These Are The 13 Absolute BEST Albums Of 2015: Have You Heard Them Yet? (VIDEOS)
2015 is drawing to a close. And that means that every media outlet in the world is scrambling to present the best albums of 2015, a bitch of a year. It would be remiss of Reverb Press to not jump into the game. At the same time, we are sort of weird people, and have turned up some music that reflects said weirdness. So, without further ado, we humbly present (in alphabetic order, of course) Reverb Press’s top 13 albums of 2015 that you (probably) haven’t heard yet.
Reverb Press‘s Best 13 Albums of 2015.
1. Al-Namrood – Diaji Al Joor
Number one for our top albums of 2015 comes from Al-Namrood. The fact that they exist at all is somewhat remarkable. They hail from Saudi Arabia and play black metal. Those two things do not go together. Black metal, as a genre, tends to flirt with blasphemy, and if there is one thing that Saudi Arabia is not a fan of, it is blasphemy. Add to that the fact that Al-Namrood’s lyrics tend to be more than a little critical of Islam, and you can understand why they are literally risking their lives to make music. Yet they’ve managed to release a half-dozen albums, all of which combine traditional instrumentation with the fury and bleakness of black metal. It’s an intoxicating mix, and their latest showcases them at their best.
2. Avatarium – The Girl With the Raven Mask
Sweden’s Avatarium was founded by Leif Edling, formerly of Candlemass, a band that pretty much invented doom metal. Avatarium goes in a slightly different direction, mixing doom with melodies that are damned near catchy, and featuring vocals by Jennie-Ann Smith, whose voice has both raw power and a subtle, jazzy restraint. The Girl With the Raven Mask highlights Smith’s vocals alongside thick, fuzzy riffs , and warm vintage keyboards that could have dropped in from the early 70s.
3. Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss
I’ve written about this album before, and “Abyss” definitely makes our best albums of 2015 list. Chelsea Wolfe has been making compelling and deeply weird music for quite some time. And she defies classification. A bit folky, a bit gothy, a bit experimental. Abyss takes all of those threads and adds in a heaping dollop of metal, resulting in a harrowing and bleak listen.
4. Ghost – Meliora
Denmark’s Ghost are eminently silly. All members maintain a veneer of anonymity. The musicians refer to themselves as “Nameless Ghouls,” and take the stage dressed in heavy robes. The lead singer, Papa Emeritus III (there is allegedly a new one for each album, each sounding suspiciously like the last) is garbed as a pope in corpse-paint. And their lyrics are unabashedly Satanic. Despite all that, they write what are basically pop songs with a slightly metallic twist. And they’re damned fine pop songs at that. While Ghost’s first two albums struggle to cohere fully, Meliora shows them finely hitting their stride. Yes, they are a silly band. But every song on the album is a fist-pumping anthem.
5. He Whose Ox Is Gored – The Camel, The Lion, The Child
He Whose Ox Is Gored is another band that starts with doom metal and veers off in an unexpected direction. Yes, there are plenty of bruising riffs to be found, but they are interwoven with delicate melodies, intricate percussion lines, and ethereal keyboards. Vocal duties are split between the gruff bellows of guitarist Brian McClelland, and the cleaner singing of keyboardist Lisa Mungo. The result doesn’t sound like anything else.
Reverb Press‘ best 13 albums of 2015, #s 6-13 continues on next page.
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Akira Watts failed to graduate with a B.A. in philosophy from Amherst College and now does an assortment of IT related things. He has been writing a nebulously plotted literary choose-your-own-adventure work for the past five years. He lives in Santa Fe, NM with a small fish and a cat the size of a yeti. Before joining the team at Reverb Press, Akira was a frequent contributor at Truthout.org READ MORE BY AKIRA.