Part of me can't decide if this year has been a good or bad year for music, whilst having been witness to some exciting and original projects this year, as well as some long awaited continuances, a lot that I have heard has been weak and bland, with very few bands really leaving much of an impression. Whilst this is true for most years, I do think this year has been the year of either very good or very bad, with not much really falling in between. Without further ado however I present to you, my disciples, my top25 albums of this year:
1. Ofermod - Thaumiel
An album imbued with more malevolence than you can shake a stick at, dark, oppressive and astoundingly executed.
2. Mgla - With Hearts Towards None
A very close second, this album only just loses out on the top spot as it doesn't have the same feeling of filth and darkness that Ofermod does, still a exquisite album, defined by its unique ideals.
3. Shining - Redefining Darkness
Shining doing what they do best, an excellent entry into their canon and displaying a further depth and advancement to their sound.
4.Blut Aus Nord - Cosmosophy
A wondrous completion to Vindsval's '777' trilogy, it may not be as good as 'Desanctification' or 'Sects' but it is more than an adequate entry to their catalogue and when experiencing the full trilogy from 'Epitome I' through to 'Epitome XVIII' it is the perfect ending to an awesome set of albums.
5.Desaster - The Arts of Destruction
The best black-thrash album this year, brilliant riffs, perfect execution and the most 'fun' black album I've heard this year.
6.Teitanblood - Woven Black Arteries
Quite a high placement for two songs and only a 27minute play-time, does it deserve it? You bet your arse it does, a whirling cacophony of some of the best black/death sickness available, it will leave you feeling like the children in my basement....raped and pleading for salvation.
7. Merrimack - The Acausual Mass
Regrettably side-lined by far too many and seen as only a decent second-string French band, Merrimack are devastating and powerful in their approach, uncompromising Franco sick blackness.
8. Blacklodge - Machination
Despite being a huge fan of industrial black metal, there are not many bands that are able to competently produce decent industrial black, even less often are there original industrial black bands, Blacklodge are both of these things, managing to deliver a dense, caustic and highly inorganic album.
9. The Howling Wind - Of Babalon
Black metal from the US, something I normally can't abide, I'm able to count the number of Yank bands I like on my fingers but The Howling Wind are something special, definitely a departure from most established Yank sounds and producing a thick and harsh album.
10. Deathspell Omega - Drought
With some left wondering if there would be any movement from DSO after the completion of their trilogy, some predicting the band would fold, leaving a legacy that has changed black metal. Fortunately they haven't and as 'Drought' shows they are only moving forward, this might not be their best work but it serves brilliantly as a tantalising prelude to whatever their next venture maybe.
11. Sigh - In Somniphobia
12. De Magia Verterum - The Deification
13. Secrets of The Moon - Seven Bells
14.Hell Militia - Jacob's Ladder
15. Ævangelist - De Masticatione Mortuorum In Tumulis
(Surprisingly another Yank band to make the list, possibly we will start to see more decent and varied American acts from now on)
16. Dødsengel - Imperator
17. Charon - Sulphur Seraph
18. Witchrist - The Grand Tormentor
19.Marduk - Serpent Sermon
20. Ulver - Childhood's End
21.Borknagar - Urd
22.Urfaust - Ritual Music for the True Clochard
23. Heimdalls Wacht - Ekte Westfäölske Svatte Metal
24.Malysteria - Blaspheme & Devotion
25.Behexen - Nightside Emanations