Frank's Top 20 Albums of 2015
I'd like to thank these bands for being a radical soundtrack to my life this year. From top to bottom, 2015 has been one amazing ride, only made better by the soothing sounds of heavy metal every where I go. Thank you for reading, and if you see something you might have missed, please give it a shot. These bands truly deserve your attention, even if just a moment. If you're on the go, check out these great albums via my Spotify mixtape I made just for you!
Tribulation – The Children Of The Night
Already a fan of their last album, this was the first record I listened to in 2015, and I spent the rest of the year pretty much telling everyone I can about it. Children of The Night sees the band on a more black ’n roll side of their sound, but includes a mix of 70’s psychedelic with hair metal sex appeal. The only thing more entertaining than listening to this album, is watching them perform it live, which I’ve been fortunate enough to see five times this year.
John Carpenter – Lost Themes
I’m completely shocked this album barely made it on anyone’s list. The master of horror made his debut album, and it is some of the most haunting music delivered this year. As a one-stop-shop in filming, Carpenter has been making his own soundtracks for years. However, this is his first concentrated effort based solely on music, and he completely nails it from top to bottom.
Mgla – Exercises in Futility
I’ve been pimping Poland’s Mgla on Metal Injection since their 2008 release Groza, but I’m stoked they’re finally getting some attention in the states. Despite their very slow build, this band has been light years ahead of your average black metal band, and getting better with every release. If bleak, dark, and beautifully winding metal is your thing, then stop sleeping on this one! This also happens to be the only band not on my spotify playlist, they're too damn kvlt I guess.
Soilwork – The Ride Majestic
The first few Soilwork albums are some of the best melo-death metal in the biz, but truth be told this is their first in about a decade I’d actually call a favorite. The album plays out flawlessly as the band showcases what makes them an unfuckwithable force of heavy riffs, sick hooks, top notch vocal patterns, and some of the best drumming found on any album out this year! Seriously, this shit is Bon Jovi level catchy, and some of the vocal melodies will be stuck in your head for days.
Barren Earth – On Lonely Towers
This band of progressive melo-deth veterans has some of the best song writing chops in the game right now, and I’m truly shocked how many people are sleeping on them. On Lonely Towers is beautifully catchy mid-paced experimental metal that give Opeth a run for their money.
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
As much as I love the early BTBAM albums, how rare is it that a band’s best work shines through on their 7th album!? Coma Ecliptic is pure genius in concept audio form, and the entire album flows flawlessly front to back on a progressive metal journey. Overall the writing style of the album tips it’s hat to DT in a big way, but BTBAM still manages to make it their own which is really exciting.
The Armed – Untitled
I absolutely LOVE this band, and now that they have Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists/Sumac) on drums, one of my favorite bands just got even better! Walking the fine line between too technical to handle and catchy as fuck, The Armed showcase their brilliance in music making across these 14 tracks. They also consistently make some of the best music videos I’ve ever seen. Try one.
Vattnet Viskar – Settler
Vattnet has been making some of my favorite post-blackened tunes since their demo, and this album is no exception. Although the mixing on the album didn't please everyone, the songs soar through and remind us why Vattnet is ahead of everyone else in the game. From the sentiment of the album cover through the dynamically charged riffs, the listener can actually feel the ride they're on while listening to Settler.
Svalbard – One Day All This Will End
I’ve talked about Svalbard quite a few times this year, but if you haven’t had the chance to check it, then now is the time to stop sleeping on this tremendous record! I’d even go as far as saying it’s one of the best post-metal albums ever. Keep your eye on this band, I have a feeling you’ll be seeing a whole lot more of them once they reach a U.S. audience.
Mutoid Man – Bleeder
I got a super early peek at this bad boy upon completion, and my immediate response was “Holy shit! That was fun. Let’s hear that again.” Now at 30,000 listens later, I’m still saying the same thing! Seriously, if you could bottle the emotion of falling down a 30 foot water slide on a beautiful day, it would be Bleeder.
Shining – International Blackjazz Society
I’ve been raving about this band album after album, and they never disappoint! While International Blackjazz Society definitely goes off the deep end of experimenting at times, I’m 100% on board with their brand of jazz industrial prog weirdness! And now with Tobias Ørnes Andersen (Leprous, Ihsahn) on drums, this band is on fucking fire!
Amorphis – Under the Red Cloud
Under the Red Cloud is yet another example of a band I loved in the 90’s, making waves in 2015 with a perfect record. This album has everything you want from the band that made Tales from the Thousand Lakes and Elegy,except with even catchier song writing, better production, and a better vocalist. One of my favorite bands, just got more betterer.
Underling – Blood Worship (Neuropa Records)
I love bands that incorporate various genres to create something unique, and that’s exactly what Underling did with Bloodworship. Black metal vibes, against tantric doom, against hard core, with dark ambience throughout, this band has got it all!
Bosse-De-Nage – All Fours
Bose-De-Nage are a class of their own in the post-black metal world, and have been my favorite example to talk about in this genre for years now. By incorporating other elements like math core, punk, and indie rock, these San Fran mood makers create something magical in their albums that their peers seem to miss.
Goblin Rebirth – Goblin Rebirth
Featuring the rhythm section from the legendary Italian music makers in Goblin, I already knew this would be good. It turned out better than good though, it’s mind blowing how well these guys write music together. Taking some of their horror soundtrack flavor and adding some newer prog elements really brings this album to life in a way I never expected. This was one of my favorite records to drive to all year.
Leprous – The Congregation
Known to many as Ihsahn’s former backing band, these Norwegian geniuses have been making some of the best prog music I’ve heard in years. Back with their fourth full length, The Congregation is a shining example of why they stand above the rest and created a sound so specific, that I can only call it “Leprous”.
Gorod – A Maze of Recycled Creeds
While my appreciation for most tech-deth bands seem to fade with time, my love for Gorod has been consistent through the past decade. So, why are they my favorite band in the sub-genre? Take a listen..
Fear Factory – Genexus
Truth be told, Fear Factory was one of my favorite bands in the 90’s, and I worshiped their first three albums and tours that came with them. Sadly, with years of revolving member changes and drama that followed, I never really felt they ever recaptured the magic of those first few albums, until now. Genexus is the album I’ve waited 16 years for, and I say that in the best way possible.
Morbid Vomit – Doctrine Of Violence
Morbid Vomit already made my 10 Best New Underground band list, but considering how often I listened to their debut Doctrine of Violence, there was no way I’d leave it off this one too. If you enjoy old-school death metal as much as I do, you’re going to love this album!
Keep of Kalessin – Epistemology
Ever wonder what you’d get by blending the rock styles of Scorpions with the black metal fierceness of Mayhem? This band is ridiculous in all the right ways, and despite only being a three piece, manages to create some of the most complex shred this year.
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
What can be said about Cattle Decapitation’s The Anthropocene Extinction that hasn’t been said about Led Zeppelin’s IV? It’s a fucking masterpiece. Enough said.