As another year draws to a close, we metalheads tend to take time to reflect on what the year in metal meant to us, and prepare our various lists of what was great, what sucked, and everything in between.
This year we decided to get a little more up close and personal with Team Hellbound, and get a sense of not only each staffer’s favorite albums of the year, but also a sense of the state of metal in 2015 from everyone.
We here at Hellbound thank you for your continued readership, and wish you a very headbanging 2016.
Happy Holidays from Hellbound!
— Kyle Harcott
Top 10 Metal Albums of the Year:
- Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls (Sanctuary)
- Royal Thunder, Crooked Doors (Relapse)
- High on Fire, Luminiferous (eOne)
- Clutch, Psychic Warfare (Weathermaker)
- Ghost, Meliora (Loma Vista)
- KEN Mode, Success (Season-of-Mist)
- Baroness, Purple (Abraxan Hymns)
- VHÖL, Deeper Than Sky (Profound Lore)
- Krallice, Ygg Huur (Avantgarde)
- Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, The Night Creeper (Rise Above)
Favourite Album-Cover Art of 2015:
Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, The Night Creeper (Rise Above)
Best gig I attended in 2015:
Rush, Calgary Alberta, July 15.
Favourite physical-copy album I purchased in 2015:
Rush, Hemispheres (2015 LP reissue): It sounds absolutely glorious!
Most anticipated album for 2016:
My 2015 in Metal
2015 in metal was all about divisions and unity. The metal scene has become so diverse that there’s always one section of people who feel a disconnect. You have the Decibel crowd who’s busy praising Horrendous and Tribulation, the Revolver crowd who’d rather listen to Black Veil Brides and Slipknot, and disaffected Gen-Xers who stubbornly remain stuck in the past. The divide between metal journalism with integrity and cynical clickbait grows ever wider. Racism and sketchy politics seems more prevalent in black metal than ever before. While it’s good to see metal fans be more inclusive and socially aware, political correctness has gotten so out of control that the self-censoring within the scene is worse than what the PMRC was trying to do 30 years ago. The freedom to be offensive, one of heavy metal’s silliest (and oddly endearing) characteristics, is gone, and young bands that do try to be offensive often do so in a manner that sucks all the fun out of heavy metal.
But just when things seem bleakest, along comes the mighty Iron Maiden with a latter-day masterpiece that everyone across the board – young, old, mainstream, underground – rallies around. That right there is a perfect microcosm of heavy metal; it might be rarer these days, but the best metal unites people. The notion of heavy metal being exclusive is one of the biggest lies about the genre; at its best it brings people together, and when The Book of Souls came along people, including yours truly, shut the hell up and enjoyed some timeless music. There’s something out there for each person in modern metal, but there are certain heavy metal bands that are for everyone, and thank goodness for that.