Sunday, January 3, 2016

Josh's Top Albums of 2015

2015 has been an awesome year for metal (again, like I said last year, it was a great year for full lengths…not so much for EP’s)…not quite as good as 2014 or 2012, but definitely up there with 2013.  2016 is shaping up to be pretty awesome as well.  If you don’t see one of your favorite full lengths on this monster list, keep in mind that the point of this list is to put a lot of stuff that you guys haven’t heard before or didn’t give a chance this year, and remember that this year was pretty damn good for LP’s.  Anyways, I hope you enjoy the list!


5 Honorable Mentions

I, Valiance – Reject of Humanity
Genre:  Progressive Deathcore

Devils of Loudun – Entering Oblivion
Genre:  Melodic / Symphonic Death Metal
Preview:  “Dominion”

Falling Through The Center of the Earth – The Science of Perception
Genre:  Progressive / Technical Deathcore

Haunted Shores – Viscera
Genre:  Progressive Metal / Instrumental

Tortuous Inception – Headfirst into Oblivion
Genre:  Technical / Brutal Death / Slam

Top 15 EP’s of 2015

15.  Ominous Ruin – Exiled
Genre:  Brutal / Technical Death Metal

14.  Gravemind – The Hateful One
Genre:  Deathcore

The riffs in that preview song, holy shit.  These Aussies play a blistering version of deathcore that’s sure to tantalize fans of TAIM.

13. Cryptopsy – The Book of Suffering – Tome I
Genre:  Technical Death Metal

12. Blame – Dark Eyes
Genre:  Technical Deathcore
Preview:  “Anxiety”

11.  Andy Rive – Acclimation
Genre:  Progressive Metalcore
Preview:  “Blizzard”

10. Analepsy – Dehumanization by Supremacy
Genre:  Brutal Death Metal / Slam

9.  Dawn of Leviathan – Emergence
Genre:  Symphonic Deathcore
Preview:  “Ennervate”

8.  Petrychor – Apocalyptic Witchcraft
Genre:  Atmospheric Black Metal

All these feelings…what a journey.

7.  Assemble The Chariots – World Architects
Genre:  Progressive / Symphonic Death Metal/Deathcore

Sounds like Fallujah meets all the best parts of Born of Osiris.

6.  Delusions of Grandeur – Gravis
Genre:  Progressive Deathcore
Preview:  “Brutiful”

5.  Sanzu – Painless
Genre:  Progressive Death Metal/Deathcore

Think of what would happen if Black Crown Initiate and Gojira had a baby, and it played groovy-as-hell death metal – that’s Sanzu in a nutshell.

4.  SikTh – Opacities
Genre:  Progressive / Math Metal

These guys’ triumphant return was just as good as Extol’s last year.  They’re called some of the masters/pioneers of their genre for a reason.

3.  Ne Obliviscaris – Hiraeth
Genre:  Progressive / Symphonic Black Metal
Preview:  “Felo De Se”

The best band in the world right now has done it again with this 3-track EP of previously unreleased songs.

2.  Ne Obliviscaris – Sarabande to Nihil
Genre:  Progressive / Symphonic Black Metal

Yeah, I really, REALLY like Ne Obliviscaris.

1.  Entheos - Primal
Genre:  Progressive Death Metal/Deathcore

Outside of Ne Obliviscaris, was there really any other choice for the top EP of 2015?  No other group came out with an EP as fresh-sounding as Entheos in 2015.  Plus, if it means Animosity is back together, I'm all for it!


15-ish Honorable Mentions

Antlion – The Prescient
Genre:  Technical / Progressive Metal
Preview:  “Hubris”

XisforEyes – Convoluted Enlightenment
Genre:  Symphonic Deathcore

No Consequence – Vimana
Genre:  Progressive / Technical / Math Metal

Dark Sermon – The Oracle
Genre:  Blackened Deathcore
Preview:  “Starve”

Exocrine – Unreal Existence
Genre:  Technical Death Metal

Ur Draugr – With Hunger Undying
Genre:  Atmospheric / Blackened Death Metal

Arkaik – Lucid Dawn
Genre:  Technical Death Metal

Pomegranate Tiger
Genre:  Progressive / Instrumental Metal
Preview:  “Cyclic”

Frontierer – Orange Mathematics
Genre:  Mathcore
Preview:  “Bleak”

Ouroboros – Emanations
Genre:  Progressive / Symphonic Death Metal
Preview:  “Scion”

Mycelia – Obey
Genre:  Technical / Progressive Metalcore

Voices from the Fuselage – Odyssey:  The Destroyer of Worlds
Genre:  Progressive / Melodic Metal

Ashe O’Hara, formerly of Tesseract, doing maybe some of his best work ever.  The instrumentals aren’t nearly as interesting as the vocals and lyrics, though.

Alustrium – A Tunnel to Eden
Genre:  Melodic Death Metal

Thy Art Is Murder – Holy War
Genre:  Deathcore
Preview:  “Emptiness”

This album is good, but the hooks simply doesn’t hold up like those in “Hate” did.

I Chaos – Masterbleeder
Genre:  Technical Death Metal
Preview:  “Waking Hell”

This band is one of the unsung masters of writing groovy tech death riffs.

Top 40 LP’s of 2015
The order of these albums is up for some debate, outside of the top 6-10…

40.  Ending Tyranny – Evolution of Deceit
Genre:  Technical Deathcore

39.  Singularity – Singularity
Genre:  Technical Death Metal

Technically a 2014 album, but who cares?  I just heard about this album this year, but this album fucking rules, and they deserve some attention for it.

38.  Bermuda – Use Your Burdens
Genre:  Deathcore

I enjoyed this album way more than I ever expected to…it seems almost like 2015’s answer to Humanity’s Last Breath’s incredible debut album, albeit not as good.

37.  Lost Soul – Atlantis:  The New Beginning
Genre:  Technical Death Metal

These guys sound like a mixture between Fleshgod Apocalypse and Behemoth, and if that doesn’t get your nipples in a tizzy, I don’t know what will.

36.  Deafheaven – New Bermuda
Genre:  Post Black Metal / Atmospheric Black Metal
Preview:  “Luna”

I didn’t enjoy “Sunbather”, but this album really got me.  I hope this band keeps pushing the boundaries of the black metal genre like this.

35.  Irreversible Mechanism – Infinite Fields
Genre:  Technical Death Metal


34.  Hate Eternal – Infernus
Genre:  Death Metal

33.  Intervals – The Shape of Colour
Genre:  Instrumental / Progressive Metal
Preview:  “Black Box”

One of my favorite instrumental albums ever.  The riffs in that preview song are just unfuckwithable.

32.  Alkaloid – The Malkuth Grimoire
Genre:  Technical / Progressive Death Metal

Holy mother of god this album was good…it should probably be higher on my list, but there were so many other great albums this year.  Hannes Grossman and Christian Muenzner both collaborated on this baby, and you can tell.  With a pedigree like that, how could it possibly be bad?

31.  Sylosis – Dormant Heart
Genre:  Progressive Thrash Metal
Preview:  “Mercy”

Their best since “Edge of the Earth”.

30.5 Ingested – The Architect of Extinction
Genre:  Brutal Death Metal

I know “30.5” is cheating, but this baby is a late add to the list because I totally forgot about this album when I made up my list of potential contenders a few weeks back…I suck at keeping track of releases.  This is right about where I would’ve slotted it.

30.  Chaos Divine – Colliding Skies
Genre:  Progressive Metal

This album was 2015’s analog to Being’s “Anthropocene”.  Absolutely beautiful, epic progressive metal.

29.  The Raven Autarchy – The Obscene Deliverance
Genre:  Technical Deathcore

The main reason this is so high on the list is almost entirely because of the preview song….that intro riff, I think, is one of the slickest I heard all year.

28.  Leviathan – Scar Sighted
Genre:  Atmospheric Black Metal
Preview:  “Scar Sighted”

This album is a masterpiece of black metal.  If you like black metal, you need this in your collection.

27.  Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic
Genre:  Progressive Metal

This album didn’t hook me anywhere near the way Future Sequence did, but BTBAM has earned a spot this high on the list, well, because they’re BTBAM.

26.  Tesseract – Polaris
Genre:  Progressive Metal
Preview:  “Phoenix”

Again, not as good as Tesseract’s last album, at least in my opinion…I just prefer Ashe as their vocalist I guess!

25.  Continuum – The Hypothesis
Genre:  Technical Death Metal

Unique Leader didn’t have too many great albums this year, considering they basically dominated last year’s list, but this album was pretty fucking awesome.

24.  Fit for an Autopsy – Absolute Hope.  Absolute Hell.
Genre:  Deathcore
Preview:  “Saltwound”

Best straight-up deathcore album of the year…we’ll have to see where the best technical deathcore album of the year falls…

23.  The Ritual Aura – Laniakea
Genre:  Technical / Progressive Death Metal

If you’ve never heard them, prepare to have your skull blown clear open.  Riffs and shredding for days.

22.  Entities – Novalis
Genre:  Progressive Deathcore / Groove

Rest in peace, spacecore.  :(

21.  Kardashev – Peripety
Genre:  Progressive / Atmospheric Death Metal

Since 2015 wasn’t a Fallujah year, we got this instead…and god damn, did Kardashev deliver the vibes.


20.  August Burns Red – Found in Faraway Places
Genre:  Technical Metalcore
Preview:  “Blackwood”

In my opinion, their best album ever.  The hooks on “Blackwood”, “Martyr”, “Identity”, “Ghosts”, and a bunch of other tracks are some of the best their guitarist has written in his career.

19.  Northlane – Node
Genre:  Progressive Metalcore
Preview:  “Animate”

Northlane’s best album, and it isn’t even close (sorry, Adrian fans).  On “Node”, Northlane took their grasp of atmosphere and capturing emotion to a whole other level.

18.  Gorod – Recycled Creeds
Genre:  Technical Death Metal

Probably one of the most unique-sounding technical death metal albums you'll ever hear.  Gorod keep pushing the boundaries of the genre, and making music more interesting than almost anybody out there.

17.5 Gods of Eden – From The End of Heaven
Genre:  Technical / Melodic / Progressive Death Metal

Another late add, because I accidentally deleted these guys from my list of potential album of the year contenders.  This album blew my mind almost immediately upon hearing it, because they sound like what would happen if Persefone added Across The Sun’s clean vocalist, and they had a baby with Scar Symmetry, then that band concentrated a little less on shredding and atmosphere and a LOT more on melody.  Since I think Persefone’s “Spiritual Migration” is one of the best melodic death metal albums of all time, this album belongs right up near the top of my list as well.

17.  Psycroptic – Psycroptic
Genre:  Technical Death Metal

Psycroptic should rename themselves Riffbot 3000 or something, because this album is insane.  Easily their best since “Scepter”, and they’ve had some great ones.  Even if you’ve never liked Psycroptic before, I strongly suggest you give this one a chance.

16.  Lamb of God – Sturm Und Drang
Genre:  Heavy Metal (?)

I’m sorry, but if you didn’t like Lamb of God’s album from this year, you weren’t listening to it.  I think this is probably their best album since “Ashes of the Wake”.  You might've given up on LOG, but TRUST ME, come back.

15.  Abiotic – Casuistry
Genre:  Technical Death Metal / Deathcore

This band took a quantum leap forward from their last full length, and nowhere is it more obvious than on that preview song.

14.  Novelists – Souvenirs
Genre:  Progressive Metalcore
Preview:  “Gravity”

Best metalcore album of the year right here (kind of dumb lyrics notwithstanding).

13.  Good Tiger – A Head Full of Moonlight
Genre:  Progressive Metal

Imagine what would happen if The Safety Fire had the mighty Alex Rudinger on drums.  Now, stop imagining and hit that preview.

12.  Dance Gavin Dance – Instant Gratification
Genre:  Progressive Rock / Post Hardcore
Preview:  "Lost"

I know, I’m as surprised as you are.  I strongly suggest giving this album a chance, if you haven’t already.

11.  A Night in Texas – The God Delusion
Genre:  Technical Deathcore / Death Metal
Preview:  “I, Godless”

Here we go…the technical deathcore album of the year, and for my money, nobody else was even close.  Insanely evil lyrics, and wickedly technical and catchy riffs.  You can’t play the genre much better than this.

10.  Periphery – Juggernaut
Genre:  Progressive Metal

With this, Periphery have proven that they belong in the discussion among metal’s best writers.  Juggernaut is an absolute fucking epic.

9.  The Black Dahlia Murder – Abysmal
Genre:  Death Metal
Preview:  “Re-Faced”

Dahlia will never, ever make a bad album.  Ever.

8.  Wrvth – Wrvth
Genre:  Blackened / Atmospheric Death Metal (?)
Preview:  “Into Bloom”

Fallujah would be so proud of the vibes on this album.  One of the most unique, lush-sounding albums you’ll hear.

7.  A Loathing Requiem – Acolytes Eternal
Genre:  Technical Death Metal

When the hell is technical death metal CATCHY?  How often do you find the riffs getting stuck in your head?  Well, for me, this album was stuck in my head on a nearly weekly basis since it came out.

6.  Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Genre:  Technical Death Metal

The last two Cattle Decap albums have been the best of their careers – this one won MetalSucks’ Readers’ Poll album of the year for a reason.

5.  VOLA – Inmazes
Genre:  Progressive Rock / Metal / WHAT
Preview:  “Inmazes”

What the fuck did I just listen to?  IT WAS AMAZING.  This album sounded like absolutely nothing else this year, nor anything else that I’ve ever heard.

4.  Caligulas Horse – Bloom
Genre:  Progressive Metal / Rock
Preview:  “Marigold”

It really says something about how good Caligula’s Horse’s last full length was, that this album, which I didn’t enjoy nearly as much, is still this high on my album of the year list.  These guys are THAT talented.

3.  Intronaut – The Direction of Last Things
Genre:  Progressive Metal / Sludge / Groove
Preview:  "Fast Worms"

I never liked Intronaut before this album, but TDoLT is an absolute masterpiece.  Do NOT make the mistake of skipping out on this baby.

2.  Eidola – Degeneraterra
Genre:  Progressive Metal / Rock / Post Hardcore

Another album that isn’t getting NEARLY enough attention this year.  It should be on EVERYBODY’S year end lists.  Incredibly interesting compositions, thought-provoking lyrics that evoke profound themes over the entire album, and BEAUTIFUL singing.  Think Mars Volta meets Coheed and Cambria, with some Protest the Hero.  Degeneraterra is one of my favorite albums ever, and it would take number 1 this year, if it weren’t for…

1.  Rivers of Nihil – Monarchy
Genre:  Progressive Death Metal

Album of the year, song of the year, riffs of the year, atmosphere of the year, everything of the year.  EVERYTHING about this album is perfect – there’s even some of my favorite guitar tones of all time on here.