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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The Metal Moose Show – Episode 2015-11-24

If you want to get more information about any of the bands featured at The Metal Moose Show, simply Google the band and/or the song name to find their official website and Facebook page and, more important than that, attend their live concerts and buy their music. Here at The Headbanging Moose you can find detailed reviews of Austrian Melodic Death Metal band Mandatory and Paraguayan Symphonic Metal band Pergana (just click on the links below to read the reviews). Support your local bands… AND FOLLOW THE MOOSE!

On The Metal Moose Show this week:

1. Blackheart Gospel – Wasteland America
2. Ainrail – Rural Sludge
3. Arreat – Frostburn
4. Autumn Stay – Ghost
5. Era – To The Grave
6. False Hope Fades – Break
7. Gathering After Ashes – Angels Take Flight
8. Mandatory – For The World To See
9. Motherfaster – The Nymph And The God
10. Octave Jaw – Never Free
11. Never Mind The Riot – Sacrifice
12. Pergana – Return To Innocence
13. Raftree – The Eyes You Hide
14. Sin Of Apathy – Never Forgive
15. Stahl Gorthol – Infernal Wrath
16. The Desolate – The Great Departure
17. Standing Ovation – Gravity Beats Nuclear Permafrost
18. The Crawling – The Right To Crawl
19. Dead City Crown – Seed Of Rain
20. Doll Skin – Lets Be Honest
21. Triumph Under Fire – No More
22. Viggenblot – From Flames Anew

Click HERE to listen to this week’s episode on Spreaker.

Metal Moose Radio YouTube | Spreaker | Mixcloud

Album Review – Pergana / The Visit EP (2015)

Serenity, passion and liveliness, but above all high-end Symphonic Metal, directly from Paraguay into your heart, mind and soul.

Rating5

Pergana - The Visit Cover 2015This is the first time ever we at The Headbanging Moose get to review a band from Paraguay, and based on the high quality of the music by Symphonic Metal act Pergana I can’t wait to receive more and more material from the Paraguayan underground metal scene. Although Pergana’s brand new album The Visit might be just an EP containing four songs in a little less than 17 minutes, the potential and the passion for Heavy Metal are definitely there, allowing the band to undoubtedly aim higher and higher with their future releases.

After releasing their first promotional single in 2010 called Frozen Heart and an EP in 2011 entitled The Mirror of Silence, which led to their music being played in radio stations all over the American and European continents, Pergana seem to be on the right path with The Visit. Recorded and mixed at Blind Owl Studio (Paraguay) and mastered at the famous Finnvox Studios (Finland), it’s evident that the band drinks from the magical fountain of Scandinavian Symphonic Metal to write their music, but that doesn’t mean they do not add their own touch and personality to the compositions.

The first song of the EP, entitled Return to Innocence, reveals a bold and exciting musicality relying heavily on the synchronicity between the riffs by Matt Martinez and the keyboards by Adrian Benegas, with an absurdly catchy chorus that will make you sing along with the band for sure. Moreover, the vocals by the gorgeous frontwoman Angela Aquino are spot-on to what the music demands, reminding me of the voice tones from renowned divas such as Simone Simons and Floor Jansen.

Pergana - Promo Pic 2015Then we have the title-track, The Visit, presenting a more rhythmic and straightforward musicality and emotional lyrics commonly found in Symphonic Metal. Drummer Seba Ramirez doesn’t let the energy level go down, therefore maintaining a good flow of the music, also boosted by the excellent guitar solo by Matt. In The Whisper, Pergana offer a smooth sonority focused on the beautiful voice by Angela, growing into a pleasant semi-acoustic ballad where Angela obviously takes the lead but with a huge contribution by the other band members in crafting a serene and introspective ambience. In addition to that, I’m pretty sure fans of the genre will feel touched by the song’s lyrics.

And last but not least we have Redemption, recorded at Angels Cry Studios (Germany) and featuring bassist Oliver Holzwarth and drummer Alex Holzwarth, known as The Holzwarth Brothers, whose  solid skills enhance the song’s effectiveness. With its first part following a similar pattern than the previous tune (especially the melancholy emanating from the piano notes by Adrian), Angela once again showcases a very passionate performance before the second part of the song brings forward some traditional Hard Rock and Heavy Metal with hints of progressiveness added to it through its keyboards and riffs.

If Pergana will truly excel in the world of heavy music only time will tell, but in the meantime I recommend you pay a visit to their Facebook page and YouTube channel to know more about this talented band from the “distant kingdom” of Paraguay, and you can also purchase The Visit at the CD Baby website. If you want to feel serenity, passion and liveliness flowing directly into you heart, mind and soul, Pergana have what it takes to satisfy your most impassioned yearnings.

Best moments of the album: Return to Innocence.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1.Return to Innocence 4:09
2.The Visit 3:37
3.The Whisper 3:43
4.Redemption (feat. The Holzwarth Brothers) 5:04

Band members
Angela Aquino – vocals
Matt Martinez – guitars
Adrian Benegas – keyboards
Seba Ramirez – drums

Guest musicans
Oliver Holzwarth – bass on “Redemption”
Alex Holzwarth – drums on “Redemption”
Aldo Benegas – bass on “Return to Innocence” and “The Visit”
Gonzalo Codas – narration on “Redemption”