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 – Velaverante / My Dark Images EP (2015)

Try listening to the Symphonic Gothic Metal by this up-and-coming Russian band with your eyes blindfolded. You will love the experience.

Rating4

My_Dark_Images_coverIn case you don’t know (well, I’m pretty sure you don’t, and there’s nothing wrong with that), the Latin word “velaverunt” means “blindfolded”. For instance, you can find that word in the Bible, like in Lucas 22:64, “et velaverunt eum et percutiebant faciem eius et interrogabant eum dicentes prophetiza quis est qui te percussit?”, which in English means “and when they had blindfolded him, and smote him on the face, and asked him, saying: Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?” However, from now on Velaverante also means high-quality Symphonic Gothic Metal brought forth by this passionate band from the city of Kirov, Russia, located around 950km from the capital Moscow.

And when you listen to their debut EP, the excellent My Dark Images, you’ll perfectly understand why I’m saying that about Velaverante. For a top to bottom independent band, the attention they paid to all details, including the sound production and mixing, their outfits and the album art, is truly remarkable. Even minor details like the blindfolds that appear on the artwork of My Dark Images and on some of their promotional pictures prove how much they care about their creation, and of course, that’s beyond good for everyone who takes a listen at Velaverante.

velaveranteThat high level of professionalism is latent in the first track of the EP, Too Late, where the band offers the listener a very symphonic sounding similar to what Nightwish and Epica have mastered doing, but with the melancholic atmosphere found in Black and Doom Metal. The keyboards by Max Seleznyov and the robust operatic vocals by Anna Egorova keep the music ominous and dark, whilst drummer Irina Kropotova and guitarist Gleb Uraev seem more inspired by old school Gothic Metal the likes of Tristania. The second track, Insomnia, begins as obscure as the previous one, once again showcasing a superb performance by Anna on vocals, especially during the song’s captivating chorus. It’s unquestionably a beautiful Gothic Metal tune for fans of the dark side of music.

In my humble opinion, the best of the four tracks is Jailed, where a smooth piano intro is suddenly surrounded by the band’s strong and mournful notes, with highlights to all the emotion found on vocals (yet again with an awesome chorus). Not only that, its somber rhythm is as amazing as the biggest dark classics from Norwegian and British Gothic music, with Max boosting the band’s energy with his keyboard notes. And lastly, we have the most symphonic of all tracks, Chained No More, with deeper riffs and stronger beats, almost like a Metal Opera mainly due to the vocal performance by Anna blended with interesting medieval/epic notes.

Unfortunately, My Dark Images has only 15 minutes of music, making us eager for more of their music in the form of a possible full-length album in a not-so-distant future. In the meantime, let’s all go check their Facebook page, VK profile, YouTube channel (where you can find some excellent live videos by the band), and more important than all that, listen to their profound and skillfully engendered music on their official SoundCloud page. And if you have the guts to appreciate My Dark Images blindfolded, amplifying your sense of hearing to a whole new level, do not think twice and just go do it.

Best moments of the album: Jailed.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Too Late 4:20
2. Insomnia 3:10
3. Jailed 4:18
4. Chained No More 3:34

Band members
Anna Egorova – vocals
Gleb Uraev – guitar
Oleg Starikov – bass
Max Seleznyov – keyboards
Irina Kropotova – drums