Best of 2015 – EvilG

January 3rd, 2016
by EvilG

Top 20

  1. Helloween – My God Given Right

    Helloween - My God-Given Right

    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.


    I have to admit, I kinda like the campy cover art (and other associated album artwork – see above) reminiscent of the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” – and yes, even the pumpkin stormtroopers! 🙂

 

  1. Moonspell – Extinct

    Moonspell - Extinct

    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.

 

  1. Queensryche – Condition Human

    QUEENSRŸCHE - Condition Hüman

    QUEENSRŸCHE – Condition Hüman

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.

 

  1. Slayer – Repentless

    Slayer - Repentless

    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.

 

  1. Gloryhammer – Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

    Gloryhammer - Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

    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!

  1. Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror
  2. Stratovarius – Eternal
  3. Orden Ogan – Ravenhead
  4. Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful
  5. Iron Maiden – Book Of Souls
  6. Scanner – The Judgement
  7. Ambush – Desecrator
  8. Cain’s Offering – Stormcrow
  9. Kiske/Somerville – City of Heroes
  10. Kamelot – Haven
  11. Saxon – Battering Ram
  12. Motorhead – Bad Magic
  13. Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus
  14. Death Dealer – Hallowed Ground
  15. Stryper – Fallen

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Best of 2015 – Aaron

January 3rd, 2016
by Metal Rules
  1. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within

    Paradise Lost – The Plague Within

    Paradise Lost – The Plague Within


    Almost 30 years into their career, Paradise Lost released what’s arguably the strongest album in their canon.  Gems like “No Hope in Sight”, “Terminal” and “Beneath Broken Earth” are just as powerful as classics like “Eternal”, “Gothic”, or “As I Die”.  Often imitated but never duplicated, Paradise Lost makes balancing delicate melodic gloom with crushing deathly aggression sound so easy.

  2. Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction

    Cattle Decapitation - The Anthropocene Extinction

    Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction


    Cattle Decap did the impossible in 2015 and released an album that bested MONOLITH OF INHUMANITY.  Pushing the limits of acceptability within death metal, THE ANTHROPOCENE EXTINCTION was a more self-confident and mature release that leveled the competition with blinding speed, technical mastery and some stark predictions for the end of the human race.

     

  3. Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls

    Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls

    Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls


    Does Iron Maiden really need an explanation?  I love classic Maiden, but it’d been ages since I really cared about anything new from them.  That all changed with THE BOOK OF SOULS; I don’t think I’ve been able to play this album without listening to the entire thing.  THE BOOK OF SOULS is a reminder for those of us who may have fallen off the wagon as to why we fell in love with Iron Maiden in the first place.

  4. Napalm Death – Apex Predator-Easy Meat
  5. My Dying Bride – Feel the Misery
  6. Mgla – Exercises in Futility
  7. Moonspell – Extinct
  8. Rivers of Nihil – Monarchy
  9. Tribulation – Children of the Night
  10. Swallow the Sun – Tales from the North I, II, & III
  11. Gruesome – Savage Land
  12. Motorhead – Bad Magic
  13. Soilwork – The Ride Majestic
  14. Goatsnake – Black Age Blues
  15. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – S/T
  16. Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed
  17. Vhöl – Deeper Than Sky
  18. Jungle Rot – Order Shall Prevail
  19. Plaugewielder – Chambers of Death
  20. Skepticism – Ordeal

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Best of 2015 – Helias

January 2nd, 2016
by Metal Rules

Top 20

1. Slayer – Repentless

Slayer - Repentless

Slayer – Repentless

2. Iron Maiden – The book of Souls
3. Angra – Secret Garden
4. Motorhead – Bad Magic
5. Pentagram – Curious Volume
6. Saxon – Battering Ram
7. Powerwolf – Bessed and Possessed
8. Amorphis – Uner the Red Cloud
9. Ghost – Meliora
10. Paradise Lost – The plague within
11. Enslaved – In times
12. Symphony X – Underworld
13. Apocalyptica – Shadowmaker
14. High on fire – Luminiferous
15. Cradle of Filth – Hammer of the Witches
16. Statovarious – Eternal
17. Operation: Mindcrime – The key
18. Kamelot – Haven
19. Kylesa – Exhausting Fire
20. Periphery – Juggernat: Alpha and Omega

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Best of 2015 – Infamous Butcher

January 2nd, 2016
by Metal Rules

Top Albums of 2015

  1. Malevolent Creation – Dead Man’s Path

    Malevolent Creation - Dead Man’s Path

    Malevolent Creation – Dead Man’s Path

    The album is a full out assault! Brett Hoffman is at the top of his game here, sounding as furious as he did back in 1992 on RETRIBUTION, still able to elongate a growl like nobody else can, see “Fragmental Sanity” for the best example of this. The chugging riffing is fantastic, reminiscent of TEN COMMANDMENTS, catchy and a touch thrashy . Drumming is intense and sick; Justin DiPinto is doing a great job following in the footsteps of prior Malevolent drummers like Alex Marquez and Dave Culross. There are no filler tracks here; everything is killer and exactly what a death metal fan wants, unrelenting flowing brutality with hooky riffs and breakdowns.

     

  2. Grave – Out of Respect For the Dead

    Grave - Out of Respect For the Dead

    Grave – Out of Respect For the Dead


    Old school death metal fans love consistency and Sweden’s Grave is one of the most dependably brutal bands out there. 24 years after their genre defining debut INTO THE GRAVE, Grave is still putting out quality punishing, dark themed death metal. The aptly titled OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE DEAD is another exercise in lead heavy riffs, thunderous drumming, ominous moods, and guttural vocals.

  3. Motorhead – Bad Magic

    Motorhead - Bad Magic

    Motorhead – Bad Magic


    Sounds exactly like you think it would – loud, raunchy and fun! 40 years into their career, Lemmy and the boys can still put out a great album. Consistency is their middle name. BAD MAGIC immediately kicks you in the ass with “Victory or Die”; a fast Motorhead barnstormer that starts with Lemmy yelling a split second before the ginga ginga bass and guitar kick in with Mikkey’s insane drumming! I immediately smiled and started banging my head!

  4. Gruesome – Savage Land

    Gruesome - Savage Land

    Gruesome – Savage Land


    Death Metal supergroup does early Death worship! If you love LEPROSY, SPIRITUAL HEALING, and HUMAN, then you’ll love this! Nothing original here but that is the idea! Great catchy riffs, killer drums and bass, Chuck-esque vocals from Mr. Harvey.

  5. Slayer – Repentless

    Slayer - Repentless

    Slayer – Repentless


    Many fans have turned their backs on Slayer, saying they shouldn’t continue without Jeff and Dave. Indeed, how could Slayer continue without their main songwriter Jeff? Would a new album be watered down crap or what? Well, now we know that Slayer can still bring it in their 50s without Jeff and Dave, even if REPENTLESS can’t compare to their classic 80s / early 90s material.

  6. Entrails – Obliteration
  7. Darkapathy – Condemned in Black
  8. Iron Maiden – Book of Souls
  9. Horrendous – Anareta
  10. Rooms of Ruin – Into The Black
  11. Wombbath – Downfall Rising
  12. Napalm Death – Apex Predator Easy Meat
  13. Unleashed – Dawn of the Nine
  14. Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed
  15. Krisiun – Forged in Fury
  16. Hate Eternal – Infernus
  17. Pentagram – Curious Volume
  18. Saxon – Battering Ram
  19. Jungle Rot – Order Shall Prevail
  20. Fear Factory – Genexus

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2015-Canadian Metal-A Year In Review

January 2nd, 2016
by J P

2015-Canadian Metal-A Year In Review

by JP

cdn

2015 was a superb year for Canadian Metal in terms of music, tours and the industry. Not surprisingly, Quebec lead the charge with that single province producing a large percentage of all the Metal albums released in Canada.

In exciting industry news, the veteran  Metal record label, AFM Records, signs their first Canadian act ever with the addition of Borealis to their roster who join such artists as Evergrey, Iron Savior and U.D.O.  Germany’s AFM follows perhaps in the footsteps of Austria’s Napalm Records, who have been on a Canadian signing spree as of late, and AFM’s entry into the Canadian market bodes well for the industry as a whole.  Our nations Metal scene continues to gain global recognition with Vesperia winning the 2015 Wacken Metal Battle, the second Canadian band in three years to win the prestigious international contest.

Other highlights include the Newfoundland based Metal-Rules.com, one of the worlds largest and longest running Metal webzines, celebrated their 20th anniversary and the publication of over 12,000 reviews.

In Calgary, long standing Metal radio show Megawatt Mayhem entered their 30th consecutive year on air on CJSW 90.9FM.  In Edmonton, the announcement of a new Metal Festival and International industry  conference, dubbed Shredmonton, slated for March 2016, generated much interest.

Heading West to Vancouver, BC, Test Your Metal Records opened for business (joining a precious select few active Canadian Metal Record labels) with a coupe, by signing Brazilian Power Metal powerhouse, Hibria.   In sadder news, JJ Caithcart owner of Vancouver’s SCRAPE Records, Canada’s only all-Metal record store, announced his retirement and struggles to find a buyer to keep it alive.

Back in Toronto Sam Dunn and Banger Films announce the creation of three new excellent series, ROCK ICONS, LOCK HORNS and METAL EVOLUTION-ALBUMS. In addition they announced the creation of an all-Metal, 24-hour, TV channel anchored by the hundreds of hours of footage of archived material from Banger Films previous projects and documentaries.   Also in Toronto, author Martin Popoff hits another milestone with the publication of his 50th book about Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.

Perhaps most importantly the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) finally after a 35 year drought introduce a ‘Heavy Metal Album Of The Year’ category into their national music award program the JUNO’s.

As for my personal list, bolstered by a couple of old favourite veteran bands,  these young guns are the brightest hope for the future of Canadian Metal and represented the best of 2015. Listed alphabetically .

ANNIHILATOR-Suicide Society

(UDR) Ottawa, 15th album

ann

ASCENDIA-The Lion and the Jester

(Indie) Toronto, 1st album

asc

BOREALIS-Purgatory

(AFM)  Orangeville, 3rd album

bor

DISTORIAM-Chapter 1: Vinlanders

(Indie) Montreal, 1st album

dis

DRAGON NATION-Dragon Nation

(Indie) Montreal, 1st album

dra

ELDEROTH-Mystic

(Indie) Montreal, 2nd album

eld

HROM-Legends of Powerheart Part 1

(Indie) Calgary, 2nd album

hro

IRON KINGDOM-Ride For Glory

(Indie) Surrey, 3rd album

iro

THOR-Metal Avenger

(Deadline)Victoria, 20th (?) album

tho

TIMELESS OCEANS-Enigma of a Lost World

(Indie) Quebec City, 2nd album

tim

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Best of 2015 – Brat

January 2nd, 2016
by Brat

Top 20 Albums

1. Eclipse – Armageddonize

Eclipse – Armageddonize

Eclipse – Armageddonize

While it’s not metal technically, most of the tracks on this album are heavier and faster than a lot of metal I’m hearing these days. The last few albums have been pearlers and this one is no different.

2. Angra – Secret Garden

Four/five years is a long time between albums for a band of this calibre. While I thought the announcement of Fabio Lione as frontman for the band felt ‘wrong’ even though I’m a fan of his, he actually works.

Angra - Secret Garden

Angra – Secret Garden

3. Stratovarius – Eternal

Unprecedented writing quality puts this Stratovarius album ahead of all the others. With Eternal, the band can finally shake free of something I once read ‘Stratovarius has written the best power metal album of our generation, it’s a pity it’s spread across their entire catalogue’.

Stratovarius - Eternal

Stratovarius – Eternal

4. Serious Black – As Daylight Breaks

Serious Black - As Daylight Breaks

Serious Black – As Daylight Breaks

5. Helloween – My God-Given Right

Helloween - My God-Given Right

Helloween – My God-Given Right

6. Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Prometheus

Luca Turilli’s RHAPSODY - PROMETHEUS, SYMPHONIA IGNIS DIVINUS

Luca Turilli’s RHAPSODY – PROMETHEUS, SYMPHONIA IGNIS DIVINUS

 7. Cain’s Offering – Stormcrow

CAIN’S OFFERING - STORMCROW

Cain’s Offering – Stormcrow

8. Unleash the Archers – Time Stands Still

It’s been a long time between wailing power metal vocal albums for me, but this one has returned my inner ‘Bruce Dickinson’ giving private performances for my dogs and the local kookaburras and cockatoos.

Unleash the Archers - Time Stands Still

Unleash the Archers – Time Stands Still

9. Europe – War of Kings

Europe - War of Kings

Europe – War of Kings

10. Orden Ogan – Ravenhead

Orden Ogan - Ravenhead

Orden Ogan – Ravenhead

11. Powerwolf – Blessed and Possessed

Get out your jaffle makers metalheads, because there’s enough blasphemous cheese here to feed a festival full of hungry metalheads.

Powerwolf - Blessed & Possessed

Powerwolf – Blessed & Possessed

12. Sirenia – The Seventh Life Path

Because it wouldn’t be my list without some female-fronted symphonic power metal. And, with the male growl vocals it’s got even more layers of metal.

Sirenia - The Seventh Life Path

Sirenia – The Seventh Life Path

13. Soto – Inside the Vertigo

Finally Jeff Scott Soto has released a solo album worthy of his talents. It’s dark, it’s heavy (for Soto) and has decent tempo.

Soto - Inside the Vertigo

Soto – Inside the Vertigo

14. Keep of Kalessin – Epistemology

Keep of Kalessin - Epistemology

Keep of Kalessin – Epistemology

15. Lindemann – Skills in Pills

Lindemann - Skills In Pills

Lindemann – Skills In Pills

16. Ensiferum – One Man Army

Ensiferum - One Man Army

Ensiferum – One Man Army

17. Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

18. Circle II Cirle – Reign of Darkness

Circle II Circle - Reign Of Darkness

Circle II Circle – Reign Of Darkness

19. Apocalyptica – Shadowmaker

Apocalyptica - Shadowmaker

Apocalyptica – Shadowmaker

20. Alpha Tiger – identity

Alpha Tiger - iDentity

Alpha Tiger – iDentity

Best New Band

Serious Black

Serious Black - As Daylight Breaks

Serious Black – As Daylight Breaks

Best EP

LORD – What Tomorrow Brings

LORD - What Tomorrow Brings

LORD – What Tomorrow Brings

Xandria – Fire & Ashes

Xandria - Fire & Ashes

Xandria – Fire & Ashes

Best Live Album

Paradise Lost – Symphony for the Lost

Paradise Lost - Symphony for the Lost

Paradise Lost – Symphony for the Lost

Best Fancy-Schmancy Box Releases

Voodoo Circle – Whisky Fingers

Voodoo Circle - Whisky Fingers deluxe edition

Voodoo Circle – Whisky Fingers deluxe edition

Ensiferum – One Man Army

Ensiferum - One Man Army deluxe edition

Ensiferum – One Man Army deluxe edition

Best Remake/Re-release Album

Secret Sphere – A Time Nevercome 2015

Secret Sphere - A Time Nevercome 2015 edition

Secret Sphere – A Time Nevercome 2015 edition

Best ‘Best of…’

Heavens Gate – Best for Sale!

Heavens Gate - Best For Sale!

Heavens Gate – Best For Sale!

Best Tribute/Cover Album

Whitesnake – The Purple Album

The Purple Album by Whitesnake

The Purple Album by Whitesnake

Best Concert

I’ve been mostly absent from the live scene and the only show I saw was Def Leppard. I’ve seen them every time they’ve toured Australia and they are definitely a worthy band live to be listed as my best concert for the year.

Def Leppard in concert, Sydney 2015

Def Leppard in concert, Sydney 2015

Best Music DVD/Blu-Ray

Axel Rudi Pell & Friends – Magic Moments 25th Anniversary Special

Axel Rudi Pell & Friends - Magic Moments Blu-Ray

Axel Rudi Pell & Friends – Magic Moments Blu-Ray

Europe – War of Kings (live at Wacken)

Best Metal Movie

DEATHGASM from my New Zealand neighbours.

Deathgasm Blu-Ray

Deathgasm Blu-Ray

2015 Disappointments

My absence from the live metal scene.

2016 Hopes

One is already coming to fruition with the announcement of the first MelodicRock.com festival in Melbourne Australia, featuring Eclipse, Vanishing Point, Black Majesty, Paul Laine, Erik Grönwall (H.E.A.T.) and bucket list singer (one-time candidate to sing for Van Halen) Mitch Malloy.

To get to more metal shows – local and international.

 

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Best of 2015 – Jo Blackened

January 1st, 2016
by Metal Rules

Top 20 albums of 2015

  1. GORGOROTH – Instinctus Bestialis

    GORGOROTH - Instinctus Bestialis

    GORGOROTH – Instinctus Bestialis


  2. Marduk- Frontschwein
  3. Ethereal – Opus Aethereum
  4. Helllight – Journey Through Endless Storms
  5. Myrkur- M
  6. MIDNIGHT ODYSSEY – Shards Of Silver Fade
  7. Ninkharsag – Blood Of Celestial Kings
  8. The Dying of the Light – Amidst the Withering
  9. Creeping – Revenant
  10. Eïs “Bannstein
  11. Outre – Ghost Chants
  12. Images At Twilight – Kings
  13. AKHLYS – The Dreaming I
  14. Deafheaven- New Bermuda
  15. Nahtrunar – Symbolismus
  16. Temple of Gnosis – Mystervm Magnvm
  17. Tony Mills – Over my Dead Body
  18. Nightland – Obsession
  19. ALFAHANNE – Blod Eld Alfa
  20. Lychgate – “An Antidote for the Glass Pill

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Best of 2015 – Celtic Bob

January 1st, 2016
by Metal Rules

2015 has been a rough year for me on a personal level which is why my list for 2015 is not as detailed as it normally is. Without making excuses or divulging details I will say that my list nearly never happened at all. I felt that would be unacceptable to all the bands, labels and PR firms that worked so hard this past year to bring you some fantastic music. Here is my list in basic form and let us hope 2016 is a better one.

  1. Motörhead – Bad Magic

    Motorhead - Bad Magic

    Motorhead – Bad Magic

  2. Armored Saint – Win Hands Down
  3. Faith No More – Sol Invictus
  4. Slayer – Repentless
  5. Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
  6. Black Star Riders – The Killer Instinct
  7. Ugly Kid Joe – Uglier Than They Used Ta Be
  8. Mike Tramp – Nomad
  9. The Answer – Raise A Little Hell
  10. Whitesnake – The Purple Album
  11. BulletBoys – Elefante
  12. Queensryche – Condition Human
  13. Trixter – Human Era
  14. Nelson – Peace Out
  15. UFO – A Conspiracy Of Stars
  16. Voodoo Circle – Whiskey Fingers
  17. Europe – War Of Kings
  18. Ghost – Meliora
  19. Scorpions – Return To Forever
  20. Def Leppard

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Best of 2015 – Erich

January 1st, 2016
by Metal Rules

Top 20 Metal Albums 2015

  1. Queensrÿche  – Condition Human

    QUEENSRŸCHE - Condition Hüman

    QUEENSRŸCHE – Condition Hüman

    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.

  2. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
    Paradise Lost – The Plague Within

    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.

  3. Slayer – Repentless
    Slayer - Repentless

    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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Ghost – Meliora
  7. Trixter – Human Era
  8. Millennial Reign – Carry The Fire
  9. Helloween – My God-Given Right
  10. Hardcore Superstar – HCSS
  11. Orden Ogan – Ravenhead
  12. Air Raid – Point Of Impact
  13. Pyramaze – Disciples Of The Sun
  14. Lethal Saint – WWIII
  15. Artizan – The Furthest Reaches
  16. Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
  17. My Dying Bride – Feel The Misery
  18. Hollow Haze – Memories Of An Ancient Time
  19. Blind Guardian- Beyond The Red Mirror
  20. Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls

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Best of 2015 – Waspman

January 1st, 2016
by Metal Rules

Top 20

1. Blind Guardian – Beyond The Red Mirror

Blind Guardian - Beyond The Red Mirror

Blind Guardian – Beyond The Red Mirror

The ever meticulous Germans returned in 2015 after a five-year gap since the release of their last album – the longest break in their career thus far. BEYOND THE RED MIRROR proved without a shadow of a doubt that the time away didn’t hurt; in fact, the album is the band’s best since a little release called NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH.

2. Stratovarius – Eternal

Stratovarius - Eternal

Stratovarius – Eternal

With their fourth post-Timo Tolkki release, the Finnish power metallians proved that they are as strong now as they ever were in the late-90’s heyday.

3. Cain’s Offering – Stormcrow

CAIN’S OFFERING - STORMCROW

CAIN’S OFFERING – STORMCROW

What a year for Timo Kotipelto! 2015 was arguably his best year ever professionally with his mainstay band Stratovarius coming in just above this, and the long-awaited sophomore outing from the revered Cain’s Offering living up to expectations. Anyone who says power metal is stagnating needs to take just one listen to this album to have their words shoved back in their face.

4. Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful
The Finns’ first effort with the fan-favorite Floor Jansen at the mic was everything that you could have asked for. Bombastic, powerful, and yes, overblown, Nightwish is still the best in the game.

5. Royal Hunt – XII: Devil’s Dozen
Royal Hunt may be unfairly ignored on North American shores but that hasn’t stopped Andre Andersen and the inimitable D.C. Cooper from cranking out top-flight material. DEVIL’S DOZEN proves that they are as vital as ever.

6. Kamelot – Haven
Kamelot made a big return in 2012 with SILVERTHORN, their first with then-new vocalist Tommy Karevik. HAVEN proves that was no fluke as it’s yet another immediate and memorable album.

7. Blazon Stone – No Sign Of Glory
Running Wild may not be what they once were, but if you still crave rollicking tales of heavy metal piracy, look no further than Blazon Stone. NO SIGN OF GLORY is as strong a Teutonic metal album as you’re likely to hear and contains my single favorite song of 2015: “Fire the Cannons”.

8. Helloween – My God-Given Right
Speaking of Teutonic metal, Helloween returned this year with their 15th album of new material and even as the band moves into their fourth decade (!), they show no signs of slowing down.

9. The Black Dahlia Murder – Abysmal
ABYSMAL is anything but. The Black Dahlia Murder seems to keep getting stronger, more precise, and more vicious every time they release an album. It doesn’t hurt that ABYSMAL is as razor-sharp an death metal album as you’re likely to hear.

10. Melechesh – Enki
ENKI is probably the album I was most anticipating in 2015, and Ashmedi and crew did not disappoint me. It’s perhaps true that Melechesh didn’t cover much new ground on this one, but they don’t need to as they own this particular corner of Middle Eastern mystical metal.

11. Eclipse – Armageddonize
Eclipse is probably the best hard rock band working today and the catchy, fiery anthems on ARMAGEDDONIZE prove it.

12. Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
On their 16th studio album, Iron Maiden somehow manage to use all of the things people complain about (repetition, long-winded song writing) and turn them to their advantage in creating yet another compelling album with depth.

13. Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Speaking of compelling, Vanden Plas returned with another in a long line of spellbinding albums, proving that they remain one of the top progressive metal bands in the world.

14. DarkTribe – The Modern Age
France always seems to be the forgotten country when it comes to metal but with their thoroughly enjoyable sophomore effort, THE MODERN AGE, DarkTribe proved that they’re ready to compete with the best power metal has to offer.

15. Doomsday Outlaw – Black River
Crushing backwoods Southern metal from the U.K.? It’s as shocking as it is welcome and I definitely welcome more from Doomsday Outlaw.

16. Saxon – Battering Ram
Saxon have kept the flame burning for almost 4 decades and BATTERING RAM proves they have a lot more still in the tank. Long live the NWOBHM.

17. Act of Defiance – The Birth And The Burial
With this slab of angry, aggressive thrash, Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover show the type of metal they really want to play. This one flew a bit under the radar, but I can’t help but feel that if this was the new Megadeth album, fans would have been fawning all over it. This album grew on me the most in 2015.

18. Stryper – Fallen
Just, wow. With their previous album and now FALLEN, Stryper have released the two best albums of their controversial career.

19. Joel Hoekstra’s 13 – Dying To Live
Joel Hoekstra’s got his fleet fingers involved in a large number of projects these days, but he thankfully saved his best song writing for his fourth solo album which is jammed full of incredible & memorable tunes.

20. Hibria – Hibria
The 20th spot was a toss-up for me between this and W.A.S.P.’s excellent GOLGOTHA record, but ultimately I decided to award the placement to Hibria. These Brazilians surprised me the most this year with their most vital album since their debut more than a decade ago, capping off a great year for power metal.

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Best of 2015 – Jarod Lawley

January 1st, 2016
by Metal Rules

Top 20

Tribulation - The Children of the Night

Tribulation – The Children of the Night

#1. Tribulation – The Children of the Night

This album has featured in many End of Year lists, but whilst to others this is just a great record, to me it is more. I have loved exploring the sounds and themes of this band ever since The Children of the Night’s released, and Tribulation are now officially in the centre of my music radar.

#2. Myrkur- M

A divisive record which I don’t expect will be cropping up in many MR staff members’ lists. Nevertheless, I feel that this is at the forefront of evolution for genre which remains known as “black metal”.

#3. Luciferian Light Orchestra- Luciferian Light Orchestra

Masterminded by Christofer Johnsson, this 70s style rock ensemble could easily be the house band of Satan’s very own private club, and with choruses like those found in ‘Taste the Blood of the Alter Wine’ and ‘Sex with Demons’, everyone would want to be a member.
4. Grave Pleasures- Dreamcrash
5. Ethereal- Opus Eponymous
6. Cold In Berlin- The Comfort of Loss and Dust
7. Deafheaven- New Bermuda
8. Alfahanne- Blod Eld Alfe
9. Ashtar- Ilmasaari
10. Iron Maiden- The Book of Souls
11. Ahab- The Boats of Glenn Carrig
12. Sannhet- Revisionist
13. Marduk- Frontschwein
14. Gnaw Their Tongues- Abyss Of Longing throats
15. Black Bleeding- A Bright Future
16. Obsequiae – Aria of Vernal Tombs
17. Mgla- Excercises In Futility
18. Kampfar- Profan
19. An Autumn For Crippled Children- The Long Goodbye
20. Vaee Solis- Adversarial Light

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Best of 2015 – Arto Lehtinen

December 31st, 2015
by Metal Rules

#1. Avatarium: The Girl With The Raven Mask

Avatarium: The Girl With The Raven Mask

Avatarium: The Girl With The Raven Mask

Kind of unexpected choice to rank this to the first place, but this is such an awesome output from the Swedish Avatarium. The Candlemass mastermind Leif Edling is definitely a real riff wizard to come up great doomy oriented songs.

#2. Paradise Lost: The Plague Within

Paradise Lost – The Plague Within

Paradise Lost – The Plague Within

Wow.. I had been told in advance the next Paradise Lost output would be “back to roots”. Heard the same phrase before. But frankly Plague Within truly surprised with the real doom/death metal elements. Obviously the fans of the Depeche Mode era must have got a real shock effect when hearing this one.

#3. Slayer: Repentless

Slayer - Repentless

Slayer – Repentless

The old thrash warhorse still keeps thrashing despite the band went thru the real bedlam Repentless is a surprising vital album by Slayer. Even though Slayer is on overtime, but let’s enjoy what we still have left…

4) Mgla : Exercises In Futility
5) Ghost : Meliora
6) Amorphis : Under The Red Cloud
7) Iron Maiden : Book Of Souls
8) Queensryche : Condition Human
9) Krisiun : Forged In Fire
10) Melechesh : Enki
11) Infernal War : Axion
12) Masters Of Metal : From Worlds Beyond
13) A.R.G. : Redemption From Refaim
14) Lucifer :  Luficer I
15) Ancient Rites : Laguz
16) Morbid Vomit : Doctrine Of Violence
17) My Dying Bride : Feel The Misery
18) Gruesome : Savage Land
19) Helloween : God Given Right
20) Morgoth :  Ungod

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Macabre Omen – Interview with The One

December 31st, 2015
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

Macabre Omen – Interview with The One

Questions: Ann Sulaiman

Macabre Omen: Gods of War - At War

Macabre Omen: Gods of War – At War

Despite its significant downs, 2015 was also a year with a few ups – one of them being the release of the much lauded Greek black metal album ’Gods of War – At War’ by one-man outfit Macabre Omen. Ten years in the making since their last record ‘The Ancient Returns’, the album sees a grand marriage of pre-Christian Greece with epic metal notes without the pompous fare of others that try to do the same for the “Viking” sphere.

As intimate as it is majestically aggressive, ‘Gods of War – At War’ had received immense praise and acclaim especially in the London metal scene, where mastermind “The One” currently resides. So for this exclusive interview, I managed to track him down for a chat one fine afternoon.

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Remembering Lemmy

December 30th, 2015
by Metal Rules
lemmyrip

Lemmy – On stage in Helsinki, Finland. December 6 2015

Condolences for Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister (24 December 1945 – 28 December 2015)

Like all Motörhead fans, many of us here feel a connection to the rebel spirit and music of Motörhead.  As Lemmy himself was anything but pretentious, we won’t ramble on. Here are just a few words, thoughts, and pictures about this irreplaceable founder, vocalist, bassist, songwriter, and LEGEND.

Go here for the official announcement about the passing of Lemmy, and for condolences from many of Lemmy’s peers. And in case anyone was wondering, drummer Mikkey Dee has confirmed that the band is over.

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Hobbs’ Angel Of Death – Helsinki Finland

December 29th, 2015
by Arto Lehtinen

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HOBBS’ ANGEL OF DEATH

VIOLENTOR (ITA), FLAME

PRKL Club The 18th of December

HELL-SIN-KILL

FINLAND

Peter Hobbs carved its immortal marks in the late 80’s by releasing the highly appreaciated debut self titled album back in 1988. Despite the second album released n 1995, Hobbs has kept the low profile until 2004 the legendary Australian metal squad led by Peter Hobbs unleashed the Australian thrash metal storm at Wacken. It was pure magical mayhem. Rapidly back to 2012 when Hobbs Angel Of Death made a debut gig ever at Jalometalli along with Slayer Blasphemy was pure old school blitzkrieg

It took a few years until Hobbs got back to Finland for the third gig, all right Hobbs made the second visit to Åland being a tiny island between Finland and Sweden. Apparently 150 old school metal maniacs had crawled to the obscure PRKL club in the centrum of Helsinki.

The domestic black thrash metal Flame kicked the night. The raw, brutal and barbaric are the essential words to describe the outcome of Flame when speaking of the lawless black thrash metal assault. Flame rages in the underground catacombs by coming up the vicious outbursting blackened metal.

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The third one was a previously rather unknown band hailing from Italy called Violentor. By the way half of the Violentor four piece line-up was the part of the Hobbs line-up as well. As for Violentor in general, the four piece band combines the straight forward rock ala Motörhead with the blasting thrash stuff with some Sodom influences for sure. Violentor’s stuff is perfect for the insane beer drinking feast.

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After the 30 minute delay Hobbs started the old school thrash mauling. Eve though the venue is small as hell it didn’t prevent the audience from causing the real battlezone in the front row. When the opening riff of the first songs such as Lucifer’s Domain cut the air, the whole crowd went total beserk. The older Hobbs material was welcomed and appreciated amongst the bangers more than well. The set was tremendous long as the four piece did nearly 90 minute set by delivering the brutal and uncompromising old school thrash assault. It was quite weird to follow how the audience had to crawl outside to gasp for the air and take care of the alcoholic current balance. The Australian thrash metal veteran and icon Peter Hobbs having greyed sophistically sounded angry and brutal, not having lost any inch and grasp in the voice. As for the new material, well frankly it sounded thrash, but time to time it sounded kind of groovy. Hobbs Angel Of Death is about to release a new album in 2016 and therefore it was quite logical to do songs off from it. To be honest the new material has to be checked out as the man definitely creates the slaying and vicious thrash riff. Hobbs have always delivered the utter brutal slab of the finest old school thrash metal assault. Hopefully he will be seen at some metal festival sooner or later.

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