2014: The Cold March Towards Eternal Brightness

Thumbs up: +2
Past fanaticism aside, this list endeavors to be a much more concise, less insane venture. I intend only to include albums I really like, which admittedly doesn't entail a great amount so far this year. So I'll start out small, and hopefully it will balloon out from there.

Ordered by preference, though always subject to change.

Created by: strade | 04.05.2014

1. Spectral Lore - III
~atm. black~ Breathtaking from start to finish, and the most complete venture from this project so far. Everything is on point, from the abrasive, visceral sections to the more atmospheric and melodic passages. Plus those instrumentals. Yeah, this is the one to beat. Absolutely worth all 87 shimmering, majestic minutes.
2. Anubis Gate - Horizons
~prog/power~ Top shelf material again. It's not even a surprise at this point, what with Anubis Gate churning song after song of their impeccably subtle flourishes and harmonies, never stooping to long portions of noodling or virtuistic pretension. Not a dud in sight.
3. Bloodway - Sunstone Voyager and the Clandestine Horizon
~black with jazz influences~ As transfixing and delicious as its cover image. Creativity and warmth exude from every corner of this disc, and I for one can't wait to hear this band create a full length. One of the best EPs I've heard in years.
4. Prajna - The Summer Eclipse
~power/speed~ Achingly genuine, off the cuff speed metal of old is seldom found in today's glossy oeuvre of auditory options. Thus, Prajna's amateur brilliance wins the day, balancing old school Helloween, old school USPM, and Japanese influences aplenty to create a strikingly exuberant record. A win all around.
5. Hail Spirit Noir - Oi Magoi
~psych black~ A perfect extension of their excellent, mind-melting debut. Oi Magoi finds the band taking their psychedelic overtones to new occult extremes, its sure-footed songwriting (which prog-influenced material like this can easily misplace) and clean vocals all encased in an earthen, au naturel production.
6. Funereal Presence - The Archer Takes Aim
~black with psych influences~ Ah, quite a pleasant surprise this is. Delivering riff after riff after riff through a drug-addled filter, kind of like a more militaristic Hail Spirit Noir, Funereal Presence places its aural arrow dead center in the listen's consciousness. Great BM.
7. Behemoth - The Satanist
~death/black~ I've never really paid attention to Behemoth, but an album as nice as The Satanist deserves to be recognized. Everything about this release just bleeds class, from the precision guitars to the energetic, convincing vocals. Sometimes it's best to produce an album that's just *nice* to listen to, and this fits the bill.
8. Nasheim - Solens Vemod
~black~ Moody, monolithic, and often mesmerizing, this is a slow burn record which ebbs and flows, building up and releasing as is the time tested post-rock tradition. It won't shock you with variation or mind-blowing musicianship, but it may take you on a journey if you let it, which is admirable enough.
9. Grim Legion - Unholy Resurrection
~death~ Fun is the name of the game here, as Grim Legion busts out OSDM riffs by the barrel in exciting, concise allotments. Forgoing the Incantation and all around Sweden-aping acts in this realm of late, these gents bring us back to the days of Altars of Madness and Scream Bloody Gore, and I approve.

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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