As with every other music blog or publication, we at Svbterranean are obligated to give you our silly opinions on what were the top albums of the year. I could list every single release I enjoyed this year, but I am limited on patience and writing ability. So, I was able to narrow it down to a modest 30. These are records that, not limited to just metal and hardcore either, that stuck with me long after the initial listen. Feel free to peruse the list below and tell me how my opinion is bullshit, because I will probably agree with you.
Brain Tentacles – Brain Tentacles
Lament Cityscape & Theologian – Soft Tissue
clipping. – Splendor & Misery
Black Table – Obelisk
Zvi – Zvi II: Death Stops Us All
Lake of Violet – The Startling Testimony of Plumb Lines
Touché Amoré – Stage Four
30. Vermin Womb – Decline
29. Solange – A Seat at the Table
28. Piss Vortex – Future Cancer
27. Something is Waiting – The Something is Waiting Band
26. Spotlights – Tidals
25. Eternal Sleep – The Emptiness Of…
24. Spurn – Comfort in Nothing
23. Dead Register – Fiber
22. Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
21. Heiress – Made Wrong
20. Virus – Memento Collider
19. Neurosis – Fires Within Fires
18. Wang Wen – Sweet Home, Go!
17. Oaken – King Beast
16. Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
15. Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis
14. Planes Mistaken for Stars – Prey
13. Car Bomb – Meta
12. Phantom Winter – Sundown Pleasures
11. Coma Cluster Void – Mind Cemeteries
10. Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows
2014’s Lowgazers showed Plebeian Grandstand taking their first big leap into dissonant black metal territory, while still retaining their hardcore drive. False Highs, True Lows, however, shows this French act diving deeper down that malevolent rabbit hole made popular by the enigmatic Deathspell Omega. Macabre riff structures, abyssal melodies and terrifying vocals rein supreme throughout this devilish record, and refuses to let up its assault for a single moment. It’s not for the faint of heart.
9. Sealclubber – Stoical
Sealclubber‘s debut record, Stoical, is a unique and crushing affair that points toward greater things in the future for this UK act. From the opening grimy hardcore burst on “Tales of a Romanian Horse Whisperer” to the sprawling, melancholy of “I Only Desire the Things That Will Destroy Me in the End”, this volatile opus keeps the listener on their toes for 40 glorious minutes. One minute it’s sludge, the next it’s hardcore, then the next it’s post-rock. It navigates through genres with ease while still being insurmountably heavy – and that’s a feat in and of itself.
8. Can’t Swim – Death Deserves a Name
With Brand New pretentiously announcing their disbandment two years in advance, someone has to pick up the emo/post-hardcore/pop-punk torch and do it well. Well, it looks like New Jersey’s Can’t Swim is going to be the band to do it if their debut EP, Death Deserves a Name is any indication. Gritty and raw vocal performances, undeniably infectious hooks and instrumentation that balances between poppy and aggressive. To put it simply, it’s Brand New with more balls.
7. Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Though bands like Dodecahedron and the aforementioned Plebeian Grandstand are building upon what Deathspell Omega started, sometimes you can’t beat the original. The elusive French act came out of nowhere yet again with a four-track EP of some of their more discombobulating and evil sounding material to date. The Synarchy of Molten Bones is Deathspell doing what they do best – crafting forward-thinking and horrifying black metal that will always leave their contemporaries in the dust.
6. Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
Only a band like Gorguts could make a concept record about an ancient library interesting and engaging. Pleiades’ Dust is of the Canadian tech metal extraordinaires most ambitious works to date. This 33-minute, single song opus shows that this type of metal was made for long form composition. The band took all of the strengths of their previous full-length, Colored Sands, and condensed them into one sprawling masterpiece that thinks outside the parameters of traditional death metal, or even technical death metal.
5. Reproacher – Nature’s Bastard
Wyoming’s Reproacher move away from abrasive metallic hardcore to something more vile and ugly on Nature’s Bastard. The album churns out disfigured, chaotic, sludgy hardcore that will immediately draw comparisons to early Gaza material and even Sweden’s Crowpath. It’s a dark and desolate release that is devoid of any sort of hope. Nature’s Bastard is Reproacher‘s crowning achievement to date and will hopefully be the first of many more opuses to come.
4. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
The reigning kings of mathcore go out with a bang on their sixth and presumably final album, Dissociation. Here the band throw all caution to the wind and experiment more than they ever have on any of their previous releases. Dissociation gives listeners a retrospective, if you will, of each of Dillinger‘s releases, pulling characteristics from each album and combining them into one 50-minute tour de force. From the spastic assault of “Limerent Death”, to the apocalyptic R&B of the title track, Dissociation is a testament to the power this band held.
3. Muscle & Marrow – Love
Feminism, loss and, naturally, love, play key roles on Muscle & Marrow‘s sophomore effort Love. This emotionally potent record is brought to life by stripped down, hypnotic guitars and drum patterns, a wealth of minimalist electronica, and Kira Clark’s enthralling vocal performances. It’s hard not to be enthralled by the interesting, yet deceptively simplistic song structures and raw emotionality of this record. It’s an album that gets underneath the skin and stays there indefinitely.
2. Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas – Mariner
Cult of Luna have always been at the forefront of the post-metal genre, constantly reinventing it and pushing it forward. Julie Christmas‘ eclectic and harrowing vocals have been celebrated in cult metal circles for years. The collaboration between both of these musical forces, unsurprisingly, produced staggering results. The triumphant and expansive Mariner is filled to the brim with towering post-metal instrumentation, ethereal atmospheres and completely enthralling vocal performances that will have listeners coming back for more.
1. Oathbreaker – Rheia
Oathbreaker have always been a good band, but Rheia was unexpected. Listeners could get a general idea of where the band was heading with 2013’s Eros/Anteros, but no one was ready for the emotionally powerful magnum opus that Rheia turned out to be. The band took the recent black metal/shoegaze hybrid craze and turned it on its head, bringing new elements to the subgenre and generally approaching it in a different way. These songs are written on a grandiose scale and are full of raw emotion that is heightened by Caro Tanghe’s feral screams and fragile clean vocals. Rheia is equally blistering and soothing, anguished and beautiful. It’s an album that doesn’t just need to be listened to, it needs to be felt. Oathbreaker have truly outdone themselves and have set the bar high. Believe the hype.