From Napalm Death, via Frank Zappa en-route to Sleaford Mods, waving to Elton John and Ben Folds who are heading towards Prince as he is about to start jamming with Converge and Ginger Wildheart.... This is the wall of sound which ticks in our collective heads. On this blog, our team will review anything that people ask; we also add play lists and run through artist biographies. I apologise in advance for the grammar and spelling crimes. Also, there is no illegal downloads - sorry hipsters.
6 December 2015
Luke's Top 20 Albums of 2015
Here’s my round up of the albums that I've most enjoyed in 2015. I found it particularly hard to round it down to 20 this year, there seemed to
big a sudden rush of great albums around November time that through everything
out. Anyway, here you go.
20. Slayer –
Their first album without founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman.
Perhaps it’s not up to the standard of their classic era, (Reign In Blood,
South Of Heaven, Seasons In The Abyss etc) but it’s the best thing they’ve done for
a while. A welcome return.
19. Frank Turner – Positive Songs For Negative People
Frank continues his progression from Acoustic Folk Punk
to full on Rock band. Personally I prefer the acoustic stuff but there’s no
denying his songwriting skills and this is still a fine album.
18. Gloryhammer – Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards
The best way to parody music, for me, is to play it
straight. That’s just what these ridiculous Scots do. It’s pompous, overblown
and utterly engaging. There’s so many big choruses and you’ll listen to the
thing with a big cheesy grin on your face.
17. The Darkness – Last of Our Kind
Their fourth album was self-released through crowd
funding and is a definite return to form. Hot Cakes was ok but patchy. There’s
no filler on Last of Our Kind, just a lot of riffs, melody and fun.
16. Gangstagrass – American Music
As their name might suggest, Gangstagrass play a hybrid
of Hip Hop and Bluegrass and it works surprisingly well. It just sounds organic
and natural. This album features Long Hard Times To Come which was used as the
theme to the TV show Justified.
15. Dog Fashion Disco – Ad Nauseum
The second album since their reformation for these
Avant-Garde Metallers. They sound like a heavier and more deranged Faith No
More and Ad Nauseum is a quality, if a little short, album.
14. Seasick Steve – Sonic Soul Surfer
You know what to expect with Seasick Steve, Lo-Fi
Blues/Americana with both a wry sense of humour and world weariness. Sonic Soul
Surfer is as good as anything he’s done previously.
13. Miracle Of Sound – Level 5 / Metal Up
Gavin Dunne has released two albums this year, Level 5 is
his fifth album in five years featuring songs based on video games, Sci-Fi and
general nerdiness. It features 28 tracks of wildly differing genres from
Industrial to Folk to Grunge to Electropop, all hugely entertaining and
memorable. Metal Up is, as you might guess, a full on Metal album. There’s a
strong Devin Townsend influence in a lot of it, a lot of Proggy/Djent riffs and
a smattering of Folk Metal to spice things up.
12. Armored Saint – Win Hands Down
These Classic Metal stalwarts don’t half take their time
releasing albums, it’s been five years since La Raza, their last album. Maybe
they just like to make sure it’s done right. Which, of course, it is. Win Hands
Down has slightly longer songs than previous albums, and there’s even their first proper
ballad in the form of Dive. Win Hands Down is a joyous, fist waving beast of an
11. Beyond The Black – Songs of Love And Death
Debut album by this young German band. Stereotypical female
fronted Gothic Metal but done with enthusiasm and vigour. The songs are catchy
and effective. There’s also an almost unrecognisable Motorhead cover that’s worth a listen
10. Dan Webster – The Tin Man
Beautifully moving Folk that straddles the line between traditional
and modern on the third album from this Yorkshire Singer/Songwriter.
9. Blind Guardian – Beyond The Red Mirror
These German Power Metal legends continue to churn out high
quality albums. Beyond The Red Mirror sounds so alive and invigorating.
Possibly the best thing they’ve done, which is saying something.
8. Diemonds – Never Wanna Die
The second album by these Canadian Hard Rockers, It’s
heavy, boisterous and belligerent. They have a strong frontwoman in Priya Panda
too. A couple of fillers mar Never Wanna Die but on the whole it’s an excellent
7. Crooked Saws – This Machine Sells Cars.
Crooked Saws play a weird, distorted form of the Blues
that honestly doesn’t sound like anyone else that I can bring to mind. It’s
like a dark and twisted, younger form of Seasick Steve I suppose, albeit with
dashes of Black Sabbath thrown in. Jesse's voice has echoes of both Mark Lanegan
and Jim Morrison in it. They’re worth a listen if you fancy something different.
6. Thundermother - Road Fever
An all-girl, Swedish/Irish Hard Rock band. No frills, No messing, just simple Rock music in the vein of AC/DC and Motorhead. I've listened to this album a lot this year.
5. Ginger Wildheart – Year of The Fanclub
Over the last year Ginger has been released five songs a
month through a fan club project called G.A.S.S. This 12 track CD is a
selection of those songs. There are few changes I would have made personally
but even so these are 12 brilliant songs that highlight both his songwriting
ability and range of genres he's cheerfully proficient in.
4. Baby Chaos – Skulls Skulls Skulls Show Me The Glory
A fabulous comeback album from this Nineties Britrock
band. I was looking forward to this album but never expected it to be so good. There's still occasional flashes of the snotty belligerence of their youth but this is a thoughtful brooding and emotional album. Full of melody and infectious tunes.
My top 3 albums have swapped places with each other so
many times that I still don’t really know what order to put them, I think they’re
probably all tied for 1st in all honesty. This is how I settled at
time of writing but it’s not set in stone.
3. Eureka Machines – Brain Waves
The fourth album by one of my current favourite bands. I
didn’t think they could better Remain In Hope, their third album, but they’ve
done so easily. A near perfect album of pop tinged rock with elements of Metal and Prog tucked in there too.
2. Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
A solo project by the current It Bites frontman John
Mitchell. It combines all the best elements of Prog Rock and dispenses with the
worst. It’s immersive, beautiful and experimental without being pompous,
dragging and twiddly. An absolute joy to listen to.
1. Clutch – Psychic Warfare
This is Clutch’s umpteenth album and continues their
journey from abrasive Hardcore to Blues Rock. It follows on from the simple
hard rocking of previous album Earth Rocker and is a no nonsense, head nodding
Rock album that I have yet to tire of playing. They’re at the top of their game
and are pretty untouchable in this genre now.
There’s several albums I really enjoyed that didn’t quite
make the top 20 too, here’s a few:
Shattered Skies – The World We Used To Know Emily Kinney – This Is War Thunder - Wonder Days