The Official Ghost Cult Writers Albums of the Year Top 50: 30-21

The countdown to the Official Ghost Cult Magazine Album of the Year for 2014 continues. Please consume and enjoy the results of our 2014 Writers’ Poll. We hope it will introduce you to some of the incredible works of art you may have missed that we have had the immense pleasure of listening to and writing about this year.

In our third installment we bring you albums 30 through to 21

Casualties_of_Cool-400x40030. CASUALTIES OF COOL – Casualties Of Cool (Pledge/HevyDevy)

“Casualties of Cool is an intriguing experiment from a man who excels in making left-field music. Go in expecting massive a prog-metal exercise will only lead to disappointment, but having an open mind will result in a rewarding experience” DAN SWINHOE 8/10 Full review here

 

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29. ANATHEMA – Distant Satellites (KScope)

“One of our world’s most understated bands, despite the plaudits they get, Anathema have once again showcased their knack for penning both forward thinking and emotionally driven music which oozes real human character and sentimentality”. CHRIS TIPPELL 9/10 Full review here

Down-IV-part-2-album-cover-400x40028. DOWN – IV (Part II) (Down Records)

“When we look back on this part of their career, we will likely understand that these are less like regular EPs that other bands release, and much more like a mini-opus, in pieces. Down clearly realizes their collective vision, no matter who is in the lineup, every time”. KEITH ‘KEEFY’ CHACHKES 9.5/10 Full review here

 

Vallenfyre-Splinters-400x40027. VALLENFYRE – Splinters (Century Media)

“Sadistic and aggressive with endless moments of bleak reflection Splinters is a leviathan unleashed upon unsuspecting listeners and a release surely destined to grace many year end lists” ROSS BAKER 9/10 Full review here

 

agalloch-album-cover-400x40026. AGALLOCH – “The Serpent and the Sphere” (Profound Lore)

Like a massive-antlered stag glimpsed amidst a wintry landscape, breathtaking, elusive and hard to pin down, The Serpent and the Sphere looks set to continue their elegant and ever-evolving legacy JAMES CONWAY 9/10 Full review here

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25. THOU – Heathen (Gilead Media)

“A storm manifest as a piece of music, as devastating as it is awe-inspiring, Heathen is varied and compelling for the entire runtime”. TOM SAUNDERS 9/10 Full review here

Cover_1500X1500_RGB-16bit-400x40024. septicflesh – Titan (Season of Mist)

“Sharp, buzzing riffs and symphonic keys, strength and brutality amongst moments of pomp and beauty, bloody entertaining and another show of form” PAUL QUINN 8.5/10 Full review here

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23. PYRRHON – The Mother of Virtues (Relapse)

The Mother Of Virtues doesn’t just challenge what is “extreme”, but calls into question whether some of what is produced is actually even music. Completely and utterly impenetrable, and exceptional with it”. STEVE TOVEY 9.5/10 Full review here

Eyehategod-album-cover-400x40022. EYEHATEGOD – EyeHateGod (Housecore/Century Media)

“Eyehategod continue to age like a good whiskey, seeming to improve as time goes by, but by no means losing their sting”. CHRIS TIPPELL 9/10 Full review here

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21. ALCEST – Shelter (Prophecy)

“Shedding the last vestiges of metal, let-alone any lingering black metal leanings, a captivating and stunning piece of music poured straight from the heart”. JAMES CONWAY 9/10 Full review here

Ghost Cult Magazine Albums of the Year: 50-41

Ghost Cult Magazine Albums of the Year: 40-31

Agalloch – The Serpent and the Sphere

agalloch album cover

 

Like a massive-antlered stag glimpsed amidst a wintry landscape, Agalloch albums have always been breathtaking, elusive and hard to pin down. Emerging from hibernation every four years on average, the Portland, Oregon quartet have never once disappointed with their unique brand of post rock, black metal and neo-folk, and fifth opus The Serpent and the Sphere (Profound Lore) looks set to continue their elegant and ever-evolving legacy.

 

Based around an astral premise as opposed to the spiritual themes of 2010 predecessor Marrow of the Spirit, The Serpent and the Sphere has a more refined construct this time around with nine tracks clocking in at around about an hour, three of them being brief neo-folk instrumentals composed by guest musician Nathanael Larochette of Musk Ox. His presence is a mystery given that the band are no stranger to this type of acoustic passage, but you will hear no complaints as they fit like sturdy oaks, anchoring the album steadfastly amidst a surging sea of progressive elements.

 

From the gradually building urgency of the eleven minute opener ‘Birth and Death of the Pillars of Creation’ which ascends ever higher with the threat of release so near yet so far, to the classy melodic black metal of ‘The Astral Dialogue’ to the soaring, shimmering post metal of equally lengthy ‘Plateau of the Ages’, there is something here to delight all fans and ensnare many a newcomer. The playing is constantly thoughtful and skilled, the production clear as the driven snow and every element of Agalloch’s soul-stirring repertoire, save for John Haugm’s solemn clean vocals are present and correct.

 

A spiritual journey that you will want to experience over and over again, The Serpent and the Sphere has something for everyone, and is something everyone should experience.

 

9/10

Agalloch on Facebook

 

JAMES CONWAY