Dead Halfway Through 2015 Best-Of

Sunday, 28th June 2015

After what appeared to be a slow start to 2015, things have started kicking into high-gear. Reaching the mid-point of the year (we managed to hold in our excitement until the actual midpoint this year har-har), it’s that time again for us to see what we’ve been fixating on the most up to this point. There are already some clear forerunners amongst the staff (Enforcer, Night Demon, and Enslaved for starters), but it’s anyone’s game to make it through what seems to be a larger and larger fall release season push. Surely we’ll see many a list do some significant changes between now and then. But for now, here are some sure bets that you can invest in, if you haven’t already.

David E. Gehlke
Yours truly remembers posting the 2014 list on June 1 of that year, obviously unaware as to how a calendar operates. Such a thing hasn’t occurred this year, thankfully, and if we want to look at 2015 from an even wider view, it’s already a more robust and interesting year than its predecessor. Hard to deny the atmospheric bliss that emanates from An Autumn for Crippled Children’s new platter. It gets better by the day. Moonspell re-discovered their melodic roots with Extinct, while Iceland’s Kontinuum threw a new wave curve-ball that was oh-so marvelous. And don’t sleep on Enforcer – they might be the best thing to happen to pure metal in a long time.

1. An Autumn for Crippled Children – The Long Goodbye (ATMF)
2. Moonspell – Extinct (Napalm)
3. Kontinuum – Kyrr (Candlelight)
4. Enslaved – In Times (Nuclear Blast)
5. Enforcer – From Beyond (Nuclear Blast)

Kyle McGinn
Seemingly a much more melodic year so far in 2015 looking through my choice picks compared to the more brutal 2014, but there are a number of heavy-hitters still to come. Another thing that seems to be interesting for 2015 is the number of smaller, self-released albums that are hanging toe-to-toe with the ‘big guns.’ The even more impressive than expected sophomore effort of American folk metallers Wilderun and the long-in-the-works debut of Rest Among Ruins lead this effort, with notables Immortal Bird, Amiensus, and Trials all firing off material in the near future. That being said, even Disarmonia Mundi’s long-awaited return, The Agonist’s first run with new singer Vicky Psarakis, and Secrets of the Sky’s gargantuan second effort will have plenty of company with a loaded August and September, with favorites Soilwork, Rivers of Nihil, Cattle Decapitation, Fear Factory, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Huntress all vying to hit the top lists of writers across the Internet as well. It’s going to be a fun fall release/tour time to come!

1. Wilderun – Sleep at the Edge of the Earth (Self-Released)
2. The Agonist – Eye of Providence (Century Media)
3. Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno (Coroner Records)
4. Secrets of the Sky – Pathway (Metal Blade)
5. Rest Among Ruins – Fugue (Self-Released)

Matt Coe
The excitement for new releases never wanes for this journalist. Sure the mystery isn’t the same as it once was due to bands having to release samples of their recordings to get the buzz going, but there’s something special about a full-length record that transports you into another world – away from pain, stress, misery, frustration, anger, or any other host of feelings as you feel renewed, reborn, recharged, ready to take on the next moment, hour, day, or week. Heavy metal is alive and well in 2015 my friends – there’s more choices and more music out there than ever before. Seek, do your proper research, and you shall find diamonds in the hills.

1. Leprous – The Congregation (Inside Out Music)
2. Enforcer – From Beyond (Nuclear Blast)
3. Armored Saint – Win Hands Down (Metal Blade)
4. Angra – Secret Garden (earMUSIC)
5. Night Demon – Curse of the Damned (Century Media)
Honorable Mentions: Paradise Lost – The Plague Within (Century Media), Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno (Coroner Records), U.D.O. – Decadent (AFM Records)

Daniel Keating
2015 is halfway gone already and has impressed thus far, more so than last year’s offerings did. It’s always hard to whittle down albums into a short list, and is kind of an unfair process in itself. But as a writer (and more importantly, as a consumer) these kinds of lists can prove to be good tools to steer others into experiencing music maybe they would not have otherwise. I certainly enjoy reading other people’s annual lists (though sometimes with a rolling of the eyes, as some may in turn feel about my own). As always, there are bands who released great stuff not on this list below, who should also be mentioned. Black metal acts Amestigon and Leviathan both released albums of impressive quality. We saw Kamelot finally come back into their own with a very good album, Kontinuum gave a terrific second offering, and as usual Enslaved proved that they’re the best, once again. Can these albums below make it to the year-end list? Some will, no doubt, but time will tell.

1. Faith No More – Sol Invictus (Ipecac Recordings)
2. A Forest of Stars – Beware The Sword You Cannot See (Lupus Lounge)
3. Macabre Omen – Gods of War – At War (Van Records)
4. Glaciation – Sur Les Falaises de Marbre (Osmose Productions)
5. Finsterforst – Mach Dich Frei (Napalm Records)

Matt Bower
It’s hard to believe we’re already nearly halfway through the year. While the months have flown by, they’ve been filled with impressive releases, and while I haven’t been able to take in nearly as many as I would have liked, here are the five that either impressed me most or had me coming back for repeat listens. My top album of the year so far comes from California NWOBHM trio Night Demon, with Curse of the Damned. Raised on the likes of Diamond Head, Angel Witch and Riot, the band knows how to write killer songs, complete with catchy melodies, driving riffs and exciting solos. Curse of the Damned rips from top to bottom. Next up is a speed metal gem in From Beyond from Sweden’s Enforcer. This being the band’s fourth studio release, it’s no surprise it’s their most mature and comprehensive album to date. The band has upped its song-writing chops on each successive release and this one will be tough to top. Third on my list is In Times from progressive black metal merchants Enslaved. Having refined the brash black metal attack from its early days, the band has become more progressive over the years, but it hasn’t lost any of its strength or power. Fourth is My God-Given Right from German power metal pioneers Helloween. Striking a balance between faster numbers, traditional Helloween anthems and darker material, the album is one of the strongest in the Andi Deris era of the band. Rounding out my top five is Win Hands Down from Armored Saint. The band used the five years since La Raza to hone its craft and create another set of stomping and thrashing anthems.

1. Night Demon – Curse of the Damned (Century Media)
2. Enforcer – From Beyond (Nuclear Blast)
3. Enslaved – In Times (Nuclear Blast)
4. Helloween – My God-Given Right (Nuclear Blast)
5. Armored Saint – Win Hands Down (Metal Blade)

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