Year-in-review 2015: Sean Palmerston

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

Sean Palmerston

Sean by Albert Mansour

Photo by Albert Mansour, taken at Joe Squared Pizza in Baltimore during MDF.

Top 10 Metal Albums of the Year:

  1. Motorhead – Bad Magic (UDR Records)

Well well well, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it is, but this latest Motör-offering is just a fine slab of heavy rock n roll. If it ends up being their last at least they’ll go out on a high note. My most-played new album of the year.

  1. Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media)

Another barnburner by the legendary Brummies. Bless ‘em all.

  1. Vhol – Deeper Than The Sky (Profound Lore)

More progressive and weirder than their first album. John Cobbett + Mike Scheidt together is so up my alley. Please tour in 2016!

  1. Satan – Atom by Atom (Listenable)

Second album since reforming and they are still raging harder than most bands. What a blessing to have this band back. Yes, I must say it – Hail Satan.

  1. Tau Cross – s/t (Relapse)

Members of Amebix and Voivod join together to make the best Killing Joke album in 20 years. Highly recommended.

  1. Indesinence – III (Profound Lore)

Outstanding UK doom death. How come no one gives two fucks about this band? Highly underrated.

  1. Abyss – Heretical Anatomy (20 Buck Spin)

Toronto combo that plays old school death metal. These guys know their Bolt Thrower, Carnage, Obituary and Autopsy and play the fucking shit out of them. It’s all over their album, but when your homages sound this good who cares.

  1. Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls (Parlophone)

Pretty ambitious to do a 92-minute double album this late in their career. It’s definitely a love-it-or-loathe-it album, but I really like it. I also need to remember to play it some more too.

  1. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within (Century Media)

I still keep returning to this one, week after week. Their best since going back to a more metallic, doomy sound.

  1. Crypt Sermon – Out of The Garden (Dark Descent)

The best Candlemass album this decade! Would have been even higher, but I really don’t dig the title track. Rest of the album is killer though.

Favourite Album-Cover Art of 2015:

Tribulation - Children of the Night (Century Media)

Tribulation – Children of the Night (Century Media)

The album almost made my top 10, but this cover is just awesome. I love the weird vampire on it and the gothic background.

Best gig I attended in 2015:

I almost feel like it is a copout, because there were so many great bands playing in one place over a weekend, but Maryland Deathfest was just so good for me this year. My personal highlights were Amorphis playing Tales From a Thousand Lakes in its entirety, an amazing set by Canadian thrashers Razor, and a jaw-dropping Neurosis performance. I don’t think MDF 2016 could ever top this year’s, so I am not even going to bother going.

Favourite physical-copy album I purchased in 2015:

I haven’t been buying a lot of new stuff this year so my pick is actually a weird one: I recently bought a three-CD Uli Jon Roth boxed set off of renowned metal author Martin Popoff, containing his seminal albums with Electric Sun: Firewind, Earthquake, and Beyond The Astral Skies. All the albums are signed by UJR, which makes it even a bit more special to me.

Most anticipated album for 2016

Right now it is a three-way tie for me between the upcoming Obscura, Vektor and Anciients albums. I fully expect the Obscura to be my tech album of the year, I am hoping that Vektor go even more prog thrash than before and, even though I may have once been personally involved with the band, I am so excited to hear just what Anciients come up with for their sophomore album. I hear all the songs are over seven minutes long!

My 2015 in metal

Life got in the way of metal a lot in 2015, more than I wish it did. I found myself listening to a lot of classic albums and a lot of new records by longtime favourites. I’ve heard people say the year was a soft one for metal, but I think I could have made a top 75 album list quite easily. Lotsa good stuff this year. If you don’t think so then you weren’t listening! Having said that, I am looking forward to even more metal in 2016.

Sean is the founder/publisher of; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.