December 24, 2014

Jude Felton's Top 20 Albums of 2014

2014 has, without a doubt, been an incredibly dark year for me, on a personal level. However, one of the things that has helped me through it has been the sheer quality of new music that has been released. I could have quite easily doubled the length of this list, as it has been that damned good, To say it was tough to compile would be a severe understatement.

 I have also been incredibly fortunate to have Trevor Proctor manically working his way through reviews, for the site, which has enabled us to cover far more than I could on my own, and therefore you’ll notice that, aside from a few albums, that our lists differ quite a bit! One of the upsides to this is that we have been able to give a much broader picture of some of the terrific new albums that surfaced in 2014.
Is this a ‘best of’ list? Sure, to me it is, but more importantly it is a list of my favorite albums and those that have given me most pleasure throughout the year. Read, enjoy and argue among yourselves! - Jude

20. Beneath – The Barren Throne (Unique Leader)

This is some damn fine furious technical death metal from Iceland’s Beneath. I reviewed it back in May and it still gets heavy rotation on my stereo.

19. Overkill – White Devil Armory (Nuclear Blast)

The ageless Overkill is back with album number 437, and it’s one of their best in years. Full of swagger, punch and thrashing metal galore, White Devilry Armory hits the spot perfectly.

18. Temple of Void – Of Terror and the Supernatural (Saw Her Ghost Records/Rain Without End Records)

Following on from a rather splendid demo, Temple of Void more than deliver on the promise of that three track gem. Of Terror and the Supernatural is a true beast of an album, with some fantastic death doom.

17. Fortress – Unto the Nothing (Unholy Anarchy Records)

Hailing from Hagerstown, Maryland, Fortress unleashed this slab of raw doom metal just recently. Epic in scope and heavy as hell, as debut albums go this is a damned good one.

16. Ovaryrot – Existence Denounced (Misanthropic Generation Media)

With Existence Denounced, Ovaryrot have spewed forth some truly wonderful death grind that expands on previous releases and confirms my belief that they are one of the most underrated bands I have had the pleasure of listening to.

15. Sidious – Revealed in Profane Splendour (Kaotoxin)

After a rather superb EP, the UK’s Sidious come screaming back with a quite monumental debut full-length of excellent black metal.

14. Voyag3r –Doom Fortress (Bellyache Records)

The only non-metal album in my list, and for good reason. Doom Fortress is superb. It’s the soundtrack of the best film yet to be made.

13. Taatsi – Amidst the Trees (Forever Plagued Records)

Amidst the Trees is another gem I discovered this year. Raw, atmospheric black metal from Finland with a lyrical focus on nature and Finnish folklore. Excellent from start to finish.

12. Lie in Ruins – Towards Divine Death (Dark Descent)

More goodness from Finland. This time it’s death metal and the first album on my list to be released from Dark Descent Records.  Quite simply put, this is the dog’s bollocks of an album, a real pleasure to listen to.

11. Morbus Chron – Sweven (Century Media)

Death metal from Sweden that tinkers about with the sub-genre, with quite stunning results.

10. Skogen – I Döden (Nordvis)

In my review of I Döden I called it a beautiful, sprawling tapestry of atmospheric black metal. I wasn’t doing it justice. Absolutely wonderful album.

9. Swallowed - Lunarterial (Dark Descent)

More death metal from Finland and this is one ugly sonofabitch. A true behemoth of an album.

8. Blut aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III Saturnian Poetry (Debemur Morti Productions)

French black metal from Blut aus Nord. I got to this one quite late in the year, but since then there’s not been a day I haven’t given it a spin.

7. Corpsessed – Abysmal Thresholds (Dark Descent)

Absolutely punishing album from Finland’s Corpsessed. Abysmal Thresholds is death metal at its finest.

6. Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails (Unique Leader)

Multi-layered atmospheric death metal? Fucked if I know. What I do know though is that The Flesh Prevails is a fucking excellent album.

5. Lvcifyre - Sun Eater (Dark Descent)

With this album, the UK’s Lvcifyre may well have eaten the sun, but it’s the raging hellfire that they spit out you should be wary of. Sun Eater will beat you down, from start to finish. Exceptional album.

4. Winterfylleth - The Divination of Antiquity (Candlelight)

With The Divination of Antiquity, England’s Winterfylleth continue to raise the bar, for their already supremely high standards. Any other year, this could easily have hit the number one spot.

3. Fen - Carrion Skies (Code666)

The English black metal invasion continues with Fen’s Carrion Skies. Sweeping, majestic, progressive, furious, it’s all of these and so much more.

2. Voices - London (Candlelight)

London was released in November in Europe, hence it makes my list. This is a fucking masterpiece and I argued with myself for hours about whether this would be number one or two on my list. It may have not quite hit the top, but it’s by far one of the best albums I have heard in recent years.

1. Panopticon - Roads to the North (Nordvis/Bindrune)

Roads to the North has virtually taken up residence in my car stereo, with my listening to it when I probably should have been checking out a new album for review. It can’t be helped though, as it delivers on absolutely every level. When I reviewed this album, I foolishly only gave it 9.5/10. That just goes to show that some albums need a little longer to fully digest, as this is quite simply a 10/10. Funnily enough, as I write this list, the postman has just delivered my belated physical copy of the CD. Absolutely stunning album.

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