It’s December, which means that everyone’s starting to look back at the year that was, even though we’re not quite through it yet. Over the next several weeks, Metal Insider will be bringing you our picks for the best albums of the year, as well as those from some of the artists that made some of it. Below is who made Metal Insider contributor Nic DeSimone’s list, and you probably won’t be surprised by his #1 if you looked at his list from 2014. Want to hear what he’s writing about? Check out the Spotify playlist at the end of the chart. And hey, you can also follow us there too.
10) Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole Of The Law (Metal Blade)
One of metal’s most purely nihilistic bands delivers yet again. Utterly crazed vocals and the perfect synthesis of death, black, and grind with super-modern implants of industrial, electronic, and NWOAHM grooves. I love Anaal Nathrakh for the same hysteria that drew me to bands like Anal Cunt, Strapping Young Lad, or The Haunted’s Peter Dolving era. They’re a rare breed that, when Dave Hunt howls about sheer existential terror and the madness it brings, I truly believe it, and fear with him. It’s also awesome that by far the most restrained track on this record is called ‘We Will Fucking Kill You.” Excellent.
Essential tracks: “Depravity Favours The Bold,” “Hold Your Children Close and Pray for Oblivion”
9) Every Time I Die – Low Teens (Epitaph)
This one was a bit of a grower, and at first I was really reluctant to say how disappointed I was. Time and a lot of repeated listens (mostly at the gym) have made me change my tune quite a lot. Keith Buckley’s lyrics have taken a turn for the morose over Every Time I Die’s last few records, particularly starting with 2012’s Ex Lives losing a lot of the wink-to-the-camera swagger that made him one of my favorite lyricists in metal, but stripping that aspect away only reveals how much of a poet the guy really is, and the punishing 45 minute chronicle of nearly losing his family during the birth of his daughter packs insane punch. It’s not all perfect, the “rock” tunes are clunkers in my opinion, but there’s also some of ETID’s finest work in there as well.
Essential tracks: “Petal,” “The Coin Has A Say”
8) Silver Snakes – Saboteur (Evil Ink)
I feel like Silver Snakes, and particularly this record, were tailor-made for me as a music fan. Saboteur has a huge dose of Failure-like atmospherics and textures holding it up, super low-tuned Melvins/Helmet guitars with a side of chunky Soundgarden groove, industrial experimentation, slightly Tool-ish vocals, and they stuck the landing on the kind of hazy melancholy that Deftones perfected better than Deftones themselves did on their record that came out early this year. It’s a cross-section of a lot of stuff I really love.
Essential tracks: “Electricity,” “Devotion”
7) Haken – Affinity (Inside Out)
This scratches a lot of the same itches that last year’s Leprous record did. (Funny enough, their vocalist also lends his shrieks to the 15 minute centerpiece on Affinity) Super tasteful use of 8 strings, loads of 80s synth, and “Earthrise,” one of the most gorgeous, soaring cheeseball anthems I’ve ever heard. Great stuff.
Essential tracks: “Initiate,” “Earthrise”