Journo Lists 2014 Part Four: From far-flung outposts

Our correspondents from Finland and the US conclude our look back at last year's best releases...

Nikky Holmes 

25. Arch Enemy - War Eternal (Century Media)

24. The Haunted - Exit Wounds (Century Media)

23. Solstafir - Otta (Season of Mist)

22. Dismemberment - Embrace the Dark (Tridroid Records)

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

20. Belphegor - Conjuring the Dead (Nuclear Blast)

19. Profane Omen - Reset (Spinefarm)

18. Avatar - Hail the Apocalypse (Gain Music)

17. Septicflesh - Titan (Season of Mist)

16. At the Gates - At War With Reality (Century Media)

15. Triptykon - Melana Chasmata (Century Media)

14. Sleep of Monsters - Produces Reason (Spinefarm)

13. Winterfylleth - The Divination of Antiquity (Candlelight)

12. Agalloch - The Serpent & the Sphere (Profound Lore)

11. Vinterbris - Solace (Nordavind Records)

10. MantarDeath By Burning (Svart Records)

Heavy, gut-deep, and filled with blackened rocking doom the feedback driven melodies of this band may trick you into thinking it’s more than a two-man band. With the simplicity of guitar and drums, Mantar prove than sometimes simplicity wins out for destructive riffs.

9. StarkillVirus of the Mind (Century Media)

The musicianship of these young Americans is growing in leaps and bounds to produce one of the biggest contenders in extreme melodic metal I’ve heard in years. If you like your metal aggressive, full of screaming solos and memorably melodic, Starkill will give you more than an earful!

8. Ghost BrigadeIV: One With the Storm (Season of Mist)

Heavy, melodic, and with just enough of the Nordic melancholy intoned in every song, Ghost Brigade’s new release has struck me as their strongest yet. Guitarist Wille Naukkarinen described their music as honest to me, and I think that comes across throughout this album.

7. Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry (Debemur Morti)

This album brims over with beautiful emotional black metal evoking all the epic grandiosity of the genre. Aggressive, layered and yet still stunningly melodic, this album will stay with you for a long time.

6. SaorAura (Fortriu Productions)

Saor knocked me from my feet with his first album, then pinned me there with the beauty of this one. Blackened folk metal that evokes all the bleak majesty of the Scottish highlands, blended with atmospheric elements beautiful enough to drive you to tears.

5. InsomniumShadows of the Dying Sun (Century Media)

If you want to be humming a guitar riff for the rest of the week, this is the album for you. Insomnium’s beautifully melodic guitar lines, are balanced against heartfelt emotion and soaring aural composition.

4. BehemothThe Satanist (Century Media)

Another strong release from the polish powerhouse, this almost is at the same time hostile and alluring. Soundscapes of layered riffs and heartracing drums, sweetened with a rising wall of black melody Behemoth have both progressed as musicians yet stayed true to themselves.

3. PrimordialWhere Greater Men Have Fallen 
(Metal Blade)

Primordial are a pleasure to watch live, and have released an album which a pleasure to drown in. With the sweet yet visceral mix of black and celtic music, these Irishmen have put themselves right at the top of my playlist this year.

2. KauanMuistumia (Blood Music)

Singing in Finnish, but creating a musical escape that needs no translation, Kauan play an enveloping blend of dark post-rock ambient doom that drowns out the everyday world with an aggressive lullaby.

1. Ne ObliviscarisCitadel (Season of Mist)

With their second release, this Australian band has truly carved a niche for themselves in the worldwide metal scene with an album filled with captivating melodic riffs. They have re-defined what it is to include the violin in metal, and balance perfectly between the extreme and the progressive.

 

Rodey Tsapralis

25. Septicflesh - Titan (Season of Mist)

24. Origin - Omnipresent (Agonia Records)

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

22. Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society - Catacombs of the Black Vatican (eOne Music)

21. Tombs - Savage Gold (Relapse)

20. Down - Down IV - Part II (Down Records)

19. Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite (Metal Blade)

18. Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails (Unique Leader)

17. Opeth - Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

16. Bloodbath - Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville)

15. Rings of Saturn - Lugal Ki En (Unique Leader)

14. Darkest Hour - Darkest Hour (Sumerian)

13. Vader - Tibi et Igni (Nuclear Blast)

12. Eluvitie - Origins (Nuclear Blast)

11. Crowbar - Symmetry in Black (eOne Music)

10. Ikillya - Vae Victis (Megaforce Records)

Young and passionate, this is the band all eyes should be on right here, right now.

9. The Acacia Strain - Coma Witch (Rise)

Do not play this in your car on the way home from work, you may hit something and like it.

8. At the Gates - At War With Reality (Century Media)

Twenty years of silence shattered by a melodic death metal masterpiece.

7. Job for a Cowboy - Sun Eater (Metal Blade)

The time is now for JFAC to begin their journey towards the death metal hall of legends.

6. Unearth - Watchers of Rule (3Wise)

They survived the shifting metalcore trend; now to look to a new era of one of New England's greatest.

5. Judas Priest - Redeemer of Souls (Sony)

You're never too old to rock n'roll, and these godfathers of heavy metal show no signs of stopping.

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

Abandon hope ye who enter, the Kings of death metal still reign strong after a quarter of a century.

3. Behemoth - The Satanist (Century Media)

Poland's finest show they are capable of crafting impressive songs without relying on shredding and over the top technical work

2. Animals as Leaders - The Joy of Motion (Sumerian)

Witness three of the most talented minds in music today bringing joy to all.

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

As heavy, awe striking, and mystifying as the beast the band is named for.