Posted by: ckckred | December 30, 2015

The 10 Best Albums of 2015

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Even though Cinematic is a movie and television blog, metal is one of my greatest interests, dominating my life and helping me through my rough patches. And given how good the last several years have been for the metal world, 2015 had a lot to live up to and fortunately it didn’t disappoint. While I’m still reeling over the loss of a personal hero of mine, this year gave some albums with such rigor and excitement. So here it is, my ten favorite albums of the past twelve months.

  1. The Black Dahlia Murder—Abysmal

Few bands have continued to put out consistently amazing albums at such a constant speed. The Black Dahlia Murder are undeniably members of the club and Abysmal demonstrates that they truly rule the melodic death scene.

  1. Hate Eternal—Infernus

Erik Rutan is undeniably one of the godfathers of death metal and Hate Eternal deliver the goods yet again with Infernus, a full-on rager that continues to demonstrate Rutan’s prowess. Can that man do anything wrong?

  1. Iron Maiden—The Book of Souls

Earlier this year, every metalhead got up on their knees when Bruce Dickinson, hands down the best frontman of our beloved genre, disclosed that he had a tumor. Fortunately he had overcome his potential cancer and The Book of Souls was icing on the cake for that celebration. It’s Iron Maiden’s best album since their comeback Brave New World and features some of the band’s most ambitious songs, highlighted by the 18-minute “Empire of the Clouds.”

  1. Cattle Decapitation—The Anthropocene Extinction

Simultaneously the grossest and smartest band of the deathgrind genre, The Anthropocene Extinction sees Travis Ryan and co. deliver the goods yet again with their trademark vegan lyrics and pummeling guitars. Plus anything with a Phil Anselmo guest appearance gets a check in my book.

  1. Deafheaven—New Bermuda

“Deafheaven? Who listens to that hipster crap? [Insert metal elitist comment here].” Despite my dislike of indie rock, Deafheaven blew me away by effortlessly combining the harshness of black metal with the mellowness of alt and New Bermuda showcases their great talent. It may not be trve, 100% metal, but discrediting Deafheaven because of that would be ignoring the beauty of their music.

  1. Faith No More—Sol Invictus

With Sol Invictus, Faith No More join Carcass, At The Gates, and Alice in Chains in delivering reunion albums that don’t just deliver the hype but exceed even the highest of expectations. Be it the jaunty “Superhero” or the epic (excuse the pun) “Matador,” Faith No More have proven themselves to be one of the most multi-faceted bands there is. And seeing them live over the summer was one of the best performances I’ve attended.

  1. Rivers of Nihil—Monarchy

A band I discovered recently through Metalsucks, River of Nihil play pure brutal death metal and Monarchy gave me the feeling of upon listening to Morbid Angel the first time. I can’t think of a higher accomplishment than that.

  1. Baroness—Purple

The road for Baroness to make Purple was a long and hard one as a bus crash several years ago had nearly killed the band. Baroness’ recovery not only indicates their strength as individuals but as dedicated musicians who are unwilling to sacrifice their art. Purple was such a stunning and magnificent album that I’ve had trouble listening to anything else since it debuted a few weeks ago.

  1. Lamb of God—VII: Sturm Und Drang

Anyone who has met me personally knows how much I worship Lamb of God, who spearheaded the New Wave of American Heavy Metal that steered heavy music in the right direction. It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago the band’s fate was up in the air as Randy Blythe faced charges for manslaughter in the Czech Republic. But LoG return to form with VII: Sturm Und Drang, making their best album since Sacrament and creating a durable mix of post-Pantera groove and Meshuggah guitar assaults. Also, if you haven’t read Randy’s biography detailing his time in prison, you should get onto it right away, demonstrating that his prowess in writing isn’t limited to lyrics.

  1. Black Breath—Slaves Beyond Death

Mixing death metal with hardcore, Black Breath’s Slaves Beyond Death is an absolute masterpiece, with its monstrous drumming, insane guitar riffage, and raw production that echoes the band’s power without hurting the music sonically. I haven’t felt this ecstatic after listening to an album for a long time.

As for the year’s biggest disappointment, that would have to go to Slayer’s Repentless.  I really wanted to love Repentless and defended Slayer’s decision to carry on without Jeff Hanneman and Dave Lombardo to friends.  But Repentless wasn’t just uninspired, it was downright ludicrous, at parts feeling like a parody of Slayer, particularly towards “Pride in Prejudice” and “Atrocity Vendor.”  There were some good moments, such as the title track, despite its ridiculous name, which served as a fitting tribute for Hanneman.  But Kerry King and Tom Araya could do so much better.  This is hard to say, as Slayer may be my favorite band, but Repentless is a huge misfire.

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Responses

  1. Interesting list mate! i too used to be a massive metalhead but I’m so behind on the news these days. I mean, a new Faith No More album?! Holy crap I need to check that out! It will also be interesting to hear what Lamb Of God sound like now, I really liked their early raw stuff from years ago. I must check out that new 18 minute Maiden song too!!

    I too was shocked when my bandmate told me about Lemmy the other day. Considering his lifestyle choices, I think 70 was a fair innings! May he Rest in Peace… probably one of the biggest metal icons there will be. I know Motorhead and Ace of Spades was some of the first metal I was exposed to.

    I haven’t heard of some of the bands here, I’ll have to scour youtube. I’m stuck in the 80’s when it comes to metal hehe, I need to find some new stuff. I do really like Municipal Waste tho, you heard of them?

    • Thanks man. Lemmy’s death hit me like a brick. I saw a bit of his memorial service today and it was hard to watch.

      I highly recommend all of these albums. Sol Invictus was an incredible comeback and Book of Souls is no slouch. I’m an enormous Lamb of God fan and Sturm Und Drang has been my most listened to album of last year.

      I’m really into thrash and death stuff as well as classical metal. And to answer your question about Municipal Waste:

      • Yeah I can imagine that’d be hard to watch

        I mainly like the darker stuff too, early black and death metal. Hehe, The Art Of Partying is one of my favourite albums ever.

        Beer pressure!


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