2015 In Review – The Albums I Missed (Or Hated, Basically)

2015! It was a year that’s not anymore! Onto the slating!

Skindred – Volume

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Ahhh, fooled you! Skindred have to be one of the most consistently brilliant bands in the UK today, and the fact I haven’t heard much buzz around Volume is, quite frankly, worrying. The album is arguably the best of the band’s career, featuring some of the strongest riffs, hell, strongest songs the band have ever put to disc. Raggae-Punk might not be the biggest genre, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t magical. Benji is an absolute star, and he really shines on this album, especially in the record’s incredibly tongue in cheek interlude sections throughout. Title track, Volume is a triumph, and destined to destroy venues internationally for years to come. Celebrate Skindred, reader, because if we don’t, they might not be here much longer. 7.5/10

 

Trivium – Silence In The Snow

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You have no idea how much I wanted to love this album, reader. In fact, there are one or two songs I do actually like on this record. Unfortunately for Trivium, Silence In The Snow is yet another turkey. After the painfully dull Vengeance Falls, Trivium returned with… Power metal ballads? I was keen on the idea, and the first single showed at least some promise, but ultimately the experiment is one that fails at every hurdle. The album is vacuous, echoing bands who have attempted to crack the stadium rock sound and succeeded, something Trivium just seem desperate to attempt after each good record they put out. After In Waves, I felt we might have a new Trivium, one that might finally achieve what they were always meant to do. Sadly, I was wrong, and we ended up with one of the worst releases of the year. The band tries so hard to play with the big boys, but ends up in the dirt. Gutted isn’t even the word. 5/10

Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Iron Maiden, just like any good human being should. When this album was released, I was one of many praising it, I thought it was fucking great. Speed Of Light was catchy, had that classic Maiden feel and just hit all the right buttons. I was excited for a new Iron Maiden record, who wasn’t? But as the dust settled, and I left the album for a few months, returning was not pleasant. An aged, tired band was presented to me, one that I’d completely ignored the first few times around. Again, reader, the album is not bad by any stretch of the imagination. Death Or Glory, Speed of Light and The Red and The Black are fantastic songs. However, the album’s 90 odd minute running time really takes a toll on your patience, and there’s only so long you can stand to listen to Bruce Dickinson warble about an airship only he’s interested in. For die hard fans, I’m so glad you got a record you can love. But for me, it’s a disappointment that I should ultimately have seen coming. (I’ll still see them at Download, though). 6.5/10

Superheaven – Ours Is Chrome

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Having only exposed my self to the band previously known as Daylight recently, I didn’t have time to include them on any end of year list, so take this as a token acknowledgement that they might have ended up on my top 15 had I heard them earlier. Ours Is Chrome is a time machine take transports the listener back to the flannel shirts of the 1990’s, with shades of Alice In Chains and Nirvana present in droves throughout this grunge-rock masterclass. The vocal performance here is a particular standout, really latching on and not letting go, creating one of the more hidden gems of 2015. Mellow and painstakingly written, Ours Is Chrome is a record filled with love, and it deserves your attention. 8.5/10

 Mutoid Man – Bleeder

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Admtitedly, I’d heard very little by Mutoid Man around the release of Bleeder. However, when told their tour was to be supported by Palm Reader, I was of course going to be getting to one of the shows. What really piqued my interest, however, was just who the band consisted of. Featuring members of Converge and Cave In (amongst others), the band instantly scored a great deal of points for me. When I finally got around to checking out the record, I was blown away. The riffs on display here are nothing short of breathtaking, and the short, sweet ten-track running time really works in the band’s favour, leaving the listener desperate for more after the ominously crushing title track Bleeder rings out the album. Utilising a mix of both screamed vocals and straight up hard-rock singing, the record is both accessible and and deep enough for countless listens. One of my albums of the year, despite not quite catching my top 15, it would certainly have been #16. 8.5/10

 

Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

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Man, what an incredible surprise The Pale Emperor turned out to be. After a run of increasingly poor albums, 2015 was the year Manson fans were finally treated to the album they had been waiting so long for. Dropping the shock factor for a more blues-orientated sound, the god of fuck hasn’t sounded this genuine for twelve years, and lead single Deep Six is the biggest song he’s released since the seminal Holywood. Pointing his usual shlocky energy toward a more focused vocal performance, The Pale Emperor delivers as a stepping stone to much better things the next time around. Is the record perfect? Not by any stretch. It’s slightly meandering and dull in places, and Manson’s lyrical chops have definitely been cut down a few pegs within the last decade, but it’s an absolute pleasure to say that Marilyn Manson has delivered a good album. You know where to go from here, Brian. 7.3/10

 

Muse – Drones

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In another shocking twist, Muse have also delivered a pretty good album. After the initial bad taste first single Psycho left in my mouth (and many others), I was extremely pessimistic about the album’s release. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Muse’s kept promise to revert back to the more guitar-oriented sound of their classic albums. Once again, Drones is by no means a perfect album, and the latter half of the album really lacks the punch of the first, but the album spits out a few top class singles in the form of The Handler and Defector, and at this point, do Muse really need to deliver anything more than that? They’ve made the money, they’re arguably the biggest indie-rock band on the planet. A couple of good singles amongst an album of mostly filler is something I can deal with. Hell, it’s all I want from Metallica & Megadeth this year. 7/10

Lamb Of God – Sturm Und Drang

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After the (curiously) luke-warm reception for their last release, Lamb Of God find themselves on level footing once again with Sturm Und Drang, a typical Lamb Of God release on every level. Is that a problem? Of course not. However, the band must be commended for their experimental use of clean vocals on points throughout the album, going so far as to release Overlord as a lead single for the record. The album is filled with the usual venomous growls, pummelling drums and shocking riffs, and is absolutely sure to keep any Lamb Of God fan happy until their next record. A band that refuse to slow down, Lamb Of God aren’t going anywhere slow, or soon for that matter. 8/10

Check back next Wednesday for the all new series of It Came From Netflix & Thursday for something I haven’t thought of yet!

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