Top Releases of 2015

Reminiscing and reflecting on events of the last year is always a common theme once December rolls around. In regards to music, there’s been plenty of great releases that I’ve come across from a variety of genres. Although mostly death metal, there have been some solid albums outside that style that have given me much enjoyment. So here is my list of my favourite 2015 releases, categorized by release type, and sorted alphabetically. Streaming links have been included.

Abyss – Heretical Anatomy [Death metal from Toronto, ON. 20 Buck Spin. Bandcamp]
In 20 minutes, these Canucks crank out some serious Swedish-style death metal with a clear crust foundation that sounds somewhere between Entombed and Repulsion.

Adversarial – Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism [Death metal from Toronto, ON. Dark Descent Records. Bandcamp]
Sophomore full length that sucks you into a pit of razors and reduces you to black bile. Album of the year.

Ares Kingdom – The Unburiable Dead [Death/thrash from Kansas City, MO. Nuclear War Now! Productions. Bandcamp]
Third full length effort by legendary midwest death thrashers. Epic songwriting and pounding riffs.

The Body & Thou – Release from Love / You, Whom I Always Have Hated [Sludge from Portland, OR & Baton Rouge, LA. Thrill Jockey Records. Bandcamp]
Neurosis inspired sludge by two bands coming together to create a really heavy record.

Cannibal Ox – Blade of the Ronin [Hip Hop from Brooklyn, NY. iHipHop Distribution. Soundcloud]
My only hip-hop choice that I was really into this year, Can Ox return with their follow up to 2001’s “Cold Vein.”

Cruciamentum – Charnel Passages [Death metal from England. Profound Lore Records. Stream]
Incantation inspired death metal that sounds cavernous but was recorded by extremely competent hands. Perfect balance of tones.

Crypt Sermon – Out of the Garden [Doom metal from Philadelphia, PA. Dark Descent Records. Bandcamp]
Members of Trenchrot/Unrest playing heavy doom metal with a good dose of Dio/Tony Martin era Sabbath. Big hooks ahead.

G.O.D. – Body Horror [Goregrind from Peterborough, ON. Blastasfuk Grindcore. Bandcamp]
Taking influence from the best old school death metal, grindcore, and crust bands, these gore-mongers really grind hard.

Goatsnake – Black Age Blues [Stoner doom metal from Los Angeles, CA. Southern Lord Records. Bandcamp]
Goatsnake’s comeback album proves to be more upbeat than some of their previous material but it’s very infectious with it’s blues driven riffage.

Grave Ritual – Morbid Throne [Death metal from New Orleans, LA. Dark Descent Records. Bandcamp]
Fat-free death metal that gets down to business with sinfully catchy riffs. This follow up LP is a set up from their already excellent debut.

Gruesome – Savage Land [Death metal from California/Florida. Relapse Records. Bandcamp]
Fans of late 80’s/early 90’s Death have to hear this record. Matt Harvey of Exhumed and friends pay tribute to the founding death metal act.

Hooded Menace – Darkness Drips Forth [Death metal from Finland. Relapse Records. Bandcamp]
This band never seems to let up on putting out quality death doom. I don’t think they’ll ever top the debut, but their approach of combining Candlemass melodies over heavy death/doom proves golden.

Horrendous – Anareta [Death metal from Philadelphia, PA/Columbia, SC. Dark Descent Records. Bandcamp]
Following up their highly acclaimed sophomore album from last year, Horrendous unleashes another slab of death metal that utilizes a lot of melody (reminding me of “Testimony of the Ancients”). I didn’t like the last one that much, but this one is definitely more on point. A+ production as well.

Iskra – Ruins [Black metal from Victoria, BC. Black Raven Records. Bandcamp]
The third LP from this modern classic Canadian band is some of their best work. They’ve pretty much crossed over to a full on Scandi-black metal sound, and I’m a fan.

Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat [Grindcore from England. Century Media. Youtube]
Some of the most dynamic Napalm Death in years, these grindcore legends keep it fresh by injecting a lot of dirge driven desolation into their 15th full length.

Perdition Temple – The Tempter’s Victorious [Death metal from Tampa, FL. Hells Headbangers Records. Bandcamp]
The best thing that Gene Palubicki has done since Angelcorpse’s “The Inexorable.” Having a full line up really helped this record stand out among the crap he’s released in the last 10 years.

Pissgrave – Suicide Euphoria [Death metal from Philadelphia, PA. Profound Lore Records. Bandcamp]
The artwork sums this record up well – fucking disgusting. Real blasty and filthy death metal with Deicide-esque vocals.

Revenge – Behold.Total.Rejection [Black metal from Edmonton, AB. Season of Mist. Soundcloud]
Edmonton’s own Revenge has certainly made themselves a cult classic, and their fifth album continues down the savage path of war metal that was first traveled under the Conqueror banner.

Rhythm of Cruelty – Saturated [Post-Punk/Industrial from Edmonton, AB. Mass Media Records. Bandcamp]
After releasing their excellent debut “Dysphoria” last year, these dirge-y post-punkers have pushed their music to even more mature territories. Absolutely love it.

Scaphe – Long Way Down [Hardcore/Alt Rock from Minneapolis, MN. Insides Music. Bandcamp]
Taking influence from a variety of bands, such as Dinosaur Jr. and their local legends Husker Du, Scaphe’s sophomore record is a dynamic journey of sonic brilliance.

Shroud of the Heretic – Unorthodox Equilibrium [Death metal from Portland, OR. Iron Bonehead Productions. Bandcamp]
Four tracks of creepy death metal from the Pacific Northwest. They conjure up a similar feel to Deathspell Omega but with a more death metal aesthetic.

Suffering Mind – Wastefarm [Grindcore from Poland. 365 Thrashcore. Bandcamp]
Suffering Mind just doesn’t stop putting out quality grindcore. These Polish grinders have a frantic pace to their music that outdoes most of their peers.

Unrest – Grindcore [Grindcore from Philadelphia, PA. Unspeakable Axe Records. Bandcamp]
A project of Trenchrot/Crypt Sermon members that took its time to see the light of day. Fans of Nasum will love this record for it’s varied approach and big hooks.

Vastum – Hole Below [Death metal from San Francisco, CA. 20 Buck Spin. Bandcamp]
Bay area death metallers Vastum have returned with their third full length of suffocating death metal. They have yet to disappoint.

Weed – Running Back [Alt rock/grunge from Vancouver, BC. Lefse Records. Bandcamp]
This Vancouver based/Wisconsin born band bangs out some grungy tunes in the vein of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. This is a really chill record and it has a lot of replay value.

The Weir – Calmness of Resolve [Sludge/doom metal from Calgary, AB. Bandcamp]
Taking the Neurosis/Isis sound, The Weir produces some earth trembling heaviness drenched in melancholy.

AHNA – Perpetual Warfare [Death metal/crust from Vancouver, BC. Choking Hazard/Neanderthal Stench. Bandcamp]
The stench of death that AHNA has unleashed on this mLP is unreal. Crusty Bolt Thrower worship that has it’s own unique voice. My favourite short release of the year.

Autopsy – Skull Grinder [Death metal from Oakland, CA. Peaceville. Youtube]
Death metal legends Autopsy have been going strong since reforming. 2015 sees their new mLP spill forth filth and doom, just as you’d expect from Autopsy.

Besieged – s/t 7” [Death/thrash from Winnipeg, MB. Unspeakable Axe Records. Bandcamp]
After forging a relationship with Unspeakable Axe records to properly release the “Victims Beyond All Help” album, the altar of Sepultura is further worshiped with two new tracks from these Winnipeg death thrashers.

Blood Incantation – Interdimensional Extinction [Death metal from Colorado. Dark Descent Records. Bandcamp]
Proper technical death metal should have hooks, and Blood Incantation do that just right with their sci-fi themed death metal. Fans of Demilich and Timeghoul have to hear this.

Languid – 4 Tracks Live [D-beat from Edmonton, AB. Self Released. Bandcamp]
I recorded this demo, so I’m totally bias, but I love how it turned out despite the fact that it was done in just a matter of days from recording to mastering. Fans of Green Beret, Warcry, and Discharge in general should take note of these Edmonton crusties.

Messiahlator – Demo 2015 [Death metal/Crust from Edmonton, AB. Self Released. Bandcamp]
Another demo I’m totally biased about as I handled all the audio work for it, but again I’m very pleased with the final results. Perfect combination of Swedish death metal and crust with a pinch of sludge. Certainly some of the finest in Edmonton.

Spectral Voice – Necrotic Doom [Death/doom metal from Colorado. Self released. Bandcamp]
Members of Blood Incantation also play in a death/doom band that will satisfy anyone who’s into stuff like diSEMBOWELMENT or Winter.

Trenchgrinder – Demo 2015 [Death metal from Brooklyn, NY. Self released. Bandcamp]
Savage Bolt Thrower worship out of NYC, Trenchgrinder returns with a second demo that’ll convince you to drive a tank into your neighbour’s house.

Witchrist – Vritra [Death metal from New Zealand. Iron Bonehead Productions. Bandcamp]
Easily their best material since “Beheaded Ouroboros,” these Kiwis churned out a cross between Pestilence and Bolt Thrower to make a solid three track EP.

Black Witchery/Revenge – Holocaustic Death March to Humanity’s Doom [Black metal from Florida/Edmonton, AB. Nuclear War Now! Productions. Bandcamp]
This is like the sequel to the Black Witchery/Conqueror split, with years of experience behind it. Savage war metal pairing, and was a great way to get hyped for the new Revenge LP.

Blood Incantation/Spectral Voice 7″ [Death metal from Colorado. Bleak Environment/Woodsmoke. BI side, SV side]
These two bands made the list already with their EP/demos, so of course this split 7″ is also fantastic.

Vassafor/Temple Nightside – Call of the Maelstrom [Black/death metal from New Zealand/Australia. Iron Bonehead Productions. Bandcamp]
A pairing of oceanic black/death metal, and likely the best material from both bands.

Witchrist/Antediluvian 7″ [Death metal from New Zealand/Edmonton, AB. Martyrdoom Productions. A side]
This split was planned years ago, as the Antediluvian side was recorded at the time of the “Revelations in Excrement” EP, but the Witchrist side was only recorded recently alongside the aforementioned “Vritra” EP.