Thumbs up: +4
My list of 2014 likes (to be expanded). Notes can and will change during the year, since I like listening to albums multiple times and have a really good view before the final note.

I'd say 3/5 is my default note, just an okay CD with nothing spectacular.

Created by: robpal | 31.03.2014

1. Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism
Progressive Metal [4,5/5] "Anhedonia" was great, this is even better! Teramaze have changed throughout the years, starting as a thrash-prog band and ending as a 100% progressive band. The love for solid guitar work remained though, they're so dense here that you can actually sweat a bit. It's not an easy-listening album, songs are quite complicated with many layers. Guitars (already mentioned) are outstanding, same as keyboard work and vocals. Mixed perfectly, sounds amazing. This is top quality prog medal by a very underrated band. Just try it.
2. Vanden Plas - Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld (Path 1)
Progressive Power Metal [4,5/5] Long wait but definitely worth it. A bit softer than previous albums, but I love the melodic approach. I'd maybe change some parts (church-like choirs...), but overall it's a perfect mix of metal and melodic/symphonic elements. Power-prog doesn't get much better than "Godmaker".
3. Gazpacho - Demon
Progressive/Art Rock [4,5/5] This is epic. Will elaborate soon.
4. Insomnium - Shadows Of The Dying Sun
Melodic Death Metal [4,5/5] I really like Insomnium, but this is so much better than I expected. I absolutely love "Above The Weeping World", but I think their last two albums (especially the last one) were a little bit repetitive. Great to see Insomnium trying out some new directions, maybe a bit softer, but new (clean vocals etc.). Evolution is the key! The guitarist from Omnium Gatherum does a great job and the production is just flawless. P.S. While We Sleep might be my favorite song of the year.
5. Anubis Gate - Horizons
Progressive Power Metal [4,5/5] It really grew up on me after a few spins, so I bump it to 4,5. Songs are melodic, catchy and progressive at the same time. Anubis Gate are currently top5 of melodic prog and they just proved again they belong there. My favorite song would be "Breach of Faith", just can't get enough of it. Soooo good.
6. Transatlantic - Kaleidoscope
Progressive Rock [4,5/5] What can I say, I just love Neal Morse :)
7. Ethersens - Your Wandering Ghost
Progressive Metal [4,5/5] I'm not gonna lie, I discovered Ethersens just this year. But this is fantastic! I really like this "darker", slower progressive metal. Great atmosphere here, maybe a bit depressive, but I feel some kind of space here behine the guitar barriers. This album has various reviews, from "terrible" to "amazing". Surely not for everyone, it took me at least three listens to get into this kind of music.
8. Septicflesh - Titan
Symphonic Death Metal [4/5] At first I wasn't too impressed and had a feeling "Titan" is a bit step backwards. However after few spins this album really grew on me. Orchestra is powerful, choirs fit perfectly and the metal part is quite varied. Only thing I don't like is the mastering -- such a complex music deserves much better dynamic range. My favorite songs: Prototype, Ground Zero, The First Immortal
9. A.C.T - Circus Pandemonium
Progressive Rock [4/5]
10. Voyager - V
Progressive Power Metal [4/5]
11. Catacombe - Quidam
Instrumental Post-Rock [4/5] I'm not a big fan of instrumental music, but this VERY good. Short album (36 minutes), perfect to listen in the evening. I like the progressive elements blending in with classical post-rock sound. Very atmospheric recording from this little known project. And the sound is very clean, production definitely a pro here.
12. Words Of Farewell - The Black Wild Yonder
Melodic Death Metal [4/5] Probably gonna rate it higher after a few spins. Reminds me a bit of last year's Persefone, but without clean vocals. Music here is great, varied with nice build-ups and some progressive inspiration. As for now, the second-best MDM album of 2014
13. Descend - Wither
Progressive Death Metal [4/5] I more or less agree with MS review of this album. Nothing too original, however it's well-crafted, sounds great and powerful, based on groovy riffs (no blasts here). I think some clean vocals would add value to this recording and bump it to 4,5-5 star territory. I really liked In Vain's "Aenigma" last year, and this is a similar style. Good hour of solid progressive death metal.
14. Cullooden - Silent Scream
Progressive Power Metal [4/5] Energetic melodic prog from this Swedish band. Pretty good variety, so it doesn't get boring. Some nice solos, both keyboard and guitar and I really liked the vocals here. If you like bands like Circus Maximus, Anubis Gate or Seventh Wonder, give it a go. It's not as complex as usual prog albums, but songs are really catchy. And it's a debut!
15. Aenaon - Extance
Avantgarde Metal [4/5] Damn, this is crazy! As avant-garde as it could possibly be. There's EVERYTHING here: some powerful growls, clean vocals, acoustic passages and even a saxophone. Funeral Blues is hell of a song. Great album overall, strongly recommended.
16. Hannes Grossmann - The Radial Covenant
Technical Death Metal [4/5]
17. Stamina - Perseverance
Progressive Power Metal [4/5]
18. Psycrence - A Frail Deception
Progressive Metal [3,5/5]
19. Lost Insen - Here After
Progressive Metal [3,5/5] An interesting progressive band from Tunisia. They started playing Dream Theater covers, now finally got their own material. Nothing revolutionary here, but it's an enjoyable experience.
20. Mayan - Antagonise
Symphonic Death Metal [3/5] An OK album but nothing more. Orchestral parts sound really good, growles parts are good too, but everything apart from that is just standard, well-produced stuff. Not bad by any means, but nothing particularly outstanding either.
21. Thoughts Factory - Lost
Progressive Metal [3/5] This is a very interesting debut from Germany. Melodic progressive metal, strongly influenced by our usual suspects, but definitely with its own identity. The sound is very good and clean plus lyrics are great and the story interesting (it's a concept album). Initially I gave 4/5, but after a few listens I somehow got bored.
22. Collibus - The False Awakening
Progressive Power Metal [3/5] Sound is quite good for a low-profile band and songs are varied. Female vocalist is actually a highlight here and you can definitely see some potential in this band. However I couldn't shake off the "I have already heard it somewhere" feeling. Not a bad effort overall, solid album, but kind of forgettable.
23. 4th Dimension - Dispelling The Veil Of Illusions
Symphonic Power Metal [2,5/5] Poor man's symphonic power. As cheesy as it gets, I didn't like it.
24. Waiting list (to listen, review or both)
25. Xerath - III
26. Evergrey - Hymns For The Broken
27. Threshold - For The Journey
28. Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails
29. Opeth - Pale Communion
30. Hemina - Nebulae
31. Vader - Tibi Et Igni
32. Mastodon - Once More 'Round The Sun
33. Devin Townsend - Casualties Of Cool
34. Anathema - Distant Satellites
35. Distorted Harmony - Chain Reaction
36. Vallenfyre - Splinters
37. Novembers Doom - Bled White
38. Decembre Noir - A Discouraged Believer
39. Serdce - Timelessness
40. Tungsten - The Reservoir
41. Coda - Mechanism
42. Adrenaline Mob - Men Of Honor
43. A Sense Of Gravity - Travail
44. Dynazty - Renatus
45. Appearance Of Nothing - A New Beginning
46. Leviathan (USA) - Beholden to Nothing, Braver Since Then
47. Abstraction - End Of Hope
48. Triptykon - Melana Chasmata
49. Vital Science - Imaginations On The Subject Of Infinity
50. Delain - The Human Contradiction
51. Major Parkinson - Twilight Cinema
52. Skyliner - Outsiders
53. Neverdream - The Circle
54. Vanishing Point - Distant Is The Sun

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by robpal ]

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