With so much damn fine metal coming out these days, it’s hard to encapsulate the awesome into a single annual top-ten list. Hundreds, if not thousands, of albums are released every year, and a significant percentage of them don’t suck. As a result, many deserving candidates don’t receive due critical and fan recognition, whether by virtue of limited end-of-year real estate, regional isolation, or untimely release dates (memo to labels/artists: STOP DROPPING KILLER RECORDS IN DECEMBER – Y’R KILLING MEEE).
So, as a public service to the extreme metal community, I’ve compiled a not-remotely comprehensive list (in no particular order) of ten top-quality releases that, for whatever reason (up to and including the suspect memory banks/attention spans of overstretched music critics *ahem*), may have escaped your radar in 2015. Every one of them could easily have comprised my Earth-2 top-ten. Enjoy.
Fjorsvartnir – Mzoraxc’ Forbandelse (Grom)
Copenhagen’s finest one-man epic black metal counter-revolution brings forth his most impactful offering thus far with this sweeping, uncompromising reclamation of the grand Scandinavian tradition of ice-cold darkness.
Glaciation – Sur Les Falaises De Marbre (Osmose Productions)
Proving once again that genre boundaries exist purely to be crossed, Glaciation draw from a vast panoply of tropes on their latest outing, all blackened to a fine crisp.
NYX – Home (Agonia)
Handling all vocals in-house for the first time, NYX teams up with Enthroned bassist Phorgath (Blackout Studio) behind the boards on their Agonia Records debut to craft a genre-defying, do what thou wilt masterpiece.
Domovoyd – S/T (Svart)
Ecstatic, expansive Finnish doom psychedelia taken to the Nth degree (and beyond). Turn on, tune in and drop the needle on this sprawling, unconventional speaker-shaker.
Moonreich – Pillars of Detest (Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions)
Third time’s the charm for Moonreich as Pillars of Detest piles complex layers of experimental necromancy into a fuck shit stack of precision French Avant-Black Metal mayhem. ‘Progressive’ never felt so KVLT.
Sarpanitum – Blessed Be My Brothers (Willowtip)
The monstrous drumming of Leon Macey (Mithras) helps propel Blessed Be My Brothers to grandiose heights as Sarpanitum gives a veritable clinic in technical death fury, facilitated by exceptional songwriting and epic arrangements throughout.
Al-Namrood – Diaji Al-Joor (Shaytan Productions)
The most badass black metal cult on the planet by default (due to their very existence being, well, illegal and potentially punishable by execution – HOW FUCKING METAL IS THAT?!?!?!) has released its most fully realized album thus far. Saudi Arabia may be a repressive theocracy, but that doesn’t stop Al-Namrood (Arabic for ‘non-believer’) from belching forth foul, quarter-tone emanations of defiantly radical sonic apostasy.
Black Empire – Darkness Is My Throne (Independent)
Hard grinding, no-bullshit Northern QC cult pays due tribute to eternal darkness in chaotic winter.
Borgne – Règne des Morts (Those Opposed)
Borgne takes its monolithic, doom-tinged industrial black inhumanity to the next profane level on this deliberate, martial assault.
Triumvir Foul – S/T (Blood Harvest/Vrasubatlat)
The death metal alter ego of stalwart USBM duo Ash Borer gets real necro on its debut LP, inconceivably and unceremoniously deposited in the graveyard of critical attention, aka December. Well worth exhuming from the murky depths.