|StaffReviews 131Soundoffs 39News Articles 227Band Edits + Tags 326Album Edits 1,313Album Ratings 977Objectivity 76%Last Active 05-28-16 6:06 pmJoined 12-18-08Forum Posts 455Review Comments 8,558
|2k15: Styles' year of listening to popular music|
I've been less frequent here ever since I started working at Estonia's last big-ish record shop, mostly because a) my works hours are fucking long and I don't really feel compelled to go music hunting once I reach home, and b) I can now let my inner music nerd out among other music nerds of flesh and bone whenever I want to, which has lessened the need to spout my opinion over the internet greatly. Still, Sputnik will forever remain dear to me, and I absolutely relish being a staff member here (among great colleagues), the perks that come with it, and acting as a wraith-like member of the community who sees but is rarely seen. Also, I’m technically still around, so whenever anyone wants to chat, all they have to do is leave me a shout. So without further ado, here are my top 30 albums for 2015, with short captions, because I'm at work like always, Roxette is blaring, and that's actually incredibly distracting.
Love + War
Walk wins "catchiest pop song instrumental of the year" and the rest is solid neo-soul/R&B.
|29||Years and Years|
There's more hooks in here than in a fisherman's shop.
Good alternative hip hop that gets a little moody at times. In Estonian.
The Pale Emperor
This new, blues-influenced rock direction with less industrial suits the Manson of today really well. One of the biggest positive surprises of the year. The straightforward tracks rock and the slower tracks are delightfully dreary.
A worthy final page in the book of Motörhead. I was pleasantly surprised by how gritty the guitars sounded as well. A strong album to close out a career for the ages.
|25||A Forest of Stars|
Beware the Sword You Cannot See
A tour-de-force avant-garde metal album that has both initial charm and depth to it. Suits for those who usually aren't into avant-garde metal as well, especially seeing as how I felt nothing towards the albums by Dodheimsgard and Arcturus this year. It's got many, many layers to it, but the discovery of those is made all the more pleasurable because of how fun the album is already on the first listen. Also, I still haven't drank the tea that came with the deluxe edition box of this record, but when I do, I'll make sure it will be on a night of sinister jestering.
Bridges the gap between second wave black and serious folk metal pretty much perfectly. The vocals might be an acquired taste, but everything else is majestic.
A Séance Of Dark Delusions
Loving the ambition, even if I find that there's still a bunch of room for improvement. Atmospheric music to get lost into, which has this sort of a primal call to it.
|22||Fit for an Autopsy|
Absolute Hope Absolute Hell
Another album I didn't expect to like as much as I do, but it's really well done deathcore that packs a punch, and not the usual mindless kind. Nothing experimental, but the compositions are thought through and the songs know when to introduce melody and when to end.
|21||Buried in Verona|
Vultures Above, Lions Below
I'm not usually into this modern metalcore with very dominant clean vocals, but Buried in Verona have really upped their game on this CD and the result is one catchy album. Also, "Can't Be Unsaid" is a textbook example of how one good riff can indeed carry en entire song.
Under the Red Cloud
Amorphis is one of my top 10 bands ever, so it's more than heartwarming to hear them crafting some inspired songs again. This is a return to Silent Waters form, even if not as epic.
|19|| ||Hanf Kung|
Kuu Poes Balti Jaamani mixtape
Probably my favorite up and coming Estonian rap group. There's that rawness and youthful vigor in them that exudes life.
To Pimp a Butterfly
While I don't think it's a masterpiece that will be remembered for generations, it's still a really enjoyable rap album that tries to emphasize the positive without closing the curtain on the negative.
This is gym music for me. Busy electronic rock where you don't get a minute's rest. There’s always a fill of some sort popping up.
Black Age Blues
I had heard nothing about Goatsnake until I picked up the May edition of Terrorizer, and I'm glad I did. This is swampy (but not sludgy!) southern goodness with some kickass Black Sabbath riffery.
The quintessential space metal band.
I'm not gonna win any cred points on the site for this pick, but you know what, it's a delightfully varied hip-hop album with fantastic production, and I dig Yelawolf's flow (and candor) a lot.
Force Rise the Sun
The vocals may be layered to oblivion, which some won't dig, but it works for what InAeona are going for with their yearning space rock.
Tales of the Black Dawn
One of the mainstays on my year end lists. Whenever Dagoba release a new album, I find something in it that their previous album didn't include. This time around, it's the crushing production job, which has given the band that extra crunch I now realize they always needed.
The Day Is My Enemy
Still as poignant as ever. They don't and never will make the same noise in the mainstream as they did in the '90s, but they still have the flame, and the fans shouldn't be disappointed one bit - this one wasn't.
|10||Lamb of God|
VII: Sturm und Drang
I've always been a sucker for speedy, groovy metal, and every new Lamb of God album offers me exactly that, and in style
|9||Heart of a Coward|
The first 2/3 of the album have unbelievable drive, and when it gets emotional in the end, the band prove their worth in crafting a memorable melody to complement the vitriolic side.
Moving away from the grandiose doom metal of At Every Door and incorporating a bunch of very Katatonia-sounding moments, Hanging Garden continue to surprise. There aren't two albums alike in their discography.
Tuomas Saukkonen has been doing his thing for a while now, and it shows. He's one of the finest craftsmen of hardy melodic metal out there.
An album full of mystery and passages as beautiful as those in the Ural Mountains.
|5||We Lost the Sea|
An album full of great instrumental storytelling. It isn't super complex, but it does demand your absolute attention in order to pass along its effect. A give and take kind of record. Interview coming up shortly.
Iceland is a magical place, and Kontinuum have no trouble channeling that on their sophomore full-length. For 40 minutes, you're transported to a realm where darkness and light clash for dominance on an ancient plateau out of time and out of space, swirling around each other in a perilous yet alluring dance.
Dust and Disquiet
This was my post-rock album of the year, and it has everything I want in the genre: the epic climaxes, the unexpected bursts, the subtle shifts too many bands of this ilk negate. "Rioseco" through "Arcs of Command" is simply glorious, and the rest matches up as well.
Tetsuo and Youth
A lot of fantastic one liners here, and a lot of content I can get behind. Just a lot of content in general, and it's clear Lupe was serious with this album. He may have said that he has been replaced by the likes of Kendrick and J. Cole, but his actions express that he wants to prove, I guess himself most of all, wrong, and in my eyes he's succeeding big time. This was probably my most listened to album last year, as it went on almost daily. Gripping lyricism paired with outstanding instrumentals.
This is to me what Sufjan's latest is to Sowing. I knew this would be my album of the year as soon as I laid my ears upon it. It balances out all the elements Mechina use (the industrial overtones, the orchestra, the rhythmic speedy riffs, the constant electronic swirls) and focuses them to create an album that is the equivalent of speeding through space while an interstellar war is being waged around you, and that is the kind of escapism I need in my life.
|Dope list brother, I'll look into a lot of this stuff, cheers|
|Nordic Giants? Cool! I think it's funny that people say they're all mysterious and stuff and no-one knows who they are. Er yeah I've been round one of their houses|
|Nice list man, gonna have to check out 4!|
|Haha, well yeah, there is a percentage of people who must know who they are. I can't imagine them walking around in their outfits 24/7 and hiding their doings from all their friends. Then again, they must have good friends, because their stage personas HAVE managed to remain faceless.|
Thanks brother, did you manage to listen to enough music on 2015 to put together a list of your own?
|25 was one of my favorites from last year, didn't quite hit my top ten but close|
|Great stuff and interesting 1, it seems to have quite differing opinions.|
|I did! I've just been super lazy about it :(|
|The feeling is familiar ;)|
Yeah it's a really cool release. I really need to listen to it again because I don't think I have since the summer.
Thanks! 1 is a divisive album, but as far as orchestral metal goes, Mechina have very few challengers in my mind. Acheron sounds absolutely huge and there's a nice balance between metal grit and orchestral grandeur. Also, everyone's entitled to their opinion, but the soundoff saying that there's no power behind the heaviness is missing the mark big time in my eyes. Maybe he had a bad rip of the album or something, but I find there's no shortage of power in the slightest. The metal itself won't wow anyone, because it's basically used as a rhythmic crutch, but it works splendidly for the overall compositions, which are all about sounding vast and dramatic, like you're actually a mercenary in space while going through the record. Like I said, to me it's an album that offers escapism - that's the power it inflicts on me.
|actually i looked at my rym ratings and apparently i only really listened to like 40 things from this year, so it's gonna be a small list|
|I listened to a lot more music than I usually have, while listening to a lot less metal than I usually have. That explains why I don't really have any cool obscure metal picks on this list.|
|Aaaah, yeah I remembered you mentioning that. Well I don't think the list has suffered at all for it, nothing wrong with diversification. I got spotify premium in late august so I've been listening to a lot of things from earlier years that were hard to find out in the mists. I definitely have things that I loved a lot from this year, but a lot of it has been things from previous years|
|Yeah, same here, it just doesn't make sense to listen to music based on what year it was released, really. I try to keep up, but I'll check out anything that seems cool.|
|Yeah exactly. Probably my favorite album from this year is Darkthrone's 2013 release whose name I am forgetting and who I am too lazy to look up. Also I keep forgetting it's 2016 now.... What is the best thing you heard last year?|
|You know I'm still going with that Mechina record :D. But other than that, I'm still not through all of Primordial's discography, and The Gathering Wilderness really struck a chord with me this year. Aesop Rock's None Shall Pass was also something I bumped a lot, and happily!|
|Oh and Sylvan Esso's self-titled debut from 2014, which I was on the ball with in 2014 already, but that record just keeps on growing with each listen, still.|
|I really appreciate you having 3 where it is on here|
|I gave that Mechina a spin but I don't know if it was my thing. I liked what i heard, but nothing particularly grabbed me|
|cool list. need to check 3|
|trying wolfheart. idk what the soundoff saying that it's blackmetal is smoking, but it's nooooot|
|There's not even a hint of black metal in there, so idk. Sounds like '90s Amorphis, if anything. I never did think that Mechina would be your thing, as far as I know your music taste. 4,6, and 23-25 is what I'd recommend for you to look into, if you've got the time.|
Thanks Thibs and JS.
|I've checked 6, it's very very good, probably the best post-blablabla from last year that I've heard so far. We Lost the Sea was good but not intensely interesting. Really intrigued by your description of 4 so I'll give it a whirl.|
23-25 definitely sound like my cup of tea.
|spot on with the galar rec|
|a lot of this doesn't seem like my bag, but 6 and 2 are the shit.|
|Saw InAeona live open up for Cult of Luna. The chick is so fucking hot. Dear god.|
|spent a solid hour or two on a list, then when it submitted it gave an error and lost all my work. blehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh|
|Yeah it did that to me the first time as well. Luckily I was typing into word at first, so not all was lost. The list feature seems to be a bit buggy at the moment - at one moment it works fine, at others it gives weird errors and you can't edit your lists. I guess we should all remember that when going for substantial lists, we should type into word first, just in case.|
|Ahhh, really? I wish I had that foresight...|
well, the list is up again, with full detail. Probably spent like 3 hours on it today