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Agalloch/Vhol Drummer Aesop Dekker Grudgingly Lists His Top Ten Albums of 2014

The prolific drummer for Agalloch, VHOL, and Worm Ouroboros goes in on his favorite metal (and otherwise) records of the past year.

Photo of Aesop by Veleda Thorsson Photography

I'm Aesop Dekker. I play drums in Agalloch, VHOL, and Worm Ouroboros. I buy records, I sleep, I ride my bicycle. I tend not to like things, especially records made in the last year. Here are ten exceptions… 1. Morbus Chron - Sweven
Their first full length was a passable endeavor of dummy pummel death metal that, on occasion, hinted at something weirder lurking under the surface. Fortunately, that threshold was broken. Sweven swung and twisted with a fair nod to Coroner and Ved Buens Ende, but still sounded like a a young band finding their voice. An album I will be listening to for ages. 2. Taurus - No/Thing
Some of you may cry foul knowing that one half of Taurus is my significant other (I hate that term) but let me just say, my bias aside, this album is a fantastic balance of the absolutely unnerving and the stunningly beautiful. A journey that reveals new secrets with every listen. 3. Abigor - Leytmotif Luzifer
I struggle to think of any other long-standing black metal outfit that continues to evolve with such natural grace. They just get better and stranger with every record and I honestly think they don't give a fuck what anyone thinks. That is true and cult. 4. White Lung - Deep Fantasy
The best non-metal band on earth releases another solid record of manic post-punk fury with some of the most infectious (kind of metal) guitar playing you will ever hear. 5. YOB - Clearing the Path to Ascend
Their best and most adventurous record. Yeah, it's on everyone's list, but for a reason.

6. Sólstafir - Ótta
I was curious to see if they would be able to top 2011's Svartir Sandar, and I'm not entirely sure they did, but Ótta is damn close, and still a head and shoulders above the multitudes of "one song played seven times" albums that made so many lists.

  1. Alcest - Shelter
    You hate them because they aren't metal anymore. They made one of the best shoegaze/dream-pop/whatever albums of the year. Deal with it.
8. Volahn - Aq'ab'al
Eduardo Ramirez is the most compelling guitarist in black metal these days, and Volahn is one of his many outlets, and perhaps the one most dear to him seeing that he works under the pseudonym "Volahn." I eagerly snatch up anything he is a part of. I'm still digesting this raw and confusing piece of work, but utterly impressed on my most cursory listens. 9. Menace Ruine - Venus Armata
This one is for those nights alone in my room, drunk, and casting long shadows. 10. Thantifaxath - Sacred White Noise
A swirling wind of honed blades, as maddening as it is mesmerizing. Can not wait to see what comes next from this unique band. Honorable mentions (in no particular order) Dead Congregation - Promulgation of the Fall
Artifical Brain - Labyrinth Constellation
Barren Harvest - Subtle Cruelties
Cardinal Wyrm - Black Hole Gods
Sol Invictus - Once Upon a Time
Dawnbringer - Night of the Hammer
Rose Gold - Century of the Self

Agalloch's most recent record, 'The Serpent & The Sphere,' was released by Profound Lore Records in 2014.