The Year in Review: Some Distinct Records From 2015

2015 saw a host of new underground bands come up with great records and we also saw some of the old horses still keeping it true. It has been another great year in terms of the music but the metal community also lost some of our heroes like Lemmy, Phil Taylor, Jim Konya to name a few.

So, here I present to you guys a list of metal albums I came across this year which I found worth sharing.
No albums are in any particular order.

1. Mgla – Exercises in Futility (Northern Heritage Records)

If I personally had to pick my favorite album of this year it would undoubtedly be this record. When these guys came up with, “With Hearts Toward None” I thought this would be their crowning moment of their career but Mgla’s 3rd studio record proved me otherwise. This record speaks of the utter futility of life, hopes, dreams and aspirations in the most intense and cold way possible. Mgla are in a league of their own at this point and this album has clearly cemented their place in the Black Metal underground.

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2. Deafheaven – New Bermuda (Anti-Records)

I was completely unaware of this bands existence until a friend suggested me this. “New Bermuda” is a fusion of Black Metal, thrash, shoegaze and all of these blends so well. This might not sit well with Black Metal purists but for me this has been a very refreshing listen as it manages to balance so many different forms of music in one complete record. All in all a must listen, just for the sheer diversity this album has portrayed.

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3. Horrendous – Anareta (Dark Descent Records)

What a band, what a great fucking band! Horrendous has to be one of my favorite Death metal acts of recent times along with Dead Congregation, Undergang and Morbus Chron. These guys caught my attention with their previous year’s record “Ecdysis“ which completely blew me away and this year has been no different. To release an equally brilliant album within a year of releasing their sophomore speaks volumes about the quality of musicians these guys are. Along with Morbus Chron, Horrendous plays this imaginative/progressive sort of Death Metal which does not sound like the “look we are so brutal”, 80’s Death metal copycats of today. Horrendous does not stick to any particular genre, one moment you see a more violent side of the band and the next moment they just slow down the pace and builds a completely different atmosphere, and all of it fits together so nicely without sounding desperate or pretentious.

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4. Ad Nauseam – Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est (Lavadome Productions)

“Nihil Quam” is the Italian tech/death mongers debut record and they seem to have struck all the right chords here. The groundwork for this album was laid by Gorguts’ “Obscura” nearly two decades ago but this is no copy-paste stuff. Many will argue that this is just another Deathspell Omega, Gorguts influenced band and I do not disagree but that does not take any credit away from the band. I myself needed a few listens to really get into the album. Yes, it might seem a bit out of places at times but overall a good album and definitely worth multiple listens.

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5. Deathhammer – Evil Power (Hells Headbangers Records)

Hailing from Norway Deathhammer is a two piece band playing a brand of blackened death thrash which seemed to have been lost in the eternal depths of the metal cavern. After I first listened to this band it was hard for me to digest that this is just a two piece band. It makes your blood boil and you feel like breaking everything in your sight. “Evil Power” is 35 minutes of pure, unrelenting madness. I did not find a single dull moment in the album but if I had to pick my two favorite tracks from this album it would be “Satan Is Back” and “Sinner’s Possession”, “Satan Is Back” is perhaps the single greatest thrash metal song I have heard in ages.

P.S. The artwork is hilarious. Whenever I look at it, it cracks me up.

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6. Cruciamentum – Charnel Passages (Profound Lore Records)

Cruciamentum is a four-piece Death Metal band from UK and they share members with Grave Miasma. Formed in 2007 they released their debut full length after two demos and an EP. The atmosphere is fantastic in this record and the overall production is very good. This is pure OSDM worship bordering more on the Swedish Death metal sound (a lot of Bolt Thrower influence also). The guitar cuts through the dense, murky atmosphere and takes you to a journey through the pits of hell.

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7. Hooded Menace – Darkness Drips Forth (Relapse Records)

This is the fourth studio album by Finland’s death-doom brigade Hooded Menace and they have done a very commendable job here. Their debut “Fulfill The Curse” would undoubtedly be one of my most favorite Death-doom records and their follow up “Never Cross The Dead” was equally brilliant. Talking of this record, “Darkness Drips Forth” simply crushes you to the point till you cease to exist. The album consists of four songs each clocking the 10 minutes mark which gave them more time to improvise and work with progressions. This is some really heavy stuff!!

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8. Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Triumphator (Debemur Morti Productions)

This is probably their best stuff yet. It may not be as raw as their debut “Whore of Bethlehem” but frankly speaking I felt this is a more matured album from the progenitors of War Metal. The most positive aspect of this album has been the production, it’s clean and no instrument overshadows the other. The balance in this record is just perfect and the more polished production does not take anything away from the hate laden war hymns the band had to offer in this record.

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9. Purtenance – …To Spread The Flame Of Ancients (Xtreem Music)

Purtenance’s comeback album “Awaken From Slumber” was at best an average album but they have definitely stomped their authority with this album. This album has everything with which we generally associate the Finnish Death Metal sound. The production is murky, heavy and filthy. Some of the songs are really fast paced and the rest incline more towards the classic Finnish-death sound; mid-paced, atmosphere laden metal of death. They released their classic “Member of Immortal Damnation” way back in 1992 and this record sure does remind us of their glory days.

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10. Dead To A Dying World – Litany (Tofu Carnage Records)

Dead To A Dying World’s sophomore “Litany” has been one of the highlights of the year for me. It’s haunting, chaotic yet I feel a soothing effect whenever I hear this album. It’s a beautiful take on life in general; there’s struggle, hope, joy and eventually eternal damnation. “Litany” is a memoir of a world slowly dying and crumbling away. Overall, this album is a beautiful amalgamation of black and doom metal fused with a haunting and melancholic atmosphere that tends to linger on even after you have finished listening to the album.

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I would like to restrict this list to 10 albums only (for now), though there are more equally brilliant albums I have come across which I haven’t mentioned and even more left for me to discover. If I get time I’ll be doing a second part soon. Till then cheers as we eagerly look forward to another year of more awesome music.

 

Written by: The Scene Kid

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