After careful deliberation and one very late attempt by Baroness to cause havoc to my list; the results are in. Overall, 2015 was hit and miss for me. Plenty amazed, excited and thrilled, but I was still waiting deep into December for something to completely floor me. Bring on 2016, where i will await patiently for some Tool and Metallica, but should get some sounds out of Dillinger, Converge and Cult of Luna. Looking forward to it!
10 – Slayer – Repentless
An album that I was worried about, but should not have been. Slayer just do what Slayer do best on Repentless, many figured that without Hanneman and Lombardo that the band could not recapture the sound, energy and prowess that made Slayer. But we underestimated Kerry and Araya. This is killer stuff and Slayers best release in a decade.
9 – Lamb of God – VII: Sturm und Drang
Not the prison record that most were expecting, but Lamb of God have come back with a bang. A very strong release, its varied and well written. Randy sounds passionate and vital and his lyrics are career best. Guest performances from Chino Moreno and Greg Puciato are handled to perfection creating a marvellous dynamic to the record. Great stuff!
8 – Horrendous – Anareta
Death Metal was a bit of a let down in 2015, not for a lack of volume. But the quality did not reach high levels until Horrendous released Anareta. These guys are seriously talented musicians, and so committed. Coming just a year after Ecdysis; Anareta pulls no punches, its technical, brutal, inventive and is just an interesting sounding album. Melody is also prevalent in just the right areas.
7 – Iron Maiden – Book of Souls
A sprawling double record was a gutsy move at this point in the bands career, but this is Maiden! they do not do anything in halves and with Book of Souls we get a body of work that is dynamic, at times moving and rocking. Book of Souls is not the best album of their career, but it still kicks the shit out of most of the heavy metal released in 2015, that just shows that the Irons are at another level. What they will do next is anyones guess.
6 – Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – The Night Creeper
No longer an underground band (touring with Sabbath will do that), Uncle Acid are really hitting their straps and with Night Creeper they have found the perfect balance between story telling, song structure and melody. This works in all the right areas, production is killer, the mood is creepy (pardon the pun) and some of the guitar sounds and textures are killer.
5 – Killing Joke – Pylon
I did not expect to enjoy this as much as i did. Killing Joke have always been on my radar, releasing strong albums quite regularly. But with Pylon something struck a chord, it is an extremely consistent album, political in nature, well written and it just sounds so cool. Listen to this now!!
4 – Refused – Freedom
A very brave record, to follow up a classic album such as The Shape of Punk to Come after a 17 year absence is fraught with danger. But Refused did not try and better that release, instead they spat in the faces of the naysayers and unloaded 10 cracking songs that are a natural progression for the band. They sound like they never left us.
3 – Faith No More – Sol Invictus
Sol Invictus sounds like Faith No More had never gone away, it sounds relevant, its exciting and is a natural progression from Album of the Year – even if they were separated by 18 years. That in itself is remarkable, Faith No More should have released and lacklustre and patchy comeback album and for the most no-one would have minded. But to come back with Sol Invictus just shows that this is a very special group of musicians and thank god they are back… and stay back.
2 – Wild Throne – Harvest of Darkness
This list is largely packed full of senior bands releasing albums after turbulent periods or large absences. So its with great excitement that a band like Wild Throne come along to shake things up. This is a remarkable debut album, that is wild, energetic, crafted superbly and it is interesting. At times this cuts a little close to the areas vacated by The Mars Volta, but that will work itself out over the next release or two. I am thankful there are bands like this today that can come along and release great rock. Great album and worthy to investigate.
1 – Baroness – Purple
That bus crash was by all reports horrific. How Baizley came away with his arm is a miracle, but the journey he has endured has resulted in some breathtaking music. Locked away in a basement for a year, Baroness have crafted an album that encompasses the best of their earlier work and more song oriented approach to Yellow & Green. It came late, but it came hard in 2015. Very strong performances and the best work of their career.