Saturday 2 January 2016

A Year in Review: Richard Maw's Top 25 Records of 2015

 By: Richard Maw

There have been so many good albums put out this year, this was very difficult to put together. In all honesty, some records could be replaced by others. There are also some glaring omissions: I have not even heard the new Clutch album yet (which no doubt would place high) as I just have not had time. It is also unfortunate that I have not had enough time to fully assimilate some records which have thus placed lower than they might have done in a few months time. I really could not decide on the top spot for some time, but in the end went with what I enjoyed and listened to the most.  (You can check out the reviews by clicking on the artwork for the specific record).

Top 25 Records of 2015

25). Gentlemen’s Pistols - Hustlers Row

Leeds' finest offer up some 70's styled hard rock with a touch of The Who to go with their usual sound.

24). Death Dealer- Hallowed Ground

Proper heavy metal from the hands of ex Manowarrior Ross The Boss, amongst others. The way it should be- Painkiller on steroids.

23). Slayer  - Repentless

Overall, I would be confident in hailing this the best Slayer album for some time. It is certainly better than “World Painted Blood” and, for all its fury, “Christ Illusion” had no real staying power for me. It is not perfect by any means, and is perhaps a couple of tracks too long, but all in all, this is SLAYER. No sell out, no compromise, no change. Business, in fact, as usual.

22). Malevolent Creation- Dead Man's Path

Florida death metal from one of the deadliest knights of that particular realm.

21). Nile- What Should Not Be Unearthed

One of the most famous death metal bands in the world, these Egypt obsessed musicals beasts produced a cracking record here. I should have listened to it more.

20). Fear Factory- Genexus

A return to form for these Californians. I thought I had left the band behind nearly two decades ago, but this record brought me back.

19). Necrowretch- With Serpents Scourge

Dark and cold death/black metal.

18). Pentagram- Curious Volume

Mixed reviews met this record. I really liked it and see it as a kind of career spanning new album in terms of sounds and styles.

17). Trials- This Ruined World

Modern thrash from the states. For Machine Head and God Forbid Fans fans everywhere.

16). Ravens Creed- Ravens Krieg

Feral thrash/death/sludge/extreme metal from Nottingham's band of not-so-merry men.

15). Tremonti- Cauterize

Yep, Alter Bridge guitar player makes another melodic metal/thrash/hard rock album. A peerless guitar player and a hugely enjoyable record.

14). Contrarian- Polemic

Jazz infused tech death with George Kollias sat behind the kit? Count me in (for a 9:8 time signature opening alternating with 7:8 for the verse sections before things get tricky, no doubt)

13). Melechesh- Enki

Middle Eastern black metal. Just a superb record.

12). Eschaton- Sentinel Apocalypse

Tech-death of the best kind.

11). Sylosis- Dormant Heart

Modern thrash metal from this British band. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. A really good record.

10). Motorhead- Bad Magic

It pains me that this is the last year I am able to include a new Motorhead album. Another great latter day Motorhead record. The best rock ''n' roll band in the world, ever. There will never be another like them.

09). Avatarium- Girl With The Raven Mask

An absolute class act, Avatarium consolidate their position as the leading doom band channelling the spirit of Dio.

08). Arkaik- Lucid Dawn

Superlative tech-death. Brutally classy.

07). Entrails- Obliteration

Storming Swedish death metal. The best example of the genre from this year in my view.

06). Venom- From The Very Depths

Cracking and raucous stuff from Cronos and sidemen. Very interested to see and hear what rivals Venom Inc do as well. Two versions of Venom? Twice the music and enjoyment as far as I am concerned.

05). High On Fire- Luminiferous

Another superb High on Fire record, combining the best elements of their sounds and styles thus far. The Falconist is stunning.

04). Rivers of Nihil- Monarchy

Do you even tech-death, bro? Well do you?! If so, how much do you tech-death? Not as much as these guys, who tech-death at least six plates a side (raw), I bet.

03). Iron Maiden- The Book Of Souls

A towering album by any standards- even Maiden's own. One of the most important bands in metal history and this is their best work for a long time.

02). Paradise Lost- The Plague Within

I genuinely think that this is possibly their finest record. Doom at its finest. Paradise Lost at their best. Superb artwork and production is a bonus too. Very nearly got the top spot and only did not because I haven't listened to it as much as Visigoth.

01). Visigoth- The Revenant King

Simply superb traditional metal with elements of doom and power metal in there. I have listened to this endlessly over the last year, I own the vinyl and CD. I am... a fan. Hopefully, these boys can make it over to the UK to play in 2016. You just cannot argue with the songs, or the passion.

Just missed out: Ahab- The Boats of Glen Carrig, Architects of Chaoz- League of Shadows, Cruciamentum- Charnel Passages (I really should have listened to this one more as it is fantastic from what I recall).

Finally, three EPs that would make a best of list if EPs were included...

Foehammer- An EP so good, I almost included it in the albums section. After Paradise Lost, the best doom release of the year for me.
Six Of Swords- Polar Vortex EP (Canadian death metal of the best kind).
Steel Bearing Hand- EP. Just a storming metal EP.