Album of the Year 2014 – Top5
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It was a great year for underground music. We saw newcomers rise and old heroes return. We got new records by Colour Haze, Karma To Burn, Brant Bjork, John Garcia, Electric Wizard, Melvins, Earth, Fu Manchu, Truckfighters, Orange Goblin and so many more. The scene is flourishing and seems to have come to a climax. Even if it’s getting difficult not to lose track of all the bands at the moment, it still feels great to be part of this global network of band and music lovers.

Like every year, of course, our team has put together a mandatory list of personal favorite albums 2014. With the plethora of releases this year it is obviously particularly difficult. Still, here they are: in our opinion the best albums of 2014.

And do not forget to put together your own Top5. At the end of the year there will be a big community voting with a bunch of stuff to win. We look forward to your submissions. More on that soon!

Tims Top5
Ruths Top5
Lucas Top5
Muckes Top5
Flos Top5


1. Dot Legacy – Dot Legacy

Dot Legacy - Dot Legacy - 2014When I wrote the review to Dot Legacy, I was already sure it would find a place in my year-end list. I don’t know… – a Garcia with an absolutely mediocre album and even a Bjork with a good and surprising album simply have no place here, if there are bands like the one from Damien, Arnaud, John and Romain from France. Mid-year really lost some of the pleasure to listen to the dozens of Stoner and Doom albums out there. Whether it’s Lo-Pan, Fu Manchu, Truckfighters, Wo Fat or Orange Goblin, none of the „old“ friends were totally convincing. Dot Legacy have pulled me out of a hole with her fresh, sometimes simple, sometimes complex mixture of Heavy Rock directions of many kinds, where even the strong arms of the Melvins, Fu Manchu or Electric Wizards were not enough. I can hear the album over and over again and it only gets better. That’s what makes a personal Top1. Nothing else.

• CD Review •

2. Mother’s Cake – Off The Beaten Track (Live Album)

Mothers Cake - Off the Beaten Track - 2014A project like Mother’s Cake can quickly backfire. The wacky song structure and style may seem enforced or even be interpreted pretentious. The audiovisual total work of art Off The Beaten Track is, is however beyond doubt. Progressive Hard Rock mixed with funk and psychedelic elements into a unique cocktail. Shaken and stirred. Since it is not a classic album, but a live session, the songs are strong especially on quality, freshness through improvisation and individuality. The accompanying video invites you into the studio with the band but also kidnappes the listener simultaneously in a surreal parallel universe. It will be interesting to see what the Austrians are up to next. Another album can certainly not take that long, since they obviously are not out of ideas any time soon and consistently positive comments from the press do also help. A celebration of strange and catchy.

3. Dyse – Das Nation

Dyse - Das Nation - 2014Without having seen Dyse perform live, it’s hard to understand an album of Jari and Andre at all. Just as it’s sometimes difficult to take them seriously with their announcements between songs, a Dyse song on record can also first sound a bit daunting. Only those who have become aware of the full power of Dyse and those who are willing to read between the lines, can understand the complete capacity of noise rock. It’s a lot to handle. Even before Das Nation they had wrecking ball songs like Supermachineyeon, Treppe or Underlaydisc. Now, with the new album we get a completely new catalog of stadium rock songs for noise-loving insane people. Sing along and prepare to be blown away. The ones who don’t want to understand, I’m sorry.

4. Coogans Bluff – Gettin‘ Dizzy

Coogans Bluff - Gettin Dizzy - 2014Some bands are just really fun. Live and on record. Coogan’s Bluff with their current line-up are definitely one of them. With Poncho Express they have reinvented themselfes and since play themselfes in the hearts of new fans. The songs on Gettin ‚Dizzy are optimistic, colorful and loud. It is easy to engage in songs like Heart Full Of Soul, Her Tears or Why Did You Talk because they are an invitation to throw yourself on the dance floor with a big grin on the face. For me, it’s a feel-good-record and that’s why it should be in every collection.
• Album Review •

5. Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

Mac DeMarco - Salad Days - 2014When I’m standing in front of my small but growing vinyl collection, there will be moments when I scroll past all the albums. Mostly mood dependent, there is simply not the right one to pick in there. Maybe I would find one behind „M“. But I usually don’t get that far. Once the fingers touch Salad Days, I pull it out. DeMarco’s character (or at least the one he likes to present to the public) seems to be one with the melodies and lyrics. So it seems like there’s nothing easier in the world than to be lulled in by the dingy lo-fi songs. Anyway, I feel damn good about myself when I hear songs like Blue Boy, Salad Days, Treat Her Better, Passing Pieces, or honestly the whole damn album. Afterwards you want a cigarette and a hot shower, because somehow you feel then as if you indeed had good sex, but in very dirty bedsheets. Hipster record? I do not care.

Other highlights 2014

  • Been Obscene – Unplugged
  • DxBxSx – Kriegserklärung
  • Earth – Primitive and Deadly
  • J Mascis – Tied to a Star
  • Jakob – Sines
  • Karen O – Crush Songs
  • Mars Red Sky – Stranded in Arcadia
  • Mantar – Death By Burning
  • Shellac – Dude Incredible
  • Sleepy Sun – Maui Tears
  • Spidergawd – Spidergawd
  • Sqürl – Only Lovers Left Alive
  • Swans – To Be Kind
  • Mantar – Death By Burning
  • Warpaint – Warpaint
  • xBomb Factory – No


1. Earth – Primitive and Deadly

Earth - Primitive and Deadly - 2014Dylan Carlson is back. Shaken from fates, ups and downs of life, his band Earth belongs to the unshakable tindrocks of Experimental Drone. After always periodically releasing its ambitious conglomeration of styles, rhythms and collaborations, 8th studio album Primitive and Deadly meets with a surprising response. One expects a familiar, forceful record in halting Earth-style and receives a usual forceful and halting piece in classic Earth-vein. But unlike as Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I + II from 2011 and 2012, structures are more linear and harder while guitar and percussion form darkness and awe into ecstasy and harmony. This new chosen path is mainly perfected by guest vocalists Mark Lanegan and Rabia Shaheen Qazi of Rose Windows so that Primitive and Deadly not only makes the greatest album in 2014 but is also going to bring lasting satisfaction to established Earth listeners.

2. Mount Salem – Endless

Mount Salem - Endless - 2014In this particularly record-strong year who would have expected that very young Chicago quartet Mount Salem starts up a powerful roller of Classic Doom Metal with its debut LP Endless and get it stuck in your already mud wetted head? I did not anyway. Until in middle of November I reached for a random live performance in Vienna, henceforth the album went in a loop. After the huge overload of cute Blues Pills retro ballads my heart and ears longed for gloom, heavy Doom and satanic ideas that are offered with Endless in majestic quality. Mount Salem and their graceful singer Emily Kopplin don’t take much: Organ for the occult Psychedelic vibe, strong vocals, Black Sabbath riffs and a punch of Pentagrams familiar wickedness which include as much catchy factor that every song is to dance in joy and doomy vitality.

3. Sólstafir – Ótta

Solstafir - Otta - 2014Sólstafir’s great strength always was to transform the barren, yet graceful ice landscape of their home country Iceland into compositions, even if the old Black Metal days are counted and they more place value on melodies and instrumental expressiveness. Subtle build-up with strings and piano form the basic concept of the fragile grace and beauty on the one side, scratchy voice of Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, the rough guitars and accentuated drum fills contrasting heat from cold on the other side. This record was love at the first track and convinces both by acoustic songs with earthy peace and endurance as well as Sólstafir’s familiar Rock ‘n Roll attitude that runs consistently through Ótta’s landscape carpet. What a wall that Sólstafir timbered here…

4. King Tuff – Black Moon Spell

King Tuff - Black Moon Spell - 2014As singer of Witch Kyle Thomas is no obscurity but in his 1-man project King Tuff he laid the Stoner Doom aside and nestles up in velvet underpants and lascivious flattery voice to parody Garage Rock, whose caresses also Eagles of Death Metal may like. Compared to the two previous albums Black Moon Spell is still lunatic, bizarre and entertaining. Sexual overdoses such as old b-sides by QOTSA or the early Desert Sessions might have been used as a tribute on this record but also would have had enough space in the closet of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Anyway, Black Moon Spell is a wonderfully wacky and danceable monster with a garbage can charge full of charm, punk and greasy hair. Kyle Thomas doesn’t warn you in vain with the words „King Tuff is my name, I got madness in my brain.“

5. Bongripper – Miserable

Bongripper - Miserable - 20142014 was the year of Doom Metal. Not only Bongripper publishing Miserable – another piece of life denial – also their colleagues Yob, Pallbearer or Witch Mountain produced stunning albums and overwhelmed heavy metal-loving people. What is so extraordinary in Bongripper? For now nothing because all of those bands are dark, prosaic and difficult in their music. Bongripper generally deny vocals but Ambient and Post-Metal take over the reins of the most 10- to 30-minute tracks. Endless is frightening cold and scarily heavy, Descent in turn is carefully in its build-up and almost prudent before Into Ruin’s steel hammers knock on Satan’s portal – Bongripper manage to drill their Extreme Doom deeply under the skin and secrete toxic substances causing anxiety and paranoia. But similar to horror movies Bongripper trigger adrenaline and cardiac refreshment once you got used to the fact of mediated death teaching.

Other highlights 2014

  • Brant Bjork – Black Power Flower
  • Dyse – Das Nation
  • Electric Wizard – Time To Die
  • Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden
  • Swans – To Be Kind
  • Yob – Clearing the Path to Ascend


1. Brant Bjork & the Low Desert Punk Band – Black Power Flower

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band - Black Power Flower - 2014To speak of Black Power Flower as a solo album of Brant Bjork would do no justice to the supergroup that hides behind the Low Desert Punk band. Bjork, Dinsmore, Tornay and Dupree have produced a diverse album that masters the balancing act between heavy doom and the familiar serenity of Bjork’s solo work without losing it’s cohesion. Pity that (so far) only buyers of the CD / MP3 versions get the last two songs that provide a majority of the records variance.
• CD Review •

2. Earth – Primitive & Deadly

Earth - Primitive and Deadly - 2014Primitive & Deadly is an atmospheric masterpiece. The usual repetitive droning riffs are backed up with vocals for the first time in a long while. This makes the sound crisper, more accessible and less contemplative than the last albums of the drone pioneers. The third track From The Zodiacal Light is my track of the year!

3. Mark Lanegan Band – Phantom Radio/No Bells on Sunday

Mark Lanegan Band - Phantom Radio-No Bells on Sunday - 2014NAfter the release of an anthology-box-set in the beginning of the year, the workaholic grunge legend lent his unique voice to Earth (see above) and still found time to record an EP and a LP with his standard collaborators Alain Johannes and Aldo Struyf. Both records are strongly oriented towards the 80s synth sound. To uphold the quality on such a high standard while constantly releasing new music and touring around the world is a skill only very few artists show.

4. Salem’s Pot – …Lurar ut dig på prärien

Salem’s Pot - …Lurar ut dig på prärien - 2014The Swedes of Salem’s Pot have produced my favourite doom record of the year. Because unlike their big idols Electric Wizard, the Swedes loosen up their heavy doom with short space-rock or 60’s-hard-rock passages. The least of their genre colleagues can show such variance and therefore …Lurar ut på dig prärien was spun more frequently on my record player than Conan, Yob, Pallbearer and The Skull.

5. Papir – IIII

Papir - IIII - 2014Papir have delivered space rock at ist finest with IIII. The Danes seem to have been heavily influenced by the Papermoon Sessions with Electric Moon of last year and have created a record with quiet, peacuful passages, but also faster, more hard-rock like parts. If heard subly there is a risk of having to make sure whether you‘re really still sitting in front of the PC or on a space-shuttle to Jupiter.

Other highlights 2014

  • 3rd Ear Experience – Incredible Good Fortune
  • Brave Black Sea – Fragments
  • Conan – Blood Eagle
  • Fu Manchu – Gigantoid
  • John Garcia – John Garcia
  • Kalamata – You
  • Karma To Burn – Arch Stanton
  • Moab – Billow
  • Mars Red Sky – Stranded in Arcadia
  • The Skull – For Those Which Are Asleep


1. Brownout presents Brown Sabbath

Brownout presents Brown Sabbath - 2014Tribute records are mostly mixed bags. At best uneven the majority are unnecessary. Brown Sabbath however, the alter ego of Texan funk band Browout, are the proverbial exception to the rule. Black-Sabbath-songs with lots of percussion and horns – it grooves and rocks like hell. Irresistible.

2. Birth Of Joy – Prisoner

Birth Of Joy – Prisoner - 2014On prior albums these three Dutch sounded a lot like the Doors. An influence that is still evident on Prisoners. But now the band has found its own sound – a bit like Queens Of The Stone Age jamming with Ray Manzarek. But that ain’t a fitting description either. Simply listen to it.

3. 1000 Mods – Vultures

1000 Mods - Vultures - 2014The Greek have left the bulk of ordinary stoner-rock-bands with their second album. Great songs, cool arrangements and a lot of drive. Claws might be the song of the year.
• CD Review •

4. Spidergawd – I

Spidergawd - I - 2014The Motorpsycho-offshoot released its first albun almost out of the public gaze – at least outside of Norway. A shame because the record hits the bulls eye. Less playful than Motorpsycho, it features a saxophon that complements guitar and rhythm section perfectly.

5. Comet Control – I

Comet Control - I - 2014Quest For Fire from Toronto released two albums, toured Europa once and split. A pity but at least the two guitar players founded Comet Control, spiked their space rock with a healthy dose of British shoegaze and recorded this cool debut.

Other highlights 2014

  • The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast
  • Allah-Las – Worship the Sun
  • Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker
  • Black Lung – Black Lung
  • The Budos Band – Burnt Offering
  • Coogan’s Bluff – Gettin‘ Dizzy
  • Dirty Lungs – Dirty Lungs
  • The Golden Grass – The Golden Grass
  • La Hell Gang – Thru Me Again
  • Nick Waterhouse – Holly


1. Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Band – Black Power Flower

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punks - Black Power FlowerEven 2 years ago rumors spread that Brant Bjork has a new album in stock, but Vista Chino once had priority and thus delayed the successor of Gods & Godesses. The predecessor was pretty much untypical Brant album, but still a great work. So what’s next? The result thrilled the entire scene: Brant returns to his roots, but with significantly harder sound. So snotty, dirty, rebellious and deeply Brant never was. Black Flower Power trumps every BB album (and they are all high class) and outclassed every album this year! It is a pity that in the first edition the last two songs were denied what rightly angered many loyal followers. Such machinations are questionable and very bold. So keep your eyes peeled open when you buy the album!

2. Fu Manchu – Gigantoid

Fu Manchu - Gigantoid - 2014And another album from the desert. For Fu Manchu it was after 5 years time again for something new. Ok, „new“ is exaggerated – you get the Fu Manchu typical sound that will never change but always will bash your ears. What has changed is the much better sound quality that works amazingly well with the tried and true sound. Also in terms of speed Fu Manchu is move up a gear. A slow title does not exist. If only my 2nd place, Fu Manchu certainly has the title for the heaviest album of the year!

3. Truckfighters – Universe

Truckfighters - Universe - 2014Universe from the Truckfighters is not so hard like Gigantoid. In addition to the tried and true Fuzz the 3 guys from Sweden also presents a more quiter side for the first time. Some true fans will anger that – but I like it really well! Songs like Prophet or Get Liftet ensure that Universe is not the best but definitely the most remarkable album of the Truckfighters. In return, with The Chairman or Mastodont there is the usual sound, that every fan loves!

4. Dyse – Das Nation

Dyse - Das Nation - 2014Also the Noise-Cabaret-Duo of Dÿse is back again with a wonderfull album to rock it up, laugh and think for oneself. Also on Das Nation you have to want to get involved to like it. There are so many jokes and anything but ordinary riffs that the two guys shoot completely unpredictable through the ten tracks. The most impressive are the fan chant like refrains which will make your voice hoarse.

5. Monsters Of The Ordinary

Monsters of the Ordinary - Mirror - 2014After „On The Edge And Beyond“ has completely blew me away with its great mix of heavy riffs and thoughtful melodies three years ago, this year album number two was released called „Mirror“. What is striking is a huge change in style of the band which is now just one thing: Stonerrock. Mirror is going forward as Kyuss couldn’t have do it any better – dirty, stiff and uninhibited.
It’s so beatiful that there are bands that play pure Stoner but at „On The Edge And Beyond“ the „Monsters“ already found their own unique style. Nonetheless „Mirror“ is a really good album that changes every rainy drive into a desert trip!