(Continuing with this year’s edition of LISTMANIA, I again invited Johan Huldtgren of the Swedish black metal band Obitus — whose latest release appears on one of the Elemental Nightmares splits (here) — to share with us his year-end list. Once again, he agreed. An expanded version of this list appears on Johan’s blog.)
As in 2013 I’ve had a very busy year outside of listening to music; life and work have kept me on the road a lot, and as a result I know I’ve missed a lot of releases this year. That said, I think this year’s list is quite strong, but I’m fairly certain that in a few months I’ll find a few albums that had I heard them earlier, would have made this year’s list. Alas there is little to be done about that, these lists are after all a snapshot in time. So here is the list of my favourite releases from 2014:
10: Woods of Desolation – As The Stars
Seven mid-paced songs with just enough melody to hook you and keep you interested. Like many bands in this genre it’s great background music for reading or working.
9: Funereal Presence – The Archer Takes Aim
A strange little piece of black metal which takes some getting used to, could have benefited from some editing and cutting, but interesting nonetheless.
8: Krieg – Transient
I get a more old black metal with that punk vibe you got on Rise of The Imperial Hordes than in quite a few albums. That makes this old black metal hand happy.
7: Satanic Warmaster – Fimbulwinter
Reminds me of older Norwegian black metal with it’s heavy keyboards passages. Solid release which one has a tendency to keep coming back to.
6: Blut Aus Nord – Memorial Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry
It’s often quite beautiful, sweeping, and a return to an older and less experimental sound. Shortlisted for album art of the year.
5: Darkspace – III I
A mellower listen than III, but by no stretch of the imagination an easy listen; it demands your full attention and you should give it.
4: Misery Index – The Killing Gods
Misery Index have never sounded better, all you want to do is keep turning up the volume, it’s the best sounding album they’ve produced to date. It’s also I think the most even, the whole album flows very nicely and there are really no weak songs on this album.
3: Thantifaxath – Sacred White Noise
Otherworldly, odd, and utterly hard to describe, this album is a rare one. Find it (preferably on vinyl), and just let it wash over you. You’ll be mesmerized and will never want it to end.
2: Emptiness – Nothing But The Whole
Dark, brooding, partially ambient, and then a little industrial; it’s nothing short of brilliant. The only flaw I find with this album is that it ends, and that rather abruptly. When you get an album like this, you really don’t want it to end.
1: Nightbringer – Ego Dominus Tuus
Nightbringer just keeps getting better, with an absolutely crushing release of complex black metal that they do best. Immediately, it’s clear what you’re listening to — they’ve got a sound like no other, and there is never mistaking a Nightbringer riff. This is a tour de force which few can match, but if only a few tried, the music scene would be all the richer for it.