Albums of the Year: 2015 - 14.01.2016

It’s been another good year for metal releases, although there have been a few slight disappointments, but generally speaking some quality metal has been released. I’ll keep this years post quite short and to the point, that way I may have time to do a few quick reviews too.

Here it is then, my top 20 albums of 2015:

  1. Finsterforst – Mach Dich Frei
  2. Powerwolf – Blessed and Possessed
  3. GosT – Behemoth (just for introducing me to Synthwave, still can’t get enough)
  4. Unleash the Archers – Time Stands Still
  5. Unleashed – Dawn of the Nine
  6. The Order of Chaos – Apocalypse Moon
  7. Orden Ogan – RavenHead
  8. Cains Offering – Stormcrow
  9. Guardians of Time – Rage and Fire
  10. Disarmonia mundi – Cold Inferno
  11. Sellsword EP – although I managed to get this form the band, it’s not been released yet!
  12. Obsequiae – Aria of vernal tombs
  13. Burning Point – Burning Point
  14. Blind Guardian – Beyond the red mirror
  15. After Earth – In the shadows of Destiny
  16. Kataklysm – of Ghosts and Gods
  17. Entrails – Obliteration
  18. Sulphur Aeon – Gateway to the Antisphere
  19. Carpenter Brut – Trilogy
  20. Moonspell – Extinct

Typical, at the start of the new year I’ve come across a number of other 2015 releases that would have easily slipped into the top 20 had I had a chance to listen to them in full last year. Instead of bumping any of the other albums off the top 20 I’ll give an honourable mention to the following bands that have released an amazing album in 2015.

  1. Yggdrassil - One Step Closer to Valhalla
  2. Lappalainen - Kraken's Awakening
  3. Suotana - Frostrealm
  4. Claret Ash - The Cleansing

So another good year for Power Metal then, always a good thing. Powerwolf, Unleash The Archers, Orden Ogan, Cains Offering and Guardians of Time all making it into the top 10. It’ll be interesting to see if 2016 can keep the Power Metal flowing. Primal Fear are releasing an album in January, so that’s a good start, but Exmortus are also releasing in January, so will it be a year of Thrash instead? Already I’ve been given a heads up to watch out for Varg, a death/thrash style band that so far sound awesome.

Finsterforst - Zeit für Hass

My prediction that Finsterforst would be album of the year was correct, but it really was going to take something exceptional to beat that album. I also had the luck of catching them play live at Warhorns festival in Selby. They were superb.

The Order of Chaos

Guardians of Time have been a real find for me. They have produced a really great power metal album which doesn’t really do things by the numbers and stands out as a huge high point. Likewise I have been hugely impressed by The Order of Chaos (Amanda Kiernan) and Burning Point's (Nitte Valo) female singers and the immense quality of their vocals on their respective albums. It’s nice to not hear the now rather boring operatic style female singers, and finally get a few more girls with some serious metal balls! Combine that with Unleash the Archers' Brittney Hayes and there is a wealth of great female singers flooding the metal scene.

To keep things balanced (definetly with the Dark Side) here is Jim’s sludgy-black doom-laden list too.

  1. Ultha - Pain Cleanses Every Doubt (wasn’t an obvious choice for my AOTY, but the more I think about it I’ve listened to it loads and THOSE RIFFS are ingrained into my mind! Perfect combination of black and post-metal)
  2. Elder – Lore (amazing doom – very melodic and captivating stuff)
  3. Wiegedood - De doden hebben het goed
  4. Ohhms – Cold (epic doom – again very melodic and catchy if you’re brave enough for 18 minute songs!)
  5. Lychgate - An Antidote for the Glass Pill (this is just spectacular – the concept / the professional pipe organist they got to guest on it who ends up defining the album rather than merely having a cameo appearance)
  6. Cattle Decapitation - The Anthropocene Extinction
  7. Baroness – Purple (late entry as it’s only just been released, but it’s seriously good catchy melodic doomy metal!)
  8. Batushka – Litourgiya (very late entry but MY GOD it’s good! Mysterious Polish black metal with weird Slavic chanting and stuff – unknown lineup but rumours point to it being members of Behemoth!)
  9. Misþyrming - Söngvar elds og óreiðu
  10. Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase
  11. Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss
  12. Cloud Rat – Qliphoth (any grind band that beats Napalm Death in my AOTY list is doing something very special!)
  13. Death Karma - The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I
  14. Keeper - The Space Between Your Teeth (can’t get enough of this lot – gotta be my favourite sludge band!)
  15. Ghold - Of Ruin
  16. Archivist – Archivist (new band from the singer from Fall of Efrafa)
  17. Akhlys - The Dreaming I (the cover art alone will tell you what to expect here) ;-)
  18. Anopheli - The Ache of Want (another new band from the singer from Fall of Efrafa) ;-)
  19. Sulphur Aeon – Gateway to the Antisphere
  20. Paradise Lost - The Plague Within (seriously heavy and back to their older sound! There’s even a thrash song in there!)
  21. GosT – Behemoth (This had to be in here – and I have you to thank for introducing me to another awesome genre!) \m/
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