Wednesday 6 January 2016

A Year in Review: Victor Van Ommen's Top 10 Records of 2015

By: Victor Van Ommen

2015 was a year which brought out two heavy rock masterpieces and one Clutch album. These three albums are tied for my number one spot. The other seven records on my top ten are there because of how god damn tasty the jams were and that a feeling of guilt rose up inside of me every time I returned the album to its sleeve. Though in terms of innovation and genre-defying riffs, there was little on offer in 2015 but none the less, I got quite a kick out these ten albums and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So without further ado, my top ten albums of 2015 are: (click on the artwork for full review links)

10). Brent Best – “Your Dog, Champ”

In the song “Good Man Now,” Brent Best sings:
Momma, you always told me that the only good man was a dead man
and I guess it had something to do with who you chose to be your husband
So I go to him at night and I nailed him to his bed
And I stood there and I laughed while the sheets were dripping red

So momma please don’t cry, he’s a good man now

It may be acoustic but hot damn, its heavier than a slab of Texas BBQ Spare Ribs.

9).  Ecstatic Vision – Sonic Praise

Ecstatic Vision released a strong debut that mixed elements of Hawkwind with Monster Magnet. So I ask you, what’s not to like?

8). Weeed – Our Guru Brings Us the Black Master Sabbath

These guys took me by surprise. I generally let bands with such names pass me by because I’m a fan of subtlety but I couldn’t deny the raw, spiritual groove in album opener “Bullfrog.” I don’t remember why I put the song on in the first place but I’m glad I did.

7) The Midnight Ghost Train – Cold Was the Ground

Aside from this album being 11 songs of hard-rock riffs that pound you in the face, there’s not much here in terms of wow-factor. That said this doesn’t take away from how good these songs are. At times they miss a little depth but the amount of energy exuding from these tracks makes up for it.

6). Death Alley – Black Magick Boogieland

There are a surprising amount of fantastic Dutch bands out there – I’m looking at you, Astrosoniq – and now we can add Death Alley to that list. Check these guys out, you won’t regret it.

5). Snail – Feral

I had never been completely impressed by Snail but I also never gave them a fair chance. This changed when I was sent their new album “Feral,” to review. As an album, it pits heavy riffing against a light vocal delivery which is a combination that will get me every time.

4). The Atomic Bitchwax – Gravitron

This shit-kickin’, diesel-fueled barn burner of an album is all things that I like about stoner rock. Speed, riffs, solos, drums, and strong choruses. I can’t get enough of these guys.

3). Clutch – Psychic Warfare

I can’t remember the last time a Clutch album didn’t rock. I’m hearing a lot of grief that “Psychic Warfare” sounds too much like “Earth Rocker.” My response to this is, “so what, that was a damn good album, too!” In my book, Clutch can do no wrong.

2). All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker

All Them Witches is a band that I wish had more than just three albums out. With their new one, “Dying Surfer Meets His Maker,” the band has crafted something that is heavy according to every definition of the word while never really going over the top. They take their time unfolding these tunes yet the album is still too short. I can’t get enough of these guys. An absolute classic that I will be talking about for years to come.

1). Elder – Lore

I never liked Elder very much. And then Lore came out. Now I can’t stop listening to them.