05) Behemoth, I Loved You at Your Darkest (Metal Blade)
Judging by its title, you might think Behemoth have taken a sharp turn away from everything they’ve stood for to this point. However, the band’s latest effort is probably their most blasphemous to date, expanding on the atmospheric sounds and sensations featured on their wildly successful 2014 full-length The Satanist. Following such a record is no easy task, but with a few more spins (err, streams), this one may give some of Behemoth’s previous hits a run for their money.
04) Hate Eternal, Upon Desolate Sands (Season of Mist)
Death metal by the books. If you’re into bands such as Morbid Angel, Nile, Decapitated, and the rest of the heavy hitters, you’re sure to find something on this one that you dig. Hate Eternal bring speed and intensity on every level throughout the album, with its closer, “For Whom We Have Lost”, being the standout track for me. If it weren’t against the rules, I would have made this track alone a top ten pick.
Key tracks: “All Hope Destroyed”, “Upon Desolate Sands”, “For Whom We Have Lost”
03) Harms Way, Posthuman (Metal Blade)
Riffs, riffs, and more riffs. Harms Way bring the heavy on their latest, Posthuman. The band holds nothing back in terms of aggression, serving up some of the freshest, grooviest hardcore of the year. Seriously, the riffs on this thing are monstrous. Undeniably their strongest release to date, Harms Way crush anything and everything in their path with this absolute banger.
Key tracks: “Human Carrying Capacity”, “Call My Name”, “Dead Space”
02) Night Verses, From The Gallery of Sleep (Equal Vision)
I was hesitant to include Night Verses on my list; one could argue their genre endlessly, but their latest release is simply too great and not giving it a shout would be a criminal. Night Verses is, without a doubt, the best progressive instrumental band I’ve ever heard. Their music takes the listener on a journey without becoming self-indulgent or boring whatsoever. I had anxiously awaited this release and it has exceeded expectations that had already been mounting for some time.
Key tracks: “Copper Wasp”, “No Moon”, “Infinity Beach”