Hi-ho, hi-ho! Jolly cheers and chilly beers to everyone. The holiday season is approaching, meaning it’s time for the Best of 2014 lists to start rolling out. Before we work up to the big-ticket lists, I’d like to share with you fourteen of my favorite brutal death metal albums which came out in the past eleven months.
11. Resurrecting Judas – The Eternal Knot
Brutal tech-death can get a bad rap, but when it’s done right, there’s nothing better. The Eternal Knot is the first full-length album from California’s own Resurrecting Judas, and it has the tight riffs, competent drumming and varied vocals necessary to make it in the modern scene.
10. Paroxysmal Butchering – Human Smasher
Paroxysmal Butchery are relatively new, having formed in 2007 and releasing their debut album, Supreme Revulsion, in 2012. Human Smasher sees the band fine-tuning their sound, with improved song-writing and greater musicianship.
9. Spawning Abhorrence – The Cursed Earth
While the title of this album would suggest that it’s a companion to Pearl S. Buck’s classic novel, The Cursed Earth is actually naught more than the debut album of UK death metal band Spawning Abhorrence. At just under forty minutes in length, it’s a pretty average release by the numbers, but the music would suggest that Leeds has a new brutal death metal group to watch out for.
8. Drift of Genes – Perverted Memories
Sometimes it’s nice to tune one’s brain out to the intellectually stimulating forces in the world. Perverted Memories is just the pool in which to drown your thoughts, chugging and conscienceless. Drift of Genes aren’t the first brutal death metal band to come out of Ukraine, but with this album they’re vying to be the best.
7. Embryonic Devourment – Reptilian Agenda
Embryonic Devourment have kicked ass since they first started making music, and they don’t miss a beat with Reptilian Agenda, their finest offering since their debut. While I personally think they’d benefit by reducing the tech-death influence and upping the slam, it’s a fun record and good for the heart.
6. Abysmal Torment – Cultivate the Apostate
Abysmal Torment are from Malta, and they dominate the local scene with pride. Cultivate the Apostate is polished, thoughtful brutal death metal that is worth coming back to. Political and religious imagery and symbolism abound, making for complex thematic material. It’s a good album with much playback potential.
5. Beneath – The Barren Throne
Beneath are probably my favorite Icelandic death metal band. Their 2012 debut album brought great happiness to me, and their followup, The Barren Throne, is a masterful offering of brutally that aims to delight and please. The band draws some influence from the modern old school death metal sound, lending an aura of distinguished authority to their sound.
4. Inanimate Existence – A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement
Inanimate Existence are a nerdy, marijuana smoking band whose blend of brutal and technical death metal (with just a hint of deathcore) is refreshing and authentic. They are a genuine band with chops and creativity, hard to come by in this day and age. A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement is their second album and shows the band growing by leaps and bounds.
3. Septycal Gorge – Scourge of the Formless Breed
Septycal Gorge came out of nowhere with this one. Though the band has been around since 2004, they never showed much promise. Suddenly, they’ve improved greatly, and Scourge of the Formless Breed is a triumph.
2. 巨人大虐殺 – Muhaka
I came for the album cover, and I stayed for the music. 巨人大虐殺 (Kyojin Daigyakusatsu) is a Japanese-by-way-of-America band who delivers on their promise. I passed up the opportunity to see them play live this year and instead went to a Danny Brown concert. While I don’t regret that decision, it’s made easier since Muhaka is a sterling recording. Recommended for fans of gritty, grisly brutal death metal.
1. Disentomb – Misery
Misery is the best brutal death metal album of 2014. The high-powered Australians behind Disentomb are great musicians, wonderful songwriters and charming people. It wasn’t an accident which led them to write and record this album, and by their will it brings a decisive, incisive mandate of brutal death metal that is not lacking in precision and consideration. It was all worth it to hear this LP and it comes with my stern approval.