Guys, 2015 was pretty rad, at least in terms of music (I’d also argue it was a watershed year in almost all creative and entertainment media I follow, but that’s a different discussion. Plus, I just had a really good year, in general).
The nine albums listed below earned their spots because they stuck with me all year for one reason or another. However, I wanted to give lip service to a few that ultimately didn’t make the top nine, but that still brought some great musical moments into my life. For instance, I have spent many a rainy night nodding to the cyberpunk synthwave of GosT’s Behemoth while riding the train home, feeling like a character in a William Gibson novel; I took long hikes in Oregon’s lower Willamette Valley to the sounds of Enslaved’s In Times and Misthyrming’s Söngvar elds og óreiðu; and I got to experience the sonic energy of Mutoid Man’s Bleeder (and Helium Head) live in its entirety, in what was probably my favorite show of 2015. These little moments are just a few in a year filled with them.
Anyway, enough nostalgic waxing from me. Here’s to hoping 2016 is as good of a year as 2015 (I’m looking at you Gorguts, Gojira, and Horrendous).
The debut self-titled effort from Bay-Area metal/hardcore troupe, Mohicans (not to be confused with the instrumental post-rock band MOHICAN, who put out their own self-titled LP this year as well), is a prime example of one of modern metal’s deep-seated issues: lack of risk taking. Continue reading
Full disclosure: I love Intronaut. Reviewing an album from one of your favorite bands can be tough; you want to be fair, but listening to music is a subjective experience. If you like something, you just plain like it. When I listen to Intronaut, I just plain like it. That said, I try to recognize when a band doesn’t live up to its potential just as much as when they do. I felt very strongly that their previous record, Habitual Levitations, was a letdown. It wasn’t a bad album, per se, but it lacked many of the elements of Intronaut’s sound that I feel make them one of the best bands in the contemporary metal landscape. Thankfully, on their newest album, The Direction of Last Things, Intronaut have not only once again mastered another incarnation of their sound, but have quite possibly crafted their finest outing yet. Continue reading
Cryptopsy has joined the ranks of metal bands experimenting with crowd funding and self-releasing their music. After a marginally successful crowd-funding campaign (they made a little over $9,000 of their $20,000 goal), the technical death metal outfit headed to the studio to record a four-song EP, The Book of Suffering: Tome I. Unfortunately, much like their crowd-funding experiment, the EP falls short of the mark. Continue reading
In summer of 2012, When Panopticon dropped the incredibly moving love letter to sole member Austin Lunn’s home state, Kentucky, it marked a notable shift in Austin Lunn’s music. Previously, works under the Panopticon banner had been politically-driven and deeply influenced by crust punk. Kentucky, on the other hand, saw Lunn shed his overt political trappings, beginning a three-part musical journey that was far more personal than anything he had written prior. That journey continued with last year’s Roads to the North, an ode to Lunn’s time in Norway, and finally comes to a close with Autumn Eternal, which is perhaps Lunn’s most cohesive and effective release yet. Continue reading