Metal Wani writer and Underground Metal observer Prateek Kulkarni is back with his choices of the Top 10 Death Metal Albums of 2015! Expect detailed adjectives, abbreviated genre terms, and splatterdeath.
Note: This list does not include EPs, demos and splits.
Cruciamentum created a lot of buzz when they released their first EP in 2011, so ‘Charnel Passages’ was much-awaited. The band succeeds again here by sustaining the atmosphere from their demos and EP, though it did take me a few listens to appreciate ‘Charnel Passages’, unlike the previous EP which I loved immediately. The production is well-done as well, and the writing is a lot more composed. Sharp riffs are aplenty and the album is pretty interesting after a few listens for a plain old death metal album.
‘Suicide Euphoria’ is exactly its album art in aural form – filth and gore; you can even smell the stench as you are listening to it. Pissgrave is a “barf metal” band from Pennsylvania releasing this debut full-length album. The rawness in the production as well as the vocal distortions add to the sickening and wretched atmosphere it creates.
Grave Ritual‘s first album ended up being one of my favourite death metal albums in recent times, and I was hyped up for the new release; ‘Morbid Throne’ lived up to it. More murky and cavernous death metal can be heard here, along with some memorable riffs. There is a lot of Incantation-core OSDM (Old-School Death Metal) here, and the drumming is exceptional as expected. The slight blackened influence makes the atmosphere foul (also thanks to the immaculate production) and the short span of 32 minutes passes in a jiffy while listening to it.
Ghoulgotha‘s debut full-length ‘The Deathmask Cloak’ is a doom-influenced death metal feast. First off, ignore the negative reviews; it’s a solid release, and it seemed like people hopped on the hate bandwagon too early. The band released their first EP last year, and it was interesting as well, though not to the extent of this album. Unusual drumming patterns, thick & chunky riffs and guitar tones, catchy melodies and perfect murky production all conspired together to get this meaty album on the list. The songs are interwoven beautifully with each other, and the progressions are atypical yet gripping.
After their brilliant first album in 2014, Shroud of the Heretic are back with another strong release of doom-laden OSDM. This time, the production is thicker, the guitars are faster, and the overall aura is heavier. The abyssal gutturals add a lot to the echoed atmosphere they are going for. There are some black metal influences as well, with tremolo-picking and blackened blast beats that only perpetuate the nefarious character of the album. I can’t wait for more material from this band.
Triumvir Foul came out with their first demo last year, and the Oregon band has upped its game considerably with their debut self-titled full length album this year. Simply put, the album is filthy in all good ways possible. Whether it is the ugly guitar tone or its theme of showing the horror of humanity and its perversions, the album lives up to the “foul” in its name. It is a continuous barrage of brutality without sounding monotonous or tedious thanks to the good songwriting throughout. The stench of death is heavy on this one.
Hailing from Sweden, Degial brings unholy riffing and atmosphere to the table through their second full-length ‘Savage Mutiny’. Featuring a couple of Watain members, the vocals and the guitar tone create a similar dark aesthetic to that of Watain. The album is not your typical Swedish death metal, but it has a some proto-death metal, OSDM and war metal influences with its murky production and some unique sounding riffs. While I hadn’t checked out any of their previous releases before this, I did so while making this list. I would recommend checking them out too if this album is up your alley, although I think that is more OSDM-sounding that ‘Savage Mutiny’.
I have to concede that I only listened to their previous albums after I came to know about their new album, and I really liked ‘Patricidal Lust’. ‘Hole Below’ is, I would say, as good as the previous album if not better. Vastum‘s albums are usually quite short when compared to other albums in the genre, this lasting for about 37 minutes. ‘Hole Below’ is another one of the modern OSDM albums that pay homage to 80s death metal with a more cavernous twist. The simplistic approach to songwriting works well here, and is quite reminiscent of Bolt Thrower.
This kind of death metal is one of my favourite kinds – the dissonant twisted avant-garde death metal ala Ulcerate and Gorguts, also sometimes called post-death metal. Ad Nauseam‘s debut album is an exhibition of that kind of death metal done right. Complex song structures, atonal riffing and technical drumming – all are executed to near perfection. It might take some time to be digested and feel like it’s a bit tiring, but it is well worth the effort and enjoyability level goes up with every listen. Also, shout-out to the amazing album art.
It didn’t take a lot of time for me to decide that Undergang‘s latest monstrosity would at least be in my top 5 of 2015. I adore all of their previous works, and ‘Døden læger alle sår’ is a fantastic addition to their discography. The album is memorable from start to finish, with the thick and filthy riffs and deep gurgling vocals creating a hellish vibe throughout. The Autopsy-like tempo changes from a doom-y pace to fast and ugly battering sound terrifying. Undergang does the murky caveman thingy exceptionally well here, and they have released my favourite death metal album of 2015.
Tribulation – ‘The Children of the Night’
Ares Kingdom – ‘The Unburiable Dead’
Sulphur Aeon – ‘Gateway to the Antisphere’
Coffincraft – ‘In Eerie Slumber’
Autokrator – ‘Autokrator’