Episode 220: Culture Killer, Svffer, Solution. 45 2015 Album Reviews

Ok, You Can Start Your Lists Now

This is it, freaks!  The last regular episode of 2015!  While I may have already spoiled if nay of these will be featured in the next two weeks, they may still be worth your time. So, get listening and find out.


Culture Killer Throes of Mankind (Metal Blade)
Svffer Empathist (Vendetta)
Solution 45 Nightmares in the Waking State: Part 1 (AFM)

Solution .45 – Nightmares In The Waking State: Part 1

Culture Killer – Throes Of Mankind

Svffer – Empathist



    1. I think it’s just been a very diverse year where there isn’t much consensus among the metal community as to what the best albums are this year. I read all of Metal Sucks lists and there was very little overlap in their lists among themselves.

      1. Though the metalsucks did vote Cattle Decap as album of the year, and I am ok with that.

        Yeah, I think 7 albums overlap, and there are some of those we didn’t even listen to!
        – B

  1. I don’t seem to have as much trouble as you guys in making my year end lists. I will admit that usually around numbers 15 to 25 things tend to start to get harder to rank, but it still doesn’t cause me any dread or pain. So without further ado, here are my top albums of 2015:

    1. Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
    Back in August I declared Coma Ecliptic the album of the year and nothing since then has convinced me otherwise. I have not stopped listening to this album since it came out. Coma Ecliptic has everything jammed into 68 minutes and it never grows tiring. While it is not an album that immediately grabs you, after a few listens to the album in full it starts to reveal itself as a masterpiece. Even BTBAM’s previous best album, Colors, had an ebb and flow of high points and a few lulls. But Coma Ecliptic is an album full of high points.

    2. Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
    Cattle Decap followed up the excellent Monolith of Inhumanity with everything I’d want from them in The Anthropocene Extinction, which is mainly the same brutality but with more of those somewhat melodic high pitched goblin-style vocals. Every time those vocals arrive it’s like the Red Sea parts and a message is delivered from some twisted version of heaven. (Would a twisted version of heaven actually be hell?)

    3. Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
    An incredible statement from a band you might not believe is still going strong. Maiden delivers 92 minutes of solid music. This is an album where the longer the song is the better it is, topped off by the 18 minute epic “Empire of the Clouds.” I can’t think of anyone who can tell a story through music better than Iron Maiden has by detailing the crash of the R101 blimp from 1930 in “Empire of the Clouds.”

    4. Lamb of God – VII Sturm Und Drang
    Lamb of God came through with the progression in their career that we’ve been wanting from them. Great riffs, excellent vocals, good songwriting, this album is the complete package. The riff on “512” is the riff of the year.

    5. Ghost – Meliora
    Here’s part of what makes Ghost interesting: metal bands that are anti-religious express their hostility through harsh, grating, and even dissonant sounds. Heavily distorted guitars, blast beats, and growling vocals are not the sounds of heaven. Black Sabbath announced themselves to the world on the first song on their first album with the guitar playing the notes from the tritone, which in the middle ages was dubbed “diabolus in musica” by the church (the devil’s music) because of its dissonance. Subsequent heavy metal bands have followed Black Sabbath’s lead. Ghost take the opposite approach. Ghost hides their satanism in clean vocals and sweet melodies. The song “He Is” is so soothing it could be played on Christian radio, especially with lyrics such as “He’s the shining and the light without whom I cannot see.” But the song isn’t about god, it’s about satan. Ghost are the tricksters of metal. Ghost is Loki. Isn’t that even more evil than straight out announcing through music and tone your rejection of religion?

    6. Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror
    Blind Guardian are another band that continues to be on top of their game well into their 30 year career. Beyond the Red Mirror is a great power metal slash symphonic metal album that delivers. Their influences extend slightly beyond the usual tropes of power metal by going into the more theatrical elements of a band such as Queen, particularly on the song “Miracle Machine.”

    7. Secrets of the Sky – Pathway
    Secrets of the Sky have taken a big step forward from their decent but ultimately unmemorable debut, To Sail Black Waters. Pathway is not doom, not sludge, not prog, not black metal, but a little bit of the best parts of all of those.

    8. Leprous – The Congregation
    There is some great prog rock/metal on The Congregation. Even if the songs are not heavy or brutal (it’s all clean singing), the best songs on the Congregation (such as “The Price”, “The Flood”, and “Down”) sink in and stand out. 2015 has turned out to be a pretty good year for prog and Leprous are one of the leaders in the field.

    9. Mutoid Man – Bleeder
    I have no idea how to classify this, but I like it. A lot. I’m amazed this album isn’t getting more love in the year end lists from the metal blogs.

    10. Ghost Ship Octavius
    This is my jam: fretboard fireworks combined with great melodic songwriting. “In Dreams” might just be the single of the year.

    11. Native Construct – Quiet World
    At first I thought this was too disjointed. But the very wide variety of styles sunk in after a while to provide 2015 with yet another great prog album.

    12. Faith No More – Sol Invictus
    Sol Invictus ranks in the middle of Faith No More’s catalog. It can’t really hold a candle to Angel Dust or The Real Thing. But once I got past the fact that Sol Invictus isn’t going to be as good as their classic albums, it grew on me and proved itself to be a diverse yet enjoyable album that shows just how unique and talented Faith No More really are.

    13. Gorod – A Maze of Recycled Creeds
    This is the tech death album of the year, even if it is not as good as their last album A Perfect Absolution. Even if 2015 was a down year for tech death, A Maze of Recycled Creeds shows that Gorod are at or near the top of this genre.

    14. Mono & The Ocean – Transcendental
    Despite it being only 23 minutes and Amazon still charging full price, it was worth buying even just for the 13 minutes of The Ocean’s track. Mono contributes a decent enough 10 minute instrumental, but The Ocean lives up to the high expectations I now have of them.

    15. Ensiferum – One Man Army
    One Man Army features a good mix of metal styles. Is it power metal? Is it folk metal? Do they throw in a random disco part in the middle of one song (“Two of Spades”)? Yes to all of those. It seems to be a common theme with me that when female vocals pop up to provide contrast it turns out to be a highlight, as is the case on the song “Cry for the Earth Bounds.”

    16. Amorphis – Under the Red Cloud
    Another winner from Amorphis. Even if they don’t get me hugely excited, I really enjoy this album when I’m listening to it. This album falls one spot behind One Man Army by Ensiferum because I can’t listen to the first few songs on Under the Red Cloud without hearing the opening folky riff of “Heathen Horde” by Ensiferum. Both bands are from Finland and must certainly have some of the same folk influences.

    17. Pronostic – An Atomic Decision
    If Pronostic released a full length of more of the same stuff as their debut EP Deviated Inner Spectrum, then that release would surely be a very good album. They deliver on those expectations with An Atomic Decision.

    18. Kadavar – Berlin
    Berlin is not as immediately impressive as their last album, Abra Kadavar, but there is still lots of good enjoyable music on here. Kadavar continues to be one of my favorite bands in the crowded genre of 70s throwback bands.

    19. tie: Periphery – Juggernaut; Veil of Maya – Matriarch
    I realize that Matriarch by Veil of Maya hasn’t gotten a lot of good reviews, but I like the album. Why do I like it? Because it sounds just like Periphery, the band that tied them for the last spot on my list this year. Juggernaut is very enjoyable, has many high points, and I love the whole “conceptual continuity” thing (reprises and music that reappears throughout the albums). But overall Juggernaut is just too long and has some unmemorable parts. The album could have benefitted from trimming some of that fat. On the other hand, Matriarch is concise and to the point and delivers on the groundwork that Periphery laid before them. Could it be said that Veil of Maya are copying Periphery? Sure. Are Periphery “copying” Meshuggah? Then are Kadavar copying Black Sabbath? Faith No More might be the only band on my list that I can’t come up with someone they are “copying.”

    That’s it for now, but I’ll probably have more to say about 2015 in the next couple of weeks.

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