January 6, 2015

The Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda albums of 2014

Written by Kevin Page.

I always complete my Best Of list by the beginning of December. But that means there are sometimes a few releases that come out late in the month I can't get to. It also means you probably won't see them on many other lists either. Besides all that, there are always albums that just slip through the cracks. Sometimes I overlook an album or it doesn't click with me until much later. In that spirit, here's 5 metal albums you may not see mentioned all that much but definitely need to check out (and one non metal album that's just too good to pass up).

Artwork By David Glomba

Germany's Ascension released a teaser EP earlier this year and now present to you their sophomore album, The Dead of the World. Raging black metal that's expertly crafted and sounds pristine (but not overly polished). It's exactly what this type of black metal should sound like. Furious with melody but never "too pretty". It's a fine line to balance by musicians who know what they are doing. The band doesn't divulge who they are as they want the listener to focus on the music and not the members stature in the scene. They are also considered an "orthodox black metal" band, if that tickles your fancy.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Cover art by Misanthropic-Art

Hollow Dominion is the 4th album from Czech Republic's, Destroying Divinity. Blistering death that almost treads into the brutal death metal realm at times, but mixes things up a bit with some doomy sections and sweeping melodic solos. Definitely not what I was expecting when I initially hit the play button on the first song. They bounce back and forth between these styles without feeling disjointed. It creates an interesting mix that not many bands do (or can pull off).

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Art by Zbigniew Bielak

There's no messing around here. Straight up filthy black death from these Irishman on their debut album. ZOM hold nothing back on Flesh Assimilation. The production is a swirling mass of chaos. The vocals reverberate from toxic hellfire. Admittedly when this came out last month I was basically at my saturation point of albums for the year, so it didn't do much for me.. But I would put it on from time to time and the raw energy just won me over. It also helps that they have a plethora of memorable riffs in there, where most bands of this ilk do not.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Artwork by Mark Riddick

If you've been listening to extreme metal for more than 5 minutes over the past 20 years, chances are you heard the name Varathron before. For the most part they have been unfairly overlooked by fellow Greek countrymates Septicflesh and Rotting Christ. Untrodden Corridors of Hades (their 5th full length) is tasteful melodic mid paced black metal with a rock solid production. There's no pretense to try and be the most evil and brutal band on the block. This is a confident and seasoned band that knows its place. The soulful guitarwork shines and helps to infuse the whole experience with such a dark and occult vibe, that other bands only wish they could capture.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Cover painting by Santiago Caruso

I'll be honest with ya right up front: this record is gonna demand more of your time than anything else we've discussed so far. Equal parts progressive, black thrash and death metal, the Australian power trio, StarGazer, has really come up with something unique. A Merging to the Boundless is the bands 3rd full length album and also features members of Cauldron Black Ram and Mourning Congregation. It's by no means straight forward.   I don't even want to list what bands they sound like if you put them all in a blender, as that would do them a disservice. Just go in expecting a musical journey. You'll thank me later.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Artwork by Ariel Zucker-Brull

Hailing from Paris, France, Perturbator, is the brainchild of electronic music artist, James Kent. Dangerous Days isn't something that's even remotely in my wheelhouse, but it just scratches an itch I didn't know I had. If you are a child of the 80's or just love movies/shows like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Terminator or Knight Rider and thought, wouldn't it be cool to get naked and dance, then this is for you! It's not metal but its metal enough for metal fans to enjoy. Clothing optional.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

  1. SOM is only handling the N.A. physical versions I presume?

    1. Yes, I believe so. The SoM promo material only mentioned a CD release.