Mik’s Top 20 Albums of 2015
Couldn’t fit Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors on the list. Also, switched Claret Ash – The Cleansing with Moonspell at the last second… now it looks like this:
20. Moonspell – Extinct (gothic metal)
I’m surprised too. Moonspell? Well, this band has been with me from the beginning of my metal years, and even though I’ve kind of lost interest in their music, with “Extinct” I’m back on their side again. Maybe the dark, slightly cheesy songs bring back old memories, or maybe it’s just that Fernando Riberio’s voice is spell-binding me. He sounds just as gorgeous as he used to 20 years ago! Listen here.
19. Misthyrmning – Songvar Elds og óreidu (mysterious black metal)
Soulful, deep black metal from Iceland, with a tiny touch of rhythmic folk music, wrapped in a mind twisting atmosphere.
18. Outre – Ghost Chants (eerie black)
Wicked is good… “Ghost Chants” is bizarre, freaky and uncomfortable.
17. Pyramids – A Northern Meadow (fresh ambient metal)
Layers upon layers, endlessly complex textures and soaring vocals. It changes shape every time I listen, from black metal to David Bowie, and it melts my heart.
16. A Swarm Of The Sun – The Rifts (post rock/doom)
The saddest album of the year. Perfect compositions, thick and emotional songs. “The Rifts” is gloomier than a rainy day in November.
15. Kauan – Sorni Nai (Russian nature metal)
Instantly captivating, I couldn’t let this go. Listened to it for days and weeks, and the feels hit me harder every time. Kauan writes epic, massive, magnificent songs. Don’t miss it!
14. Shaidar Logoth – Chapter II: The Ritualist (atmospheric black)
Lots of black metal on my list this year. Here’s another favourite with a band name sounding like it’s coming directly from Mordor, and so does the music. Razorsharp riffs, explosive beats and majestic darkness.
13. Akhlys – The Dreaming I (atmospheric black)
Dreamy black metal. Equals nightmares. Amazing music to get lost in.
12. Ghost – Meliora (occult doomy pop)
Meliora gives us a message about the concept of happiness, and how we’ve managed to royally screw that up – but I’ll tell you, buy a ticket to a Ghost’s concert and you will find real happiness. Worshipping Satan is the way to go! Listen here.
11. Gloam – Hex of Nine Heads (furious black metal)
Primal and unconventional, but with a sound crisp and clear enough for my picky ears. Gloam is a new band to me, fun and intriguing.
10. The Moth Gatherer – The Earth is the Sky (atmospheric post metal)
There are too few really good post metal bands these days, so I was very pleased when these Swedes announced their second album, and luckily it lives up to my expectations and more. Doomy and gloomy, a bit progressive, and overwhelmingly vibrant.
9. Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror (happy fantasy metal)
I’ve never really liked the legendary band Blind Guardian before, and this year they end up on my list! Ever since the release it has been my “happy record”, for when things are boring and grey. The tracks “Twilight of the Gods” together with “Distant Memories” are huge favourites. Works like a charm and finally I’m a Blind Guardian fan too. Listen here.
8. TesseracT – Polaris (progressive metal)
My favourite band in #8, what’s up with that? Well, “Polaris” is a very solid album and I adore it, but it simply wasn’t impressive enough to end up higher on the list. It’s got everything I want in a TesseracT album; rhythmic guitars, stellar musicianship and that dreamy, gorgeous atmosphere we remember from their debut. Songs of special note: “Hexes” and “Tourniquet”. Listen here.
7. Dekadent – Veritas (epic prog/grind/black)
An excellent Slovenian metal band that sounds exactly like a mix between Devin Townsend and Anaal Nathrakh. That should be enough for you to give it a listen! A very impressive release.
6. Mgla – Excercises in Futility (nihilistic black)
Inspired, groovy, terrifying, catchy, and addictive. Both the songwriting, the guitar playing and the lyrics blew my mind away, and these “Excercises in Futility” have been practiced regularly during many dark nights in this house.
5. Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction (extreme/human/death)
Every time I put on this album something weird happens to me. It affects me deeply, in a way I can’t explain. The songs belong to me. I belong to them. We’re made for each other.
4. Sylosis – Dormant Heart (diverse thrash)
“Dormant Heart” is (partly due to the early release date) the one 2015 album that’s gathered the most spins in our house. Sylosis delivers the whole package; this is an angry, diverse, relentless collection of songs including gorgeous artwork. Sylosis makes me love thrash (which might be a first!) Listen here.
3. Swallow The Sun x 3 (darkest melodic doom/death)
The Finns actually released a triple album. TRIPLE. It’s an enormous task you take on when pressing “play”… I’ve been longing for more Swallow The Sun for years, so for me it’s been a huge reward to get several albums at once. Admittedly, I’ve only been properly digesting the first two discs (very emotional!), as the third one is providing a more difficult listen. But damn, the number of amazingly beautiful songs here…that acoustic guitar… can’t… count all the feels… it’s giving me…Listen to: Rooms and Shadows, Silhouettes, Pray for the Winds to Come.
2. Leprous – The Congregation (like Queen, except Norwegian)
Until I saw this band live, I didn’t like them at all. It changed. My god, that glorious voice! Listen to the pulsating “The Flood” for example, or the stunning “Slave”. I’m on my knees on the living room floor, with my arms stretched to the sky, singing along loudly with these spine-shivering choruses every time I put this album on. Epic. Masterful. Since the release “The Congregation” has been holding a special place in my heart, and it always will.
1. Caligula’s Horse – Bloom (progressive heaven)
Caligula’s Horse is always leaving me wanting more! I want tons more of the brilliant Sam Vallen on guitar (he’s my god!), can’t get enough of Jim Grey’s strong emotional voice and the massive choruses! Everything comes together in perfection whenever these guys write songs, there’s never a weak part, never a detail that doesn’t fit, pouring out notes of freedom, hope and comfort. “Bloom” is their third full length, and Caligula’s Horse did it again. Ended up at #1 on my list. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.