Year-in-review 2015: Craig Hayes

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

Shark HayesCraig Hayes

The problem with having my own blog, Six Noises, is that when Hellbound asked me to contribute a Top 10 list once again this year, I was already busy writing end-of-year lists aplenty for my own blog.

I didn’t want to just repeat myself right here, so given I’m known for my admittedly obsessive shark fandom, here are my Top 10 Sharks, with my matching favourite albums from 2015.

  1. Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias): Iskra’s Ruins.
  2. Bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas): Tau Cross’s Tau Cross.
  3. Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier): Akista’s Grands tyrans.
  4. Oceanic whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus): Nightfell’s Darkness Evermore.
  5. Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran): Panopticon’s Autumn Eternal.
  6. Blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus): Misþyrming’s Söngvar elds og óreiðu.
  7. Shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus): Desert Dances and Serpent Sermons (compilation).
  8. Bronze whaler (Carcharhinus brachyurus): Magic Circle’s Journey Blind.
  9. Sand tiger (Carcharias taurus): Sunn O)))’s Kannon.
  10. Blue Shark (Prionace glauca): Mastery’s Valis.


Favourite Album-Cover Art of 2015:

SunnoSunn O)))’s Kannon. Featuring a sculpture from artist Angela Lafont Bolliger that sought to reflect that Sunn O)))’s compositions are minimal but “intensely sculptural in depth and detail.” I think that’s beautifully represented on the cover.

Best gig I attended in 2015:

No question, seeing Napalm Death for the very first time in a tiny jam-packed club here in my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand. Carcass played the same night as well. But, to be honest, I was there to see Napalm Death. The band were everything I’d ever hoped for, and more. One of those nights when a perfect show leaves you buzzing for days on end.

Favourite physical-copy album I purchased in 2015:

I’ve bought some magnificent music and punk and metal paraphernalia this year. I also made some A++ discoveries in second hand stores too. But I guess the two items that I was super-super-stoked about getting were a limited-edition 7” box set from a local D-beat band called Rogernomix (only 20 copies made). And an amazing proto-metal compilation called Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles, which was beautifully packaged and designed.

Most anticipated album for 2016

No question, the new album from War//Plague is THE album I cannot wait to hear in 2016. And the new Rotting Christ album is very high on my list as well.

My 2015 in metal.

Many years ago, I had an ingrown hair in my right testicle turn septic, and I had to be admitted to hospital to get intravenous antibiotics to calm that infection down. While I was in hospital, an inordinate number of doctors and nurses found an excuse to come and gaze at my gigantically swollen and pus-filled balls. I was totally fine with that. Because my balls really were a fascinating sight to behold. I mean, it was an eye-wateringly painful situation to be in. But I definitely saw the humour in it.

At least, I did until one doctor said that they’d have to chop off my testicles and my penis if they couldn’t get the infection under control. They didn’t do that. Everything is copacetic in my nether region, I assure you. But that experience—the pain, the pus, and the fear-filled days—were more fun than my entire year in metal in 2015.

Seriously, fuck this year. And fuck heavy metal too. I’m going to grow a comb-over and reinvent myself as an acid-folk fan.

Internationally published writer, columnist, and radio producer.