Steel For Brains Best Heavy Music Releases of 2014

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The end of the 2014 is upon us. For many, this means drinking egg nog, eating too much (to ward off the impending deep freeze), and spending time with loved ones. For others, it means collectively gathering as miscreants to hate the very fabric of Christmas. For fans of heavy metal, the end of the year may mean something else entirely. The end of the year is a time, collectively, to look back at the year of music as a whole.

Where did the time go? We gather around the digital watercooler to discuss our favorite albums, the biggest whiffs and flushes, and some of the records we loved that got buried in the shuffle. It also means lists. Lots and lots of lists. Lists of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I, for one, am a giant fan of the end of the year (EOTY) and album of the year (AOTY) lists that most music publications release. They are a good reminder of albums I loved and ones I missed but meant to check out. They confirm or rebut our exquisite taste as fans of music, heavy metal, and power electronics. I’m kidding on that last one, I have never seen a PExxx best of. I’m not saying they don’t exist, I just haven’t seen one, yet. They allow us, as fans, to gauge where our taste lies within the metal blogosphere. They tell us who we should like as writers and tastemakers and who we should keep far away from, by comparing those lists to our own chicken-scratching-on-toilet-paper-we-stole-from-work Best Of Lists.

Steel For Brains released its list of the top albums of 2014 this past weekend. It’s a list you should check out (sorry Joe, MasterLord, and W.). Steel For Brains was founded in July of 2012. It has consistently offered intelligent discourse on heavy metal and has also had great interviews with some big names in heavy music. It’s a site you should follow or check out if you haven’t (I’m really sorry guys). Its founder, Jonathan Dick, has been the largest contributor; it now also features regular contributions from the excellent Craig Hayes (of popmatters.com) and others as well. In Steel For Brains fashion, its EOTY list is a monster. It’s comprised of 50 LPs and 10 EPs/splits/demos. Let’s have a look at the SfB list (check out their list for their descriptions and music accompanying each album). These are in alphabetical order, by artists.


50 LPs

A Pregnant Light: My Game Doesn’t Have a Name
Abigor: Leytmotif Luzifer – The 7 Temptations of Man
Agalloch: The Serpent & The Sphere
Alraune: The Process of Self-Immolation
Artificial Brain: Labyrinth Constellation
Atriarch: An Unending Pathway
Behemoth: The Satanist
Blut Aus Nord: Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry
Burial Hex: The Heirophant
Coffinworm: IV.I.VIII
Cretin: Stranger
Dead Congregation: Promulgation of the Fall
Diocletian: Gesundrian
Earth: Primitive and Deadly
Eyehategod: Eyehategod [S/T]
Generation of Vipers: Coffin Wisdom
Godflesh: A World Lit Only By Fire
Gridlink: Longhena
Have A Nice Life: The Unnatural World
Helms Alee: Sleepwalking Sailors
High Spirits: You Are Here
Impetuous Ritual: Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence
Indian: From All Purity
Krieg: Transient
Lord Mantis: Death Mask
Menace Ruine: Venus Armata
Midnight: No Mercy For Mayhem
Morbus Chron: Sweven
Nightfell: The Living Ever Mourn
Pallbearer: Foundations of Burden
Panopticon: Roads to the North
Pharmakon: Bestial Burden
Primordial: Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Scott Walker & Sunn 0))): Soused
Swallowed: Lunarterial
Swans: To Be Kind
Teitanblood: Death
Thantifaxath: Sacred White Noise
The Body & The Haxan Cloak: I Shall Die Here
Thou: Heathen
Tombs: Savage Gold
Triptykon: Melana Chasmata
Vorde: Vorde [S/T]
Winterfylleth: The Divination of Antiquity
Witch Mountain: Mobile of Angels
Wo Fat: The Conjuring
Wovenhand: Refractory Obdurate
Wrought Iron: Rejoice and Transcend
Yautja: Songs of Descent
YOB: Clearing the Path to Ascend


10 EPs/Splits/Demos

Cult of Fire: Ctvrta Symfonie Ohne
Gath Smane: Transmuted Marrow
Heresiarch: Waelwulf
Inter Arma: The Cavern
Obliti Devoravit: Oblique Diversions
Predatory Light: MMXIV
Primitive Man/Hexis: Split
Urzeit/Akatharsia: Split
Vassafor/Sinistrous Diabolus: Split
Venowl/Cara Neir: Split


I’m not going to get into every album on this list; look, we have a comments section. As stated, this is a monster. Extreme metal’s subgenres are well represented here. One thing that struck me in 2014, Our Dark Lord’s Year of Hideous Sludge, is how well represented black metal is this list. A ton of great black metal was released this year. I heard albums I dug from Abigor, Alraune, Blut Aus Nord, Cult of Fire, Krieg, and Thantifaxath, and watched the internet collectively fawn over Agalloch and Panopticon.

In my mind, there are two glaring omissions to this list: Psalm Zero’s The Drain and Pyrrhon’s The Mother of Virtues. Personal taste aside, how does The Mother of Virtues not make this list? I can see not including Psalm Zero, perhaps as far as heaviness is concerned, but the list does include Swans’ To Be Kind. The publishing of this list was a great reminder that I meant to check out Primordial; the advance song I heard from Where Greater Men Have Fallen kicked ass and I still mean to listen to album as a whole. Heavier than your favorite metal album this year, Burial Hex’s The Heirophant is a brilliant record I’ve had on repeat for weeks. At my last count, six albums from these sixty will make the cut on my thirteen spots for my Best Albums of the Year. Many more were in the running, and some made the list before they were taken off in the final moments of its creation. Keep on the lookout for that as the Toilet Ov Void prepares to enter the EOTY fray.

What did you love on Steel For Brains list this year? What did you hate? What did they miss? How does the list stack up against your own EOTY list?




 

Thanks to Christian for hooking me up with some edits for this article.

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  • Pfffffff top 50.

    • Edward #RIPNEGROD

      Technically, sixty.

      It covers a lot of ground.

    • God

      Going for top 100?

  • Death

    U2 apparently topped Rolling Stone’s aoty list this year.

  • NefariousDude

    Pretty solid list for the most part. We should have a poll for the toilet community’s favortie album of the year! #archspiredisqualified

    • Edward #RIPNEGROD

      Nefarious, I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but, I am under the impression that is in the works.

      • It’s happening!

      • NefariousDude

        Maybe a not metal list just for funsies as well 😉

        • Edward #RIPNEGROD

          I like fun!

          • Tyree

            Let’s go have fun
            Let’s go have fun

          • NefariousDude

            Not too much though! We don’t want these frowns upside down

          • Death

            Can’t we just stare at each other and be mopey?

          • KJM

            I’ll mope with ya for a bit if you like.

        • VV.

          I’ve got some good nods for a non-metal list. RTJ2, FKA Twigs, etc.

          • NefariousDude

            It’s been a big year in metal for me. But I’ve got a handful of non metal delectables. Real estate atlas >>>>>

          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            Music >>>>>>>>>>>>

          • NefariousDude

            I need to check out more twigs. I listened to like 20 seconds of the new stuff and gave up

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            How bout dat new This Will Destroy You?

    • We totally will!

      • Also, if Godsmack or King 810 appear anywhere on the community list I’m burning this website down.

        • and whoever put it on the list gets an all expenses paid trip to the interrogation room basement. AND YOU DONT WANT TO KNOW WHAT GOES ON IN THE BASEMENT!

        • My hand has been hovering over the self-destruct button ever since Deafhaven won Riff ov the Week.

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            *Waits for Liturgy to win a ROTW*

          • Actually, a ROTW edition of completely polarizing bands would be a lot of fun! Liturgy still won’t win tho.

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            Personally, I dig Liturgy. Hunter rustles jimmies like no other. I also like Devfhevvn

          • I too like Devfhevvn. Liturgy just doesn’t do anything for me other than provide lolz at pretentious manifestos.

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            Speaking of, its about time they had a new album. Its been a good while since Aesthetica. Maybe he’s trying to reach some new pinnacle of pretentiousness.

          • They’re putting something out next year.

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            I’ll probably like it.

          • Death

            Poser buddies for life!

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            I’m so lifeloving that its kvlt.

          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            Heafdeaven?

          • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

            BUNSAVER WAS AOTY 2013 BECAUSE FEELS.

          • Dead @ “Bunsaver.”

          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            Colored Sands was prbly my srs AOTY last year.

          • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

            Mine too, along with Teethed glory and Injury.

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            Mammal >>>>>>>

          • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

            Never listened to it.

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE
          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            A couple guys in our community were trying to front on TG&I recently, and I was like, wut.

          • VV.

            Saywut? That album rules.

          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            A dark day for the ToH imho.

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            Oh wut? I’m too trve now?

          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            #2trve4trill

          • Artpop. completely srs / 10
            …followed by Vhol and Colored Sands!

          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            VHOL = trill

          • NefariousDude

            FORRRRRREVVVVVVAAAAAA! FOREVVVVVVAAAAAAAA

          • KJM

            Blood Ceremony – The Eldritch Dark

          • VV.

            Colored Sands was my number 2. Cult of Luna’s Vertikal was my number 1.

          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            I still need to listen to that! I’m gonna. I wanna.

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            ermaguts Vertikal was awesome.

          • CT-12

            Definitely was one of my favorite albums of last year, though I was late in finally buying it. Power Trip and Lord Dying were my personal top favorites of last year.

          • George Clarke

            heh

          • HessianHunter

            I would vote for Liturgy. That band is svveet.

          • Jajajaja.. We’ve been graced by the mercy of our mods to not delete this blog. REPENT OF YOUR SINS!

          • Tyree

            Fuck!!! That happened?!?

          • Stockhausen

            And rightfully so. Bro.

          • KingPagliacciOvFlushMountain
          • VV.

            Your Deafheaven victory over the Masterlord will go down in Toilet history.

          • Hey, I know that guy

          • George Clarke

            oh hey

          • George Clarke

            hehehehehe

          • Xan

            Slay them all with steel!

        • We can still vote for In This Moment right?

        • Gvacamole Jim

          They take my entire top ten list. 5 spots for Godsmack, 5 for King 810 BECAUSE THEY’RE THAT GOOD AND ARE THE NEXT SLIPKNOT AND DON’T FOLLOW TRENDS

        • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

          np then ill just have to provide my top 8…

      • d00d, what about a top 10 whiffs of the year??

        • VV.

          Now you’re speaking my language. I can start that list: In Flames, Opeth, At the Gates…

        • Dental_Damnation

          They covered it pretty well already on that other site in their “Best of’s”

    • lol he got jokes tho

  • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

    No The Old Believer? List sucks.

    • Death

      I agree with two of those (GB and OMG).

      • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

        That’s pretty good for someone who doesn’t like anything!

    • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

      lol Fallujah sux.

      • :`(

      • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

        What do you know, Goat!? You eat aluminum cans!

    • Edward #RIPNEGROD

      Mutilation Rites are trill but I have not heard their newest.

      • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

        Check it out, ed. Its totes good.

        • Edward #RIPNEGROD

          I wanna.

    • KingPagliacciOvFlushMountain

      Seriously, 50 albums and not one is Atlas Moth or Falls of Rauros?

  • Death

    Dat To Be Kind. Buutiful.

    • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

      To be Kind >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      • Elite Extremöphile

        For a second I forgot about the album and thought you guys were just talking about how we should all be kind, which we all know is for cvnting lifelovers.

      • Edward #RIPNEGROD

        I haven’t given To Be Kind the time it deserves this year, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say

        The Seer > To Be Kind

        • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

          Haven’t listened to The Seer yet. I’m quite the noob on Swans discography. I’m currently listening to Filth and To be Kind.

          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            I really like My Father Will Guide Me A Rope Up To The Sky, it’s part of their comeback and not two hours long, lol

          • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

            2 hour long albums >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            I’m not saying there is anything wrong with them, but I prefer to listen to albums in their entirety and I have been super busy for awhile! I did get a chance to listen to The Seer front to back many times, like when I was cleaning my condo.

        • Tom Waits For Death

          The Seer didn’t live up to my expectations after Rope. To Be Kind>>>>>>

  • Tyree

    Sea Oleena not to be seen once again. I’m adding her to my metal list. Fuck it!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6tRub7Kl9Q

  • Gvrp

    Not bad for a Dick.

    • Edward #RIPNEGROD

      I’ve heard about half of the albums on this list. I counted. Lol.

      • Gvrp

        You’re more in touch than me, then.
        (mostly listens to death metal)

    • same here.. this end-year lists are making us more hipsters than before!! 😛

      • Gvrp

        Damn kids and their new albums.

  • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

    ooooooooooh Wovenhand is on the list. Wovenhand’s latest album is FUCKING GREAT and you should listen to it if you like metal.

    • Death

      I like Wovenhand. Blush Music is grrrrreat.
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kHcKpSlxcmI

    • Edward #RIPNEGROD

      I really, really enjoy his first album. I’m not well versed in his discography, though.

      • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

        If you liked Consider the Birds you should check out The Threshingfloor, one of the more Folky albums. It’s a bit busier than CtB, and has more diverse instrumentation. Have you listened to Eugene’s previous band 16 Horsepower? Check out their album Folklore, it’s the best the man has ever made and my favorite folk album. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi0Vln6nJeI

    • Tom Waits For Death

      Why did I think of Tim Lambesis’ old band. Without him.

  • NefariousDude

    I JUST SAW A BOBCAT IN THE WILD FOR THE FIRST TIME. 2 cute

  • FeelTheDarkness

    Godflesh for me.
    pa-straw-meeeee

  • Tyree

    Not one Iron Bonehead Productions or Fallen Empire Records full length album on the list. Wow!

    • Yeah, where is Unholier Master?!

      • Tyree

        Yeah! I’m surprised that Necroholocaust’s first ever full length is not getting more hype too.

        • It dropped pretty late in the year, though.

          • Tyree

            Trve. Whatever, I liked it.

          • Edward #RIPNEGROD

            December is a killer time to drop stuff if you care about blog world press.

  • Tyree

    Glad to see Nightfell and Primitive Man getting some attention though.

  • Death

    Shit! Jarboe will be coming to Finland next year and I’ll be unable to go see her.

  • KJM

    Triptykon: Melana Chasmata

    Witch Mountain: Mobile of Angels

    Wo Fat: The Conjuring

    3 of my top 10 for the year

    • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

      No SKRONKS?

      • KJM

        Perhaps not the kind of SKRONK you’re used to.

        • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

          There are subgenres of SKRONK now? Man I need to pay more attention.

          • SKRONKcore, technical skronk metal, progressive skronk metal, nü skronk, neoclassical skronk metal, blackened skronk metal, folk skronk metal (with bagpipes), groovy skronk metal (with salsa), brutal skronk metal, crossover skrunk. skrunk punk, polka skrunk metal, skrunk with chicken and cheese, and the list goes on!

          • KJM

            Don’t forget Stoner Skronk.

          • KJM

            Whatever it is, Wo Fat’s got it.

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            I smoke skronk erday

          • KJM

            OG Skronk Kush

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            Skronk Diesel

          • KJM

            Skronk Skunk. Try saying that ish 3 times fast after a few bowls.

          • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

            I’m too busy #BLASTINGOFF to try, KJ

  • Hubert, Goat ov Doom (and Void

    Baring teeth isn’t on it 10/10^100000000000000. wtf guis y u no SKRONK?

    • I find their lack of skronk disturbing.

      • i sense a disturbance in the skronk

        • KJM

          The SKRONK Awakens.

          • NefariousDude

            Did I miss something? Lol

    • Gvacamole Jim

      That Baring Teeth album needs to be there. Such an incredible listen.

      • VV.

        I finally listened to it yesterday, and I can only describe it as hypnotic. I don’t usually hit repeat immediately after listening to an album, but I listened to it multiple times in a row, trying to delve into the intricacies.

        • Gvacamole Jim

          I had the exact same reaction. It was one of those albums where you immediately need to understand the nuances of the songwriting.

          • NefariousDude

            I will def check out

  • Stockhausen

    Panopticon but no Falls of Rauros. Interesting. Good list though.

    • KingPagliacciOvFlushMountain

      I just recently saw a list that had Falls of Rauros but no Panopticon. Unfortunately, I’ve looked as so many lists already that I can’t remember which one it was.

  • oh c’mon, everyone knows the best way to blog is to have every contributor post a separate article listing his/her top 15!!

  • NefariousDude

    Helms alee was an interesting listen.

  • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

    Is there a label for the following condition? Inability to make a decision with respect to the top ten extreme music releases due to the sheer volume of releases? ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I’m frozen with indecision.

  • George Clarke

    thank you moderators

  • Death

    Oh my, someone else that liked Terrestrials!

  • For starters, that list is missing Baptists, Trap Them and Everytime I Die. What, those albums no good?

    • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

      TRAP THEM!>>>>>>>>>>>> Fucks i love that album. ETID too, but that ain’t metal

      • ETID is difficult pigeon hole but I wouldn’t exactly call them a rock band either.

        • George Clarke

          its just straight up old school metalcore

        • BLVCKBEVRD, PYRVTE VVMPYRE

          I easily categorize them as being in the hardcore/punk genre

    • George Clarke

      didnt listen to the baptists or trap them albums but man that ETID album was p gr8

  • KingPagliacciOvFlushMountain

    This may be the only list that has Alcest on it.

    • George Clarke

      yeah well ya know me and neige are homies have u heard lightbather??? hes up in that shit, 4real

  • old_man_doom

    I think everyone kinda collectively forgot Anima Morte’s “Upon Darkened Stains”. True, it has only been out for a week, but if you like proggy, horror soundtrack tunes with just the right amount heavy, then this album will kick your ass. It could also be a good stand-in for those of you who didn’t enjoy Pale Communion, as far as prog goes (note: I fucking love Pale Communion).

    • Edward #RIPNEGROD

      That (Upon Darkened Stains) sounds like it could be pretty enjoyable. Personally I think the end of the year is a horrible time to put out music as far as online press is concerned. That is what I have learned/seen over the last couple of years.

  • Xan

    I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t put my top albums of the year in a ranking order. I simply can’t choose which album has been my favorite. I think I must have a different taste in music too as I have several bands which nobody likes or knows about.

  • Dental_Damnation

    Am I the only one around here who’s heard Abysmal Dawn’s new record?!!! It’s a goddamn beauty of a death metal album

  • Lacertilian

    As a southern hemisphere dweller I have never tried real eggnog, not sure if I want to as it will undoubtedly be over 40C for days on end here around that time but fuck it.

    Best eggnog recipes and I will make an unholy combination mix – Go!.