Earth - Primitive and Deadly
Genre/s: Psychedelic, Drone
I had no doubt that this one would be on here when it was announced. Dylan Carlson finally incorporating vocals into his music was a huge breath of fresh air and fit the more psychedelic rock tone of the album perfectly.
Myrkur - Self Titled
Genre/s: Atmospheric Black Metal, Dark Ambient
Despite what the legions of metal neckbeards that inhabit the internet would have you believe, solo Danish black metal act 'Myrkur' was signed to Relapse last summer because shes pretty damned good, not because shes a woman. Myrkur's brand of atmospheric black metal is reminiscent of Ulver particularly, but building on the sense of melodic beauty they brought to the table- and adding a new tone that makes it feel more haunting and sinister.
Zaum - Oracles
Genre: Doom Metal
Fantastic doom for fans of Om and YOB, they way they approached such a classic theme in doom (India, the Middle East, Middle Eastern culture/history, etc) by actually blending more aspects of traditional Midde-Eastern and Indian music such as sitar into the background, sort of like Drudkh's Ukrainian folk music inspired approach to their own music works was great- they're also interestingly from Moncton, New Brunswick.
Witchface - Skrekk & Gru
Genre/s: Raw Punk, Hardcore
I was super stoked when I was among the first people to hear this album in it's entirety, and pretty much knew it would end up on this list while still trying to remain objective. Seriously though, if you want a great take on raw punk/hardcore in the style of Sump, Sexdrome, and Arnaut Pavle, then you need to check out Witchface asap.
Tanya Tagaq - Animism
Genres: Throat-Singing, Avante Garde, Electronic
While not strictly within the bounds of what is normally posted on FBN, I can't disregard this fantastic album. Incorporating elements of traditional Inuit throat-singing with electronica and experimentalist avant-garde create a tone to Animism the likes of which I've never seen before. The album itself, as well as tracks like "Fracking" also serve as powerful statements on modern Inuit culture and issues; definitely one of my favourites for this year.
Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden
Genre: Doom Metal
Profound Lore have snagged themselves another good one here, seriously up there with the likes of Wold, Agalloch, and Lord Mantis- I essentially think that each one of those bands the best that PL has to offer in each of their subgenres, and I definitely consider Pallbearer to be the best amongst the best doom they've got to offer with 'Foundations of Burden'
Trenchrot - Necronomic Warfare
Genre: Death Metal
Excellent classically inspired death metal in the style of 80s British greats like Bolt Thrower fused with traditionally Swedish death metal styles. Trenchrot seriously feels like a band in the 80s somehow got a hold of a time machine and traveled to modern Philedelphia, seriously excited for future releases.
Satanic Warmaster - Fimbulwinter
Genre/s: Black Metal
I was glad to see that Werewolf still has it in him since his roots of 'Bloody Ritual' and 'Strength and Honour'- its not often that one musician maintains such a consistently great body of work. Sure he has some bad eggs, but Fimbulwinter is definitely not one of them. I was worried that this album would just be him repeating himself and selling it on the fact that he IS Satanic Warmaster, but his style has actually progressed really interestingly with Fimbulwinter.
YOB - Clearing the Path to Ascend
Genre/s: Doom Metal
YOB are old-hands to the doom metal game, but just like Werewolf on Fimbulwinter, they show that time hasn't degraded them, only progressed them. I was really pleased to see with the way their style has progressed since 'Atma' which I wasn't totally crazy about- 'Clearing the Path to Ascend' is definitely the better album.
Midnight - No Mercy for Mayhem
Genre/s: Blackened Thrash Metal
Easily my absolute favourite album of 2014, since someone else has already said it better than me, I'll just quote them: "Imagine Lemmy with a pumpkin for a head riding a black leather stallion through a sea of blood. That’s exactly how this record sounds. Just faster." I am so glad to finally see Midnight return to the throne of blackened thrash because they definitely deserve it after 'No Mercy for Mayhem'.
Back from the Abyss - Orange Goblin
The Full of Hell/Merzbow Collab
Soused - Sunn O)))/Scott Walker