My favourite five new albums from 2015

Let me start by saying that I’m not suggesting this list is some kind of top list in any way. This is not the top five metal albums of the year. This is not the top five guitar albums of the year. No, this is simply my favourite five new albums from 2015. I’ll hopefully explain why as I summarise each album. I’d also like to say that 2015 was an amazing year for new releases. You need only check out the list of albums released in 2015 on Wikipedia to see that.

Marilyn Manson, Periphery, Slayer, Lamb of God, Joe Satriani, Motorhead … It was a good year for metal releases. For me though, there were five albums that made me very happy. These are those albums (in no particular order).

Cauterize (Tremonti)

Is there anything Mark Tremonti can’t do?! He’s the guitarist from Creed and Alter Bridge and the driving force behind Tremonti through his impressive guitar and vocal offerings. This man can riff like a champion. His lead guitar work is just amazing. He has a mighty rock vocal styling. Damn him and his talent!

I’m kidding. I love his work.

Cauterize follows on nicely from the first Tremonti album and shows that this band has plenty to offer.The guitar work on this album is impressive as you would expect. The songs themselves are all great hard rock tracks. There’s simple a lot to love here.

Tremonti—the band—is not a one-trick pony and if we’re all lucky, there will be a follow-up album in the years to come. You know, when Mark Tremonti isn’t working on the next Alter Bridge album.

Venom (Bullet For My Valentine)

I’ll be honest. I was not a fan of Bullet For My Valentine’s previous album Temper Temper. But with Venom I feel like the band has returned to the glory they’d achieved with their Fever album. The guitar work is amazingly tight and the singing/screaming ratio is at its absolute best. Take a listen to the track Broken for a great example of that.

I’ve often thought that this band’s dual-guitar attack was one of the best from recent years. The accuracy with such high-speed guitar work is impressive. These guys know what they’re doing and Venom showcases that for us nicely.

The passion is back with this album and I couldn’t be happier about that. Proof of that passion can be both seen and heard in the video for You Want a Battle (Here’s a War). This entire album is killer. I am now eagerly awaiting their next effort.

Immortalized (Disturbed)

This album had to be the surprise release for 2015. Very few people even knew Disturbed had regrouped let alone finished recording a new studio album. What surprised me even more was the quality of work in this new album. Personally, I prefer this album to Asylum.

Dan Donegan is one of my favourite guitarists—ever. And his riffage is strong with Immortalized. When I first heard—and saw—the video for The Vengeful One I was incredibly impressed. When I heard the cover of the classic Simon and Garfunkel track Sound of Silence, I was blown away. Many people will disagree and probably hate me for saying this—because you’re never supposed to say this—but I prefer this to the original version. Don’t get me wrong, I love the original version and I grew up listening to my father’s music which included Simon and Garfunkel. But this track is pure emotion.

The rest of the album is of course true Disturbed metal. It’s all guitar, it’s all drums and it’s all that vocal style that only David Draiman can do. I love it. I look forward to more from Disturbed. They show no signs of slowing down.

Silence in the Snow (Trivium)

This is another album where I expect many people to disagree with me. I loved Silence in the Snow by Trivium. Yes, there is no screaming. I’m OK with that.

I’ll be honest again. I appreciated Trivium late in the game. I started appreciating their skill set with The Crusade. The instrumental of the same name is one of my all-time favourite instrumentals. The album itself … it’s OK. I went back to listen to Ascendancy though and loved it. That album is amazing. I’ve since then loved watching the band grow through albums such as In Waves and Vengeance Falls. Each album seemed to be leading to the place the band has landed at now. The music has been evolving in a way that has allowed for more melody and I’ve enjoyed the ride. As someone who lived through and loved the 80s metal scene, I love what appears to be a nod to that era with Silence in the Snow.

I don’t know that this album has any true stand out tracks, but that’s OK with me. Why? Because I believe every single track on this album is at the same level of excellence. That level is high.

Golgotha (W.A.S.P.)

This album has something in common with Trivium’s Silence in the Snow in my opinion. What is that something? The number of high quality tracks on one album. With previous W.A.S.P. albums I could often associate with one or two stand-out tracks. But there would often be tracks I could also not find myself loving. With Golgotha however, I find myself loving all of the tracks.

Sure, there’s been a fair amount of talk about Blackie Lawless and his shift towards religious lyrics. I just don’t care. I have my own personal beliefs and they’re just that. Personal. Musically speaking though, I love what W.A.S.P. has put together here. It sounds like some of the W.A.S.P. of old and I couldn’t be happier.

Blackie Lawless has still got it. I love what he’s done with this new release.

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