Saturday, 26 December 2015

Top 50 Metal Albums of 2015 - Part 1

It's been another great year for all metals. I found this out through interning at Nuclear Blast Records and expanding my journalistic skills into the realms of interviewing bands I've admired for a long time. Notable interviews included Dani Filth, Alan Averill (Primordial) and Dylan Desmond (Bell Witch).

But let's not forget the amazingly diverse output of many a good metal band in the past 12 months. These are the best records I've compiled from my works with the Independent Voice Ezine, and the London Metal Monthly.

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen and third gender, I give you the Top 50 Best Metal Albums of 2015.

50. Mord'A'Stigmata - Our Hearts Slow Down

We Begin the countdown with a nice piece of avant-garde Black Metal from a young Polish group who mix in a good level of Darkwave and arthouse atmosphere to put Alejandro Jodorowsky to shame.

49.  Nyseius - De Divinatione Daemonum

France is really going up in the world of Black Metal. Groups like Alcest and Deathspell Omega are giving it a good name and are paving the way for groups like Nyseius. Whom I didn't quite enjoy when I reviewed them, but listening back several times, I can see there's much potential.

48. Gra/Gnosis of the Witch - Split

A beautiful blend of dark spirituality and ghostly Scandinavian folk legends only a split between one distinct Swedish outfit and a new American band can offer.

47. Hagl - Lenket Til Livet 

Norway never ceases to amaze me with its biggest cultural export. This is the album you'd have if Abbath had ditched Immortal and I and began making Gothic Black Metal.  A ghostly romantic edge infused with all the rawness and melodies any Emperor or Tsjuder fan would love to hear.

46. Deletere - De Ritibus Morbiferis

Another nation I've discovered with an amazing output of metal in recent years is Canada. From the nation which gave us gold like Dark Forest and Woods of Ypres comes Deletere, a band who pack more than enough morbidity into their blackened symphonies.

45. Paradise Lost -The Plague Within

The fathers of British Gothic Metal certainly haven't mellowed in their 27 year history. They've led a fruitful and diverse career experimenting with electronica and darkwave and bridging the gap between gothic and doom metal. So here's to their latest offering with many a memorable piece to play again and again.

44. Serpentine Creation - The Fiery Winds of Armageddon

I haven't heard much of the Bulgarian metal sound, but this veteran band have given me a healthy dose of hope for this up and coming nation. Plenty of post-apocalypse themed blasts to please your love of The Last of Us and Children of Men.

43. Opus Inferii - Ancient Mysteries Unveiled

One thing which stood out most this year was the number of South American bands I reviewed. And not knowing much about Brazil's contribution to the world of Black Metal, apart from Mystifier, Opus Inferii have shown metal is no stranger to said nation.

42. Eadem - Hekserij

Another Portuguese speaking band, this time from the language's homeland. Eadem are capable of emulating the classic Norwegian sound to the extent you'd believe them to be from said part of Europe. Euro metal at its finest.

41.  Thulcandra - Ascension Lost

This is what you get if you take every cliche of European Death Metal and Melodic DM and mashed it together with much care and attention. Blending the finer things can produce the best of the best or the lowest of the low. Thulcandra however, have made one very impressive album worthy of ownership if you like travelling the European continent every summer to the big festivals.

40.  Kerker - A Dime for the Bleak Faces

Black Metal is one very obscure genre of music. And when you come across a band who have kept their obscurity to a tee with next to no social media presence, you wonder whether or not this band is worth maintaining such status. In the case of this German outfit, the answer's a definite yes.

39.  Hateful Desolation - Withering in Dust

Made up of an international line up containg members from far and wide as Italy and Egypt, Hateful Desolation bring a wide talent range to the saturated world of DSBM. One of those bands who might save said genre from a big fall from grace.

38.  Balmog - Necroangels' Revelations

Now this is a re-release from all the way back in 2010. But it's a damn good one for it showcases the extremities of satanic black metal all the way from the Catholic stronghold that is Spain.

37. Predatory Light - MMXIV

This one was also released last year, but was certainly worthy of a review in 2015 as it gave hope to all those old school kids who like their demo tapes recorded on cassette. This is a blackened doom metal outfit who deliver their music at a pace like a horror film with decent jump scares.

 36. Katavasia - Sacriligious Testament

Greek metal is something I've caught onto a lot this year. I even went for a whole month of listening to nothing but Greek bands as an homage to my fatherland and its output of the greatest music ever concoted. And this group are no exception. Delivering a rich range of occult themed blasts to put Rotting Christ to shame.

35.  Mortis Mutilati - Melopee Funebre

Another French band who introduced me to the term: Taphophilia, the love of viewing and examining graveyards. As someone who has spent most of their life persuing such a hobby, it was no wonder I'd find the works of this one man group who fuses classical strings and pianos conjuring up many images of renowned resting places like Highgate etc.

34. Hope Drone - Cloak of Ash

This album, all the way from a land down under, really isn't for the faint hearted. With the opening track clocking in at just over 20 minutes, this is something you must sit down and listen to from start to finish. But I can assure you this post black metal symphony is worth every second, for it'll take you all the way to another world and bring you back down before you know it.

33. Klamm - Ernte

A keen mix of black metal and traditional German folk music capable of putting Primordial and Heidevolk to shame. Very enjoyable.

 32. Carma - Carma

Doom Metal has never impressed me as much as other sub-genres. But one I've come to love a heck of a lot is Funeral Doom. Imagine a long sorrowful funeral procession wandering slowly towards a cemetery carrying burning torches and that's the drone of Funeral Doom in a nutshell. Such a personification is available on this debut from Portuguese outfit Carma.

31.  Kalmen - Course Hex

Germany really gave a good output this year. Another wonderful mix of psychedelia and doom metal. Imagine escaping into another dimension accompanied by psychedelic godfather Jim Morrison and a large stash of all thing hallucinagenic.

30.  Profezia - Black Misanthroic Elite Moon Anthem

Another re-release from way back in 2008. And probably the wackiest title I've come across all year. With that aside, this record will show you just how strong the Italian black metal community is and that it has plenty of staying power to remain strong for generations.

29.  Frustration - Humanity Through the Madness

Another Italian band. This time one who fuses all things Crust Punk and proto Thrash Metal to give us the ultimate roller coaster thrill ride into the minds of a deranged hobo who's life has fallen to drugs and the impending doom approaches faster and faster like a punk rock riff.

28. Mgla - Exercises in Futility

Poland is no stranger to the world of Black Metal with amazing groups like Behemoth and Vader putting the excellent country on the map. There are many people who think Polish people coming to Britain is a bad thing, but if they bring such amazing music like this band then they can come and stay forever. Just like anyone else in the world. All humanity should be free to roam and take with it its amazing works like trve black metal.

27. Heidevolk - Velua

Viking metal with plenty of melodic death and folk fusions to keep you happy as you down pint after pint of mead next to a camp fire. One truly upbeat band who'll  make you feel better come rain or shine.

26. Ghost - Meliora

And finally, an album which seems to have divided this band's fanbase. I've heard many call this piece a sell out, but personally I think it's awesome. Ghost have always felt like a band to blast out of the car when belting down the motorway and this album is no exception. Imagine a very heavy Abba influenced Swedish band who have an interest in the esoteric.

So there you have it, the first half of the Top 50 Albums of this year. I'll see you all on New Years Eve for the finalists. Merry Xmas.

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