Daniel's Top 15 Albums of 2015
All December long, Metal Injection writers are counting down their favorite albums and moments of the year. Make sure to vote for your favorite album of the year in our Reader's Poll here…
Hello all! Welcome once again to my unnecessary, but fun to write, list of my favorite albums form 2015. To the metals…
Each year I slowly build this list as I churn out each week of the Weekly Injection. It's probably not the best way to approach it, but it winds up being efficient. Anyway, enjoy this list of prog albums I love with some other shit tossed in.
Please to enjoy (or something?)!
Clutch is an old faithful at this point for me. I know what I’m in for, and can’t complain when I get it. Psychic Warfare is a solid Clutch record, and these Maryland lads are good at what they do.
Check out: "X-Ray Visions"
I honestly tried to ignore this record initially. Sunbather was good, but it didn’t totally have me in love with the band like everyone else seemed to be. New Bermuda has more straight up metal which I appreciate, however it also has equal parts indie loveliness. As a fan of both pretty indie and post/atmospheric black metal, it became impossible not to fall for this one.
Check out: "Come Back"
I was waiting to see Wild Throne when this band hit the stage, and I was absolutely floored. They’re an intense, yet delicate band that left me hypnotized. Post-metal/experimental/doom/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it, this is great and thoroughly unique.
Check out: "Omega"
My friend has been a cheerleader for these guys for a bit now, and I never really gave them a shot until this album. Boy howdy was I missing out. This is the curious combination of bands I enjoy like Leprous, A Perfect Circle, and Oceansize and it works so well. The diversity and songwriting ability on this album is up there. If you’re a prog fiend like I am, this is a must hear for 2015.
Check out: "Marigold"
Matt Bacon included these guys in his list of doom bands you shouldn't ignore, and I couldn’t agree more. This band is so much more than a doom band though. It’s rare that I hear a doom band go so far off the rails with other instruments and styles while retaining such a heavy, lurching foundation. Easily my favorite doom record of the year.
Check out: "Odyssey"
Chelsea Wolfe is an artist I’ve admired for a long time now. Her seventh album (she seems to have an unreleased one so maybe eighth?), seemed like she added just the right amount of darkness and heaviness creating a post-metal/doom masterpiece while still keeping her goth-ish folk foundation. A stellar artist on every record, frankly.
Check out: "Iron Moon"
Last year I praised the fuck out of their Blood Maker EP and their full length brings more of everything I loved before. I didn’t think they could get bigger, better, weirder, more chaotic, more emotional, but they did. My full review is here.
Check out: "Harvest of Darkness"
I hesitated to include this album (and a few others) with my top metal releases, but with the group being made of the members of post-metal outfit Red Sparowes, I’d say this ethereal, emotionally heavy post-something album is worth a mention. Vocalist Emma Ruth Rundle is a goddamn star here and the band as a whole as grown so much since their debut.
Check out: "Salome"
No Ihsahn, no problem. I gushed about this record already, and initially thought the love would be fleeting. I’m happy to say that the more I revisit this, the more I find I like about it. It has also made me appreciate the older material more, so my Leprous play count has been rising overall. See the full review here.
Check out: "The Price"
Intricate rhythms, sludgy atmosphere, twists, turns, and so much more. Intronaut have been a fantastic progressive band for a long time, and this may be their best work yet.
Check out: "Digital Gerrymandering"
There always seems to be one of these instrumental, one-man, Bandcamp releases on my lists, and this year’s is one of the best. Boundless is just that, without bounds. Every direction a person could go on a guitar-centric album was traversed and done so well.
Check out: "Manifesto"
2013 saw my first best of list for Metal Injection, and Mr. Wilson topped that list. His newest album doesn’t quite hit all the notes I loved in previous solo outings. It lacks the dark jazz of Grace for Drowning, or the epic stories of The Raven That Refused To Sing (and Other Stories). However, it hit entirely new notes that worked in a new way for me. Sometimes it even feels like the closest thing to an early Porcupine Tree album. One, of course, that has been steeped in even more sadness and regret (#9?). The music this time is less rock, but still very prog. It’s a great album, and the fact that it’s different from all his other stuff makes me respect him more as an artist, which I honestly didn’t think was possible.
Check out: "Routine"
This band is another repeat favorite of mine. Their debut, Last Poem/First Light, was unlike anything I heard before. The follow up is the band doing what they do, but with more gusto and emotion. This is one of the most intense and beautiful records I’ve ever heard. The symphonic sound melded with black metal has been done to death, but not like this. I get chills every time I play this.
Check out: "Yesteryear"
Depending on the day, this album could be my #1. In fact, I feel like much of what I love about this album can be said about my number one. Between The Buried and Me seem like they’ve always been working towards this. It’s comprised of compelling storytelling, incredible technicality, expansive musical pieces, catchy melodies, onslaughts of heaviness, and so much more. It is a perfect modern prog album.
Check out: "The Coma Machine"
1. Native Construct Quiet World
Native Construct have a knack for infusing ridiculous technicality with finesse, so it doesn’t feel like just another group of musicians over-wanking on their instruments. The diversity on this album is incredible with moments of black metal, funk, and even sections that sound like they’re right out of a Broadway musical. Seeing them nail this stuff live secured it as my favorite. So, you – yes you – get on Native Construct! This is a progressive metal masterpiece start-to-finish (See? Pretty similar praise).
Check out: "Mute"
Earthside – A Dream in Static
No Spill Blood – Heavy Electricity
6:33 – Deadly Scenes
Haunted Shores – Viscera EP
The Black Dahlia Murder – Abysmal
Soilwork – The Ride Majestic
Gorod – A Maze Of Recycled Creeds
Coheed & Cambria – The Color Before The Sun
Baroness – Purple
Niche – Heading East
My Favorite Non-Metal Albums
- Murder By Death – Big Dark Love
- Eugene Mirman – I'm Sorry (You're Welcome)
- William Fitzsimmons – Pittsburgh
- The Dear Hunter – Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise
- Chvrches – Every Eye Open
- David Gilmour – Rattle That Lock
- Built To Spill – Untethered Moon
- The Mountain Goats – Beat The Champ
- Silversun Pickups – Better Nature
- Garfunkel and Oates – Secretions
- And So I Watch You From Afar – Heirs
- Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi
- Ratatat – Magnifique
- Wilco – Star Wars
- The Protomen – The Cover Up
See y'all in 2016!
See all of our Best of 2015 coverage here.