Welcome to Day 3 of my Album of the Year 2014 countdown. I hope you’re enjoying my choices so far. As always, I’m sure there will be some surprise and disagreement with the albums that I pick but then that’s half the fun, hearing other people’s views and responding to them. So please keep the comments and dialogue flowing.

If you’ve missed the previous two instalments, you can read them here:

Album of the Year 2014 – Number 20
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 19

But enough of that, who has taken the Number 18 spot? Here’s your answer:

Xerath cover bigXerath
Candlelight Records

2014 has been a year of strong releases where extreme metal is concerned and this album is another of the very best. I reviewed this album a few months ago on this blog and was very impressed. You can read that full review here, but if you missed it or want the edited highlights, read on.

UK meallers Xerath appear to be one of the most consistent bands around and ‘III’ builds upon the two albums before it, once again taking the listener on another ambitious and enormously gratifying voyage into the world of heavy and technical cinematic modern extreme metal. Huge swathes of symphonics duel with gargantuan riffs creating a listening experience full of depth and passion.

Xerath Promo 2013

The roots of this album are very much within the death metal genre, but there are also elements of thrash, black, prog and modern technical metal to be heard if you are prepared to listen carefully enough and give ‘III’ the time and attention that it deserves. Again, nothing feels out of place and the ability to segue from one apparently disparate idea to another so fluently is very impressive indeed.

The other aspect about this album that I particularly like is the way in which every other different, non-metal idea has been incorporated into the music in such a seamless and smooth fashion. The orchestral aspect for example which includes a live string quartet does not feel clunky, nor does it come across as if it has been bolted on to some death metal tracks as an afterthought. Instead, the classical element is the lifeblood of the music, the ingredient that is integral and without which, the music wouldn’t live and breathe.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTaVcybFFaw&w=560&h=315]

I’ve quoted much of my review in this post and I shall conclude in the same fashion because I stand by it wholeheartedly. Honestly, the scale of the whole album is just mind blowing, delighting and pulverising at each and every turn. Several bands over the years have attempted something similar but if it was ever in any doubt, ‘III’ simply blows away any thought that there is a band out there that can do this better right now. Xerath are at the top of their game and if there’s any justice in this world, ‘III’ can only cement their place amongst the extreme metal elite.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4daY4gafTI&w=420&h=315]

Don’t forget – if you want to check out my full top 20 countdowns from 2012 and 2013, they can be accessed here:

Top 20 of 2012
Album of the Year 2013


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