Compiled by Brandon Ringo
Alright folks, here’s our Top 100 Extreme Metal Albums of 2014. I’m sure this list will differ from your own, if so feel free to leave your picks in the comments below, or let us know on Facebook or Twitter! We’ll start with the top 25 and have the rest follow.
25. Thantifaxath – Sacred White Noise
Mystifyingly heavy, technical black metal with shades of death metal and 100% full of pure terror.
24. Cynic – Kindly Bent To Free Us
As odd as their journey from death metal icons to prog rock powerhouse has been, this album is as technically magnificent as you’ll find all year.
23. Opeth – Pale Communion
Another band who has fully left behind death metal for all things prog. This album is kind of like a greatest hits compilation of all of Opeth’s non death metal parts.
22. Floor – The Oblation
One of quite a few massive reunion albums this year; time has been nothing but great to these inventors of stoner-pop.
21. Job For A Cowboy – Sun Eater
This record is easily one of the most surprising of the year. Gone is the generic deathcore of yore. Sun Eater is truly a masterpiece of technical death metal prowess.
20. Scythia – …Of Conquest
This album is quite possibly one of the finest examples of how to make a perfect power metal album I’ve ever heard. The storytelling and musicianship on this record is absolutely brilliant!
19. Hammerfall – (r)Evolution
Another in a long line of fantastic Hammerfall albums. The riffs and vocal melodies on here are insanely catchy and enjoyable. Not a dull moment on the entire record.
18. Down – Down IV Pt II
After a lacklustre first EP, these dudes came out with all guns blazing on part two. The riffs are relentlessly powerful and the sound is absolutely crushing old school doom. This album is definitely a huge return to form.
17. Grand Magus – Triumph And Power
Absolutely bonecrushing old school metal riffs and epic songs about giant-slaying, sword-fighting and battle, this album.
16. Crowbar – Symmetry In Black
Another of the iconic New Orleans bands that hit a homerun this year. The album has a back-to-basics old school sound, but still features a monstrously crushing production.
15. Vampire – Vampire
This is an album that truly caught me by surprise at how bad ass it is. A perfect mixture of old school punk, thrash and NWOBHM.
14. Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls
This album is the dictionary definition of a band truly regaining what originally made them great. In fact, the only reason it isn’t the top album of the year is because of its sometimes shoddy production.
13. Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds
This band has always made it their business to change things up from record to record, but this one is a real doozy. There are parts of it that sound like catchy, generic radio metal, but they are interspersed sparingly enough with bonecrushing thrash riffs to make this album one of the best in the band’s career.
12. Novembers Doom – Bled White
This album’s stunningly heavy mix of death and doom is truly mesmerising. It might literally be the loudest metal album I’ve heard all year. Along with the decibel-smashing riffs, the album’s lyrics are amazingly heartfelt and vocalist Paul Kuhr has truly proven himself to be one of the greatest voices in metal.
11. Sanctuary – The Year The Sun Died
Considering this was the band’s first album since the early 90s, it’s kind of amazing what they’ve pulled off. The way they mix stunning classical metal riffs and solos with amazingly brutal thrash is so awesome. Also, vocalist Warrel Dane’s lyrical concept and vocal delivery is truly one for the ages.
10. Young And In The Way – When Life Comes To Death
This record is by far one of the greatest debuts I’ve heard in a very very long time. As far as black metal goes, you can’t get much better than the hateful, ill-willed, death-soaked brutality on this album. This is a record that truly makes me want to break everything I own and then some.
09. At The Gates – At War With Reality
Considering the immortal stature of their back catalogue, there was almost no way these Swedish death icons were going to live up to fans’ expectations. Yet somehow, they released an album that continues their flawless execution from the past, but still keeps moving forward in evolution. I’ve probably listened to this album 15-20 times this year and still can’t get over the way it is continually more enjoyable each time.
08. Thou – Heathen
Were it not for Pallbearer, I believe this might be the greatest doom album released all year. The atmosphere on this album is absolutely perfect, especially when combined with the absolutely absurdly heavy riffs. This is definitely the best album to come from the state of Louisiana this year by far.
07. Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere
For a while, I had this album as my absolute favorite of the year. Everything about it is just killer from its beautiful acoustic passages to its memorable black metal destruction.
06. Fu Manchu – Gigantoid
Fu Manchu is a band that has never been a stranger to playing super heavy stoner rock. However, Gigantoid is an album that clearly seats them as the kings of the genre, without question. So many amazing, bad ass rhythms!
05. Exodus – Blood In, Blood Out
A true example of perfect old school thrash metal from the kings of the genre. Thanks to the impressive array of riffs from guitarist Gary Holt and an epic performance by returning vocalist Zetro Souza, the songwriting on this album is second to none. This is definitely a record that leaves you a bloody mess begging for more after each listen.
04. Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral
For some reason, this album has gotten a lot of really bad reviews this year due to new vocalist Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost. I for one think the haters are out of their damn minds. Grand Morbid Funeral is as fine an example of bad ass, bloody old school death metal as you’re going to find. The album is a non-stop bruiser from front to back and a perfect example of why Swedish death metal is one of the greatest extreme metal sub-genres.
03. Pallbearer – Foundations Of Burden
This is an album that is truly punishing. It is crushingly heavy musically, but the lyrics and atmosphere are also emotionally destructive. Albums this beautiful don’t come along very often, but when they do, it is truly incredible.
02. Godflesh – A World Lit Only By Fire
Though there have been a lot of great albums by veteran bands to come out this year, Godflesh have truly released the greatest of them all. Sonically and texturally, this album is as good as whatever sub-genre you consider them to be gets. The way these huge, monstrous riffs bounce and swell and multiply, this album could be the soundtrack to a porno featuring multiple 500 lb robots.
01. Horrendous – Ecdysis
I’m not sure what’s more fascinating: the fact that the absolute greatest death metal album of the year came from three guys from Philly/Jersey, or the fact that this is only their third album. There are so many intensely great moments on this album that it boggles my mind. There are parts that sound like some kind of mixture of Def Leppard, Venom and Entombed. There are screams equally as sick as anything Obituary and Asphyx have done. There is even an awesome acoustic interlude that still manages to shred. If you’re looking for genuinely unique death metal straight out of the early 90s, this album is 100,000% worth checking out.
And here’s the rest of the list…
100. Indian – From All Purity
99. Miasmal – Cursed Redeemer
98. Nachtmystium – The World We Left Behind
97. The Atlas Moth – The Old Believer
96. Black Trip – Goin Under
95. Electric Citizen – Sateen
94. Crimson Shadows – Kings Among Men
93. Mutilation Rites – Harbinger
92. Mortals – Cursed To See The Future
91. Nausea – Condemned To The System
90. Witch Mountain – Mobile Of Angels
89. Electric Wizard – Time To Die
88. Conan – Blood Eagle
87. Cavalera Conspiracy – Pandemonium
86. Unearth – Watchers Of Rule
85. Origin – Omnipresent
84. Usnea – Random Cosmic Violence
83. Trap Them – Blissfucker
82. Misery Index – The Killing Gods
81. Midnight – No Mercy For Mayhem
80. Cannabis Corpse – From Wisdom To Baked
79. Down Among The Dead Men – Down Among The Dead Men
78. American Heritage – Prolapse
77. The Shrine – Bless Off
76. Dawnbringer – Night Of The Hammer
75. Marty Friedman – Inferno
74. Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown
73. Goatwhore – Constricting Rage Of The Merciless
72. Ringworm – Hammer Of The Witch
71. TOAD – Vacant Face
70. Prong – Ruining Lives
69. Allegaeon – Elements Of The Infinite
68. Incantation – Dirges Of Elysium
67. Iron Reagan – Tyranny Of Will
66. Today Is The Day – Animal Mother
65. Swallowed – Lunarterial
64. Vader – Tibi Et Igni
63. Baptists – Bloodmines
62. The Well – Samsara
61. Hammercult – Steelcrusher
60. Vanhelgd – Relics Of Sulphur Salvation
59. Ending Quest – The Summoning
58. Cretin – Stranger
57. Artificial Brain – Labyrinth Constellation
56. Sick Of It All – The Last Act Of Defiance
55. Barghest – The Virtuous Purge
54. Helms Alee – Sleepwalking Sailor
53. Bastard Sapling – Instinct Is Forever
52. Autopsy – Torniquets, Hacksaws & Graves
51. Ancient Ascendant – Echoes And Cinder
50. Truckfighters – Universe
49. Coffinworm – IV.I.VIII
48. Monolord – Empress Rising
47. Pilgrim – II: Void Worship
46. Trioscapes – Digital Dream Sequence
45. Morbus Chron – Sweven
44. Black Crown Initiate – Wreckage Of Stars
43. Archspire – The Lucid Collective
42. Lord Mantis – Death Mask
41. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata
40. Gridlink – Longhena
39. Eyehategod – Eyehategod
38. Overkill – White Devil Armory
37. Mastodon – Once More Round The Sun
36. Pyrrhon – The Mother Of Virtues
35. Tombs – Savage Gold
34. Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain
33. Vallenfyre – Splinters
32. Exmortus – Slave To The Sword
31. Metsatoll – Karjajuht
30. The Haunted – Exit Wounds
29. Yob – Clearing The Path To Ascend
28. Alestorm – Sunset On The Golden Age
27. Black Map – …And We Explode
26. Animals As Leaders – The Joy Of Motion