:
    Auroch-Taman Shud
    Dead Congregation-Promulgation of the Fall
    Deathcult-Pleading for Death… Choking on Life
    Impetuous Ritual-Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence
    Lvcifyre-Svn Eater
    Unaussprechlichen Kulten-Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath
    Vanhelgd-Relics of Sulphur Salvation

    I could keep going but here’s some other stuff I really enjoyed:
    Bastard Sapling-Instinct Is Forever
    Chaos Moon-Resurrection Extract
    Falls of Rauros-Believe In No Coming Shore
    Indian-From All Purity
    Nashiem-Solens Vemod
    Nux Vomica-Nux Vomica
    Panopticon-Roads To The North
    Winterfylleth-The Divination Of Antiquity
    Wolvhammer-Clawing Into Black Sun
    Young And In The Way-When Life Comes To Death

    A few notable splits:
    Falls of Rauros/Panopticon
    Vassafor/Sinistrous Diabolus
    Majestic Downfall/The Slow Death

    If I could list all the stuff I listened to I would. I can honestly say I enjoyed something out of everything I heard this year. But there it is…some kind of list anyway.

  2. Desmondius says:

    Keeping it short and trying to think of just 20 rather than every single good release of the year.

    20. Azooma – A Hymn of the Vicious Monster EP
    19. Hail Spirit Noir – Oi Magoi
    18. Black Crown Initiate – The Wreckage of Stars
    17. Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum
    16. Revocation – Deathless
    15. Dark Fortress – Venereal Dawn
    14. Septicflesh – Titan
    13. Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral
    12. Thy Darkened Shade – Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet
    11. Horrendous – Eclysis
    10. Autopsy – Tourniquets, Hacksaws & Graves
    9. Job For A Cowboy – Sun Eater
    8. Misery Index – The Killing Gods
    7. Inferi – The Path of Apotheosis
    6. Volturyon – Human Demolition EP
    5. Vallenfyre – Splinters
    4. Earth Rot – Follow the Black Smoke (Really surprised no one seems to have heard of the band)
    3. Hate Storm Annihilation – Storm of Flames
    2. Sludgde – Gastronomicon
    1. Bloodshot Dawn – Demons

    Honorable mentions go out to Holocausto Canibal for their Larvas EP. Some mindblowingly good tracks on that one. Also worth mentioning is Cult of Fire’s Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně, which features possibly my favorite track of the year – their interpretation of the classical masterpiece Vltava.

  3. Heretic in the Sun says:

    Damn, I’m really late this year. I feel like I’m leaving out so much great stuff, but it’s supposed to be a list of the best/favorites, not an encyclopedia of everything I listened to this year,right? Besides, 2015 is coming up fast-, Alkaloid, Mephistopheles, Black Fast and so on and so on... I've had a lot of trouble paring it down-so much great music came out in 2014. The albums/EPs that made the list are the ones I keep coming back to. In no particular order,these were my favorites:

    God Disease- Abyss Cathedral (EP)
    Aenaon- Extance
    Behemoth- The Satanist
    Epitemia- (Un)Reality
    Stam1na- SLK
    Lord Mantis- Death Mask
    Noneuclid- Metatheosis
    Benighted- Carnivore Sublime
    Inconcessus Lux Lucis- Crux Lupus Corona (EP)
    Black Crown Initiate- The Wreckage of Stars
    Anopheli- a hunger rarely sated (EP)
    Nero di Marte- Derivae
    Kvlthammer- s/t
    Varathron- Untrodden Corridors of Hades
    Arctic Sleep- Passage of Gaia
    Daggers- It's Not Jazz, It's Blues
    Fides Inversa- Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans

    My personal Album of the Year, metal:

    Ne Obliviscaris- Citadel

    Non-metal/ Metal adjacent:

    Rishloo- Living As Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth

    Also enjoyed: Cormorant, Nux Vomica, Emblazoned, Deus Otiosus, Solstafir, Slugdge, Gloson, Job For A Cowboy, Cemetery Filth, Schizoid Lloyd, Vinterbris, Disemballerina, Emptiness, Serdce, Coffinworm, Thantifaxath, Vyrion, Wolvhammer, Xerath, Execration, Hvile I Kaos.

    2013 release that I found late,so it's a 2014 to me:

    Empyrean Throne- Demonseed

  4. Daniel says:

    1. Shores of Null – Quiescence
    2. Taake – Stridens Hus
    3. Saor – Aura
    4. As Light Dies – The Love Album Volume I
    5. Oubliette – Apparations
    6. Empyrium – The Turn of the Tides
    7. Furia – Nocel
    8. Winterfylleth – The Divination of Antiquity
    9. Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry
    10. Mare Cognitum – Phobos Monolith
    my full list can be seen here

  5. Behold says:

    10 releases that I love:

    Bagarre general: YONL Split
    Orchestral post-metal. So good

    Abigor: Leytmotif Luzifer
    Pushing the boundaries of BM without losing melody or heaviness.

    Stargazer: Merging
    Menacing, dissonant and beautiful all at once.

    Fallujah: Flesh Prevails
    The kings of progressive TechDeath

    Beneath: Barren Throne
    My favorite DM of the year. Works on so many levels.

    Execration – Morbid dimensions
    Dense, intricate DM

    Goatwhore: Constricting rage
    A million years together and still nobody quite sounds like them.

    Owl: Into the Absolute
    Love all the stuff on Zeitgeister and this is no exception

    Slugdge: Gastonomicon
    Maybe not as strong as the debut but still worth seeking out

    Woccon: Solace in Decay
    For those of you missing Daylight Dies, Slumber, etc.

  6. shoggoth0331 says:

    BEST OF 2014 in no order

    Woods of Desolation
    The Great Old Ones
    Black Monolith
    Sun Worship
    Dead Congregation
    Bastard Sapling
    Grey Widow
    Young and in the way
    Ad Infinitum
    Mutilation Rites
    Wrought Iron
    Code Orange
    Megaton Levithan
    Blut Aus Nord
    Cult Leader
    Fides Inversa
    Mare Cognitum
    Jig Ai
    Nuklear Frost

    Best e.p.
    Possession-Anneliese e.p.
    Blut Aus Nord split e.p.
    Ornamental Headpiece e.p.
    Dead Instrument e.p.
    Deathwinds-Endless Wastelands e.p.
    Void Ritual
    Mammoth Grinder
    Gnosis of the Witch

  7. cjmfa says:

    Well, I suppose I’m a little late to the party, but here it is anyways:)
    1. Noctem – Exilium
    2. Job For A Cowboy – Sun Eater
    3. Darkest Hour – Darkest Hour
    4. Texas In July – Bloodwork
    5. Woccon – Solace In Decay
    6. Allegaeon – Elements of the Infinite
    7. Abysmal Dawn – Obsolescence
    8. Behemoth – The Satanist
    9. Lord Mantis – Death Mask
    10. Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun
    11. Cormorant – Earth Diver
    12. Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere
    13. At The Gates – At War With Reality
    14. Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails
    15. Belphegor – Conjuring the Dead
    16. Backtrack – Lost In Life
    17. Inanimate Existence – A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement
    18. Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter
    19. Killer Be Killed – S/T
    20. Korn – The Paradigm Shift

  8. Kazz says:

    This seems to get harder every year. At least I decided on an order before February this time:

    40. Inanimate Existence – A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement
    39. Xandria – Sacrificium
    38. Torrential Downpour – Truth Knowledge Vision
    37. Sawhill Sacrifice – Weri loca Waluo
    36. Phobocosm – Deprived
    35. Falconer – Black Moon Rising
    34. Execration – Morbid Dimensions
    33. Zombiefication – Procession Through Infestation
    32. Vampire Squid – Nautilus World
    31. Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails
    30. Doom’s Day – The Devil’s Eyes
    29. Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen
    28. Derdian – Human Reset
    27. Doctor Livingstone – Contemptus Saeculi
    26. Darkspace – Dark Space III I
    25. Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall
    24. Machinae Supremacy – Phantom Shadow
    23. Vestal Claret – The Cult of Vestal Claret
    22. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata
    21. Whispered – Shogunate Macabre
    20. Divine Ascension – Liberator
    19. Nachtmystium – The World We Left Behind
    18. Arcana Coelestia – Nomas
    17. Giant Squid – Minoans
    16. Funereal Presence – The Archer Takes Aim
    15. Cloak of Altering – Plague Beasts
    14. Profetus – As All Seasons Die
    13. Morbus Chron – Sweven
    12. Sons of Crom – Riddle of Steel
    11. Nightfell – The Living Ever Mourn
    10. The Wolves of Avalon – Boudicca’s Last Stand
    09. Anubis Gate – Horizons
    08. Ceremonial Castings – Cthulhu
    07. Aenaon – Extance
    06. Voyager – V
    05. Saor – Aura
    04. Shroud of Despondency – Tied to a Dying Animal
    03. Hail Spirit Noir – Oi Magoi
    02. Howls of Ebb – Vigils of the 3rd Eye
    01. Abigor – Leytmotif Luzifer (The 7 Temptations of Man)

    Best not quite metal:
    Empyrium – The Turn of the Tides
    Mars Red Sky – Stranded in Arcadia
    Boris – Noise
    Solstafir – Otta
    The Order of the Solar Temple – s/t
    Greenleaf – Trails & Passes

  9. hibberd says:

    Behemoth – The Satanist
    Carnifex – Die Without Hope
    Disentomb – Misery
    Winterfylleth – The Divination Of Antiquity
    Inferi – The Path of Apotheosis
    Alterbeast – Immortal
    Aborted – The Necrotic Manifesto
    Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain
    JFAC – Sun Eater
    (not 10, but hey-ho)

  10. Caspian Rehbinder says:

    1. Behemoth – “The Satanist”
    2. The Project Hate MCMXCIX – “There Is No Earth I Will Leave Unscorched”
    3. At the Gates – “At War With Reality”
    4. The Haunted – “Exit Wounds”

  11. Mitch says:

    My album of the year was definitely Thy Darkened Shade’s latest, however as always there were tons of amazing albums released this year as well as albums I’ve missed. Anyway here it is:

    ASCENSION – The Dead of the World
    ATRIARCH – Unending Pathway
    BEHEMOTH – The Satanist
    CRETIN – Stranger
    CHAOS MOON – Resurrection Extract
    DOWNFALL OF GAIA – Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay
    EMPTINESS – Nothing but the Whole
    FALLS OF RAUROS – Believe in No Coming Shore
    GIANT SQUID – Minoans
    GOATWHORE – Constricting Rage of the Merciless
    HIDEOUS DIVINITY – Cobra Verde
    HORRENDOUS – Ecdysis
    HOWLS OF EBB – Vigils of the 3rd Eye
    MARE COGNITUM – Phobos Monolith
    PALLBEARER – Foundations of Burden
    PHOBOCOSM – Deprived
    PRIMORDIAL – Where Greater Men Have Fallen
    SATANIC WARMASTER – Fimbulwinter
    SOLSTAFIR – Otta
    SWALLOWED – Lunarterial
    SWANS – To Be Kind
    THANTIFAXATH – Sacred White Noise
    THY DARKENED SHADE – Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet
    VINTERBRIS – Solace
    WINTERFYLLETH – The Divination of Antiquity
    WOLVHAMMER – Clawing into Black Sun
    WOVENHAND – Refractory Obdurate
    YOB – Clearing the Path to Ascend

    I couldn’t include a lot of great albums otherwise the list would’ve been way too long but these were the best of the best!

    Also definite song of the year goes out to ‘Vltava’ by Cult of Fire: an outstanding track.

  12. MattV says:

    No more listmania, I guess it’s time to wrap things up 🙂

    Blut aus Nord – “Memoria Vetusta”
    Cormorant – “Earth Diver”
    Emptiness – “Nothing”
    Kuolemanlaakso – “Tulijoutsen”
    Saor – “Aura”
    Spectral Lore – “III”
    Thy Darkened Shade – “Liber Lvcifer”
    Tryptikon – “Melana Chasmata”
    Vainaja – “Kadotetut”
    Woods of Desolation – “As the Stars”

    Honourable mention: Lascaille’s Shroud – “Interval 02” – would have been in my top ten with some length reduction!

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