Another year. Another year of great metal, comebacks, surprises, letdowns, and everything in between. For Teethofthedivine, it was a transitional year as staff turnover was balanced by amazing output that resulted in new content virtually every day of the year. Former Internal Bleeding vocalist Frank Rini joined our ranks, and a number of fresh-faced, bright-eyed writers entered the fray, allured by free metal and a chance to have their voices heard. A few of the regular, grizzled denizens remained.

However, it was business as usual getting both old and new staff to get their year-end lists submitted. It took weeks of Liam Neeson-like emails and gravelly-voiced threats (“I have particular set of skills, skills that make me a nightmare for writers like you. Get me your list and I’ll think nothing of it. But if you don’t get your list submitted, I will find you and I will send you an everso slightly peeved Facebook message”) to get the lists all submitted in time.

So without further ado, here are the Staff Picks for 2014. Please feel free to share, comment and add your own list.  Here’s to 2015!

by Staff

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Luke Saunders

One of the great privileges of being a music writer, aside from the sheer weight of albums we get access to in the promo portal, is the broader perspective it has given me in my overall tastes and approach to listening to heavy music. Sure there will always be favorite albums, genres and bands that I’ll inevitably return to time and time again, but over the past couple of years I’ve felt a sense of change in some of the types of metal I’m gravitating towards. Despite some sluggish months, on the whole 2014 delivered on a grand scale, particularly the explosive last few months.

Amidst it all, Eyehategod, At the Gates and Godflesh avoided the pitfalls of returning from the dead, delivering accomplished comeback efforts. Meanwhile on my local shores, Australian titans Ne Obliviscaris, Aeon of Horus and Hadal Maw crafted albums worthy of high praise. Opeth pulled a big surprise by making a coherent prog rock album that featured some vintage moments, while the increasingly mainstreamed Mastodon continued writing damn fine sludgy rock songs on the addictive Once More ‘Round the Sun, haters be damned.

Last year I was guilty of a bit of overkill with my end of year list so I’ve taken a (slightly) restrained approach as I try and unscramble my brain and make sense of the gluttony of killer metal albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to this year. Finally, I would like to extend my appreciation and thanks to all the readers that have frequented the site this year (and previous years) and make this gig so worthwhile.

So adding a (lame) element of suspense, here’s my Top 10 albums of 2014 in reverse order…

10. Mors Principium Est – Dawn of the 5th era (AFM Records). Holy shit! This sucker completely blindsided me and despite AFM Records doing the band a disservice by scheduling the release of the Finnish band’s fifth album during the wind down month of December, its impact over a short period was immensely powerful. Expertly crafted and brilliantly written melodic death metal, high on thrills and cutthroat savagery. Rips At War with Reality to shreds. “Wrath of Indra” is surely one of the most blistering, bloodthirsty tunes of the year.

9. Mantar – Death by Burning (Svart Records). The Hamburg based duo wrote a powerhouse debut crackling with energy and loaded with rabid hooks and punishing riffs. Sludgy, punk-infected metal at its hard-hitting best.

8. Giant Squid – Minoans (Translation Loss Records). There’s no-one quite like Giant Squid in the wide reaching realms of contemporary heavy music. Wildly innovative and criminally underrated, the band returned with yet another triumphant, shape-shifting opus. Minoans is a beautifully crafted, emotionally intense and oddly soothing concept album, featuring some of the band’s most inspired songwriting.

7. Bastard Sapling – Instinct is Forever (Gilead Media). An icy cold, hate-fuelled and fiercely ambitious black metal opus that seemed to drop under the radar of many. Bastard Sapling may not share the profile of other well received black metal bands in 2014, but they delivered where it counted with their brilliant sophomore album. Raw savagery culled from the second wave and fused with dynamic songwriting and striking moments of haunting beauty.

6. Artificial Brain – Labyrinth Constellation (Profound Lore Records). 2014 was a banner year for the often maligned technical death metal sub-genre. No album quite dazzled like the debut from the experienced hands of newcomers Artificial Brain. Proggy, discordant weirdness that summoned nightmarish visions of a decaying future. Labyrinth Constellation marked a brutal, unorthodox and fiercely unique mutation of the style.

5. Revocation – Deathless (Metal Blade Records). Revocation can do no wrong in my book. Prolific and consistent, the band bounced back from another rapid turnaround to deliver one of the strongest albums of their career. Deathless contains all the technical fireworks and dazzling leads I’ve come to expect from the band, while the songwriting was darker, heavier and catchier than ever.

4. Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum (Metal Blade Records). Yeah the destructive UK duo were accused of treading water again with Desideratum, but honestly with songwriting this good I could give a fuck. How they manage to make such abrasive, extreme music so goddamn catchy amazes me.

3. Horrendous – Ecdysis (Dark Descent Records). The Chills was a solid old school death metal album, but I had no idea Horrendous were capable of writing an album such as this. Injecting some proggy flair and guitar theatrics into their formidable old school formula paid handsome dividends, adding a deft touch of class to their primitive songwriting roots. Superb production and killer artwork capped off a sensational album.

2. Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore Records). Sorrow and Extinction will always be an album I hold close to my heart, but with Foundations of Burden Pallbearer developed and enhanced nearly every aspect of their contemporary, prog-infused take on traditional doom. More dynamic and adventurous songwriting, coupled with improved vocals, production and drumming helped elevate Pallbearer to elite status. Foundations of Burden is destined to be a timeless doom masterpiece.

1. Soen – Tellurian (Spinefarm Records). The second album from this Swedish progressive metal band featuring the considerable talents of ex-Opeth drummer Martin Lopez completely caught me off guard. A huge improvement over their impressive debut, Tellurian’s hooky, song-based prog has kept me enthralled time and time again. Joel Ekelöf’s sublime vocal performance was backed by the band’s formidable musicianship and songwriting skills. An emotive, haunting and utterly thrilling listening experience.

Best of the Rest (in no particular order)…

Dawnbringer – Night of the Hammer
YOB – Clearing a Path to Ascend
Gridlink – Longhena
Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral
Soreption – Engineering the Void
Hannes Grossman – The Radial Covenant
Alunah – Awakening the Forest
The Atlas Moth – The Old Believer
Decapitated – Blood Mantra
Slugdge – Gastronomicon
Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry
Thy Darkened Shade – Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet
Morbus Chron – Sweven

Best of the brainscramblers: Pyrrhon – The Mother of Virtues, Serdce – Timelessness

Best EPVehemenz – Vehemenz

Best artworkHorrendous/Blut Aus Nord

Stars on the RiseBlack Crown Initiate, Dreamgrave

Good but way overratedTriptykon – Melana ChasmataBehemoth – The Satanist

UnderratedVinterbris – Solace

Most impressive reinventionJob For a Cowboy – Sun Eater

Biggest Disappointment: Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us (flat production and wildly uneven songwriting overshadowed the album’s high points)

Non-Metal PicksOpeth – Pale CommunionSólstafir – ÓttaRun the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2


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  1. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    Hey Adam-

    Where did you find the numbers for your piece about total metal albums being released by year? I’d like to take a gander at that, I was floored to hear there were more metal albums released in 2013 than in all of the 80’s combined!

  2. Commented by: Adam Palm

    Check out the Metal Archives advanced search page. Under the “search albums” tab you can specify a date range and it will spit out everything released during that time with the total number of entries. You can also specify the release type if you want, which is how I figured out that there were 5,905 full-lengths released in 2013 but only 2,939 from the beginning of 1980 to the end of 1989.

  3. Commented by: SRK

    A lot of love for Dark Descent in the staff picks, but to my mind the best thing they released this year wasn’t mentioned: Swallowed – Lunarterial. Totally unhinged.

  4. Commented by: Luke_22

    Really cool reading these lists. As much good shit as I listened to this yesr there’s still tons of stuff to check out. Looking foraard to delving jnto Saor, Archspire and Stargazer especially.

  5. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    Thanks Adam!

  6. Commented by: xrefused

    Great lists there is plenty I need to catch up on. Just wanna say that An autumn for crippled children rules, they have been pumping out some seriously bleAK shit every year since 2010, and are basically what the cure would be like if they were a BM band.

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