Metal Albums of 2015
Stay metal friends and we’ll see you in 2016!
Welcome metalheads! You’ve probably seen a ton of lists already telling you what the best metal albums of the year were/are but they are all flat wrong! What follows is the only list you need to pay attention to!!!! BWAHAHAHA
Is it just me or has 2015 felt more like 5 years long than one? Just me? It’s been a big year for me personally but I’ll get to all that bullshit at some other point. I’ve seen several year end lists so far and as always I agree with few if any. Why? Well let’s be honest, when it comes to “Best of” lists it all comes down to a matter of personal taste. We’re judging art afterall and as they say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” or ear in this case. If I love death metal and you love black metal we probably aren’t going to agree on what was the best album of the year nor any other combination. I have to say I am beyond surprised, shocked and appalled to be honest, that what I have as my #1 I didn’t even see on anyone else’s list which is complete and utter bullshit. You may agree or disagree with my choice of putting it #1 but I haven’t seen another list with it in the Top 10 and that’s a fucking travesty! But enough of that rant I have something more important to mention before I get started so please bear with me a moment longer.
I’ll forgo all the honorable mentions I could add here as I started with a list of around 75 albums which I slowly whittled down to my Top 25. Over the course of this year I’ve added more albums to my personal collection (about 200) than perhaps any other year ever thanks to our label and PR contacts which is on top of everything I find on my own, that gets sent to me by my partner Cult and suggestions from our friends like George, Buke & Jay of the MetalHeads Podcast plus our good friend Greg Kelly who shares a ton with us as well. All in all I’d say I’ve actually listened to at least 400-500 albums both metal and non-metal this year which gives me quite a pool of awesome to make this list from. Before I get to my Top 25 though I just want to give a gigantic shout out to probably my favorite album I heard all year which didn’t make this list because it actually came out in November of last year. Raum Kingdom’s self titled album (some may call it an Ep as it’s only 5 songs with a 30 minute runtime) is one I have literally been spinning constantly for the last several months. I can’t give the album or the band enough praise since I just can’t stop listening to this album. I’ve stolen lines from it that will be made into horrible works in the months and perhaps years to come. I know the band is working on new material but if you have yet to do so go to Bandcamp and give them a listen. You’ll find the aforementioned self titled release, a split and a new live performance which only proves to me how fucking talented this band is because they sound awesome live and this is not “easy” music to pull off in a live setting. Now on to the list which I assume you cheeky bastards have already skipped ahead to see. Since I’ve already reviewed most of these albums on the site I’ll keep my thoughts brief.
Feind’s Top 25
Metal Albums of 2015
#25 Six Feet Under – Crypt of the Devil
SFU have always been hit & miss for me but this may be my favorite album of theirs in their entire existence. Open Coffin Orgy is one of my favorite songs of the year but this whole album is Chris Barnes at his absolute best.
I’ve been an FF fan for about 20 years and for me this is their best album since Demanufacture. It’s solid start to finish so if FF are new to you this is a great album to start off with.
Slow is but one of a slew of projects from the one man metal army that is Deha. Sincere apologies to Deha as we have talked about an interview which I haven’t gotten to as of yet. I’ve been a busy boy! This is one damn fine and unique doom album that lives up to the band’s name as it “Slow”-ly drags you down into an early grave. Just fantastic!
Once again a legacy act falls onto my list. Soulfly like Six Feet Under may have just put out their best album to date with Archangel. Biblically themed and musically awesome, Max Cavalera just continues to impress nearly 30 years into his metal career. If it’s all this good let’s all hope for another 30!
Voros is an indie band that contacted us directly and thank fucking Satan they did! In Diseased Deity you have progressive death metal in the vein of late era Death so I shouldn’t have to say another word. It’s awesome so buy it if you haven’t already!
Newcomer Myrkur burst practically out of nowhere this year to grab black metal by the short & curlies with perhaps the most beautiful voice in music (all music!). Most had this one a little higher on the list but for me it’s mood music hence a little further down on my list yet no less awesome.
Here is another prime example of an underrated and highly overlooked release. Unfortunately when your album comes out in January people tend to forget it by the end of the year but this was one of the best sludge albums all year that I haven’t forgotten one little bit.
The blackened doom side project of Keijo Niinimaa of Rotten Sound was an album I spent a lot of time with earlier in the year. I listened to it often for a couple months straight and still go back to it often. One of the first albums this year to get me diving into more black metal territory but only one was better for me (it’s coming up on the list!).
I’ve been following this band for a couple of years and their debut full length definitely did not disappoint. XII Boar bring southern groove like they were born in the heart of NOLA rather than the cold and wet of England. A damn fine band and one damn fine album!
One of the best debut albums of the year in any genre. Obese bring you big fat groovy sludge jams that more than live up to their name, these beats are definitely OBESE! Perhaps my most anticipated release of the year and it didn’t disappoint, still in heavy rotation on my regular playlist. Almost the best sludge album of the year (you’ll have to read on for my top one!).
This was one, like Obese, that I discovered all on my own sans help from our PR partners. With haunting female vocals and deep, dark doom riffs this epic 3 song debut weighs in at nearly 45 minutes long! Needless to say this one is on my writing playlist and will inspire dark nastiness for years to come!
Like Morbid Evils that preceded it by several months this is blackened doom that will have you looking behind you to see if Satan himself has been conjured behind you. This album has been a major influence on me to be less leery of black metal as a whole. I no longer steer clear of bands under that particular moniker and Mephorash are a big reason why. This is definitely one of my favorites from this year.
This one I also discovered on my own and was my top melodeth album of the year for much of 2015 (read on to see which one beat it for me). This album was stuck in my head for several weeks and I still come back to it often. There was really a ton of great melodeth I heard this year but alas it couldn’t all make the list. Synder is one of the best from the Swedish heart where melodeth got its start.
And here is the melodeth album that knocked Synder off the top spot for me. On previous releases, Dagoba had been a little more all over the metal map with some Gojira-esque jams and some near radio-friendly jams but Tales of the Black Dawn is melodeth at its finest all the way through. All in all it’s just one awesome metal album no matter what you call it though I would like to give a shout out to [Evertrapped] and Evilheart for being in the running for my top melodeth albums of the year. Dagoba just knocked it out of the park with this one in my humble opinion.
This to me was the very best in Swedish death metal this year in a virtual tie with my #10 selection for best death metal of the year. Starting their career as Entombed 2.0, Entrails have become a formidable death metal band in their own right and Obliteration is one of the best death metal albums you’ll hear period. It’s still in heavy rotation for me with Midnight Coffin being another of my favorite songs of the year.
The Top Ten!
Ok so now here are my Top Ten of the year. Feel free to disagree as I haven’t seen a year end list that contains more than one or two of my personal selections. Some of these are all about my personal taste in metal and some have been blatantly overlooked by many who apparently have their heads lodged firmly up their own buttocks. My #1 I haven’t even seen on another list and for that I call BULLSHIT! So on with it…
I haven’t seen this one on very many year end lists and all I can say is, “WHY?!?” This is the best Death album that Death never made sounding like an album that would have been a perfect follow up to Leprosy (not that Spiritual Healing was a bad album or anything). Perhaps some thought this was too much homage or perhaps some just need to pull their head’s from their oversized derrieres. This is hands down the best American death metal album of the year!
I can already hear Buke screaming, “Only Number Nine!” And to you sir I say, “Shuttupa you face!” Once again Ahab has delivered a doom album that I’ll be listening to for years to come but for me it just didn’t beat their previous album, The Giant. Less funeral doom and more clean singing than previous efforts (I don’t see that as a bad thing really), Boats’ is one I spun numerous times and will continue to do so but maybe because I heard such a large amount of doom this year I had a couple (still to come) that were just flat out better in my humble opinion.
This one was a late arrival but still made a big impression on me. Dread reminded me of a YOB album and it’s impossible for that not to be a good thing since I’ve spun Clearing The Path To Ascend more times than I can count this year. Rather than the vocal guru Mike Scheidt who does it all for YOB (and VHOL who you should check out), The Maledict utilize two vocalists for the cleans and growls and the harmony works like a charm. It may have come late in the year but I fucking love this album and it’s one of those that will be inspiring nastiness out of me for a long time to come.
Here is my top pure doom album of the year by way of newcomers Khemmis from lovely Denver, CO (where I had the pleasure to visit a couple months back). Khemmis like The Maledict came completely out of nowhere for me giving me my favorite doom album of the year. Unlike The Maledict who sound similar to YOB, Khemmis sound similar to one of my other doom favorites Pallbearer. This isn’t drone on and on, put you to sleep (or in a coma) doom, this is get your groove on like riding on a cloud of titties doom (sorry ladies I just love that analogy). Absolution was Khemmis’ debut and if it’s any indication at all I can’t wait to hear what they do next because this one was just fucking fantastic!
Karyn Crisis (arguably our first lady of extreme metal) came back with a passion this year after a several year hiatus from music concentrating instead on her art. I know this one hasn’t made it on to any end of the year list I’ve seen and that’s a fucking shame for perhaps the best overall female voice in metal who can do beautiful cleans and demonic extremes better than 99% of men. One of, if not, the best songs of the year for me was The Alchemist which is epic and awesome highlighting absolutely everything Karyn Crisis does well with absolutely excellent guitar work from her husband, Davide Tiso. Then add in the low guttural death growls of Ross Dolan of Immolation and the harmony is fucking perfect! This was hands down one of my most listened to albums of the year!
This was an album I highly anticipated after following the trials and tribulations of Randy Blythe though I fully expected this to be another blah outing from LoG, in other words my anticipation was high while expectation was low. I couldn’t have been more wrong and I know many will disagree with me here because it’s fashionable to hate on LoG after a couple of albums that have been just kind of meh but VII is an album I’ve listened to as much or more than any of my favorites this year. When I’m not sure what I want to listen to I hit play on this one and I haven’t been disappointed yet. So Fuck The Haters because this album was fucking awesome! Piss and moan over Blythe utilizing some great clean vocals on Overlord all day, the fact is the song is awesome and so is the album. This is now my favorite LoG album after Ashes of the Wake which is still my overall favorite.
I am a huge HoF fan and a bigger Matt Pike fan and honestly I expected this one to end up higher on my list but I had to admit I liked my Top 3 just a smidge better so I couldn’t do it. Snakes of the Divine is my favorite HoF album (due to my favorite HoF song ever, Bastard Samurai) but I have to say Luminiferous is an extremely close second. This album has everything you expect out of a High On Fire album and much you didn’t expect. Luminiferous contains some of the fastest songs I’ve ever heard from HoF all maintaining the sludge/doom sound that Matt Pike has perfected since his days in legendary Sleep. The only real disappointment I had doesn’t come from this album, it comes from the fact that I was hoping for a new album from Sleep bandmate Al Cisneros with his band Om who are another of my all-time favorites. If I somehow missed it someone please let me know but I believe I’ll have to wait until 2016 for new Om. After Pike’s stint in rehab and live reunion with Sleep this one was hands down my most anticipated album of the year and High On Fire, as always, did not let me down. This album is just fucking great!
Another highly anticipated album that didn’t disappoint. The only amazing thing here is that this is the only tech-death album on my list this year. I heard others this year, of course, but unlike last year which seemed to be the year of tech-death, 2015 was definitely the year of doom and melodeth overall. Psycroptic were overlooked on most year end lists once again just like their previous album in 2012 because it came out so early in the year. It’s a shame that metal reviewers and honestly the public at large are all about whatever particular album they’re listening to at the time and forget about the albums that came out early in the year. I did see this on one other year end list but overlooking Psycroptic should be a hangable offense as they are one of the heaviest and technically proficient bands in the world today. I love the entire album but Cold is one of my top songs of the year and I listen to it often. Another great fucking album from the true Tasmanian Devils!
If you’ve been following what I do here for any length of time you probably thought this was going to be my #1 but ya wrong! It was a close race but in the end I had to admit my #1 was my number one album. Cthulu is still my #1 song and the rest of the album is pretty damn good as well. This album has so much to love it isn’t even funny from elements of tech-death, black metal and doom in one of the highest thinking albums perhaps ever made. The concepts woven into this album are over the heads of most people and some may find it too daunting just for that reason but I love it because of those high concepts. I can’t think of another album that even touches on scientific concepts in the way that Alkaloid do here nor include so many. The Malkuth Grimoire is a study in abstract thought and higher thinking which too few even attempt. Perhaps those concepts turned some off since I only saw this on one year end list so far but all I can say is if science was this interesting to most people we’d have more scientists and less idiots in this country. You also won’t find science sounding any heavier than it is here. Alkaloid prove beyond any shadow of a doubt... Science Rocks!
Feind's #1 Metal Album of 2015...
I saw all kinds of praise heaped upon this album when it was released yet I found it on no year end list that I’ve seen and that is complete and utter BULLSHIT! Weedeater put out the very best sludge album of the year and aside from that it’s fucking fun to listen to! What the hell more could you want from an album? Did Weedeater have to personally come to your house and jam out in your living room? Fuck! This album rocks and rolls from one end to the other and yet everyone seems to have forgotten it. I don’t know what’s wrong with people! Ok, most people are stupid but come on even stupid people like to get their groove on, don’t they? Seeing this one on no other year end lists has me feeling like its opening track, Processional, “I really hate your face. I hate the things you do. I know you don’t like me. I’m comin’ after you.” Well said “Dixie” Dave Collins, well fuckin said. I don’t care who forgot about this one, I didn’t. This was without any doubt my favorite album of the year, not just my favorite album of the moment since I’ve been spinning this sumbitch since it came out in MAY! You can argue with me all day long about whether it should be #1 but I’ll argue all day long that it should have at least been in the Top Ten of any self-respecting metalheads’ year end list. Now I think I need to go smoke something to calm down! Thank you Weedeater for one fantastic damn album!
So there you have it metalheads, the only list you need to pay any attention to this year. Ok, fine you can look at Cult’s or our friends that we’ll be sharing lists from but really why waste your time? After all you’ve just seen the best! All kidding aside these lists are about nothing but our own personal tastes and what we just happened to listen to this year. I can just about guarantee you there will be little if any crossover just between mine and Cult’s lists because we have our own personal taste too (ok, Cult has no taste but I’m sure there’ll be something on his list you’ll like LOL). The fact is that if I made this list 100 times I’d have 100 different lists so I made a list of my favorites from this year and worked it down to just 25 and then left it alone. With a full year of our PR partners sending us awesome music plus more heaping on all the time I’m sure I’ll have just as hard of a time next year if not worse but in all honesty that’s no complaint at all. Check out all the lists you want but remember your own personal list, no matter what you put on it, is the only one that’s actually important.
Stay metal friends and we’ll see you in 2016!
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What do you think of Feind’s list metalheads? Agree with it? Hate it? Feel free to argue if you’d like but I’d rather know what your favorites this year were. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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