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Thomas Bryans: Top Albums of 2015

2015 has been a decent year in the metal world. With big name metal bands like Black Tongue, Alesana, Lorna Shore, Northlane, Sylosis, Bring Me The Horizon (and so many more) releasing huge albums and EPs, there’s as much new music to explore and discover as there ever was. Some of my personal favorite albums have come from the lesser known bands. There’s lots of talent, emotion and creativity here, and that’s what put each album in the spot it’s at. These aren’t necessarily the best albums I’ve heard (although in some cases they are), these are my favorites, the ones I’ve spent days on end listening to, and the ones that I still love listening to after having heard them some hundred times or so.

Honorable Mention: Ennui Breathes Malice – IRE

Since I first heard this masterpiece it’s easily become one of my favorite albums of all time and I’d recommend any metal fan (regardless of genre preferences) check it out. Unfortunately it was released on December 25th 2014, just a few days shy, so it can’t officially make a spot on the list.

Honorable Mentions (Singles): Lorelei – Forced Rapture | Hopes Die Last – Alpha Wolves | ADEPT – Dark Clouds

These are my favorite singles that have been released in 2015, that their respective albums have yet to be released.

Top Albums of 2015

1. Oceans Ate Alaska – Lost Isles

Oceans Ate Alaska’s second album “Lost Isles” is a fantastic album from start to finish. It’s fast, heavy, and knows exactly what it wants to be. Exhilarating guitar riffs and solos, the relentless drumming, song carrying bass, and the solid and versatile vocals, help create an album that consists of a lot of everything. Thankfully the versatility of the vocals is not lost on Oceans Ate Alaska. They constantly write music that compliments said vocals. However despite this, the vocals are far from the epicenter of the band. I believe that one of the things that makes Oceans Ate Alaska so great, is their ability to change the focus of the song so quickly and subtly. Pick a song on “Lost Isles”, close your eyes, and just listen. Your ears will mow over the different instruments in the song as the main focus of each section changes subtly from guitar, to drums, to vocals, to bass, etc. This is one of the main reasons “Lost Isles” is at the top of my 2015 list. Its a great album that pulls from multiple genres in it’s writing/playing style, and never fails to impress. It doesn’t half ass anything, you get the whole ass. It doesn’t just dip its toe in an idea, it jumps- cannonballs- into the water.

2. Eskimo Callboy – Crystals

Full disclosure, I’ve been a huge fan of Eskimo Callboy since their first, self-titled album back in 2010. Their second album “Bury Me In Vegas” seemed to only get heavier and better. The vocals were more refined and ferocious. The songs were more creative and fun to listen to, and full of “holy sh-t, dude come here and listen to this” moments. Eskimo Callboy seemed to be climbing the steps of the metaphorical stairway to strange-electronicore-band heaven. In my mind, their third release “We Are The Mess” was the low point of their still going career. Which says a lot considering it’s a really solid album with plenty of great songs and memorable choruses, hooks, riffs and breakdowns. Eskimo Callboy’s latest album release “Crystals” kicks ass. Callboy hit their rhythm, and they’re screaming to the beat of their own drum. They don’t change a lot from their previous formulas, but it works. It’s a fantastic album that doesn’t overreach, or take itself too seriously. It’s fun to listen to, and it makes me want to just jump around Rocky style and bang my head or jump into a mosh pit. “Crystals” is a fast paced beast of an album that spouts electronic beats and terrifying screams. Instrumentally it’s on point and never lets up. Breakdowns are visceral and the choruses will be stuck in your head for days to come.

3. Wage War – Blueprints

Wage War has been a very recent addition to Fearless Records’ roster. Signed earlier this year, a short instrumental video had been posted teasing their upcoming album. Released late November, Wage War’s debut album “Blueprints” has blasted past the usual metalcore albums and launched them to the near top of my metalcore list. It took me a while to finally listen to Wage War, despite hearing such good things about them, and I regret every second I spent not knowing about and not having their music. Wage War is your standard metalcore, but better. They’re ruthless, but uplifting. Angry, but forgiving. Quite honestly I’m still not sure what to think about Wage War, I just know that I like them a lot. “Blueprints” is full of catchy choruses, low growls that sound too heavy to be metalcore, and breakdowns that are deceptively infectious. This album is full of great moments, and it’s not afraid to throw in a little something to mix up a song. It has all the benefits of As I Lay Dying’s “An Ocean Between Us” (my personal favorite AILD album), without all the controversy. “Blueprints” grooves, slugs, sings and impresses. As far as new metalcore bands go, Wage War is definitely on my radar, and most definitely a band I’ll be following closely in the future.

4.Grizzly Knows No Remorse – Fat Glasses and Leather Mustache

Grizzly Knows No Remorse is a mouthful to say. “Fat Glasses and Leather Mustache” is also a mouthful. That being said, GKNR:FGLM is no easier, and I think it may actually be harder to say. Despite the ridiculous (and grammatically incorrect) name, “Fat Glasses and Leather Mustache” is a really great album. It’s not any kind of traditional heavy, and I find myself having a really hard time trying to define it’s genre though Grizzly labels themselves as hardcore/southern punk. Despite the confusion, “Fat Glasses and Leather Mustache” is a great album that rocks surprisingly hard. For a band with just over 1.5k likes on their Facebook page (which admittedly doesn’t mean much) Grizzly is a talented band that’s seemed to find their sound and their style. The easiest way to really talk about this album is to just send you to the album stream to listen for yourself. I absolutely love this album for it’s wackiness and it’s soul, which doesn’t make much sense, but I promise that if you listen to it you’ll get what I mean. I will say that creative and out of the ordinary bands like this are part of the reason I wanted to get into the business of promoting unknown and local bands, because I truly believe there are a lot of unknown bands that are doing something worth noticing.

5. Her Demise My Rise – Curses

Her Demise My Rise is another small-time local band that’s doing some big. “Curses” is a 4 track E.P. that is one of the absolute heaviest and angriest set of songs I may have ever heard. While the songs may err on the generic side, there’s just something about them that’s so unreal. I still remember the specific moment listening to the title track that got me. “Her beauty is a f-cking disease, and it wants every single part of me…” seriously, I know there’s heavier music out there, and the lyrics aren’t the most poetic, but there’s a real raw energy to “Curses” that’s perfect for working out or blowing off steam. It’s the perfect album to blast on the days that are just a bit too much.





So while this concludes my list, I wanted to mention some of the other bands that I had considered, that just barely didn’t make the list for one reason or another.

Shokran – Supreme Truth | Cranely Gardens – Locust Valley | Annisokay – Enigmatic Smile | Divides – Brokentooth | Breaking Benjamin – Dark Before Dawn | Sylosis – Dormant Heart | The Devil Wears Prada – Space


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