This list only covers albums I got to hear top to bottom, and is put in alphabetical order. If I missed any of your favorites, point me in the right direction for some good music! And without further ado;
The Book of Souls - Iron Maiden
After waiting five years, Iron Maiden finally delivered with this album. It's a polished record from top to bottom - but my favorite is definitely The Red and the Black. Many of the tracks are just completely mind blowing and harrowing (but in this really good way) to listen to... Take Empire of the Clouds for example. Way worth the length of the track. Supposedly, I will be seeing Iron Maiden soon at MSG - but after the release of this album, and just the general mass attention that they get, ticket prices are starting at $250+. Thanks, scalpers!
The Congregation - Leprous
A lot of people will know Leprous because they were the live band for Ihsahn. And well, for a good reason. This release from them is hard to describe... I listen to it and the only word that comes to mind is atmospherically pretty. The vocals are beautiful and just everything about it has high replay value. I can see Leprous going really far - and I hope to see them more in America because everyone I've showed can agree they have something about them that sticks out. Favorite track on the album happens to be the bonus track, Pixel.
Got Your Six - Five Finger Death Punch
Anyone who knows me knows that I have loved 5FDP since the beginning. Everything they put out is amazing and no one can tell me otherwise. Got Your Six is no exception to the rule and in fact, really makes me wonder how the hell they keep putting out such catchy material. Catchy isn't a bad thing - bands don't become sellouts because they have mass appeal. I don't believe in that elitist way of thinking. 5FDP legitimately makes music that single after single, delivers, sounds like them, and makes people purchase their albums. Perfect recipe for success. I worked Mayhem Festival to see them, I got my face punched in the pit to see them, and I paid $400 with my friend to see and meet them. Amazing band. Top track: Boots and Blood.
Immortalized - Disturbed
I got to meet Disturbed and see them at Uproar Festival in 2010 right before they went on hiatus, and I remember being so bummed out... thanks for making me wait so long for this album! I think Immortalized is an album that not only sounds like it would be by Disturbed, but when you listen to it, you're just like 'yep, that's them.' Kind of takes me back to The Sickness in some ways, with the cool noises and vocals that David has on here. Favorite track is probably between The Vengeful One and Who Taught You How To Hate whereas my least favorite track is Fire It Up. Don't honestly think it has any place on the album and sort of kills the seriousness and theme of the album. Good joke song, but really not necessary otherwise.
Into the Wild Life - Halestorm
Lzzy Hale will never not deliver. Every album, her vocals get better and better. Into The Wild Life has a way different sound than their previous albums but it's well thought out, lyrically sharp, and the tracks all fit together so well. The album as a whole tells a story - and I think that's an important feature an album should always look to have. I remember when I was staying in Germany, Halestorm was playing a show in Köln and a few of my friends and I wanted to go - it just didn't happen. I haven't seen Halestorm since 2010 or so and I miss them. Favorite track: I Like it Heavy.
I Worship Chaos - Children of Bodom
COB is just one of those bands that consistently deliver. I know they lost Roope this year but if you listen to this album, you can clearly tell it didn't stop them at all. Alexi Laiho handled all of the guitar work and the vocals, and proved that he's one of the best out there. I Worship Chaos sounds like a COB record and delivers on every aspect, and even goes above and beyond by putting stuff out there that an average fan would not expect. I got to do stage crew and cleanup for them back at Mayhem Festival and I remember running around backstage while they were playing and just having to run out to the crowd because I couldn't resist when Needled 24/7 came on. Good times! Top track: Morrigan.
The Order of Things - All That Remains
Whenever I hear ATR, I have war flashbacks to seeing them in 2011 at Starland Ballroom when I got my cheek fractured by some kid with flying elbows. And somehow that has not stopped me from loving that band one bit. The Order of Things is a fun album and has some really catchy songs thanks to both the vocals going between sing-song and screaming. The guitar work is solid and the solos are nicely paced. I still laugh every time I hear Tru Kvlt Metal because as amusing as it is, it's still a good song. Go figure. Favorite track: Victory Lap.
Repentless - Slayer
Slayer is just one of those bands that has been through a lot, and at least in my opinion, hasn't lost its touch even if it's lost some important members. Repentless carries on the legacy of the group and delivers the usual formula. It's heavy, it's calculated, and it shows a lot of upcoming metal bands that they still have competition. One of the cooler things about this album is that it totally sounds like it's in 80s. I dig that - I know some people won't; whatever. The work is heavy and hard hitting and it's everything a Slayer album should be. Best song: Implode.
Silence in the Snow - Trivium
40+ posters hung up around NYC and NJ later - I think everyone I know has heard this album. Trivium has been one of my favorite bands for awhile. The first time I saw them was February 2009 when they opened for Slipknot with Coheed and Cambria at MSG. They were the opening act, but there was just something about them that stood out. I remember saying they'd get big, and so far, they're climbing that ladder more and more everyday. I most recently saw them at Starland Ballroom and the show was absolutely amazing. On the stage, they kickass, and off stage, they're some of the nicest people I've ever met. Silence in the Snow was probably (for me) the most shocking album of the year. If you know Trivium, you know that screaming and heaviness is present on majority of their work, but honestly, SITS proves that metal today doesn't need screaming and that Trivium itself doesn't need to scream to put out solid freakin' material. Polished, thought out, and vocally beautiful. The influence of Dio and Sabbath on here are pretty obvious. Though, I do wonder if anyone realized Snøfall totally sounds like the intro to Batman? Favorite Track: Pull Me From The Void.
Threat to Survival - Shinedown
Cut the Cord was the first single from the album, and as always Shinedown seems to deliver something that is undoubtedly "Shinedown." Brent's voice is just so easily identifiable that it makes their work really stick out. Shinedown is just an absolutely fun band to listen to, and hearing this album really bums me out that they didn't do a full live show at Starland. My favorite track just happens to be the first single - it's kind of like Sound of Madness in the way that it's just so catchy and anthem like. Sidenote: Diamond Eyes would of totally been my entrance theme if I ever was a WWE Diva/UFC fighter. Like cmon.
Vena - coldrain
coldrain is a Japanese band that has been around for a bit now, but has just now started getting pushed in America. Their brand new album, Vena, is a really good entry into the American rock and metal scene. I think it stands out solely because of how cleaned up it sounds. In a lot of ways, they kind of remind me of Nothing More and I love Nothing More so, coldrain is definitely delivering for me. The first song I heard from them was Gone and I remember thinking that the offbeat nature and the way the chorus flowed was both weird upon first hearing, but really awesome going forward. It sounds unique and different and I'm excited to see what they do going forward. Favorite track: Divine.
Venom - Bullet for My Valentine
Can I just say hallelujah because I feel that is very appropriate. Me, like many BFMV fans, had a lot of issues going from Scream Aim Fire to what eventually left us with Temper Temper. How did it happen? What happened? No actual clue. But we won't talk about those dark days. Instead, let's talk about Venom and how Venom is what BFMV is supposed to be and what I'm glad to hear has come back to be. This is the album they needed to make and I am so thankful it exists. It's catchy, heavy, fast, and reminds me that BFMV is still there. It may of took them some time to get back on track, but getting to see this album get played when I saw them over the summer definitely made it worth the wait. Lead singer Matt Tuck is better than ever and new bass player, Jamie keeps the band on track. Really happy! Top track: Pariah.
And with that we say so long to 2015 and finally look forward to the music that 2016 will bring us. Here's to a great year for metal and music in general and I can't wait for what comes out next!
See you all in the pit!