The Best Albums of 2014

Hello everyone, I know I’ve been pretty silent these past weeks, but at work I’m involved in a great project of RM (records management for the initiated) and at home I’m working on the house and taking care of a little baby of six months is a lot of fun but also a lot of new responsabilities. However, I’m making a point that I would at least publish something for the end of the year.

This is the time of the year when we look back at what have been the best and the worst of the year. In music I have been listening to a lot of artists new to me and a bunch of bands I’ve been a fan of.

But time have been restricting me to discover some of the albums I’m listing here. They are blindspots that I have interests to discover but for now won’t make the list :

Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry
Earth - Primitive and Deadly
Electric Wizard – Time To Die
Eyehategod – Eyehategod
Goatwhore – Constricting Rage Of The Merciless
Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire ; Review
Mournful Congregation - Concredescence Of the Sophia
Old Man Gloom – The Ape of God and The Ape of God ; Review
Pallbearer – Foundations Of Burden
Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Raspberry Bulbs – Privacy
Serpentine Paths – Emanations
Swans – To Be Kind
Usnea – Random Cosmic Violence
YOB – Clearing The Path To Ascend
Young And In The Way – When Life Comes To Death Review

Then, they were ten that deserved the highest recognition of being listed as the best albums of 2014 :

10. 1349 – Massive Cauldron of Chaos

In the vein of Norwegian black metal, 1349 are some of the best carriers of the original formula. With extreme technical mastery they offer another representation of the genre that’s been staling for the last ten years or so. Norwegian black metal had its days of grandeur but to release a fresh and true to its roots album seems to be more of a challenge nowadays.

9. Opeth – Pale Communion

Pale Communion might have been Opeth’s more harshly criticized album since their black/death metal debuts. But listened as a prog rock album, what it is in fact, it is quite appealing and satisfying. Maybe not a classic like Blackwater Park but still a solid effort. Read full review.

8. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun

I’ve been a fan of Mastodon since the release of Remission, their evolution to hard rock might seem like a fail for the early fans but they still maintained their sound and edge. This is just not metal anymore. Read full review.

7. Indian – From All Purity

Doom and black metal is an interesting mixture, American band Indian have mastered a dark sound that is melting many textures and sonorities of both genres. This is quite heavy and not that accessible but one of the best metal albums of 2014 in my book. Read full review.

6. Sunn O)))/ Ulver – Terrestrials

With a vast catalog of collaborations, Sunn O))) have finally done it with Norwegian post-rock outfit Ulver to offer one of the most challenging records of the year but also a trip into the worlds of both bands. It sounds like a band that is entirely united and not the forced merge of two separate artists. It works. Read full review.

5. Caribou – Our Love

Pop music is not my cup of tea but I am not one to close my ears when I hear something original and worth my time. Getting into Caribou, an artist I was not aware of, was a bit unsettling at first and then it was enjoyable to discover how he manage to handle pop. It took fifth place in this list and I know Our Love will be topping many year end lists. However, I don’t think it is getting near the top three best albums of 2014. Read full review.

4. Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare

Each new album by the infamous Norwegian black metal act Mayhem is like a rarity and also a new exploration of the boundaries of the genre they put on the map for dark events. Possibly the most extreme band of all time and another near masterpiece with Esoteric Warfare. Read full review.

3. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

I remember when Annie Clark went on SNL this spring to play two songs of her self titled album. People were asking what planet she came from. This genuine artist is bringing her off the wall vision of pop music with a robotic approach and a distance that makes her the greatest pop artist of 2014. With a superb mise en scène and a unique personality. Read full review.

2. Wrekmeister Harmonies – Then It All Came Down

The collective of Wrekmeister Harmonies striked with an epic 34 minutes song that visits genres and sounds of the best of the underground music. Involving many musicians of different spheres that blends into a slow evolution of sounds and unexpected song structures. Not for the faint of heart but truly memorable. Read full review.

1. Mogwai – Rave Tapes

Picking a number one of the year comes difficult with the complexity of the fact that once you get into more and more music each year, there are many noticeable release and it becomes hard to pick something that will transcend time and mark the culture.
With the established Scottish musicians of the post-rock band Mogwai, we are into known territories even if it involves explorations and instrumental meditations. As picking a number one, it is often an album that I have listen the most to. It has a value of multiple listens and many layers od depth. Read full review.

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