Friday, January 1, 2016

The Year in Metal 2015

Due to some life changes in 2015, I was not as active as I wanted to be. However, I did review some really killer albums and, although we did lose our beloved Lemmy just a few days ago, 2015 was still a great metal year. So without further adieu, here is my top 10 metal albums of 2015.

10. Tanagra - None of This Is Real

This was one of the biggest surprises of the year. This Portland band does power metal some serious justice and is one of the best finds I've made in a while. Do yourself a favor, get this album.

9. Solefald - World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud

This band is notorious for taking black metal to the next level. Cornelius and Lazzare are geniuses and this album reflects that. This is an album worthy of any and all praise. If you take metal, mix some Zappa and a hint of Sergeant Pepper like weirdness, you have an album that stands out from the rest.

8. Symphony X - Underworld

I was not a big fan of this band's work after the New Mythology Suite but this album was nothing short of brilliant. It was Symphony X doing what they do best. Amazing songwriting, killer melodies, and amazing musicianship made this album a great return to form for me.

7. The Storyteller - Sacred Fire

This album is straight up heavy fucking metal. This is what HammerFall should be doing now but won't. This album is just pure metal from beginning to end. I always loved this band but this album is their "comeback" album. This is heavy metal...nothing more, nothing less.

6. Enslaved - In Times

Enslaved just keeps pumping out brilliant and amazing albums and this is just another top notch album by these Norwegian veterans. To me, this band can do no wrong and this album is and example why I feel that way.

5. Visigoth - The Revenant King

Throwback metal? I think not. This is a band that will define metal for the coming ages. As Stained Class and Number of the Beast defined metal during it's infancy, this album shows that, in the words of the mighty Piet Sielck, heavy metal never dies. Epic compositions, killer melodies, amazing solos, everything you would want in a metal album is here. A classic in the making.

4. Satyrasis- ...Of the Dead

Another amazing discovery. This band plays progressive death/thrash metal with a hint of traditional thrown in. They have been around since 2003 and this is only their second album but this Lansing, Michigan band is something that's not heard every day. This is a brilliant album.

3. Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror

Blind Guardian has never released a bad album, in my opinion. Those who think they went in the wrong direction after their second album are missing out on some really great power metal. This album shows the band perfecting their mix of epic, bombastic compositions with killer speed metal riffing.

2. Ancient Rites - Laguz

Here is another band that can do no wrong in my eyes. Ever since their move towards an epic viking/black metal sound, there has been no stopping this band. This album is pure genius from beginning to end. Their brand of epic metal is simply amazing. The songwriting, brilliant. I love this band and this album.

And here is it folks, album of the year....

1. Amorphis - Under the Red Cloud

I listened to this album non-stop for close to a month or more. That is the first time an album has impacted me like that in a very long time. Everything they have done since the arrival of front man Tomi Joutsen has been leading up to this album. The riffs, the melodies, the folk elements, and just the sheer brilliance of every song on this album is why this album is album of the year for 2015.

Of course with the great there is the bad. So here is my biggest disappointment of the year. I actually prefer the tile of....

Turd of the Year!

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful
I used to love this band. Their original sound was a mix of power metal and opera that I thought was so fitting since I believe that metal is more closely related to classical music than some would want to admit. When they lost Tarja Turunen and replaced her with such an inferior singer as Anette Olzon I wrote them off. However, they had Floor Jensen replace Ms. Olzon and I thought we may get a good Nightwish album again. Not so much. Dictator in charge Tuomas Holopainen was not to be out shined by another great vocalist so he made sure that she sounded as sterile as Ms. Olzon. This could have been a decent album if Floor was allowed to truly shine like she can.

So that is 2015 in metal. Happy New Year to all and may 2016 be more metal than 2015. There are some great things in store for this webzine in the coming year. Cheers...and keep it metal as FUCK!!

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