Published on December 16th, 2015 | by Andy Barnes1
Andy Barnes Top Albums – The Loud Ones
Enslaved – In Times
‘In Times’ defies any sub-genre classification, taking elements of Black, Death, Thrash, Industrial, Progressive and even Folk, pulverising them into a seething morass of metal magnificence. Fall to your knees unworthy minions and worship the Norse Gods of Extreme.
Gentlemans Pistols – Hustlers Row
Retro 60’s / 70’s rock it may be but soon it becomes obvious these are not just a band looking to replicate, but rather imbibing influence by the bucketful, adding a huge dose of passion before reliving a sonic epoch and enjoying it to the utmost. So authentic is ‘Hustler’s Row’, I feel the need to dig out the old denim jacket and ask my Mum to sow a Gentlemans Pistols patch on the back, while I apply copious amounts of Clearasil before heading out to become wobbly legged on four pints of Wilsons Dark Mild and head bang to ‘Black Night’ down at the social club.
Hawk Eyes – Everything is Fine
Everything is beyond fine with the mighty Hawkeyes, veritable veterans of the Leeds hardcore and alt-rock scene. Their third album released at the beginning of the year, undoubtedly the finest and most cohesive so far, entering into prog territory on occasion while still filled with enough bite and crunch to keep the diehards more than happy.
Valkyrie – Shadows
The brothers Adam’s, (Jake and Pete) bring intertwined twin guitar excellence to the fore on ‘Shadows.’ While there’s a tip of the cap to the likes of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden, they imbue their brand of classic rock with heavyweight stoner / doom connotations of immense proportions.
Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower
The metal genre which has dominated 2015 is Doom and only fitting the maestros of the genre should return with another master class in tuned down melancholia, undoubtedly revered as a classic in years to come.
Sunn O))) – Kannon
Three intense and unyielding pieces of ambient drone metal constitute ‘Kannon,’ highlighting Sunn O))) as the doyens of instrumental invention. Lose yourself in the complete darkness and hope to emerge unscathed from their nightmarish sonic visions.
Ohhms – Cold
Two tracks doth not an album or EP make I hear you cry………Oh yes it does when those tracks add up to just under 33 minutes of Progressive Stoner Doom. Kent’s Ohhms revive the prog rock brilliance of a bygone Canterbury scene, adding immense riffage and monolithic slabs of noise, unearthing arguably the most gargantuan metal treasure ever discovered in the Garden of England.
CODE – mut
Atmospherics around Post Rock / Metal materialise on many occasions through intense production and / or swirling keys, CODE denounce such theory. Production and keyboards prove minimalistic, and instead the use of off key notage to stifle melody, an implausible vocal range (no metal references to offer, more Colin Vearncombe hosting a séance to summon the spirits of Billy McKenzie and Jeff Buckley) intermingled with supremely dark lyrical themes, is all that’s needed to produce a disturbing, yet resplendent album of startling intensity.
The Moth Gatherer – The Earth is the Sky
What opens as a full on raging Doom Fest, reveals subsequent electronic layers, creating an intriguing mix of styles and moods, revealing more and more of this Swedish trio with each subsequent listen.
Denigrata – Missa Defunctorum
Avant Garde Black Metal screamed / sung ferociously in Latin makes ‘Missa Defuctorum’ the most inventive album of 2015. Operatic and demonic vocals clash and interweave fiercely with the most extreme of industrial music, providing a tough, yet ultimately rewarding aural experience.
Not for the faint of heart.