Sunday, 21 December 2014


On a personal level 2014 will stick in my mind as a year of change instigated by a recurrent need to eradicate myself from comfortable/uncomfortable habits and scenarios. Seeking new physical/mental pastures to explore is part of my genetic make-up, so cyclically I throw myself into the deep cauldron of life to start afresh.
I look at music in the same way: while I know what I like and where to find it, I never tire to seek for something new, different and exciting. 
In spite of the little time available this year, I have had the privilege to enjoy a few outstanding full-length releases and a bunch of extremely rewarding EPs. 
Here is my personal journey into 2014's underground music's rugged landscapes!

Happy Winter Solstice

Alex Mysteerie


1 - NIHILL Verderf
This is for me THE outstanding dark album of the year by a long stretch: extreme, unpalatable, uncompromising, clever and gripping to its last breath. 
The masterful Dutchmen are capable of morphing like Death itself!

1 - STILLA Ensamhetens Andar
The Swedes's debut Till Stilla Falla was so good that I feared their sophomore would not quite rise to match it: I was elated to be utterly wrong! This is the one album you have to play when you seek to be thrown into an unforgiving storm of swirling ice. 
Devastatingly beautiful and gritty, topping my playlist once again.

3 - AHAMKARA The Embers of the Stars
This album, to be properly released early next year from Nordvis, represents to perfection what atmospheric black metal is all about for me. This music is soul-stirring, mystical, majestic, evocative, introspective yet universal... It does come from an artist with excellent pedigree (Wodensthrone).
Stellar in every way! 

This Place That Contains My Spirit
South Dakota shimmering with Cascadian glory: so wonderful, the lo-fi production is just perfect for capturing the manifold facets of pure emotion... Well done Eisenwald for re-releasing this!

5 - FEN Carrion Skies
Greg Chandler and Fen together had to produce fireworks in a yet again stunning album underlying the huge dedication, unstoppable growth and talent of a still criminally under-appreciated band which offers a superb marriage of intelligent lyrics and haunting sounds (aaand breathe...).
Hard-to-find all-round substance!

6 - THE GREAT OLD ONES Tekeli-li
Amazingly talented band, it all comes together when seen live! 

7 - DORNENREICH Freiheit
This timeless band is very special to me for many reasons and this precious jewel of an album represents a beautiful farewell. 
Endless love and respect. 

 8 - KAYODOT Coffins on Io
A much needed aural antidote to counteract bleakness and negativity overload: very captivating and rewarding... 

9 - BETHLEHEM Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
I love the journey that some German black metal musicians have made across the years, coming up with very individual and eclectic albums exploring sounds outside the boundaries of the extreme. 
Bethlehem came up with something quite special...


10 - LOTUS THIEF Rervm
An album inspired by Lucretius' De Rerum Naturae, wow!! As a fervid admirer of Epicurus' groundbreaking philosophy, I love this album's concept, the artwork and the exquisite, alluring eclecticism of this intriguing exploring duo (A mention goes to Botanist's VI:Flora, although I prefer Otrebor's work on Lotus Thief).  

11 - STARGAZER A Merging to the Boundless
Cool and eclectic black/prog-death from Oz (Damon Good of Adelaide's Mournful Congregation on vox and bass is outstanding!) captivatingly swaying from 
vintage morbidity to avant-garde virulence. 
Highly recommended.

12 - MARE COGNITUM Phobos Monolith
Breathless cosmic black metal from California which is every bit as atmospheric, darkly vibrant and mysterious as its cover!

13 - AGALLOCH The Serpent and The Sphere
A piece of work crafted with superior artistry. 
 Agalloch are masters, truly the cream of the crop.

14 - ALVENRAD Habitat
Someone had to revitalise folk metal: the Dutch show how it's done with tons of endearing freshness, contagious positivity and vintage influences. 
The revelation of the year!
(I also want to mention the beautiful, well crafted folk compilation One and All, Together, for Home hosted by R. Saenko of Drudkh with various excellent heathen metal artists).

15 - SKOGEN I Döden
My favorite pagan black metal album of 2014, dripping atmosphere and epicness while retaining superb harshness, hallmark of Nordvis. 

16 - HANDS OF ORLAC Figli del Crepuscolo

Super vintage melodic Italian horror doom with great female vocals and great guitar sound (and flute!): perfect for those nights when I pine for Roadburn! 

17 - NACHTMYSTIUM The World We Left Behind
I enjoy this farewell album a lot: it is often dark & catchy in a Mission and Nephilim kind of way, with the bonus of having Judd's filthy black metal rasp all over it depicting his self-inflicted "mortal hell" with decadent rockstar talent. Eminently playable.

18 - FOSCOR Those Horrors Wither
The Catalans, from being undisputed kings of Spanish black metal, effortlessly move forth into progressive territory with a jaw-dropping display of accomplished musicianship, calling forth the magic of Enslaved, Voivod and Katatonia nonetheless.

 19 - KRIEG Transient      
Gripping album, old Krieg are refining their craft.
"Order of the Solitary Road" is the best album-opener of the year!

20 - EMPYRIUM The Turn of the Tides
Sublime art that looks back to restore the soul.

21 - THE WOUNDED KINGS Consolamentum
Hauntingly good!

Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry

Promulgation of the Fall
Solid brutality.

24 - ANAAL NATHRAKH Desideratum
A reassuring presence. I love them!

25 - ASCENSION The Dead of the World
Well crafted, good atmospherics: it sucks you in.

Greek madness, what's not to love?

Always bewitching.

28 - SAOR Aura
Enchanting celtic magic...

The Divination of Antiquity
A very good, very popular album.


Last BUT not least: the list could easily be reversed...


 VYRE The Initial Frontier Pt II
I loved Vyre's first instalment last year! Part II is a slower proposition, but it still works for me as the concoction of progressive/avant/catchy/epic sounds and intelligent sci-fi lyrics (sung in a vocal style I really dig) is quite irresistible...


CULT OF FIRE Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně

CRONE Gehenna



Try not to Love everything you Destroy

DARKHER The Kingdom Field

EVADNE Dethroned of Light


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.