Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Sludgelord Presents: Heather Blewett's Top 25 Records of 2014

2014 has been a fantastic year for extreme metal, the return of bands such as At the Gates, Behemoth and Godflesh sent a ripple of excitement through the metal community. I had the pleasure of hearing some outstanding albums this year, a few of which I’ve been lucky enough to review for The Sludgelord. So here are my top 25 albums of 2014.

25. Sigiriya ‘Darkness Died Today’

Badass stoner rock that’s sure to get your pulse racing and head swirling. 

24. Kampfar ‘Djevelmakt’

Kampfar are Norwegian and play black metal, therefore I’m interested. Once opening track Mylder kicked in I knew this was going to be exactly what I hoped it would. This was one of the first albums I reviewed this year back in January and one that’s not been forgotten.

23. Godflesh ‘A World Lit Only By Fire’

Godflesh are back! And what a return, the pioneers of industrial metal demonstrate just why they are regarded as so.

22. Ghost Brigade ‘IV – One with the Storm’

Heavy in places, gentle in others and extremely catchy. This is an album I’ve heard only recently and it’s on repeat.

21. Graves at Sea/Sourvein Split

This choice is mainly down to the two tracks that Graves at Sea offer, particularly Betting on Black.

20. Saille ‘Eldritch’

The third release from the Belgian epic black metallers Saille, a well thought out album, based upon pieces of horror/occult literature

19. Bast ‘Spectres’

A band that utilizes black and doom metal to form a wonderful hybrid of sound, an enthralling release from Bast.

18. Eastern Front ‘Descent into Genocide’

Often described as ‘war torn black metal’, Eastern Front show massive potential with this gripping sophomore album. Great band live too.

17. Conan ‘Blood Eagle’

The heaviest bastard band in the UK doom scene Conan do what they do best with this album, make seriously heavy music. And it’s nothing but monumentally awesome.

16. Opeth ‘Pale Communion’

Death metal for Opeth is now pure nostalgia, accept its departure and bathe in the proggy wonder of ‘Pale Communion’.

15. Myrkur ‘Myrkur’

One woman black metal outfit Myrkur delighted me with this hauntingly beautiful debut. Not to pay too much attention to the ‘woman’ thing as that should have nothing to do with the musical integrity, but it’s really cool to see a female putting out incredible black metal.

14. Solstafir ‘Otta’

Bit late to the party with this Icelandic band, but ‘Otta’ brought Solstafir to my attention. Stunning album.

13. At the Gates ‘At War With Reality’

If you don’t compare this to ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ then it’s a fantastic album and a fine return to form.

12. Voices ‘London’

Formed by ex members of Akercocke, Voices are in a league of their own with ‘London’, a weird and wonderful extreme metal album that is captivating from start to finish.

11.  Ashes ‘Hrēow’

The last and best album from one man black metal outfit Ashes.

10. Primordial ‘Where Great Men Have Fallen’

Took me a few listens to get there with this album, the first two tracks are incredible but it does a trail off a little. However, it’s Primordial and therefore awesome.

9. Orange Goblin ‘Back from the Abyss’

A band that rarely puts a foot wrong, have proven that once again by this year’s release ‘Back from the Abyss’. Heavy Lies the Crown is one of the best songs they’ve ever done.

8. Behemoth ‘The Satanist’

For me the best Behemoth album they’ve released, Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel and Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer are monstrous tracks.

7. Death Penalty ‘Death Penalty’

Gaz Jennings (ex Cathedral) is back with new band Death Penalty, and what a debut. This album is all about Jennings and the power of the riff, air guitars at the ready.

6. Triptykon ‘Melana Chasmata’

A massive step up from the previous album, also Tom G Warrior is a God.

5. Blues Pills ‘Blues Pills’

I was immediately sold on this band after hearing the EP, and their debut album affirms how amazing they are. That voice!

4. Winterfylleth ‘The Divination of Antiquity’

Soaring riffs, uplifting choral vocals and epic melodies prove just why Winterfylleth are at the forefront of British black metal, and their latest offering is possibly their strongest release so far. Whisper of the Elements and Forsaken in Stone are massive tracks, goose bumps guaranteed. 

3. Anathema ‘Distant Satellites’

Their death metal days are well and truly in the past but Anathema continue to produce stunning music and ‘Distant Satellites’ is a prime example.

2. Pallbearer ‘Foundations of Burden’

An incredible follow up to ‘Sorrow and Extinction’, with crushing riffs and impassioned vocals this is a beautifully crafted piece of doom metal. The opening riff to Worlds Apart says it all.

1. Grand Magus ‘Triumph and Power’

Despite being released in January, this immediately became my album of 2014, nothing was going to top the fist pumping heavy metal power that Magus showcase in their latest release. Triumph and Power, Steel Versus Steel and The Hammer Will Bite standout, however not a single tracks falls short. Grand Magus epitomize heavy metal, all hail the Swedish gods of metal.