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:
- Desolate Shrine – The Heart of the Netherworld (Dark Descent)
One of the heaviest cryptic death metal albums of all year. It’s a super long album but it doesn’t ever feel like anything is ever dragging on. The production is foggy and misty, yet clear and precise on every instrument. Definitely the best album in this style this year.
- Drudkh – A Furrow Cut Short (Season of Mist)
A perfect album from this Ukrainian band. Another long album totaling an hour in length, however it works very well for Drudkh. A Furrow Cut Short is a great record to put on to help you concentrate or to simply escape the realities of daily life and go on a mental adventure.
- Goat Torment – Sermons to Death (Amor Fati)
Sermons to Death was absolutely amazing. Truly Satanic worshiping music with so much passion evident in the riffs and in the execution. An absolute true work of dark art.
- Ancient Moon – Vvtlvre (Satanath)
Ritualistic in every aspect, this was the most unique sounding black metal record all year. I don’t think there was another album that had this fucked up of a sound production wise. Everything here was orchestrated to the dot.
- Infernal War – Axiom (Agonia)
Everything about this record is pure hatred and aggression. Pawel Pietrzak is absolutely nuts and the music a punishment to your ears from start to finish. Another great one for the Infernal War catalog.
- Kristoffer Oustad – Filth Haven (Malignant)
Oustad is one of the greatest dark ambient composers out there. Filth Haven gives off a certain crippling anxiety that makes one feel something really bad is about to happen. This music is pure fear and darkness put into one album. Every track has something new and never repeats itself. Perfect for anyone with morbid fascinations of death and the unknown.
- Kommandant – Architects of Extermination (Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum)
Another unique black metal record. Kommandant is made up of a lot of great musicians all of which are very well rounded instrumentally. From the cover art, to the lyrical themes, it all delves into the self destruction of humanity. An interesting take on modern society and the world we’re living in today. It is also very much a progression since their earlier releases. Much more atmospheric and dark than the last album The Draconian Archetype. A less is more approach was the vibe on this album and it worked like a charm.
- Revenge – Behold.Total.Rejection (Season of Mist)
Same old Revenge with higher end production and hate factor. Every track feels like you’re getting pulverized by a thousand RPGs at once. What more can you want from a band this extreme? They definitely delivered with Behold.Total.Rejection.
- MGLA – Exercises in Futility (Northern Heritage)
Arguably this deserves the number 1 spot but it was impossible to decide. There are no words that could possibly describe how amazing this album is. Typically a lot of bands are very lyrically or technically driven, but MGLA decides to have blunt lyrics and riffs that are minimalist yet complex in their chord voicings. So much raw and genuine emotion flows out of the speakers and into the listeners mind that it feels like you can connect with the lyrics on a highly personal level. An unforgettable and instantly classic album that will be praised for eons. “Dreams don’t come true… for people like us.”
- Failure – The Heart is a Monster (INgrooves Music Group, Failure Records LLC)
Failure is by no means a metal band, yet they are a band that is very appreciated and widely accepted in the metal community. The reason this is at number 1 for me is because of the legacy this band has and the fact that they were being worshiped by a cult following even when they weren’t active. For a band to stay that relevant without putting anything out for nearly 20 years means there’s something so special about them.
When word got out that they were putting out a new album, there was some uncertainty. Can a band who has been inactive for almost two decades be able to put out at the very a lest a ‘good’ record? Failure did more than put out a regular comeback record. They put out a flawless album without the boundaries of trying to stay in one specific genre. The Heart is a Monster was a crowd pleaser but it is obvious that Failure did not set out to directly appeal to everyone. Words cannot stress enough how amazing and important for music history this album is and I hope that if you’re someone who has not heard of the band or this album to please look into getting into it. Don’t take it lightly, treat it as something very special because it is. Album of the year out of any kind of music dare I say.