All right, so we’re a little more than a week into 2016. Too late for a year-end best of
We also take this opportunity to remind of Florida’s rich heavy-metal tradition and heritage, being the true birthing grounds of death metal, boasting some of the best sludge and stoner metal bands in the world, and even counting a few seriously influential grind groups among our exports. As such, we think it’s only right that we take a moment to list off what we feel were the metal releases that defined the heavy sounds of 2015. Bonus: This list will make an ideal playlist for those of you resolution-motivated January gym rats in need of a little bit of sonic firepower to fuel the lifts.
10. Slaves Beyond Death, Black Breath
A lot of people seemed disappointed by Black Breath’s third full-length showing, but we think this album was a really interesting step for this band to take. More ambitious song structures and impressive guitar histrionics replace a lot of d-beat fury and death ‘n’ roll swagger that originally made this band so potent, but there is still enough of all of these elements present on Slaves… that it’s both fresh and familiar without trodding too heavily on the band’s past. As such, we’re a bit unsure how any fan can truly be alienated by this album? At any rate, it’s a corker with immense guitar riffs and hellfire vocals that we were (and are) very into.
9. Luminiferous, High On Fire
Unlike Black Breath, High On Fire has never fucked with the program — they only grows more lethal which each release in the execution of what they have always done. Luminiferous carries all of the hallmarks that made High On Fire its bones, simply further honed by the wisdom that comes with time, and constructed with the efficiency that comes with working with the same producer on multiple occasions (in this case, the illustrious Kurt Ballou of Converge/God City Studios fame). To be blunt, it’s the most High On Fire record High On Fire could ever hope to make, and for that, we love it.
8. Grief’s Infernal Flower, Windhand
We’re in the midst of a doom-metal renaissance and Windhand is doing everything it can to lead the charge. This album is gigantic in every way and sees Windhand level-up substantially. As crushing as it is melodic, this record is 2015’s doom masterwork — a magnificent, lumbering golem of riffs and incantations that gets more satisfying with each listen.
7. Anareta, Horrendous
This band made arguably the best traditional death-metal album of the past three years with Anareta. This album has all of the trappings of early Florida death-metal with just enough of a modern edge that it won’t be lost to time by being labeled as a throwback recorded simply as Morrisound worship.
6. The Night Creeper, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats
The once quite mysterious British masters of a retro-centric doom-psych came out swinging in 2015 with an extremely worthy follow-up to 2013’s Mind Control, and this album is the 4th perfect LP Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats has put out — at least in our opinion. Spooky, drug-addled doom-metal presented with an early ‘70s-informed production aesthetic and all of the cult lore and murder tales one could ever want from a metal album.