- Helloween – My God Given Right
Not only was this this best power metal album this year, for me it was easily the best album of 2015. The masters and originators of the power metal genre prove they are as relevant in 2015 as they were in the 80’s. As with many long running bands, a lot of comments will be “their best album since <<insert classic album title>>”. With Helloween, this line of thought has become less and less relevant as they continue to deliver what fans want: catchy power metal, with enough humor and balls to keep fans happy.
- Moonspell – Extinct
This one came as a surprise to me. I’ve been a fan of Moonspell since I first heard the IRRELIGIOUS album in 1996. I’ve always most enjoyed their albums that are most like IRRELIGIOUS – ones that blend the black metal and goth metal elements. When they lean too far in either direction, I’ve not been as interested. EXTINCT is a little more goth metal leaning, but it’s so catchy and extremely well written and recorded, that over the months, I found myself listening to this over and over – moreso than any recent Moonspell release. For that reason, I had to have this one very high on my list.
- Queensryche – Condition Human
The second album with Todd on vocals really turned things around. I like his first album with the band, but this one is much better thanks to the album containing more metal and driving songs. I’d go so far to say that it’s the best since Operation Mindcrime or at least since Empire.
- Slayer – Repentless
Didn’t expect to like this as much as I do. Without Lombardo or Hannemann, I was not expecting this to be so awesome! Tom still sounds great and they still have the fire. Lets hope it burns brightly for a few more years.
- Gloryhammer – Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards
Yes, this is super cheesy, but it’s funny and killer. They manage to out-Rhapsody Rhapsody with bombastic epic choruses. Not only is the music memorable, the lyrics…just wow…total over the top hilarity! I love it!
- Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror
- Stratovarius – Eternal
- Orden Ogan – Ravenhead
- Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful
- Iron Maiden – Book Of Souls
- Scanner – The Judgement
- Ambush – Desecrator
- Cain’s Offering – Stormcrow
- Kiske/Somerville – City of Heroes
- Kamelot – Haven
- Saxon – Battering Ram
- Motorhead – Bad Magic
- Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus
- Death Dealer – Hallowed Ground
- Stryper – Fallen
- Angra – Secret Garden (Fabio sounds awesome on this one…as always!)
- Unleash the Archers – Time Stands Still (Best Canadian metal album of 2015!)
- Sweet/Lynch – Only to Rise (if not for the slower songs and ballads this would of made my top 20)
- Impellitteri – Venom (shred awesomeness)
Best Live Album & Best DVD/Blu-Ray
Pagan’s Mind – Full Circle Live at Center Stage BD+2CD
As one of the original Indiegogo campaign backers, I expected great things from this live concert and I was not let down. Greatly shot, and most importantly, a stellar performance from my favorite prog metal band. Let’s hope 2016 brings a new studio album.
Denner/Sherman – Satan’s Tomb
It’s great to hear the Fate guys (with Snowy Shaw on drums!) with their twin guitar attack again. The instantly recognizable style, the evil melodies and harmonies, conjure up the classic style of Mercyful Fate. I look forward to more material in 2016.
Although I read some metal books in 2015, they were not 2015 releases. So rather than leave this section blank, I’ll list the metal book that I did read in 2015 that I enjoyed the most — I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy from Anthrax by Scott Ian.
Motley Crue – Live at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on Aug. 22
My first metal obsession. SHOUT AT THE DEVIL is one of my all time fav records. It was magical to finally see them live for the first and sadly last time. If only I had gotten to see them when I was a kid during the Shout tour. Such is the fate of those of us who grew up in no man’s land.
Ambush – A great band I found via youtube when looking for bands that play in the same style as Wolf.
- Everything metal news-wise has been overshadowed by the death of Lemmy. If you’re not a fan of Motorhead, at least to some degree, you are not much of a metalhead. Irreplaceable. We’ve lost an icon.
- Savatage/TSO headlined Wacken this year. That should of been a big step towards more Savatage. Sadly it wasn’t as it was a one off event.
- Tony MacAlpine – ongoing cancer battle. After releasing Concrete Gardens, his best album in years, to hear this news sucked to say the least. Get well soon Tony!
- Dark Moor “Project X” – where has the “heavy” gone? I know, they were never really that brutal, but this album is just too happy and mixed to sound way to un-metal. Get angry please.
- Kai Hansen steps down as the sole lead singer of Gamma Ray and now shares vocal duties with Frank Beck. The jury is out on what this will mean for the band. I’m open minded about it, but feel a bit of disappointment as they are my fav band these days.
Excited for in 2016
- The return of Metal Church with Mike Howe!! Recapture the glory of ‘Blessing in Disguise’ and show us how it’s done.
- New Megadeth…the songs released so far have been excellent – dare I say, on par with Rust in Peace!?
- BORKNAGAR – Winter Thrice. Haven’t been a die hard follower of this band, but the 2 samples I’ve heard, including the video for the title track, have been gripping!
- New Rhapsody of Fire….please bring the FIRE…heavy guitar-laden, dial back on the overly loud keys/drums and let the guitars shine please!
- New Primal Fear – no risks here, they always deliver!
- A new album from Jag Panzer
- and many many more……….
Predictions for 2016
- Moreso a hope….One that would have people give up their love of all forms of “core” in metal. As well, this “djent” bullshit. I’m so tired of unmelodic Morse-code riffs.
- Listen to more HEAVY METAL!!