Best of the year list are an occasion to reflect on which albums had a lasting impact. For reviewers, it’s an occasion to take a look in the mirror and see which of the record they praised they actually enjoyed more than others. When you write a review, you take a bit of time to analyse what you’re listening to but you don’t have time to think about how you feel about it. Listing the best release of the year helps to make sense of everything that went through your hears and select the albums that will represent accurately a year spent on hunting down new releases, and they were many of them. So, now that 2015 is behind us, it’s time to take a look around and see what release I have missed and that might be interesting.
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Bastard Grave – What lies beyond (Pulverized Record)
There is so many early swedish death metal sounding band (Entombed, Dismember, Nihilist…) at the time that it’s difficult to sift through the best. Thankfully, with a band like a Bastard Grave you don’t have to wonder a lot to decide on which pile these swedes will end up. What lies beyond is definitely a keeper to be added with Entrails and Entrapment.
Vastum – Hole below (20 Buck Spin)
Featuring members of Oakland’s Acephalix, the american death metalers have put out here their best album to date. Full of riffs that would make Bolt Thrower proud and bring fans to the glory days of Realm of chaos, Vastum have definitely put out one of the strongest old school death metal album of the year. The vinyl just came out via 20 Buck Spin so it’s time for everyone to gather what’s left of their Christmas money and order some death metal.
Putridity – Ignominious atonement (Willowtip)
If you’re like me, you have a soft stop for extremely brutal death metal. It’s fun cacophonous flurry of notes makes it an excellent background music and the lowest of the low vocals starts blurring into the music so much that you can basically ignore them. It’s this sort of technique that makes you, almost, forget about all the misogyny contained. Thankfully, neither the song titles nor the cover goes into the same territory as most gore grind, which is a relief and helps to enjoy this wonderful piece of discordance that brings you back to the good old days of early Cryptopsy mixed with Brodequin.
Sarpanitum – Blessed be my brothers (Willowtip)
Beware if you don’t enjoy epic guitar riffs in your death metal, as there are plenty of them in Blessed be my brothers. Coming from Birmingham in the UK, Sarpanitum blazes through fast melodic riffs and solos low on guitar heroic eccentricities and high on catchiness while keeping everything else on the low end. This contrast keeps the album from to overtly sugary while providing some wonderful memorable guitar lines.
Horrendous – Anareta (Dark Descent Records)
This is the death metal that many claim to be the best of the year and they are probably not wrong. The guitar work is splendid and memorable but quite technical. These death metalers known how to play and show it at every minute. Nonetheless, Anareta remains a collection of very good songs even with so many ideas being thrown around like dirty socks. The unhinged vocals à la Martin Van Drunen (Asphyx, ex. Hail of Bullets) cements the album as an unmissable stepping stone of 2015. A proof that death metal can still feel fresh decades after its beginning.
Sulphur Aeon – Gateway to the antisphere (Imperium Production/Van Records)
Lovecraft and his great old ones in chief, the tentacled one Cthulhu, continues to inspire death metal bands all over the world, deservedly so. This German lot blast their way through a mix of old school and modern death metal elements with some added Cascadian black metal touches. There is a lot to take in but the experience is rewarding. Definitely one to not forget.