Matt’s Top 15 Albums of 2015
Posted by RiffRaff
Hello all you lovely readers!!! Thanks for sticking with us during this very quiet second half of 2015. While we may have been quiet it by no means we haven’t been digging on glorious, glorious metal. And ho boy, what a hell of a year this was. So many great releases from so many great bands. Since there is so much great music I enjoyed this year and it being 2015 and all, instead of my usual ten best albums of the year I’m bumping it up to 15 plus 5 quick honorable mentions. Too keep things still interesting I will only be ordering my top five and splitting the rest up into tiers with albums presented in no particular order. I hope you find some kick ass tunes to check out here ass every one of these albums deserves your attention and time.
Best of wishes to your holidays and to your 2016! May it be filled with loud grinding guitars, pulverizing drums, and people screaming in your ears!!! PEACE LOVE AND METAL!!!!
- Out of the Garden by Crypt Sermon (Doom Metal)
- Graveward by Sigh (Avant-Garde Black Thrash Metal)
- The Boats of Glen Carrig by Ahab (Doom Metal)
- Beyond the Red Mirror by Blind Guardian (Power Metal)
- One Man Army by Ensiferum (Folk Thrash Metal)
Greek God Tier
The Girl with the Raven Mask by Avatarium (Doom Metal)
Avatarium’s eponymous debut was an absolute classic in modern doom metal. Take Leif Edling and pair him with some haunting female vocals and you get a winning recipe for genre defining doom. The sophomore attempt boasts even tighter songwriting and performances as well as some sharper teeth. While it lacks corkers like “Moonhorse” or “Bird of Prey”, it is all round an incredibly strong gut kick of hypnotizing doom.
Colony by Vattnet Viskar (Post Metal)
Don’t let the cover fool you. That astronaut gets blown up not to long after that shot. Hauntingly beautiful at times contrasted with fits soul-rending brutality, Vattnet Viskar will take you on one hell of an explosive outer space journey. With a heavy injection of low-end groove there is a definite inspiration from Isis (the band) here as well as something wholly unique.
Moonlover by Ghost Bath (Atmospheric Black Metal)
If this album only contained the track “Golden Number” it will still place highly on my list. It’s easily one of the best songs I’ve heard this decade. It packs an emotional punch not too far off as the opening ten minutes of Pixar’s film Up. This song will swallow your soul yet leave you with a radiating, uplifting feeling at the same time. An absolute marvel of black metal. The rest of the album is worthy as well, but fuck, “Golden Number” is sooo good.
Bloom by Caligula’s Horse (Prog/Djent Metal)
I don’t care much for very shiny, djenty music, but hot damn I’d be damned if I didn’t say that Caligula’s Horse’s new record didn’t rock my world. Great riffs, greater rhythms, and amazing vocals make this a shiny, djenty album for people who think that the genre is too sterile and boring. An absolute must listen to naysayers of the genre, it made a fan out of me! Their debut is also a must listen too!!!
Psychic Warfare by Clutch (Hard Rock)
It’s a Clutch album, of course it’s going to kick ass! As tight as ever Clutch just keeps on keeping on. Not reinventing the wheel, but this album is a great accompaniment to drunken tractor mayhem. One of the most fun records you’ll cut rug to!!
Norse God Tier
Autumn Eternal by Panopticon (Nature Metal)
Aaron Lunn’s Panopticon has been on one hell of a streak lately. Autumn Eternal marks a stunning trifecta of landmark nature metal albums that have blown me away one after another. This time around Colin Marston poked his head in to produce, record, and master and the bump in sound quality and more diverse writing nearly make Autumn Eternal the quintessential Panopticon record (if I didn’t already have such a hard on for Kentucky). A continued evolution in sound shows that Panopticon still has lots left up his sleeve to continually deliver high quality albums for years to come.
The Book of Souls by Iron Maiden (NWOBHM)
There’s no hiding that Iron Maiden is responsible for my love of heavy metal and are my favorite band. So any time a new release is unleashed it’s one hell of an event for me. With their first double album Iron Maiden do very little to disappoint (though I wouldn’t have minded a song or two less). Three kick ass epics including Maiden’s longest song yet which doubles as one of their best as well as a variety of punchy metal number peppered in, and, yeah, IRON FUCKIN MAIDEN!!!! No Maiden fan should be without The Book of Souls.
Crooked Doors by Royal Thunder (Hard Rock)
That voice! Deer lord, that voice!! Mlny Parsonz just pours out every ounce of her being into this album resulting in an incredibly human and personal record. Toss in a slightly quirky, psychedelic guitars and rhythms and you get yourself an addictive, balanced rock album in a time when unique hard rock is fading away. More of this please!
M by Myrkur (Atmospheric Black Metal)
Gothic, haunting, ethereal, dreamy, the debut full length by Danish one-woman black metal band Myrkur thrives on a steady diet of wolf’s blood, nightmares, and shattering beauty. I had difficulty trying to find the words to why this album is so great and why I like it so much, and I still do now. Still, you seriously gotta check it out even if black metal isn’t your bag, this is genre defying stuff.
Sleep at the Edge of the Earth by Wilderun (Prog Folk Metal)
I think ‘Folk Metal Blackwater Park-Era Opeth’ is an apt description of this record. And seriously, I mean that in nothing but the highest of regards. From front to back this record simply slays and throws twists and turns at you like nobody’s business and has the occasional drunken folk metal shindig. Flat out kick ass stuff!
Eldritch God Tier
5. Isolate by Mesarthrim (Astral Black Metal)
Close your eyes, pop Isolate in, and go floating through a supernova. Utilizing a heavy dose of synthesizers and keyboards with a backdrop of atmospheric black metal I present to you another album of magnanimous quality unlike anything else out there. No moment is devoid of wonder and beauty nor unable to carry you among the heavens. Easily the most uplifting album of the year for me and never fails to pick me up into a good mood.
4. Purple by Baroness (Hard Rock)
Yes, it was just released today (Dec. 18, 2015), but I’ve had my grubby hands on it for a bit and feel that the latest from the Savannah quartet have not only delivered one of the best albums of the year, but the best of their career. The sludgy, metal edge of Red Album, the prog love on Blue Record, and the emotion and heart of Yellow & Green all come together for the most realized, concise album of an already astounding tenure. Not a single note wasted on delivering nothing but absolute quality, timeless songs.
3. Coma Ecliptic by Between the Buried and Me (Prog Metal)
The story of a man trapped between the buried and himself, aka a coma, and his journey through his warped imagination. As usual BTBAM deliver on an hour-long barrage of batshit crazy prog metal that never takes itself too seriously. Tight as ever, Coma Ecliptic, delivers exactly what I want out of a BTBAM record and then some.
2. Meliora by Ghost (Doom/Pop Metal)
Hailing Satan has never been so much fun! And Ghost has never been better! After a bit of slump on Infestissumam the Swedish Satanists are back in full force with the catchiest, most fun, and headbangingest collection of hymns you will hear this year. Striking a balance of being tongue-in-cheek without becoming a parody of themselves Ghost are the re-invigoration that popular metal needs. Every bit of success this album gets is of the utmost merit. Missing out on this one shall condemn your soul to Heaven!
1. Heart of Akamon by Nechochwen (Nature Metal)
Maybe due to my Native American heritage, no album hit me as hard on such a deep level as Nechochwen’s Heart of Akamon did. Infusing Native American lore, instruments, and melodies with roaring black metal and heartfelt acoustic passages, this album shattered me. Full of hope, sadness, history, pain, and love, this bittersweet ode to the indigenous people nearly wiped from the face of the Earth is some of the most genuine music I’ve ever heard. For as much as metal loves to pull from world history it’s a shame that the tragedies against the Native Americans and their rich oral history goes nearly unnoticed. This is an album that will stick with me for the rest of my life and nothing by the greatest of thanks to Nechochwen for this outstanding work of art. Please, give this record a listen, read the lyrics, learn about the stories, keep the oral history of a great people continuing. Peace Love and Metal!!!!