Wednesday 31 December 2014

2014 Highlights - Top 10 Releases

As 2014 draws to a close, we're taking a look back at our favourite releases (THAT WE HAVE REVIEWED). Label work with UKEM Records and HELL'S HAMMER DISTRIBUTION has meant that we've not had alot of time to review every release, hence there are quite alot of titles missing from our list, we will get to them next year hopefully! This top 10 are in no particular order, but we will highlight the 'ALBUM OF 2014" that we do feel was the strongest album that we reviewed. 

Congnizanze - Inquisition
"Musically there’s a touch of Atheist, and again Cynic, to their sound. However, the brutal and guttural death metal vocals really set them aside from such bands. Four tracks of technical and brutal death metal; this is a highly impressive introduction to the band. The standard these guys have set is very high and it would be fair to say you’d be hard pushed to find a brutal death metal band in the UK playing to such a standard. Comes very highly recommended."

Arrogant Destruktor - Hate Legions Ride
"As mentioned earlier, there is simplicity to the band’s sound which is actually their strength and gives each song its catchiness and appeal. Old school influenced black metal, played from the (blackened) heart with no fuss or complication, ‘Hate Legions Ride’ is something truly unique in the UK black metal underground and this demo stands the band in good stead to hopefully move onto bigger and better things, should they decide that’s what they want - comes very highly recommended".

Merciless Terror - Vile Extinction
"Whilst it lacks somewhat for variety, we all know that bands like Merciless Terror don’t play to be varied and whimsical, they play to destroy and tracks like “Hateful Abomination” and the crushingly heavy “Process of Eradication” do just that. From start to finish this album is dominant, plain and simple"

Foetal Juice - Big Trouble In Little Vagina
"Foetal Juice are one of those bands that really appeal and fans of death metal, punk or grind will all find something to enjoy in the five tracks on offer, although I feel the death metallers will be the ones to really lap this up! If Foetal Juice reined back the punk/grind elements and concentrated slightly more on the brutal death metal, then they would certainly be an extremely potent force to be reckoned with. That said, this is a massively enjoyable e.p. which shows off the bands talents brilliantly, death metal with a sense of humour is hard to pull off, but these four lads from Bury do it very well. Now, lets see a full length please! Comes well recommended".

Seprevation - Consumed
"Song writing too is of a high level despite the majority of the music on offer being fast, hard and chaotic! Catchier tracks such as “Sarcophagal Chamber” (Sarcofago will be so proud) keep the album fresh and lively even into its middle stages and on the whole the album is of a superb quality throughout and never wavers in its aim for filthy, old school brutality".

Sleipnir - Oats Sworn In Mead And Blood
"It’s only every so often that an album of such brilliance really takes you to another level when listening to it, but that’s exactly what happens with ‘Oaths Sworn In Blood And Mead’. It quite literally draws you in and takes you on a journey you probably weren’t expecting. Sleipnir really have created an album a cut above the rest, certainly in terms of UK releases, if not the genre as a whole. Massive in both terms of length and atmosphere, it’s another fine example of UK extreme metal at the top of its game and this release comes as highly recommended as possible and is a cd you must own if you’re a fan of Viking Metal -  to not own it is an absolute travesty!

Morlich - Tempest
"Morlich has created an extremely effective black metal e.p full of harsh atmospheres and emotions which really does grab your attention from the outset. Many an hour has obviously been spent in the practice room as the whole release is extremely well played, sounding tight, fresh and extremely professional. If you haven’t heard this band before, they really are worth checking out. The band is currently looking for a label to release this on and their wait shouldn’t be too long based on what is heard here! Keyboard heavy atmospheric black metal with a real uniqueness, ‘Tempest’ comes very highly recommended".

Dystopian Wrath - Dystopian Wrath
For a debut release, Dystopian Wrath are setting the standard very high indeed, such is the brilliance that this e,p oozes throughout each and every song. The musicianship, arrangements and compositions are flawless, as is the production (bar a slightly ‘clicky’ drum sound, but that’s a minor niggle) which helps to create the morbid, monstrous and pain etched atmospheres. Another prime example of a young UK band at the very top of their game, showing the rest “how it’s done” through their brand of elite black/death metal. If you haven’t checked these guys out, then it’s about time you did as this release comes very highly recommended".

Bloodshot Dawn - Demons
"It’s very difficult to find fault with anything on this album. Bloodshot Dawn have really spent time getting to grips with making excellent music. They are a good example of ‘practice makes perfect’. In short, this is an absolute must for fans of Melodic Death Metal".

Eastern Front - Descent Into Genocide
"Eastern Front have taken all these individual ingredients and mixed them perfectly into an ice cold barrage of devastatingly effective black metal. For me, this is the best album of 2014 to surface from UK underground scene so far, such is it’s brilliance, originality and effectiveness to really punish throughout. It’s an absolute 'must have' and there aren’t too many bands going to be able to top this at all".

Some absolutely storming releases and its been hard picking the top ten as we have had to leave out some other amazing releases, especially from FED TO THE BOARS, THE KING IS BLIND, DE PROFUNDIS, ORANGE GOBLIN.
A great year for extreme metal in the UK, here's hoping that 2014 will be even better, there are some great releases on the horizon.

(that we have reviewed)
Quite an easy decision in the end, the quality shown on this album was amazing, and a huge improvement on their debut offering, so we give it to:
Well deserved indeed!!!
Finally, a huge thanks to everyone that has supported UKEM through its 4 years of existence, the support is hugely appreciated. Onwards and upwards!!

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