There’s an honorable mentions and missing in action section but this is largely about the releases I spent the most time with in 2014. Many of which I’ve written about in the course of the year.
It’ll be short so read on after the break.
It was easier this year to make a list relative to other years. Not necessarily because the choices were more obvious or because 2014 was particularly spectacular. No, largely because despite my better efforts I rarely broke out of what was already within my range, making less time to explore as I usually would. Even with records from artists I enjoyed a lot in prior years I just couldn’t find time to get to them.
Don’t even ask about that new Swans record. I haven’t even made it through The Seer entirely.
The choices were more obvious by default then. You’ll notice a pattern in the list for sure.
On to live shit in 2014. My attendance of shows in 2014 was pretty atrocious as well especially in the latter half, but the few I went to I do not regret. The first half of the year was where it’s most concentrated with smaller shows between the three big festivals I could make it to.
The fourth installment of Vancouver Noise fest is one I recall being particularly rewarding and diverse. I’ll make every attempt to go to the next on in 2015 which is in the planning stages. I don’t think there was one act that flopped and indeed each one brought unique, captivating soundscapes that built on each others performance.
New layers of brain short-circuiting drone was laid down all night. Even so there were a few favorites I hope to see once again. Good people, lots of interesting merch, stark venue, all sealed off with a performance by Blue Sabbath Black Cheer is was quite a show.
Fastcore Fest 5 was something else as well. It really made up for the rest of the year in retrospect. I had a lot of fun not just watching a pile of impressive grind and powerviolence bands from all over but chatting and blazing with new friends, enjoying the beautiful Squamish forest generously shared with the bands and organizers.
Even the mud and rain filled morning the next day where everyone was digging vans out of mud, and cleaning up discarded cans and was enjoyable. I’ll keep attending as long as it’s being held.
And the long anticipated return of Gilead Media Festival can’t be passed over. I made the trip while slowly getting ill and having to sleep in airports/bus terminals, but it didn’t put too much of a damper on the weekend in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Not much could considering the line-up and people behind the event combined with its past success.
While I didn’t chat with everyone I wanted to those I did it was all good times. I could mention all of them but Kowloon Walled City, Hell, Northless, Sea of Bones, False, Generation of Vipers, and Thou were among my favorites; Thou was unforgettable once again and while they did not do a full record like last time the finale was intense.
There were also a peppering of excellent smaller shows in this province, many in the latter half of 2014 I couldn’t attend but earlier on what I could always impressed me. Head Hits Concrete came to town, as did WAKE, and both were supported by strong local acts and a few well known out of towners. The former was ridiculous.
I should’ve went out more this year.
Before I get to the main list I did manage to scrape together some honorable mentions. There’s a ton I could put on here, like all those Thou/The Body collabs, the new Auroch release, Amnesian’s two records, that self-titled Skaphe record not to mention the new Xothist all of which which I gave a fair amount of attention, but I kept it light.
THE WAY TO LIGHT — CLEANSING SILENCE
I’ve only just purchased the cd press of this and it hasn’t arrived yet, but I have been streaming Cleansing Silence on bandcamp steadily this year. Eerie drone and ambiance, monastic and gloomy with sparse folk laced into seven tracks. It’s oddly soothing, an easier listen than you’d expect. After the recent splits with Hoarders and Crawl the third full length from The Way To Light thus far is worth exploring.
A few tracks stand out like “Consuming Light” and “Hollow Roots”, and the addition of the track from their Crawl split was a nice surprise. It continues grow on me. Killer cover art as well.
DEMON HEAD — DEMO
I did not expect to like this as much as I do. Bringing back the gloomy heavy metal Demon Head’s first demo had a significant amount of hype around it all things considered, and it turned out it was completely warranted. Love the guitar tone, the vocals, the art and packaging. The opener “Undertaker” is unreasonably addictive.
Caligari Records again supporting the good shit.
CRAWL — ALL WHO OPPOSE ME
Crippling doom in one run, improvised and hellish. I missed out on the tape and CD, luckily Die Song is doing a nice run on vinyl. Abrasive doesn’t begin to describe it. All Who Oppose Me is a collapsing wall of unbearable, calamitous percussion only balanced by the equally jarring vocals. It further obfuscates what Crawl’s true nature is and muddies the already dense, horrid catharsis this act was capable of mustering.
Definitely not for everyone. Definitely destructive.
BODDICKER — FALSE FLAG
Crusty, deathly hardcore ratcheting up tension in each track and slamming down with some seriously groovy, chainsaw-like riffs. This was in rotation a great deal and I think it’s Boddicker’s best effort this year. Absolutely worth grabbing on tape for sure.
TENSION — WESTSIDE GRINDVIOLENCE FOREVER
Tension are no more. I saw them twice in the fastcore fest environment and I felt pretty lucky, cause they rip hard. Hostile grindviolence raw and unbending, dedicated to the underground in a final blast of honest fury. A real expression of the grinding passion of the westcoast underground.
Do yourself a favor and go check this out, get it on tape and then regret not seeing them in action.
DEAD CONGREGATION — PROMULGATION OF THE FALL
It’s a little weird that when I heard that Dead Congregation were bringing something new out from their long absence, I immediately thought, “Right on, maybe that means a new Inveracity record is in the works too…”.
Seriously though, while not exactly what the hype would have you believe, this is a solid follow up to Graves of the Archangels. Every track has something to offer in the way of articulate yet still dirty death metal. It’s certainly a touch more straight forward and less adventurous with the trade off being consistency and clarity. Less cloudy and atmospheric may turn some off but the root of the formula for Dead Congregation remains intact, blasting and crawling.
I spun Promulgation of the Fall regularly this year and it hasn’t yet worn on me. Sure lightning didn’t strike twice exactly but the potency of the material here is certainly noteworthy.
SKELETHAL — DEATHMANICVS REVELATIONS
Not breaking any boundaries but restoring the old ones quite effectively, Skelethal’s first demo this year was pleasing all the way through. Bringing that dirty death metal from France through Caligari Records in the USA it’s a tight run for any death metal fan
I have not heard the new one yet so it’s not up here, but I hope it builds off of this foundation and takes a few more risks.
GETS WORSE / FISSURE — SPLIT
Can’t get enough of Gets Worse. They manage to craft the perfect, wreck your face grindviolence in each song. Fissure’s side is great too but it doesn’t hit the same level of ‘holy fuck’ that Gets Worse’s does; though Fissures other demo makes up for it.
Awesome pulverizing grind, get into it.
SUMP — MURDER DEMO
I only managed to find a copy later in the year but man is it getting worn in. Six dark, dirty galloping and sloshing tracks make Murder the dusty brawl you’ve always wanted to be part of.
TIMBER TIMBRE — HOT DREAMS
Hot Dreams drops those and gets even more laid back and uncomfortable, and I do like it. I didn’t much at first but I came back to it and I find myself enjoying the majority of the material here. Specifically “Beat The Drum Slowly”, “Hot Dreams”, “Grand Canyon”, “Run From Me”, and “This Low Commotion”. Haunting and lost, awkward and entrancing.
Not perfect and maybe not a step above what their last one did but assuredly worth revisiting.
O’DEATH — OUT OF HANDS WE GO
Much like the new Timber Timbre record I didn’t absolutely across the board love O’Death’s Out of Hands We Go. It’s on the same level as Outside, but the additional shorter low-fi tracks making me enjoy this a little more.
The key tracks are the spectral tale of “We Had A Vision”, “All Is Light”, and the bizarre waltz of “Wait For Fire”. Really memorable and strange. The debut track “Wrong Time” is great, certainly the first half grabs me the most, hooked deep into my brain. But the tail end wears a bit. Outside of “Apple Moon” it’s the only normal song without a bit of weird in it which can be a bit deceiving.
However the deception ended up being a pleasurable one for me, as the change to quiet creep in some of these dark croons and desolate tunes really grabs me. Outside was like this to. The vocals and harmonies are pretty, odd, and sincere. The lyrics likewise though in a few instances there’s some ‘what the fuck’ warranted (much like Hot Dreams). A few tracks don’t do much on repeated listens but its a nice record I’d recommend.
DIOCLETIAN — GESUNDRIAN
Yeah its not terribly different from their previous LP but Gesundrian delivers on pulverizing, battle worn death metal if that’s what you’re into. And I am. And while I didn’t get to it until the summer ended I found it hitting the good spot almost as much as Doom Cult and War of All Against All.
With Witchrist gone Diocletian still stands to do the dirty grave digging. There are a few moments where it steps forward in approach (certainly towards the end) but not enough to set it apart. However it is Diocletian, and Gesundrian is turmoil ridden, terrifying bestial death might at its core.
PERFECT PUSSY — SAY YES TO LOVE
While I never did get my hands on a copy of their demo last year, man was it something wicked. Unexpected and blurry punk with exposed lyrics. Nothing has been lost in the jump from no hype to mad hype and a new LP. In fact the film of feedback and noise seems to have thickened on Say Yes To Love and much to my enjoyment, and the dirty, abrupt formula which only extends longer on several tracks does so without a stumble.
The only reason this isn’t on the bigger list is I didn’t give it enough time. Only in the last week have I given it attention. Other than that Say Yes To Love is a challenging bit of noise punk that obscures to intrigue and erodes eardrums.
ADVERSARIAL / PAROXSIHZEM — WARPIT OF COILING ATROCITIES
Realistically if I had my copy in my hands a week ago this would be on the main list near number one. As of now I’ve only heard the previews and the two tracks on Vault of Dried Bones’ bandcamp, but it’s not stretch to say it’s the best death metal split this year.
It’s Adversarial guys, one of Canada’s most vicious and inspiring death metal acts of the new wave — it can’t not be good. Couple this with the rising darkness of Paroxsihzem who summon an increasingly vile form of blackened death with a penchant for war and history; it compliments their brethren’s molten bestial threshing exceedingly well (if you haven’t heard their self-titled record do it now). Of the two tracks released I’m slightly surprised to say Paroxsihzem have the upper hand for now on this split.
So for now Warpit Of Coiling Atrocities gets a mention here and you can bet that I’ll review it once it arrives on my doorstep in the next week or so
BARGHEST — THE VICTORIOUS PURGE
The Victorious Purge is not as gritty and desolate as the self-titled debut or the slew of reworked demo songs that followed but it still hits a good stride. There’s really only a two tracks I don’t enjoy as much as the others but Barghest still craft the majority of the songs into black death apart from the crowd especially in the North American environment.
Hal from Plague Widow did a great job on the art but I don’t know that the style fits their sound, maybe that’s just me. It sits nicely with the clear version of the record though. Altogether despite my apprehension this turnout solid enough for a mention.
The main list. Twenty-something records I gave the most attention to this year, records that were above the rest despite my relative musical ignorance in 2014. The records I’ve reviewed already will have shorter summaries than those that I haven’t got around to writing about.
No numbers once again.
_______________________________________________Though it is sometimes a bit one-note, Lowgazers is a damn enjoyable listen all I had trouble putting away this year. Dirge and dissonance are always at play which scream and float over the course of the record. Big ones for me on Lowgazers are “Mvrk Diving”, “Aimless Roaming”, “Svn In Your Head”, “Lowlifer”, and “Flail in The Abyss” while the others are on point as well.
It’s hard to turn away from the cloudy enveloping dissonance that Plebian Grandstand has manifested here. The sharp tones and dark atmosphere of this album were stuck in my head in 2014. I gave the tape version released through The Lamp Foundation an obscene amount of plays.
In lieu of there ever being another Cower release (fuckin’ boooo…) I’m keeping a closer eye on Ontario’s Godstopper. This EP is only four tracks long but their strength and eccentricities shine brightly, sharp enough to make my list. The latter half is where it really shines.
Different and very heavy, without a doubt memorable Children are our Future was a great underrated surprise this year.
The nearly unnavigable terrain Impetuous Ritual create within death metal continues to distort, dense and confusing as ever. Grave Upheaval is slow enough that you can decipher and absorb things faster. As Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence once again demonstrates the identities they assume in this organization of turmoil transform that terror significantly, leaving the listener exponentially more perplexed.
Here the increase in fast, layered, entangled riffs and incessant percussion makes any attempt at immediate understanding futile. When it is slowly deciphered the contrasts with other infamous death metal styles remains stark, even if the progression from Relentless Execution of Ceremonial Excrescence is not. And that’s a good thing — and not entirely unexpected. Refinement is there sure, the members excel at harnessing their chaos, but there’s only a crawl forward in terms of change.
Naturally though, that first record remains stunning without much to compare to. So Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence still stands as a ominous example of impenetrable, slithering, evil death metal in 2014 and I gladly spent time with it.
While not my favorite death metal release this year (I’m still sifting through it) Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence is an impressive LP that was worth the wait.
Honestly before hearing this I didn’t know if White Lung would be able to hit the same mark as Sorry but Deep Fantasy seems to have done it, many listens later. Aggressive at all times, thrashing urgency, huge energy, insanely catchy both when being blindingly twinkling or simply noisy.
Deep Fantasy is definitely getting the same amount of plays, albeit later in the year, as Sorry did in my playlists. It’s like every track gets to the point immediately without a lost of creativity. It feels like each song is one long chorus you can’t help but sing along with.
Some favorites are the opener “Drown With The Monster”, but more specifically “Wrong Star”, “Just For You”, “I Believe You”, and “Sychophant”. The whole thing tramples with perfect length tracks and exceptional choruses, but these just stick in my brain and that goes double for “Wrong Star” and “Just For You”; fuck me those are killer songs. Stuck in my head.
Shame on me for not having a copy of this yet.
Wreck And Reference’s evolution has been interesting, often unpredictable, always raw and gripping. Want continues to branch their style ever so sightly and more so even than Black Cassette I found myself coming back to it. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I loved it. “Bankrupt”, “Flies”, “Convalescence”, “Apollo Beneath The Whip”, “Machine of Confusion” — these sealed this a record as impossible to ignore continuing to transform musical boundaries.
After Kurdiatcha I didn’t know when to expect the next Mamaleek record. When it was announce and released this year I was genuinely excited. As it stands now I don’t enjoy it as much as their prior LP but there’s still not much that can compare to what these brothers drag out of the ether. “Poor Mourner’s Got A Home” and “Almost Done Toiling Here” stand out for me.
Once more the four songs here hold something you can’t find elsewhere, that changes your perception of the genres they’re distorting. He Never Said A Mumblin’ Word has to be up here.
Tapes of a Neon God collected an excellent cross section of varied noise and drone once again on this four way split, once again including Hadals on this list. I not only really like the variation between each entity but also the design and packaging on this release makes it that much more impressive. TOANG always does a great job but this is particularly stunning.
From the uneasy and distant resonance of Churdweller’s contribution, contrasting with Hadals frightening, nerve-racking noise blast, following into Void En Vogues spellbinding seance, and finally Winter Ritual close it off through “False Mask” a bit quieter but no less haunting.
Similar to TOANG’s previous noise splits the exchange in sounds is captivating, worth making this list and something I gave a lot of plays to.
The blackened cacophony of Sacred White Noise has been churning behind the scene and on stage for the past few years, and now that it is here it’s hard to ignore. Thantifaxath have meticulously crafted a black metal gem that succeeds in all aspects.
Two clouded and corrosive songs of misery, bathing in feedback and noise and executed by three serious musicians. Pornography’s single release this year satisfies a wretched itch we all have. Hex b/w Golden Sunshine‘s furtherance of the abusive formula Pornography toils with, of loathsome emotions it feeds on and stokes, is metastasizing in wonderful ways.
Engulfing terror and longing, Pornography makes this list without question.
A stampede of darkness. This Deathwinds demo nailed it and I can’t wait for what they release next. The guys from Nuclear Vomit spread their malice further with Endless Wastelands, it took me by surprise with perfectly executed ripping death metal in three short tracks easily giving full lengths a run for their money, and veterans reason to take notice.
I’m off and on with Jute Gyte’s exhaustive and meticulous unorthodox black metal. If there’s one ‘band’ that fractures and reforms boundaries in black metal this is it. The work done by that guy is unpredictable, and certainly never leaves the listener bored which is refreshing in this landscape. This time around he really caught me (last time being Metonym I think) with two dizzying songs.
When paired with the bleak, creeping, excruciating demonstrations of doom that Venowl muster up, and then slowly unravel over nearly thirty minutes — this tape becomes challenging. Once encased in beautiful designs by the hands of Black Horizons it makes for one disturbing, contrasting split record.
Jute Gyte’s side has the edge here slightly with all the hectic and helical guitar sorcery, the build in both tracks is stunning and the slow process of degradation, melting as it moves then reforming into something completely different really captivated me. “The Rib” is the easier of the two to comprehend and indeed my favorite, however the two almost blend in their complexity.
Venowl’s enormous contribution through “Snowbed” is nothing to shrug off either. You couldn’t if you wanted to due to its weight, you’re trapped once you press play. Agonizing, glacial, meandering, strange. There’s a latent savage edge particularly when the vocals shear the atmosphere. The ardent, feral vocals drive this scouring darkness further into nasty nearly unlovable realms. Despite the truly harsh nature of this music it was over disturbingly fast, and thoroughly pleasing. That could mean I have a problem, or that they know what they’re doing.
This is one of several splits they’ve built this year, two of note were with Highgate (which I had a preview of a while back) and the other with Cara Neir, However I only have a physical copy of this and revisited it an unexpected amount of times. That’s a good indicator that I probably should’ve given both those and Jute Gyte’s two other records a few chances this year.
Peripheral, engaging sounds easily worth mentioning on this list.
This is pretty foul. It caught me off guard and proceeded to blow me away. Continues to in fact, perhaps outside of that new Adversarial material Pissgraves demo mounts the top of the death pile this year. The name, the cover, it matches the iniquitous sound. Bubbling, churning decay. Despite the goregrind/slam death layout and image (fuck that logo is nice) this is some truly satisfying odious death metal.
Grotesque vocals (sometimes pitch shifted) corrode whatever the razor like riffs haven’t already peeled off. Bursting with disgust and old school energy, gritty tone and whiplash speed — total tremolo stampede of darkness. Pissgrave understand how to make this evil noise. There’s even a moment or two where they shed this and succeed in stepping into other strong territory, almost of the doom variety.
Anyway this and Deathwinds really did me in well this year for dirty death metal. “Prevail In Hell” and “Fields of Scattered Bones” are unstoppable.
Another noise split that gripped me tightly this year was the Hadals and Blsphm cassette. Everyone involved creates shit I enjoy in different genres so when they’re together doing new things the potential for something special is enormous. Engrossing noise.
Big surprise that my love for this bands bare bones roaring hardcore was revitalized this year. New Lows’ Abhorrent Endings is heavy and angry just the way it should be, bringing back the demo’s attitude and retaining those hectic vocals I enjoy so much.
Fuck off good. That’s the new Throat Slitter demo in short. I blasted this the majority of the year and it hasn’t worn out its welcome. It’s become inescapable. If you didn’t hear this in 2014 you missed out.
Another step in Dephosphorus’ growing style, Ravenous Solemnity is a wealth of engaging astrogrind that furthers the extremes they push each release to richer, more complex and distant places. And the design for the double LP is damn nice as well.
The story moves forward and the stunning riffs continue to pile up, with Panos redlining it and finding a new space in his vocal attack that separates this record a good deal from their previous recordings. With the addition of a new drummer that is an unsettling in his ability to replace Nikos this is another change for the band making this record a bit more special.
Since the beginning of their arrival the band have been ceaseless and consistent with a clear ability to grow. Ravenous Solemnity continues constructing passionate grindcore that inhabits its own dimension.
Because Daughters isn’t around anymore I get sad sometimes. And Idylls are no substitute for real. No band will be. But with each release the residual weirdness of influences like that seep in to this chaotic, loud, sometimes groovy band’s approach.
Idylls’ Prayer For Terrene goes in a few different directions and succeeds much like their previous efforts, but a touch more refined. What they’re doing is exactly what I need.
Songs of Descent might be my most played record this year next to that Throat Slitter demo. I got a sneak look at it near the end of last year after discovering their demo and split in 2013, and was pretty convinced this would be hard to beat in 2014. And I still think just that. Yautja made something incredible after laying some equally impressive groundwork in only two short releases.
Already I’ve written too much on this album so if you haven’t heard it yet you’re worse than me and you might want to check that.
I’m still waiting on my copy from Dark Descent to get here as I only just ordered it (cash strapped) but I’ve been jamming Lunarterial by Swallowed on bandcamp on and off all year, entranced by vehement doom that clouds this truly vile death metal gem. I’ll admit to not knowing a thing about these guys before this but I’ve heard the call and it is lethal.
Disturbing and sinister and acutely heavy, from the short but stunningly on point spells like “Arterial Mists of Doom” which agitates the psyche and tortures the soul; to the looming horror of giants like “Libations” and “Black Aura”, their smouldering burden is almost too much. Those last two significant without a doubt.
Believe the hype on this one.
I couldn’t wait for it, they took their time as they do with all their masterpieces whether intentional or not, and when it was finally passing into my ears the wait was validated. The lyrics stand out starkly, the antagonistic and unconcealed philosophy continuing unabated in severity. “Free Will” is an unforgettable opener. “In Defiance of the Sages” just buries me, every lumbering chug, bend and rupturing cry. “Immorality Dictates” followed by “Ode To Physical Pain” leave no one standing. These are my favorites but there are no weak links.
No need to go further, I can’t move anyway. Incredible vinyl, cd and tape release as well. A triumph on all fronts.
I’m so stoked that these guys decided to come back after announcing they’re done following the release of this torrid, whiplash inducing grind cyclone. Frail Vessel clearly has a deep potential well of ear splitting grind for years to come as this release once again reiterates.
This was another mandatory entry on this list.
I cannot heap enough praise upon Osk and this new 10″ makes it even easier to do so. I don’t think they could’ve hit the nail on the head any more squarely than what they’ve done on We Will Never Change. Every second is used to put only most ripping riffs and blasts including some songs I’ve been hearing live for a while but were never put to record. They sound just as destructive here.
The packaging completes the record perfectly, complimenting the title’s dual meaning. Wicked grindcore. One of the top of the year.
Oh man, the riffs! Riffs to keep you on edge and moshing eternally, cynical, rancorous lyrics with vocals to match, breakneck and fun as fuck percussion. Intravenously Commodified is a strong statement and one of the more elaborate grind records I heard in 2014 with how all over the place it is. And it remains coherent and absorbing.
Back to front, might be my favorite grind record this year just barely edging out Osk and Frail Vessel. And the North American press isn’t still for another month or so (Euro press above) I’ll try to get a review out of this in new year but for now all I need to say is these guys had a major win here.
Favorites are hard to choose but the ones that come to mind immediately are “Perception Asleep”, “The Architect”, “Shadow Banking”, “Development”, and “Trampled to Death”.
Plebeian Grandstand – Lowgazers
Godstopper – Children are our Future
Impetuous Ritual – Unholy Congregation Of Hypocritical Ambivalence
White Lung – Deep Fantasy
Wreck And Reference – Want
Mamaleek – He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word
Churchdweller/Hadals/Void En Vogue/Winter Ritual – Split
Thantifaxath – Sacred White Noise
Pornography – Hex b/w Golden Sunshine
Deathwinds – Endless Wastelands
Jute Gyte/Venowl – Split
Pissgrave – Demo
Hadals/Blsphm – Split
New Lows – Abhorrent Endings
Throat Slitter – DEMO 2014
Dephosphorus – Ravenous Solemnity
Idylls – Prayer For Terrene
Yautja – Songs of Descent
Swallowed – Lunarterial
Thou – Heathen
Frail Vessel – Frail Vessel
Osk – We Will Never Change
Six Brew Bantha – Intravenously Commodified
Some of these are records which I probably was excited to hear a few years back but just couldn’t sit down and listen to this year, despite being aware of them
For instance a big surprise for some but despite Amenra releasing some interesting material this year through splits and such I heard all but one release which was much more of a label collaboration than a separate release. Germany’s Ascension, a long time on from Consolamentum, had a short outing this year I’ve yet to hear as did Svartidauði; and Circle of Ouroborus again with their limited and little publicized releases escaped me this year.
There was also that Osk and Bridgeburner split I forgot to grab a copy of at Fastcore Fest, I’ve heard the Bridgeburner side but not Osks; I can imagine it would get a mention in the honorable spot. I also haven’t heard the new Baptists record Bloodmines entirely yet,
Ditto for Aevangelist, Darkspace, Teitanblood, Bolzer, Forn, Earth, Swans, Godflesh, Encoffination, Burial Hex, Full Of Hell & Merzbow, Eyehategod, The Great Old Ones — the list is probably longer than I’d care to find out.
I’ll have to play some catch up.
Finally as I close this list we hit some records missing in action; at least some that readers might expect to see here but didn’t make it. This is the place for some stuff I’m on the fence with this year, having gone back and forth on them in terms of enjoyment. Obviously this doesn’t include shit I haven’t heard at all or entirely as listed above.
Young and In The Way – When Life Comes To Death
So I’m a huge fan of this bands’ past records, specifically I Am Not What I Am and V. Eternal Depression, and I was curious to see how they’d evolve from their blackened hardcore comfort zone considering the slew of similar sounding acts that cropped up around them.
Naturally I picked When Life Comes To Death up even after being a little unimpressed with the debut track, and while it does have some good moments it doesn’t measure up to those past efforts. The rawness is lessened, and they’ve seemed to moving too close to Inquisition’s bendy-groovy approach which realistically I don’t mind, but it’s just not what I wanted to hear from YAITW so it doesn’t make the list.
Have A Nice Life – The Natural World
HANL and Deathconciousness came from a place that is hard to replicate and it’s only natural that the duo move forward with their sound as their lives change and they catharsis is sated. Even more so following Giles Corey’s debut.
I like a good chunk of The Unnatural World but I’ve seen praise just heaped on this record like it was part two of Deathconsciousness. It isn’t, and that’s alright actually.
GridLink – Longhena
I remember reading a post on the GridLink facebook page sometime in late 2013 or early 2014 where the essential complaint about the modern grind scene just amounts to short death metal tracks, and that few grind bands ever approach what grind actually is. I don’t know what it was in response to or what the context was. Anyway it’s a little ironic that the swansong of one of the most relentless, meticulous grind acts in recent memory has a good dose of not-grind, almost black metal, insulating their blistering formula.
That’s not to say this isn’t a good record, that would be absurd, and I’m all for experimenting. I love Amber Gray, love Orphan, and I do enjoy Lognhena. “Chalk Maple”, “The Dodonpachi”, “Ketsui”, “Stay Without Me”, “Black Prairie” — these wreak havoc. I’m impressed the packaging as well (that color), the lyrics, etc. The musicianship and dedication remains significant. And hey for those who complained about the length this ones twice as long as either of their previous records.
To end, it is just not exactly what I thought GridLink would go out with and it ended up not sticking with me throughout 2014. In terms of grindcore I could name at least ten other records that hit the sweet spot more often than Longhena did for 2014, and I’m not even the biggest grind fan out there.
That wasn’t the case for their previous records. I didn’t spin it as much as I expected too and no where near as much as their previous records.