As you all know by now, we’ve been discussing our favorite albums from 2014 on the podcast for each of the last two episodes, and will round off the year with our Final Fours on this week’s episode (!!!) Personally, I can go better than just four; I’ve managed to compile a Top 10 list of albums that have really caught my attention this year. I didn’t rank these in any particular order, aside from the aforementioned Final Four, but I’ve already discussed six of them on the podcast—Agalloch, Enthroned, Saor, Allegaeon, Arkona and Insomnium.
However, there were obviously more than 10 albums that I enjoyed this year. We’ve been treated to a lot of wonderful new music that is worthy of a second mention. This is where my blog content for the week comes in. My three blurbs a day this week will represent 15 ‘Honorable Mentions’ from 2014—all of them certainly worth revisiting, even if they ended up on the wrong side of the top 10 bubble. So, shall we begin?
Fen – Carrion Skies (Code666)
The first time I was ever introduced this band was at Winter is Coming Festival down in Connecticut in 2012. The headliner that weekend was Agalloch. However, I was encouraged to check these guys out, and wasn’t disappointed. I picked up 2013’s Dustwalker and was immediately captivated by the album’s ambiance and atmospheric meandering. In 2014, the London-based black metal group has come forth with a much darker feel on their fourth full-length. Covering over an hour with only six tracks, Carrion Skies manages to stay captivating throughout with a blend of punishing riffs and the soothing melodies associated with their preceding work. It’s definitely an album that should project this band further into the black metal spotlight.
Demonic Resurrection – The Demon King (Candlelight Records)
We can file this band under the ‘Best New Discoveries of 2014’ category. An Indian band that I somehow left undiscovered until now brings us an extremely impressive symphonic death metal sound. Top-notch musicianship combined with a variety of vocal styles and an overall ass-kicker feel, make this album an immediate attention-grabber. As annoying as combining clean and harsh vocals can be if not done correctly, this band hits the nail on the head. It gives the album a catchy element that really helps it along. Few albums feel this dark, yet this upbeat at the same time. Furthermore, the symphonic elements are used appropriately rather than overwhelmingly, which we can all be thankful for. Well done.
Panopticon – Roads to the North (Bindrune Recordings)
If given more time with this album, I’m convinced it would have ended up in my top 10 (0r maybe even my Final Four). Either way, I couldn’t leave go without bringing this album back up. Honestly, this is probably one of the best blends of black metal and folk metal that you’re going to get. And the crazy thing is, this is a one-man project out of Louisville, Kentucky. Well, it’s crazy until you get to the bluegrass on ‘One Last Fire (The Long Road Pt 1)’. It all comes together though–and it all works really, really well. It’s a long album (71 minutes), but in no way feels like it. There’s enough variation at play here that the the listening time just flies by.
Enjoy those and get ready for four more days of metal bombardment! I’ll be back with three more honorable mentions tomorrow and Quickies later on today.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”
Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up.