Saturday 12 December 2015

"A Year in Review": Black Metal's "Sonic 6" for 2015

By:  Aaron Pickford

As part of our review of 2015, over the coming days, I will present the definitive “Sour 16” for 2015 and this will be generated by looking at all releases throughout the year, however I thought it would also be cool to look at specific genres too and whilst I would have loved to have generated a “Sour 16” for each popular genre at The Sludgelord, that would have taken up an inexplicable amount of time. Of course we all gravitate to a favourite genre, however each has its own merit, therefore I thought it would be a good idea to highlight, “six of the best” releases of 2015 within our most popular genres.  So today, as we reflect upon an awesome year of music in 2015, we present Black Metal’s “Sonic 6” for 2015

The Sludgelord’s Sonic 6’ for 2015 is compiled based upon page views alone and calibrated into the list below, we will be presenting further lists during the lead up to Christmas, but for today roll up, kick back and Hail the riff!  Check out Black Metal’s “Sonic 6” for 2015 (full reviews can be viewed by clicking the artwork and total views since the date of publication are highlight in red). 

6). Imperial Triumphant - “Abysmal Gods” (562)

Certainly Imperial Triumphant share a stratosphere with the Gorguts, Artificial Brains, Pyrrhons and Deathspell Omegas of this universe, but this is a different breed of genius. There’s a sickness, a mentally “unwell” aspect to ‘Abyssal Gods’ that you simply cannot find anywhere else. The jangling, out of tune ragtime break early on in “Opposing Holiness”. The hallucinogenic guitar solos in “Black Psychedelia”. It all points to an album no one should miss out on, although you’re likely to come out the other end of it a worse person, or at least in a worse mood.

5). Arcturus – “Arcturian” (614)

The number of influences on this record is immense. Traces of classical, polka, noir, fusion, black metal, power metal, and many more can all be found on this album. Vocally, among the peppered black metal roots, there are traces of middle eastern scales, clean harmonies, and several other influences including Tool as one of the more obvious. The harmonies alone seem to come at the listener from all directions, adding to the intense psychedelic atmosphere.


4). Kjeld – “Skym” (737)

If you should listen to just one Black metal record of the year this could be the one because this is another Dutch fist in the face of God!

3). Enslaved – “In Times” (941)

Everyone has “their” Enslaved album and that runs a wide spectrum of possibilities because Enslaved have been excellent in a number of different ways. ‘In Times’ is just another example of Enslaved finding a new energy and turning that energy into something beautiful.

2). Drudkh – “A Furrow Cut Short” (1064)

‘A Furrow Cut Short’ is undoubtedly up there with ‘Autumn Aurora’ and ‘Blood in our Wells’; albums that are possibly the best to have emerged from the newer wave of ‘atmospheric’ black metal. Nothing is more satisfying than when one of your favourite bands releases potentially the best album of their career over ten years on. So clear a spot at the top of your album of the year list because ‘A Furrow Cut Short’ is it.

1). Marduk – Frontschwein (1428)

This black metal of the highest quality and of the most palatable type to a casual fan such as myself, all elements are present and correct with the band on great form. Looking for something to compound your winter blues? Look no further.

Reviews featured in this article were written by: Daniel Jackson, Joel Willis, Sven-Ake Alveving, Heather Blewett, Richard Maw