Best Albums of 2014
by: Pedro Azevedo

Not a great year for the old Album of the Year favourites in general, with no less than four former winners releasing new full-length albums, and none of them getting anywhere near the fight for first place. We're looking at you, Agalloch, Opeth, Primordial and Wolves in the Throne Room -- although to be fair, Agalloch at least made the bottom half of the overall top 10, and WitTR hardly played it safe this year. So we're looking at you, Opeth (where have you gone?) and Primordial (where else can you go?).

But enough about those who failed this year. If any band can claim success in 2014, it has to be Behemoth. Never mind the small matter of overcoming serious illness to release a full-length album, turns out said album more than matches their moniker. _The Satanist_ embodies and furthers much of what we like about these Polish veterans, and walks away with this year's title firmly grasped by the scruff of its neck.

Last year we crowned a comeback album; this year a bunch of Swedes by the name At the Gates decide to return with a solid effort after a couple of decades. Logically, not even a single writer mentioned that album in his list. What they did mention however was _The Turn of the Tides_, Empyrium's comeback album, to the extent that it grabbed second place. Seems like comeback albums can still be a good bet sometimes.

An even more vicious little beast than _The Satanist_, Gridlink's _Longhena_ took third place, which helps bring into focus the unlikely achievement of Empyrium's second place with their delicate record.

Iceland's finest Sólstafir got fourth place, returning to these matters after a brief appearance in 2009 with _Köld_. (In retrospect, it seems odd that _Svartir Sandar_ failed to make the 2011 list.) Isole complete the top half of the list, making their first appearance ever with _The Calm Hunter_.

CoC Writers' Best Albums of 2014

1. Behemoth - _The Satanist_
2. Empyrium - _The Turn of the Tides_
3. Gridlink - _Longhena_
4. Sólstafir - _Ótta_
5. Isole - _The Calm Hunter_
6. Devin Townsend Project - _Sky Blue_
=. Ne Obliviscaris - _Citadel_
8. Agalloch - _The Serpent & the Sphere_
=. Profetus - _As All Seasons Die_
10. Cynic - _Kindly Bent to Free Us_
=. Luna - _Ashes to Ashes_
=. Lord Mantis - _Death Mask_

Pedro Azevedo's Top 10

1. Sólstafir - _Ótta_
2. Ne Obliviscaris - _Citadel_
3. Behemoth - _The Satanist_
4. Kauan - _Muistumia_
5. Kampfar - _Djevelmakt_
6. Dornenreich - _Freiheit_
7. Gridlink - _Longhena_
8. Empyrium - _The Turn of the Tides_
9. Soen - _Tellurian_
10. Winterfylleth - _The Divination of Antiquity_

Chaim Drishner's Top 10

1. Profetus - _As All Seasons Die_
2. Luna - _Ashes to Ashes_
3. Domains - _Sinister Ceremonies_
4. Spectral Lore - _III_
5. Narrow House - _Thanathonaut_
6. Solace of Requiem - _Casting Ruin_
7. Quercus - _Sfumato_
8. Hoth - _Oathbreaker_
9. Sectu - _Nefarious_
10. Bloodway - _Sunstone Voyager and the Clandestine Horizon_

Aly Hassab El Naby's Top 10

1. Behemoth - _The Satanist_
2. Cynic - _Kindly Bent to Free Us_
3. Misery Index - _The Killing Gods_
4. Serdce - _Timelessness_
5. Anathema - _Distant Satellites_
6. Agalloch - _The Serpent & the Sphere_
7. Opeth - _Pale Communion_
8. Fallujah - _The Flesh Prevails_
9. Ne Obliviscaris - _Citadel_
10. Gazpacho - _Demon_

Mark Dolson's Top 10

1. Empyrium - _The Turn of the Tides_
2. Isole - _The Calm Hunter_
3. Mournful Congregation - _Concrescence of the Sophia_
4. Agalloch - _The Serpent & the Sphere_
5. Novembers Doom - _Bled White_
6. Falconer - _Black Moon Rising_
7. King of Asgard - _Karg_
8. Nightingale - _Retribution_
9. Satariel - _White Ink - Chapter One_
10. Revel in Flesh - _Death Kult Legions_

Daniel Lake's Top 10

1. Devin Townsend Project - _Sky Blue_
2. Gridlink - _Longhena_
3. Lord Mantis - _Death Mask_
4. Woccon - _Solace in Decay_
5. Triptykon - _Melana Chasmata_
6. Winterfylleth - _The Divination of Antiquity_
7. Fallujah - _The Flesh Prevails_
8. Panopticon - _Roads to the North_
9. Thantifaxath - _Sacred White Noise_
10. Dead Congregation - _Promulgation of the Fall_

(article submitted 28/1/2015)

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