favorite albums of the year 2014

Posted on 2015-01-01

the list i’ve assembled this year is a list of my 15 favorite albums (or other releases) of the year. i think it’s important to make it clear that this is not the same as “what do i think are the best albums of the year”. i would not be comfortable attempting to assemble and defend a list of the “best of the year”, for three key reasons -

on the other hand, the task of listing the albums i enjoyed the most in 2014 is only as hard as it is for me to remember what albums (or EPs, or whatever) I enjoyed the most this year.

anyway, now that i’ve thouroughly confused the subject, i just have a few notes on the organization of this list before i get to the meat.

organization

in the interest of making this page load reasonably well, i am not directly embedding streams this time around. i’m putting in album art and links out to streams, videos, and label sites as necessary. along with that, i’m also including what i think the genre and style are for each album, along with some words about each.

i’ve divided up my list into 4 loose categories that don’t necessarily relate to anything about the releases listed in each section, but will hopefully make this more navigable. neither the ordering of the sections or the albums within the sections reflect any meaningful preference on my part, though maybe the last section has my favorites.

blackened

Behemoth - The Satanist

Behemoth - The Satanist

i saw these guys live back in May. i’m not sure that i would have gone if i hadn’t listened to this album, which rekindled my interest both in Behemoth as a band and black metal as a genre.

Noneuclid - Metatheosis

Noneuclid - Metatheosis

this came out of nowhere and blew me away. it’s a weird album.

Separatist - Closure

Separatist - Closure

it’s not symphonic, at all, which puts it way ahead of other attempts to blend a deathcore sound and a blackened sound. it also isn’t an embarrasment of breakdowns.

Warforged - Essence of the Land

Warforged - Essence of the Land

it’s only an EP, but it’s a great one. actually, without this EP i would not believe in the genre’s possibility.

have some fun

Xerath - III

Xerath - III

these guys continue to work hard on making symphonic djent a thing, and this time i actually enjoyed the whole album.

A Sense of Gravity - Travail

A Sense of Gravity - Travail

it’s fundamentally a prog metal album, but instead of being power metal styled, it’s got more of a death metal or groove metal sound.

Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite

Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite

hell yeah! these guys are awesome!

Bloodshot Dawn - Demons

Bloodshot Dawn - Demons

they’ve got more solos than the Allegaeon album, but it’s less groove oriented. still awesome.

Exmortus - Slave to the Sword

Exmortus - Slave to the Sword

i’d never heard of Exmortus until i saw them in SF, opening for Omnium Gatherum and Dark Tranquillity. this isn’t rethrash, this is straight up thrash with aggression and wild guitars.

Arsafes - Ratocracy

Arsafes - Ratocracy

i think i’ve said everything that needs to be said about them (except that the lyrics are unintentionally hilarious.)

slower or moodier

Stealing Axion - Aeons

Stealing Axion - Aeons

these guys got way heavier, darker, and moodier than on their first album and it worked out amazingly well.

Woccon - Solace In Decay

Woccon - Solace In Decay

they sound like bands like Swallow the Sun and Insomnium and others with that Finnish melodic death/doom sound … except not. apparently they used to do more of a black metal thing.

Insomnium - Shadows of the Dying Sun

Insomnium - Shadows of the Dying Sun

it’s an Insomnium album. oh, it continues the trend of Insomnium albums getting less despairing.

did i call it or what

Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

i said these guys would have an awesome debut album. oh, they’re great live, too.

Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails

Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails

i think i’ve listened to this album more than any other this year. it’s awesome and entrancing.