Best 5 Albums of 2014 from the Portland Heavy Music Scene, by Erik Olson (Lord Dying)

Photo: Danger Ehren Photography

When Erik Olson's publicist approached us about hosting a list of his favorite heavy albums from the past year, we agreed right away. After all, the guitarist/vocalist is a member of Lord Dying, one of the best sludge acts around today. Signed to Relapse Records, the Portland-based group deals out guitar riff punishment in the vein of bands like Kylesa, Coffins, and Buzzov•en. Lord Dying will be issuing their second album, Poisoned Altars, on Jan. 27, and there's little doubt the record will end up landing on year-end lists come next year.

Speaking of lists, here's Olson's Best 5 Albums of 2014 from the Portland Heavy Music Scene.

5. Graves at Sea/Sourvein, split LP

Graves at Sea recently transplanted here from Oakland, and personally I couldn't be more stoked. They have put out lots of great releases over the last 10 years, and the split with Sourvein is no exception. Super fucking heavy!

4. Usnea, Random Cosmic Violence

This is a great slab of sludge/funeral doom. Four songs clocking in around 15 minutes each. Excited to see what the future holds for these dudes!

3. Atriarch, An Unending Pathway

This album is great. It's dark and violent at times, while also very thoughtful and contemplative. It sounds as if one is having a beautiful dream that can turn into an unholy nightmare on the turn of a dime. Watch for them in 2015, I expect big things!

2. Witch Mountain, Mobile of Angels

Witch Mountain have been around a long time and have put a lot of work and effort into their sound and band as a whole. This is the third album they have put out in the past four years, and it's their best to date. They have come a long way, and while it's sad that Uta Plotkin parted ways with them, I still look forward to what lies ahead.

1. Drunk Dad, Ripper Killer

These guys are amazing live, and this album rips! They're like the bastard brother of Bleach-era Nirvana; raw and primal, with blasts of noise and a heavy wall of sound.