Our Very Own Top 20 for 2014
Compared to 2013, the 2014 Canadian metal chart wasn’t invaded by heavy weigth bands (except maybe for Devin Townsend), which gave more room to newcomers and more visibility to others who have been dwelling in the underground for years. There were a few disappointments, but also a good dose of surprises in what we heard throughout the year. We invite you to consider this Top 20 as a road map to discover what we deemed being the more resonant albums of 2014 according to MMIC, based on originality, maturity, novelty, and on the pleasure we had to revisit them over time.
20. Menace Ruine – Venus Armata
A drone, atmospheric or at times experimental entity, Menace Ruine stands on the margin of the traditional metal scene, but speaks to it through its occult themes and its audience in general. With its strong focus on texts, female vocals and a minimalistic musical texture in the background, Venus Armata is possibly one of the most accessible albums for the genre.
19. Archspire – The Lucid Collective
Archspire forged its own death metal path over its previous album, with characteristic vocal patterns and riffage that mimic precise and calculated drums. With its technical feats, the Lucid Collective is a drug that will clearly satisfy any amateur of the genre, especially those who loved the previous Archspire album.
18. Hiverna – II. Macabre
A recognizable creation from Bardunor, a character from the Quebec City black metal scene, this new chapter in Hiverna’s journey is a slab of thick folk/black metal with French lyrics. Embroidered with delicate guitar, flutes and violon arrangements, Macabre is an interesting album, full of melodies, to explore.
17. Primalfrost – Prosperous Visions
Ultra-fast and symphonic, Prosperous Visions is one of those albums that transcend power metal and steps into melodic and pagan metal. Epic solos, a bit of clean vocals, and a handful of programmed instruments contributes to give rich and impressive layers to this album.
16. Alaskan – Despair, Erosion, Loss
The sludge/post-hardcore Ottawa outfit has been out there for many years now, touring now and again, album after album. On Despair, Erosion, Loss, the three-piece builds on its achievements and a production signed by Topon Das (Fuck the Facts), delivering more than ever before the energy the band is capale of on stage. With its gorgeous cover artwork, this recording displays all the stains of transpiration that comes with hard work.
15. Ovif – Démence
Ovif has this ability to write timeless thrash albums, as if the genre didn’t step aside from the forefront of metal in the last quarter century. Recorded with great convictions, Démence is a powerful album that should convince quite a few people to revisit the origins of the genre.
14. Hollow – Mordrake
Without a doubt one of the most theatrical bands in Canada at the present time, Hollow invites metalheads to an impressive performance on Mordrake, dancing between melodic and black metal with a flawless production and a wide range of arrangements. Overall, this albums convincely helps Hollow stand out from the pack.
13. Laika – Somnia
On Somnia, Laika released a very contemporary album that combines melody with the brutal sound of death metal, and a good dose of grooves and musical skills. A nicely crafted album, well balanced and solidly tightened from the first to the last song, that should win a lot of new fans.
12. Dissolution – Natural Selection
Seventy-five percents death metal and twenty-five percents melodic metal, Natural Selection, Winnipeg’s Dissolution third album, is both massive and easy to swallow. What it lacks in originality, the band is able to convey it with incredible efficiency, thus delivering one of the most underrated Canadian death metal albums of 2014.
11. Killitorous – Party, Grind
Overloaded, hilarious and riduculously technical, the math-death metal served by Killitorous takes its place in a relatively serious genre, with the ease of a venereal disease invited to a roman orgy.
10. Zaum – Oracles
A psychedelic doom blend formed by long hypnotic songs, this duo offered us one of the most applaused albums in the genre in 2014, internationally. Let yourself go.
9. Phobocosm – Deprived
A pitch black monolith, Deprived is one of these albums hard to see through, but full of remarkable and intelligent songwriting. Dressed up in an abstract concept designed by Industrie Chimère Noire, this first milestone in the band’s discography affirms the credibility of Phobocosm on both local and international scenes.
8. Doom’s Day – The Devil’s Eyes
Catchy chorus and memorable guitar riffs are the trademarks of The Devil’s Eyes, an occult doom album that easily steps among the favourite releases of 2014. Without any pretention, Doom’s Day was able to capture the best ingredients of the last few years and to write a contemporary album made to listen to on repeat mode.
7. Idol of Fear – All Sights Affixed, Ablaze
Absorbing from beginning to end, this first album from Ontario’s Idol of Fear has the strength to break the canons of Canadian black metal. With its obscure and dissonant chords, its moderate use of blast beats and double bass drums, and its breathable-but-affirmative pace, Idol of Fear is a name to remember.
6. Altars of Grief – This Shameful Burden
2014 has been an important year for Canadian doom metal and This Shameful Burden, first album from Altars of Grief, with its funeral doom flavour, has been one of its cornerstones. The band may be new, but its wall of sound and ominous aural landscapes could easily be compared to any of the international flagship bands outside our boundaries. Definitely one of the best new acts of the year.
5. Paroxysm – Voracité
Third album from this Montreal-based band, Voracité is Paroxysm at its best: songwriting is better, performance is stellar, and the production is flawless. Voracité is also probably the best album to ever come out of Studio En-Phase and stands out from a wide range of contemporary death metal albums, thanks to its clear and forthright production, powerful but not exaggerated.
4. Psychotic Gardening – Hymnosis
The Winnipeg band has a rare level of maturity and self-confidence. On its fourth album, Hymnosis, Psychotic Gardening moves from deathened black metal to deathened doom metal. Slower and better produced than before, the strength of this opus lies in its wide variety of songs and in its ability to carry us… six feet under.
3. Beyond Creation – Earthborn Evolution
Beyond Creation is among the most important province of Quebec technical death metal bands at the present time. Its second album, Earthborn Evolution, blends even more progressive influences to a web of complicated melody, while making the whole album surprisingly accessible and even better than its predecessor.
2. Halberd – Remnants of Crumbling Empires
Mixing a cavernous death metal with the obscurity of doom metal, Halberd is a surprising new entity that no one saw coming. This international collaboration clearly adds each others’ strength to produce four tracks with epic hisorical themes that flow with great ease.
1. Sorcier des Glaces – Ritual of the End
On its last album, Ritual of the End, Sorcier des Glaces revisits the roots of evil. We can feel the influences de Celtic Frost, Venom and Samael, but SDG did not take the easy route. The band reinvents itself and serves one of the most memorable black albums in recent years.
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