The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2015

“Good day
My name is Necropolis
I am formed of the dead
I am the harvester of the soul meat
And I suck the lives from around my bed
My own two sons I gave them breath
And I filled their living corpses with my bile
What humanity I knew I have long forgotten
For me eternity is nothing
But a short while…” 

– If Eternity Should Fail, by Iron Maiden

Eternity might be nothing but a short while for the harvester of the soul meat, but for us mere mortals it looked like 2015 was never going to reach its end. Well, the year is finally phasing out and 2016 is already knocking on our doors, promising to be a much better (and less tragic) time for mankind. With that said, once again as a tribute to all bands and musicians who kept our hearts warm in the throes of a world crisis, here is The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2015, excluding of course all EP’s, best of’s and live albums. Profitez-en bien!

Iron Maiden_The Book of Souls1. Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls (REVIEW)
As you read through the pages of The Book Of Souls you’ll inevitably realize that Iron Maiden’s gonna get us all, no matter how far.
Best song of the album: The Red and the Black

moonspell_extinct2. Moonspell – Extinct (REVIEW)
While this distinguished Portuguese Dark Metal band is among us, we can rest assured good and meaningful music is far from being extinct.
Best song of the album: Extinct

Stratovarius_Eternal3. Stratovarius – Eternal (REVIEW)
The Finnish masters of Power Metal are back with a beautiful album made to be eternal.
Best song of the album: My Eternal Dream

battle beast_unholy savior4. Battle Beast – Unholy Savior (REVIEW)
Battle Beast want the world and everything in it, and they’re definitely on their way to conquer it all with their brilliant brand new album.
Best song of the album: I Want The World… And Everything In It

My God-Given Right5. Helloween – My God-Given Right (REVIEW)
It’s our God-given right to keep banging our heads to the music by the happiest and most awesome Power Metal band in the world.
Best song of the album: Creatures in Heaven

scorpions_return to forever6. Scorpions – Return to Forever (REVIEW)
This rock may be rolling home after so many years of good service, but it still has A LOT to teach the world on how to make true Hard Rock.
Best song of the album: Rock ‘N’ Roll Band

cover7. Marduk – Frontschwein (REVIEW)
The Babylonian gods of Black Metal return with more of their blasphemous and apocalyptic war-themed music.
Best song of the album: Thousand-Fold Death

CoF_Hammer of the Witches8. Cradle of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches (REVIEW)
The metallic coven instituted by one of the most important Extreme Metal bands of all time keeps haunting our world with their music.
Best song of the album: Onward Christian Soldiers

Survivalist Album Cover9. 4ARM – Survivalist (REVIEW)
A phenomenal heavy music album full of groove, fury and energy by an extremely talented Thrash Metal band from Down Under.
Best song of the album: Poisoned Mind

Slayer_Repentless10. Slayer – Repentless (REVIEW)
Live fast, on high, repentless, and keep listening to Slayer until the day you die.
Best song of the album: Repentless

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Vanden Plas – Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld II (REVIEW)
12. Monolith – Against The Wall Of Forever (REVIEW)
13. The Agonist – Eye of Providence (REVIEW)
14. Acrassicauda – Gilgamesh (REVIEW)
15. Vingulmork – Chiaroscuro (REVIEW)
16. Vorna – Ei Valo Minua Seuraa (REVIEW)
17. Dys Inbunden – One With Morbidity, The Opus Misanthropy (REVIEW)
18. Deadly Circus Fire – The Hydra’s Tailor (REVIEW)
19. Tsar Bomb – Exterminans IX:XI (REVIEW)
20. Profane And The Sacred – Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming (REVIEW)

As this year we had tons of amazing EP’s being released by extremely talented bands from all over the world, why not providing you our Top 10 EP’s of 2015, right? (To be fair, although shorter in duration, some of them are significantly better and more complex than several full-length albums that became available throughout the year.)

1. Goatchrist – The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil (REVIEW)
2. Dö – Den (REVIEW)
3. Chip DiMonick – Uncaged (REVIEW)
4. Omega Diatribe – Abstract Ritual (REVIEW)
5. The Passion Of Our Souls – Soulmates (REVIEW)
6. Velaverante – My Dark Images (REVIEW)
7. Novallo – Novallo II (REVIEW)
8. Meridius – Meridius (REVIEW)
9. Judas Avenger – Judas Avenger (REVIEW)
10. Pergana – The Visit (REVIEW)

One thing that 2015 taught us all is that Heavy Fuckin’ Metal is still alive and on fire, and based on the music by countless independent bands reviewed here (that for different reasons did not make it to our top 10/20), it will keep shining brighter than ever for many years to come. Take a listen at the music by Rifftera and Amanita Virosa (Finland); Reanimator and Fractal Generator (Canada); Sarpentra and The Prophet (Russia); Dzhatinga and Irreversible Mechanism (Belarus); Helligators and Lykaion (Italy); Warmask and Hateful Warfare (Brazil); Morkesagn and Gasoline Guns (Ukraine); Void Creation (Austria); Nachtlieder (Sweden); Fjorsvartnir (Denmark); Broken Rain (Slovakia); Lanthanein (Argentina), among many others, and there you have the future of heavy music. And, obviously, don’t forget to listen to the METAL MOOSE RADIO SHOW every week, and to always HAIL SANTA!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2016!

And now, last but not least, a Christmas message from Eddie and the boys…

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Album Review – Meridius / Meridius EP (2015)

Get ready for war with this rising and upfront Canadian Thrash Metal army.

Rating5

meridius-cover-small2Named after Russell Crowe`s iconic character Maximus Decimus Meridius from the Academy Award-winning epic movie Gladiator, Canadian Thrash/Groove Metal band Meridius is here to provide us headbangers a short and extremely energetic Thrash Metal assault with their debut self-titled EP, Meridius, which will please all fans of veterans the likes of Slayer, Exodus and Pantera. And just like General Maximus, this five-piece army won’t stop until the last body drops to the sound of their cutthroat music.

Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia and singing about inevitable (but always fresh) topics such as death, torture, war and violence, Meridius are not aiming at revolutionizing Thrash Metal. What those guys really want is pretty simple and straightforward: to entertain all thrash metallers in the world with huge doses of dark humor and high-quality music, and let me tell you that based on what is available in Meridius they have more than what it takes to succeed. Who doesn’t enjoy some honest and violent Thrash Metal, eh!?

The first track in Meridius is also my favorite one, Speed Kills, where the 100% Slayer-ish riffs by guitarists Kieran Marquis and Sam Buchanan support the song’s dense and heavy musicality. It’s ruthless music with lots of groove, sounding like a “tribute” to contemporary North American Thrash Metal, especially the vocals by frontman Eric Willmott which are more aggressive and modern than usual just like what Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) and Rob Dukes (Exodus, Generation Kill) usually do. Moreover, when the song reaches its guitar solo, it gets closer to the music by Pantera, which is always a good thing.

meridius-press-photo-hailey-statlerConquer The Throne, with its riffs and drums inspired by Swedish Melodic Death Metal and Speed Metal, is another aggressive metal attack with more melodic vocals, showcasing lyrics as violent as the music and a very catchy chorus, followed by the third and last track of the EP, Walk The Plank, which goes back to the musicality of Bay Area Thrash. The song is not at the speed of light, but it’s very groovy and truly heavy with the addition of even some clean vocals. The neck-breaking riff in the middle of the song is perfect for lovers of slow but gigantic headbanging, and the second half of it is an exhibit of the Heavy Metal skills of all band members, with a melancholic acoustic ending that was probably put there on purpose for the listener to slow down after so much violence.

It’s particularly important to acknowledge the high-end production of the entire EP, and if the band’s first full-length album, which is already being crafted and should be available in the next few months, sounds as professional as any of the three tracks from the EP, diehard thrash metallers from any nationality will soon turn their eyes and ears to Canada without a shadow of a doubt. While Meridius are writing new material and getting ready to tour Canada, go check their music at their official BandCamp page and also on SoundCloud, and get ready for war with this 101 proof Canadian Thrash Metal band.

Best moments of the album: Speed Kills.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Speed Kills 3:42
2. Conquer The Throne 4:17
3. Walk The Plank 5:27

Band members
Eric Willmott – vocals
Kieran Marquis – lead guitar
Sam Buchanan – rhythm guitar
Peter Reimann – bass guitar
Nolan Olson – drums