Josh Thieler’s Best of 2015

Josh Thieler of Slaves BC (Vocals/Drums) I write an end of year list every year whether anybody wants them or not. I spend countless hours looking for, listening to, and compiling lists of releases ever year. This may have been the hardest it has ever been for me to narrow down my list of favorites. I had 36 records that I am completely in love with that came out in 2015 and it broke my heart every time I took one off the list to get it down to 15. If you are interested in all the music I found, I will have a playlist on Spotify of all the albums I considered for 2015, a playlist of the 36 favorites, and then a playlist of my top 15. You can find these under the Slaves BC artist profile on Spotify. Feel free to hit me up via whatever form of social media to gush over these albums or to yell at me about how I am sooooo wrong about the 15 I decided upon.

Abyssal – Antikatastaseis
Abyssal along with Cruciamentum and Vastum are responsible for making me take interest in death metal again. Abyssal may not be the fastest, most brutal, or most produced death metal band, but they are making death metal terrifying again.

Aevangelist – Enthrall to the Void of Bliss
I just want to say that 20 Buck Spin is killing it as a label. Aevangelist is a perfect example of all of the amazing records that label is putting out. This record is pure nightmare fuel from start to finish. Listening to this album made me feel the way I always imagined being possessed would feel.

Author & Punisher – Melk En Honing
I know nothing about the industrial genre. I just know that this one-man project has put out of the sweetest records of the year and put on one of the most interesting live shows I have ever seen. Also I know that I would do horrendously shameful acts to get Author & Punisher to collaborate on a song with my band.

Ghost Bath - Moonlover album cover
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Almost every day since it was released on April 10th of this year, I have bathed in the luxurious, shimmering, and emotive black metal that makes up this perfect album. “Moonlover” is a triumph not only for extreme metal, but for modern music as a whole.

Imperial Triumphant – Abyssal Gods
If I had to pick a top 2, it definitely be this and Ghost Bath. The diversity of “Abyssal Gods” is only matched by its ferocity. I have twice written over a thousand words about how much I love this record, and I could say many, many more. Instead I’ll say three more: “Listen to it”.

Krallice – Ygg Hurr
This band consistently rules. This album is awesome. As soon as I saw that they were releasing an album, I knew it would be in my top 15 of 2015. “Ygg Hurr” feels more focused and groovy than previously releases. The howling vocals sound wearier than ever, but Krallice seems more steadier and more determined.

Leviathan – Scar Sighted
I feel like one-man bands go stale easily or feel one-dimensional. This could not be further from the truth for Leviathan and his latest horrific and disturbing masterpiece. “Scar Sighted” further proves that Jef Whitehead can and does do whatever he wants. 99% of the time, it works 100% of the time.

Mgla “Exercises in Futility”
I don’t know what to say about this album that hasn’t already been said by most metal bloggers/writers already. The hype for this record was insane, but “Exercises in Futility” seriously delivers. This is one of the most solid (if not adventurous) black metal albums that I have ever heard.

Monolord – Vænir
This is definitely my most listened to doom album of 2015. There is nothing groundbreaking for the genre on “Vænir”. It’s just a great fucking doom record. As soon as the 2nd riff appears in “Cursing the One”, I immediately start sweating, light a cigarette, and reach for the closest bottle of bourbon.

Mutoid Man – Bleeder
This album is flawless. Mutoid Man is the brainchild of Stephen Brodsky (Cave In) and Ben Koller (Converge). This album feels so good, like the first cigarette of the day that makes you a little light-headed. It falls in the realm of rock as much as it does metal or hardcore. The blend prog, math, and sludge in such a beautifully constructed way that I really want to know if there is anything these guys can’t do.

Imperial Triumphant - Abyssal Gods album cover
Imperial Triumphant – Abyssal Gods
Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat
This record serves as a testament to the standard to which we hold Napalm Death as one of grindcore’s heaviest hitters. Napalm Death are fantastic at grind, but in “Apex Predator” they expanded their sound to include industrial elements. After 34 years, this band is still evolving and still putting out fantastic records.

Outre – Ghost Chants
I keep seeing Outre being called a Deathspell Omega clone. Even if that were true (which it’s not) who cares? The musicianship on this record is insane, but what really pushed this record up into my top 15 of 2015 is the vocals. The first time I heard this record, I had a nightmare about a giant, ghostly demon pirate trying to eat me. That is what the vocals sound like. I peed a little.

Pissgrave – Suicide Euphoria
Pissgrave is pure and relentless aural filth. There is not a moment of hope on “Suicide Euphoria”. There is an inhuman hatred found in this album that permeates your body and just straight shits in your soul. And yes, I consider that a good thing.

Tribulation – The Children of the Night
This album came out of nowhere for me. Both stylistically and due to never hearing of Tribulation before. “The Children of the Night” was a real change of pace for Tribulation and for black metal as a whole. It sounds like someone went back in time and taught Led Zeppelin about black metal. This band was perfection live. Go see them.

Vastum – Hole Below
With this release, Vastum have solidified themselves as one of my favorite bands and rekindled my love for death metal. Vastum specializes in death metal that isn’t afraid to take its time to create a hauntingly ethereal atmosphere that envelops each track of the album.

Josh Thieler (vocals/lyrics/drums/art) is in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based blackened doom band Slaves BC.

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