(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.