Courtsleet - Hope’s Apparition (EP) (2014)

We already delved deeply into one half of a split that was made to be; Joe Hawker and his Of Solitude And Solemn project added some feeling. But Courtsleet, the brain child of Gavin Turner, is the counterpoint. Raw, emotional, and grating, “Hope’s Apparition” is the yang to Hawker’s yin.

Idensity - Chronicles (2013)

It took way too long for the new album by France’s Idensity to make it’s way through our speakers, but it was worth every day waiting. Taking traditional death metal and amplifying it through the use of breathtaking violins and orchestration, “Chronicles” is every bit as dynamic as it sounds.

Empyrean Throne - Demonseed (2013)

To set yourself apart from the hordes of other death metal bands, Empyrean Throne had two options: either do it better than everyone else, or add something to the mix that the others can’t match. Why choose, when you can do both? “Demonseed” is fresh and brutal.

Absidia…In The Shadow - The Storm (EP) (2013)

The best laid plans, as we know, often go awry. Absidia… In The Shadow may have had the best of symphonic black metal intentions, but their end result doesn’t live up to the plan. Unfortunately, “The Storm” isn’t much of one.

Valtari - Hunter’s Pride (2014)

Two years, a truck load of time and effort. Marty Warren was already riding the wave from his last album, but that just wasn’t enough. An Aussie melodic death project with a Scandinavian twist. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Go get “Hunter’s Pride;” you won’t be disappointed.

Barishi - Barishi (2013)

Sometimes the timing of an album is just right. And sometimes it all falls into place. Barishi struck the right chord, at the right time, with the right group of people. And as a result, their self titled album is one for the ages.

Black Vulpine - Demo (2013)

Female fronted stoner metal might not be the flavor of this month, or any month for that matter. But Black Vulpine have been honing their craft for the better part of a decade. Their new demo might not be the be all and end all for the genre, but it is an open door to the future.

Of Solitude And Solemn - Starlight’s Guide (EP) (2014)

Though his budget doesn’t match his talent, Joe Hawker is doing amazing things with his home studio and a broad imagination. Of Solitude And Solemn is quickly becoming synonymous with symphonic post doom, and “Starlight’s Guide” will certainly help further that connection.

Alcest - Shelter (2014)

Alcest has always been a genre bending act, thanks largely to the artistic depth of mainman Neige. But on their new album, “Shelter” it looks as though they have become a victim of their own expectations, leaving behind grit and contrast in favor of beauty without the beast.

A Crisis Of Faith…

A quick read for you tonight on how we can make 2014 different for music.