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2014 in review: the 10 best CD releases

Just as in 2013, I have been reviewing a number of new CD releases over the last year for Grave Concerns e-zine, and, while you might be already tired of the end-of-year lists that pop up everywhere on the internet in December, here I would like to present you with my top 10 of CD releases of 2014:

10. In Flames – Siren Charms

I’m a massive fan of Gothenburg death metal, but I’m not 100% convinced of the “new” direction In Flames have been following recently. Not their best album ever, but I like In Flames. A lot. And I enjoy listening to their latest album.

9. Pink Floyd – The Endless River

The swansong album of my favorite band ever. the psychedelic edge is gone, and some might say that only navel-gazing is left – but I can’t deny I love that typical Pink Floyd sound. Maybe it’s more nostalgia than anything I like about this album.

8. Epica – The Quantum Enigma

You can’t go wrong with an Epica album, right? Great female fronted metal – the stuff I grew up with. Not much new in this album, but put a few good riffs, Simone’s vocals and some choirs, and I’m happy.

7. Pet the Preacher – The Cave & The Sunlight

Best stoner rock album of the year. Pet the Preacher did not reinvent stoner on this album, but they did cross-over into the realm of post-rock a little bet. Catchy stuff. You can find my full review of this album over at Grave Concerns.

6. Fluisteraars – Dromers

Best black metal album of the year. Or should I say: post-black? Fluisteraars are a Dutch band, with their own take on the swooningly emotional metal from bands like Opeth and Primordial. You can find my full review over at Grave Concerns.

5. Diabulus in Musica- Argia

Best symphonic metal album of the year. This Spanish band has surprised me with their fresh energy and great compositions.

4. Schwarzblut – Gebeyn Aller Verdammten

Because some music just sounds better in German: Schwarzblut! Tanzen! I love how they bring German poetry and electronic / gothic music together into their gesammtkunstwerk.

3. Blood and Sun – White Storms Fall

Neofolk done just right, and married to dark americana. Blood and Sun are a deeply Appalachian band, and deeply rooted in old American traditions. Not just a side project of some metalheads. Read my full review here.

2. Sabbath Assembly – Quaternity

Ever since I first heard my review copy of “Ye Are Gods”, I’ve been intrigued by Sabbath Assembly, who are using the liturgical material of the Process Church into their releases. Quaternity centers around the Christ, Jehovah, Satan and Lucifer. Read my full review here.

1. Messenger – Illusory Blues

Hands down the best album of the year. Kristoffer Rygg from Ulver said “Fuckin’ well done” about this album – and I have nothing more to add. Or if you want some more explanation, my full review is here.

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