Hey Kids, it's that time of year again where I show off my musical knowledge skills and present the greatest albums of 2015!
For those that are new to my end of the year reviews. I'll do a short recap of what I normally do. Since I was in high school. I've been doing a big end of the year review of every album that I listened to in said year. Once I got popular enough with what I did, I started a radio show to help with that process. Over the years, becoming more and more popular, I started having less time to do the reviews all at the end of the year. in fact, this year, I have only time to do my Best Of 2015 and, unfortunately, not even get to the other albums of the year worth checking out. Starting in 2016, I am going to do album reviews as soon as I receive the album. Looking on it now, more people would be interested in said album before it comes out (hence why I get promos, to promote the albums on the air and in written form as they come out). So be on the lookout for that possibly as soon as the end of this year as I have received some great 2016 albums already.
This year, as things were cut short for me. I'll be doing the Top 100 in countdown order; 10 at a time until we reach the top 20, where each album will get it's own post.
But before we get to all of that, I got 10 Honorable Mentions to mention as well. This is new to me as I'm used to reviewing everything worth checking out in one year, but when going over my Top 100, I ended up with 110, so why not keep the last 10 and make them honorable mentions?
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!!.....!
110.) Periphery- Juggernaut: Alpha/Omega
FFO: Progressive Metal, Djent
For anyone that knows me well. I am a huge Periphery supporter. I've been there since before the Self Titled debut and felt they have only been getting better and better over the years. And I have been fortunate to have met all of Periphery 3 times and interviewed Jake Bowen twice. That's why it pains me to see the newest double album ranked at the very bottom of my best of and not even in my Top 100. How can this be you ask? In all honesty, it feels like a very forced double album. In a "make this album for the fans" kind of way. In that regard, it worked because fans love the album. Don't get me wrong, I still very much enjoy the album, but it's hard not to feel like their heart is not in this album as much as Periphery II and Clear were very much, fully, from the heart. It's still worth checking out, but I sadly have to say keep your expectations low if you haven't heard it already. Still great, just lacking.
109.) Forty Shades- Camera Silens
FFO: Progressive Metal, Melodic Metal
This is a band I discovered this year that really expands well into different territory without getting meandering. Coming from the ashes of their previous band, Nagor Mar, the band moved away from their Symphonic Metal sound and created some awesome, Melodic and Progressive Metal. Every song has it's own vibe to it, yet still fits together very well. With this just being their debut, I expect the band to really come into their own with the next release or two and expanding into an even bigger band. Let's hope I'm right.
108.) Sarpanitum- Blessed Be My Brothers
FFO: Blackened Death Metal, Atmospheric Death Metal
In short, Sarpanitum is very reminiscent of Fleshgod Apocalypse. similar style apocalyptic drumming, the right amount of melodic and grandiose movements, just not as many orchestral and symphonic moments as Fleshgod. The album, like most albums of this style, should be heard in sections and not all the way through, or else it loses it's merit, but when you check out a few songs at a time, it is definitely worth it. The only thing this one is lacking is in the production is a bit too raw and tinny at times, but if you can get past it, you'll hear some fantastic music and musicianship.
107.) The Dear Hunter- Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise
FFO: Progressive Rock, Indie Rock, Art Rock
Continuing on with the Act story, The Dear Hunter returns with the 4th Act of the 6 Act story. While The Dear Hunter spent a few years away from the story with releasing their monstrous EP series, The Color Spectrum, and their stand alone album, Migrant, it feels as though TDH is fresher than ever. While this is not my favorite TDH release, this does have a lot of range and variation, many highs and lows and great diversity that blends so very well together. It adds a lot more orchestral moments, which is much appreciated. That's about all I really have on this one, just a solid Act to the story. Can't wait to see how it all ends with the next two albums in the series.
106.) Muse- Drones
FFO: Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock
Muse was a band that I thought was never going to get back to the glory of their highest point musically, Absolution. Everything since that point has been a disappointment or worse. With the release of Drones, I thought to myself "Great, another Muse album, can't wait to hear how they let me down once again." Oddly enough, that is not the case this time around. While far from being a perfect album, this is the first Muse album I have been able to listen to all the way through, without being bored or thinking it sucks, since 2003's Absolution. That is already a step in the right direction. The band returns from it's pompous and pretentious vies with a less pompous and pretentious album. It brings back some heavier elements, that have been severely missed. Again, not a perfect album, but it is a step in the right direction. I hope that continues because we need that back in our lives, even the fans of the band that only discovered them through Rock Band and Guitar Hero.
105.) Angelus Apatrida- Hidden Evolution
FFO: Thrash Metal, Power Metal, Heavy Metal
A band that I discovered this year that has really impressed me. A band not afraid to be heavy and fast and mix it with melody and thrash. The album refrains from getting boring and stays very concise from beginning to end. Nothing that hearkens that they reinvented the wheel, but they are unbelievably solid. That's what matters!
104.) TesseracT- Polaris
FFO: Progressive Metal, Djent
Many Progressive Metal and Djent fans rejoiced when hearing the news that Dan Perkins is back in TesseracT, as was I. Thinking this would be an absolutely perfect combination that will destroy everything in it's way. Then upon the 3rd listen, I learned something. TesseracT is going to be the same band no matter who is singing and I mean that musically as well. Polaris is the perfect example that TesseracT has their niche and they are not going to be shying away from it anytime soon. What's my biggest complaint? TEMPO!!! Every song is either Slow or almost mid tempo. Nothing very diverse or mindblowing, it is standard TesseracT. While in and of itself, there is nothing wrong with that; I was really hoping for an album that would at least not feel like another album long song. That's what Polaris is. With that in mind, it is a great album, in that regard. But if you wanna look for anything past that, you won't find it here.
103.) Angra- Secret Garden
FFO: Power Metal
Angra, one of the most legendary names in Power Metal, is back with their 8th album and 1st album with their new singer Fabio Lione (most famously known for his work with Rhapsody Of Fire). The album is absolutely solid from start to finish and features some guest appearances from the likes of Doro and Simone Simons. Sadly, the band does touch back on what made their early albums such a force to be reckoned with, with their Brazilian influenced Power Metal and sticking with a solid straight up Power Metal approach. Definitely not a bad thing as that's not Lione's forte to sing that style. Overall, just a very fun Power Metal album.
102.) Orpheus Blade- Wolf's Cry
FFO: Progressive Metal, Soundtrack style Metal
Another discovery I made this year that I really love. The male vocals are very much in the vein of Devin Townsend, just lower register. Musically, it feels like the soundtrack to a war or fantasy film that wanted to have Metal featured in the background. That is definitely a great thing! This proves again that despite all of the turmoil going on in the world right now. Israel is a hotbed for Progressive Metal. If I have to nitpick anything, the production could be a little more full and mixed tighter, but that's just nitpicking. The songs are unbelievably solid and well crafted. I hope to hear more from these guys down the road. I know touring is a bit of a long shot right now for obvious reasons, but I hope that they only get bigger and better from here on out.
101.) Art Of Anarchy- Art Of Anarchy
FFO: Alternative Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Even with my incredibly unpredictable timing of putting my Top 20 Worst of 2015 up the day Scott Weiland died, I still refuse to take back my feelings of his solo album with the Wildabouts, it is an absolutely horrible meandering album. And I have every right to feel that way when Scott Weiland is capable of not sucking. This is the prime example of that. Teaming up with Bumblefoot, John Moyer, Jon Votta, and Vince Volta made an incredible album with Weiland that reaches so many areas of Rock and Metal that those that have "mainstream" reach stay away from. That goes for Moyer as well, being a part of Disturbed! The song Til The Dust Is Gone is the prime example of the power of the band and sadly, a foreshadow to Weiland's death. While this is not part of my top 100, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out for one of the most solid Hard Rock albums to come out in the 2010's. While I don't see it happening I love the idea of the band getting together for every album with a new singer to keep the ideas fresh. Hey, maybe it's possible?
Coming Soon: That Drummer Guy's Top 100 Of 2015 Part I: 100-90
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.