12/31/2015

The 10 Best Hard Rock/ Metal Albums of 2015

There was a lot of great hard and heavy music made this year, so whittling this list down to just ten and then ranking them wasn't an easy task. Regardless, there were some definite gems, in particular when it comes to more extreme metal. A couple of the albums on here  even stand as the best work these bands have done, as of yet.

10. Lamb of God- VII: Sturm Und Drang- After all the legal troubles that their singer Randy Blythe unjustly went through, LoG got back together and released a killer album. It shows a band that is willing to grow and mature, embracing even cleaning signing and collaborations with others. The result is a heavy and thundering release that perfectly sums up one of the greatest American metal bands of the last few decades.





9. Halestorm- Into the Wild Life- Showing an ever growing and changing in sound, Halestorm's latest has some great rocking tracks, but it also slows it down for some moving and powerful ballads. A great and hook filled hard rock album, Into the Wild Life has some the catchiest songs that I have heard all year. It might be the album that I listened to the most amount of times this year, as a matter of fact! The beautiful Lzzy Hale continues to be one of the best signers in all of heavy music.

 
8. Disturbed- Immortalized- Just when it looked like one of the most popular bands in rock and metal were done, they come back. And, man do they ever come back! A crushing and chugging masterwork, this is one of their very best albums. But, it really should come as no surprise, as they have consistently ranked in my yearly best albums. On a side note, their beautiful cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" has become another huge hit for them. And, it's really one of the most beautiful songs that I have heard this year.





7. Bring Me the Horizon- That's the Spirit- In a bold move, this British metalcore band continued to move towards a more mainstream sound. But, I think they really succeeded with an accessible, but still hard rocking and dark hard rock/ metal ass kicker. It's one of their very best albums, and where I would usually be damning a band for this type of change, I can only sign their praises. Sometimes change is good, and sometimes it's fucking awesome!



6. Iwrestledabearonce- Hail Mary- One of the most abrasive and out-right heavy albums released this year, Hail Mary rarely slows down. It feels like your head is getting pummeled with a sledgehammer over and over again. Filled with piss and vinegar, but sprinkled with moments of serenity this is their best work to date. Signer the lovely Courtney Laplante has really breathed new life into one of the most original extreme acts out there.





5. Myrkur- M- Who would have thought that the best black metal album would come from pretty, Danish, former. pop signer, Amalie Bruun, but so is the case with M. It is a haunting, beautiful, heavy, and atmospheric work that takes all of the best things in black metal makes a fresh and powerful album with it. Considering she is a one woman show, this is immensely impressive. Exceptional musicianship and an all encompassing sound make this a future classic of the subgenre.


5. Cattle Decapitation- The Anthorpocene Extinction- This band just keeps getting better and better and that is saying a lot. Quite frankly, I did not think they could top their last album, the masterful Monolith of Inhumanity, but holy fuck did they ever! This is death/ grindcore at it's very best and most brutal. Machine gun drums and crunching brutality combine with various screams of lead signer Travis Ryan, for a full speed assault on the senses. This is blistering and utterly eviscerating metal that cuts your guts open then fucks you in the cut that it leaves. Utterly killer!  

3. The Agonist- Eye of Providence- It's always a gambit when a band gets a new signer. Especially when the band is so closely associated with that signer. It comes as a great accomplishment when said band does that and then ends up making the best album of their entire career (thus far, anyways). And, so is the case with The Agonist's Eye of Providence. Gorgeous Vicky Psarakis has more than taken the reigns. Her joining the band has breathed new and fresh life into band, giving them a great mix of the melodic and catchy with the fast and crunchingly heavy. Quite possibly the metal album that has the best grooves released this year.


 
2. Periphery- Juggernaut: Alpha and Omega- Releasing a double album is always a gamble and one that doesn't really pay off. But, Periphery have given us one of the very best double albums in the history pf metal. It also stands as one of the most technical albums I have heard all year. Complex and ever changing, yet always flowing with energy, the songs are completely captivating and enveloping. As a whole, it's a sonic feat, and as separate it's hard to pick which is the better half. But, it doesn't matter, cause either way it ranks as the year's second best album (and certainly the best of the ever more crowded djent subgenre).
 

1. The Black Dahlia Murder- Abysmal- TBDM has long been one of my very favorite death metal bands. And, that's cause they keep releasing amazing albums that capture the very best of melodic death metal. Abysmal is no different, in fact it is very well their best work since their classic Nocturnal. Considering how high in regards I hold the last couple of albums, this is saying a lot. Blast beats, melodic, soaring guitars, and head smashing sounds combine with Trevor Strnad's screeching and roaring vocals for pure death metal ecstasy. This albums pummels you from it's vicious opener, "Receipt", all the way to it's final track the savage "That Cannot Die Which Eternally Is Dead". Even the awesome cover is pure and classic death metal. What an album!
 

Honorable Mentions:
Chelsea Wolfe- Abyss
New Years Day- Malevolence
One-Eyed Doll- Witches
Trivium- Silence in the Snow
Nachtlieder- Female of the Species
Bullet for My Valentine- Venom
Cradle of Filth- Hammer of the Witches
Iron Maiden- The Book of Souls

So, now I would love to hear from you. What where your favorite metal/ hard rock albums of 2015?

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