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Best of 2015

James' Top 15 Albums of 2015

Another year, another "best of" list/compilation. With so many stellar releases in 2015, trying to narrow down a top ten proved impossible so, I whipped up a top 15 for your viewing pleasure. This list is a brief rundown of some of my favorite releases from 2015, not necessarily the best of their class or genre, just the ones I cranked the loudest all year. It was actually more difficult taking albums off the list [please forgive me Iron Maiden, Nile, KENmode, etc.] than putting this whole thing together. 2015 was a great year for bi-polar metal fiends like myself, who love jumping and cross pollinating between genres. Here's to 2016 and all the loud/obscene wonders to behold.

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15. Twitching Tongues  Disharmony

They say variety is the spice of life. If that’s the case then Twitching Tongue's Metal Blade debut, Disharmony is the spiciest fucking album of 2015. Mosh riffs, thrash breaks, infectious hooks bursting out of every seam, Disharmony literally has everything.

Cult Leader Lightless Walk14. Cult Leader Lightless Walk

For those rough nights that make you want to quit your job, burn your possessions and start fight clubbing people on the street, I give you, the beautifully tortured and hyper aggressive sounds of Cult Leader’s debut full length.

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Napalm-Death-Apex-Predator-Easy-Meat13. Napalm Death Apex Predator-Easy Meat

Sometimes I wish for world peace, but then I fear Barney and co. might lose their motivation and stop making wild ass new music. It’s 2015 and Napalm Death are still one foot blasting with the best of them. Cheers.

callofthevoid-ageless12. Call of The Void Ageless

Hardcore, grindcore, punch yourself in the face-core, however you want to label Call of The Void, there’s one term anyone down with extreme metal should agree with when describing their latest record Ageless: excellent.

blacklisted11. Blacklisted When People Grow, People Go.
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As expected, Blacklisted’s latest delves into a wide spectrum of emotions and serves as the best damn hardcore therapy session you’ll find all year. That, and “Foreign Observer” just might be my favorite George Hirsch wail/croon ever.

tsjuder10. Tsjuder  Antiliv

Tsjuder aren’t reinventing the wheel of Norwegian black metal, but they’re adding some killer frostbitten spikes to the damn thing. Antiliv, translates to “Anti Life” in English, but I can’t think of a less accurate name for this record. The band’s devotion to their rocking, second wave of black metal aesthetic is contagious. If tracks like “Krater” “Slumber With The Worm” and “Djevelens Mesterverk” don’t get your blood pumping, you might actually have frostbite.

Elder Lore9. Elder Lore
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I was fortunate enough to cover Psycho California 2015 for Metal Injection earlier this year [high fives myself] and out of all the gnarly performances I saw that weekend, Elder’s insane set on the second stage absolutely blew me away. Fat riffs, solid grooves, serious guitar shred, people having fun in the audience…it was like Christmas. I went home and immediately checked out Elder’s latest album, 2015’s Lore. Although the album sounds great, it doesn’t quite capture the amped up energy of the band’s live show, but luckily, these gargantuan ten minute plus songs are written to perfection and still manage to transport the listener into the trippy realm of Elder.

Noisem8. Noisem  Blossoming Decay

The lads in Noisem had one of the raddest debut albums, pretty much ever with, 2013’s Agony Defined. Their hyped up brand of old school proto-death metal meets thrash on steroids was amazing, especially when you realized that the band was really, really young. Well they’ve definitely grown some since then, as the barrage of blast beats and morose grind influences have, uh…blossomed, on the band’s aptly titled follow up, Blossoming Decay. Noisem charge through nine songs in about 24 minutes, letting up for brief moments on “Cascade of Scars” and album closer, “Blossoming of the Web” in what can only be described as an amphetamine like assault by one of metal most promising bands.

Carved Up Matador7. Carved Up  Matador
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I love me some chaotic, revved up punk noise. Thankfully, Carved Up’s latest album Matador delivers the goods big time. Like the intro to album opener “Death Remains The Same” mentions, this record feels like mainlining pure/uncut cobra venom…straight from the fucking cobra. Riffs jangle and tempos pulsate, while the math-y rock jams and lumbering starts and stops will leave your brain feeling all kinds of mashed up. Coliseum, KENmode and Wild Throne all released some killer material this year but nothing knocked me out in the punk-n-roll department quite like Matador.

maruta6. Maruta Remain Dystopian

Who doesn’t love some good ol’ space age grindcore? Maruta’s third full length and first release since their self-imposed exile/hiatus in 2011, Remain Dystopian does just that, reminds the world that Florida’s favorite grinders are back and just as pissed as ever. At times, Maruta feel more akin to Origin’s brand of mind-bending space invader riffs, but they condense their aural assault into rapid fire minute and half long bursts. Anyone who loves odd timed ADHD jams and smashing keyboards would do well to get on the Maruta train and check out Remain Dystopian. It’s even got Pig Destroyer and At The Gates’ main dudes, J.R. Hayes and Tomas Lindberg’s, seal of approval.

metal injection - hate eternal5. Hate Eternal Infernus
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Does anyone do crushing and visceral death metal as well as Hate Eternal does? Erik Rutan makes metal’s finest sound like a million bucks at his Mana Studios on a daily basis, so it’s no wonder the latest Hate Eternal record Infernus is a veritable sonic masterpiece. Rutan and co.’s vortex of brutality is finally captured in glorious high definition. Every guitar wail, cymbal strike and Rottweiler growl comes across loud and clear. Explosive tracks like “Chaos Theory” also showcase the band’s experimental side, proving that these death metal veterans can really shred the hell out of any genre.

vehemence-forward-without-motion-cover-4. Vehemence  Forward Without Motion

Vehemence is back! I for one, welcome our melodic death metal overlords and their triumphant return. Forward Without Motion, the band’s fourth full length and first new album in eleven goddamn years, is everything I wanted to be and more. The same gargantuan riffs, pummeling drum work, and infectious guitar harmonies that made their early millennium releases so killer are all back, but with a decade of pent up emotions and urgency behind these performances, Forward Without Motion is an absolute killer and one of 2015’s best. If you’re a fan of Immolation and In Flames fighting each other, get on this one ASAP.

Lucifer3. Lucifer Lucifer I
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The Oath was rad…but I think I’m digging Lucifer more. Gaz Jenning’s epic, old school, doom-tinged riffs give frontwoman/sorceress Johanna Sadonis more room to play with vocally. Her soaring and absolutely haunting vocals send chills down my spine during every spin. The album’s moodier numbers like “Izrael” and “Sabbath” are the perfect “stuck in traffic because no one in LA knows how to drive in the rain” gloomy afternoon soundtrack, while foot stompers like the opening track “Abracadabra” and “Morningstar” would make the actual Lucifer throw his devil horns in the air.

deafheaven2. Deafheaven  New Bermuda

How do you top Sunbather? Deafheaven made the smart decision and didn’t try to recapture the magic of their 2013 breakthrough and instead, crafted a darker, heavier and all around wilder follow up in New Bermuda. Like post-Master of Puppets era Metallica stretching their legs into the pummeling and weird world of …And Justice For All, New Bermuda showcases Deafheaven’s mastery of every weapon in their sonic arsenal. The blast beats are tighter, the space-y shoegaze sections are more enveloping, the vocals sounds less black metal “inspired” and more legit nails on chalk board painful [in a good way]. New Bermuda is a whirlwind, either take shelter or enjoy the ride.

Mutoid-Man1. Mutoid Man  Bleeder
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I love this record. Flat out, loving adoration. Mutoid Man’s 2013 Helium Head EP was rad and all, but nothing prepared me for the awesomeness that is Bleeder. This bastardized amalgamation of metal, punk, psychedelia and even some good ol’ fashioned surf rock, is the most infectious and gratifying listen of the year. Stephen Brodsky’s voice soars while simultaneously unleashing some serious guitar pyrotechnics. Ben Koller does his usual thing, re-writing the laws of physics on the drums, yet still manages to lock in with Nick Cageao’s bass, forming one of the grooviest and/or seizure inducing rhythm sections in all the land. If you’re not smiling ear to ear by the time Bleeder’s mammoth self-titled album closer rolls around, seek help.

See all of our Best of 2015 coverage here.

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