2015. The year of my birth… I’m referring to my blog, Metal & Coffee, of course. Starting this blog has influenced me to dive deeper into the metal genre where I was able to try on new subgenres and take it or leave it. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I am not the typical metalhead. Some of the cliche bands that people throw at me when they find out I’m a metalhead end up not being bands that I’m an actual fan of. Surprise! Surprise! So with that said, here are my Top 21 albums of 2015 and I hope to bring to light some stuff you might have missed out on.

21. SOFY MAJOR – Waste

"Waste" by SOFY MAJOR This album was actually sent to me from Solar Flare Records, a French label who houses some sick fucking bands (as I would eventually come to find out). SOFY MAJOR, who are from France as well, are heavy rockers who mastered the noise rock formula. The album is high-octane from start to finish. Favorite Tracks: Waste, Slow Everywhere

20. Void of Sleep – New World Order

"New World Order" by Void of SleepHailing from Italy, Void of Sleep dropped their second LP and it has to be one of the most domineering progressive metal records I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. There is a high level of musical artistry displayed on this album and it reminds me of Opeth. Not a bad band to be compared to. Believe me. Favorite Tracks: Hidden Revelations, New World Order

19. TesseracT – Polaris

"Polaris" by TesseracTI’d heard of this British prog metal act before but this was the first album that I actually listened to by them. I’m usually not into such clean production and djent-infused prog but I was strangely into it. The album is musically sophisticated and extremely well-done. They have some pretty sick grooves as well. Favorite Tracks: Dystopia, Survival

18. Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower

"Grief's Infernal Flower" by WindhandThis was one of the few doom metal albums released in 2015 that had such a crushing track as an opener. Two Urns, in all its overly saturated and heavy guitar riffage glory, set the tone for the rest of the album. And yay, for ladies on the vocal front line! Favorite Tracks: Two Urns, Crypt Key

17. Publicist UK – Forgive Yourself

"Forgive Yourself" by Publicist UKThis one kinda snuck into my line of sight while I was perusing new punk releases. I’ve always found post-punk (also known as new wave) to be an intriguing subgenre simply because of how opposite it is from its punk of a parent. Forgive Yourself is Publicist UK’s debut release and I find it quite dark and pleasant. I’ve always adored the zombie vocals that tend to be a characteristic of post-punk. Favorite Tracks: Canary, You Are the Stars

16. Bleak – We Deserve Our Failures

"We Deserve Our Failures" by BleakOh, Bleak. I almost missed out on this release but I’m so glad I discovered it. Hardcore, mathcore, noisecore… CORE CORE CORE CORE. I can keep going guys but I’ll spare you. This is another debut LP that tickled my fancy. Man, I’m noticing that I have a lot of debuts on this list. Not complaining. 2015 was a good year for new music. Favorite Tracks: Century of Youth, Deficit

15. All Them Witches – Open Passageways

"Open Passageways" by SOFY MAJORThis is one of those albums that you truly have to sit down and let yourself experience. This was my first time hearing music by these Nashville psychedelic natives but it was enough to make me want to check out their previous work. But seriously, if you listen to this, you’re going on a journey illuminated by neon lights, confusion and desert… Favorite Tracks: Dirt Preachers, This is Where it Falls Apart

14. Indian Handcrafts – Creeps

"Creeps" by Indian HandcraftsI saw this duo open for Kylesa and I had no choice but to check out their sophomore release after such a sick performance. They’ve got some major volume and heat live and this album reflects that quite well. This album is for fans of noisy fuzzy loud obnoxious rock & roll. Favorite Tracks: It’s Late Queeny, Brothers Undergroud

13. Riverside – Love, Fear and the Time Machine

"Love, Fear and the Time Machine" by RiversideI’ve been following Riverside for a while and their melancholic serenading progressive ways will always have a place in my heart. If you haven’t heard of them before, they are definitely more on the artistic and experimental side of the progressive rock spectrum. They have very strong concept albums. Like Steven Wilson strong. And I admire that. Their releases before this one didn’t catch my ear but I’m glad they caught their stride again. Favorite Tracks: Discard Your Fear, Under The Pillow

12. Black Fast – Terms of Surrender

"Terms of Surrender" by Black FastThis was out-of-the-box for me because thrash metal has never gotten my attention until I checked this out (Yes, I suck. I know). But hey guys, I’m here now thanks to Black Fast. They’ve got some really good breakdowns throughout this record, which is probably why I was swayed to keep listening if we’re being honest here. Not to mention, the guitar riffage is speedy and clever as hell. I like this guys. I like it. Favorite Tracks: To Propagate The Void, I Conspire

11. Pigs – Wronger

"Wronger" by PIGSAnother great noise record released this year. Featuring a line-up of well-seasoned NY musicians, I understand why it sounds so amazingly polished and grimey at the same time. This was another new discovery for me since I had never heard of PIGS before even with them having release their debut album a couple years prior to this. Better late than never. Favorite Tracks: Life in Pink, Bet It All on Black

10. Graveyard – Innocence & Decadence

"Innocence & Decadence" by GraveyardI have a love affair with Graveyard. Though, I will admit to being a bit nervous about this release because their previous album, Lights Out, didn’t do much for me. And after listening to this album, I realized that my ill feelings towards their last record was simply a resist to change. Graveyard have been continually creeping into a sultry blues direction, releasing more and more vocal-centric and groove-driven tracks that force you to slow down and take in what Graveyard wants you to feel. Innocence & Decadence introduced new vocal experimentation and the band’s continued journey into blues with ballads of longing and love. I appreciate them. And I appreciate this album. Favorite Tracks: Never Theirs to Sell, Cause & Defect

9. Khemmis – Absolution

"Absolution" by KhemmisFirst release from these Colorado doomers. They have this classic formula down so well. I was literally punched in the face by the opening track and the abuse continued throughout the entire album. The hefty amount of clean singing is a beautiful touch to the darkness of it all. Favorite Tracks: Tom Asunder, Antediluvian

8. Belzebong – Greenferno

"Greenferno" by BelzebongThis album is so amazingly slow and fuzzy. They harbor the most sour riffs and repeat the shit over and over until you’re in a sonic trance. This is another first listen for me as I did not know who Belzebong were prior to checking out their latest. But I can only imagine how much of an ear rape fest seeing them live must be. I’ll be there for sure. Favorite Track: Undertoker

7. Minsk – The Crash and The Draw

"The Crash and The Draw" by MinskOh, the return of Minsk. I remember their earlier work but they had been on hiatus for so long that I nearly forgot about them. This album is such a fantastic everything-metal record. I say “everything-metal” because you can hear a variety of metal on this album and you simply can’t place just one label on it. There’s some black metal, atmospheric metal, post metal, sludge, progressive. Like I said, EVERYTHING. So be prepared for that when you give it a listen. Favorite Tracks: Within and Without, Onward Procession II. The Soil Calls

6. Caspian – Dust and Disquiet

"Dust and Disquiet" by CaspianAnother oddball made it to my EOY list. But I had no intention of leaving out such an anticipated and satisfying release. Caspian have consistently recorded the most beautiful pieces of music, putting them at the forefront of the post-rock movement. This album marked a turning point in the band’s career, as it was the first full-length recorded since the sudden death of their original bassist, Chris Friedrich. I mention this because if you felt as sorrowful as I felt while listening to this album for the first time, that’s why. This record was also the first to include a prominent amount of vocals. I’m simply in love. Favorite Tracks: Run Dry, Ríoseco

5. Pentagram – Curious Volume

"Curious Volume" by PentagramThis goes without saying but Pentagram is the God of all things stoner and doom. Around since the 1970s, you’d think that Pentagram would be taking it easy and enjoying their high ranks. But nope! They are still releasing music and it’s still crushing. Favorite Tracks: Dead Bury Dead, Curious Volume

4. Heiress – Of Great Sorrow

"Of Great Sorrow" by HeiressThis was the first metal album of 2015 that I listened to and it stuck with me. The first track, “Of Great Sorrow”, gave me the familiar chill that washes over me when hardcore meets metal in a… “post-”  kind of way. This is Heiress’ second LP and something I would recommend getting your hands on. Oh, and one more thing. These guys are from Seattle. That tiny fact should be enough to get you to check it out if you’re familiar with the kind of artists Seattle gives birth to. Favorite Tracks: Silent Hooves, Just Two Figures

3. Underling – Bloodworship

"Bloodworship" by UnderlingThis debut album by Underling made it into my Top 3! It’s quite the experience listening to this. And if you like being engulfed in atmospheric black flames and screams of genuine reality (with a light at the end of the tunnel surprisingly), then you should buy this album instantly. Taken from Underling’s band camp website: “The goal we wanted to achieve is that the listener will not just listen to this album – but FEEL it…and the vast amount of emotion we put into each song.” Mission accomplished, Underling. Mission accomplished… Favorite Tracks: Blackout, Downpour

2. Fight Amp – Constantly Off

"Constantly Off" by Fight AmpMy number 2 yields from the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. I saw Fight Amputation open for Hero Destroyed a couple years ago and I just remember it being an insane mass of sound constantly hitting you in the jaw. Not to mention that Fight Amputation is such an accurate name for them. This album was a long time coming and it reflects the noisy essence of the band to near perfection. Throughout listening to this, I pictured a mist of street brawls with flashes of rundown combat boots and dirty brass knuckles coming in and out of focus. Yeah, I’m kinda weird. I know. Favorite Tracks: Leveling in a Dream, I Perceive Reptoids

1. Refused – Freedom

"Freedom" by RefusedThis album was probably THE most anticipated album of 2015 and it happens to be my number 1 album! Refused is a band that earned their hype way after they broke up in 1998. And after the release of Freedom, their return was cemented and sterilized into the brains of hardcore fans. I had the pleasure of seeing them live and I remember how I admired them being themselves and giving zero fucks about looking hardcore or punk. Yes, Dennis. Rock that velvet blue blazer with your cowboy buckle belt. You’ll be out back-flipping everyone else in the hardcore scene regardless. Favorite Tracks: 366, Old Friends / New Wars

 

Thanks for reading. I’m so excited about 2016 and the new music on the horizon. Until then. METAL & COFFEE OUT!