Top Metal Albums of 2015 (So Far)

The top metal albums of 2015 (so far), according to the charts at Rate Your Music.

As we’re approaching the halfway point of 2015, I thought it might be interesting to cast an eye over what are regarded as the top metal albums of 2015, according to the collated votes of users at Rate Your Music (which, by the way, tends to provide an excellent choice of albums, not to mention a varied one, in its year-by-year charts). The site’s charts were updated this week, so this snapshot is about as current as it gets, and should hopefully point you in the direction of some absolutely fantastic heavy releases from this year. Here’s hoping the rest of 2015 can continue to provide us with an equal or greater number of top-quality listening experiences.

  1. Leprous – The Congregation
  2. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
  3. Enslaved – In Times
  4. Tribulation – The Children of the Night
  5. Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat
  6. Melechesh – Enki
  7. Kamelot – Haven
  8. Leviathan – Scar Sighted
  9. Sulphur Aeon – Gateway to the Antisphere
  10. Enforcer – From Beyond
  11. Misþyrming – Söngvar elds og óreiðu
  12. Moonspell – Extinct
  13. Obsequiae – Aria of Vernal Tombs
  14. Visigoth – The Revenant King
  15. Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful
  16. Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror
  17. Cain’s Offering – Stormcrow
  18. Shape of Despair – Monotony Fields
  19. Pyramaze – Disciples of the Sun
  20. Jorn Lande & Trond Holter – Dracula: Swing of Death
  21. The Gentle Storm – The Diary
  22. Orden Ogan – Ravenhead
  23. Arcane – Known – Learned
  24. Monolord – Vænir
  25. Ad Nauseam – Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est
  26. Gruesome – Savage Land
  27. Midnight Odyssey – Shards of Silver Fade
  28. Bosse-de-Nage – All Fours
  29. Ghost Bath – Moonlover
  30. Civil War – Gods and Generals
  31. Arcturus – Arcturian
  32. A Forest of Stars – Beware the Sword You Cannot See
  33. Der Weg einer Freiheit – Stellar
  34. Glaciation – Sur les falaises de marbre
  35. Angelus Apatrida – Hidden Evolution
  36. Akhlys – The Dreaming I
  37. Desolate Shrine – The Heart of the Netherworld
  38. Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus
  39. High on Fire – Luminiferous
  40. Wilderun – Sleep at the Edge of the Earth
  41. Guardians of Time – Rage and Fire
  42. Entrails – Obliteration
  43. Thurisaz – The Pulse of Mourning
  44. Wind Rose – Wardens of the West Wind
  45. Judicator – At the Expense of Humanity
  46. Sorcerer – In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross
  47. Infernal War – Axiom
  48. Forefather – Curse of the Cwelled
  49. Drudkh – A Furrow Cut Short
  50. Faith No More – Sol Invictus
  51. Bell Witch – Four Phantoms
  52. Sarpanitum – Blessed Be My Brothers
  53. Phantom Winter – Cvlt
  54. Finsterforst – Mach dich frei
  55. Distillator – Revolutionary Cells
  56. Ensiferum – One Man Army
  57. Unleashed – Dawn of the Nine
  58. Alkaloid – The Malkuth Grimoire
  59. Armored Saint – Win Hands Down
  60. Vola – Inmazes
  61. Tempel – The Moon Lit Our Path
  62. Peste Noire – La Chaise-Dyable
  63. Macabre Omen – Gods of War – At War
  64. Winterage – The Harmonic Passage
  65. Rosetta – Quintessential Ephemera
  66. Damnation Angels – The Valiant Fire
  67. Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic
  68. Native Construct – Quiet World
  69. Serious Black – As Daylight Breaks
  70. Barren Earth – On Lonely Towers
  71. Crypt Sermon – Out of the Garden
  72. Chaos Divine – Colliding Skies
  73. Minsk – The Crash & the Draw
  74. Thou & The Body – You, Whom I Have Always Hated
  75. Ufomammut – Ecate
  76. Chapel of Disease – The Mysterious Ways of Repetitive Art
  77. Dødheimsgard – A Umbra Omega
  78. Red Apollo – Altruist
  79. Magic Kingdom – Savage Requiem
  80. Subterranean Masquerade – The Grand Bazaar
  81. Goatsnake – Black Age Blues
  82. Kroda – Ginnungagap Ginnungagaldr Ginnungakaos
  83. Frosttide – Blood Oath
  84. Ruby the Hatchet – Valley of the Snake
  85. Helloween – My God-Given Right
  86. Ascendia – The Lion and the Jester
  87. An Autumn for Crippled Children – The Long Goodbye
  88. Kiske / Somerville – City of Heroes
  89. Periphery – Juggernaut: Omega
  90. Ethereal Shroud – They Became the Falling Ash
  91. Marduk – Frontschwein
  92. Noisem – Blossoming Decay
  93. Pyramids – A Northern Meadow
  94. Mechina – Acheron
  95. John Zorn – Simulacrum
  96. Valkyrie – Shadows
  97. Lucifer – Lucifer I
  98. Acid King – Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere
  99. Izah – Sistere
  100. Dopethrone – Hochelaga

What do you think? Is anything likely to knock Leprous’ The Congregation from the top spot? Feel that Paradise Lost’s The Plague Within is overrated at number 2 currently? Are there new releases that you think belong in this top 100 that don’t currently appear? Have your say in the comments!

Terrorizer #258: [8]+

Releases that scored [8] or more in Terrorizer magazine

Another month, another Terrorizer magazine, now on to issue #258. As always, I’ve listed the releases that scored [8] or more in the reviews section. Interestingly (and the first time I can remember it ever happening), this issue’s album of the month, Leviathan’s Scar Sighted, only scored [7], so doesn’t actually make the list. Nonetheless, there’s a fantastic review for it written by Adrien Begrand, which does help to put the arbitrary scoring system in some context.

So here are those albums that scored [8] or more:

  • Abhor – Ritualia Stramonium [8]
  • Acid King – Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere [8]
  • Agnostic Front – The American Dream Died [8.5]
  • Árstíðir lífsins – Aldafǫðr ok munka dróttinn [8]
  • Blown Out – Jet Black Hallucinations [8.5]
  • Coliseum – Anxiety’s Kiss [8]
  • Dødheimsgard – A Umbra Omega [9]
  • The Gentle Storm – The Diary [8]
  • Ghold – Of Ruin [8]
  • Heaving Earth – Denouncing the Holy Throne [8.5]
  • The Kill – Kill Them…All [8]
  • Lightning Bolt – Fantasy Empire [8]
  • Moonspell – Extinct [8]
  • Opium Lord – Eye of Earth [8.5]
  • Poison Idea – Confuse and Conquer [8]
  • A Pregnant Light – My Game Doesn’t Have a Name [8.5]
  • Primitive Man – Home Is Where the Hatred Is [8]
  • Pyramids – A Northern Meadow [8.5]
  • Ramlord – Ramlord [8]
  • Ranger – Where Evil Dwells [8]
  • Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors [9]
  • Shining – IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends [8]
  • Sorcerer – In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross [8]
  • Terra – Untitled [8]
  • Terveet Kädet – Lapin Helvetti [8]
  • Ufomammut – Ecate [8.5]
  • XII Boar – Pitworthy [8]

Let me know what you think of any of these in the comments.

But More Wonderful than the Lore of Old Men and the Lore of Books Is the Secret Lore of Ocean: Profound Lore in 2015

A look at the output from Profound Lore Records as the first quarter of 2015 nears an end.

In the last few years, it’s safe to say that Canada’s Profound Lore Records has become one of the most important and relevant record labels in heavy music. Releasing some of the best new heavy music around, and with an overriding sense that owner Chris Bruni actually has a passion for the music he is releasing on his label, rather than trying to cash in on fads at every turn, is what leads me to check Spotify every week with the search term “tag:new label:profound-lore”. When that search comes back empty for the week, I feel a little pang of disappointment every time, but then I do tend to go back and invest some more time in at least one or two previous Profound Lore releases that week, so silver linings and all that…

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 09.45.06

A trip to the “About” section on the Profound Lore website greets visitors with the following Lovecraft quote from The Outsider (and only this quote):

“I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.”

The themes of loneliness, the abhuman, and the afterlife that are central to the protagonist in The Outsider quite poignantly represent the way that a small label such as Profound Lore, run by such an avid and knowledgable music fan as Chris Bruni, have started to transcend what were conceived as the traditional boundaries of heavy music. The path that Chris is forging with Profound Lore was probably full of uncertainty to begin with, in the same way as our Lovecraftian protagonist  wondered who he would encounter on his climb up the tower. I hope that most people now recognise the the massive service the label has done for the heavy music community, with a plethora of superb releases to its name over its now more than 10 years. See for yourself: type “label:profound-lore” into your Spotify search bar and dive in. You’ll be hard pressed to find anything truly lacking in quality, even if it might be a little different to what you normally go for.

Since we’re now into March 2015, and Profound Lore has three releases (all stunning) to its name already this calendar year, why not start with these (Spotify links embedded in the covers):


1. Sumac – The Deal

The new project from Aaron Turner (Isis) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), along with some additional bass work from Brian Cook (Russian Circles), is a dark and brooding sludge metal opus that takes the Isis sound that Turner is most well known for into more extreme and experimental places. This one is a real grower, and repeated listens will most likely be necessary (they certainly were for me) for it to really start to click with the listener. In a world without Hydra Head, it’s great to see Profound Lore putting out this project, which to me sounds like a continuation of the sorts of bands Turner was putting out on his sadly now dissolved cult label. One thing’s for sure, though: whether coincidentally or not, he has certainly been more prolific since its unfortunate closure, and that can only be a positive thing for us fans looking to the future.


2. Leviathan – Scar Sighted

Seeing Jeff Whitehead on the cover of Decibel recently, a proud first-time father, and reading the excellent and surprisingly frank personal piece that Noisey did with him, it almost feels like Scar Sighted is a sort of rebirth for Leviathan after the already well-documented personal struggles the band’s sole member has gone through in the last few years. It feels like this is going to be a real highlight of 2015 come the end of the year. The work that Whitehead has done in collaboration with producer extraordinaire Billy Anderson (Agalloch, Pallbearer, Swans, et al.) has really set a strong marker for all other black metal releases this year. Hopefully, it also encourages listeners to go back and check out some of Leviathan’s other albums, such as the phenomenal Massive Conspiracy Against All Life.


3. Pyramids – A Northern Meadow

Again showing Profound Lore picking up the proverbial torch from Hydra Head, this time literally since they put out this mysterious musical contingent’s last opus, the new album from Pyramids is a phenomenal mix of the post-industrial soundscapes of Blut aus Nord and the intense melodies of Krallice, mixed with post-metal, dream pop, and almost psychedelic sensibilities. A dense, almost claustrophobic listen at times, here we have a further example of Profound Lore taking on bands that are truly breaking down typical genre classifications and metal stereotypes. Essential listening again, and with a fantastic, insightful interview with Colin Marston at one of my favourite blogs, Steel For Brains, detailing his contributions to the album, which is well worth a read.

I’ll keep checking for new releases every week, of course, but for now it’s hard to imagine any other label in heavy music getting off to such a consistently strong start as Profound Lore in 2015. And with each of the above releases featuring multilayered, unconventional songwriting and truly unique sounds, they ought to keep the more adventurous and ambitious listeners among us more than content for some time to come.