You shall find no Deafheaven or Ghost Bath here. Nor will you find any mainstream releases from Lamb of God or Disturbed. I’m not saying that I haven’t listened to them, just that they came nowhere close to touching my Top 15 list. Why? Those releases have gotten plenty of praise from the mainstream circles, but I wouldn’t consider them top albums, at least not on my list.
So here goes. Plug these in your ears and prepare yourself for some of the best metal had to offer this year, according to me. Comment below (or on Facebook) and let me know whether you agree or shout at me how I’m wrong. –Mister Samhain
**The links included go to one of my favorite cuts off of each of these albums.**
- Sulphur Aeon – Gateway to the Antisphere (blackened death metal) GER
Strap in and let us plunge into the end with an HP Lovecraft themed album of destruction. Sulphur goes hard within a package of great timing and tight production. This well crafted, apocalyptic album of ear assault tops my list for 2015.
- Drudkh – A Furrow Cut Short (atmospheric black metal) UKR
Another impressive entry in their already fantastic discography. They really own the atmospheric black metal thing. The songs feel large, with an assist by their length, and riffs that just carry on. Haunting, some of them are.
- Panopticon – Autumn Eternal (atmospheric black metal) USA
This doesn’t deviate from the sound of Kentucky, plenty of kick ass Appalachian black metal in the Panopticon style. This is really great stuff and will rank high on a lot of lists, as it does here, and for good reason.
- Osculum Infame – The Axis of Blood (black metal) FRA
Pounding black metal from start to finish, similar to Gorgoroth, but with more musical concentration and better atmosphere. With 18 years of separation from their more straightforward debut album, their second album is just as relevant as anything else coming out right now.
- Mgla – Exercises in Futility (black metal) POL
Furious. That’s one word I would use to describe Mgla’s latest release. Black metal of yesteryear was furious and raw; these two are still doing that with cleaner production. M and Darkside are not part of what I consider the third wave of BM, they still want to pound a riff into your skull without all the hyper atmospherics of today.
- Horrendous – Anareta (death metal) USA
Old school death metal lives through Horrendous. These guys out of Philly will strike your skull with drumsticks and shred your ear drums. They are hitting it hard on every release and are certainly deserving of the high marks they’re racking up.
- Ahab – The Boats of the Glen Carrig (funeral doom metal) GER
Heavy and ghostly serene at times, Ahab has carved a niche with their nautical themed funeral leaning doom. This doesn’t top their first two albums, but I’d put this up against The Giant and call it a bit better.
- Khemmis – Absolution (doom/sludge metal) USA
Great, catchy debut for this Denver act. It really gets better with repeat listens and each song has an infectious riff built in to crawl in your ear and get stuck there. I’m excited to see what else they do following up this one which got a lot of understandable recognition.
- Black Breath – Slaves Beyond Death (death metal) USA
Old school styled death metal. Normally a hardcore/death metal act, but this release is all death. The songs really sound great and this shift in sound feels seamless to me, it really does take you back to the early ‘90s before Cannibal Corpse sent death metal in a different -though not bad- direction.
- Pale Chalice – Negate the Infinite and the Miraculous (black metal) USA
Straightforward Norwegian black metal from … California. The album spends little time in any other speed than “go fast.”
- Selvans – Lupercalia (black metal) ITA
Wonderful riffs that flow and change but stick to their respective song structures. The vocals are normal and fit well, the strained growling and barking that is usual for the subgenre. The songs sound haunting and sorrowful as the guitars and drums work in tandem with the symphonic elements that are well used and balanced so as to not fall into some sort of Dimmu Borgir territory which I don’t care for.
- Batushka – Litourgiya (black metal) POL
Wow, this is an impressive debut. Dark, well put together and the chanting really bumps up the atmospherics here. Solid vocals, pounding drums and good riffs.
- Alda – Passage (atmospheric black metal) USA
In the same vein as Panopticon, these guys from Washington have a similar sound where other instruments are also brought into the fold, in this case a cello. The first track “The Clearcut,” kills and the rest is good, but the other tracks are chasing the first one.
- Crypt Sermon – Out of the Garden (doom metal) USA
Candlemass worship at its finest. Calling them anything else would just be ignorant of the primary influence of this debut album. Crypt Sermon could be called a retro-doom band and I think that is a fair assessment: it hits all the marks for me. Leaning heavily toward Robert Lowe’s vocals than Messiah Marcolin’s, Brooks Wilson nails the vocals. A very solid debut, though I hope for some more originality in the future.
- Tribulation – Children of the Night (black metal) SWE
Scandinavia is the home of black metal and Tribulation is a testament to its ability to produce quality acts. This is really good. Great production and a well crafted, dark album.
There were so many other great releases, but I didn’t want this blog post to carry on and on.
Well there you have it, my 2015 list. Like I said, agree or shout at me below or on our Facebook page.