Saturday 10 January 2015

The Sludgelord Presents: Dominic Walsh's Top 25 Records of 2014

25. Conan – Blood Eagle

There is no band like Conan. Brutal, crushing, heavy, uncompromising; if you get a thesaurus and find alternatives for these words, you can write your own mini blurb! Another epic slab of metal from one of Liverpool’s finest.

24. Darkest Era – Severance


Irish inspired epic metal that is both soaring and impassioned. There are moments of great soloing and consistently passionate vocals throughout.

23. Skyharbor – Guiding Lights


Second album from India’s finest Progressive Metal band. Fronted by the fantastic Dan Tompkins, the band produced another epic slice of technical excellence. One of the many feathers in Basick Records cap!

22. Mount Salem – Endless


Excellent female fronted doom metal with obvious nods to Deep Purple and Black Sabbath throughout.

21. Sunn O))) + Scott Walker – Soused


A collaboration that raised more than a few eyebrows, however the coming together of these two musical greats had a great impact. Heavy, dark and brooding, the lyrics are worth the trip alone.

20. Ancient Ascendant – Echoes & Cinder

London based blackened death metal quartet gave their most honed and refined effort so far.


19. Dripback – Failed Futures

Pure filth from London. Death metal styles with plenty of crust elements and no bullshit lyrics. This band show no quarter and display pure fury.

18. Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere


Atmospheric black metal from a true trailblazer of a band; whilst tagged as black metal, there is so much more at work here. Beautiful and sparse interludes as well as dense guitars and snarling vocals.

17. Crowbar – Symmetry in Black

Crowbar doing what Crowbar do. With Kirk Windstein back in the fray with no other commitments musically, the band sounded urgent and heavier than ever on their 2014 effort.

16. Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden

The second best doom album of this year in my opinion, but still an absolute monster of an album.

15. Savage Messiah – The Fateful Dark

Great British thrash metal that hit all the boxes for fans of early Metallica etc.

14. Yob – Clearing The Path To Ascend

Epic doom from one of the greatest purveyors of the genre. 4 tracks; 60 minutes. Strap yourself in for the ride!

13. Grand Magus – Triumph & Power

Traditional heavy metal with embattled lyrics’ top notch neck wreckers are rife here!

12. Orange Goblin – Back From The Abyss

One of England’s finest bands, no argument! Great riffs, great grooves and beer drenched goodness ensue throughout the Back From The Abyss.

11. Limb – S/T

Label mates with Black Moth at the excellent New Heavy Sounds, Limbs collection of sludgy riffs and punishing vocals are a great concoction.

10. Blues Pills - S/T

Blues Pills are a band that came my way courtesy of the guys at The Sludgelord. I’ve had the chance to review their earlier releases and cover live shows. With a voice as piercing and powerful as any other before her, and a protégé of a guitarist laying down solos and riffs to put many to shame, Blues Pills are a band that deserve every ounce of praise they get.

9. Anathema - Distant Satellites

Is there any limit to the beauty that Anathema can create? The follow up to 2012’s stunning Weather Systems hit all the right boxes and created another collection of stunning compositions that both excited and tugged on the heart strings.

8. Alcest – Shelter

An early 2014 release that has sound tracked a lot of my year. This is shoegaze excellence that is built for sunsets and the mellower moments in life.

7. Opeth - Pale Communion

After the much maligned Heritage, Opeth nailed the progressive style they so dearly yearn for. The whole album is a thing of grandeur, with the best drumming I think I’ve ever heard on an album.

6. Sunn O)))/Ulver – Terrestrials

Terrestrials was the sound of two of my favourite bands coming together to create a short ‘album’ of atmospheric excellence. Both bands’ styles are clear throughout but they merge well together.

5. Bast – Spectres

Spectres was an early contender for album of the year for me. The whole album is heavy and crushing with some stunning progressive metal sections, fused expertly with black metal nuances.

4. Black Moth - Condemned to Hope

Leeds’ Black Moth managed to pull off the tricky second album thing with Condemned To Hope. Doomy riffs, sinister vocals and stomping tunes make Black Moth an irresistible proposition on record and in the live arena.

3. Triptykon - Melana Chasmata

Tom G Warrior again scaled the heights of metal with Triptykon’s new release. Haunting and heavy throughout, the album is a trip into the depths of darkness with plenty of moments of pure beauty.

1. Behemoth - The Satanist
1. Winterfylleth - Divination of Antiquity

Winterfylleth and Behemoth are literally neck and neck in my opinion. The Satanist is a classic album that will live on for years and years, and be a constant benchmark. Likewise, Winterfylleth created a masterpiece of esoteric and atmospheric black metal that was unique and inspring.