Best of Q4: Corey’s List

nine circles

And here we are. Just a handful of days stand between us and the end of 2015. But before we usher in the new year by wrapping up the best from this current year, we are still faced with the task of revisiting the last three months. Analyzing albums that drop in the final quarter of a given year can always be a tricky task. Sometimes it just simply isn’t enough time for an album to develop with an audience enough to warrant any year-end recognition. Despite that, 2014 saw a number of impressive releases in the final months. 2015 has proven to be no different.

This past quarter saw impressive work from a wide range of metal subgenres, all of which managed to catch my attention. While I am sure plenty others slipped through the cracks as my own attention span on new releases has waned in the final months, there was still plenty of quality material to compile this. Take into consideration the fact that there are still two more weeks left in the year and more will be dropping that I simply won’t get a chance to review in detail and it’s pretty safe to say the fourth quarter of 2015 was just as successful as those that preceded it.

Top Three from Q4

1. Dead To A Dying World – Litany

Just when black metal had begun to grow stale this year, Dead To A Dying World drops one of the best releases of 2015. The intensely melancholic blend of black and doom metals leaves its audience in a trance that long succeeds the conclusion of the final track. Melodic and dark, painful and beautiful, Litany will be remembered for a long, long time.

2. Panopticon – Autumn Eternal

For the second straight year Panopticon has captivated us with the raw emotion that can only be found in Lunn’s take on black metal. Perhaps a bit more challenging than 2014’s Roads to the NorthAutumn Eternal still focuses heavily on the bluegrass influence that defines Panopticon’s sound. And with it we are once again leaves us awestruck with its purity.

3. Deafheaven – New Bermuda

One of metal’s most talked about bands (for better or worse) have followed their highly successful Sunbather from 2013 with the equally as impressive New Bermuda. Darker and heavier in feel throughout, Deafheaven still manages to keep their foundations intact. A complex architecture and wide range of sound makes for an incredibly impressive listen start to finish.

Six Honorable Mentions from Q4

Eïs – Bannstein

“Eïs covers an incredibly impressive range of influences that capture an infinite number of emotions. This is all done while keeping the overall album cohesive and captivating. At no point does anything feel out of place or over-utilized. It is creative, organized, and delivered brilliantly.”

Monolithe – Epsilon Aurigae

“There’s never a point where they sacrifice strength too much. Their scope for softer elements is always tempered by a persistent reminder that they are still a heavy metal band. They have achieved balance.”

Spectral Lore – Gnosis

“An album that has tremendous impact on an audience and has the ability to evolve in a very natural, personal way, Spectral Lore continues to showcase an ability to impress with sound musicianship and creativity, but without ever over-complicating things.”

Horn – Feldpost

The sixth full-length release from the German solo project that is Forn is yet another impressive display out of the European nation in 2015. Visionary Nerrath has been steadily producing quality black metal over the past decade and Feldpost very well may be my favorite of them all.

Ævangelist – Enthrall to the Void of Bliss

“It might require some serious attention and focus but the work will absolutely pay off as Enthrall to the Void of Bliss is a work that carries the flaming torch of progression through a sea of metal mundanity.”

VHÖL – Deeper Than Sky

“It’s so satisfying when a record reveals ever more layers of remarkable traits after repeated listens. The latest release from the Pacific Northwest-based quartet VHÖL, “Deeper Than Sky,” is just such a beast – and this is a record that will  demand repeated listens.”

And there you have it. With the fourth quarter recap in the books, the countdown is on for our revealing of our favorite releases of 2015. Stay tuned…

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey

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