2015: Smarming vulgar crevasse of infectious audacity.

ARCHIVES This post is an archived “Best of the Year” list from another website where I spent about seven years documenting my listening habits. After a break from the site in 2018 and a total exodus in 2019 these lists were collected, saved, and are now presented largely untouched. Please note that these thoughts, opinions, and general comments were not only written (up to ten) years ago but largely for a small audience of friends and fellow record collectors. They are not complete, not retrospective, a little self-conscious and not intended to be professional in voice. The re-posting of these lists are by the request of a small circle of online friends and should not be taken seriously as criticism.

2015 in hindsight, not a fantastic year. If I could redo it all I’d pare it down to about twenty albums and… have eased up on the cannabis.

You’re reading this a thousand years after the fact. A mind bending (and somewhat accessible) year for extreme metal in all forms has eluded you for an eternity. I’m actually aging within a single bolt of energy, pissing wildly through the cosmos… and while my taste isn’t mellowing I am growing jaded with anything but the finest facsimile where only the unfocused is rewarding. I’ve resigned myself to being so interested in metal that I rarely care about other realities. Transcendent — As a ball of goddamned light I don’t care about hair-flippin’ anything now, and in 2015 I didn’t either… But while I listened to these albums, I still had a sliver of hope for this awful senseless existence.


LABEL(S):I, Voidhanger Records

“After a few ambient releases the other side or, a different shade of Spectral Lore pops up on this second EP of the year and it ends up being somewhat of a surprise. This one features more of the winding, unfurling sort of Greek black metal guitar work I love. The vocals are sparse but the riffs trail on forever somewhat like “III” but go even further in exploration of complete riff-thought. A really excellent surprise that hit me way late in the year.”

TITLE:Interdimensional Extinction
LABEL(S):Dark Descent Records

“Outer spaced semi-technical death metal from the guys in Spectral Voice. One of the riffs on “Hovering Lifeless” sounds like High on Fire, but overall a great first impression. Folks have been calling them Horrendous Jr. but you can tell these guys are on a different tech-thrash and/or Mithras wavelength or something if you really listen to the guitar work. So far I prefer their other band.”

LABEL(S):Invictus Productions

“A fairly unknown death metal band from Denmark, the land of bland when it comes to pure death metal, comes up with this sort of unexpected black/death record whom feature what I heard as post-hardcore influences. Lots of strained, almost hardcorish shouted vocals push out a complex and depressive set of songs that are backed with some adventurous riffs. Not the typical Scandinavian death metal, at least. The guitar playing resembles an amalgam of awkward noise rock standards through irregular rhythms and arrives there with true black/death aggression, and there is a flute interlude in one of the songs. It has a flute interlude~. Go listen to the ~flute interlude~. Flute interlude~.”

TITLE:Confuse & Conquer
LABEL(S):Southern Lord

“Excellent hardcore punk album from these guys. It isn’t as animated and rifftastic as they were back in the day, but it is a varied and entertaining hardcore album with many nods to classic punk rock. This is one of the better albums to come from the band beyond 1987 and that might be a surprise (or arguable idea) to fans who have stuck with the band long term.”

LABEL(S):Deepsend Records

“Grew on me. Continues to grow on me. This is a progressive metal record that is 50% entrenched in technical death metal panache but also has the feel of a post-‘Elements’ prog-death mindset. The tight and weaving nature of the riffs, especially on the first couple tracks, hooked me right away. While their other albums are more of a brutal death metal affair, this one is really careful not to obliterate the structure of things with hard blasts. The tension is thick and it almost seems too tightly wound at times, sort of like late 90’s cybermetal where the groove is locked in so hard it seems mechanical. Thankfully there is organic life within the arrangements that balances out the precision. A surprising like for me, and an enjoyable repeated listen.”

TITLE:Palace of Vision
LABEL(S):Listenable Records

Saviours is a band I was aware of but never dove into because they seemed to be just another California stoner metal band. Once I sat down and listened to Palace of Vision a few times they’d really impressed. There is aggression here but also their own kind of adventurous dooming and somehow it all works like some ultra slimline version of High on Fire without the chunk production. This one warrants revisiting their discography.”

TITLE:Exercises in Futility
LABEL(S):Northern Heritage,
No Solace

“I liked the last Mgła album and I understood the appeal of its subtleties, but I think this new album is more of an experience. What that means to me is that as I sit listening to the variations on some core melodies that Mgła plays around with I feel both pleasured and tortured at the same time. Some of it is tedious and repetitive as if propagandizing, but they’re repeating things that are enjoyable. This slightly more melody focused style is an easy listen and the flow of the whole thing lands as one greater whole. Will be interesting to see how well this holds up for me, as the last album didn’t.”

LABEL(S):RidingEasy Records

“Darker and more intense than Empress Rising this second album from Monolord is perfect in it’s tribute to Electric Wizard and the greater neo-psychedelic doom metal movement. This album is a showcase for modern production sound enhancing stoner doom metal with its nuclear bomb-assed punch ‘n pound sound. Is this album worth the hype? Yes, but there won’t be much that is “new” to folks who follow this kind of stuff.”

TITLE:Mysterious Ways of Repetitive Art
LABEL(S):FDA Records

“Just a week into 2015 and this hot ploppin’ ripper dribbled its way into my ears in the form of Chapel of Disease‘s sophomore full-length that not only expands upon their previous speed metal influenced death metal sound, but also includes hints of classic doom metal and some psych/prog moments for an album that is both self-consciously metal (in the best way) but also adventures into the unknown odd recesses of the underground. What do I mean by that? It reminds me of the direction Tribulation took on their The Formulas of Death, but or the last two The Chasm albums.”

TITLE:Fantasy Empire
LABEL(S):Thrill Jockey Records

“Punkish, frantic, and organic feeling math/noise rock on its own level. They’ve still retained that buzzing garage band feel but this record balances the physical experience of their progression heavy rhythm work and less bombastic, more organic sound. Some of their best stuff but I’m not sure it outdoes the earlier ones when this idea was fresh and going somewhere.”

TITLE:The Spear and the Ichor that Follows
LABEL(S):Dark Descent Records

“If you are a big fan of Arghoslent and Sacriphyx this record is for you. Big Running Wild and Omen influenced heavy metal riffs with a death metal sound. Guitar work is standout but doesn’t necessarily outclass their main influences/inspiration. Although I was on the fence about the production on this one it has help up pretty well since release, the riffs are what matter anyhow.”

LABEL(S):Metal Blade

Entrails rules, especially if you still love the old Sunlight Studios production sound of classic Entombed/Dismember records. Some lineup changes mean we’ve got a big increase in lead guitars, melodic parts, and a vocal performance that is hoarse and energetic. Sure, you still have a a few Massive Killing Capacity style tracks, but overall this is one of the more ballsy records with this classic Swedish sound this year. I think “Epitome of Death” might have the coolest usage of “Marche Funèbre” since Sortilege.” [Note: Entrails do not actually rule.]

TITLE:Blessed Be My Brothers
LABEL(S):Willowtip Records

Sarpanitum have gone through some stylistic changes (and a line-up change) since the previous album and the addition of the drummer from Mithras has elevated this band into a phenomenal atmospheric and occasionally melodic-yet-brutal album which builds its own atmospheric niche as it plays. Blessed Be My Brothers is memorable, energetic, and somehow fresh in style in a year where I’m not really anticipating any big or important releases. I’m sure the band wouldn’t be happy with everyone saying “Hey this sounds kinda like Worlds Beyond the Veil” but you know that album rules over several planets and this does too. I guess if I had to find a flaw in this release it would be the final few tracks start to meander a bit, which pales the experience after the strong first half of the album. Do not overlook.”

LABEL(S):Nuclear War Now! Productions

“This might be one of the more transcendentally, skin-jumping frightful pieces of death music since that second Bloody Sign album. Though I’m rarely a fan of “riffless” atmospheric death metal, these guys are different and certainly worth some extra patience. Guitars aren’t the pillar of the sound on Transient, instead they drive songs towards ritual ambient influenced transitional spacing that blends the experience together in a really fascinating way. The tone is foreboding and dark, almost like a more relaxed Mitochondrion that would rather creep around at night than howl from within a cave. I find this album haunting and satisfyingly shapeless at times, I guess I’ve grown to appreciate this approach.”

TITLE:Aeons in Tectonic Interment
LABEL(S):Dark Descent Records

Tides of Awakening and Bleak Vistae are two of the best funeral doom recordings I’ve heard, so I was really surprised to hear from this band again after about ten years of nothing. Well, these guys didn’t do ‘nothing’ they went off and formed some fantastic bands: Corpsessed and Profetus rule, but I always liked Tyranny best. I don’t warm up to that many funeral doom releases, but I do think this one holds up as special this year for its sinister atmosphere and almost blackened, crumbling sound.”

TITLE:Slaves Beyond Death
LABEL(S):Southern Lord Records

“This record and Bombs of HadesAtomic Temple inspired my crust/death list this year. Excellent stuff that is better with each listen, the thrash metal influences and the crust/Swedeath riffing work together to create an epic crossover thrash/death metal feeling. The touch of Ride the Lightning-sized movements here and there via harmonized guitar leads is really inspired. To think I almost skipped this record thinking it was Death Breath…”

TITLE:Out of the Garden
LABEL(S):Dark Descent Records

“Though this style of music is somewhat unexpected on the Dark Descent roster, which I am clearly in tune with this year, I suppose it is as dark as Anguish and sits alongside that band comfortably. The style here is mostly traditional epic doom metal, with serious nods in the mid-80’s Candlemass direction, something akin to Argus after their first album. This is perhaps already the best doom metal album of the year as it feels both ancient and classic, without any tracks that outshine each other. If you’re a fan of epic doom metal then definitely check this one out, they’re serious as fuck.”

TITLE:Obscure Visions of Dark
LABEL(S):Nightbreaker Productions

“Iranian band that plays a very solid form of old school death metal (think 1995) with tons of riffs, screeching solos and varied approach to songwriting. Sits well alongside stuff like Resurgency well, and I can’t recommend this riff-fest enough. Has the same drummer as Heaving Earth, if you liked that album earlier this year this is less brutal but he is clearly a skilled, hard-hitting drummer. A dark horse release for the year, underrated so far.”

TITLE:SeroLogiikal Scars (Vertex of Dementiia)
LABEL(S):Iron Bonehead Productions

“I’m not even a huge fan of the demo from this oddly named avant-Voivod riff infested death/black band, but this one hit all the right chakras for me. A lot of SeroLogiikal Scars reminds me of a modern atmospheric death metal band but with their dynamic tuned to Killing Technology. I only wish the vocalist went a little more batshit to match the guitarist’s style, he could go full moaning freakout a la Urfaust and it’d totally work. A great surprise that I didn’t hear until a couple months past release.”

LABEL(S):Dark Descent Records

Anareta makes the previous album Ecdysis seem germinal by comparison, they were reaching for this level of melodicism and new-old school previously but didn’t quite take hold of that direction until now. Upon repeated listens this record remains considerable depth, memorable riffing and a few changes in vocal style and production. Anareta is deep without being too pretentious, it is heavy without being sluggish and melodic without being saccharine. I only wish they’d gone ‘bigger’ with the melody or darker with the tone. I feel like this is where Necrovation would’ve headed if they kept going after the second album”

TITLE:Supreme Commanders of Darkness
LABEL(S):Apocalyptic Productions

“This is the best stuff from Totten Korps yet. Perfect production, a death metal style that evokes classic Morbid Angel, some Nox-like moments of brutality, and an overall classy piece of art make this one of the best records from 2015. This is a nice jump in quality from their distant debut album, and it really sounds like the long wait between releases was worth it. If you like classic death metal, but also enjoy the more brutal side of things there is a pretty amazing set of riffs holding Supreme Commanders… up high on my list. A really great surprise that holds up over several listens.”

LABEL(S):Small Stone Recordings

“This might be the best and most listenable stoner rock/doom rock album I’ve heard in forever. The dark tone and smoked out lyrics alongside the very laid back vocals make for an experience that fully takes me to another state of mind. Feral is intoxicating shit, the first four tracks are perfect in relation to each other and the rest of the album takes a darker, slower turn that makes sense. The comedown — More energetic at first, then more tired and demented around the 45 minute mark. So, the best kind of stoner metal rides the heartbeat of the high as well as Feral does. It isn’t a classic by most peoples definitions but I really enjoy this even after 20-30 listens.”

TITLE:Aria of Vernal Tombs
LABEL(S):20 Buck Spin

“The previous Obsequiae is one of the best “folk” black metal albums I’ve ever heard. The mix of medieval and the epic black metal is something entirely special. This time around the music is more melodic, the instrumentals are longer, and the whole The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion vibes are heaviest… which I guess was what the previous album did for me but this time the production is a notch warmer than Suspended in the Brume of Eos. Easy listening black metal but man I love the lead guitar style.”

TITLE:Perpetual Descending Into Nothingness
LABEL(S):FDA Records

“The front cover of this album should look familiar, it evokes the atmosphere of Imperial Doom and Like an Ever Flowing Stream-era Seagrave perfectly, but with the chilling coldness of the second Necrophobic album. Oh, hey, that is actually the best way to describe the music too. I really loved Obscure Infinity‘s last album in 2012 and was excited to hear about this one. Around the 6th or 7th listen I began to realize that the melodic elements really laced themselves into my psyche and I’d often wake up with a black metal tinged melodic riff in my head, much in the same way that happens when I listen to The Nocturnal Silence but this album is perhaps much more melodic and has less of the Slayer-like urgency of that group’s debut. This is exactly the kind of death metal I’m always looking for, heavy and firmly metal but with enough melodicism to draw me back in for more listens.”

TITLE:Eternal Sleepwalker

“Kind of an odd choice for a band name. This project involves the main driver behind Runemagick and yes, it continues the stoney doom/death side of things that band had explored later in their discography, fuzzed guitar tone and meandering doomin’. Is is the best thing out this year? No way, but it is such its own vibe that I can help but love it. A bunch of their demos are up on bandcamp, so lots to delve into if you like this record. The elements of heavy psych take this to a really interesting plateau on occasion.”

TITLE:In Eerie Slumber
LABEL(S):Memento Mori

“Sounds like some kind of time-warp back to 1992 before the success of “Wolverine Blues” revealed a lot of death metal bands as trendsters. This Finnish band’s sound lies somewhere between the buzzsaw guitars of Sweden and the slightly more intricate riffing of their country-mates. It is funny that I’ll end up talking so much about songwriting on a death metal list but the quality is especially notable here, plus the riffs are great and it all feels freshly energetic. In Eerie Slumber is nothing revolutionary but it is damn good at what it does, that is all I can really ask from a death metal album in 2015 and I do believe this is one, if not the, strongest set of riffs from the year. What holds me back from fully buying in is the two part “Ego” track that kind of kills the momentum of the album. While not perfect, this will stay in my top 5 for the year for sure as it completely delivers everything I want as a complete death metal package.” [Note: Nowadays the “Ego” pieces are some of my favorites]

TITLE:Stoic Death
LABEL(S):Xtreem Music

“This is one of this guys better post-Slugathor releases with a lot of nice slow-motion Bolt Thrower style riffs. It sucks that the average production had me unsure about the first few listens, but that is on me not them… because this is a great album and a meaningful progression from Chasmic Transcendence. The songwriting has stepped up since the previous album, the guitars meander in contrapuntal unison on many tracks, it feels chaotic at first but the playing is mid-paced so the structure of riff arrangements has time to reveal itself over the five minute or so playtimes… I hope these guys make ten more albums of this stuff.”

TITLE:Darkness Drips Forth
LABEL(S):Relapse Records

“For this album it seems Hooded Menace took equal inspiration from old Paradise Lost-isms, Funeral doom metal and I guess Warning on this release and holy shit, is this a massive achievement after the just alright ‘Effigies of Evil’. The four 11+ minute songs on Darkness Drips Forth are staggeringly heavy filthy extreme doom metal stretches, endurance exercises for the insane. The best doom/death album of the year, I only wish their discography had been more consistent from point A to point B so far.”

TITLE:Into Duat
LABEL(S):Cruz Del Sur Music

“Righteous heavy/doom metal, “epic” but not desperately 70’s retro-scumming like so many other bands today. This group surprised me, I basically bought the record because I loved the artwork and it turns out to fit right in with my love for Manilla Road, Satan, Candlemass etc. These guys represent everything I love about classic heavy metal revisionism today.”

TITLE:Atom by Atom
LABEL(S):Listenable Records

“Well, Satan are easily one of my favorite bands and it should be no surprise that this album is great. From the second maestro Brian Ross shrieks in my ear on through the noodling moments of the intro leads, I’m in love all over again. Satan/Pariah/Blitzkrieg/Skyclad/etc. these guys have proven their social commentary and existential dread-filled songwriting are ageless, now transcending between three+ decades of metal. This record in particular reminds me of Into the Future/Suspended Sentence ’85-’87era of the band where some more speed metal crept in and the guitar work became more aggressive (leading up to Pariah‘s thrash metal style). The structure of each song is classic anthemic British heavy metal for the most part with tailored verses, memorable choruses and such happening in regular order during a period of heavy metal revival where most retro bands can’t even manage a bridge in a five minute song. Overall I like this more than Life Sentence as each track holds its own and the production warms just slightly.”

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