OK here are my slightly late top 10 or 20 albums of 2015 and top 10 gigs. I was going to write longer reviews but am feeling lazy and just wanted to publish this so I can get back to procrastinating about finishing my review of the Black Conjuration festival from September!

Arcturian

1. Arcturus: Arcturian (Prophecy Productions)

I was very happy when it was announced that Arcturus had reformed as I’ve always been a big fan of their symphonic oddities. I had been a bit underwhelmed by their previous album Sideshow Symphonies which came nowhere near the brilliance of La Masquerade Infernale and The Sham Mirrors. However I took to Arcturian immediately as Vortex sounds more comfortable with his vocals, it sounds livelier overall than SS, and has a good variety of songs. Despite Hellhammer’s drums being too loud I really do like his work in Arcturus with a lot more flashy playing than his work in other bands. Highlight songs are Crashland, Warp and Game Over but I like all songs and generally listen to the album in it’s entirety. Easily my most listened to album of the year and I’m still not sick of it.

 

Captain Cleanoff

2. Captain Cleanoff: Rising Terror (Blastasfuk Grindcore)

Captain Cleanoff are one of my favourite Aussie grind bands and this is more of their usual high quality output. I was sad to miss seeing them play in Canberra a few months ago as I was sick with pneumonia. Nothing much more to say about this album other than it’s chock full of catchy grindcore with a great production.

 

Spectral Voice

3. Spectral Voice: Necrotic Doom (self released)

I can never get enough death/doom and Denver lads Spectral Voice provide it in spades on this heavy as hell 3 track demo. I like that they don’t mind speeding up a bit and I like that this is quite varied. There are a few nice nods to the kings of death/doom Disembowelment (especially at the end of Rotting Auras) but overall it’s not too derivative. I’d love to see them live and I can’t wait for a full length album. Also check out their split 7″with their other band Blood Incantation as both sides rule.

 

Witchskull

4. Witchskull: The Vast Electric Dark (self released)

Kick arse first release from newish Canberra band Witchskull which features Marcus from Looking Glass and Joel from the mighty Armoured Angel. Pretty much complete Sabbath worship but it has enough clever nuances to give it a life of its own. The second half of Raise The Dead is my favourite section with a great thumping beat and bassline and that riff that kicks in around 3.49. I get chills everytime and I can’t wait to see that song live again. They’ve been playing live a bit of late and I’m keen to see them again now that I know this album so well. I was lucky enough to be at their debut gig and for once I felt young as Joel and Marcus had obviously put the hard word on the old Canberra metal scene and they turned up in droves. Very much looking forward to more music from these chaps as well as the new Looking Glass album which should be out soon (edit: it’s out now and is amazing – get it at Goatsound).

 

Autopsy

5. Autopsy: Skull Grinder (Peaceville)

More quality filth from these rude Californians and this one seems a bit doomier than the last few albums which is fine by me. The combination of slow riffs and Chris’s crazy rants over the top is a good one and works well. Also the solos from Eric and Danny rule as always and I love the cover art. I bought the vinyl but it’s also available on cd in the fancy After The Cutting book/4 cd release that has a great book full of photos and flyers and so on.

 

Grave Pleasures

6. Grave Pleasures: Dreamcrash (Sony)

The one and only Beastmilk album Climax blew me away when I finally got around to hearing it so I was a bit sad when their guitarist Goatspeed (awesome name) left and they changed into Grave Pleasures. However for me the vocals were always the key with Beastmilk and Kvost is still around so I’m happy. Dreamcrash took longer to click for me but, like Climax, it seemed to stay in my cd player a lot so it wormed it’s way in nicely. Despite a few faster songs it seems more languid and laid back than Climax which works quite well in parts. Kvost’s vocals do sound bloody awesome with slightly less Danzig influence and the songs are nicely catchy although not quite as much as Genocidal Crush or You Are Now Under Our Control which I loved so much on Climax. New guitarist Linnéa does a fabulous job and I especially loved the guitar work on Girl In A Vortex. Not as monumental as Climax but still an awesome album.

 

TheKill

7. The Kill: Kill Them…All (Blastasfuk Grindcore)

I think furious is about the only way you can describe any released by The Kill and the term applies to Kill Them…All too. I must admit the new style of vocals took me a few listens to get used to but they rule now and I love that you can hear him yell “fucking galah”. Roby’s Slayer worship comes through as always and there is even a solo. Raging.

Viscera Infest

8. Viscera Infest: Verrucous Carcinoma (Obliteration Records)

The Japanese worshippers of all things Disgorge (the Mexican version of course) have returned with a completely rabid and intense album of blasting deathgrind. This thing barely lets up except for a few Japanese samples. I also appreciate their skill at making up ridiculously long medical sounding song titles. Top notch brutality.

 

Crypt Sermon

9. Crypt Sermon: Out Of The Garden (Dark Descent Records)

These chaps are awesome Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus style doom and this album is superb and sounds like it should be from the late 80s. The vocals have vastly improved from the demo and the whole thing has an epic feel to it.

 

Archgoat

10. Archgoat: The Apocalyptic Triumphator (Debemur Morti Productions)

Finnish blokes Archgoat have been slowly creeping higher and higher on my playlists and are one of those bands I just find myself listening to without realising it. I love super heavy black metal like this with a deep sound and growled vocals and they are quite reminiscent of Adelaide double guitar gods Darklord. There are plenty of fast moments on the album but it’s the slower and groovier sections that really satisfy and this has plenty of them.

 

Honourable Mentions:

The Slow Death: Ark

Ahab: The Boats Of The Glen Carrig

Manhunt: self titled

Horrendous: Anareta

Grotesque Organ Defilement: Body Horror

Undergang: Doden Laeger Alle Sar

Mgla: Exercises In Futility

Ufomammut: Ecate

The Prodigy: The Day Is My Enemy

Revenge: Behold.Total.Rejection

 

Gigs:

1. Godflesh / Ministry (The Metro, Sydney)

The only good thing to come out of Soundwave were the Sidewaves where they allowed bands to do smaller club shows. I saw a great Cathedral and Paradise Lost gig a few years back and was very pleased when they announced Godflesh and Ministry playing together. Godflesh was my main reason for attending and they were bloody awesome!! Similar setlist to the MDF show I saw and no new stuff. Absolutely awesome gig and the crowd were very appreciative. Also for the first time in many years I had both radio cohosts Mark and Jonesy at a gig together. The band even walked past a tispy Jonesy and I and smiled when we drunkenly yelled at them. Ministry were pretty good although the set was heavy on later stuff with only a few classics at the end. It’s always awesome to see Thieves live although I much prefer their Psalm 69 gig way back when at Selina’s which was incredible! Also apparently I managed to insult Dino Cazares from Fear Factory when our taxi drove past him with a fat joke which is quite hypocritical but hey I was shitfaced and he was an arsehole when I interviewed him 20+ years ago.

 

2. Black Conjuration (Adelaide UniBar)

See my upcoming review which will be out soon. I promise!

 

3. Manhunt / Internal Rot (someone’s lounge room, Canberra)

This gig was at Lacklustre HQ which is just a suburban house where bands play in the well padded lounge room (aka sweatbox). My first time seeing Manhunt who are killer hardcore/PV and they put on a great show. However Internal Rot ruled supreme that night with their high energy performance being great in such close quarters. It’s always a pleasure watching Brad’s spinebending axe work, Christoph’s usual near death blasting and Max growling and jumping around like a maniac.

 

4. Pallbearer / Looking Glass (Hermann’s Bar, Sydney)

Another tipsy gig that’s a bit blurry but I do remember Pallbearer playing my two favourite songs, Watcher In The Dark and Devoid Of Redemption, so I was stoked. Looking Glass rocked as always too and no idea about the middle band as Dean and I snuck off for a couple of sneaky quality beers at The Rose Hotel.

 

5. Weekend Nachos (Magpies, Canberra)

Blurry is the word for this gig but I remember that half the support bands sucked and half ruled. Headliners Weekend Nachos were nice chaps off stage and nicely intense on stage so I was very happy. Goddamn I wish I could remember this better as I love their albums.

 

6. Napalm Death / Carcass / Extortion (The Factory, Sydney)

Carcass won the night for me and I appreciated their newer songs live more than on CD. Bit of shame they always play the same old songs but the second I hear anything off Symphonies.. I always get a rush. Napalm had an OK sound for once but didn’t quite do it for me despite me finally getting to see the song Walls Of Confinement (which was awesome). They opened with Vision Conquest but it was pretty noisy and pretty much indiscernible which was a shame. I wish I could force them to play If The Truth Be Known every time I see them.

 

7. The Ocean (Basement, Canberra)

I wasn’t overly familiar with their material other than the latest album Pelagial but that didn’t matter as they played that whole album and only a few old songs. They put on a great performance though, with plenty of energy.

 

8. YOB (Manning Bar, Sydney)

Due to many nice beers being consumed at Union Hotel in Newtown this gig is quite blurry but I am certain I had a wonderful time and they were heavy as buggery.

 

9. With Heavy Heart II (Transit Bar, Canberra)

Being a slack bugger I only really caught headliners Inverloch and despite Matt being plastered they put on a killer show of crushing death doom. Only problem was they hadn’t kept track of time and the Transit Bar has a midnight cutoff so they didn’t get to play the Disembowelment song they were going to close with which would have been the cherry on top of a great gig. Can’t wait for their new album which comes out in a few months! (edit: it’s out now and kicks arse!! get it from Relapse)

 

10. Inquisition / Marduk / Denouncement Pyre (The Hifi, Sydney)

This gig was both awesome and complete shite. I hate this venue with a passion as it’s horribly boomy and has no seats. The only thing going for it is the air conditioning and the toilets are quite stylish. Denouncement Pyre were probably awesome but their sound was abysmal. However Inquisition sounded OK and kicked much arse. Marduk were OK but I remember nothing of it so obviously the beers had kicked in by then. Amusingly there was a gig on at the Hordern across the road so the contrast of hordes of young 15 year kids mixing with scuzzy looking metalheads was great.

 

One Response to Top 10 Albums & Gigs Of 2015

  • Cunty McCuntface says:

    Godflesh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I never go to another gig again (which is a distinct possibility), at least I was at that one. And I wasn’t tipsy, you can’t get tipsy on second-rate European lager in a can. I don’t understand why the Factory has such good beer and the Metro has such crap beer when they’re owned by the same people.

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