Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Top 15 Black Metal Albums of 2014

At this point half the bands in metal today are trying to be blackened something, so here are the top fifteen black metal bands, that aren't death metal bands trying to grim it up or post- rock bands with some anguished screams mixed in...these are all bands that are so pure...so cold.The cream of the crop this years is coming from not only Norway, but also France, Canada, Sweden, German, Greece, Chicago and the Deep South. If you want to take a listen and stream is not up music can be found on the link to the full review.  So here we go...

15- Alraune  - the Process of Self Immolation

The first band from the deep south. This one is from Nashville. Despite glimmers of hardcore this is USBM with enough snarl to be convincing and a sense of adventure that balances out any of their hipster leanings.


14- Ruin Lust- s/t

This gem is encrusted in as much grit and grime as any death metal band this side of Disma while blasting out some pretty grim tunes. Having a drummer who also sits on the throne for bands like Ash Borer, Fell Voices and Vorde. New York is known for great black metal and here's one reason why.


13- Spectral Lore-iii

This album is weird and wonderful. It's progressive and experimental with our forsaking black metal, a unique guitar tone haunts the album and makes this band stand out from the pack. Score one for Greece.


12-Dead Wood - "Picturing a Sense of Loss"

Like old Deafheaven these guys are metal first and the post- rock elements just come. This Frankfurt band has a great guitar sound and a sense of dynamics.


11-Schammasch- "Contradiction"

This band hits that perfect spot mid-period Enslaved use to . Progressive, dynamic and melodic enough to be engaging and emotive, but still firmly rooted in black metal. These guys aren't dependent on blast beat and can sound just as dire and dark even playing at slower tempos.      


10-Taake -"Stridens Hus"

Hoest descended from the first wave of Norwegian black metal and has been going strong since the 90's. "Stridens Hus" doesn't break that trend.On the first few listens it seemed like he was relying on blast beats, but this album grows on you.  There is less experimentation this go around it's in your face all the way through. For a one man show every element holds its own. There is no question here as to if Hoest has earned his corpse paint.

9-Nocturnal Depression-"Near to the Stars"

Quality Depressive Suicidal Black Metal wasn't exactly flourishing this year, but this French project featuring  one of the members of Make a Change Kill Yourself, brought a healthy dose of despair. Despite the lo-fi production this album carries the drone of Burzum while wallowing in the futility of it's existence.

8-Wormreich-"Wormcult Revelations" This is the band's first release on Moribund Records and you would never guess from the dark depraved tornado of chaos invoked on this album,that these guys are from the Deep South.Beautifully dissonant and chillingly dynamic, my only regret is that I haven't been able to give this one more spins. I suppose it's cool they threw a Death Spell Omega cover on here, I really want to hear more of what these guys are capable of conjuring on their own.

7- Thantifaxath-"Sacred White Noise"

Seeping with angular weirdness this Canadian band might be the most unique band on this list. This album is more of an exorcism that explodes into your ears rather than a barrage of blast beats. However the ugliness and anguish secures it's place in the genre and even broadens the scope of what black metal can be while staying true to itself. It's experimental but without getting lost in lazy hipster formlessness.

5-Sado Sathanas-"Nomos Harmartia"
  Plenty of epic excursions litter this of folk tinged album, but it doesn't distract these German black metallers from staying the course.They get how to be an atmospheric black metal band and not sacrificing the balls that makes this black metal to begin with. This album covers a wide range of sonic landscapes. This album goes to show you don't have to stoop to "necro" production in order to make quality black metal. 4-Ellorsith-1959

There was a smattering of death metal about this Scottish band's concept album about the Dyatlov Pass Incident, but it's so raw, cold and oppressive there is no question this is black metal. The death metal aggression is blended perfectly,so you are never wondering if the blast beats are just an after thought. This was released on a very limited cassette run, so you know it has to be cvlt as fuck.

3-Nachtmystium -"The World We Left Behind"

O.k, we get it Blake Judd has drama. He may or may not be a scumbag. This is about music, so I don't care, in fact I prefer my rock stars to be strung out on drugs, black metal needs more junkies pouring there souls out if this is what it brings.This album has all the elements that made Nachtmystium great, the creepy melodies slinking in dark alleys, the lyrics written during self-destructive binges.If this is Nachtmystium's final album then it was a good note to end on.

2- Mayhem-"Esoteric Warfare"

If Mayhem had tried to make another "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" it would have bored the bullet belt right off me. Instead they release an album with pristine production, that takes chances and takes no prisoners. Attila has never sounded better and Hellhammer makes his case for being the best drummer in black metal. As Spinal Tap once asked "How much blacker can you get ? the answer was none then and it is none now.

1- Nasheim - "Solens Vemod"

The Swedish act is another one man show. The master mind behind this is Erik Grahn. Grahn  came out  of the gate on his first full length and killed it. This album sweeps you away. Combining the lush romanticism of Emperor, atmosphere and incredible arrangements, my only regret it not finding this masterpiece when it came out under the radar back in February.

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