(We’re delighted once again to bring you a “best of the year” list from our friend Jacobo Córdova, the man behind the magnificent Majestic Downfall from Mexico, and a fixture in the lethal Zombiefication as well.)
I am very grateful for being able to share with all NCS readers, and for the second year in a row, what I consider to be the best releases of 2014. Once again I want to say that although I didn´t listen to everything I wish I had gotten my ears on in 2014, I certainly got to a lot of it, and my overall view of the year for Metal is quite positve.
This time, and to make it a bit different from last year, I will have other “sections” mentioning great albums that although not released this year, had something special and came to life this year (at least for me, since their dues were not paid on time).
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2014
10) Astrophobos – Remnants Of Forgotten Horrors
It has a been long time since I wasn´t impressed by a band influenced by Naglfar’s Vittra, Marduk’s Those Of The Unlight, Dissection, Sacramentum, (early) Lord Belial, A Canorous Quintet, and the like from the 90´s. Even if not original at all, it is truly refreshing to hear Astrophobos. I could even say that this album was released in ’94; I would even bet on it.
9) Miasmal – Cursed Redeemer
Yes, I know their debut was better. Yes, I know they have a cleaner sound now and are on a big label. Yes, I know I hated it at first listen. Yes, I know I ended up liking it and it kicked my ass.
8) Question – Doomed Passages
No one saw this young Mexican Death Metal outfit coming, and sounding like early 90’s Finland. It’s that good.
7) Barbarian – Faith Extinguisher
If you are willing to call your band Barbarian, you better have the attitude of Metallica in the Kill´em All days, and if the album shall be called Faith Extinguisher, it better have some Old School Maidenisms in there. Epic!
[Editor’s Note: There are also songs on this album named “Godless, Amoral and Proud” and “Total Metal”.]
6) At The Gates – At War With Reality
This is by far the least attractive ATG album, and still, it kicks major ass. After so many years of watered down Melodic Death Metal (if it ever was), to hear again true Melodeath makes you come to life! This time the sound is more muscular and has more Thrash elements than ever before, and may even sound in many parts like the first album of The Haunted. But in the end you know it is ATG and no one else can deliver those intricate passages so well. Comeback of the decade by far.
5) Domains – Sinister Ceremonies
I don´t know what these Spaniards have been feeding on lately, but they better let us know their secret. Sinister Ceremonies is a full-on Black/Death slab of Metal that is as filthy, dry, and direct as it gets.
4) Thantifaxath – Sacred White Noise
I had heard a lot about the debut from Thantifaxath, so I had to give it a go. When I pressed the play button I was blown away by its cold, meaty, and dark atmosphere, but most of all by its originality and lack of trend-following. Great debut by what I consider could become leaders soon.
3) Emptiness – Nothing But The Whole
Emptiness are pigeonholed as a Black/Death Metal band but I truly believe they have created something genuinely new. This is pure extreme ambient in its purest form. Lots of aggressively dark stuff full of distorted passages, lots of storytelling, creepy as fuck feelings, and anything else that would make you shit your pants is to be found here. And just for the record, their 2012 Error release was for me the best one that year, and this came pretty close!
2) Vanhelgd – Relics Of Sulphur Salvation
I had always paid respect to Vanhelgd for their great Death Metal but they had never blown my mind until now. While Church of Death was a solid slab of Death Metal, it somehow lacked a bit of spirit. The good thing is that this time not only did the band manage to capture that spirit, but they also found the one that was lacking in the previous one and added it here! This is a full-on passionate Death Metal masterpiece. Music as honest as this rarely comes these days!
1) Portrait – Crossroads
I have not been hooked by a new Heavy Metal band since In Solitude´s debut album 6 years ago. Thankfully, Portrait managed to kick my bloody arse! There are hooks everywhere and the music is extremely thought-out and memorable. Many will disagree, many won´t, but I don´t really give a fuck. And yes, it may not be original at all and we could even call it a Mercyful Fate copycat in some ways, but when a copy is so damn good, you can´t complain!
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR LIST: Morbus Chron – Sweven
Too much hippie stuff going on. Heard this album more than 30 times trying to capture its feeling, and just lost my time. I really expected something amazing.
UNHEARD PREVIOUS YEARS’ ALBUS THAT I DISCOVERED THIS YEAR LIST:
Zemial – Nykta.
For some reason I could not hear this masterpiece last year. Damn, I love Greece, its unique sound, and the magic that only they can create over and over again.
Mötorhead – Bastards
Another album I didn´t pay respect at the time. Thankfully I managed to do that this year and fuck was I blown away. If this album had only included “Don´t Let Daddy Kiss Me” it would surely still be listed here. One of the saddest songs I have ever heard, and believe me, I am a Doom Metal freak!
Sol Negro – Dawn of a New Sun.
This caught me by surprise by incorporating lots of Doom/Death passages from the Paradise Lost Gothic era, as well as Old School Black Metal in the vein of Samael and newbies Sacriphyx. Killer epic Doom/Death/Black Metal gem.
ALBUMS THAT COULD HAVE MADE IT HERE BUT THAT I DIDN´T GET MY HANDS ON LIST:
(it is important to mention that only when I have a physical copy will I listen to an album, not before, ever):
New albums by Sargeist, Ophis, Primordial, Thy Darkened Shade, Stench, Swallowed, Helevorn, Midnight, Pallbearer, Ascension. And last but not least, Mortuary Drape; I even ordered my limited-edition wooden cross, but haven’t received it yet!
NO DOOM THIS YEAR LIST?:
DEMO OF THE YEAR LIST:
Soulrot – Horrors From Beyond
Killer Old School Death Metal with some old grindcore influence as well. These guys shall be heard pretty soon.
GREAT ALBUM BUT EXPECTED MORE LIST:
Master´s Hammer – Vagus Vetus
I have always been a big Master´s Hammer fan and have always liked all of their albums, this one being no exception. I even like Slagry, to give an idea ja. The thing is, that as much as I thought I would like this one, it never happened. I enjoyed it, but did not fall for it like previous ones.