Journo Lists 2014 Part 1: The View from Canberra, Goulburn and Brisbane

Our team of writers pick their best albums of 2014...

Scott Adams, Editor

25. Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out (Nuclear Blast)

24. The Bunny the Bear - Food Chain (Victory Records)

23. The Color Morale - Hold on Pain Ends (Fearless)

22. Möngöl Hörde - Möngöl Hörde (Xtra Mile Recordings)

21. Allen/Lande - The Great Divide (Frontiers)

20. Night Ranger - High Road (Frontiers)

19. Solstafir - Otta (Season of Mist)

18. Anathema - Distant Satellites (kscope)

17. Divine Ascension - Liberator (Vicisolum Productions)

16. Freedom Call - Beyond (SPV/Steamhammer)

15. Vanishing Point - Distant is the Sun (AFM Records)

14. Opeth - Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

13. Audrey Horne - Pure Heavy (Napalm)

12. Evergrey - Hymns for the Broken (AFM Records)

11. Amaranthe - Massive Addictive (Spinefarm)

10. Chrome Division - Infernal Rock Eternal (Nuclear Blast)

Moving ever so subtly away from their biker rock beginnings, IRE sees Shagrath and company fully embracing their eighties metal roots with an album that brings to mind the likes of Bon Jovi and The Almighty at their peak - with predicatably enticing results.

9. Work of Art - Framework (Frontiers)

Classy, classic AOR from Sweden that references all the giants of the genre without ever sounding too closr to any of them. Catchy, heavy when they need to be but always swoonsomely melodic, this really is how melodic rock should sound in the twenty first century.

8. Overkill - White Devil Armory (Nuclear Blast)

Like close musical relatives and labelmates Testament, Overkill just get better and better with age. They've been doing this for over thirty years, so the precision and the songwriting smarts come as no surprise, but the throat shredding venom of Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth's vocal delivery and the speed demon bludgeon of the rest of the band shocked these tired old ears. In a splendid way.

7. Crazy Lixx - Crazy Lixx (Frontiers)

Shamelessly pillaging the best eighties hair metal has to offer, Crazy Lixx are a delerious balm for ears battered into submission by the everyday sturm and drang the MaF office stereo pumps out. As soon as the needle hits the groove good times are guaranteed, and sometimes that's enough...

6. Hell City Glamours - Deux (Own Label)

It's an indictment of the state of the music industry in this country when a band as good as HCG can't make a go of things, but that's the way things go I guess. Deux, their cunningly titled second album, is a glorious piece of heavy Australian rock n'roll, choc full of slinky rhythms and barnstorming singalong choruses. A fitting epitaph.

5. Crystal Eyes - Killer (Massacre)

Absolutely storming Teutonic speed metal - from Sweden, obviously - that brings to mind the glory days of Kai Hansen-era Helloween in the shape of a series of fist-pumping metallic anthems, all of which are seemingly designed to have you out of your seat and spilling beer everywhere each time you put Killer on the stereo. Marvellous stuff.

4. Striker - City of Gold (Napalm)

Pure, solid gold true metal from Canada. Splashes of speed, power and thrash mixed with an ear for melody not heard since bands like Leatherwolf stalked the earth in their pomp, this is heavy metal as it used to be made. And it's bloody marvellous.

3. Primal Fear - Delivering the Black (Frontiers)

It's fair to say that German metallists Primal Fear have been drifting a bit of late, but Delivering the Black sees them absolutely back to their best, screaming for vengeance and taking no prisoners as they storm through a set of blazing power metal as only they can. Deleriously good stuff.

2. Alcest - Shelter (Prophecy Productions)

The former black metallers gave themselves over completey to shoegaze on Shelter, going so far as to recruit Slowdive alumnus Neil Halstead on vocals for the super-beguiling Away; Despite it's lack of metallic 'worthiness', Shelter is a fabulous embarrassment of songwriting riches which won't fail to enchant any who cross it's path. Incroyable.

1. Triptykon - Melana Chasmata (Century Media)

Soul crushing bleakness, giving way to suffocating heaviness, receding back to a none-more-black misanthropic whisper... Melana Chasmata is the sound of all hope being lost, and yet it remains the single most compelling piece of heavy metal released in 2014. Uneasy listening for sure, yet impossible not to return to to mine for from it's seam of despair. If Milton's terrible beauty took musical form, it would be something like Melana Chasmata. 

 

Carrie Gibson, Associate Editor

20. Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out (Nuclear Blast)

19. Solstafir - Otta (Season of Mist)

18. Sonata Artica - Pariah's Child (Nuclear Blast)

17. Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun (Reprise)

16. Belphegor - Conjuring the Dead (Nuclear Blast)

15. Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel (Season of Mist)

14. Epica - The Quantum Enigma (Nuclear Blast)

13. Decapitated - Blood Mantra (Nuclear Blast)

12. Origin - Omnipresent (Nuclear Blast/Agonia)

11. Goatwhore - Constricting Rage of the Merciless (Metal Blade)

10. Vanishing Point - Distant is the Sun (AFM Records)

Distant Is The Sun encompasses so many diverse styles of music I ultimately love; symphonic, thrash, progressive.... and some I don’t like so much... however Vanishing Point manage to merge so many of our interests together that it’s difficult to write them off as anything but chameleons in the metal world..... A true gem this album. The future is still bright for these veterans.

9. Cannibal Corpse - A Skeletal Domain (Metal Blade)

Pulsating with the two fundamentals of a great Cannibal Corpse album; precision and the overwhelming urge to smash everything in your direct vicinity. Slam doors, and, heck, flip tables. Cannibal Corpse are impenetrable and A Skeletal Domain is just the beginning of a new age for Cannibal Corpse.

8. Godflesh - A World Lit Only by Fire (Avalanche)

To some, Godflesh may seem to be stunted with their experimentation, this is not the case. They are and continue to be ahead of their time, bringing a signature sound that many cannot replicate. A World Lit Only By Fire shows an exquisite 10 track torrent displaying their flawlessness in industrial metal.

7. Sodom - Sacred Warpath (SPV/Steamhammer)

It's Sodom. Enough said.

6. Misery Index - The Killing Gods (Season of Mist)

Mixed reviews came in throughout the release period of The Killing Gods, and I believe some comments were warranted however comparing a new album to an old album will always leave you disappointed. The Killing Gods shows an extremely tight presence for Misery Index, a lot of flavours went into this pot especially atmospheric elements, yeah we love our brutality but we also love our ominous undertones, our calms before the storms. I believe Misery Index were onto a winner with this album and the potential from here is worthy of a giant drool patch.

5. Aborted - The Necrotic Manifesto (Century Media)

I have never, and I mean never seen a band play live with the amount of gusto as Belgian troupe Aborted. Aborted are fierce competitors in the death metal genre and their latest; Necrotic Manifesto is a testament to the amount of skill this band has oozing from every pore. Regardless of the fact that the album cover is possibly the wankiest cover of all time, you need this album in your life. Fuck you need their entire discography in your life. Do it.

4. Behemoth - The Satanist (Century Media)

What I appreciate the most about The Satanist is that it is not layered with tacky fluff; so easily can Satanic/black/blackened death metal bands come off as gaudy and uncouth, which for a huge fan of blackened death metal is pretty much a big fucking drag. However The Satanist is intently directed to be the most serious piece of music Behemoth has ever attempted. The sheer force that strengthens throughout the album is astounding. There is something so mesmerizing about Behemoth and the footprint they leave on the world “I believe in Satan’ doesn’t get much realer than that. Satanist, prepare for unholy war...

3. Triptykon - Melana Chasmata (Century Media)

The release of Monotheist nearly a decade ago is arguably one of Celtic Frost’s most exquisite albums. Triptykon wanted to breathe an old soul into a new life. To visualize the release of the bands sophomore album Melana Chasmata; picture if you will a darker, harsher and somewhat more experimental side of Celtic Frost.... Celtic Frost were forward thinkers, pioneers, gods!... Melana Chasmata is Triptykon’s evolved creation and pushes far beyond my beloved Monotheist.

2. Bloodbath - Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville)

“You can only sing death metal so much in a day before you start going mad” – Nick Holmes

Bloodbath are the gaseous envelope surrounding the death metal genre; they are the skin in which is held this devilish body, a band who have always held a high status with this writer so Nick Holmes’ debut had me very intrigued. Grand Morbid Funeral indeed sees a new era for the band and this is seen through the albums intricate little details of lewdness. There are flickers of intense brutality and glints of traditional European thrash. An album for all those who appreciate the finer things in life.

1. Septic Flesh - Titan (Season of Mist)

To listen to this album is the highest form of self indulgence. Your eyes will roll; your palms will sweat like that of a willing virgin. You salivate at the opulence that is Titan. It moves as you move, like a fine liquid. It will run through your veins like a drug. Titan is a fable, delicately polished by the assistance of the Prague Philharmonic whose rich tones compliment this deathly romantic and morbid opus. Septic Flesh truly are the last immortals - Titan is triumphant as the one true champion of symphonic death and it rides valiantly.

 

Albert Petersen

25. Frozen Ocean - The Dyson Swarm (Kristallblut Records)

24. Brant Bjork & The Low Desert Punk BandBlack Flower Power (Napalm)

23. We All Die (Laughing) - Thoughtscanning (Kaotoxin Records)

22. 6:33 - Deadly Scenes (Kaotoxin Records)

21. Burzum - The Ways of Yore (Byelobog Productions)

20. Alkira - Juggernaut (Own Label)

19. Castle - Under Siege (Van Records)

18. Einherjer - Av Oss, For Oss (Indie Recordings)

17. Black Trip - Goin' Under (Threeman Recordings)

16. The Osiris Club - Blazing World (Indie Recordings)

15. Occultation - Silence in the Ancestral Home (Profound Lore)

14. Witch Mountain - Mobile of Angels (Profound Lore)

13. The Algorithm - Octopus4 (Basick Records)

12. Coffinworm - IV.I.VIII (Profound Lore)

11. Of Spire & Throne - Toll of the Wound (Broken Limbs Recordings)

10. Mayhem - Esoteric Warfare (Season of Mist)

They’re back and itching to kill your puppy with a hammer. Or are they? A fine return from the grandfathers of black metal with some interesting sojourns in to jazz, jazz-funk and gospel. Praise the Lord.

9. The Order of the Solar Temple  - Order of the Solar Temple (I, Voidhanger Records)

Gorgeous fruity progressive stylings (in the old sense of the word, mind) that will lift your spirits, even on a rainy day. Also good as background music for all manner of mentalist occult work. Or so I'm told.

8. Opium Warlords - Taste My Sword of Understanding (Svart Records)

Bass driven madness. Bass. More bass. That is all. Well, actually it’s not; this album is rather left of field but give it a go and you’ll surely become enamoured with the bass-centric delivery of every track on here.

7. Sabbath Assembly - Quaternary (Svart Records)

So what if it’s not an album of screeching guitars and pounding drums. Good shit is good shit andhere are some more haunting tunes that are delivered beautifully.

6. Selim Lemouchi And His EnemiesEarth, Air, Spirit, Water, Fire (Van Records)

Haunting occult psychedelic meanderings that roam across all manner of styles and genres to bringyou deep contemplation and possible revelation. Selim may be dead but his legacy will live on with this sweet album.

5. Bog OakA Treatise on Resurrection and the Afterlife (Svart Records)

Filthy dirty blackened doom that blew my mind from the first time I heard it – and it continues to impress me every time I chuck it on the gramophone.

4. Godflesh - A World Lit Only by Fire (Avalanche)

Burn the world with this mighty return from industrial metal’s kings. The level of violence in the delivery is amazing; after one listen I brought down several small dictatorships and over-turned an ice cream van. True story.

3. Devin Townsend - (Hevy Devy)

Devin always gets #1 in my lists but we all need a change. Even so, this double album rocks my world in all many of saucy ways. The hilarity of Ziltoid (Dark Matters) balanced by the beauty of Sky Blue makes for a perfect album.

2. Exordium Mors - The Apotheosis of Death (Iron, Blood & Death Corporation)

Extreme metal that left me picking up the tattered remnants of my face after the first listen. It’s like having a thousand voices in your head all at once. So no change there for me then…

1. Cormorant - Earth Diver (Own Label)

Progressive black metal that kicks like Wagner on a coke binge with an overdrive pedal. The song structures soar and dip all over the place. Glorious, I say. Glorious.