Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Best Of...

Wow. A whole fucking year. You’d think I just abandoned this or something. The truth is that I’ve had ideas and motivation to write from time to time, but real life stuff like work, grad school, and internships sucked up most of my time. What little free time I had this past year wasn’t time I really felt like spending in front of a computer. I’d like to think that I’ll update a little more frequently in the next year, but who knows?

With that said, here’s my best of list for 2015…

Biggest Disappointment:

RIP Lemmy. Nothing else even comes close. Metal will survive post-Lemmy, but it just isn’t going to be the same without the genre’s most revered figure around. There are countless people who have already eulogized him and done so far better than I ever could, so instead of writing my own lame attempt at paying tribute to a truly one of a kind man, I will just say that starting at Ozzfest in 1998 through many shows at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC that every single time, Motorhead delivered and lived up to the motto of “Everything Louder Than Everyone Else.” It sure the fuck changed my life. Godspeed.

Honorable Mentions:

Amorphis Under The Red Cloud 
Enslaved In Times 
Ghost Ship Octavius Ghost Ship Octavius 
Glaciation Sur Les Falaises De Marbre 
Gruesome Savage Land 
Hanging Garden Blackout Whiteout 
Ingested The Architect of Extinction 
Nile What Should Not Be Unearthed 
Panopticon Autumn Eternal 
Shape of Despair Monotony Fields 
Sulphur Aeon Gateway To The Atmosphere 
The Man Eating Tree In The Absence of Light 
Torturous Inception Headfirst into Oblivion 
Vattnet Viskar Settler 
Vehemence Forward Without Motion 
Year Of The Goat The Unspeakable

Top 10:

10.) Napalm Death Apex Predator- Easy Meat

This album came out really early in 2015 so it was an easy one to forget about, but as Napalm Death’s members reach into their 50’s, they haven’t lost any of their aggression or venom. This one has a few moments that I wouldn’t say are “experimental”, but on songs such as the industrial nature of the opening title track, they don’t mind exploring the unconventional. The vocals mix it up a bit, perhaps a reminder of their late 90’s era, but for the most part it sounds consistent with their turn of the century output. It makes you want to floor punch and shit. 


9.) Motorhead Bad Magic

I’m sure with Lemmy’s death and the recent release effect Bad Magic that some people may be tempted to elevate this album higher than it deserves or otherwise put it on their list if they’re doing it late as I am. Truth is, on its merits this album belongs on any top 10 for 2015. It’s nasty, gritty, and snarling rock n roll and represents Motorhead’s best effort since 1995’s Sacrifice. One hell of an epitaph for the band. Given how undervalued I personally believe Mickey Dee and Phil Campbell have been to Motorhead’s success (they were vital to not just the longest but also BEST lineup Motorhead ever had), hopefully they find a new musical venture and keep the metal coming for a few more years at least.

8.) Iniquitous Deeds Incessant Hallucinations

Brutal. As. Fuck. New Standard Elite is becoming the sort of label where if you love brutal death metal, that the NSE imprint means quality. 


7.) Abhorrent  Instransigence

Ex-members of The Faceless and Spawn of Possession form a band better than either of the aforementioned acts. Grisly vocals, plenty of clangy doodly-doo but also sufficiently raw and honest to satan death metal. Hopefully they don’t prog out too much on future releases, because this formula works.


6.) So Hideous Laurestine

Post-black metal from a band I had never heard of before. I was sure this was going to be some sort of Deafheaven garbage or Shining-style proggy bullshit but for the most part it’s like, non-stop epic majestic parts of black metal songs all strung together. Plenty of symphonic keys and soundtrackish elements but it’s tasteful, cohesive, and gets repeat listens. 

5.) Goatsnake Black Age Blues

That tone. Soooo heavy and sludgy. I happen to love Pete Stahl’s voice…perhaps no other band has ever so effortlessly combined the gloom of Black Sabbath with southern rock swagger so effectively. 

4.) Lost Soul Atlantis

Polish as fuck. For fans of Vader and Behemoth. I hear a lot of death metal-era Behemoth on Atlantis, actually, but Lost Soul was playing this style of death metal back when Behemoth was still more authentically black metal. 

3.) Heaving Earth Denouncing The Holy Throne

These Czechs deliver in a style best comparable to Immolation, though there’s a bit of that dark Incantation worship that’s been a trend in the scene for the last few years. Superior songcraft and outstanding production make Denouncing The Holy Throne stand out, and they could be the next band to break out in the same way that Dead Congregation has in recent years. It LIVED in my car stereo for pretty much all of 2015.

2.) Ghost Meliora

Their breakthrough album. Ghost seems to piss off a lot of people who don’t quite “get it”, while others who happen to be into Blue Oyster Cult, UFO, Deep Purple, and such want to write them off as missing “something.” I can’t imagine how anyone who sat down and actually listened to Meliora could reach that conclusion, with such a catchy batch of songs. Yes, there is a certain tongue in cheek nature to their gimmick but to me, that’s part of the fun. Music is supposed to be fun, right?

1.) My Dying Bride Feel The Misery
Not genre defining, but what it happens to be is one of the founding fathers of doom metal delivering one of their best albums. When Calvin Robertshaw left the band in the late 90’s, MDB seemed to become an inconsistent band that never was bad, but only occasionally reached the level of greatness that their early albums achieved (most notably on The Dreadful Hours.) With Robertshaw’s return, it becomes obvious just how important he was to their sound as Feel The Misery features some monolithic, crushing riffage, somber moods, and a healthy dose of macabre. Considering that MDB has been a band I award considerable sentimental value to as my gateway to the underground so many years ago, I feel quite comfortable saying this was my favorite album of 2015.