Best of the rest – 2014 metal (part 1): instrumental and short releases

Best instrumental metal of 2014

Horrendous, “When the Walls Fell.” I can’t get fully behind Horrendous’s ambitious second album, finding its blend of death metal and old-school metal melodies a little slipshod compared to Arsis a decade ago, but there are a few very promising moments, especially this instrumental from late in the record. These guys clearly have been brushing up on late-era NWOBHM, and the sharp, melodic riffs on “When the Walls Fell” are so good I wish they’d explored that side of their sound a little more. (Adrien Begrand)


Easily MUSK OX – Woodfall, a fascinating incarnation of metal influences brought to life by the trio of an acoustic guitar, violin and cello. (Danielle)


I’m going to go with a list on this one. In no particular order:
Black Tar ProphetDeafen (heavy as shit sludge/doom)

Morgue of SaintsMonolith (brilliant, organ-soaked, heavy psych rock)

BongripperMiserable (epic stoner doom stretched over long songs)

NorthumbriaBring Down the Sky (ambient metal drone doesn’t get much better than this)

Wolves in the Throne RoomCelestite (synth based exploration of Celestial Lineage‘s themes)

(Matt Hinch)


I kept going back to Tempel’s  On the Steps of the Temple (Prosthetic) this year. I expect I’ll keep going back to it. (Laura Wiebe)


Best short releases

Raw like fugu and twice as deadly, OSDM leviathan BLASPHERIAN utterly rip, rend and tear their way through two murky, mastodon-heavy throwback tracks, while LVTHN keep it kvlt with an equally ferocious dual black metal berserker rampage. Everything that is awesome about no-nonsense metal done right, in two choice slabs o’ delicious 7″ vinyl. (Matthew Elliott)

BLASPHERIAN – Upon the Throne…of Eternal Blasphemous Death 7″ (Iron Bonehead Productions)

LVTHN – Adversarialism 7″ (Fallen Empire)


BÖLZER’s SOMA is a two track masterpiece, like all their previous little tease releases have been. Their brand of black metal is absurdly addictive. (Danielle Griscti)


Astrakhan A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin. There were plenty of worthy contenders but these guys are just too good. Their incredible vision and obvious skill make for some damn fine progressive sludge. Everything about this EP (including the two tracks from The Pillarist) is terribly epic and inspiring. The band reaches to the end of their grasp and takes hold. I see big things in Astrakhan’s future. (Matt Hinch)


The 7-inch of the year was the Pentagram/Master split on Imperial Anthems. Great blend of death metal done the old school way. (Rob Kachluba)


I almost forgot this one because it came out so early in the year and it features nine tracks. Still James Labrie‘s I Will Not Break is really only a three-song EP, bringing together a track from his 2013 album release, two songs that had only been available as bonus tracks, and a collection of demos and remixes. It’s primarily one song that won me over here, “Why,” and I played it again and again throughout last year’s winter months. (Laura Wiebe)


Matthew Elliot is a political and music writer, editor, and social media hooligan from London, ON. A lifelong, obsessive metal fanatic, he tries not to take the third person too seriously. Tries. Send promo blasts to: [email protected].

Contributor of photos and plenty of rambling - also on Instagram & Youtube @riffsdontlie

Keep up with all Matt's exploits on Twitter @Kingdomofnoise!

Laura is associate editor of and co-host of weekly metal show Kill Eat Exploit the Weak on CFMU 93.3 FM. She loves doom, prog, cats and basketball, believes in equity and social justice and is not cool with any form of discrimination, marginalization, harassment or oppression.