(New NCS contribtor Dan Barkasi prepared this list of excellent 2014 releases that he overlooked (we also overlooked many of them) — and that are very much worth your attention if you missed them, too.)
Face it – no matter how much music one can cram into an entire year, there are going to be at least a couple of gems that somehow avoid you. You don’t know how, exactly, as some are blatantly obvious, while other omissions are merely the result of bad luck and/or timing. This is where we make up for said misses. These albums deserve some spotlight, too.
Presented in no particular order, here you go! Just know that there’s a bowlful of awesome here, so no ranking required this go-round.
Astrophobos – Remnants of Forgotten Horrors
This is a very refreshing slab of black metal from these Swedes. Harkening back to the ’90s stylistically, prevalent melodic passages and frosty riffs rule the day. Sharp vocals and a high intensity wrap this up quite neatly.
(We have one more late addition to our LISTMANIA 2014 series — Andy Synn’s personal list of the Top 10 songs of 2014.)
So it turns out I’m not quite done making lists. Who’d have thought? (Answer: anyone who’s been paying the slightest bit of attention over the last couple of years… but I digress…)
This time around I’ve chosen my favourite single songs of last year, with little regard from the actual albums they come from, or the genre they represent. It’s just a selection of tracks which, for whatever reason, helped to define 2014 for me personally.
There’s an almost distressing lack of outright brutality on the list this time around as well… maybe it means I’m mellowing in my old age? Or that last year was a surprisingly un-brutal year? Or… and this is just a possibility… maybe it’s just a complete coincidence.
Rumor has it that Andy Synn will eventually be delivering his annual list of favorite songs, but with that exception, our 2014 edition of LISTMANIA has finally drawn to a close. Or to put it differently, since we’re halfway through 2014′s first month, I decided it was time to wrap it up.
Our 2014 series of lists was another extensive one — we posted more than 30 lists with accompanying commentary. Some of these were lists that appeared at other “big platform” web sites or magazines — places with large audiences, many of which cover musical genres well beyond metal. We also published our own staff lists, of course. But the largest group of list posts came from guest writers — NCS readers, band members, and fellow bloggers/writers. Plus, we also received many lists in reader comments on THIS POST.
In this article I’m collecting links to all of the 2014 year-end lists that we published, divided into categories and listed within each category in the order of their appearance. For people who are looking for the best metal that 2014 had to offer, I think these lists provide a tremendous resource.
Thanks again to everyone who contributed to 2014 LISTMANIA and to everyone who made time to read what we pulled together.
(Well, this is it. The final list in our 2014 LISTMANIA series. And it comes our way from Leperkahn. On Monday, I’ll have a wrap-up that collects final thoughts and links to every list in the series.)
Hello once again, my fellow NCS comrades. This list comes a lot later than I had planned, considering I’ve been off school since the 11th of December. It seems I get better at procrastination with age.
Speaking of school, 2014 was a bit of a big year in that regard. This time last year, I had just submitted my last college applications; now, I’m one quarter deep into my first year at The University of Chicago. Having this massive transition right in the middle of the year, much more drastic than the between-grade changes I’d become accustomed to the past 12 years, made it really hard to make this list. January 2014 might as well have been the Dark Ages, in my mind.
The demands of school also cut into, and continue to cut into, my writing time here. You may have noticed that it’s been a bit patchy (if you noticed it at all), beyond that 10-day stretch where I decided to impersonate Islander with the round-ups. Nevertheless, I still got some reviews and such out in my first full year as a guest writer.
(BadWolf provides his annual list of personal favorites among not-metal albums released in 2014.)
I’ve never written so few lists at the end of the year. During my first year at No Clean Singing, I wrote three separate lists. Many writers compose even more, and I have no idea how they do it. However, each year my format has changed as I think of new ways to think about music. As time goes by, I simplify, I erase boundaries.
There’s only one meaningful distinction in my list this year: metal vs. not-metal. My metal list is currently up at Invisible Oranges, and it serves as my unified vision of 2014 in heavy metal. However, this is my favorite list—my favorite piece of copy that I write each year. There’s something about writing about mainstream music on an underground metal blog that strikes me as fun and transgressive.
More to the point, I always loved reading the opinions of metal heads and musicians about non-metal music. To people outside of the culture extreme music is what sets us apart. Inside the community, however, our tastes in other genres of music can offer interesting window into people’s personalities. I also wonder if the commonalities we find outside of the music reveal something about the threads that other artists and metal share. For example, my #1 album is, I know, fairly popular among metal bloggers, but you’ll have to wade through my bottom nine to get to it.
(Yes, we did already post a year-end list from one of the members of A Band of Orcs [Cretos Filthgrinder], but we asked Gronk! if he would again give us one, too, because when it comes to being spared, we take no chances. HAIL GZOROTH!)
Unseasoned Greetings humies,
Once upon a time more Islander asks Gronk! for him’s Suncycle-end list of 2014. Hail Islander, Gronk! guess me do nother such list for favorite metal bleeorg. Gronk! not go in partorcular order like go last Suncycle. Insteads me let Chaos Reign and go EXtream of subconsciousness for see what metal-philoso-theological thought-forms bubble up to surface from depths of darklake mind.
(Last month we posted Wil Cifer’s list of 2014’s best black metal albums. Today we post his personal list of the year’s best metal, regardless of genre.)
Here are the top 10 metal albums. None of these are black metal, even though some of these bands might have once leaned that way. Of course, it’s partial to doom, but death metal fared pretty well this year with some old favorites coming back to kick ass.
10- Wormwood – S/T
These sludge merchants were crushing enough to keep the album in rotation.
(Our guest Ben Smasher provides a year-end of favorite releases.)
In the early 2000s or so, metal began to embrace to its fullest extent the importance of utilizing recording, mixing, and mastering styles to further the atmospheric effectiveness of an album. The albums that taught us this were incidentally opportunistic in this fashion, yet their happy accidents became precedent. So bands all became incredibly capable of making records that sounded amazing, yet I feel the genre really got stuck in the mud as far as progression in influences and song writing.
In 2014 I feel like we’ve finally worked through this period and bands are really starting to write great albums again. Albums whose notes and rhythms seem to wrap themselves around each of our veins and alter our being as we take it in. I look for next year to bring this quality to the stage even more.
1) Falls of Rauros – Believe In No Coming Shore
My life is now divided into two chapters: before this album entered my life, and after. Words cower in the presence of this album, so I won’t waste them. Listen to this now.
(We once again invited “B” from the Siberian band Station Dysthymia — whose music is available on Bandcamp here — to share with us his list of favorite 2014 releases, and once again he graciously agreed.)
Hello, NCS readers, I’m B, vox and bass of the Siberian funeral doom band Station Dysthymia. This is the second time I get the honor to be invited to participate in this Listmania extravaganza, and I’m not shifting the concept one bit — this is not a list of the “best” albums of the year, because I don’t believe such a thing is even possible to compile — so many albums, so little time. This is a list of releases that moved me personally on an emotional level: albums, demos, debuts… who cares, right? So, without further ado, let’s get started!
(NCS contributor Alain Mower — who needs to continue his “Womanowar” interview series in the New Year (hint, hint) — again provides us a year-end list of favorite 2014 releases.)
For the newcomers who were fortunate enough to not stumble upon my end-of-the-year list in 2013, I will be the first to tell you that – while predominantly metal – this is not a strictly ‘No Clean Singing’ metal year-end list, but a list of any and all albums that I thought were objectively the most enjoyable.
Also, as the masochists who visited my 2013 list and have made the questionable decision to return for this edition will inform you, my music tastes are a Rorschach spectrum of possibilities.
As you might imagine, the open-ended format coupled with scattershot musical tastes produces what Islander refers to as a “wonderfully eclectic list of favorite releases” – also known as the “Why didn’t we use protection?” child, of which I consider myself a proud member.
So yes, while “words are wind,” there are non-metal albums in this list and, unfortunately, “Gorguts” was not my favorite album of this year because I’m trying to be different and only appeal to hipsters. You have been forewarned.