[BLACK/PROG/FOLK] AGALLOCH - THE SERPENT AND THE SPHERE
Agalloch is band with a storied history whom people have high expectations for and Agalloch never misses the mark and this is no exception. The Faustian Echoes EP last year was much more "Black" than usual Agalloch music and I myself wondered if this album would go in that direction but they've actually embraced their progressive tendencies more than ever.
[DOOM] VESTAL CLARET - THE CULT OF VESTAL CLARET
Riffs upon riffs upon riffs under the vocals of man of many great bands, Phil Swanson. The best classic Doom album of the year and I'm sure it'll remain that way.
[BLACK/DOOM] PREDATORY LIGHT - DEMO MMXIV
Sometimes lurching, always atmospheric metal that blasts you in all the right places. Sometimes this kind of stuff tends to feel never ending but I just want this 2 song 17 minute demo to keep going. With memorable riffs, atmospherics and a production job the fits the music, I can't wait for a full length.
[HEAVY/SPEED] BLACK MAGIC - WIZARD'S SPELL
This is just solid Heavy Metal that has gone under the radar. For some reason I haven't seen much promotion of them from their awesome label, High Roller Records. Think Show No Mercy era Slayer. Also contains their demo which is a little more in the tradition of first wave Black Metal. Might be my favorite album of the year so far.
[BLACK/SLUDGE] LORD MANTIS - DEATH MASK
Music every bit as off putting and filthy as the transgendered zombie on the cover of the album. Filthy guitars, filthy, rippiing vocals. Their debut Pervertor made my top 5 when it came out and I'm fairly certain this one will end up there too.