26 December 2015

ATTIWLTMOWOS Top 40 Album of the Year - Official Result!

The votes are in, the tallies have been counted and all the dust from the hustings has settled as we are ready to announce our winner for the ATTIWLTMOWOS album of the year 2015.  Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who voted, expressed an interest in voting or got confused by the voting form - if it was not for you guys, this result could have been a lot stranger.  Now this poll was just for albums, so any EP's or Singles we reviewed were not eligible; neither were any albums that got below 8 out of ten when we completed the reviews, so you can all blame Jerm for giving Slayer 7 out of ten.  If you want to ready the full review, just click the title of the album (below is the summary paragraph from each reviews).  So, without further ado here are our top 40 albums of 2015:

40 - Skindred - Volume

I will admit I was a little sceptical at the beginning of this album, I have heard that they are better live than on record and it made me a little nervous before trying this record.  But I am glad to report that these fears were misplaced and the album is a corker.  The songs are all played brilliantly and it appeals to both the older me and my younger self who sometimes cry inside that I like jazz now.  It has so many great songs that it was hard to actually choose my favourite number.  But there is a few things on here I would change; some of the ordering was off - the last three track should have been moved around and why have two of the interludes so close together?  But if your only problems are track ordering, that is easy sorted.  I really like this album, it is great on so many levels that I cannot help but be impressed.  For my last review for consideration for this year's album of the year - I think this is a great one. - Eddie Carter

39 - The Fall - Sub-Lingual Tablet

These guys can be seen as the prototype for bands like Sleaford Mods and Pulp to exist and why the late & great John Peel championed them – they have influenced more acts that you can imagine and this album is proof that they are not finished and anyone who thought so will be sorry for that mistake.  You are taken on another brilliant noise trip that will please their fans (including myself).  There has never been another band like them and there never will be one again, all hail The Fall! - Eddie Carter

38 - Benjamin Clemente - At Least For Now

A very interesting album. You can tell that a lot of heart and soul has gone into this. Hopefully it'll win the Mercury award as it's certainly worth any positive accolades it's nominated for. The only gripe I have is that the "one man one piano" songs aren't as good as the crazier moments. More crazy moments would certainly be the order of the day. As someone who mainly listens to musical genres with the word "metal" in the title, I can recommend this. - Chris Jermyn

37 - Vintage Trouble - 1 Hopeful Rd.

I am won over here; it is a stunner of a record that have some brilliant old school R&B.  There are a couple of number which are not as great as other songs on the record, but there is more than enough talent, charm and passion on here to more than make up for that.  It can be played at any time of year and still make every night and day a party and a time for lovers as well.  It is both classic and new at the same time which is a hard act to pull off; no matter which way you look at it you are hearing an album which will only get better with each passing year. - Eddie Carter

36 - Lonely Robot - Please Come Home

It’s always nice to discover a new artist and even nicer when it’s with an album as good as Please Come Home is. One particular thing I loved about it is that, before I looked more into the theme of it, is that it really does capture the essence of a robot lost in space. There’s the otherworldly atmospherics of it but also a feeling of unexplainable sense of melancholy and sadness as well. There are quite a few guest appearances on this album, including some that I neglected to mention. None of them intrude on the flow of the album and they all contribute in their own ways. I'm not normally a fan of multiple guests on an album as I think it detracts from the artist themselves but there's no issue with any of them here. One guest isn't a musician at all but an English actor called Lee Ingleby, who contributes an understated spoken word delivery at various points throughout the album. They are unobtrusive and easily missed but still add to the overall feeling of loneliness in space. He's been in a load of stuff but I guess the thing most people would recognise is as Stan Shunpike, the bus conductor in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkhaban. - Luke Dunmore

35 - Napalm Death - Aphex Predator/Easy Meat

I think what I like most about this album is that it keeps things interesting for Napalm Death; it is undeniably something that only they could create correctly, it is also another album that keeps up that green patch that they have been on since they returned with 'Enemy of The Music Business' in 2000.  Is it their best album ever? Well, I am still (and probably always will be) unable to move past 'From Enslavement to Obliteration' in terms of best Napalm Death album; it is just something that I have always though.  Is it the best of their recent work?  Well, that one is up for debate as well - I always find myself going back to Napalm Death albums years later and each time it is a fresh view.  What is not up for debate is the fact that this is a fantastic record; bring together an excellent collection of numbers that should please all of their fans. - Eddie Carter

34 - Deafheaven - New Bermuda

This is a worthy follow up to 'Sunbather' as it does not rest on the laurels of the past, it is progressive in nature and is reaching for a new horizon.  There is no knowing where this band is going and this is just a snap shot of the band in constant flight towards a pastures unknown.  Is it as good as 'Sunbather'?  Well, it is not as instant and it took a little longer to get into if I am honest.  The first time I listened to it, I was not sure what they had done and was worried that my fear about them being a flash in the pan might come true.  However, after repeat listens to the album it has really grown on me and it might take a while for it to settle in my mind.  But it has improved with each listen and there is so much depth to the music, so I have a feeling that the mark below might be one I regret and wish I had made higher in a few months’ time. Needless to say, Deafheaven continue to be one of the most interesting and progressive acts currently releasing music, let the rules be broken and then broken again. - Eddie Carter

33 - Björk - Vulnicara

This album is not easy going, it is not a relaxing experience and it is as dark as an espresso in a Parisian cafe.  There is very little on this album that is anything other than desolate and broken; but it is also a beautiful and fragile album, I do not think I have heard Björk in better form and the songs are all very engaging.  If there was a weak moment on the album, I would say it was "Atom Dance" as the presence of Antony Hegarty (as beautiful as his performance is) distracts from the majestic performance of Björk which is all dominating.  But even that track is a strong and powerful number on an album that might not be full of hits; it is not that type of record - it is full of emotions.  The production by Arca (who works on most of the album), The Haxan Cloak (who help with "Family" and Björk herself is perfect to within an inch, I have not heard an album like this in an awful long time and you feel the pain in your heart with every note.  You are not given a chance at any point to rest as the healing is a long way off.  This is probably the best I have heard Björk ever, it is the darkest I have ever heard Björk and it will sadly be an album that I cannot listen to that often - it is that dark a moment.  To only be listened to when you need to hear that someone else understand and when you need reminded of where you have been.  Approach with care, but be amazed at the resulting album. - Eddie Carter

32 - Puscifer - Money $hot

I am totally humbled by this album, it has changed my opinion on this group completely and I deserve the biggest slice of humble pie that I can find.  I am always will to admit I am wrong about something and with this album I am 100% converted to the cause.  It is a dark, intriguing and beautiful record that gives more and more with each listen.  It is not absolutely perfect, but only one song that does not make sense is a pretty good return for me.  The voice is still strong, the music is beautiful and the overall performance has showcased one of the strongest set of songs I have heard this year.  Without wanting to mention the day job, will it appease Tool fans?  Well I think so, but it is not Tool and that is brilliant; it is Puscifer and that is the way it should be - a totally independent project that showcases this man's musical vision. - Eddie Carter

31 - Mercury Rev - The Light in You

This review is basically a love letter of sorts to this album and the current version of the band.  There are eleven songs on this album and not one of them is another other than glorious.  When a band sounds this tight that it is either through necessity or a new found fire; whichever one it is on this album, I hope that it can be sold in bottles.  From the opening ripple of "The Queen of Swans" to the fade out of "Rainy Record Day", there is not one moment when I have wished to be listening to anything else, reminded of a different band or wanted to stop the record.  It is another brilliant album in 2015; it is making my personal end of year poll a bit of a headache, but that is not the problem of the Mercury Rev.  This is an album of stunning fairy tales that has stolen my imagination, heart and soul and I am so thankful I picked it up, I think you should as well. - Eddie Carter

30 - With The Dead - With The Dead

And that's the end of the album. And you know what? It was fucking tremendous. The production was muddy, but it seemed to suit the music. And that in itself was great - alternating from traditional structures to free-fall jamming. Extremely heavy without emphasis on speed and it all sounded natural, not just for the sake of it. This is not party music by any means, more like something to relax to. Definitely reminded me of the last Electric Wizard album which is no surprise. It's also made me re-evaluate my opinion of stoner/doom. As mentioned before in the Electric Wizard blog, I'd initially had it down as nothing more than guys in bell-bottoms trying to recycle the best riffs of the 70's. Nope, it seems so much more than that and if I decide to go on the stoner journey, I reckon I'll have a fun time. As for With The Dead - here is hoping these guys stick around and make more music. - Chris Jermyn

29 - Marilyn Manson - The Pale Emperor

The irony is having listened to it a couple of times, I really wanted to give this a damned good mauling for its lack of serration and ill-advised change of musical direction. Yet I'm struggling to do so because you know something? I actually like this as he's lyrically lost none of his edge, and some of the industrial furnishings haven't gone either, so for the time being, it's a tentative nod from me. I could really get full esoteric and sadistic enjoyment this but please Mr. Manson don't scrub too much of your metal side as you should never forget how you got here. - Marc Richardson

28 - Frank Turner - Positive Songs for Negative People

This is the strongest album that Frank Turner has released since ‘Love Ire & Song’ and it might even surpass that album as well.  When an album is as well-crafted as this, you cannot help but be impressed by it; whilst there are some numbers which I do not like as much as others, it is the most consistent albums that Frank Turner has released and it is one of the more surprising albums for me this year.  The production work by Butch Walker is really strong throughout the album and Mr Turner and co sound as if all that touring has really paid off.  He has always been a man who has worn his heart on his sleeve and not afraid to leave it out there for all to see, now he has upped his own personally high standards and created his best album yet.  It is not quite a perfect ten for me, but it is still really good and worth checking out. - Eddie Carter

27 - Triosphere - The Heart of the Matter

So, was Heart Of The Matter worth the two month delay? I feel more a little relieved when I say yes, and although being a tad retro, the important thing I find in an album is getting full audio enjoyment from it. There's only so much the bands you already know and love can do to please the ear that on occasion you want to break a little new ground and search a little further afield and Triosphere's certainly achieved that from my own perspective. Heart Of The Matter has been such a genuine revelation, for me it has been metal Valhalla. Serious contender for Album Of The Year in my opinion so hopefully I can take a chance to listen to the rest of their discography shortly. For now, it's time for me to write other blogs, review other albums, and maybe stick this on my Christmas wish list along the way. - Marc Richardson

26 - The Aristocrats - Tres Caballeros

I'll say it here and now was never one of my fortes, but I'm sure it'll become a more enamoured affair. Interesting to see that Guthrie, Minnemann and Beller spent only 10 days recording this, certainly the production is at its most simplistic. Jazz Fusion? Well, it's an acquired taste that comes with a methodical approach and even though Tres Caballeros is an instrumental throughout, it does feel very inviting and teasing. Mind you, if I had to judge on the choice of song titles, the mark would be zero. Seriously though, no reason why this shouldn't mature gracefully but a few more listens are in order and certainly a must have album if you're a hardcore non vocals fan. - Marc Richardson

25 - Fear Factory - Genexus

Well, there you have it - the best Fear Factory album since 'Archetype', It's basically everything you'd expect and want from a Fear Factory album. Whilst they're never going to reach the heights of 'Demanufacture', as long as they keep releasing stuff as good as this, they should be OK for years to come. The only drawback I can find is that the clean vocals are not as good as they usually are. The production is perfect with the right balance between 'polished' and 'raw'. And, for a change, the ear candy is not too overpowering. Buy it, you can't go wrong. - Chris Jermyn

24 - Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes - Blossom

Wow - I think that this album is a game changer.  You are never sure what to expect with a band when you go by their cover, even if you know something about one of the people in the band.  This is an explosion draped in hardcore and filled with piss and vinegar, it is harsh, unforgiving, brutally honest and in no mood for taking any shit from anyone.  From the opening note to the ending of "I Hate You", there is not a track which does not impress; production is loud, the performance by everyone sounds brilliant and it is one of those albums that will take a lot of work to beat.  I usually look for counterpoints so I do not come across as a fan boy, but I cannot apart that I wish there was more on here (but it is best to leave the audience wanting more); if you get a chance to see them on tour, go for it and buy this album - what an album.... - Eddie Carter

23 - Joe Satriani - Shockwave Supernova

Too lightweight to be ever considered a hard rocking album in my opinion, but it's never going to bow down easily. A little warning however, you will be disappointed if expecting plenty of edge and serration from Satch, and I ashamedly admit my expectations were heading that way. From a technical viewing, my two slight peeves are that it's a tad lengthy, and it's missing just one more twist to the plot, but in all probability I've missed the point here. It's better to view it differently and see what other things Shockwave Supernova has to offer on the basis of theme, and certainly in terms of the depth and texturing of the layers, this album has it in the truckloads. - Marc Richardson

22 - Ben Folds - So There

This is truly an album which contains two separate (but equally important) halves.  On one hand you have Ben Folds the songwriter and satirical genius of pain and love.  This side is something that everyone is very familiar with and something I feel he will always do.  Then you have the musician Ben Folds who has this serious piece to get out, by serious I do not mean that his other works are child's play - it is a big step to release a concerto in this day and age.  I think both can co-exist and should both be cherished; this album shows that Mr Folds is more than capable of this.  However, I will add that I would like to hear a classical work from Mr Folds on its own; I do not think he needs his songs to support the classical side of his work - it will stand up on its own two feet.  For that reason, the album is not perfect as it is trying to appease two sides of the musical community and I think that whilst it does an admirable job - it would have been better as two separate records.  But what beautiful music we have been introduced to here; well played Mr Folds, well played. - Eddie Carter

21 - The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - So Delicious

I am blown over by this album, it is truly an album that crosses genres and has so much going for it that it will be able to create a party wherever it is played.  It showcases the alternative blues and country in a way that I have not heard before and I will be checking out the rest of their back catalogue as well.  It has a rebellious spirit that is also very welcoming to everyone, they just want to party to be in full flow and as the album title says, this is so delicious.  Because of this album I am going to have to do my album of the year list again, but that will be done with pleasure as this album is brilliant; no matter what sort of music you are into, I would recommend this album. - Eddie Carter

20 - Bachar Mar-Khalifé - Ya Balad

I might not be able to speak the same language as Bachar Mar-Khalifé or have shared life experiences as this man has been forced to live through, but this album is a work which is something that has introduced me to his world.  It is also an album that is still evolving in my mind and with each listen it takes a new form in my mind’s eye, with each spin of the record I am finding notes and passages that do not need words to gain a reaction from me.  I do hope that one day I get to read a translation of the words, I would never want to hear them in another language as they sound beautiful as they are now; this album truly moves me and it is another great record from 2015. - Eddie Carter

19 - Eureka Machines - Brain Waves

Each one of Eureka Machines albums have been an improvement on the last and Remain In Hope, was a fantastic album so Brain Waves had its work cut out but it has most definitely managed it.  I look forward to the next (Which I hope is the second in a trilogy of albums with two word titles) very much. - Luke Dunmore

18 - David Gilmour - Rattle That Lock

This slips seamlessly, artfully and thoughtfully into 'Rattle that lock' and 'Faces of Stone' using samples of whistling - layering effects - at once intimate then dreamlike. And my God I've always loved this man's guitar solos it's almost indecent. - Helen Carter

17 - Lamb of God - VII: Sturm Und Drang

Well, that kicked ass! Just goes to show that, when done properly, groove metal can be a lot more than macho posing and threats while the music is an incoherent mess trying to reflect the "toughness" of whatever the vocalist is passing for lyrics. Whilst this album doesn't quite elevate itself to God-like proportions, it certainly kills 48 minutes. If you're the type of person who likes groove metal then this album will be like the nectar of the Gods to you. It's not going to appeal to everyone, but I reckon there may be a few surprises in there...- Chris Jermyn

16 - Florence + The Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

Eventually I came to the conclusion that it is beautiful. Ship to wreck would not leave my mind - the video of it the duality of expression - seemed to speak to me more than any of Florence's other tracks on her last two albums. This seemed a message to the world that was more personal - you were looking into her life and her thoughts - rather than cinematic pictures of an epic adventure distanced by fantasy and a dreamlike quality. How Big How Blue does - as the Rolling Stones Review correctly says 'pack(s) a punch'. - Helen Carter

15 - Young Fathers - White Men Are Black Men Too

So, what did we learn from the latest opus from Young Fathers? We learnt that this is their best album to date. Musically, they've came on leaps and bounds from the last album, which, although was excellent, seemed to have an over-reliance on big sounding looped beats. Whilst this certainly worked at the time, it was obvious that something special would have to be done They did this and passed with flying colours. I can recommend this album to anyone, regardless of what your favourite genre is. - Chris Jermyn

14 - Cradle of Filth - Hammer of the Witches

So, it looks like Cradle Of Filth actually have their best album in years! The production is spot on and the musicianship is spot on too! But, it's not without its flaws. For a start, it's still part of an extremely limited genre which not everyone is going to appreciate. And it also suffers from not straying too far from the main formula within that genre. However, when it's done as well as this, then I guess it's OK. Long-time fans will dig this and new converts may very well be persuaded to check these lads and lass out further. Enjoy! - Chris Jermyn

13 - The Skints - FM

This is a great album that is not just for the party, there is depths to this album which show some uncomfortable truths.  There is an angry to some of these number, a sense of wanting the community to come together and some love as well as some good times.  It does not say that the world is perfect, but there is still some hope in there; it might be fragile, but the fight for that hope is brilliant.  On a personal note, I do wish some of the songs were a little longer; but I am a man who can listen to songs that are basically an album each, so what would I know.  If you want something for that is going to challenge you as well as be the music for a good time, tune into Skint FM. - Eddie Carter

12 - Wilco - Star Wars

Even if this album was not on a free download, it would have been an album that I want to own.  Sometimes Wilco have got it wrong for me, something has not clicked and whilst I would always appreciate the craftsmanship that the band always place in their work - it would not be for this listener.  This album is not one of those albums.  Apart from a couple of numbers, this is the best they have released in years.  It is a great alternative album from one of the elder statesmen of the Alternative Rock genre.  It is obviously going to gain a lot more publicity through the free download, it will also get people who are so impressed by the album that when it gets a physical release they will purchase that as well (I count myself in that group).  It is such a great record that I think I will have to play it again once I post this, before I do the next blog. - Eddie Carter
(Footnote - I did play it again and many times since - Eddie)

11 - The Darkness - Last of Our Kind

The Darkness are a band that polarise opinion, mainly due to Justin Hawkins’ wailing voice, and no amount of me saying this is a good album will dissuade some folk and that’s fair enough. For those that DO like them then this is the best thing they’ve done since Permission To Land, possibly ever. It’s never going to be anywhere near as successful as their first two albums which is a shame but it should keep the fans that stuck with them happy. - Luke Dunmore

10 - Dr. Dre - Compton

The only problem I had with this album is that it's at least six tracks too long. Things tend to sound a bit samey after a while which dilutes the overall impact and reduces the score by at least one point. There are other albums out there that are guilty of the same thing so it's not an isolated incident. However...it's definitely a great album. Sounding like the past, present and future of hip-hop at the same. Talking about how rappers once had substance to their art before it became all about style, back when rappers had game instead of a 'brand' to think about. Back when their music was about real life experiences such as everyday life, be it scraping enough to get by or detailing police brutality or the fact that most of their friends are dead before they've had a chance to enjoy the fruits of the gangsta lifestyle. Now it's all (to quote 'Family Guy’) WALK INTO THE CLUB, PARTY AT THE CLUB, EMPHASISING "CLUB" etc. I guess that's what happens when things get watered down. But, back to the topic at hand, yeah, this is a good album. - Chris Jermyn

09 - Killing Joke - Pylon

You have to tip your hat off the Killing Joke for making another great album, they have been on a constant roll of great albums since 'Pandemonium' and their second self-titled album after the break for the criminally underrated 'Democracy'.  It does hint back towards their earlier days in places, but never in a backwards or reflective way that would be taken as nostalgia; they are still as fucked off as ever and that fire is in no danger of dying out soon, what they have here is another great album from the band who have rarely put a foot wrong.  Killing Joke have the ability to be as beautiful as they are harsh, their music is always a contradiction and I love that they still making music that is important.  It does not disappoint at all, it is sounds as relevant as anything else in their discography and shows that ages does not lessen the ability of Killing Joke to reflect the mood of the world when needed. - Eddie Carter

08 - Sleaford Mods - Key Markets

Ok, cards on the table - I think they have equalled 'Divide & Exit', it is a very strong successor to that album.  The anticipation has been matched with an excellent album, you can hear that there has been change to the music and the production has been increased.  This does not diminish anything from the sound, it is still as fierce and strong as it has been through out all the releases I have heard.  The social commentary of the record is as sharp as ever, with the usual mixture of sarcasm and writhing irony.  Each track is fantastic; some take longer to sink in but they are really worth it.  From beginning to end, it is one of the albums of 2015 from one of the best bands going; long story short - buy it now! - Eddie Carter

07 - Ryan Adams - 1989

I was so ready to hate this, even with my love of Ryan Adams and his song; it is Taylor Swift and as a man who is approaching his four decade on this mortal coil, I really should not be listening to the sound of a woman who is top of the hit parade.  But this album is so good, I have choice but to fall under its spell.  It is by no means an all-conquering perfect album and now in the name of having to tell the difference, I will be reviewing the original album as well (DAMN YOU MR ADAMS - still have not, trying to get out of this one - Eddie).  This is not a dig at Taylor Swift, out of all the pop artist’s out there she is one of the few who seems to be a good egg and is very responsive to her fans and is not above taking the fight for artist rights to the music industry as she has that much clout (her appearance in New Girl still makes me chuckle).  What Ryan Adams has done here is help both of their careers out; he will get new people who are into Taylor Swift checking out his music as they will be interested to hear his other work (start with ‘Love Is Hell’, ‘Ashes & Fire’ and ‘Gold’) and the same with happen to Taylor Swift.  This is a labour of love that works on so many levels, it is something that should not work but that is what Ryan Adams does best – making the impossible real.  BTW – I’ve also heard the Velvet Underground interpretation by Father John Misty - I love the sarcasm and tone, but Mr Adams has nailed it.  And it goes to prove a point, I have now heard three versions of the same song by three different artists; each with their own merit – so far, Mr Adams is winning by country mile.  Now I will have to listen to ‘Orion’ to feel clean and just for the thrill of it, but I will probably return to this very soon. - Eddie Carter

(Footnote - 'Orion' cures all - Eddie)

06 - Ghost - Meliroa

Well, that was very dramatic and enjoy able to say the least; that have truly outdone themselves on this album without question, from the opening moment to the last haunting note they do not put a foot wrong. It is an improvement on their last outing and it also eclipses their outstanding first album (something else I did not thing would happen), you can hear the way they have improved that they have made to their sound and that they are evolving into something else.  Yes, if you are put off by the satanic stuff it will cause a problem or two; but look at it this way – it is all part of a play that they are creating, very much like Alice Cooper and David Bowie.  Even if it is, then you will (at worst) bought something that is akin to buying an album of beautifully crafted hymns but these are for the prince of darkness.  I know I say they going on about it as much as the Catholic go on about God, but it adds to the drama.  Enjoy the songs, enjoy the drama and enjoy one of the strongest rock albums of 2015 - I did not build it up too much in my head. - Eddie Carter

05 - FFS - FFS

Yes, yes, yes!!!!  I love this record! There are moments before I put it on when I doubted what the resulting record would be, I feel like a doubting Thomas here; but I am happy to repent as this album is just full out fun.  Is it flawed, of course it is! There are a few moments which do not quite work, but that is only compared to the towering parts of this record like "Police Encounters", "Johnny Delusional" and "Piss Off" - when you have songs of that quality, you are going to have moments that might seem to be flawed but on closer inspection they are still really strong.  I love that they have followed through with this record, I hope they keep their promise that this is not going to be a one off release and I recommend it to everyone.  Quite possibly my album of 2015, it is that stunning an album. - Eddie Carter

04 - Motörhead - Bad Magic

I hate it when people say that x band's latest release is a return to form, it does the musician's a disservice in my opinion.  Whilst not every Motörhead release has been a stone cold classic, they have always been consistent.  This is once again a very good album from Messrs Campbell, Dee and Kilmister which shows that whilst they may not be in the summer of their years, that you would be a fool to write them off.  It is really easy to look at this record and see it as a fuck you to death from Lemmy, it is never too far from the surface of the album and after the experience (and ongoing healthy worries of the man) it is something that will affect him.  But it only seems to have made him more determined to keep on going with his music and not slow down his passion; he might have had to make changes elsewhere in his life, but there is no compromise with the music.  It is much like the AC/DC album from last year - 'Rock or Bust' - you know what you are going to get and you do not want the formula fucked with too much.  It does the right stuff at the right time, it will keep their fans happy and it might even get some more fans along the way - job well done and a fuck you to death. - Eddie Carter

03 - The Prodigy - The Day Is My Enemy

This album is a good album; it is certainly their best album since ‘Fat of the Land’ (which I still hold is better than ‘Music for the Jilted Generation” (which Jerm is still to do)).  The songs “Ibiza” (which has my current favourite band Sleaford Mods), “The Day Is My Enemy”, “Invisible Sun” and the all-conquering “Rok-Weiler” are out of the top draw stuff from the Prodigy.  The problem is the same as that sometimes happens with band who have been away for too long, they are far too much material towards the end which (whilst not being bad) could have been released as a teaser EP before or another one afterwards.  Sometimes the phrase ‘leave them wanting more’ is appropriate, never more so than here.  It really takes what could have been a killer return and makes it a good return; you cannot deny the power behind the record, but it could have been so much better with a little bit of a clip and now it is just up for being one of the good albums of the year. Never has something so good being let down by not knowing when to stop. - Eddie Carter

(Footnote - Still think it should have been shorter, but what an album; also it turns out what I know - Eddie)

02 - Clutch - Psychic Warfare

In conclusion then, Psychic Warfare is a no-nonsense rock album and up there with their best. Clutch sound more vital and energetic than any group of portly old men have any right being. It's a good album to make someone listen to if they have yet to enjoy Clutch too. Though I imagine they’ll continue to evolve and change, I hope they carry on with this simpler format for at least another album or two. Being clever is all well and good but it’s fun to have fun sometimes too. - Luke Dunmore

01 - Faith No More - Sol Invictus

Let us address the elephant in the room - this is not the return that people were demanding or expecting, it is not as big as their earlier work (but with that said, it is not in a bad way; at least they are trying something different) and it does have its flaws.  But, I also find it hard to agree with the people who are saying that this is the sound of a band playing as if they are a shadow of their former, younger personas.  Yes, they have been apart for many years; yes, it is there first album in 20 years; yes, I wish it was Jim Martin too (some of the guitars were a little weak).  But the problem that comes with the album is that the band were on the cutting edge of music when they were first out and people are expecting that again - but most of the band have went on to do some really out there moments which have given them different things to bring back to this album, this is an album by people who have a different set of experiences than the guys who did "We Care A Lot", "Naked In Front of The Computer" or the cover of "I'm Easy".  I love Faith No More as well, but you have to accept they have changed - the people who are listening to this in their youth and that are saying that this is the work of a spent force have grown as well, so maybe they have moved on to different things?  It is something to consider and will be discussed at length.  I have to say that overall I like the album, I do not love it like I do some of their earlier work but here is the rub for me; each Faith No More album I have listened to does the exact same thing for me, it always takes a while to digest and sink in and I do not envision this album doing anything different - I like puzzles and this album feels like it will be one of those releases.  If you are wanting to relive your lost youth, there is a back catalogue for you; if they are no longer your cup of tea, there are other albums out there for you; if you want to hear a band come back and drop an interesting album which is a bit of an enigma, look no further. - Eddie Carter

So well done to Faith No More and all the other acts who made this list, as well as to any band who created an album this year.  If it was not for bands and artists releasing albums, this might be a blog about French chairs.  Anyway, if 2016 is half the year that 2015 was then we will have another great year for music.  Wishing you all the best for the season.

Eddie, Helen, Chris, Marc, Luke & Andy - The ATTIWLTMOWOS crew.

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