Top 20 Metal Albums 2015
- Queensrÿche – Condition Human
Pair this with Operation: Mindcrime’s The Key and it is clear that Queensrÿche is wiping the floor with Tate’s post- Queensrÿche efforts. I will not lie and say Condition Human rivals classic Ryche albums, but after so many years of piss-poor Tate led efforts (Tribe sucks), Condition Human is a welcome and worthy effort. Todd La Torre has assumed the vacancy left by Tate with confidence and execution while the reinvigorated core of the band has constructed songs worthy of La Torre’s performance.
- Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
It took a damn long time to get from One Second to The Plague Within, but the band finally came full-circle, thanks to Nick Holmes and Greg Mackintosh’s renewed interest in the band’s death metal roots. Combining that with the band’s gothic brand of melodic doom, The Plague Within pleased large sections of the fan base. The Plague Within will almost certainly (and deservedly) vie for the top metal album of the year in most metal circles.
- Slayer – Repentless
I am going to go ahead and piss off some Slayer fans by stating that Jeff Hanneman was a much better guitarist than Kerry King. For this reason, I truly expected Repentless to suck, with King left to compose and construct all the guitar work for the new album. I am big enough to admit I was completely wrong. King reached deep down and channeled Hanneman while retaining his own style. As a result, Repentless is the best Slayer album in my opinion since Seasons In The Abyss, high, but worthy praise.
- Stryper – Fallen
Every year I have an album make it into my top 5 that I would never have predicted. Stryper’s Fallen is this year’s WTF. I honestly have never been a huge Stryper fan, though I did enjoy some of their work through the years. Fallen is the band’s heaviest album but being heavy does not always mean good. Fortunately, the band are spot-on with the songs and riffs, everything adding up to a well-constructed album that blows all past efforts from the band out of the water.
- Chris Caffery – Your Heaven Is Real
You want Savatage back and so do I. Fortunately, Chris is happy to deliver, forging classic Savatage with Caffery’s other efforts in Doctor Butcher and his solo work. Your Heaven Is Real is classic metal with a bite, Chris managing to deliver more edge and aggression than his old band but with well-crafted and catchy songs.
- Ghost – Meliora
- Trixter – Human Era
- Millennial Reign – Carry The Fire
- Helloween – My God-Given Right
- Hardcore Superstar – HCSS
- Orden Ogan – Ravenhead
- Air Raid – Point Of Impact
- Pyramaze – Disciples Of The Sun
- Lethal Saint – WWIII
- Artizan – The Furthest Reaches
- Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
- My Dying Bride – Feel The Misery
- Hollow Haze – Memories Of An Ancient Time
- Blind Guardian- Beyond The Red Mirror
- Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
As I look over my top 3 Honorable mentions I notice they are all releases from veteran bands, and I expect they might be in other member’s top 20. It bodes well for metal in general, that bands that have been around for so long are still able to commune with the Muse. These are all fine albums, and even though they did not make my final cut, they are worthy of exploration.
- Harem Scarem – 13
- Armored Saint – Win Hands Down
- Enforcer – From Beyond
Best Debut Album
Prowler – Stallions Of Steel
Best Live Albums
- Eden’s Curse- Live With The Curse
- Warlord – Live In Athens 2013
Denner/Sherman – Satan’s Tomb
Best New Discovery
End Of Green
End of Green have been around since 1992, but yet I missed ‘em somehow. The band likes to call themselves Depressed Subcore, but the reality is that they are just a potent mix of Type O Negative and Sentenced, a satisfying combination to be sure.
Death of Twisted Sister drummer A.J. Perro
Death of Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead – Even non-Motorhead fans recognize the influence and uncompromising commitment to music and metal that was Lemmy. A truly staggering loss.
Operation Mindcrime’s The Key – Uh, why does Geoff Tate continue to even release music? One of the greatest singers of all time continues to drag his reputation into ruin. Ya know the old saying that if you don’t have something good to say…, Geoff has ignored this and it is time for him quit tainting the memory of his legacy.
Metal Church Reunites with Mike Howe – Here we go, I am going to piss off some Metal Church fans now by saying that Mike Howe was a better singer than David Wayne (hey, I loved Wayne too). Initial soundbites are promising and with a new album slated in 2016, go ahead in file this with most anticipated events of 2016 as well.