Leyla Ford’s Top Fifteen Metal Albums of 2015
Here we are at the end of another garbage year! People are terrible, music is mediocre, and yet, we exist in the same world as lionhead bunnies — so it can’t all be that bad. Well, only two years left until Running Man will be a reality, so here’s hoping for that at the very least. These are the fifteen albums that didn’t entirely suck this year! Satan’s greetings and all that.
15. Barbatos – Straight Metal War (Hells Headbangers)
I’m crying. Every time I listen to any song from this album, it makes me laugh until I cry. Forget the butchered English — most English-speaking metal bands don’t do much better with their lyrics — but just the gnar-attitude of this record gives me such joy. It is pure, unadulterated punk-ass filth. They are Barbatos and they play rock n’ roll.
14. Enforcer – From Beyond (Nuclear Blast)
Bless bands like Enforcer and Wolf because goddamn, the ‘80s will never die for them.
13. Mondo Drag – Mondo Drag (Riding Easy)
There’s a trend of new bands trying to sound like old bands, which is great for them because we already love those old bands. So they get a ready-made audience. Except… why wouldn’t we just listen to the old if there were nothing new the fawning whippersnapper had to offer? The psych-kraut of Mondo Drag is extremely evocative of a bygone era and classic loves like Uriah Heep, but they still manage to keep it current with spacey grooves and not-so-drugged-out drums.
12. Orchid – Sign of the Witch (Nuclear Blast)
Roll your eyes as you would at lofty idiots who loudly tell anyone who won’t listen that they were born in the wrong era, but sometimes, I can’t help but feel those same blowhards have a point. And then I realize we live in a glorious modern age where we can access music from any time and any location and thank Satan because even if I was alive in the ‘70s, I still would’ve never seen Black Sabbath because I grew up in Turkey where no one ever came to play. But I can someday, hopefully, see doomy, equally-‘70s-influence Orchid.
11. Sigh – Graveward (Candlelight Records)
Every Sigh albums manages to top the previous with its schizophrenia. Graveward is no exception. It is a majestic clash of thrash and black metal offset by synths and weird- ass operatic twists thrown in there. You wouldn’t think telling a student orchestra to all play something different at the same time would work but that’s what Sigh does. Throw in some ‘70s/’80s horror influence and a lot of distortion and you have my favorite (sort-of gimmicky) band of all time.
10. Ghost Bath – Moonlover (Northern Silence)
Every night I hope and pray-ay-ay, a Moonlover will come my way. A band to hold in my arms, and feel the magic of their charms. ‘Cause I want (I want), a band (a band), to call (to call) my own (my own), I want a Moonlover so I don’t have to moon alone.
9. Enslaved – In Times (Nuclear Blast)
8. Obsequiae – Aria of Vernal Tombs (20 Buck Spin)
I was pretty much on board with Obsequiae when I heard medieval metal with mythological imagery as the description. Black and death metal with harp interludes may sound like a recipe for pretension but the galloping guitars and symphonic harmonies keep the grandiosity in check.
7. Panopticon – Autumn Eternal (Bindrune)
Bittersweet, heart-wrenching black metal for curling up at home with your (black) cat to.
6. Marriages – Salome (Sargent House)
Something, something post-rock… can receive the head of any Baptist they want… something, something amazing… haunting…captivating.
5. Mutoid Man – Bleeder (Sargent House)
The fuck-off punk attitude and riff-heavy energy of Bleeder makes it the catchiest album I’ve listened to in a while. Protomen should open for them, weirdest/best tour brought together by all of our inner nerds.
4. Grave Pleasures – Dreamcrash (Metal Blade)
You know what’s great? When you really, sincerely, legitimately adore a band and they break up right after their first album. They can never disappoint you! You know, beyond the fact that they will never, ever make new music again. Luckily, Grave Pleasures picked up where Beastmilk left off in their art-goth reverb land of moodiness. Bela Lugosi is certainly not dead.
3. Sturmovik – Destination Nowhere (Selfmadegod Records)
You know those awesome once and burn out immediately bands like Kvelertak? Yeah, I love them. I like music that makes you run around really, really fast until you fall down. So naturally, I loved Sturmovik and their punchy punky Polishness.
2. Tribulation – The Children of the Night (Century Media)
Tribulation is just too precious. I just want to squeeze their cheeks and feed them bat-shaped gummies. They’re about as grim as Ghost (so, not at all) but the seamless melding of goblin vocals and Priestly riffs make them the catchiest band of the year.
1. Faith No More – Sol Invictus (Reclamation/Ipecac)
Like I was going to pick anything else. Do you not know me BUT AT ALL? There’s been more than enough said about this album and the band over the year. In fact, some may say they are overrated and boring. They’d be wrong because only published opinions are real. So here goes; this is the best album of the year. It ranges from mellow to psychotic to philosophical to beautiful to stupid, which pretty much sums up Faith No More’s career as well. The hook from “Motherfucker” gets stuck in your head and wins you over despite your initial reluctance to like it. The ghoul-chant of “Separation Anxiety” is pure atmospheric witchiness that crawls under your skin and makes you sway in public. The lush chorus of “Superhero,” interrupted by its rabid verses, is just gasping exhilaration. Every song is foreplay followed by a punch to the gut and yeah, they make you like it rough. Also, I will gladly be the gimp on any future shows. Just so you know, boys.