(In this post NCS contributor KevinP rolls out his personal list of the year’s best EPs and albums. To read his reviews of many of these albums, you can find them collected at Metal Bandcamp via this link.)
Another year stacked with quality releases. There were so many, I neglected my family half the year to listen to them all. I also decided to include EP’s this time around. So let’s dispense with the blather and get to it.
TOP 5 EP’S
5. (tie) Ascension – Deathless Light / Cult of Fire – Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně (The Fourth Symphony of Fire)
4. Nader Sadek – The Malefic: Chapter III
3. Antiversum – (demo)
2. Bolzer – Soma
1. Universe217 – Ease
At 21 minutes this is almost a tease. I want more dammit. It ain’t brutal or fast, just the most powerful and emotionally dripping thing you can imagine.
TOP 25 ALBUMS
25. Pyre – Human Hecatomb
24. Autopsy – Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves
23. Necrophagia – WhiteWorm Cathedral
22. Dark Fortress – Venereal Dawn
21. Legion of the Damned – Ravenous Plague
20. Fides Inversa – Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans
19. Nightfell – The Living Ever Mourn
18. Thy Darkened Shade – Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet
17. Morbus Chron – Sweven
16. Coprolith – Death March
15. Loudblast – Burial Ground
14. Master’s Hammer – Vagus Vetus
13. Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vestusta III – Saturnian Poetry
12. Hideous Divinity – Cobra Verde
11. Vanhelgd – Relics of Sulphur Salvation
10. Temple of Void – Of Terror and the Supernatural
Ever wondered how it feels to be steamrolled by a total pro bulldozer? Now’s your chance to find out.
9. Infestus – The Reflecting Void
One man black metal band so well-rounded and expertly crafted, it sounds like the meeting of multiple minds at work.
8. Ne Obliviscaris – Citadel
With expectations for their follow-up through the roof, they somehow managed to pull it off and create a truly worthy successor.
7. Emptiness – Nothing But the Whole
So fresh, so different, so damn good. It’s a crying shame that many people won’t take the time to absorb this gem.
6. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata
Did you think Tom G and company would fall on their face the second time around? I didn’t either.
5. Vallenfyre – Splinters
Makes their debut sound like child’s play. Everything you loved the first time around turned up to 10.
4. Swallowed – Lunarterial
Evil, filthy, and downright scary. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
3. Hail Spirit Noir – Oi Magoi
Oddball brilliance like this doesn’t come around that often. When it does, make sure you hear it.
2. Aenaon – Extance
To think that I almost didn’t give this album a chance, until Theo (Hail Spirit Noir) suggested I do. Progressive black metal that’s not traditionally proggy, but more jazzy.
Jacobo Cordova (Majestic Downfall)
1. Majestic Downfall – (split album w/ The Slow Death)
Most of the music I hear falls into two categories: 1) Things I love instantly, but tire of quickly (since there is little to discover over the long run). 2) Things I’m not sure about immediately, but over many listens I grow to love and they stand the test of time.
This album was neither. As soon as I heard it I knew there was something special. But after repeated spins I grew to appreciate it even more. A stunning achievement on so many levels.
I just checked out Fides Inversa thanks to your post. Good stuff! The same goes for Coprolith.
And The Slow Death is a brilliant band. I bought their sophomore effort last year. Great record. Need to check this out and Majestic Downfall as well.
This was my introduction to The Slow Death, and while I didn’t make my list, it was certainly enjoyable. The new song off the upcoming album sounds great as well. Too bad about one of the bsnd members sudden passing last week 🙁
Great to know TSD have a good fanbase! RIP Gregg, he was actually a very close friend of mine and I have to go to his funeral next week. Needless to say it’s a complete tragedy, he was such a kind and wonderful person. **sigh**
It’s about time that somebody mentioned Master’s Hammer. I found out about their new one through your post on it, so thanks for that. Also, I’m really surprised that I haven’t seen Hail Spirit Noir pop up on more lists. Looking forward to checking out more of these.
Missing a few things like Horrendous and Funereal Presence, but still a nice list.
Funeral Presence is certainly good (I featured it in a previous article of mine) but was a bit too underdeveloped in spots to hold up against everything else that came out.
I simply don’t get the love for Horrendous. People rave about it but comes across as so ordinary I’m confused 🙂
Im with you on Horrendous. I see it on a lot of lists and its about half as good as The Chills.
Oh well. To each their own. One persons clunker is the next persons gold.
I guess I’ll finally get around to listening to that TSD/MD split. I thought one of Jacobo Cordova’s other bands- Zombiefication- put out one of the best albums of the year; as they did last year.
I don’t care for Zombification all that much and the new record didn’t change my opinion 🙂
The Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně is (or will be) certainly one of the strongest releases this year. Magnificent.
This is a great list! Glad to see Hideous Divinity, Emptiness,Dark Fortress and Swallowed on here, and especially Thy Darkened Shade (my AOTY). I actually haven’t yet heard your top 2 albums but that will be fixed very soon! They both sound like something I’d enjoy
Two totally different types of music but both glorious 🙂
I really like Temple of Void! I wish death metal as a whole would move toward that sound and drop the ‘core nonsense. Fantastic list.
Death metal has been there and back again aleady. The last few years have seen a revival of sorts for old school death metal, to the point where it kind of peaked.
Check out some of the previous end of year lists on the site for some good old fashioned death metal
..a few to get you started Hooded Menace, Coffins, Swallowed, Incantation (you must explore this band if you like death metal) Vainaja, Solothus, Ectovoid, Dead Congregation
Such a great list of recommendations. 🙂
Thanks for the recommendations. Hooded Menace I discovered recently. I’ve heard bits and pieces of Coffins and Incantation. Sounds like I need to brush up a bit. Seprevation were one of my new go-to bands for good ol’ fashioned DM this year. But I’ll make it a point to aquaint myself with some of these.
There’s another list coming tomorrow from a musician that will give you more death metal to explore. 🙂
Sweet. I’m in.
Seprevation put out a very good album this year, but they play a very thrashy style of death metal..closer to bands like Deceased and early Death.
Theres tons of bands to dig into here, but if youre really looking for music like Temple of Void you want to check out death metal that was directly inspired by bands like Autopsy, Incantation (a personal favorite) or anything thats considered death/doom
The underground Finnish scene is an especially good place to look for this kind of death metal (Convulse, Rippikoulu, Krypts) and Id also recommend Dark Descent Records catalog as they tend to sign a lot of these kinds of bands
..and dont forget the Swedish scene (the Stockholm one, not the Gothenburg one) with bands like Dismember, (early) Entombed and Unleashed..that Sunlight Studios sound has inspired countless awesome bands
I just started on Skinless and Exhumed. “Necrocracy” has been tantalizing my ears for a few months now. Brutality are also a recent find from the Florida scene. They have a new album coming out next year as well. The Stockholm scene you describe I’ve listened to here and there, but it sounds like it demands another go. Thanks!
this is an awesome list, great to see Legion of the Damned on here : )
Why they get overlooked is beyond me 😉
Solid list. A lot of stuff that’ll probably be on my list too, and stuff I need to check out before making mine 🙂
The Slow Death are a great band, and Gregg would have been proud to see that they made number one. Thank you. 🙂 I can imagine him blushing right now with that big grin of his. He’s sorely missed and still very well loved. Not looking forward to the funeral. I’ll miss his random phone calls and his laugh, his hugs and him turning up on a random weekend with mars bar cheesecake and staying the night. R.I.P Gregg. He was a wonderful, kind and gentle soul.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but MAJESTIC DOWNFALL was #1
Best list I’ve seen so far, fresh collection of monstrous music. Made a spotify playlist of the top albums available (Majestic Downfall/Slow Death not currently on Spotify), available here:
You sir, are smart 😉
I appreciate the list, greats like Blut Aus Nord and Hail Spirit Noir are great to see. Just wanted to ask
if you heard the new Nightbringer Ego Dominus and if so, how you felt about it. I am a little biased to discordant metal with extreme emotional intensity. Thus, I really enjoy Heteroertzin, Arizmenda, Dodsengal, void meditation cult. ect.
Coincidentally, my review of the new Hetroertzen album will be coming later today.
I gave it 2-3 spins, it sounds pretty good. It didn’t blow me away or anything, but I can tell how it could be a gem for others.