The-Mexican-WrestlersIt’s that time of the year, folks! Time to unleash a torrent of lists loaded with non-objective, mega-subjective fanboy bias, questionable tastes and flat out idiocy (AMG and Steel Druhm‘s lists are obviously the exceptions).

First up are the newbies, who have only just began their arduous AMG apprenticeship. They’ve all put in a ton of work this year, and we’ve rewarded them with scorn, ridicule and derision. Though it’s against our better judgment, we also gave them the amazingly generous gift of year end lists. We apologize in advance for the resulting shitstorms, Alestorms and other such metallic tragedies. And off we go:

L. Saunders

10. Mors Principium Est // Dawn of the 5th Era
9. Mantar // Death by Burning
8. Giant Squid // Minoans
7. Bastard Sapling // Instinct is Forever
6. Artificial Brain // Labyrinth Constellation
5. Revocation // Deathless
4. Anaal Nathrakh // Desideratum
3. Horrendous // Ecdysis
2. Pallbearer // Foundations of Burden
1. Soen // Tellurian – AMG himself guided me to Tellurian through his insightful review and I’ve been hopelessly addicted ever since. Prog metal/rock is a hit or miss affair with me usually, yet Soen’s emotive, hooky prog has kept me coming back again and again to unlock the album’s many intricacies and revisit such spectacularly written songs as “Pluton,” “Koniskas” and the ridiculously catchy “Tabula Rasa.” I can imagine just how well Tellurian would go down soundtracking a bleak winter, but for now it does just fine contrasting against a baking Australian summer. Tellurian is a near flawless album from beginning to end. 
Soen - Tellurian -- art by José Luis López Galván

Honorable Mentions:
The Atlas Moth // The Old Believer
Bloodbath // Grand Morbid Funeral
Gridlink // Longhena
YOB // Clearing a Path to Ascend
Soreption // Engineering the Void

Song o’ the Year: Anaal Nathrakh – “The Joystream”

Jean-Luc Ricard

10. Blut Aus Nord // Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry
9. Hail Spirit Noir // Oi Magoi
8. Psalm Zero // The Drain
7. Gazpacho // Demon
6. Giant Squid // Minoans
5. Soen // Tellurian
4. Emptiness // Nothing But the Whole
3. Pallbearer // Foundations of Burden
2. Voices // London
1. Enabler // La Fin Absolue du Monde – 2014 didn’t produce an obvious stand-out candidate for record of the year, and really, any of my top 5 could have taken the honour. La Fin Absolue du Monde was the album I returned to the most, though. Enabler combined incredible fury, fantastic songwriting, and unforgettable melodies into a metallic hardcore masterpiece that I’ll be listening to for years to come.

Enabler - La Fin Absolue du Monde 01

Song o’ the Year: Godflesh – “Shut Me Down”

El Cuervo

10. Darkspace // Dark Space III I
9. Wolves in the Throne Room // Celestite
8. Animals as Leaders // The Joy of Motion
7. Alunah // Awakening The Forest
6. Gazpacho // Demon
5. Anubis Gate // Horizons
4. Dreamgrave // Presentiment
3. Blackfinger // Blackfinger 
2. Pallbearer // Foundations of Burden
1. Ne Obliviscaris // Citadel – This will ruffle some Angry Metal Feathers™. A quick browse of the comments sections of my original review and November’s RotM demonstrates this, as our illustrious leader does not remotely understand the hype. To this, I say that I would not have pursued metal music so enthusiastically if I wanted to conform to others’ preferences! Of the record itself, while not an absolute masterpiece, nothing else this year stacks up to Citadel. The beautiful compositions of crushing riffs and dominant roars with the melancholic violin tickled my pickle more than anything else. This was no pyrrhic victory, only success!

Song o’ the Year: Anubis Gate – “Breach of Faith”

Mark Z.

10. Gridlink // Longhena
9. Unearth // Watchers of Rule
8. Nocturnal // Storming Evil
7. Behemoth // The Satanist
6. Downfall of Gaia // Aeon Unveils The Thrones of Decay
5. Panopticon // Roads to the North
4. Idylls // Prayer for Terrene
3. Slugdge // Gastronomicon
2. Fornicus // Storming Heaven
1. Misery Index // The Killing Gods – These ex-Dying Fetus members have always been unfairly overshadowed by their former band – unfairly because, since 2003 debut Retaliate, they’ve been outperforming John Gallagher’s outfit riff-for-riff (I guess, as Dave Mustaine sure knows, anger at former bandmates can be a powerful motivator). As always, these songs have bite, ferocity, and catchiness, but there’s more this time: check the epic flourishes on the title track or the slowed-down numbers like “Conjuring the Cull.” Over a decade into their career, they’re still producing quality music that sounds fresh and invigorating. When people ask me why I love death metal, all I need to do is put on “Gallows Humor.” Innovation? Please. We have fucking Misery Index.

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Song o’ the Year:  Behemoth  “O Father! O Satan! O Sun!”

Dr. A.N. Grier

10. Doom:VS // Earthless
9. Thine // The Dead City Blueprint
8. Teitanblood // Death
7. Voices // London
6. Anubis Gate // Horizons
5. Origin // Omnipresent
4. Sólstafir // Ótta
3. Mors Principium Est // Dawn of the 5th Era
2. Behemoth // The Satanist
1. Triptykon // Melana Chasmat When Celtic Frost resurfaced with Monotheist, I was positively smitten. When they broke up (again), I nearly drowned myself in tears. And when Tom Warrior (or is it just Fischer now?) revealed that he would push on with a new band called Triptykon and continue where Monotheist left off, my little boyish heart nearly burst with joy. Eparistera Daimones rocked my world with its moody, lengthy and engulfing atmosphere. Shatter continued the plague with three brief songs that were as intense and powerful as their full-length debut, but Melana Chasmata took everything those two releases created and crushed it, smashed it, and rebuilt it into their best work yet.

Triptykon-Melana-Chasmata

Song o’ the Year: Sólstafir – “Ótta”

Disappointment of 2014: Machine Head // Bloodstone & Diamonds: Machine Head has come up lately in the AMG interwebs by those members of the mob that are upset we didn’t review the album. Why didn’t we review it? Short answer: we never got the fucking promo. Direct your hate to Nuclear Blast. Promo or not, yours truly used that precious mad-money intended for scalpels, latex gloves and body bags to purchase said album. After a few spins, I came down with a nasty Meh-chine Headache. No true review here but perhaps this will help save you the bucks I lost (I was really looking forward to that model K7X-973274 scalpel).

Roquentin

10. Panopticon // Roads to the North
9. Morbus Chron // Sweven
8. YOB // Clearing the Path to Ascend
7. Earth // Primitive and Deadly
6. Ophis // Abhorrence in Opulence
5. Blut Aus Nord // Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry
4. Slugdge // Gastronomicon
3. Voices // London
2. Ne Obliviscaris // Citadel
1. Behemoth // The Satanist – Nergal’s “fuck you” to death and one of Behemoth‘s most accomplished records overall. Raw, powerful, but also incredibly introspective.

Behemoth - The Satanist

Song o’ the Year: YOB – “Marrow”

Disappointment of 2014: Soen // Tellurian – I better lay low for a while after AMG Himself sees this. I don’t get the hype, to be honest, and I’ve really tried to like this album. The musicianship is good, but everything else is… meh. To me it still sounds like an uninspired take on Tool’s music. Boring.

Diabolus in Muzaka

10. Hannes Grossmann // The Radial Covenant
9. Striker // City of Gold
8. Entrapment // Lamentations of the Flesh
7. Falconer // Black Moon Rising
6. Gridlink // Longhena
5. Hoth // Oathbreaker
4. Ophis // Abhorrence in Opulence
3. Horrendous // Ecdysis
2. Anaal Nathrakh // Desideratum
1. Alestorm // Sunset on the Golden Age Yes, “bacon powered pirate core” maestros Alestorm made and topped this list, and I’m completely serious. This is, bar none, the most enjoyment I’ve gotten out of a metal album in 2014. Yes, it’s pretty tongue-in-cheek and wonderfully self-aware, but when a so-called “joke” band puts out a collection of songs this well-written, catchy, and downright fun, maybe that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. They’re writing truly great songs that successfully embrace the fun side of metal while still being awesome, which is something that seems to be not so prevalent these days. Alestorm isn’t just a dumb “quirky” band, and Sunset on the Golden Age isn’t a vacuous gimmick record; it’s a testament to the fact that great songs are great songs, regardless of the genre.

Alestorm - Sunset on the Golden Age 01

Honourable Mentions:
Primordial // Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Barbarian // Faith Extinguisher
Body Count // Manslaughter
Bloodbath // Grand Morbid Funeral
Incantation // Dirges of Elysium
Voices // London
Opeth // Pale Communion

Disappointment of the Year: At the Gates // At War With Reality – While it’s not a bad album by any means, the massive hype machine behind this record and the energetic title track that introduced us all to the reunited At the Gates led me to think that this was going to be an ass-kicker of a comeback record. Instead, we got a collection of mostly decent songs (apart from “The Book of Sand,” which just rips), but nowhere near anything that could be considered a glorious return or even a great album. After the initial excitement of it not being total shit wore off, not much on At War With Reality kept me coming back for more.


And there you have it. The minions have spoken (except for Al Kikuras and Noctus who got coal in their stockings this year). Direct all comments, complaints and  death threats to the newbies individually, not AMG or the ever affable Steel Druhm.

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  • List Pooper

    Ugh. No Opeth, no Insomnium, no Allegaeon, no Job For A Cowboy. Instead we get frigging Gazpacho and…Alestorm? I poop on all your lists.

    • tomasjacobi

      I’ll give you Opeth and I’m sure that album will feature on AMG’s list. But those other bands have only produced VERY bland albums in 2014.

    • Kronos

      When Allegaeon came out every blog was hyping it to hell and come end of the year I’m not seeing much mention of it anywhere. man did that album fizzle. And as AMG’s resident tech-death nerd, I can tell you that it’s because as much as I really want to like Allegaeon (because the band seems like a bunch or really, really nice dudes), they’re just not very interesting.

      • Garak

        I find your view on Allegaeon mindboggling.

        • Kronos

          If Metalblade had gotten us the promo, I’d have had the space to voice my disinterest more fully, but we’ll have to agree to disagree for now.

          • Garak

            Luckily, unless I mixed up authors, we have a shared liking of Dingir to share a bed over.

          • Kronos

            Yeah that was a good album. Shame that it was made by Rings of Saturn.

          • Garak

            Hahahahahahahaha

          • Metal Blade did actually send us promo.

          • Kronos

            Uh.

          • It’s my fault you missed it, though. I apologize.

    • Keep your poop to yourself!

      Also, Insnoozeium doesn’t belong on anyone’s list.

      • Daniel

        Yeah Opeth’s last two albums aren’t metal. They’re 70s retro rock.

        • Which to me is better than hearing them continue a style of music where the vocals can’t be distinguished from hundreds of thousands of other real metal (DM, BM, or post metal) bands.

          I like what Opeth was doing before but there’s such a high level of musicianship on Pale Communion that it’s far more interesting to me. What’s really “retro” is the fact that we have a million bands with seemingly the same few singers. Chuck Schuldiner did most of it better over a quarter of a century ago. I’d personally rather hear Mikael Åkerfeldt sing because there’s nothing special or innovative about his “death vox” anyway. Just sounds like something a thousand other bands are doing now.

          • Daniel

            Chuck Schuldiner and Akerfeldt are both nothing special for harsh vocals though. Check out Karl WIllets, Matti Karki, Antti Boman, Lord Worm, and Craig Pillard. Listen to Necrophobic The Nocturnal Silence. Nobody else sounded like they were singing with a mouthful of nails like Anders Strokirk.

      • clarkey

        I completely disagree with that, but fuck i dont even care thats hilarious.

        • What’s hilarious? Insnoozeium? Because I was rather proud of that.

          • clarkey

            Yes. Insnoozeium.. I like the album. But dammit i want them to go back to Above the weeping World quality.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      JFAC didn’t even release the best album of 2014 entitled “Sun Eater”, why would I put them on there?

      • FutureBeyondSatan

        Svn Eater was equally as boring

    • Luke_22

      I have a weird OCD rule for myself that I don’t include albums on my end of year lists that aren’t metal. Otherwise the excellent Pale Communion, Opeth’s best album in years, would have snagged a spot. Job for a Cowboy was a pleasant surprise but not year end material, while the others were merely solid.

      • Meh. Opeth counts for me. If Audrey Horne counts, so does Opeth.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          Cynic?

          • Since the new record is terrible, no problem. ;)

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            noooooo its…good

          • No. It’s not even good prog. It’s sleepy, uninspired music.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            I think I may be the only person in the world who likes this…Sure it’s no Traced in Air’. My theory is this suffers for having being releasing as ‘Cynic’. it’s not prog, it’s more like an ambient pop record with some techy overtones.

          • Sure. Not prog. Not good either. It’s just soooo meh.

          • Kronos

            Don’t worry, Serdce has their backs and released a much more “Cynic” Cynic album this year.

          • Gah?

          • Kronos

            Did you miss Serdce? Ouch.

          • lol. Says the guy who’s doing it as a TYMHM.

          • Luke_22

            Haha he beat me to it! Very cool album though a tad uneven in spots. Cynic’s album was perhaps harshly received but despite being a disappointment with pissweak production it did have a few gems.

          • Grymm

            I can feel the heat of that burn a mile away.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            harsh

  • Definite lack of Opeth, but of course each list is subjective as it should be. Surprised not to see Darkest Era’s latest album not on any of the lists. Not a surprise that the latest Epica CD isn’t on there – but looking at my stats on my PC music software it’s my most played album of the year – so probably the record I’ve liked the most.

    And (whispers) I really liked the latest Delain too.

    • Alped

      Totally agree on Epica – probably their best album so far. I also liked Ancient Bards “A New Dawn Ending”; apart from the ballad “In My Arms”, it’s a good album from an unknown power metal band.

      Happy Holidays to AMG and his elves!

      • We’re not elves, we’re automatons!

      • Yes I think it is Epica’s best album. Definitely the band’s most consistent,

    • Vega Magnus

      My opinion on Epica’s latest album has fluctuated a lot. At first, I was annoyed at their total lack of progression as a band, so I didn’t like it. Later, I got past my initial irritation and found it to be a very engaging album and by far their best since Consign to Oblivion, but after a few listens, I got annoyed again because DEAR GOD they still have questionable lyric composition.

    • I just can’t with Epica. Just can’t. The music was pretty good this time around, but I cannot get around those preachy/ideologically confused fucking lyrics.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Definite lack of GODFLESH too (not whispering)

      • Grymm

        It’s on my list. Don’t worry. ;)

  • Roquentin sucks.

    • Now now….

    • Roquentin

      I regret nothing!

      • El_Cuervo

        I agree. I really tried to like it cos AMG’s recommendations are usually excellent. But it really isn’t clicking for me!

  • Kryopsis

    I can’t help but be disappointed by the lists published so far. It’s not that I dislike any of these bands (yes, including Alestorm) or disagree with any of these site contributors (I actually enjoyed several of Dr. A. N. Grier’s reviews recently) but the lists themselves are not particularly exciting. It is not surprising (to me at least) to see Mors Principium Est, Gazpacho, Hail Spirit Noir, Dreamgrave, Primordial and some of the other bands listed as top picks but this is more or less what I would see on other Metal sites. You know, the ones that cater to basement-dwelling teens and adults with acute social anxiety. To clarify: I am not trying to slam anyone’s tastes, as confused as I am by the inclusion of Ne Obliviscaris, but I always expect a lot more from AMG.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I honestly wasn’t crazy impressed with 2014 so I literally based my list off of stuff I kept coming back to. I could have filled a top twenty list easily that would have been more exciting and they could have switched order just slightly. But these were the ones I just kept putting on in the small time between listening to promos.

      I also appreciate the kind words!

      • Kryopsis

        That makes sense. My current 2014 playlist is actually down to Animals As Leaders, Allagaeon, Archspire, Black Crown Initiate, Dreamgrave, Fallujah, Mors Principium Est and Onheil, while only the Mors Principium Est album is ‘top 10’ material. It definitely feels like 2014 had a lot of ‘good’ albums but very few ‘great’ ones.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I loved Ohheil’s new one. It hopped in and out of my top ten. A top 15 list of mine would have included a couple of yours.

          Good ole individual tastes and opinions. Ya gotta love them. I look forward to multiple top ten lists from a site’s staff just for all of the interesting thoughts.

        • Kronos

          I got the same feeling from this year. Last year, “Teethed Glory and Injury” was an unmistakable best for me, but this year there were a lot of albums competing for a number one spot.

    • What’s “appropriate” taste in this case? Your critique doesn’t really make sense to me.

      • Kryopsis

        De gustibus non est disputandum. I was simply voicing my disappointment. At this point I tend to agree with Dr. A. N. Grier regarding the overall 2014 feel.

        • Yeah, I think 2014 has kind of been a shit year for metal. I’ve not been sold on any of the real “hype” releases, and a lot of the old standards were pretty depressing, too. Been generally disappointed.

          • Kronos

            There were some very good sleeper hits though (Pyrrhon, Artificial Brain). That’s what excited me this year; the newcomers.

          • For me the big surprise of the year was probably Voices. I am absolutely enamored with that album.

          • Kronos

            Still haven’t listened to that one in full. Seems good though.

          • FutureBeyondSatan

            Not releasing until January 27th in the States. Patiently waiting.

          • Oooh. Interesting. I love getting Europromo sometimes.

          • I’ve definitely bought fewer albums this year – last year I bought great albums from Black Sabbath, Bruce Soord/Jonas Renkse, Carcass, Cult of Luna, The Ocean, October Falls, Katatonia, Omnium Gatherum, Queensryche, Finntroll, Riverside, Anneke Van Giersbergen, Steven Wilson, Witherscape. 2014 has felt a lot thinner.

          • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

            I completely agree the year has been a disappointment. AMG, you even liked a few I just couldn’t get into (Opeth and Anaal Nathrakh specifically, having been a big fan of both historically was very disappointed in both releases).

            I think the most stand out albums of 2014 have been Voices, Solstafir and Manes and they aren’t getting a lot of love on lists (Ok Manes isn’t really metal… but neither is Opeth and a number of other bands anymore)

            My god, the Voices album, why doesn’t anyone else like it!?

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Voices was pretty great, I just didn’t have enough listening time with it when I had written my list to put it in the Top Ten. 2014 wasn’t a disappointment to me at all, I stumbled across some really great stuff that I didn’t expect to be as good as it was. Who would’ve thought Alestorm would write a masterpiece and Body Count would write a record that’s really good front to back? I’ll have to check out this Manes business though, it’s always good to find cool stuff you missed.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I got Voices and Solstafir on my list. And I definitely am not alone. They’re getting some praise, don’t you worry.

          • Jean-Luc Ricard

            I did, I gave it 4.5 and it’s my number 2!

          • Kronos

            The Anaal Nathrakh album was good, but the mastering was fucking criminal and I could never listen to it all the way through.

          • I <3 Voices.

          • brokenalarms

            London is so awesome…plus, I can see where they’re coming from, since the atmosphere of the music actually reminds me of quite a few nights out I had whilst living in the city itself. I suspect though that this means I don’t know how to party correctly.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          I liked 2014 enough. A lot of good stuff did seem to slip through the cracks in favor of mediocre “big” releases, but once you look around

    • André Snyde Lopes

      What’s wrong with Mors Principium Est, Gazpacho, Hail Spirit Noir, Dreamgrave and Primordial?

    • Roquentin

      Good albums are good albums. I’m not fond of dismissing records on the account of them being too “mainstream”. Are we supposed to be hipsters or something?

      Could you clarify what kind of records you expected to see?

  • Lasse Momme

    the top “hype records” this year have generally been pretty disappointing but I still wouldn’t call it a bad year for metal. the good stuff has just been more scattered IMO. Inter Arma released an AMAZING 45 minute one-track EP, Blut Aus Nord and Darkspace both released black metal albums that were immersive and haunting in their own way, Anaal Nathrakh did supreme work on Desideratum, Clouds put out the most beautiful doom record of 2014 in “Doliu”, Bask as well released in incredibly beautiful album, etc. etc.

    I honestly think there’s been plenty of great metal releases this year, most of it just happened to slip through the cracks. I mean, fucking Slugdge made a bomb-ass record and I only just found out about that one!

  • Adam

    Not bad. Mine was Ne Obliviscaris, machine head, Behemoth, Mors Principium Est, Allegaeon, Dragonforce, Mastodon, black crown Initiate, Insomnium, Revocation…. Come at me

    • Dragonforce? I’m surprised. THe other ones I can see, but Dragonforce I don’t see.

      • Adam

        I shamelessly love Dragonforce and thought it was easily their best work in a long time, The Game was one of my favourite songs of the year. But tbh I lost all credibility even to myself when I almost put Slipknot in my top 10 so…

    • TminusEight

      I got really amped up for the new Mastodon but just couldn’t get into it… With that and The Hunter I keep finding myself missing the space and cohesiveness of Crack the Skye.

      • Kryopsis

        You are absolutely right. Mastodon is a very capable band but Crack The Skye set the bar so high, I can’t help but be disappointed after every subsequent album.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    I was going to make some stupid comment about how these lists are so different from my own and blah blah blah but the discussion here is really great. Yet another reason why I really like this website is that it’s mostly troll-free unlike some other bigger websites. Why isn’t there some sort of Angry Metal Messageboard?

    • Kronos

      We considered it a while back but figured there wasn’t enough interest.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        I don’t know man, judging by the number of people who make good worthwhile comments here (which most of them are) I’d wager that if you gave them a platform that was not as fleeting as “the Disqus in the daily review” a good bunch of them would be into it.

    • Kryopsis

      This is the only music site I’ve ever been to where the comments are worth reading. I keep coming back to AMG year after year and yet the community remains excellent; I discovered quite a few bands and albums simply because some readers brought them up. Personally, I would be interested in a forum.

      • We’ve talked about it. I like the idea, but it’s a bit hard to imagine it being super successful in the era of Facebook.

        • Kryopsis

          Fair point, however I suspect that people interested in discussing Metal at length would much prefer the medium of a forum. Facebook is extremely limiting and makes it very hard to follow conversations.

          • I agree with that. But forums are usually pretty dead these days, unfortunately.

    • Jukka Alanen

      Totally agree, it would be great. Not sure though if it would be worth the time of AMG staff to moderate etc. But if it would happen, please make it so that users are required to use their real names. The only good forums these days require real names, others are just troll-infested bog holes.

    • Mike Eckman

      +1 for forums! I dont like Facebook, but even if I did comment there, Facebook has the same problem the comments here do. Once a review is a couple of days old, the comments section die. Forums allow popular topics to have ongoing discussion for a long time.

  • DrChocolate

    Pleased to see Mantar on L.Saunders list. I’m actually a little shocked to see it on so few lists this year. That was one of my 3 or 4 favorites of the last 12 months.

  • Guest

    What?

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      What has you so confused, Walter?

      • No mention of Diabulus In Musica?

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Nope, it’s a Slayer reference.

    • A Top 10 list is when a person lists their subjective experience of the best of whatever it is that they write about. In this case, we’ve taken all the lists of the newer writers at Angry Metal Guy, and we’ve given them a space to express their opinions. I thought it worked out rather nicely, actually. I’m sorry, however, if the format was confusing.

  • No Arch Enemy?!? WTF?!?

    • Troll the halls with troll troll troll troll.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      They see me trollin’, I’m baitin’, waiting for some comments to get nice and salty…

  • Daniel

    No Dead Congregation?

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It was really good, but I liked Dirges of Elysium a little better. DC would easily make a Top 20 of 2014 for me.

    • We didn’t get Dead Congregation (or if we did, I missed it). That meant that I _just_ got to it, and while I think it’s pretty good, I haven’t had time to let it grow. So it’ll be a miss this year, even if it maybe shouldn’t be.

  • Ah nice lists, I like seeing some of my favorites in there like Panopticon, Giant Squid, Solstafir and Darkspace with some mentions. I only wish there was some more general love to Vindensang, The Great Old Ones, Witch Mountain, Saor, Falls of Rauros, Botanist, and Vampillia.

    • TerribleNickname

      Seems like Vampilia released 3 albums (plus a collaboration with Nadja) this year – which ones are worth listening to?

      • Kronos

        Some Nightmares Make you Aurora Rainbow Darkness was pretty good, but the back half was a little lackluster. I suspect Grimm’s going to put it on his list.

        • Grymm

          Nope.

          It got bumped hard. “The Volcano Song” was one of my favorite songs of the year, though.

          • Ah sad to hear that, It’s still my go to music to write, the eclecticism does it for me somehow.

      • Besides Some NIghtmares.. get the single for Circle and the Nadja collabs are nice, too bad they are not downloadable on bandcamp so you will have to do some record store diving.

        Some Nightmares… is the only full length release of the year IIRC.

    • El_Cuervo

      Saor was a heartbreaking omission for me. I did really like it, but just rated other stuff a bit higher. Would definitely have made a top 15

    • Luke_22

      Need to check that Saor out asap.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Saor, Giant Squid and Solstafir are two great finds for me this year.
      looks like Witch Mountain and Falls of Rauros just got pushed up up my to do list :)

    • brokenalarms

      Yes! I was surprised to find Tekeli-li absent from any of these lists!

      • AFAICT they probably didn’t got the promo and with the veritable fuck-ton of music to review I’m not surprised they haven’t got the time to hear it. I can see it at least being of interest to a good portion of the staff.

  • TminusEight

    Good stuff. Most of what I got into this year is up there somewhere. Sólstafir and The Atlas Moth were highlights for me. But so far nothing from ’14 has become an all-time fav’… I tend to take a while to really get into something though, so you never know.
    A year’s worth of great reviews though, so thanks heaps to everyone at AMG!

  • Andres Pintos Nocerino

    forgot Septicflesh TITAN

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I probably relate to L Saunders list the most, though everyone seems to be about/at least 50% wrong…:)
    Looking at the list here its interesting to note that only a handful of bands are referenced more than once, with only 3 mentioned more than twice. Suggesting to me that despite grumblings below this year has in fact been pretty good with a lot of critically pleasing releases.
    I know I cant seem to even get close to a ten best this year.

    So if you want to know (and tuff luck if you don’t) what critical consensus amongst AMG staff is…by simply using points to ranking..this is it

    1. Pallbearer
    2. Behemouth
    3. Ne Obliviscaris
    4. Voices
    5. Soen
    6. Anaal Narkarth / Horrendous
    7. Mors Principium Est

    your welcome

  • Hermanni Mäkitalo

    El Cuervo’s list is closest to mine. Except I would change Dreamgrave for second place, and add Soen to third. Dreamgrave was maybe the most positive finding this year, hadn’t even heard about them before, and then out of nowhere a great album.

    Still, not many albums this year that I will return to later. Alcest, Opeth, Septicflesh and Anaal Nathrakh were somewhat disappointing, maybe I just expected too much from them. Thanks for all these years, stay angry and carry on.

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    Very interesting lists. I enjoy reading these to try to find releases that may have slipped through the cracks (*hint* Dog Fashion Disco) and to see the varied opinions of others (even if really poor!). Kudos to Muzaka for sticking to his guns, or shall we say eye patch and cutlass, with Alestorm.
    I see Morbus Chron, Horrendous, and Hail Spirit Noir landing on many lists. I regretfully purchased all 3 of them and they are not even worthy of collecting my dust. Anybody else have any purchase regrets?

    • Kronos

      Dog Fashion Disco, you say? Looks like I missed a big avant-garde release this year.

      • FutureBeyondSatan

        You will not regret the purchase!

      • Yeah, I had no idea.

      • What, you didn’t get the new Dog Fashion Disco? Ouch.

        • Luke_22

          So Dog Fashion Disco are still worth the while?

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Hey I love all three of those! Horendeous is one of the best sounding DM records this year.

      Indian’s Purity, wish i’d checked that out first and Redeemer of souls was a big buy for 4 good and a couple of ok songs.

      • FutureBeyondSatan

        What did you think of Revocation?
        I give JP a pass. They gave it a valiant attempt to sound young again.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          Revocation are probably my favourite band, I really like the new record but for one reason or another haven’t put the quality time in with Deathless to form a strong opinion yet.
          I hope JP nail their next release if Redeemer was a bit more uptempo and about 30min shorter it would have been a good release IMO

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          oh and Horrendous rule

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      That Dog Fashion Disco is really good, thanks for the tip! I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by Alestorm, especially to the point of naming their newest one AOTY. It’s a 5/5 for me, and their other three albums rest around 3/5 range, for perspective. They just went and wrote brilliant songs that are both accessible enough to enjoy casually, and layered enough to enjoy critically. It’s also ludicrously entertaining.

      My regret for purchases were AtG and, to a lesser degree, Morbus Chron. I expected a masterpiece from Sweven, but instead I got something that’s good for when I need a weird death metal fix and don’t feel like listening to Artificial Brain, Demilich, or Negativa. I thought Horrendous was awesome though; “Stranger” was one of the best songs this year in my opinion, and the production was stellar. Out of curiosity, what didn’t you like about it?

      • FutureBeyondSatan

        I’m with you on the Alestorm. It is a very entertaining listen.
        As for Ecdysis, everything seems a bit off. Whether it is the tuning, tone, timing or a combination of all three. I do not like the vocals either. I kept hearing about how old school this was supposed to sound. It doesn’t sound like any school I went to. My preferences roll with the likes of Vicious Art, Facebreaker, and Torture Division. Now that defines old school!

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          We’ll agree to disagree on Ecdysis, I listened to it again and it’s still awesome.Those three bands are all good fun, especially Torture Division. Facebreaker’s got some good tunes, but for whatever reason one of the crash cymbals on Dedicated to the Flesh just sounds terrible. Album still rules though. And while we’re on the topic of good old school death, have you ever checked out Winterwolf?

          • FutureBeyondSatan

            I just read some info on Winterwolf. I will definitely check them out. Thanks for the tip!
            I just got done listening to Noble Beast. It is cheese, but this cheese is spreadable! How in the hell was this one missed? Check it out!

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Thirty seconds in, already digging this. The cut out to the low-ish bit going into that wail is pure cheese, I like it. Kinda sounds like a cheese stuffed and cheese coated version of the latest Falconer in parts. This is good stuff!

          • FutureBeyondSatan

            I love it. I get a Cage/Falconer/Blind Guardian/Kamelot vibe.

  • I just discovered this blog so I don’t know whether you like symphonic metal or not, but I absolutely love “Shadows of a Broken Past” by Pythia!

    I got it like a couple weeks ago or so and I’ve pretty much been playing it nonstop ever since.

    • Welcome to the zoo! Don’t feed the trolls or the writers.

    • It’s quite a Pythia title.

      LOL.

      Anyway, yeah, I’ll check ’em out. Heart symphonic cheese metal.

  • Hutch Thirteen

    thank you for (L Saunders) for listing Mantar. What a fantastic album that i felt was slept on. I keep going back to it. Each list held some surprises that i look forward to going back and finding. cheers to my continued favorite music site.

    • Luke_22

      Yeah great album which deserved much more attention than it got. One of 2014’s most addictive releases.

  • De2013

    A BIG thank you to all the new and old writers of AMG for:

    * Continuously bringing the best metal reviews to the interwebs;
    * Doing this in a very entertaining and informative way;
    * Pointing me to new exciting music;
    * Making me look cool when I’m talking ’bout brickwalling, dynamic ranging compressions and the loudness wars. My co-workers are really impressed and finally see me as a subject matter expert on at least one subject!

  • The Metal Pigeon

    From a fellow ten picks only metal blogger to you guys —- I love the stalwart commitment to the shorter lists, for everyone writing at the site. I think we’re in the minority of metal sites doing that, but keeping lists shorter gives those numbers some meaning, and the top pick a ton of significance, in my eyes at least. I respect the Stereogum guys, but their 50 best metal albums of the year is one of those situations where the numbers get rather meaningless past the 20-ish mark (the ranking I mean, not the inclusion, they might as well just have them all listed in alpha-order).

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Couldn’t agree more,
      Personally I’m struggling to fit in a top ten this year so I can kind of understand :), but top 50 /40’s really are just BS and unless you’re Decibel or Pitchfork they’re not that interesting.
      Enjoying your podcast BTW, waiting for the AOTY show.

      • Ah wow, awesome that you listen, thanks! The Year End ep is coming soon!

    • Our Fortress Is Burning

      I actually like having more choices, and appreciate the shorter (but multiple lists) like on AMG, and the longer lists by one reviewer like Stereogum. I think that Michael Nelson at Stereogum does a good job with their year-end list. There are quite a few really good albums in his bottom 25 of 2014 in my opinion, and I really liked his 2013 list too.

      That being said, if a reviewer doesn’t feel a longer list is warranted due to a lack of quality releases, I don’t think that they should add to a list just to reach a certain number. PopMatters (for example) sometimes has 15 albums on their year-end list and sometimes 20.

  • Noobhammer

    I have been coming to this site for about a year and half now, and this is my first time commenting, but I have to say that this has truly become my main go to site for metal reviews/news.

    That being said, y’all introduced me to Saor, and I have been listening to it nonstop. I’m surprised it’s not on anyone’s year end list.

    The production may not be the greatest, but I feel like I’m saoring over the highlands on the back of a dragon slaying trolls whenever I listen to it.

    • Shawn Cypher

      Just made me go preview Saor, I guess I missed the “In Case You Missed It” review, hah! Sounds pretty good. Never heard of them before, which is awesome.. this is why I go to this site and no others!

      • Shawn Cypher

        And buy it in ALAC, due to the review. Whee!

    • tomasjacobi

      Just out of curiosity, what don’t you like about the production on the Saor album?
      I happen to think it’s one of the best sounding albums of the year.

      • Noobhammer

        For me, before I started listening to ALAC version, I only had the 320 MP3 version, in which I found the clean vocals and some of the folkish bits almost shoved in the back and barely audible.

        But I downloaded the ALAC version from their Bandcamp, and heard a huge difference

  • Shawn Cypher

    Pallbearer was my number 1. I’m glad to see it peaked in around #2 on a lot of your lists. It’s my number 1 by far, with almost 100 total plays on my iTunes playlist (and I’m not sure if that even counts my iPhone plays while driving/working)

    I previewed Soen tracks on YouTube and just can’t get into it that much. If I wanted to listen to a band that sounded like Tool, I’ll listen to Lesser Key (who at least has a member that was IN Tool during their best album).

    Non metal 2014’s: Crosses (because Chino). And The Faint “Doom Abuse” — just a lot of fun.

    My most disappointing album was Wolves in the Throne Room. I was expecting a black metal album, and got instrumental ambient electronic instead. Which isn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I was wanting when I purchased it.

    My second most disappointing was probably Atlas Moth (shocking), because I loved “An Ache for the Distance”, and this wasn’t as good to me. Maybe I need to give it more time.

  • theonewholikesmetal88

    I love these lists but am confused as to why Absyamal Dawns album is not on any list, I thought it was a great metal album but it shows up no where on anyones list, was it really that bad? And man I *tried* to get into Soen but its hard to get around how much of a tool rip off they are, I know people argue this point to death but its pretty clear that they are a huge influence behind this band, as a huge fan of tool growing up its hard to get into anyone who sounds SO much like them. But otherwise, lots of cool metal to check out!

  • David Rosales

    Apart from Mr. Steele, these writers’ picks smell of ignorance (in traditional art appreciation) and either hipsterism or trend-following.

    AMG’s pick of the year, Opeth, shows how clueless he is and how much a mindless fanboy he is.

    And expecting much from that piss-poor At the Gates line-up? Man, I know what you think but Slaughter of the Soul, the only child of Svensson-less At the Gates is a big piece of shit. This new album is a HUGE improvement on that. It’s just too divided, it tries to be a crowd pleaser. It’s too dumbed-down for the fans of the old stuff and too complicated for the Shitting of the Soul fans.

  • El_Cuervo

    I’m going to intentionally not click that link. I revel in my ignorance, hipsterism and trend-following. If you don’t like it, start your own blog which is so much more correct than this.

    • Yeah, it has a fucking reissue of Demilich on it. So.

      But regardless, I don’t need to be “real metal,” I just want to listen to music that is good. When I hear underground stuff that’s good, I like it. When I hear mainstream or hype bands that are good, I like them, too. Metal cred means nothing to me.

  • Solaire

    Glad to see Mantar making someone’s list, Death by Burning has been on constant loop for me the past few months.

  • Ben Mccullough

    I really wish someone here would do a review on Mare Cognitum’s new album. It’s in my top three for 2014.

  • Sppv Sppv

    Do you guys sit around huffing gas and smoking paint chips? Youre logic for At The Gates is bullshit. Because a whack load of losers copied their style it makes the album shitty. Fuck me and call me a whore thats the most baseless logic ever. Copying At The Gates makes the others talentless uselss hacks it doesnt take from At The Gates quality. Get off the paint for fuck sakes