I listened to a lot of metal this year, so much that I can actually make a top ten list of my favorite albums.
One thing I’ll admit - most of this is “hipster metal.” Very little of it is about satan, or just old fashioned workmanlike black metal. There’s no death metal or power metal. As with all my listening tastes, I tend to like stuff that pushes boundaries, that takes genres in different directions. I’m not dissing the meat-and-potatoes metal that a lot of people love, it’s just not what excites me. I also have little interest in music that is trying really hard to be EVIL, because that’s not my scene.
This is also a list of albums I actually listened to and loved, not ones I merely thought were worthy of praise.
So here they are in alphabetical order:
Windhand: Grief's Infernal Flower. I enjoyed moments of their 2013 album Soma, but it was a little too muddy and formless. They've tightened up here and cleaned up the sound. So heavy, so good.
Vhol: Deeper Than the Sky. This is like Motorhead meets 80s Metallica meets I don't even know. It's great. It sounds amazing, it is heavy, precise, energetic, and fun.
Vanum: S/T. Melodic black metal that combines just the right amount of melody and noise.
Panopticon, Autumn Eternal. Epic, yearning, and powerful.
Myrkur: M. Folky Scandanavian black metal with female vocals.
Liturgy: The Ark Work. A hot mess, but an amazing hot mess. Black metal meets avant garde classical meets electronica meets southern hip-hop. Also amazing live.
Elder, Lore. Groovy prog metal.
Deafheaven: New Bermuda. Emo-ass black metal about the pain of normalcy, friends dying of overdoses, and moving to the suburbs.
Bosse-de-Nage: All Fours. Loud, melodic mix of black metal and post-hardcore.
Bell Witch: Four Phantoms. Heavy, slow, and beautiful.