time to just get this out...lots of great new releases to post, so let's finish this....
no particular order, as always.
1. thou - heathen
hypnotic and crushing, easily thou's best full-length effort. despite it's length, this record distills thou down to their very essence.
2. gridlink - longhena
even if this does turn out to be the final gridlink album (which is looking very likely), I can't imagine them going out on a more perfect note. I don't listen to a lot of grind anymore, but this record represents everything I ever loved about the genre.
3. pyrrhon - mother of virtues
the most chaotic and complex death metal release I heard all year. there's a lot to process here but it certainly rewards repeated listens.
4. harakiri for the sky - aokigahara
honestly, this was probably my favorite album of 2014. this record takes everything I love about black metal - riffs, melody, beauty, and agony - and ties them all together in an incredible package. how this album hasn't gotten more love is totally bewildering.
5. jute gyte - ressentiment
I said this last year, but jute gyte will always have a spot reserved on my year-end lists. probably the most compositionally complex black metal release of the year.
6. behemoth - the satanist
just the fact that this album exists at all is amazing, and the fact that it's this good puts it over the top...that guitar solo on messe noire crushes every single time.
7. godflesh - a world lit only by fire
8. black crown initiate - the wreckage of stars
yes, this could probably be described as deathcore, but I don't care. great vocal stylings and great riffs, hopefully even better things have yet to come from this young band...
9. wreck & reference - want
probably the strangest "heavy" album I heard all year, it required multiple listens to really crack this one, but it's worth the reward.
10. a pregnant light - my game doesn't have a name
damian master's APL has undergone such a drastic stylistic change over the last two years that it's almost staggering...but it's incredible to bear witness to someone so unafraid of throwing prevailing genre conventions and expectations to the wind. melodic and heavy in all the right places, I can't wait to see what comes next.
11. indian - from all purity
right up there with heathen as one of the most crushing releases of the year. this is pure ugliness, pure vengeance, pure hatred...with a good dose of noise thrown in to make it all the more destructive.
12. the great old ones - tekeli-li
the lovecraft schtick is really easy to get wrong - countless bands do nothing but re-appropriate the great author's creatures and themes, and unfortunately they don't possess the talent to back it up. but the great old ones are incredible musicians who use lovecraft's work as a jumping-off point to explore so much more.
13. saor - aura
probably the most outright beautiful black metal release of the year. so many of the folk-influenced passage hearken back to the music I grew up listening to, so I found a lot of comfort in the majestic chaos contained within.
14. blut aus nord - memoria vetusta III: saturnian poetry
after the experimental 777 trilogy, this record finds blut aus nord returning to a more traditional sound, and they haven't lost a step on that front.
15. woods of desolation - as the stars
this record has received a decent amount of year-end praise and I'm glad to see it being appreciated. so dark and so deep, much like a night sky littered with stars.