Year-in-review 2015: Justin Allec

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

Justin AllecJustin Allec

Some options for your year-end listing strategy:

  • include every album you heard in 2015;
  • disregard albums from ‘big’, ‘false’, or legacy bands in order to further your underground cred;
  • pit albums against each other in competitive duels; or,
  • pick the ones that you actually give a shit about.

The year is short and art is long.   Before I started thinking in terms of this year’s list I actually went back to my 2014 lists just to see what had endured. Wow, did At the Gates really put out an album last year? Why did I even bother to have it at #10? Guilt? Nostalgia? Who knows. Most others that I chose I’ve kept in rotation. I’m still finding new things to love on those releases from Incantation, Dawnbringer, Mortals, and Midnight. I’d still recommend them to anyone.

I’m being guarded in my picks for 2015. Listening habits differ, and sometimes they change. These albums I’ve been listening to steadily, and I think they’ll endure. I’m confident that they’ll take their places alongside Oceanic, Slaughter of the Soul, Don’t Break the Oath, Kill ‘em All, None So Vile, Close to a World Below, Rain Dogs, Surgical Steel, Dirt, At the Heart of Winter, and so many others I hold dear in my head and in my heart.

As such, I’m only picking five albums that I’m confident will continue to colour my world for years to come.

Tribulation – The Children of the Night (Century Media):
What starts as a trick or treating stop at the Addams family mansion becomes so, so much better when Lurch invites you in for the gothic masquerade.

Horrendous – Anareta (Dark Descent):
100% win. That is all.

Sarpanitum – Blessed by my Brothers (Willowtip):
As vast as S P A C E but as personal as your own star to wish upon.

Panopticon – Autumn Eternal (Blind Run):
Direct from the back 40, this is heartful, vital, and triumphant black metal, which I didn’t realize existed or that I needed. (Bonus points for seasonal appropriateness since Northern Ontario is stuck in an October daze.)

Khemmis – Absolution (20 Buck Spin):
I find almost all modern doom is boooooriiing and safe. Sabbath kicked your ass and was fun, no matter what. These guys get it, and they’re only going to get better.

There were a number of other releases that I’m sure will get more love as the years go by. Great albums from High on Fire, Slugdge, Chelsea Wolfe, Nile, Gorelust, Cancer Bats, Cryptopsy, Vastum, Mgla, Leviathan, Satan, Tau Cross, Sulphur Aeon, and Gruesome all made an impression. There’s gold there, but I need time. Given that I’m still exploring music from the past three decades, I’m not worried.

Best gig I attended in 2015:

Halfway through Obituary’s sundown set at MDF my lovely wife’s wedding ring dropped from her dehydrated finger…right at the edge of the pit. Her panic was infectious and the message spread, so suddenly there’s more than thirty folks scrambling around on the ground, shouting for people to move, shining their phone lights, throwing trash cans out of the way, bringing pins, studs, and bottle caps up her. I have no idea how long we looked – maybe a minute, maybe two songs – but the ring was found even further into the crowd in a girl’s shoe. I offered her all the tshirts and beer she wanted, but she took a hug from both of us and went on her way. Crisis averted, and a reinforcement of how great our scene can be.

Most anticipated metal for 2016:

Abbath from the lost tribe of Immortal, is the only one on my calendar so far, but I don’t tend to find things until they make themselves known. So how about more of this quality over quantity? More shows and fests, black tshirts and fists in the air. An end to discussions of ‘hipsters’, fashion, and appropriation. Some of the old guard retiring gracefully (please, Lemmy, just rest, and Slayer go home). More outrage and scorn directed at those hateful individuals who seem to find their way in and ruin the party. More riffs – always, always more riffs – and great albums to live with.

Justin blames Blackwater Park for getting him into this mess.