10. Svalbard ‘One Day All This Will End’
My first experience with this band was seeing them support Celeste at The Underworld, back in August. I was immediately blown away by their passion and the dual vocals were certainly a winner. Aside from liking their Facebook page on the way home, they slipped off my radar a little until the promo for this landed in my inbox. I’ve been listening to it religiously ever since and I recommend you do the same.
9. Anopheli ‘The Ache of Want’
How many bands is that dude from Fall Of Efrafa/Light Bearer going to form? Jeeze. Either way, this band and album are both wonderful. Lacking in the heart string tug of melancholia that the two aforementioned bands invoke within me, but still packing a gut punch of emotion; bitter, angry hardcore music with a beautiful sprinkling of cello music. I can’t wait to see this stuff live.
8. Hooded Menace ‘Darkness Drips Forth’
Hooded Menace are about as close as I get to finding death metal palatable – that underlying doom metal influence rescues them from getting lost in a sea of mediocrity. Darkness Drips Forth packs in enough tempo and ferocity to stay punishingly heavy while maintaining interesting compositions that don’t make me want to pull my own ears off. Wonderful stuff.
7. Dark Buddha Rising ‘Inversum’
I’m a sucker for anything atmospheric and this album has atmosphere in spades. I’m immediately drawn to anything that Dark Buddha Rising release due to their primitive and ritualistic nature. My only regret with this record is that I’ve not seen it played live yet. Let’s hope 2016 changes that.
6. Acid King ‘Middle Of Nowhere, Center Of Everywhere’
How catchy is Coming Down From Outer Space?! Every time I’ve listened to this album I’ve ended up with the chorus stuck in my head for days afterwards, and singing along to it was one of my highlights of Desertfest this year. I wasn’t sure what to expect, given the length of time that had passed since Acid King’s last release, but they didn’t disappoint.
5. Undersmile ‘Anhedonia’
Knucklesucker – what a song! Undersmile gave one of the best performances at Roadburn this year and the release of this album topped Narwhal which I didn’t think would be possible. Anhedonia is a lot like sleep paralysis in the sense that the droning, creeping passages represent the feeling of suspense and terror that comes from not being able to move, followed by the burst of heaviness that’s similar to the release of finally being able to sit up. Powerful stuff.
4. Pombagira ‘Flesh Throne Press’
I love the progression that Pombagira have taken – I love it so much that I don’t really mind that Flesh Throne Press is 80 minutes long. When I first began listening to Pombagira back in 2008, I couldn’t really get into their music. It seemed like experimentation for the sake of it. However, since then they’ve become multi-faceted and the experimentation is enjoyable, as it’s accompanied by more concise song writing and killer riffs.
3. Bell Witch ‘Four Phantoms’
Funeral doom at its finest. This album holds up as well live as it does on record. The inclusion of the dude from Aerial Ruin makes Suffocation, A Drowning sound fantastic and turns an otherwise miserable genre into one of uplifting hymns that are meant for those who take pleasure in life and living.
2. King Dude ‘Songs Of Flesh And Blood In The Key Of Light’
Wow, I’m putting my musical hero and long term crush at number two. It almost feels like a betrayal, but I really do feel my choice for number one was more deserving. Anyway, this record is great – it’s a return to the true sound of King Dude. As much as I loved the accessible pop influences of Fear, Songs of Flesh… goes back to what the Dude does best – straight up gothic Americana with enough melancholy to make the sing-a-long choruses acceptable.
1. Chelsea Wolfe ‘Abyss’
You know you love an album when you go to see it played live twice – in the space of a week. There’s not a bad song on this record – it’s darker and heavier than anything Chelsea has released before but this doesn’t stop me from belting out Dragged Out and Iron Moon while doing the hoovering. Not just my top album of 2015 but one of my top ten albums of, well, ever.
Scribed by: Angela Davey