Our writer Prateek Kulkarni is back for one more year-end list, and this time, he’s aiming for that sweet spot between underground black and death metal. Here are his picks for the Top 10 Black/Death Metal Albums of 2015!
Note: This list will not include singles, EPs or splits.
‘Tales of Woe’ is an attempt to recreate The Odyssey through the eyes of the German black/death metal band Imperious, and it is a marvelous attempt. The concept album has the epic atmosphere they were going for, and the juxtaposition of melody and heaviness is more than satisfactorily attained. There is some interesting progressive songwriting here, along with cool acoustic and sax sections.
Kommandant‘s previous release ‘The Draconian Archetype’ caught my attention for its rawness in both emotion and production. Their latest album is a more polished release when it comes to production, but the emotion remains raw and evil. There is some empowering martial industrial vibe to the album, along with the mesmerizing yet dismal atmosphere, which is quite interesting.
Perdition Temple‘s latest album hurries past the 30-something minute mark with insane vigour while entertaining you with every minute of it. The fact that it features members of Angelcorpse and Black Witchery – making it some kind of a supergroup – would make sure that the speed is of no surprise; There is no refrain, no remorse; just constant bludgeoning of ears into oblivion. And that is how we like it, don’t we?
Death Karma is a side-project of the guys from Cult of Fire, one of my favourite black metal bands. Their debut album ‘The History of Death…’ deals with, you guessed it, the various approaches to death and the rituals surrounding it. As you travel across the world through their burial traditions, the band portrays the rituals in their own vision without the naive musical associations that one does with those particular cultures.
Hic Iacet‘s debut full-length album is gripping to say the least. The hypnotic oriental tinge that wraps around the slow-paced, sometimes almost stoner metal-influenced blackened horror makes this album very unique. The nightmarish atmosphere and repetitive yet quite captivating riffs in this meditative release is something that sticks to you long after you have listened to it.
The legendary Archgoat returns, and how! The Finnish Satanic masters of war present a cleaner take on the unholy art of black/death metal with twelve short tracks of total desecration. There are fast blast beats sections and there are mid-paced riffy sections, all resonant of classic Archgoat, so don’t expect anything new here. The album art has no red in it though, which is surprising.
This self-titled album is the Danish band’s first full-length album, and since I did not have any expectations, it took me by surprise. The album has an abundance of dissonant guitar work ala Ulcerate, and in my opinion surpasses Portal in its execution of the horror filled blackened post-death metal music. The immensely terrifying atmosphere with experimental flair in songwriting makes this album an essential for the year.
Revenge are now the veterans in this brutal business of war metal and power chords, and ‘Behold.Total.Rejection’ is further proof of that. This is Revenge’s fifth full-length, and it is as chaotic as expected – it is the quintessential Revenge release with amazing production, and it has everything you ask for from a war metal album – the frantic drumming and riffs, with the agitated solos and vocals.
Genocide Shrines’ EP ‘Devanation Monumentemples’ blew me away when I first heard it, and the impact was stronger because it came from a region close to mine. The Sri Lankan band’s first full-length album goes further into the esoteric crevices of Hindu mythology and anti-Dharmic blasphemies, and the snippets of different recordings add to the nefarious nature of the album. The element of the sound is perfected to get the cavernous hell that is this album. Genocide Shrines are not one of your generic Blasphemy worshippers.
Truth is rare in this world, but it is now a truth that Abyssal never disappoints. ‘Antikatastaseis’ has this massive feel to it that only the stuff of classics have. The dark ambient elements and doom influences in the blackened death phenomena that is this album props it up to aural insanity. This album is dark, cinematic and wicked, and it is my favourite blackened death metal album of 2015.