Best Metal Albums of 2015: More Lists

There's always room for more Best Of lists, right? Of course there is. Below are some of the lists we received from friends. There is a lot of good stuff in there not featured on any of our other lists, so happy hunting. I would also like to point out that Wilderun captures their third number one for the 2015 metal hat-trick. 

Trevor Portz of Ashen Horde

  • 10. Napalm Death - Apex Predator- Easy Meat
  • 9. Korpiklaani - Noita
  • 8. Helloween - My God-Given Right
  • 7. Backyard Babies - Four by Four
  • 6. Enslaved - In Times
  • 5. Queensryche - Queensryche
  • 4. Therapy? - Disquiet
  • 3. Ensiferum - One Man Army
  • 2. Ash - Kablammo
  • 1. Baby Chaos - Skulls Skulls Skulls… Show Me The Glory
  • 14. Wintersun - Wintersun
  • 13. Six Feet Under - Haunted
  • 12. Mithotyn - In the Sign of the Ravens
  • 11. Tulus - Evil 1999
  • 10. Einherjer - Blot
  • 9. Vintersorg - Visions from the Spiral Generator
  • 8. Thyrfing - Thyrfing
  • 7. Borknagar - Empiricism
  • 6. Moonsorrow - Voimasta ja Kunniasta
  • 5. Immortal - Sons of Northern Darkness
  • 4. Cannibal Corpse - Vile
  • 3. Brutal Truth - Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses/Need to Control (tie)
  • 2. Cradle of Filth - Cruelty and the Beast
  • 1. Enslaved- Frost/Eld (tie)

Infera Bruo's Galen and Neutrino

  • 10. Arcturus - Arcturian
    An interesting album with lots of ups and downs.

  • 9. Isvind - Gud
    Very Gud.

  • 8. NettleCarrier - Black Coffin Rites
    Straight for the throat norwegian black metal.

  • 7. Blind Guardian - Into The Red Mirror
    Over the top fantasy stuff. Classic

  • 6. Keep Of Kalessin - Epistomology
    When black metal morphs into power metal. Fast, melodic, epic.

  • 5. Drudkh - A Furrow Cut short
    One of their best. Nothing too new, just a natural progression.

  • 4. Tribulation - Children Of The Night
    Catchy, brilliantly crafted songs. They've definitely honed in on their own sound with this album.

  • 3. Marduk - Frontschwein
    One their most diverse albums to date. A great mix of songs about war.

  • 2. Dodheimsgard - A Umbra Omega
    An avant-garde metal masterpiece. Truly original in every way. I had high hopes for this and it delivered above and beyond.

  • 1. Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls
    An amazing album as expected. I'm a huge fan of the three guitar lineup and love all the records so far. This is another great step forward.

  • 5. Dodsfall - Kaosmakt
    Straightforward and catchy Norwegian black metal with a deadly delivery. Not many bands are this satisfying anymore. Pure ear candy.

  • 4. MGLA - Exercises in Futility
    I love the minimalist approach of the riffs and the pervasive sadness that runs throughout this record. These guys have developed a unique and effective style and I can sense a horde of copycats in the making.

  • 3. Drudkh - A Furrow Cut Short
    This record cut me pretty deep. It brims with potent, and some of the best ever, Drudkh-style meloncholy and passion. This, combined with the current desperate situation in the Ukraine and my own post-Soviet eastern European origins, made this release especially powerful for me.

  • 2. Amestigon - Thier
    This came out of nowhere and blew me away. Four lengthy tracks of sprawling and monumental black metal. Graceful, bleak and absolutely crushing, both in terms of production and emotional impact.

  • 1. Pyramids - A Northern Meadow
    Listening to this feels like falling through a hyper-dimensional psychedelic crystalline dreamscape. I don't know what that means but it feels right, and it's awesome. This record is a complete mind fuck and I'm still digesting it.
John Burkholder-Travis

HONORABLE MENTION (2014 albums I heard in 2015)
  • Pall Bearer - Foundation of Burden (Would be #10 in 2015)
  • Tombs - Savage Gold (Would be #2 in 2015)
TOP 10
  • 10. High on Fire - Luminiferous
  • 9. Lamb of God - VII: Sturm und Drang
  • 8. Enslaved - In Times
  • 7. Bell Witch - Four Phantoms
  • 6. Catatonic Society - Baptistina
  • 5. Cattle Decapitation - The Anthropocene Extinction
  • 4. Gruesome - Savage Land
  • 3. Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls
  • 2. Amorphis - Under the Red Cloud
  • 1. Wilderun - Sleep at the Edge of the Earth

Rick Bonnin

Buke asked me to create a list of my top albums of the year to post on the site. I told him I would, but I wanted to listen to the end of year episode, and instead of just reiterating or reinforcing how good some of the albums are, I'll add in some stuff not mentioned. Turns out that I have a very, very different taste in music than the hosts. This could be (is most likely) attributed to my lack of exposure to traditional heavy metal like Sabbath, Priest and Maiden during my formative years. I can thank Trevor Strnad and Tomas Lindberg for helping get a foot in door with exposure to melodic death; I'd probably be doing pit karate at a Verb the Noun concert if it weren't for those guys.

Note that these are opinions, thoughts and words of a non-musician who hasn’t had to write anything but technical reports for the last 7 years of his life.

Obsequiae - Aria of Vernal Tombs

This album didn't initially hook me and it took a couple of plays to start appreciating it (this is a trend on a lot of stuff on this list). Melodic black metal with a medieval sound that I'm not sure is a result of the guitar tone, the song structures, or the harp interludes. Some might find the inclusion of 3 minute harp interludes as a gimmick; but I feel like it helps break up the album and the makes the experience a bit more cohesive.

Misþyrming - Söngvar elds og óreiðu

Alright, I'll say it right now - the fact that nobody had this included on their lists is offensive to me. This is unquestionably my album of the year. Everything on this bleeds raw, guttural emotion. It's also all over the place in terms of the feelings it draws out of me. There's sections of songs are nervewracking and hectic, then switch a beat or riff and feel almost uplifting (Söngur uppljómunar comes to mind) The production is raw, but not so much to turn you away (recalling memories of my first time trying to listen to A Blaze in the Northern Sky). A good balance that leaves everything feeling very, very human.

Leviathan – Scar Sighted

There’s a lot going on in this album. Terrifying, immersive and chaotic are three words that come to mind. I think something that Wrest does really well with this release is that, while chaotic and frantic, all of the chaos that surrounds you feels controlled. The album definitely takes some time and effort to dissect and decipher, but trying to understand it doesn’t seem futile like trying to understand what the fuck is going on throughout a Portal album. The vocals are all over the place ranging from black metal shrieks, deep blood curdling traditional DM-esque vocals and even some spoken word. You’ve probably seen it on a bunch of other end of year lists.

Yellow Eyes - Sick with Bloom

Ironic that I mentioned Trevor Strnad earlier, as I bailed midway through a show that The Black Dahlia Murder was headlining to get across town to another show to see Yellow Eyes. Totally worth it. Listening to this album is an unnatural and unnerving experience. When I expected a riff to rise or fall, it does the exact opposite, and when I think I have an idea of the direction of the song, Yellow Eyes informs me that I am wrong and does whatever they want. The album was recorded on tape in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and the woodland background noises provide another layer to enjoy.

Batushka - Litourgiya

Anonymous Polish black metal supergroup? Sign me up. Lots of contrast here – the deep, slow liturgical chants and holy bells layered underneath traditional black metal shrieks and blast beats makes for an interesting experience. Great listen from the first riff that will immediately produce head nodding (god DAMN I love that riff) all the way through until the end.

Abyssal – Antikatastaseis

I feel like if you ever needed to induce a panic attack on someone, well, forcing them to listen to this album is the way to do it. It’s a swirling maelstrom of cavernous riffs that make you feel like you’re suffocating. Add in a fear of clowns and you’ll have people writhing on the ground, screaming, halfway through Veil of Transcendence.

I will not attempt to trick you that I am good at describing death metal or grind (see Abyssal). Listen to these albums if you have not already:

Some quick picks that I really enjoyed from everyone else’s lists –
  • Immortal Bird – Empress/Abcess
  • Mgla – Exercises in Futility
  • Tribulation – The Children of the Night
  • Sulphur Aeon – Gateway to the Antisphere (I’m with Jay – the LP packaging is KILLER)
  • Vattnet Viskar – Settler
  • Gruesome – Savage Land
  • Ur Draugr – With Hunger Undying
And to finish it off… is this really metal? (Inspired by some discussion about heavy, not really metal music on one of the casts)