Photo by Jon Hadusek
You won’t see any household names on this list. The first half of 2015 has been dominated by rookie bands and upstarts, and they’re ushering in a new wave of heavy music. If there is any continuous thread here, it’s the unbridled originality of the artists. They remain true to their own vivid personalities and express a range of emotion through metal, from the vegan doom of Vile Creature to Bell Witch’s romantic horror. There are six months to go and plenty of releases on the horizon, but these are our picks for the year’s best metal albums so far.
Senior Staff Writer
10. Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Questions about their true country of origin and allegations that they’re just a Deafheaven copycat (Sunbather vs. Moonlover, “Dream House” vs. “Happyhouse”, “The Pecan Tree” vs. “Beneath the Shade Tree”) aside, Ghost Bath delivered unto us this year a remarkable work of post-black metal. Wonderfully composed chords shine through a gloomy atmosphere that acts as a backdrop to Nameless’ operatic howls. Tragic, yet somewhat empowering, Ghost Bath present here a work worth more thought than what’s been put into trying to figure out the band’s true identities. I won’t mind the mystery as long as this band continues putting out work like this. –Sean Barry
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9. Tribulation – The Children of the Night
Tribulation wears the many faces of metal, but never claims any sole façade. The band’s sophomore album, The Children of the Night, is at once thrashy, black, and gothic. Think Into the Pandemonium-era Celtic Frost: The intent of each track is different, and there’s a clear, consistent progression of ideas, as if Tribulation is afraid of getting bored of itself. Fans of traditional heavy metal and NWOBHM will swoon over the guitar interplay of Adam Zaars and Jonathan Hulten. Their solos breathe and flow, lending a cohesiveness to the record. —Jon Hadusek