As another year draws to a close, we metalheads tend to take time to reflect on what the year in metal meant to us, and prepare our various lists of what was great, what sucked, and everything in between.
This year we decided to get a little more up close and personal with Team Hellbound, and get a sense of not only each staffer’s favorite albums of the year, but also a sense of the state of metal in 2015 from everyone.
We here at Hellbound thank you for your continued readership, and wish you a very headbanging 2016.
Happy Holidays from Hellbound!
— Kyle Harcott
Top 10 Metal Albums of the Year:
- Elder – Lore (Armageddon Shop)
The greatest album of all time always contain features such as being timeless, epic and have the ability to transport the listener to another realm. And that’s just what Elder accomplished on their third LP. From the Led-Zep-sounding opening midsection riffing on “Compendium” to the infectious, diverse riffing on “Dead Weight”, to the crushing chug-guitar-fest at the end of “Spirit of Aphelion”, this is an album that must be heard. By containing a concoction of elements such as doom, psyche, prog and some classic rock sounds, it solidifies its stance as an album all metal fans can nod their head in enjoyment to.
- Satan – Atom by Atom (Listenable)
Considering these guys already made a classic metal album in the early ‘80s, who would have thought they could have made another in 2015? But that’s just what Satan did, by crafting an album full of progressive, catchy, and technical riffs that define the NWOBHM. By the time the final solo ends, the listener will not only hear why so many thrash bands worshipped these guys but also think, “Hey, I just stepped out of ‘1980s Metal Garage Band’!”
- Swallow the Sun – Songs from the North I, II, III (Century Media)
- Created and recorded in Finland, check.
- Doom / Death inspired, check.
- 3-disc and 3-LP album of epic portions, check.
- Each part being of unique importance due to its progressive brilliance? Check.
- One of the best 3-lp, no-album metal releases to ever come out? Check.
- Oh and one last question – has there ever been another Funeral or Death / Doom album like it? No, and of course it comes to us from one of the coldest countries on earth.
- Kadavar – Berlin (Nuclear Blast)
If a doom-metal band made a perfect classic-rock album, this is what it would sound like. All the best parts of Sabbath, Led Zep, AC/DC, DP, and the garage sounds of SLB are all on display here, and are enhanced for your enjoyment with faster tempos, and riffs that go on for days.
- KEN mode – Success (Season of Mist)
The brilliance of noise, with added indie and punk make this a career-defining album for these Winnipegers. By adding bass player Skot Hamilton to the band, they found the missing link to all things noise, and created a catchy, fun album that could be a pop album to the noise enthusiast. Lastly, all you need to know about the producing is the one and only Steve Albini.
- Prurient – Frozen Niagara Falls (Profound Lore)
The best noise album of the year for sure. The sound and composition is absolutely stunning, and it’s as if Throbbing Gristle, Popol Vuh, and the great Merzbow got together to create such a beast. It contains some beautiful atmospheres and ambient BM influences, not to mention the use of some fantastic moog synths to create an almost trance effect as background sounds to all the post-apocalyptic devastion in the front. Lastly the final track, “Christ Among the Broken Glass”, could be the most interesting mash-up of prog, krautrock, and experimental noise ever.
- Tribulation – Children of the Night (Century Media)
Almost the perfect blending of art and metal. Dark enchanting chocolate for all metal listeners looking for something different to come out of Sweden that’s not BM, DM, Doom or prog, but has enough sweetness to give your ears the perfect orgasm.
- High On Fire – Luminiferous (eOne)
One could say HOF have never really made a bad album. They have written some of the best songs and riffs in metal for the last 15 years. But this quite possibly is their fullest work to date, containing songs worthy of a best-of collection on each track. Not only are the riffs crushing and unforgettable, the song writing has never been better. If I was going to compare it to anything, it would be their Master of Reality!
- Horrendous – Anareta (Dark Descent)
Third time’s the charm, or the most interesting offering yet to come from these old-school Swedish death enthusiasts. If you’re interested in Death circa Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy, and Spiritual Healing look no further than the amazing riffs on display here. In one year, they have entered the realm of catchy technical writing and playing that a band like Voivod would highly commend.
- Paradise Lost – The Plague Within (Century Media)
Maybe it was Gregor playing in Vallenfyre, or Nick singing in Bloodbath – or maybe it was just the right time, but PL fans are rejoicing with this LP. It hasn’t been since the early ‘90s, and a little classic album called Gothic, that these guys have used more Death / Doom in their sound. The band here is as tight as can be and heavy as three ten-ton hammers, while still combing through epic metal sounds of Draconian Times. This is the album diehard fans have been waiting for – so why not enjoy it!
1. Publicist UK – Forgive Yourself
2. Lucifer – I
3. Leviathan – Scar Sighted
4. Crypt Sermon – Out of the Garden
Best gig I attended in 2015:
Neurosis, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth and The Body
Opera House, Toronto
Waited 15 years to see Neurosis live and they did not disappoint! One of the most mesmerizing shows I’ve ever seen. Neurosis was nothing short of amazing playing songs for all over their catalog and wreaked psychic devastation to all in attendance.
2nd best show:
Enslaved, Yob, Ecstatic Vision, Kosmogard
Opera House, Toronto
Favourite physical-copy album I purchased in 2015:
2nd favorite merch item purchased:
Most anticipated album for 2016:
The new Anciients!
My 2015 in Metal:
My year in Metal was filled with many things! I feel that this was a very great year for metal! So many great releases from new and old bands and from so many genres. We also lost many great musicians again but luckily we are still able to enjoy the musical legacy they have left behind. I didn’t get to purchase to many physical copies this year but I did try to listen to a lot and my feeling is that there were something around 200 or more fantastic albums that should be recognized as important.
Because I was such a good year for metal music many different people, fans and magazines have champion very different groups but I feel that’s more than understandable. This all being said I can’t wait for the day I can start sharing all the music from 2015 with my son who was born this year I hope he will feel proud to be born in a year with amazing tunes.