2015 was a good year for heavy metal, and since I ranked albums from the first half of the year, I should do the same for the second half (July 1—December 31 release dates).
10. War Curse : Final Days
Say what you will, but War Curse put out the best Slayer album in 2015. Also showcasing inspiration from Kreator, Exodus, and Testament, War Curse show a lot of promise for an unsigned band. With any luck, a label will take notice of these guys, and they get wider distribution. [SoMP Review] Get the album
9. Ghost : Meliora
The Swedish sextet present their third album of trippy, Satanic occult rock, and if you were lukewarm with Infestissumam, you’ll find Ghost returning to the sound of their debut. [SoMP Review] Get the album
8. Al-Namrood : Diaji Al Joor
Cloaked in secrecy, the Saudi black metallers integrate traditional Arabic music with angry, stomping metal. While it’s easy to get caught up in the political issues, the music is top-notch as well. [TMA Review] Get the album
7. Elferya : Eden’s Fall
This is how gothic metal is supposed to sound: full of emotion with haunting undertones and moments of bombast. Elferya blow away anything Lacuna Coil have put out in the last ten years. [TMA Review] Get the album
6. Powerwolf : Blessed & Possessed
I almost hate putting Powerwolf this low in the list given how much I’ve replayed this album, but Blessed & Possessed was a little too similar to Preachers of the Night, and I’ve faded on it a bit. Still, this is a quality offering of over-the-top power metal. [SoMP Review] Get the album
5. My Dying Bride : Feel the Misery
Considering I’ve been following My Dying Bride for nearly their entire career, I approached Feel The Misery with a healthy mix of anticipation and trepidation, given the rut the band has been in for a while. Any doubts I had were layed to rest when MDB showed a return to their late-1990s high points, and created an album I love. [SoMP Review] Get the album
4. Draconian : Sovran
This was a late-2015 discovery for me, and even though I never got around to doing a formal review for it, I was enchanted with the band’s beauty-and-beast stylings. Everything on this album clicks for me, and any fan of early Theatre of Tragedy and Epica should give this a listen.
Get the album
3. Motörhead : Bad Magic
This is bittersweet given Lemmy’s passing, but the band’s twenty-third album showed a renewed energy that seemed lacking on Aftershock. Bad Magic had the infectious licks of Motörhead’s classic albums and was full of emotion, too. I don’t think any long-lived band could’ve had a finer swan song. [TMA Review] Get the album
2. Avatarium : The Girl With the Raven Mask
I’ve been a Candlemass fan for years, and in doing some research for The Sons of Metal Podcast, I discovered Leif Edling had a side project. When I checked out said side project, I was blown away. Imagine Jefferson Starship fronted by Dreamboat Annie-era Ann Wilson and sprinkled with Candlemass and jazz fusion flourishes. It’s a stunning display of talent, and deserves to be listened to by everyone. [SoMP Review] Get the album
1. Gloryhammer : Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards
Grab your lactase pills, because this album is nothing but tasty, tasty cheese of the highest quality. It’s hard to tell if this is supposed to be parody, but it’s so earnest in its delivery, I can’t help but love it. Everything on here from the vocals to the music is executed perfectly, and the album is so fun, it brings a smile to my face every time. [SoMP Review] Get the album
Keep in mind this list only comprises albums I’ve listened to, so if your favorite doesn’t show up, maybe I never got around to listening to it. Also, my ranking is based purely on enjoyment and replay factor, not technicality, instrumentation, etc. If you want, feel free to rebut with your own list in the comments section below.