beaAngry Metal-FiTwenty-fifteen has been a hell of a ride. It’s been one of my favorite years for music in quite a long time, and I’ve been struggling to prune this list down to 10(ish) records that I really love. But in some ways, the top 5 has never been easier for me to choose. What I find most fascinating about this list is how completely out of step I feel with what I see as being touted as the coolest parts of the underground. I seem to be pretty far afield while everyone else seems to be fawning over the latest ’70s retro doom phenomenon, hope drones, or the latest example of black metal kids missing that intensity not 15 minute songs was the cool part of black metal. This is what it feels like to have been left behind by a scene; to have lived long enough to be that old guy shaking his fist at new trends in metal.

Not that I haven’t enjoyed the hell out of 2015, though! There have been some excellent releases and this has been a meaningful year in the life of AngryMetalGuy.com. While I have been MiA more than I had hoped at the beginning of the year—and my how this year has flown by—the website has continued to flourish with the ongoing and excellent work of Steel Druhm and Madam X. I also need to thank the contributors who continue to keep this publication afloat with their thoughtful work. For all the threats of firing, this blog would be nothing without you guys. We’ve far surpassed our previous years in terms of total site views, while our community of readers continues to thrive and grow. We got a forum, we have the best comment fields on the Internet, and I’ve never been prouder to have accidentally spawned this Internet fiefdom of above average writing, above average metal taste, and above average crankiness.

The thing that makes me the proudest to be Angry Metal Guy in 2015, though, is The Angry Metal Bump™. It turns out that when we recommend records, there is a discernible bump in people heading over and supporting the bands we love. I knew that Dreamgrave experienced a similar thing in 2014, but it turns out that they were not an isolated incident. Of all the things that I’ve experienced in my years as Angry Metal Guy, this is the coolest. There is something so satisfying about helping bands and knowing that this kind of exposure really matters.

Thank you, readers of Angry Metal Guy, for visiting us frequently and for supporting independent artists. Thank you for supporting an industry that we sometimes clash with, but that we still love and that is filled with amazing artists and creative people who care about and love metal. Thanks for reading this Humble Blog that Could and making it a global publication. I can only imagine that 2016 will extend our reign of terror. I’m looking forward to it.


Cattle Decapitation - The Anthropocene Extinction#(ish-2): Cattle Decapitation // The Anthropocene Extinction — I must admit that I got to The Anthropocene Extinction late in the year, so it’s tough to put it any higher than this. This album is absolutely destructive and engaging. The riffs are addictive while the sound balances grindy intensity with infectious groove. Had this record had more time on my playlist to percolate it could easily have landed higher. Intense and impressive.

Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror - Digibook#(ish-1): Blind Guardian // Beyond the Red Mirror [Digibook] — Beyond the Red Mirror is a difficult album and I am not alone in this experience. Very few people—and not just at this blog—have listed the record in their End of Year lists. But I keep on coming back around to it thanks, surprisingly, to the double CD Digibook release. Yes, I am aware of the irony, but simply put: Beyond the Red Mirror is a more complete album with the extra tracks. If an album is a whole, it means that cohesion and flow are key in successfully writing a good one, and the Digibook edition does this in a way that the stock release does not. Once again Blind Guardian unexpectedly sneaks its way in the back door on my list. 

Angra - Secret Garden#10: Angra // Secret Garden — Of everything I heard in 2015, Secret Garden might be the most surprising of the albums to end up on this list. I had previously written Angra off entirely. Everything I had heard from the band earlier in their career had simply slid past me. Early on in January someone mentioned that Secret Garden was a great album and that I should check it out. I took a shot and was floored. Not only is the album chock full of excellent songs, but I have simply continued to come back to it as the year has continued on. This record shares a lot in common with its modern power kin in sound and approach, but what differentiates it is the slick songwriting and its staying power. I did not forget. Secret Garden belongs on this list without question.

Nechochwen - Heart of Akamon#9: Nechochwen // Heart of Akamon — Nechochwen is an uncommon and uncommonly good black metal band. Heart of Akamon is a creative and diverse album, which blends folk music based on Native American traditions and excellent melodic black metal riffing. While it definitely bears a resemblance to the best of ’90s meloblack that I love, not a second feels derivative. I have come back to Heart of Akamon repeatedly and started to understand its ebbs and flows, its subtle genius and its beauty. We live in a time when we have unprecedented access to underground bands, with Bandcamp and cheap recording making music more accessible than ever. Heart of Akamon—with its excellent composition and important historical themes—differentiates Nechochwen from the herd and has made an album that I’ll be celebrating for years.

The Gentle Storm - The Diary#8: The Gentle Storm // The Diary — The Diary is a bold and beautiful album. Arjen Lucassen is the only guy I’d trust with a project like this and he managed it with alacrity. The story on The Diary is heart-wrenching and Anneke’s vocal performances are dynamic and intense. Combined with the two separate approaches—the Storm and Gentle discs, both of which show off different sides of the same songs in a way that impresses—it’s hard to imagine the album being better. Ironically, however, it is the beauty and depth of the Gentle disc which somewhat undermines the album as a whole. I have listened to The Diary often, but I tend to gravitate toward the more dynamic and lush production on the acoustic album. Not because I don’t like the sound on Storm, but rather because the sound on Gentle is so extremely well-produced and fun to listen to. Still, it’s hard to count this album as anything but among the best things I heard in 2015. My bromance with Mr. Lucassen continues to bloom. Now excuse me while I do a jig to “Heart of Amsterdam.”

Gloryhammer - Space 1992#7: Gloryhammer // Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards — For anyone who thought that my love of Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards was just a prolonged troll job of Steel Druhm, think again. Gloryhammer‘s second record has continued to call me back, becoming an album that I revisit weekly if not daily. I’m starting to know the lyrics by heart and I can say in all seriousness that Space 1992 was the best [Luca Turilli’s] Rhapsody [of Fire] record released in 2014/2015: and there were two others to choose from. You can bluster and you can protest, but I have trouble understanding how you deny the immense sound and performances that Gloryhammer have delivered. This album is a powerful, if comical, statement that orchestral power metal can be as entertaining, invigorating, brilliant, and cheesy as ever in 2015 and that, yes, fun and heavy metal coexist mightily. Space 1992 is an excellent album from a band that hit the ground running and from whom I hope to hear a lot more going forward.

Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase.#6: Steven Wilson // Hand. Cannot. Erase — As much as I longed to put this album #1 just to hear people whine about my taste in wimpy prog and how the pink background shamed them while they were surfing AngryMetalGuy.com in public, I couldn’t do it. But it does not mean that Hand. Cannot. Erase. is not an album as brilliant as I thought it was back in March. Steven Wilson‘s foray into storytelling on Hand. Cannot. Erase. is among the finest conceptual pieces released in recent memory and his songwriting and production are better than ever. What keeps me coming back to this album, though, isn’t skill; everyone knows that Wilson is a good producer. No, what keeps me coming back is the feel. H.C.E. succeeds where so many other records fail by drawing the listener in and making them feel the story. The emotional engagement that Wilson and co. are able to evoke in me is precisely what makes this album more than the sum of its parts. Hand. Cannot. Erase. is a masterpiece and it will be hard for Wilson to top.

Crimson Swan - Unlit#5: Crimson Swan // Unlit — The best doom metal record I heard this year was Crimson Swan‘s Unlit. Why? I’ve thought about that a lot because it’s a record that I would never have predicted could land on my Top 10(ish) when I posted the review. I was pretty convinced Unlit would get its re-visitations and possibly an honorable mention nod, but the album continued to climb its way up my list. There are two things I love in doom: melody and feel. Unlit does both of these very well. The band’s sound reminds me so much of a mix of early My Dying Bride and Theatre of Tragedy that while I would never have described them as “gothic” it might be the best way to communicate the feel they evoke. There’s something addictive about the songs they build, slow crescendos which are paid off by epic peaks and gorgeous harmonies. And while the band isn’t the slickest yet and there are rough edges showing throughout this album, Crimson Swan still knocks out timeless death doom with a gothic flair. It’s a testament to Crimson Swan that Unlit is deep enough that I was able to give it a good score but that it managed to actually get better with time rather than fading into the background. It’s the growers that are the keepers and Unlit belongs in that category.

Beaten to Death - Unplugged#4: Beaten to Death // Unplugged — Unplugged is one of the finest heavy metal records that I heard this year. It has everything I like in heavy metal: epic songwriting; great vocals; techy guitar work which makes you look cool in front of the hip kids; fantastic lyrics; it’s vaguely offensive; and it makes my mom concerned about my well-being. Not only that, these bespectacled and tightly bepantsed heavy metallers are from Norway, which means that they’re undoubtedly as fucking kvlt as it gets. I’m not sure that they’ve killed anyone or burned any timeless cultural heritage to the ground, but their catchy and brutal grind makes me think about at least building small stave-church-like structures out of Popsicle sticks and setting them ablaze. And while Unplugged is a pretty misleading name (it’s not, in fact, unplugged), the writing contained within is nothing but good, honest heavy metal. Beaten to Death‘s melodic and idiosyncratic approach to grindful heavy metal is something that I have longed for without even realizing it. Unplugged is a cathartic listening experience and I feel like a new convert every time I listen to it. There’s something genuinely satisfying about breaking Unplugged out, turning it way the fuck up and letting 21 minutes of blistering, intelligent, and slick composition piss my neighbors right off.

Barren Earth - On Lonely Towers#3: Barren Earth // On Lonely Towers — When I reviewed On Lonely Towers I liked it a lot. I was really impressed with new vocalist Jón Aldará—the only man aside from myself who I would accept as the new singer in Barren Earth—and I really loved the songs. However, On Lonely Towers lost me in the middle due, largely, to ear fatigue. I still actually have the song set to be automatically skipped on the promo copy I received from Century Media. However, I got the LP mix from the band, who were ever so gracious after discovering that they had slighted me—me!—in the search for their new vocalist. Listening to this mix, On Lonely Towers clicked. Since then, I’ve been listening to the vinyl mix of On Lonely Towers and it is a juggernaut. The spacier master eased up on the fatigue and I regularly set the album up and bellow along. This album is a triumph of melodic death metal and doom, merging these sounds into the confines of addictive tracks. Aldará’s vocal performance is epic and On Lonely Towers is a record that is brilliant in its execution, composition and riffication.

Trials - This Ruined World#2: Trials // This Ruined World — Zeitgeist is a concept that’s overused, but is meant to point to a commonality that seems to exist independent of individuals; a spirit of the times. However, mainstreams—zeitgeists—definitionally imply outliers. Me and Trials? We’re both on the outside of the Spirit of our Times in 2015. This Ruined World features tight songs in an environment marked by onanistic self-indulgence in recordings. Trials makes a brand of thrash metal that is anything but nostalgic, foregoing the tight jeans and 1986-chic to make serious music that stands on its own. This Ruined World is filled with grindy guitar tone and trashy cymbals, but it hardly fulfills the trend-setters’ desire for one-take vocal tracks, crusty repetition or bloated, slow songs. Nothing about This Ruined World is trendy. And This Ruined World attempts no pretense. Appreciate what you’ve got while it’s still in reach, because Trials is a national treasure and This Ruined World is a thrashterpiece.

#1: Wilderun // Sleep at the Edge of the EarthSleep at the Edge of the Earth is a special album. In scope, this record is reminiscent of Orphaned Land‘s ORwarriOR; it plays like a film score. The songs are littered with exceptional riffs, gorgeous orchestrations, and inspired melodies that crept under my skin. This album is complete, the very image of what the album as a single unit—an art form—should sound like. Every note is well-placed and the songwriting manages to be epic, emotive, and gorgeous without ever feeling overwrought or cheesy. Wilderun combines all the things I love about metal—the orchestrations, the folk music, the melodic death and black strains with excellent clean vocals—into a perfect package.

The true test of an album, of course, is that it grows with time. When I first heard Sleep at the Edge of the Earth, I liked it. Then I set it aside and moved on with my life and when I pulled it out again I loved it. This record has continued to reveal facets and wrinkles I did not notice the first time through as only the best albums ever do. It belongs in the pantheon of truly masterful albums that I own and have had the honor to have featured here at Angry Metal Guy.

Wilderun - Sleep at the Edge of Earth


Honorable Mentions: 

  • Vhöl // Deeper than Sky — A consequence of not having heard this album earlier than I did is that it ended up here rather than higher up. Vhöl is so good at what they do, and I couldn’t help but fall for their idiosyncratic, but weirdly nostalgic brand of metal. Brilliant.
  • Symphony X // Underworld — I’m apparently the only person alive who still likes this band, but I gotta say that I still enjoy the hell out of this record. It sure isn’t Symphony X‘s finest moment, but it’s definitely an enjoyable record that shows just how good these guys still are after all these years. Even the weak moments here are pretty good.
  • Sulphur Aeon // Gateway to the Antisphere — This album not only featured the best Nile and Morbid Angel riffs of 2015, but I began to go completely mad as I stared into the endless depths of its brilliant cover art. If I hadn’t been so busy posing to Gloryhammer and listening to wimpy prog, maybe I’d’ve made more time to listen to this. Still, I loved this record and it deserves consideration among the best material released this year.
  • Sylosis // Dormant Heart — I know, right? Everyone seems to have forgotten about this album; myself included. And that sucks, because Dormant Heart is a good melodic death metal record from a band that finally has started to differentiate itself from the pack.

Biggest Disappointments: 

Iron Maiden the Book of SoulsIron Maiden // The Book of Souls — It is not possible that an album can be more disappointing than The Book of Souls was for me. All the while I was putting together my retrospective on their epic discography, I was listening to The Book of Souls and getting more depressed. Iron Maiden is representative of our current no-edit zeitgeist and I find it shocking. Like many of you, I pre-ordered the album (and unlike many of you I pre-ordered it in two formats). Like many of you I eagerly awaited its release. But unlike some of you, I cannot find the good that makes people want to revisit it. After all this time Maiden has finally let me down.

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most BeautifulNightwish // Endless Forms Most Beautiful — I was psyched for the release of Endless Forms Most Beautiful. I think that Floor Jansen is the most talented vocalist in metal (hands down—not by gender) after seeing her performance with Nightwish at Wacken. Her ability to navigate all the different vocal styles required of her, and to be such an engaging and dynamic performer, made me expect EFMB to be something truly iconic. Unfortunately, it’s anything but. The record has good songs, but Floor sounds like she was kept on a leash. Her performance is—unfathomably—almost anonymous. How can Nightwish go out and hire the strongest vocalist in metal and then tie her down? I have my theories. But it doesn’t matter why it happened, all that matters is that the result was a true disappointment.


Top 10(ish) Songs of the Year: 

#(ish): “Neito Pohjolan” – Ensiferum // One Man Army — Uh, yeah. So, I’m not really sure how to say this, but I’m pretty sure that I really like my very first Finnish tango song. The completely surreal combination of the old fashioned “steam engine” drum rhythm, the steel guitar, the accordion and Netta Skog’s beautiful voice has enraptured me more than I’d like to admit. Take a listen and feel slightly confused. But also sort of happy? But also kind of depressed. It’s so weird.

#10: “The Desolate Damned” – Vhöl // Deeper than Sky — They had me at the …and Justice for All intro, but they kept me around with ridiculously addictive thrash riffs and idiosyncratic vocals. This song is simultaneously nostalgic and counterintuitive (like the whole album, honestly), and I can’t stop listening to it.

#9: “Kult of the Orthodox” – De Profundis // Kingdom of the Blind — This record got missed earlier in the year and while I enjoyed it I never really got back around to reviewing it. But one song that has popped up time and again on my playlists is “Kult of the Orthodox,” which manages to not only fulfill my lust for Björriffs and driving death metal, but also features some very cool fretless work (from the sounds of it). These guys don’t get much love—and I’m not helping that by shitting out on reviewing their newest album—but they’re worth checking out, and I love this track.

#8: “Afloat” – Riverside // Love, Fear and the Time Machine — Riverside has started to show that they are at their best when they leave the rock behind and give in to their soft side. “Afloat” is hardly even a song, it’s almost like a doodle in a notebook. It has a feeling of being unfinished, and yet it’s achingly beautiful. Like “We Got Used to Us” from this album’s predecessor, “Afloat” needs to be heard again and I come back to it frequently. This record didn’t quite work for me like their previous material has, but when these guys hit that bittersweet note like they do on “Afloat,” I can’t help but hit play again.

#7: “Lionheart” – Battle Beast // Unholy Savior — Some people felt like Battle Beast‘s 2015 record was pretty tepid. They missed the old vocalist, felt like it was too ’80s cheese rock, and too damn catchy. And that’s why “Lionheart” is on this fucking list. Just listen to that goddamned bridge and chorus! Noora Louhimo has that German thrash voice down, and she rocks out epic choruses with the absolute best of them. You don’t have to like the whole album—which, admittedly, I do—but when a record can make you pump your first in your living room, a band is doing something right. I’ve often talked complained about retro bands, but “Lionheart” captures the feel of Rage without sounding old. Epic.

#6: “Människotankens vägglösa rum” – Shining // IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere Dies — There’s a simplistic black metal style that can groove its way right under my skin. Shining had that for ages. Records like Halmstad were filled with groove riffs, even if they were just girding under the Kvalforth’s manic wails. You came for the riffs, and stayed for the utter life-draining depression. “Människotankens vägglösa rum” is of that caliber. Reminiscent of Ofermod or older Shining, this song is the brilliance that we all know is under the surface for a band that isn’t at the top of its game these days.

#5: “Don’t You Dare to Call Us Heavy Metal” – Beaten to Death // Unplugged — Whatcha gonna do? Write a bitchy song about it? No one thinks that guys from Scandinavian welfare states are scary, guys. Honestly. “Oh, I learned to play guitar because of socialism! I’m so scaaaary!”

#4: “Marigold” – Caligula’s Horse // Bloom — Bloom might not have been one of the best records I heard in 2015, but “Marigold” had me at DAT RIFF. Add in the drop at about 12 seconds and I was ready to start calling myself a djentleman. This track has everything that Caligula’s Horse does well wrapped up with a little bow on top. The vocals are powerful, with slick songwriting and a crunch that got me right in the metal bone (my Angry Metal Hip Replacement™). I promptly played this song for everyone who would sit down and shut up for long enough for me to force it on them. Sit down. Shut up. Press play.

#3: “Ancestral” – Steven Wilson // Hand. Cannot. Erase — The legacy of Pink Floyd‘s very best material got channeled through the most likely medium imaginable in 2015. Hand. Cannot. Erase is hardly a derivative album, but Wilson’s genius is in his understanding of sound, quotes, and feel and “Ancestral” incorporates the ethereal sounds and feel of Floyd‘s most moody material. This song is rangey and heavy, it’s also intoxicating and subtle. The guitar solo evokes Gilmour, while the whole song shows off Wilson’s songwriting at its absolute best; adventurous and interesting without ever taking away from the song’s dark feel. “Ancestral” is a musical highlight any fan of even remotely progressive music should not miss.

#2: “Crushing Room” – Angra // Secret Garden — “Crushing Room” is a duet between legendary metal maven Doro Pesch and Rafael Bittencourt and is an example of rock songwriting at its finest. With a skillful interplay between their voices, Pesch and Bittencourt lace a crunchy, modern sound with their interchanging baritones. They build with drama into a soaring chorus that features both power and melodic style, before ebbing back into the verses. There’s a sultry groove to this track that I adore, and the mechanical guitar tone works to complement the two singers as they give a clinic on drama and performance that Eurovision performers could learn from. Is this song cheesy? Yeah, I guess so. Is it perfect? Yeah, I think it is. When it merges into the last minute and they set Doro loose over the bridge before merging into the final chorus there ain’t much that’s better.

#1: “Truth Defiled” – Trials // This Ruined World — If I had to point someone to This Ruined World with only one song in hand, I’d be living in an impossible universe to navigate and filled with despair. But given that scenario, I’d point them to the album’s opener “Truth Defiled.” This burner showcases everything good about the album: the awesome build, the slick riffs, and the unique approach to the thrash sound. My personal favorite moment in the whole song are the guitar solos—dubbed “Tango and Thrash” in the liner notes—but one need not make it that far into the song to be convinced that this is the real deal. There isn’t a bad song on this record—not a bad moment, in my opinion—so “Truth Defiled” is but one piece in an amazing whole. But it’s an amazing, addictive piece.

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  • Atte Loikkanen

    I hate and love to be the guy to applaudes you on your Disappointments -section. That Nightwish album was really ass.
    I still haven’t listened to that Wilderun album for some reason! Time to get to it today.

  • Soze

    I only listened to that Wilderun album once and for the life of me couldn’t see what the fuss was about. However I do agree with your Symphony X and Blind Guardian love. But not your Book of Souls dismissal. That Trials sounded OK until the vocalist started singing, my favourite thrash release was Reign of Fury.

    I love these end of year lists, the amount of variety does go to show how much great metal there is out there (although almost half of my top ten this year isn’t metal at all!).

  • Dethjesta

    Great list AMG. Couldn’t agree more about your assessment of the latest Nightwish album. I too think that Floor is the most versatile vocalist in Metal today (just need to listen to the last Revamp album to hear that) and other than a couple of moments it was an underwhelming performance.
    Seems to me like a lot of the songs were written with Anette in mind.

    Only got in to the Wilderun album late in year but it is superb.

    • Underwhelming indeed. I wasn’t even a little whelmed, which is sad considering how she nails Ghost Love Score. As AMG said, I figured that would translate into some good stuff. Guess not.

      • Dethjesta

        I think there was a little whelm – Your is an Empty Hope worked for me – but certainly not enough.

  • Joshua Walker

    Nice list, AMG. I missed a couple of those and will definitely have to check them out (e.g. The Gentle Storm, Crimson Swan). Thanks to you and the angry staff for introducing me to plenty of good music this year. Below is my list:

    Top 10

    10. Native Construct – Quiet World
    9. Slugdge – Slimeridden Kingdoms
    8. Elder – Lore
    7. Wolfheart – Shadow World
    6. So Hideous – Laurestine
    5. Tribulation – Children of the Night
    4. Wilderun – Sleep at the Edge of the Earth
    3. Enshine – Singularity
    2. Obsequiae – Aria of Vernal Tombs
    1. Nechochwen – Heart of Akamon

    Honarable Mentions

    Metal

    The Grand Astoria – The Mighty Few
    Deadly Circus Fire – Hydra’s Taylor
    Alustrium – A Tunnel To Eden
    Windfaerer – Tenebrosum
    Draconian – Sovran
    Shrines – Shrines

    Not so metal

    Gazpacho – Molok
    The Dear Hunter – Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise
    Kingcrow – Eidos
    Our Oceans – Our Oceans

    Songs of the year – Curse of the Ninth (The Grand Astoria), The Final Trance (Enshine), The Garden of Fire (Wilderun)

    • The Lascivious Snape

      That Native Construct record is really cool, but I think they have a lot of room to grow and improve. I want them to be heavier overall, with tighter songwriting and more focus on the best parts of their songs (you know, the big catchy melodic parts or the crushing heavy parts that you’re always sad when they end). I think Quiet World is a promise of great things to come out of these guys.

      Good live band, too. Got to see them open for BTBAM.

      Nice shout-outs for Slugdge and Alustrium, too. I like your list more than AMG’s.

      • MelbCro

        So basically you want Native Construct to stop being a prog band? Yeah, no thanks.

        • The Lascivious Snape

          I really don’t think I said that at all, and I think they can tighten their songwriting and improve their sound by focusing on their best qualities without betraying who they are as a band. I bet they feel that way, too.

          It’s like the difference between Parallax 2 and Coma Ecliptic. Great records both, but the latter represents a refinement in the writing and a greater focus on those more melodic, more compelling moments that have always stood out in BTBAM’s music, with more care taken in building and sustaining those moments.

          Trust me, I’m coming from a place of great excitement for whatever this band does next.

          • Kronos

            Bah! Although I generally agree that the songwriting is tighter on Coma, without stupid wank BTBAM can’t patch their ideas together in a cohesive way, so I think Parallax II was actually much better.

          • MelbCro

            What you are saying I get, but your original comment didn’t really say that. Like saying they should get heavier, not sure how that has anything to do with improvement in songwriting. Being heavier is the last thing I want to see from them. That would be such a regressive move.

  • RuySan

    Wilderun seems to have a sound tailor made for me, but for some reason i just can’t get into that album.

    And good thing that Blind Guardian at least had a mention, even though “The Throne” should be at the top of the best songs of the year.

  • Tardsmat

    I was happy to see Symphony X on this list, i feel like the Album didn’t quite get the attention it deserved. I’m pretty excited to see how wilderun will develop their sound in the future, with their second album already being so good. Also, why can’t the people who don’t own a Vinyl player have nice things? I want to listen to on lonely Towers with good mastering.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Underworld is high on my list. Thought it would get more love from the staff. A song like Without You is pretty hard to resist.

      And, yea, I’m with you on the Vinyl thing.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        It’s really good. “Nevermore” is just a beast of a song too. If us plebs got a top ten songs list, that would’ve been on there for sure.

    • tomasjacobi

      I DO own a vinyl player and I still agree with you. I can’t bring my vinyl player with me and it sucks that I have to listen to overloud, compressed versions of my favourite albums when I’m not sitting in my living room at home.

      • Luke_22

        Yes hopefully the idea of releasing digital copies of vinyl masters on outlets such as Bandcamp will catch on. There’s definitely a market for it.

  • Handy Donut Hole

    Trials definitely deserve all the recognition they have been receiving lately. Over the holidays I spent some time with my Dad, an old metal head, and played him “This Ruined World”; he was floored and said it gives him hope for the future of metal. Fuck ya old man, yes it does!

  • Kronos

    I feel as if you’re disappointed – possibly enraged – by a certain Australian pick of mine. All the more moss for me, I suppose.
    Also your list is just not brutal enough, although I really like about half of it.

    • Thatguy

      My daughter gave me a Hope Drone T-shirt for Xmas.

      If I ever meet AMG I will wear it.

      • Kronos

        Nice. I have “Cloak of Ash” on vinyl up on my wall. Those guys know how to pick appropriate visual art.

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    Even if I heard nothing else this year, I’d be happy enough with Sleep at the Edge of the Earth. I’m still surprised at how much attention it got in these parts after I recommended it in the forums. In any case, good for them! They deserve the AMG seal of approval.
    Also, if it wasn’t for my incurable Pentagram obsession, Heart of Akamon would be my second favourite release this year.
    As usual, AMG’s list is the best ;)

    • Thanks for recommending that record. I suspect we would have missed it if you hadn’t mentioned it and that would have been tragic. Excellent work!

      • Refined-Iron Cranium

        You’re welcome ;)
        In a weird way, the reason I was attracted to the album so much was because my taste in music is hugely influenced by you. Your rampant Opeth / Amorphis worship rubbed off onto me and now I search for bands that scratch that itch.

    • Rasmus Steinke

      I was so impressed with the album, I bought it 3 times to spread the word.

  • A staggering work of heartbreaking genius.

    • I knew you would warm to the new Sunn O))))))))))))))))) record!

      • No))))))))))

        • We’d make a great comedy show routine I think.

          • What am I, a clown to amuse you?

          • I did say “we.”

          • You complete me.

          • And a new bro-mance is born!

          • Hey, go answer this man’s question about joining the forum. He’s not getting a confirmation email, slacker!

          • Where is this question located?

          • I too am confuzzled.

          • Lasse’s question above.

          • Wait, this is YOUR thread and I’m the slacker! Steel, I feel for ya, I really do.

          • He’s having issues with your damn forum, buddy!

          • His request has been answered!

          • It’s like being Stalin’s house boy.

          • Seriously.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            In fairness you are a rather large gorilla with a beer…

  • De2013

    Great to see AMG’s list once again! Lots of expected choices: Steve Wilson, Gentle Storm, Trials (!), Angra, Wilderun. Indeed I expected Sulphur Aeon to end higher in this list; but an honorable mention is fine too. It’s in my top 10 anyway.

    And I said it before, but it couldn’t be said enough: a HUGE thank you to AMG and all the other staff and contributors for keeping this site running and make it the #1 metal site on the interwebs. It’s one of the few sites I visit almost every day. It get to know so much new excellent music from it; actually more than I can absorb. And the comments section is really unique and fun to read and participate in! (Take that fellow comment-ers!)

    And props for keeping it adds-free! (Which makes me think of how you pay the bills?)

    • We kind of don’t pay the bills…

      But thanks!

      • Wasn’t that why we sold Happy Metal Guy for his organs??

        • Um, well. Yeah, but I mean, time moves on. New bills accrue. We just gotta figure out who’s next, I guess.

          • Kronos

            Good thing we have so many doctors writing for us.

  • tomasjacobi

    Nice to see Blind Guardian mentioned. I agree that the album works better with the 2 bonus tracks. That is so rare! 99% of the time bonus tracks are either plain bad or doesn’t fit with the mood of the rest of the album. But if I have to complain about BG they should have just released 1 version of the album with all 12 songs on it; especially since 77 minutes fits on a single CD. Releasing 3 different versions (2 single CD’s and one 2CD) of the album seems weird and undermines the integrity of the great album they made.

    For me though, Gloryhammer is the album of the year. I was already a fan since the first album and I was looking forward to this one, but I didn’t expect it to be that good. It’s hands down the most fun you could have listening to metal in 2015. Not only that, but it lead me to (finally) discover the greatness of Rhapsody’s earlier albums.

    About that Wilderun album. I tried to give it a chance when it was reviewed here, but while it’s certainly not bad, it never really resonated with me. I guess I’ll try again, because on paper it ticks off a lot of boxes I like in my metal.
    Happy New Year!

  • The Lascivious Snape

    “Beautiful” or its variations used 10 times, on two counts twice in the same write-up. C’mon man. Edit!

    Good list to be sure. I need to give more time to that Barren Earth record. What I’ve heard of it, which isn’t all, felt doomier to me, which was a bit of a put off. My favorite tracks from their previous releases were always the more fleet-footed ones. “Forlorn Waves,” “Curse of the Red River,” “As It Is Written.”

    I miss Mikko’s vocals compared to Jon’s, but no doubt Jon is a gifted vocalist as well, and he fits the sound.

    • Kronos

      And yet “brutal” is so neglected!
      But seriously, it’s hard to find 40 synonyms for a big list.

    • I edited the fuck out of this post, now you’ve giving me a complex. Will look.

      • !!

      • The Lascivious Snape

        I appreciate you saying so and not just deleting your comment and leaving me to look like (more of) an idiot.

        AMG
        Classy

        • Nah, man. I’m a bit of a know-it-all and I’m pretty pedantic, but I’d like to believe i’m not a douchebag or a narcissist.

        • motobass4321

          Hi – an extra ‘bea’ at the start of your article found its way in.

  • I got to be the first one to say this: I think your BoS disappointment will fade after a while. I really do. I’m not nearly as big of a fan of Maiden as you are (my obligatory “M” band ends with “deth” as you know) but Book of Souls has a lot of rock’n tunes on it. Yeah, I understand your misgivings, and yeah, I fully concede it is too long and needs an edit. But there is a lot of good on this record too.

    Keep it out of your eardrums for a long time. Then when you are in the mood for Maiden, give it one more shot. I really believe you will eventually warm up to it.

    • tomasjacobi

      BoS is one of a handfull of albums I keep coming back to from 2015. For me it’s hands down the best of the post-2000 Maiden albums

    • I’m with AMG on Book of Souls. Some very good moments, but *so* much filler. A few novel bits bloated with loads of standard post-2000 Maiden staples, and some quite dodgy songwriting. So many times I’m listening to it and I feel like I’ve heard the exact same ideas done better on previous records.

      :(

      • This is the part of the conversation where I launch some ad hominem attack at you for disagreeing with me. I then point out that my personal tastes are vastly superior to yours because they’re yours not mine. Finally, as the ccoop-duh-gracee, I then either compare you to Adolf Hitler, or if I’m more subtle about it, elude to the fact that your tastes in music have some sort of loose undercurrent of Nazism to them in general.

        Oh wait, this isn’t Metal Sucks!. Sorry, sorry, I take it all back. My bad.

        Happy New Year JLR! :-)

        • Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

          And a happy new year to you too – here’s to a dynamic 2016!

          • LOL. Yeah, let’s hope so my friend.

        • I completely love this post. Thank you for posting it. I feel like I should copypasta this anytime anyone disagrees with me.

          • Free free. A citation would be nice, but entirely optional.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      BoS didn’t do much for me, but I’m thankful to AMG for introducing me to The X Factor and A Matter of Life and Death…. Yea, I know, I’m not exactly a long-time Metalhead.

    • Brandon Gurwitz

      There’s something about Bruce’s melodies on the first few songs that just really puts me off the whole album. Especially Speed of Light. The middle songs are better, but does anybody else think that song just sounds… bad?

  • Jm from nj

    Glad to see you mention Sylosis. Have to think that its release date hurts when it comes to year-end lists. The January release leads to some forgotten gems.

  • You dared to call them heavy metal! Again! And repeatedly!!!

    If we don’t get promo from them again I’m blaming you.

    • One More Thing

      Every time he said it I cringed! I had to re-read it because the first time I stopped paying attention and was hunting for the next mention of “heavy metal”.

    • I think the best variation was when I called them “Grindful” heavy metal. I was thinking I should start a trend of “grindfulness.” I will be grindful in my day-to-day life.

      • You wot m8?

        Grindfulness is close to godliness, don’t you know.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    One more year in the books, one more AMG top 10 to disagree with. Well, actually, not really. I have posted my top albums on the forum (join the forum, you plebs!) and there are some choices that mirror my own even though my list much less infested with power metal. I found it interesting that I managed to listen to all the albums you have on your list throughout the year and liked them all to some extent. At first I was surprised to see Vhol only on the mentions while Cattle Decap is an -ish. Extinction didn’t do much for me since it just seemed like a carbon copy of Monolith and the horrendous… (huh… can’t use that word anymore…) …terrible mastering didn’t help. Opeth wins AOTY for a second year in a row, can’t say I wasn’t expecting that ;)

    Here’s the cliff-notes version of my own list:

    10) The Gentle Storm – The Diary
    9) Mgla – Exercises in Futility
    8) Mourning Mist – Mourning Mist
    7) Killing Joke – Pylon
    6) Panopticon – Autumn Eternal
    5) Old Rake – Old Rake
    4) Satan – Atom by Atom
    3) Nechochwen – Heart of Akamon
    2) Ketha – #!%16.7
    1) Vhöl – Deeper Than Sky

    Honorable mentions:
    Spectral Lore – Gnosis
    Ghost – Meliora
    Tribulation – The Children of the Night
    Sulphur Aeon – Gateway to the Antisphere
    Horrendous – Anareta
    Gorod – A Maze of Recycled Creeds
    Galar – De gjenlevende
    Abyssal – Antikatastaseis
    A Swarm of the Sun – The Rifts
    Beaten to Death – Unplugged

    Non-metal mentions:
    Carpenter Brut – Trilogy
    Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

    Full version with explanations here: https://www.metal-fi.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=41&p=7237#p7237

    Regardless of world events, 2015 was a fucking amazing year for me, both musically and personally. One big part of what made it so great was this very website. You guys consistently come out with excellently written reviews and the occasionally editorial whose comments sections are always primed for me to ruin. It has truly been a pleasure to be a minute part of this metal institution and I can only hope 2016 will be even better.

    • Kronos

      Nice Ketha mention.

      • Not “Ketha is great, should’ve been on lists,” but instead “Wow, cred to you for dropping that name.” This is why metal is crappy. ;)

        • Is Ke$ha metal now?

          • Can’t wait for you to see the Production Awards 2015 post coming in the next few days here. Ke$ha is on it! Sorta.

        • André Snyde Lopes

          Ketha IS great and SHOULD have been on lists. But it’s a 17 minute EP so it’s understandable why it isn’t.

        • Kronos

          Ketha is great, I didn’t put it on my list because I wanted to focus on lps.

          • Just giving you shit, Padawan.

          • Kronos

            It’s because of your latent love of Hope Drone

    • BTW: Wilderun isn’t fucking Opeth at all, which is super unfair. If i were to make a comparison I would compare them to Turisas more than anything else I listen to.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        It’s a joke, hence the winky face. Turisas, though? Wilderun are a lot more serious and early-ish Opeth sounds much more appropriate as a comparison. I like the album myself, so it ain’t a negative association either.

      • Ernesto Aimar

        They also have a Finntroll vibe around there somewhere. To me it’s a good album, specially for an underground band, but I can’t seem to get my jaw dropped by it. Same thing happened to me in regards to Dreamscape. Bothe albums are surely great pieces of work, but sound like a mush up of those guys favourite bands.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Except for Gentle Bore, that’s an excellent list thanks for the Galar reminder I initially got excited by it but it got lost in the stream of excellent releases.
      Your 1-4 are all amongst my favourites this year.
      Abyssal and Desolate Shrine are my nightmare metal winners this year I love those two with headphones before sleep

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Gentle Bore, haha, to each their own, I guess!

        Abyssal was so close to making it to my top 10… Way too many records that got really close to my heart this year. I must listen to Desolate Shrine again, though, I remember liking it but never gave it too much attention.

  • Norfair Legend

    Yeah, after all the year end lists I’m finally listening to Wilderun now and how did it escape me for so long? Reminds me of the 1,000 + hours I put into Morrowind back in the day…feels directly like the soundtrack to that game and that’s awesome.

    Being from Chicago and living about a 10 minute walk from the Cobra Lounge it’s hard not to love Trials and I sure do as well, another deserved honor. Why is it that not many metal sites can pick up on them? Baffling.

    All in all a great list, some agreeable and some disagreeable but there in lies the beauty of discussion, which is always fantastic around here. Thank all of you on staff for your hard work and dedication, thank each and every comment(er) and thank metal for the wonderful year of discovery, listening and reading pleasure.

    Happy new year from me to all!

    • John

      Hell yeah dude. Live in Ukie Village. Love the Cobra Lounge. And Trials.

      • Dr_Fisting

        What’s up neighbors!

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Happy Returns is the song that really floors me on the Wilson album. The last two lines are heartbreaking given Wilson’s inspiration for the album. RIP Joyce Carol Vincent.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      That is really good but the thing that does it for me in that album is that scream 3/4 way through Routine. That gets me every single time.

      • Ernesto Aimar

        Totally. The clip for Routinr is heart breaking. I really got to appreciate the album way more after seeing SW live…it’s such a huge experience I was inevitably overwhelmed

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Almost a year, and the Angra release is still not available in iTunes Canada. Just bizarre.

    • You can’t find it anywhere around here either. It’s been policed off YouTube as well. It’s crazy, I wonder if they’re on a major in Brazil and that major doesn’t fucking get the music industry.

      • JPOliveira91

        Most probably a problem with the Japanese major, since Secret Garden is avaliable at Brazilian Spotify.

    • tomasjacobi

      It just appeared on iTunes and Spotify here in Denmark in December. Don’t know why it took so long…

  • Irineu Carvalho

    My guesses for AMG’s #1 were Steven Wilson and Trials. I am glad that Trials got the nod on best song, but it could also have been Blink of an eye.

    • It could’ve been almost anything on the album. Absolutely adore every single song.

  • Diego Molero

    I think this is the best moment to say this: thaks to all the people in AMG for this site, before I first enter to it my music tastes were shitty, I listened to post-hardcore and punk and all that core stuff (I´m only 16 years old). But then I discovered this site (dont know how) and I beggin to listen to all the music you guys review and I was like crazy, i freaking loved it, I visit the site every day for hours and I read all the ROTM from July 2014 to july 2015 and basically every damn post I find on the site. Now I can´t say that I have learn a lot about true metal (or should I say trve ?) and I know that I would be a metalhead forever thanks to this site. So glad to see Wilderun at #1, my favorite album of the year by far, although it really surprise me that The Garden of Fire isn´t on the songs list

    • Awesome! Glad to hear you’re getting so much good music from us!

      Also, “The Garden of Fire” is amazing and probably belongs on the list. I agree.

    • Kronos

      Hey man, there are some really great core records out there; if you still have a soft spot for d-beats and yelling check out The Armed. Thanks for reading.

      • Diego Molero

        Yeah thats for sure, there is always an exception, for example I really liked that Lorna Shore album you put on your list, I will check The Armed . Thanks Kronos

        • Kronos

          I’ve taken a spin through that and quite liked it. Good suggestion. I’ll have to listen to it more.

    • Reese Burns

      Another good core band is Bury Tomorrow, their album Runes from last year is pretty great.

      • Diego Molero

        Haven’t hear of them. Will remember to check it out. Thanks!

        • Reese Burns

          You won’t regret it! They pretty much do metalcore minus the annoying emo stuff, hopefully you enjoy them :)

          • Diego Molero

            I listened to some tracks and so far so good, “Man on Fire” is good, some cool guitar in it around the 3 minute mark

    • chris

      This the best metal site on the web by so far its like john tardy doing a tampon ad and making it work.
      It makes no sense why this works but it just does.
      Brilliant writing. Great banter between the writers. It all works.
      It is my salve every day.
      Amg is an ass. But i love him.
      Never forgive for Killers.
      No never.
      I mean never.
      Steel D. Love your work.

  • John

    “when a record can make you pump your first”….First what, AMG? It IS a great song. As an aside, I always thought that’s what Stevie Nicks would sound like in metal.

    In all seriousness, awesome list, amazing website, and thanks for all the fish.

  • One More Thing

    I’m going to go in somewhat blind here with this statement but your list this year is much more reflective of the year as a whole (on this site) than in previous years. The fact that your list has six entries that were RotM this year and three or four others that were honorably mentioned in different months as well is pretty interesting. While the lists that I’ve seen contain albums that weren’t personally reviewed or weren’t even covered on this site, your list was the most consistent with what was selected as the top material over the year (if that makes sense).

    I always enjoy hearing your thoughtful reasoning on why/how a record moves you. I admit that when the RotMs come out, I check them out but I often forget about them while trying to keep up with all the other stuff that’s coming out (not just in metal either, as I missed The Dear Hunter’s new record IV by five months and just found it). This list reminded me of how strong those records were this year. Excellent list.

    I want to specifically thank you, Steel Druhm, and Madam X for making this site what it is. Part of my daily routine (and relaxation) is coming here to discover new music and interact with the phenomenal community. It’s very special to me and I appreciate you all. Happy New Year everyone!

  • Pimpolho

    Crimson fucking Swan. This is why i love this man. Also, very glad to see Sylosis and Symphony X here. (And why is Year of the Goat in the tags if it wasn’t mentioned? :P)

  • Kmill

    I was driving to work today and decided to listen to Wilderun. I was thinking to myself that the back half of this CD is about as good as it gets in music. I was pleasantly surprised to then see you list it as #1. I am kind of surprised that Linger or the title track didn’t make the top ten songs though. Both are perfect.

  • Lasse Momme

    strong list, only we both know that Gloryhammer is the best album of the year. (only kinda joking)

    also, I’ve been trying to join the message boards, but I’m not recieving a confirmation mail, is there anything you guys can do to help me?

    • I have no idea, actually. Will ask around.

      Also, I’d planned on giving Gloryhammer Record o’ the Year in Alternative Universe 1992, but that seemed like a long way to go to troll Druhm.

    • Lasse, are you sure it’s not in your spam box? Please email me directly so we can work it: http://www.metal-fi.com/about-page/contact/

      EDIT: We’ve had a bunch of new sign ups so AFAICT it is working fine.

      • That’s right, do your damned job!

      • Lasse Momme

        I just sent you a mail, thanks for trying to help me out!

  • El_Cuervo

    An excellent list AMG – I’m proud to call myself an AMG writer. I can certainly get behind Wilderun, a truly wonderful album.

  • Artorias Pyrelord

    Did tribulation get mentioned anywhere in the EOTY lists? What the hell, i think im taking crazy pills cuz that’s one of the best death albums of the decade.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      I assume you are talking about Formulas of Death, in which case you would be 200% correct. The Children of the Night is great but it’s a step down. Or a step left maybe because they are playing completely different music.

      • Agreed*. NCS featured Tribulation in a contributor’s top death metal albums of 2015, which raised an eyebrow or several.

        * Well, partly since The Horror is Tribulation’s best album.

        • André Snyde Lopes

          The Horror is very good but it’s just more of the same. Formulas is the real winner, in my opinion.

          • I really cannot get on with Formulas, and the same with Morbus Chron’s Sweven. I keep trying to listen to them and bouncing off. :(

          • André Snyde Lopes

            Sweven is a big hard to swallow but I am genuinely sorry that you can’t experience the joy of Formulas. By the time I get to the end of Apparitions, I have my arms up in the air and am looking at the skies gloriously.

  • SelfIndulgence

    I use to think metal was dead and I could never find anything new.
    After finding AMG I am always playing catch up not only with current release, but past ones as well.

    Great list and another great year of releases. Thanks all for your dedication and hard work.

  • Arjan Zwamborn

    This list resonates the excellence that I’ve become to love about this lone website on an internet filled with mediocrity. Congrats on an outstanding 2015, and I hope (and expect) nothing less than near perfection in 2016. Thanks!

  • I’ve been visiting this site religiously for the past two years now and yet still completely missed Wilderun. “The Garden of Fire” started off a bit wanky then turned full-on Opeth which is always a winner. So thank you one and all for a great site and often hilarious comment threads. If only I didn’t have to keep clicking “Load More Comments” for the more popular posts…

    Looking forward to 2016 and another great year of metal with the AMG crew. :)

  • mtlman1990

    Symphony X didn’t make it on any of the lists… WTF!

  • WhamBamSam

    I actually take roughly the opposite view on the Blind Guardian and Maiden albums. I thought Beyond the Red Mirror dragged a bit whereas there was enough to love about The Book of Souls for me to excuse its length and forgive, and even come to enjoy, some of its indulgences. It certainly could have been better had they trimmed some fat (their best since Somewhere in Time as opposed to just their best since Brave New World), but on the whole? I’m very much on board, even if there’s a risk the added weight might make the whole bloated thing might go down like the R101.

    Seems like a solid list, though I like the Honorable Mentions better. Vhol really came out of nowhere and gobsmacked me this year. Symphony X came with much higher expectations, but they managed to live up to them, even if Underworld was mostly drawing from the same wellsprings as the last three records.

  • Genezer

    Well that was a bit of a let down. I was sure you’d beat Steel’s list. You did put Steven Wilson on it for extra quadruppel bonus points, and some extra wild Dutchman hair points, but it wasn’t enough, the title for the ‘2015 Lists of Lists’ goes to Druhm.

    • I win! Where’s my Angry Metal Trophy ov Victory, Glory and Trveness??

    • My list pwns Druhm’s list, man. Honestly. The only reason he works here is because if I fired him he’d “go postal” if you know what I mean.

      • Your list is inferior, because it is missing Forefather. You did not even review this album. You will correct this immediately.

        • Forefather had a new album out? Wow I’ve been crap at keeping up with stuff this year. Will need to check that out.

          • Its great man, what did you think?

          • Honestly not that into it. I liked the last one, but they’re somewhat of a one-trick pony and I think they did that trick better last time. It sounds rather contrived. The vocals are a bit weak and the drum machine is more annoying on this one. Sorry!

  • William Hebblewhite

    Really great list. As with Fisting’s choice of Queensryche in his Top 10 I find Blind Guardian a perplexing (but absolutely brilliant) choice. While not in the same vein as their earlier work such as Nightfall and Imaginations; Red Mirror is still a quaffable album with very little bitter aftertaste.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Nice lists! Glad to see Wilderun get the top spot for a top shelf self released album. I agree on Underworld, I’m surprised it hasn’t been given more props about the place.
    As a reader following the blog for a few years now I believe it’s definately been a big year with a lot of great moments, Grymms always engaging comments, Dr Fisting working through his body count issues and going toe to toe with Al Kikuras over Sol Invictus, Madam X’s epic Verdun level Verdan multi review, the first ever 0 score, Steel Druhm’s Jorn Dracula fantasy and literally all the YMiO and 90s metal pieces. But the big show stopper for the year had to be your epic Iron Maiden countdown culminating in the excellent and controversial BoS review. Well done on that it was very much enjoyed!
    My No 1 album this year is also Wilderun El Cuervo’s review nailed it.
    Band of the year
    Horrendous, if great white sharks had guitars this is what it would sound like.
    Artist of the year (and drummer)
    Austin Lunn, for having the juice to come back so quickly with another epic and brilliant album.
    Vocal Perfomance
    Miny Parsons Time Machine
    Album Art
    Sulphur Aeon – Gateway…
    Promo Clip
    King Parrot – home is where the gutter is
    Most Underrated Album
    A Forrest of Stars, Beware the …. This album has got no love anywhere!!! I can’t goddamn understand it! What is wrong with people!!!
    Most Overrated
    High on fire, I like this record, it’s good … but I don’t understand how it keeps topping lists everywhere …
    What the Actual Fuck Award
    Danzig, Skelletons…there are no words

    Anyhow’s thanks again to all here, bosses, staff and commenters alike. I’m looking forward to shooting the shit about metal with you all in 2016

    Cheers

    • De2013

      Thanks for sharing your list.

      Did Madam X did the nominations for the WTAF award as well?

      Seriously I like Skeletons… I know it’s a different type of record. What does that say about me?

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Man Fair enough but I’m a long time Danzig fan and to me this is limp, weird and a conceptual failure. Initially I was excited by the concept, Danzig doing his version of Pin Ups and all the hate it was getting I presumed was just the usual hate he gets for existing… But I think this is so far below his standards. They are classic songs good enough to stand up to even harshest hatchet job, but he still somehow manages to make them unlistenable, totally the reverse of Pin Ups…After so long away I wish he’d put a solid original album together then with a band in form and on fire ripped out a arsekicking version of this. Which is what Bowie did with Pin Ups…

        • De2013

          True, I expected more as well. Looking forward to the new original album in 2016 (hopefully).

  • mtlman1990

    I also don’t understand all the hate for the new Enslaved album. I love it. It’s a grower.

  • Does AMG do a “Top posts of XXXX” to show which reviews/articles were the most popular? If not, is this something that might be considered? :)

  • Zadion

    Now that all the lists are published, I want to take this opportunity to thank all the staff, not for all their hard work throughout the year like everyone else, but for these lists. I want to thank you all for these lists. I am a man with a girlfriend and many, many hobbies and without the time for music like I once had, so often new releases slip right past me or don’t get the attention they deserve. And even when I am dedicating a significant portion of my time to music, it has lately been to appreciate all of the old music I’ve had and am already familiar with, because, in my pursuit to always keep up with the scene, I have neglected many great albums that should’ve gotten more attention. I do still check back often and I do still read the reviews periodically, and always pay attention when it is from a familiar band, but the last couple of years in particular I have relied on these lists to lead me to many of the year’s great albums I would’ve missed, or encourage me to revisit many albums I otherwise didn’t give much chance.

    So, again, thank you for these lists and for the Albums o’ the Month too, because without them I would be missing out on A LOT of shit. Cheers!

    • Zadion

      As a side note, I’m surprised that Kingcrow ended up on precisely NO ONE’s list. That was my favorite discovery through this site this year and is my personal AOTY.

  • CyberJesus

    As a music addict I almost rely on this site to provide me with a constant stream of new, excellent records and you guys always deliver! Cheers and here’s to 2016!

  • Thatguy

    Thanks for it all AMG. I can’t even gripe about you list this year. Crack on.

  • Reese Burns

    My list, for whoever cares:

    Top albums

    #10 Out of the Garden – Crypt Sermon
    #9 Bloom – Caligula’s Horse
    #8 The Reject of Humanity – I, Valience
    #7 Sorni Nai – Kauan
    #6 Aria if Veneral Tombs – Obsequiae
    #5 London – Voices (2015 North American release date, deal with it)
    #4 The Night, the Lonliness – Vardan
    #3 Her Halo – Teramaze
    #2 Sleep at the Edge of the Earth – Wildrun
    #1 The Ride Majestic – Soilwork

    Biggest Disappointment

    Repentless – Slayer (Why, God? Why?)

    As always, thanks for a great site, and for opening me up to so much great music. All the best for the year to come!

  • 517H

    Awesome I really like the list, mate. Glad you gave recognition to Symphony X and Blind Guardian. And Agra man I am constantly going back to that album it’s glorious. Wilderun for number 1!!!1one

    I must check out Trials and Barren Earth.

    Thanks for all the effort reviewing, guys. Sometimes I don’t agree and sometimes I do. But I always get a laugh and a chance to find some really special music.

    Cheers to 2016, everyone!

  • John Mosley

    Nice list. Great to see Barren Earth and Trials way up there. I keep spinning Wilderun, but find it doesnt resonate; has all the right ingredients but not wowing me for some damn reason.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    I made the mistake of posting a comment with the link ‘angrymetalguy dot com’ about two minutes after the article went up and I don’t think Disqus liked it.

    The gist though as i’d definitely like to show my gratitude. 2015 has been a terrific year, and that has been most in part to you, and the community here at AMG. I have been blown away at the discussions, the reviews, the music finds, all of it. Heck, on one of the reviews here, a few strapping young lads had the patience to introduce me to quite literally over one hundred classic black metal and death metal records that my young ears had not yet heard of. And while I am shocked at the inclusion of Gloryhammer, and even more shocked that no one owned up to their crimes (see attached, I tried to emulate the situation best as possible), I could not have asked for a better year for metal!

    I wish you all the best, captain. To 2016!

    • El_Cuervo

      The plot thickens. The Madam is involved now?

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        I believe she was the very first member of staff to give Wilderun’s latest a listen (seeing as that comment was posted a day after the record was released). The Madam has hidden thus far, but her sins will soon catch up to her! Assuming she mulled it over, she missed a damn fine release!

  • Kill The King

    Love this site. Discovered so much music from it. I get sad just thinking of a life where I didn’t hear some of the bands I found on here.

    P.S. You need your own merch!!!

  • Another year, another great list! Trials, Wilderun, and Gloryhammer are my most listened to new albums of 2015. Thanks to the whole crew for a year of great reviews!

  • Fuinha

    Great list. Not enough Obsequiae.

    • Lacertilian

      Is there ever enough Obsequiae?

  • Fuinha

    What would be a top 5 songs featuring Floor Jansen? I’m not familiar with her work.

    • JPOliveira91

      Not actually a Top “Best perfomances by Floor”, but a list of 5 songs covering her carrer:

      1) Nightwish – Ghost Love Score (Live At Wacken)
      2) Star One – Valley of the Queens (Live On Earth)
      3) After Forever – Monolith of Doubt
      4) After Forever – Being Everyone
      5) ReVamp – Here’s My Hell

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    My God, your list is pretty close to mine! Well, in fairness mine’s called “Incredibly Well-Received Records that I Just Didn’t Get the Appeal of in 2015” and it’s in my head, but still!

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    Thanks AMG and staff for a great 2015. It’s an honor to read your work. Happy New Year from the land of queso and the Pack.
    I have noticed that no lists contained my favorite album of the year. Check out Yesterday’s Saints – Generation of Vipers. You will not be disappointed. It’s a blistering concept album about the rise of Satan. The song Sangreale has the most plays by me this past year. Cheers!

    • Kronos

      Wisconsin? Where you at? (Kenosha native).

      • FutureBeyondSatan

        Only a six pack from Kenosha. Sheboygan area.

  • Eryops

    Thank you everyone at AMG for another year of fantastic reading, and awesome music. A couple of things I’d like to say:

    #1 I agree that Nightwish was _such_ a disappointment. I thought the Elan single was a tease of Floor holding back for what was to come on the album. I don’t understand what happened considering the live performances that preceded it.

    #2 My New Years Resolution is to buy every record of the month to diversify my viewpoints on different sub-genres that I’m not immersed in a lot. One question though: I’m making myself buy everyone’s top record of the year and some I’m finding to be a little more on the expensive side to get on CD (already ordered a couple of CDs from Europe). Should I be feeling this guilt and shame for even thinking about buying in MP3 format? I’ve only bought one non-physical album (Dreamgrave) and I still feel kind of dirty because of it. If it’s no less metal to buy electronic versions of songs, I could use a little friendly fist pumping to let me know it’s okay.

    • Eryops

      Also: HEAVY METAL LABELS – you don’t need to do the white text on dark background on your website. This isn’t an Angelfire page you’re making to share with your emo friends, but something that people need to read so they can buy things from you. Stop it.

      • What they REALLY need is a MySpace page.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I buy more than half my music digitally and I think CDs are a dying medium, very soon I will probably stop picking them up…
      People should buy music and support the artists whose work they enjoy and digital sales are good for this as you can often buy direct.
      So go for it dude!

    • El_Cuervo

      I would probably have felt the same previously, but Bandcamp is such a fantastic service for the producer (the bands) and the consumer (us, the listeners).

      I have no qualms with using it and have dropped way more money into it than I should have done on my student budget.

    • Kronos

      Buy on Bandcamp! that’s the best way I know of getting your money to the artist, and since you can download in mp3, mp3 V0 or lossless, there’s no reason to get a cd shipped somewhere because you want the highest quality files.

      • Eryops

        I think I’m still stuck on having the physical product in my hands. I find the liner notes (even font choices matter to me) and art are an extension of the music and it isn’t the same looking at something similar on a screen. I’ll try though…

        • Kronos

          I get that, certainly.
          Speaking of liner notes, a recent album I got off of Bandcamp (Peripety by Kardashev) has different art tied to each song (each is a simple, understated rothko-esque painting) which i thought was a cool way to provide something extra in the tradition of liner notes/art books.

    • Kronos

      Also, cool name. I’m very interested in palaeozoology.

  • Noobhammer

    I think I’ve finally nailed down my top ten list, after one notable late entry

    caused some kershuffle

    (Ish) – The Sword – High Country

    10. King Crow – Eidos
    9. Gloryhammer – Space 1992 : Rise of the Chaos Wizards
    8. Symphony X – Underworld
    7. Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
    6. Ghost – Meliora
    5. Blind Guardian – Through the Red Mirror
    4. Panopticon – Autumn Eternal
    3.Macabre Omen – Gods of War – At War

    The review and embedded track made me want to get this album, and once I did I was hooked. The songs and hooks entranced me, where I keep humming the parts throughout the day.

    2. Baroness – Purple
    I was unsure where to put this record, due to it’s recentlessness. But honestly since it came out it just hasn’t left my rotation, and it just seems like the best of both Baroness worlds.

    1. Obsequiae – Aria of Vernal Tombs

    This. THIS. THHHHHHIIIIIISSSSSSSSSS record. It is flat out amazing. I have not been able to go a day without listening to it on my musical device, or even spinning the vinyl. It is one of the best bands this site has shown me.

    I just want to take the time as well to thank EVERYONE at AMG, because all of you together make one of the most honest, brutal, hilarious, and meaningful review publishers I have had the pleasure of reading. Your writing constantly makes me want to improve my own writing, and bands you introduce constantly scratch that itch of finding new artists. So from the bottom of this metaller’s steel heart, as he soars upon the wings of the great black dragon Dargonacyst III, wielding the great NOOBHAMMER he uses to smash the noobs of metal, I thank you for work.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Thanks for pointing out the Sword release. I somehow missed that. Warp Riders is still one of my favourites. Panopticon is on my list of 2015 greats as well.

      • John Mosley

        Didn’t dig the new Sword, unfortunately. Love the old stuff.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Just listened to it today, and it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting based on their earlier material. Doesn’t work for me either. Bummer.

          • Noobhammer

            It’s not heavy at all, but I still enjoyed it pretty much. It seems like they’re slowly progressing towards a psychedelia style.

          • John Mosley

            They have run the gamut from early folk-metal, to sci-fi inspired doom-esque power(y) metal, to this psychedelic stuff. They certainly follow their muse.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            To be fair, I listened to the new album on the computer while doing other stuff. Should listen again when I have time to give it my full attention.

          • John Mosley

            Are you an Intronaut fan? How do you the the latest album?

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Have to admit they’re new to me, but I’ll check them out.

          • SegaGenitals

            Prehistoricisms is still my favorite Intronaut album. The Reptillian Brain!!!

    • SegaGenitals

      The new Obsequiae truly is the tits. Solid album.

  • Thank you lot for such an amazing year and amusing reviews and all the great bands you introduced me to! I think I’m part of the recent readership growth, and it’s a pity I didn’t find this site earlier.
    Wilderun is such a good choice, and that’s definitely not a band I would have discovered without this site. (And the one who recommended it to staff.)

    Re: Nightwish even I, who is so far up the band’s ass it’s not even funny, was slightly disappointed by the release. But I did go to see them live and I stared at Floor for two hours and now I love the album. Emotions suck, man.

  • Anomander

    Great list, great music, great year:)
    Thanks for all posts and reviews, looking forward to reading further interesting stuff in 2016.
    Wilderun is awesome, currently listening to Crimson Swan, and I could continue…
    Thanks to this site I have discovered lots of great music this year. Wishing all the staff a very happy end of year, thanks for your dedication and effort to keep this site running.

    • I hope that Crimson Swan gets a bit more attention. I think they’re a cool band and they have gone largely unnoticed this year. They’ve got like 900 fans on Facebook.

      • Anomander

        Me too. I became their 51st follower on Spotify which is also a shame. Will spread the word locally.
        Btw did you have the chance to listen to In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross from Sorcerer? Another doom masterpiece from this year, however quite different from Crimson Swan.

  • And as a mildly depressing afternote, Trials just announced that they’ve split up. Fuuuuuuuuuuu

    • No shit, right? “Appreciate what you’ve got while it’s still in reach.” :(

  • Derek Robins

    Too bad Trials broke up

  • Kuzyubr

    Thank you for your work, AMG!
    But… you somehow got past the new Gazpacho release, Molok. And it’s simply outstanding and maybe even better than Demon was. It’s a pity that you haven’t listened to it.

  • Ernesto Aimar

    I agree Iron Maiden’s “Book of Souls” was somehow dissapointing, but “Empire of the Clouds” SHOULD have a place among the best songs of the year. Dickinson’s pen at it’s best, with an incredible emotional vibe. Cheers to Bruce for that wonderful song.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Kinda surprised you hated that new Maiden so much.

  • Flyingguillotine

    I’d like to echo the thanks for this site. I’ve made some really fantastic discoveries since I found it, and I definitely keep coming back for more recommendations. After all, you can never have too much metal in your life.

  • Alex Benedict

    really surprised, but glad, to see sylosis in the honorable mentions. Edge of the Earth is one of my favorite albums ever despite the length

  • Brandon Gurwitz

    I’ve been following all of the top 10 lists and thinking “Seriously, I think more of you need to be giving Trials and Wilderun the respect they deserve.” To each their own, though.

    Besides, I knew AMG would agree with me.

  • Have we learned NOTHING from Norway’s war with Impaled Nazarene? It’s been like twenty years and some crazy metal Swede decides “hey let’s start a big fight with Finland” because that went SO WELL LAST TIME.

    • Wait, what? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • Oh well impaled nazarene in the early 90s became convinced that Norwegian metal fans were sending them death threats and it was kind of a thing for a few years. Finns v Norwegians.

  • Stefunal

    Great list, AMG! Even if I do not always check out what you recommend (because I’m a poor Russian student and can’t afford to buy western music now that the ruble is screwed up so hard), but reading your articles is always fun. Your “above average” writing always makes me learn a lot of smart-sounding English words which I appreciate a lot.

    Some of those are on my list as well, yet I think most of you guys missed out on the debut from the polish guys from Batushka, which is called “Litourgiya”. Absolutely amazing, it’s a blend of pretty pissed black metal with orthodox church chanting. You don’t like recommendations, I know, yet you might want to take a peek on them on Youtube. Absolutely worth it.

    • El_Cuervo

      There is a TYMHM on the way I believe.

      • Stefunal

        That’s what my very subtle hint was about. Good to know! :)

  • Despite reading lots of reviews here last year, I listened to so little new music that I can’t even come up with a top five over 2015…at least AMG got me into The Gallery and Miasma, so that’s something.
    This year I should maybe try to listen to the albums reviewed favourably here, instead of just visiting this site for the enjoy of deep reviews.

    Thanks for your hard work, AMG and colleagues!

  • Krzystov

    Nice to see you giving cred to this year’s Barren Earth. Thought for sure you would show some love for the new Paradise Lost though. Oh well.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Happy Metal Guy lives!! Check out the Forum!

  • Alexandre Barata

    I found it disturbing that only 2 people in the AMG staff got Sulphur Aeon in the top 10 lists, and even more disturbing that Chapel of Disease made none. That makes me wonder whars wrong with you all, and that you people need Jesus in your lives!!! :P

    • Kronos

      Steely D gave Stryper a pretty glowing review, though.

      • Alexandre Barata

        Ahaha true

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Just realised there was no mentions of ‘Weltschmerz’ by Totem Skin or ‘Orange Mathematics’ by Frontierer. Especially surprised about the Totem Skin record seeing how many similarities it bears to Unplugged. Both are definitely worth checking out; ‘Orange Mathematics’ is one heck of a violent ride

  • Clayton Haga

    Why did Year of the Goat not make it on anyone’s list this year?

  • Innit Bartender

    A great piece to read as always. I totally agree with you on Blind Guardian, to the point that Distant Memories is my personal song of the year and I can’t believe they put it in as a bonus track. I mean, the suites are great but THAT chorus is the best Dio chorus in recent years.
    I really need to go back to Wilderun. I have the album but it suffered heavily from my Lack of Decent Equipment and Decent Room to Listen Music To (LDEDRLMT) syndrome. That’s what happens when you move into a house that’s nothing more than walls and a roof.

    • Innit Bartender

      Oops and I forgot: still awaiting the Bean Chair Ratings this year!

  • Nick Maestas

    I thought you were bluffing with that album of the year then I heard it and almost cried.

  • You wot m8?

    I hate to be the guy who asks “what about x album?” [lol, that’s a lie]. However, where the hell is Alkaloid? It was so deliciously quirky, heavy yet joyful, proggy yet discernibly dark and complex. Spoiler alert: I loved it.

    Joyful fanboying aside, it remains something that really made 2015 stand out for me. After listening to it again, I returned to this blog, went through all the Top 10’s, and discovered nary an honorable mention. Did we just all forget about it, or am I the only one who enjoyed it to such a degree?

  • A Feed From Cloud Mountain

    Thank you so much for the shot at Nightwish. I was also stoked for Endless Forms ever since hearing their massive Wacken Open Air show with Floor, and I should have picked up the hints with Elan and some of the leaked songs that it was going to be less than impressive.

    I guess I’ll hold out hope for the next album in 2020 or whenever they get around to it, and consider Showtime, Storytime to be their official first album with Floor.

  • Steve

    Atleast Beyond the Red Mirror got a mention. Can’t believe it’s not getting more appreciation. Not a weak moment on there. I was actually pleasantly suprised by the new Maiden as well, far better than the previous two and it abandoned a lot of the songwriting cliches that plagued their longer songs since Fear of the Dark.

  • SegaGenitals

    I finally buy the Wilderun hype. Very much a slow burner, worth the patience of multiple spins before it rips your soul out through your taint.

  • MrAidscancer

    Dang, this Wilderun single The Garden of Fire somwhere in the middle sounds almost like Xantochtiod’s Long Live Our Lifeless King. I was thinking about this for two hours, “where the puck I heard this phrase?!”

  • Wolfbite1970

    Iron Maiden “Book of Souls” was a disappointment? That’s news to me I think it’s one of their best albums in awhile! I’m talking almost every song is amazing on the album to be honest, and 2015 was a damn good year for Black Metal actually one of the best!

  • Pedro Ordonez

    Holy crap! Thanks for this must read list! I don’t agree about Maiden, though. There were some suggestions here that I would have missed, thank you!!!

  • Indeed, this aeonic site is transcendent excellence in intelligent and enthusiastic coverage of depth with wit & vision across the vast savage sonic spectrum ripping forth in global realms of metal…

  • Agalloch90

    Thanks AMG for Crimson Swan’s Unlit. Album has great atmosphere with slight raw (early Agalloch?) feeling to it.

  • Tom Hardy

    Putridity – Ignominious Atonement
    Psudoku – Planaterisk Psudoku
    Viscera Infest – Verrocous Carcinoma
    Mgła – Exercises in Futility
    Encenathrakh – s/t
    Outre – Ghost Chants
    Krallice – Ygg Huur
    Ad Nauseam – Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est
    VI – De Praestigiis Angelorum
    Revenge – Behold.Total.Rejection
    Batushka – Litourgiya
    Carpenter Brut – III
    Gunship – s/t

    @AlphaBetaFoxface @Kronos

    • Alex Benedict

      carpenter brut though. Won’t find synthwave here

      • Tom Hardy

        Shame. Either way, these were my top albums of the year regardless of genre. Thanks for checking it out, I realize I’m late to the party. The next shot’s on me.

  • Eli Valcik

    awwww no Khemmis

  • Marco Albright

    I bought Wildrun because of its rating here, while it definetey has some wow moments and tracks it overall feels too sterile, too cleanly produced
    I’ve listened to it probably a dozen + times and that’s about all I can say for now, 2.5/5
    Don’t think it would make my top 10 for the year