5. Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare

The first album in seven years from the Norwegian Black Metal legends Mayhem is cause enough for excitement but the fact that it can easily sit alongside the classic material of their past gives even more reason to get giddy, in a Black Metal-type way of course.

It’s never been an easy ride for Mayhem fans as they have steadfastly refused to follow a traditional BM path and instead experimented with the more avant-garde side. The underpinning of violence and chaos though has always been present and remains classic Mayhem.

The slightly revised lineup of Attila on vocals, Necrobutcher on bass, Hellhammer on drums and Charles Hedger and new boy, well in terms of a studio release anyway, Telloch (1349, Gorgoroth) on guitars. The band parted ways with guitarist Blasphemer in 2008.

The start-stop-start of the opening track ”Watcher” is a perfect way to re-introduce yourself to the hordes of new Black Metal fans that have popped up in the intervening seven years since the release of Ordo Ad Chao thanks to the 101 sub-genres it has created.

The ferocious power of the band can be felt through tracks like “Psywar” and “Trinity”.

Overall it’s a brilliant Black Metal release from a brilliant band. What more could you want?

4. Stiv Cantarelli And The Silent Strangers – Banks Of The Lea

My review of this album, a couple of months ago, suggested that this band may well be the band you’ve been waiting for. Whilst retro-rockers like Rival Sons et al get the kudos, awards and magazine covers Stiv and his gang have not-so quietly gone about forging a fearsome reputation on the live circuit. A reputation that, all too rarely these days, is backed up in the studio.

Since my review I have probably listened to the album, all the way through, about a dozen times and I have decided to give them an extra half a point to take them to 9.5/10. I could easily give them a 10/10 but I think that can wait for the next release, after all I’ve got to give them somewhere to go!!

This is jazz-infused dirty sliding blues rock right out of the top drawer, or under the counter, depending on your preference.

Look for my review on this website to get the full lowdown on my thoughts, they haven’t changed much since, but suffice to say that with tracks like the stomp-rattler “The Streets”, the bone-shaker “Jason Hit The City” and the soul-infused sax stirrings of “Arrogance Blues” it is the a stunning achievement in modern day rock n’ roll.

3. Crobot – Something Supernatural

“Never heard of ‘em, mate” was my response when Maximum Volume editor, Andy, advised me, in no uncertain terms, to check out American Groove Rockers Crobot a month or so back. Always one to follow our glorious leader’s advice, honest, I duly checked them out.

“Dirty. Groove. Rock” is how the Pennsylvanian beardy four-piece like to describe their music. “Absolutely. Bloody. Marvellous” is how I would describe it.

Formed in the summer of 2011 they have steadily built up a live reputation of some repute and it appears that has now been transformed onto vinyl on this their debut album.

Andy reviewed the album for the website so I will refer you to that for a clear and concise explanation as to why this album rocks all kinds of hell. I certainly can’t convey it any better.


2. Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed

So then to second place, or the silver medal in sporting parlance.

Max Cavalera, Greg Puciato and Dave Elitch and Troy Sanders.  Collectively known as Killer be Killed. You heard there names before. Anyone with a passing interest in metal over the past decade or more will know those names and their associated bands.

Sometimes the word Supergroup is banded about because a couple of half-successful musicians form a band with a couple of unknowns. Very rare is it that a band comes together that truly defines the term. Killer Be Killed can certainly be classed as a Supergroup and then some.
Of course, it’s no good being a Supergroup if you can’t produce a great album. On that front KBK bolt straight out of the traps with the astonishingly brilliant “Wings of Feather and Wax”. Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Gojira) is a sublime choice to handle to production and this is never more evident than on the aforementioned opener.

“Snakes of Jehova”, “Face Down”, “Fire to your Flag”, “Dust into Darkness” the great tracks just keep on coming. It is a true brutal and melodic aural delight.

1. Behemoth – The Satanist

I could, attempt, to wax lyrical and go into minute detail about why this album is the best album of the year, according to yours truly, but there would not be much point. I doubt in all honesty if I could put into words how great this album is.

It came out in January, and I had already earmarked it as a potential album of the year well beforehand, but nothing prepared me for the impact it would make on me when it came out. As great as all the albums I have mentioned in my list none of them come close to the pure majesty of The Satanist. With that I will simply leave you with the tracklisting for the album as if you have heard it it will speak volumes. If not, this is the only album from 2014 that you MUST own.

  Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
  Furor Divinus
  Messe Noire 
  Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
  Amen  
  The Satanist  
  Ben Sahar
  In the Absence ov Light  
  O Father O Satan O Sun!