Magnus Altkula

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Last Active 05-28-16 6:06 pm
Joined 12-18-08

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01.12.16 2k15: Styles' year of listening to popu 12.27.13 2k13: Styles' Year
12.03.12 Death 'n' Roll?06.01.12 Southern Metal Recs?
12.22.11 Stylin Through 2k1112.07.11 Post-metal/atmospheric Sludge Metal
01.24.11 2010 - Styles' Songs 09.20.10 The Definitive Nu Metal Albums
03.19.10 Sputnik Is A...02.22.10 5001
01.22.10 Cult Of Luna01.17.10 Metalstyles' Digs
12.23.09 Metalstyles' End Of The Year List11.20.09 Progressive Melodeath
10.19.09 Toxic Valentine08.14.09 A Different 2009 List
07.05.09 I 8 U06.28.09 Rec Me Thrash!!!
More »

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.
29Years and Years

There's more hooks in here than in a fisherman's shop.
Tuule Tee

Good alternative hip hop that gets a little moody at times. In Estonian.
27Marilyn Manson
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.
Bad Magic

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.
25A 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.
De Gjenlevende

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.
23Nordic Giants
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.
22Fit 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.
21Buried 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.
18Kendrick Lamar
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.
17Blue Stahli
The Devil

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.
Quintessential Ephemera

The quintessential space metal band.
Love Story

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.
11The Prodigy
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.
10Lamb 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
9Heart 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.
8Hanging Garden
Blackout Whiteout

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.
Shadow World

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.
Sorni Nai

An album full of mystery and passages as beautiful as those in the Ural Mountains.
5We Lost the Sea
Departure Songs

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.
2Lupe Fiasco
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.
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