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 – Profane And The Sacred / Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming (2015)

The first chapter in the career of this British Stoner Metal band is more than promising: it’s a lesson in heavy and gripping music.

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p&s_08After listening to Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming, the debut studio album by British Stoner Rock/Metal band Profane And The Sacred, there was only one question that came across my mind: how not to bang my head while enjoying a cold beer to the music triggered by those guys? Seriously, they’re not kidding when they describe their sound as “hard heavy gigantic grooves”, and they will certainly make you feel all that energy flowing through your ears directly into your body and soul with this album.

Formed in 2010 and based in London, UK, Profane And The Sacred were capable of combining the best you can find in bands such as Down, Crowbar, Black Sabbath, Karma to Burn and many other distinguished Rock N’ Roll groups in a compelling and robust way. As you will notice, all songs surpass the 5-minute barrier, but that doesn’t mean they’re too progressive, tedious or anything like that. Quite the contrary, each and every song has tons of interesting elements to offer the listener, strengthened by huge doses of professionalism and feeling, and therefore keeping you hooked on Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming from start to finish.

In the opening track, Bench, we are already able to experience a puissant Stoner Rock atmosphere brought forth by the dark riffs by lead singer/guitarist Luke Alleeson and guitarist Rick Spooner, with highlights to the beautiful guitar solos at the end of the song. However, do not go too crazy with this excellent tune and save some of your energy for what’s about to come: Bleed That Stone is not only a lot more metallic than its predecessor (thanks in part to the intense beats by drummer Kieran Smith), with its last minute or so sounding like a “tribute” to Down and Crowbar so good it is, but also Luke’s voice fits the musicality flawlessly while bassist Rob Taylor smashes his four-string weapon, making the song even tougher and more enjoyable.

Photo 06-10-2014 19 18 51Moreover, if there’s one thing this band knows how to do is filling every single second of their music with solidity and depth. For instance, You Know adventures into even more Crowbar-ish lines, with Luke declaiming the song’s “cute” lyrics while the other band members keep kickin’ ass with their more-than-ruthless Sludge Metal; whereas Weather The Storm focuses on 100% old school Stoner Rock, with kudos to Rob for his melodic and soulful bass solo. An even higher level of dynamism is found in the amazing From The Top, the first single of the album, which is basically what all of us want to hear in Stoner Metal: badass drumming and low-tuned riffs accompanied by realistic and introspective lyrics.

Then we have All For None, which showcases another great performance by Rob and Kieran and some interesting shifts from faster beats to a much slower and sludgier rhythm (and vice-versa) without sounding mechanic or disconnected at all, followed by another good tune entitled Just A Little, where Luke complements the song’s vile riffs, breaks and variations with his unique vocal lines. Finally, one of the best tracks of the entire album, Words, which flirts with more traditional Heavy Metal, is so extraordinary I bet you’ll start air mimicking either the riffs, drums or at least start singing the lyrics with them. It’s a spectacular Rock N’ Roll/Stoner Metal anthem, with the fine tuning of both guitars being beyond splendid. There’s also a smooth instrumental track to close the album, A New Leaf, which invites you to close your eyes and relax to the sound of its acoustic guitars, as simple as that.

You can find more information about Profane And The Sacred on their official Facebook page, YouTube and Instagram, as well as purchase their music on Amazon, iTunes and Cargo Records. Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming is an invaluable lesson in Stoner Metal, so to speak, and I cannot wait for more of their gripping music in a near future (maybe a “chapter 2” album) to make my beer even more delightful.

Best moments of the album: Bleed That Stone, From The Top and Words.

Worst moments of the album: A New Leaf.

Released in 2015 Cargo Records

Track listing
1. Bench 8:13
2. Bleed That Stone 5:42
3. You Know 7:24
4. Weather The Storm 7:25
5. From The Top 5:01
6. All For None 5:39
7. Just A Little 6:57
8. Words 7:24
9. A New Leaf 5:31

Band members
Luke Alleeson – vocals, guitars
Rick Spooner – guitars
Rob Taylor – bass guitar
Kieran Smith – drums