1. Death Dealer – Hallowed Ground
Death Dealer continued to lay down the gauntlet with the release of their second full length “Hallowed Ground” following hot on the heels of their scorching debut “War Master” (Coincidentally my album of the year for the 2013 Best Of list) I bought “Hallowed Ground” on the day of release and this album hasn’t left my CD player yet. From the Wild West themed opener “Gunslinger” to the band’s infectious current single “Break the Silence” (for which there is an epic music video) to the extremely aggressive ass kicker that is “Plan of Attack” and those are just the first three tracks! This all-star lineup of Ross The Boss Friedman (Manowar, The Dictators NYC) Sean Peck (Cage) Stu Marshall (Empires of Eden) Mike Davis (Halford, Lizzy Borden) and Steve Bolognese (Into Eternity) is at the top of their game on “Hallowed Ground” and I would definitely recommend this album to all fellow metalheads!
2. Power Theory – Driven By Fear
American metal warriors Power Theory released their third full length CD this past October and it is hands down the best thing Power Theory have ever recorded. I’ve been following Power Theory since their first CD and much credit should be given to founder Robert “Bob” Ballinger Jr. who went to such lengths as to basically assemble an all-new lineup of Power Theory for the newly released “Driven By Fear” recruiting the strongest and most talented players he could find, then hitting the road on the Metal Masters tour honing their craft before recording this solid testament to steel. Everything about the current lineup of Power Theory is kick ass. A solid yet punchy rhythm section, amazing lead guitars and killer traditional metal vocals. These guys really stepped up their game!
3. Ambush – Desecrator
What a surprise it was to discover Ambush! “Desecrator” is a really fun and even addictive album that harkens back to that classic eighties metal sound recalling the glory days of bands like Accept, Helloween and Grim Reaper. This album enjoyed many, many spins over the last year and kept me excited about all of these victorious new metal bands who were just killing it in 2015! What a great year for kick ass releases. I would love to catch this band live some day, here’s hoping they tour the U.S.
4. Saxon – Battering Ram
5. Satan – Atom By Atom
6. Chastain – We Bleed Metal
7. Slayer – Repentless
8. Where Evil Follows – Portable Darkness
9. Manimal – Trapped In The Shadows
10. Night Demon – Curse Of The Damned
11. Visigoth – The Revenant King
12. Moonspell – Extinct
13. Broken Teeth – Bulldozer
14. Venom – From The Very Depths
15. Helloween – My God-Given Right
16. Scanner – The Judgement
17. Raven – Extermination
18. Marduk – Frontschwein
19. U.D.O. – Decadent
20. WASP – Golgotha
Savage Master – Black Hooves
Savage Master continue to impress with their “Black Hooves” EP with the aforementioned title-track picking up right where the band left off on the 2014 debut album “Mask Of The Devil” and also featuring the band’s faithful rendition of the RIOT classic “Swords & Tequila”.
Swords & Tequila RIOT’s classic first decade by Martin Popoff
Whether you’re a die hard RIOT fan or even just a fan of rock n’roll biographies in general, this book is fascinating from cover to cover. Many former band members give first hand accounts of the early days of the band, with the focus primarily on the Guy Speranza and Rhett Forrester eras of the band’s lengthy career, though there are footnotes and recollections of pretty much every era of the band throughout this book. It’s about time someone went into such detail chronicling the early career of RIOT and this makes for an excellent read. Highly recommendable.
Watain – November 7th, 2015 at the Mohawk venue in Austin, Texas
Sweden’s reigning kings of unholy black metal Watain performed a hellish set complete with on-stage crucified skeletons, fog, pigs heads, blood, fire and the brand of blasphemic black metal fury that only the Swedish carrion-stench inhaling miscreants can deliver with such conviction, authenticity and unforgiving brutality. Watain were touring as direct support for Norwegian black metal pioneers Mayhem and in my opinion really gave the more seasoned pack of 2nd wave black metal wolves a run for their money.
Best Chest In The West
Lela Star. Sweet boobs, Lela…
I’m still drinking Dos XX it was my beer of the year for 2015 but I might change it up in 2016. I think I have developed an ulcer from ingesting too much acidity. They’re so good with lime and salt, it’ll be tough to move on…
“Oh no you didn’t” Award
Heineken distribution discontinued 24oz cans of Dos-A-Rita (which was what I had voted as Best Invention of 2014) That is socially irresponsible and completely unacceptable.
Greatest Hopes For 2016
I hope I win the lottery so I can buy all the things in life that I want and that way I’ll never have to work again and I can play guitar, get drunk and listen to metal all day and write for the website sometimes too. I hope Angel Witch records another new album and finally tours the United States. I hope someone at Fender Guitars sends me a Yngwie Malmsteen signature Strat with scalloped frets, I’ve been saying this for years and it would be nice if someone at Fender finally appreciated the free word of mouth and contacted me via email to get my street address and then just shipped me the guitar as a surprise gift for doing such an excellent job hyping this beautiful guitar in my year end lists year after year and sin after sin.