ToH Guest Celebrity Best of 2K15, Featuring Dystrophy and Tempel
Want to know what members of Dystrophy and Tempel considered the best albums of the year? Look no further!
Peter Lloyd – Dystrophy
10. Iniquitous Deeds – Incessant Hallucinations | Independent
Do you like Voivod? How about Defeated Sanity? Or perhaps you just like skronky, technical slamming brutality. If you answered yes to any of those questions, then get off the internet, blast Incessant Hallucinations, and try not to destroy everything around you. This album is full of tasteful slams, bizarre riffs, and barely legible / guttural bellows. For a slammin’ good time, check this album out.
9. Drudkh – A Furrow Cut Short | Season Of Mist
Drudkh is one of those bands that you know exactly what you’re getting into before listening – atmospheric, droning black metal with folk undertones. A Furrow Cut Short is no different, but that’s not a bad thing by any stretch. Drudkh elicits a sense of majesty and sorrow on this release, which also boasts a much more refined production than what the listener is accustomed to. A Furrow Cut Short clocks in at just under an hour but in that time does a wonderful job of immersing the listener in its dark, melancholic soundscape.
England’s Akercocke were one of my favorites, perfectly blending black metal with progressive death metal. After their demise, members would go on to form the band Voices, which to me was a poor man’s Akercocke. Fast forward to today, and David Gray (drums) is having another go at it with The Antichrist Imperium. Taking a lot of the elements that made Akercocke so great, The Antichrist Imperium almost feels like a follow up to The Antichrist – the final Akercocke album. Surprisingly catchy and involved, the album transitions from technically proficient blackened death to progressive arpeggios flawlessly. This one was a total surprise and a most pleasant one at that.
Being a huge Morbid Angel (not so popular opinion – Gateways and Formulas are my favorites) and Ripping Corpse fan, I’ve been following Hate Eternal founder Erik Rutan’s career for a while now. I’ve always enjoyed the band’s work, but not until Infernus have I really gotten this stoked on them. The album explodes out of the gates and never lets up, delivering 45 minutes of punishing death metal.
6. Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction | Metal Blade Records
Before 2012, I hadn’t given Cattle Decapitation much of a shot. Not really being a grind fan, I brushed off most of their earlier catalog. That all changed with the most excellent Monolith of Inhumanity – a record that totally knocked me on my ass. Brutal, tough and bouncy riffs combined with ridiculous vocals and I was hooked. I was really looking forward to The Anthropocene Extinction, and it didn’t disappoint. While not as overly catchy as Monolith, The Anthropocene Extinction picks up right where its predecessor left off to give more of the same brutal death metal – and that’s never a bad thing.
5. Cryptopsy – The Book of Suffering (Tome 1) | Independent
One of the first “extreme” metal albums I heard as a lad was None So Vile, and it totally changed everything I thought I knew about death metal. The sheer technical prowess of Flo Mournier, Jon Levasseur’s absurd riffs and the frantic screams of Lord Worm were insane to me at the time. While the band has never been able to recreate that magic of that record (although I do think Once Was Not came pretty close), The Book of Suffering (Tome 1) Is a step in the VERY right direction. The EP, totaling 16 minutes, gets right to the point and picks up where the band left off from their 2012 eponymous release. Hopefully, the can keep it going for Tome 2.
4. Leviathan – Scar Sighted | DEVOUT rcrds
Are you a happy / cheerful person? Do you enjoy life, for the most part? If so, you probably shouldn’t listen to Scar Sighted, the latest from US black metal band Leviathan. Pulling from the deepest recesses of human sorrow, Scar Sighted is ten tracks of absolute darkness. Dissonant black metal riffs weave their way in and out of melancholic & atmospheric passages flawlessly, drawing the listener into torment.
3. Enslaved – In Times | Nuclear Blast
Progressive Viking Metal. Two genres not normally associated with each other, and for good reason – not many bands can pull it off quite like Enslaved. In Times sees the band sticking to the sound they’ve been refining over the years, but this time in a super catchy and easily accessible way. Seamlessly transitioning from screaming and fast paced black metal riffs to catchy, huge choruses, In Times is a most excellent record from start to finish.
2. Abyssal – Antikatastaseis | Profound Lore
A few years ago, I saw Portal open up for Gorguts in NYC and wanted to love it. The wash of sound coupled with the ridiculous stage setup was just too much for me. Shortly after, I came across Abyssal from the UK and was instantly immersed in their sophomore album, Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. The bleak, depressing sounds emanating from the speakers drew me in.Antikatastaseis is a continuation of the approach, this time with a bit more experimentation and crushing riffs. If you want to feel like you’re slipping into the void, put some headphones on and turn this up.
1. Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed | Nuclear Blast
2015 was a great year for death metal, and especially so for genre stalwarts Nile. Not since 2005’s Annihilation of the Wicked has an album hit me like this. The riffs are punishing and catchy, with just the right amount of groove sprinkled between the fast, technical pace. Much respect for these three men, putting out what might be their best album this far into their storied career.
Peter Brown – Dystrophy
10. Intervals – The Shape of Colour | Independent
I can already feel the incoming flack for this one. The Shape of Colour was just released, like last week, and it’s already made a huge impression on me. My first exposure with Intervals last year left me feeling very “meh”. Last week I was in the mood for something different and saw Intervals was streaming their new album, so I checked it out. I think I listened to the pre-release stream a dozen times in the first 2 days. The Shape of Colour would be way higher on the list had it come out a month or two ago and I had a little more time to digest it. This is a great instrumental/shred album that every instrumental fan needs to check out.
9. Bumblefoot – Little Brother is Watching | Bumblefoot Music
I’d imagine there weren’t many people as excited as I was when Ron Thal announced he left Guns N’ Roses. I’m a massive Bumblefoot fan; hearing that he was recording a new album under the Bumblefoot name was a highlight of my 2014. Little Brother delivers all of the catchy hooks, silly and topical songwriting and virtuoso shred he’s known for.
8. Cloudkicker – Woum | Independent
I think Cloudkicker’s evolution as a band is one of the coolest progression in today’s newer bands. Ben Sharp is a songwriting machine and each Cloudkicker release is something totally unique from the previous one. The atmospheres Sharp builds on Woum can only be described as fun. Every track has so much going on to keep it interesting but at the same time it’s so easy to just sit back, enjoy the music and just get lost in the album.
I discovered these guys totally on a whim bouncing around different doom bands’ “Related Artists” on Spotify. Like Orphans of Dusk, these guys remind me so much of Woods of Ypres in the best ways possible. The singing on “Song for the Dead” and “First Day” caught me completely off guard and made me an immediate fan.
When Alkaloid was announced I joked it was going to be Obscura 2.0. Not only did they destroy that idea but they set a new bar for how a band could write face-melting riffs and incorporate hooks that got stuck in your head for days. The Muenzner/Grossmann combo have yet to disappoint me with a tech death release.
5. Hath – Hive | Independent
Full disclosure, I’m in another band with two of the members of Hath. These dudes kept their debut EP Hive under wraps so well that I only heard it for the first time a few days before it came out. I’ve listened to this EP dozens of times, and I still get jealous because the riffs hit so hard and the songs are so well done.
I discovered Orphans of Dusk through an unsigned band review and have been hooked on Revenant ever since. I’m a huge David Gold/Woods of Ypres fan, and Orphans have done such a fantastic job blending the hopelessness of gothic doom with beautiful soaring melodies in the vocals and music. Its only 4 songs long, but I’ve spent multiple work days with only Revenant on repeat.
3. Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction | Metal Blade Records
Monolith of Inhumanity is an absolute monster of an album and The Anthropocene Extinction is a great follow up. Cattle Decapitation has refined their sound even more and is seamlessly blending grindcore and brutal death metal.
2. Plini – The End of Everything | Independent
2015 was the year I finally paid attention to Plini, and The End of Everything is the EP that did it. It’s insane to me that such mature songwriting and tasteful soloing is coming from someone so young. He’s recently started touring, and I’m very excited to see what he does next.
1. Rivers of Nihil – Monarchy | Metal Blade
Monarchy turned me onto Rivers of Nihil, and I haven’t stopped looping this album since it was released. Rivers has done a fantastic job blending tech death, groove, shred and hooks, and to top it off, I’m a sucker for concept albums. There are so many parts that immediately got stuck in my head and haven’t left months later. At a recent show I saw them play 4-5 songs off Monarchy, and they absolutely killed it. Not only can they write the songs, but they’re so damn tight in recreating them live.
Matt Thompson’s Two Cents – Dystrophy
Mega Drive – Hardwired | Mega Drive Music
I listen to a ridiculously eclectic mix of music, and of all of the “new” music I found this year, I quickly learned that most of it was “new” to me, but not new for 2015! So, sadly, I have only two contributions to this list, and I apologize that this first selection couldn’t be any further from metal. Enter Hardwired, the newest LP released in January of this year by the great Mega Drive. This album is what a Terminator listens to while going to the gym or hunting humans. Full of trippy layers or outstanding percussion and synths, this album (and Retro-New Wave, the genre it belongs to) feels like a reinterpretation of the soundtrack of any classic 80’s Sci Fi movie, made with modern equipment and practices. Mega Drive is a master at weaving melodies on different machines over myriad beats and rhythms, which is why I love listening to this style of music; I love the concrete perfection of machine drummers. If you hate electronic music, I implore you to listen to “I am the Program” and not find your head nodding and your feet tapping. A must listen for any fan of EDM, techno, house, or whatever the kids are calling it these days.
Eternal Fuzz – Nostalgia | Independent
Where do I begin with explaining how much I love this band and have loved this album? If Floor combined members with Pelican and was fronted by Justin Broadrick, you would have Nostalgia by Eternal Fuzz. This is one of those records that makes you feel every emotion as you listen to it. Despair, melancholy, happiness, elation, they’re all in there as this band helps you traverse the cosmos through starship Earth. Do yourself a favor and listen to this by yourself under the stars. Or in a room filled with smoke, turned all the way up. It will make no difference as you’ll quickly find yourself lost inside this crushing, sweeping, uplifting album.
Your resident reptile got in touch with his #1 pick for 2015 – Tempel. While Ryan and Rich said they didn’t get a chance to listen to a ton of albums this year, they still responded with some of their most loved albums of 2015.
Read the excellent review + interview our very own Dagon had with the band earlier this year.
Symphony X– Underworld | Nuclear Blast
Another one that was covered earlier in 2015 by the noble fishgod Dagon. This review got me on board for this awesome stoner-doom journey of an album.
Steven Wilson– Hand.Cannot.Erase | Kscope
Reviewed by the enigmatic dip of all dips, Guacamole Jim here.
Read the glowing review from the Toilet’s very own moustache’d bear here.