Sanzu – Heavy Over The Home
by Evan Mugford
Tis the season for the year-end list parade to spread its seed like so much metallic spore and shower the unsuspecting with shimmering, seldom-heard globules of hyper-charged brutality. Sanzu and their full-length debut, Heavy over the Home, are an ideal specimen, wriggling and bloated with some of the year’s most robust, grooving, and virile death metal. Their sound may remind of Gojira, Meshuggah, Vicious Art, and The Wretched End, but there’s no denying the sheer freshness emanating from these five Aussie upstarts. In a year where black metal and its various offshoots once again reigned supreme, it’s nice to know that getting your ass thoroughly handed to you is a still possibility in heavy music.
Gravewürm – Doomed to Eternity
by Shawn Miller
Gravewürm has soldiered on for twenty-five years, consistently delivering high quality black/death metal, yet never really changing direction. It’s that unhinging dedication to delivering the best old-goat metal that makes Doomed To Eternity, the band’s eleventh full length album, so enticing. Featuring the final recordings of legendary Nunslaughter drummer Jim Sadist, Doomed to Eternity is a writhing amalgamation of black metal, death metal, thrash and doom metal—a celebration of depravity, if you will.
Spectral Lore – Gnosis
by Nathan Hare
Spectral Lore continues to experiment on Gnosis; the one-man black metal band’s second EP of 2015. This time the focus is on Eastern music and mysticism. Gnosis is a dreamlike, cerebral journey that has something for every kind of black metal fan, being at turns psychedelic, progressive, atmospheric, and melodic. Spectral Lore is one of the genre’s frontrunners, and Ayloss has demonstrated yet again (as if further proof was necessary) that he’s a diverse and accomplished songwriter.
Baroness – Purple
by Joshua Bulleid
Purple is perhaps not as strong a record as most of the others I’ve picked for this column throughout the year. However, much like Marilyn Manson’s earlier 2015 effort, Baroness have managed to stand out in my book by making a strong return-to-(not-quite)-form that has me excited about the band making music again. While I respected them as artistic statements, I was never able to get fully on-board with Baroness’s previous release(s)—the subdued double-disco combo Yellow & Green—so its refreshing to find that Purple splits the difference by maintaining those albums’ more-mellow tone, but also reintroducing some of the rougher, more-riff-driven elements of their earlier albums. It takes a bit to sink in but, given that Baroness have been through more-than-enough to put most bands out of commission over the last few years, it’s a impressive feat that they’ve managed to return with an album as vital and vivid as Purple.
Dodsferd – Wastes Of Life
by Neil Bird
After some delays on the release of this album, it’s finally here. The new Dodsferd is something quite special. The band has always struck me and I’ve always enjoyed their music—although there are some records that have been a but ahead of others. Wastes Of Life is on of those, and quite possibly the best I’ve heard from the band. Grandiose song writing, anguished and nihilistic vocals, along with some great nuances and experimentation in the instrumentation make for a great experience with each listen. Cathartic, crushing, unnerving and depressive all in one; this is one of the best of the year.